Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The First Night is the Hardest

Well, Jagex is being a stubborn ass as they've been for the last 5 or so months. Best part is, they don't care. When Stellar Dawn is released, they can bank on the fact that their release will catch tens of thousands of players regardless of the few hundred they disappointed for months before release.

I found something else.

I found Minecraft.

Let's recap. If you spend a lot of time on the internet, you'll have heard of Minecraft recently. It's a strange game. I've played the sort before, but Minecraft might be the best.

Here's how it works in the singleplayer mode: You're alone in a randomly generated world. You craft tools from raw materials and use those tools to improve harvesting techniques. The world is build like lego, with blocks being stacked up. Some blocks have different effects and the core of the game is in the title; Mining and Crafting.

Mining is the main source of raw materials for all of your building projects. Crafting turns materials into new tools, useful items or blocks you can use to build.

The ingenuity of Minecraft is the same as that of Dwarf Fortress, anther game with shitty graphics which drops you on a randomly generated world to gather materials and exploit game mechanics.

There is a physics engine. There are a few items with reasonably realistic effects. There's no end or objective in sight.

So that leaves it to the players to make their own fun, given materials and limitations.

Some pretty awesome stuff comes up.

But the thing is, those creations were done by people who knew what they were doing. I started today, and I was barely able to grapple with the concept of 'the monsters come out at night and you should build a fucking shelter'. I did what every first timer in Minecraft does: build a house. Once you get your first permanent shelter up in Minecraft, the world really becomes yours. You're not just cowering in terror when night falls, you're pulling back to your base of operations for a good night's rest. That's how it works.

Me being a decadent brat, I decided to...opulentify my shelter a bit. The process will be shown below.

Bear in mind that I kept generating random maps until I found one that would suit me, with all the necessary resources nearby, rather than just taking the first one I got, so I was able to get started on a nice hilltop spot surrounded by potential resource sites.

My house is the main attraction. I set up a small grove of trees from which to harvest the very important wood resource. There was a mountain in the background which I plan to explore later on. The entire house was built from a new game in 2.5 hours, but I had the entire afternoon to play and get used to the system, so this was done with a day's worth of experience.

This was my shelter for the first night. The title of this blog post is relevant, and I had too little time and tools to build a permanent shelter, so I carved out a cave and camped it there for the evening.

"Go away, this is my hiding spot."

Before I dug into a cave for the night, I built this spire real quick, marking the spot where my house would be. I am also standing on where the tree grove will eventually be. You are now seeing it on the morning after my cave experience.

This is the beginnings of the grove, with saplings planted, torches to provide light and one tree fully grown. I'm not sure about growth rates, they seem semi-random.

Here's a picture of the grove, with more trees grown. The pig is part of the local wildlife which you can use for additional resources such as milk or wool. Eating is not essential, but it is the main way of healing.

That is a mountain in the distance I intend to explore when I'm ready.

Here's the outside of the earliest version of my house. All wood, torches for light. Light in this game plays a major role because enemies cannot spawn in lit areas. If my house were unlit and nightfall came, the enemies would spawn in my house.

This is the inside of the house I finished in 2 game days, which is about 20 minutes of work. Everything is hand made. The wood was chopped with axes I made, the torches were made with charcoal and sticks made from the wood I chopped. The wood formed the walls etc.

Whilst mining for resources, I struck gold, or rather, iron. The iron ore in this game is actually reasonably uncommon and I was lucky to have enough to make a bucket to carry liquids. Buckets in this game let you carry milk, water or lava. Yeah. You heard me. In a game where eating isn't needed for survival, they let you carry milk, whats up with that?

So the first real renovation a new player usually makes is to turn their wooden house to stone. This is to fireproof it. I'll only be doing the first floor, since the lava flood probably won't be big enough to reach the second. Probably.
I started from the bottom and let my house levitate for a bit while I filled the stone in.

There's a look at the mountain from inside, as I was ripping out wood in favour of stone.

I'd just got in the door when the monsters started spawning, but did catch that rather pretty picture.

This would be the house, with windows and ground floor completely stoned (hah).

My 2 furnaces, one producing more glass and a view of the mountain again.

This is my house, when I was finished for the day. It's gotten a bit bigger. Yes, that's a waterfall and 2 balconies on 2 different floors. I got carried away. It's still not finished.

