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 Avatrian’s take on Minecraft

I decided to write this in behalf of Avatrian even if the company didn’t really ask me to write this one. I bought Minecraft last January (using my own CC) and never had the chance to tell people about how awesome it was, even in the company. The OpenSim/Second Life community has been talking about Minecraft lately. I barely jump in world to meet people and I barely even read community centric sim blogs because I’m an egoistic bastard. But Minecraft’s popularity was so unexpected to me that it even managed to buzz the opensim/second life community. So I thought it would be appropriate to write this here. Taken from wikipedia:

Minecraft is a sandbox building  indie video game written in Java originally by creator Markus “Notch” Persson and now by his company, Mojang, formed from the proceeds of the game. The game is focused on creativity and building, allowing players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D world. The game has two variants – free Classic and paid Beta – where Classic is focused entirely on construction with unlimited material supply, while Beta requires players to acquire resources themselves, and contains mobs, player health, and additional features and items. The gameplay is inspired by Dwarf Fortress, Dungeon Keeper, and Infiniminer.

To cut down the blabber, it’s a game where there are no objectives. Think of it as UNLIMITED LEGO with enemies. You pick what you want to be on the fly, either go mining, cave scouting, build flying castles, buildings or houses made of dirt, exploring places, hunt down and farm mobs or go bitch-slap pigs.

That's right, bitch-slap pigs

The amount of stuff you can do in Minecraft is so dense that I can write an entire article for each of it. But of course, I won’t jump into that. I barely played minecraft in a serious way until I decided to and was lucky enough. Because before, I died 15 minutes later from the mobs that will try to kill you at night (yes, the mobs appear at night and at dark places, including caves).

Meet your nemeses

My first serious playthrough went something like this.

  1. Chop trees
  2. Make wooden planks out of wood
  3. Make a crafting bench out of those planks
  4. Make sticks out of those planks
  5. Craft a wooden pickaxe
  6. Mine cobblestone
  7. Craft a cobblestone pickaxe out of mined cobblestone and sticks
  8. Mine coal
  9. Craft torches out of sticks and coal
  10. Find a good cave system
  11. Go mining crazy. Repeat 6 until you find iron/diamond and craft pickaxes out of those materials

But then that was the part where you really had to mine first before you can go explore cave systems and beat the hell out of the mobs. While mining, it is certainly unavoidable to hit more and more cave systems. The more you explore these places, the bigger the area you have to cover and the more unlit rooms (cave systems), the more mobs waiting for you.

One of the cave systems I have fully cleared. Beware of the lava, without water they buuurn.

So after all the mining and the fighting, I have gained enough diamonds and iron ores. So I crafted them into a diamond pickaxe, diamond sword and iron armor. It is worth noting, that the hardest material in the game are diamonds. They break much less frequent than wood/cobblestone/iron. That’s the point of mining, find the hardest stuff before doing something else.

Doesn't look like a safehouse to me

But then I’m bored on going beneath large mounds of earth. So I went out

Ahhh, the refreshing scenery, finally out from the claustrophobic caves.

In minecraft, the world is generated randomly. So the scenery, the caves, the resources are not placed at the same place everytime you start a new game. And oh, the world is pretty huge. So, aside from mining and going outside, I tried to build stuff but I destroyed them. Instead, I made a skyline that reached to the ceiling of the world. And when I realized that my secret base was close to a lake, I made an underwater glass base!

My fun was cut short when I got attacked by a bunch of creepers(the green kamikaze creatures) outside at night time. All of your stuff in the inventory gets dropped including the equipped ones in the numbers. Just hope that when you die, you respawn close to your save point or it’ll be a long unsafe walk to your precious stuff. It gets worse when you drown, because its dark underwater and your stuff are scattered all around.

So I just stopped playing there and recovered one of my earlier saved games.

I definitely wondered what would the community’s reaction be to this indie game. Do they think this is a competitor to SL/OS? definitely not. A different game? definitely yes A competitor to SL/OS’s building mechanics? Big yes.

Minecraft doesn’t have the framework to be social enough like SL. The blocky theme itself is not for most people like in SL, especially with the fact that SL has been suffering a visual gap in comparison to today’s graphics. But the stuff you can build in this place can be huge and interesting compared to SL. If you go do a google image search, you’ll see images of minecraft worlds in metropolitans or some crazy stuff like Atlantis or a floating castle. Someone even made the Enterprise D from Star Trek! It’s a totally dynamic game because if you don’t want to go hand-to-hand combat with the mobs, you can just build stuff and let your character sleep for a day, waiting for the mobs to go away that’ll ruin your precious builds.

I don’t really know how to end this blog post. But I have to say this is one of those games that we can have a vacation on away from SL while retaining the building stuff part. Minecraft is currently on beta at $15(when I got mine) and while its still on beta, its damn worth it.

Oink oink

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