That's the waterfall and the pool. You can see a bit of the incomplete spiral staircase that's still gonna go further.

A closeup of the spiral staircase.

So, yeah.

Regards, IVIilitarus

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cool But Overlooked

Activity on the Stellar Dawn got corpsified again.

So, I wound up digging through all of my old games and found Rise of Legends. Very good game. Wonderfully imagined world, lots of cool stuff, nice blend of magic vs technology and magic + technology vs better technology. Too bad it got such a lukewarm reception when it was released.

Totally worth a look, if you're into real-time strategy with a hint of city building.

Regards, IVIilitarus

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oh, I Forgot You Existed

I've totally got a 10 day break from school. It's significant to me. >.>

I also got a mic, so I'm actually present on Skype and stuff these days. And I ain't as useless on Team Fortress 2 anymore.

Regards, IVIilitarus

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Activity on the SDOF is Like Summer Rain

Sporadic and unpredictable.

At least there's no shortage of stupid people anywhere on the internet.

Clan Camp got released. Launched The Combine RSB on RuneScape. Activity died just in time to see the CRB become useless.

I quite like the emblem, though. Used the Combine colours. Surprisingly pretty.

Regards, IVIilitarus

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Existential Questions

Okay, so I made a calendar fuckup.

Turns out, the Clan Camp would be released the Tuesday in 3 days, not the Tuesday in 10 days like I'd thought.

Which is kinda awesome.

I'm gonna need those 4 players or so to help me start it off, though. Not sure if I need them friendlisted, or on the same world or even at the location. Hard to tell.

I want to use RuneScape's system as a testbed for how much I need to adapt the Combine's leadership and advancement systems for use in Stellar Dawn, as RuneScape's system is likely to be very similiar and almost identical in the beginning of Stellar Dawn. The Combine needs the complex system of specialisation and independence from a leader's orders because I don't trust myself enough to be there when I'm always needed, so I need everyone to pull their weight.

Another bit of nostalgia that hit me was whilst going through Marlaine's blog links, I found Tim's (one of the major bloggers back in the day) and through the links in Tim's blog, I found Mat's (former clan mate) blog. And I found the piece below.

Thing a lot of the bloggers (including me) don't realise when they leave a blog inactive or quit it completely is how many of their readers have just lot out. Every blog gets a readership. You don't write successfully because you're an attention whore (like me), you write because you love it. I really envy people like Marlaine, who almost never seem to take breaks from this sort of thing. The kind who outlast their readers.

I really, really miss those days, now that I think about it.

Regards, IVIilitarus

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

In Spite of Consequence

Things are looking up. The Clan Camp will finally give all of those bored Combine members a little something on RuneScape a little something to do in the wait leading up to Stellar Dawn. If Stellar Dawn's clan support is anywhere near as good as RuneScape's is advertised, I'll be satisfied, as long as they include a good system of war and conflict, not just hiscores, but real, high-stakes warfare.

Combine's making some or other progress. We've passed the 1900 post mark on our thread and the logo is sort of moving forward. Still wondering about media organisation and various other junk like that.

Today's Livid Farm update also brought along the Clan Camp in its first form; the camp is now under construction, with trees being felled and a Guard Captain and Sergeant standing in front of a pile of supplies.

Guess it'll be done, despite their lack of effort by the 12th, anyway. I'm gonna need a few active Combine members around for release. The Guard Captain said you need 5 friends to form a clan.

Also, whilst hammering out a very, very long comment on one of Marlaine's recent blog posts, I realised that with the release of the new clan Vexillum and if it is wearable on the back or cape slot, I could theoretically have 3 banners out at one time; my Banner Carrier, the Vexillum and a standard PoH banner wielded in the weapon arm.

Regards, IVIilitarus

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Thing of Beauty

The Stellar Dawn Official Forums have seen a boost in activity lately. Which is great news for me, because that means The Combine's catching some activity. New logo's progressing fine and I uploaded a list of possible colour schemes for everyone to argue over. It's pretty much been decided that upward pointy thingy + star + motto + translation of motto is going to be our new logo. Just need to work out the design.

School starts tomorrow. So expect more bitching and fewer blog posts.

Regards, IVIilitarus

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Short version is, Jagex is being a collected buncha morons about their perceived ability to market their games, so I'm hoping to clobber together some Combine members on RuneScape for a bit of fun, and to test out the new clan system.

In preparation for the upcoming Clan Camp, I've registered the Combine on Runehead and launched a Combine RuneScape Branch.

Following that, I put together a new logo and pretentious Latin motto for the Combine. The first picture was just me playing around with new brushes in Photoshop. The second is pretty much our new logo.

Regards, IVIilitarus

Friday, April 1, 2011

Jagex Trolls

Here's the full transcript of Jagex' fake, April Fool's Behind the Scenes. The fake was removed and the real one was posted in the afternoon.

"April has always been an unpredictable month, particularly in the United Kingdom, with sunlight shifting to rain and then back again in a matter of minutes. It seems only suitable, then, that April takes an unpredictable turn with our first rhythm action music game, unlikely Hunter targets, an update to a popular but rather old quest, and some bloodthirsty familiars.

TzHaar Hero:

The TzHaar, self-proclaimed Monsters of Rock, will be taking the natural next step from theatre to rock ‘n’ roll in our latest distraction and diversion! Smith a rune ‘axe’ in the lava forge, string it with the beard-hair of an imcando dwarf, and perform some fiery licks with TzTok-El-Slash! Activate TzHaar Power to earn extra points and play solos so hot even carbonite couldn’t freeze them!

The latest diversion takes a similar form to the circus, allowing you to ‘rock around the clock’ once a week and earn a batch of Agility, Magic, Prayer and Slayer XP. You will need to have completed TokTz-Ket-Dill to play this diversion. Tracklisting includes Magma Mae, Is This The Way To Armadillo?, Gielinor Rigby, Great Capes of Fire and I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do Jad).

Werewolf and Vampire Hunting:

We have two Van Helpings of Hunter updates this month, as we take the Hunter skill into Morytania. These updates will be high level (78 and 86 Hunter respectively) but will deliver rewards that make you the very pinnacle of fashion.

Wander about Morytania and you’ll find that the ghouls have twisted swamp reeds into shapes that look remarkably like kennels. Using a ‘moon on a stick’ item, you’ll be able to lure werewolves into the kennel traps and leave them there until they get tired of struggling. Domesticate them and you will be able to carry them in your bag and dress them in a selection of hats. Canifis? Yes you can!

It’s possible to spot the twinkling of vampires in the underbrush of Morytania this month. Lure them out with longing looks and a tin of swamp gel and you’ll be able to catch them before they skulk away. Train these beasts to be used in PvP combat, activate their combat buff(y)s and watch them twi-fight from all three corners of the love triangle. Team Drakan!

Gertrude’s Cataclysm:

At RuneScape, we’re asked one question more than any other: what was Gertrude’s cat doing in the Lumber Yard in the Gertrude’s Cat quest? Well, ask no more! Gertrude’s cat will be producing a litter so big that it literally topples buildings and lays waste to Varrock in this month’s quest! Your Summoning and Hunter skills will be called into question as you gather the cats by their neck and tempt them back to Gertrude’s house with doogle leaves.

This cat-based apocalypse also allows us to rethink the starting experience of RuneScape, adding an extra degree of danger and excitement to the tutorial and first hours of gameplay. Sir Vant will now face a giant cat called Deathpaw, while the Blood Pact will be revamped to become Tigerblood Pact. You will also find that, rather than a flashing hint arrow, a ball of string will lead you from Task to Task. Don’t want to see so many cats? Activate your cat filter.

Little Pwny Unicorns:

This month we introduce little pwny unicorns, summoning familiars that are as deadly as they are wuvverly. High level summoners will be able to create these adorable little unicorns in the magical realm of Sparklesky, left of Taverley, using a mixture of sugar charms, spice shards and bloody unicorn parts.

Wrap your eyes around these: Cherryboom (level 93 Summoning) is a sweet little brown unicorn that packs an explosive smile and eyelashes that can cut through corporeal beasts. Pinky Power (level 99 Summoning) is pink, has wings – making it a pegacorn - and can decapitate a clan with one swish of its sharpened sequin tail.

In Other News:

The Jagex Store is being stocked with action figures this month, in the form of Gower Rangers. Each of these mighty morphing models comes with pet cabbage, horses and a can of tuna.

If you find Clan Wars games occasionally tame and uninspiring, we will be adding chompies and jubblies to the catapult area. Fire these agitated birds to see if you can hit Pigzilla in Draynor Market and contribute to your team’s score.


Due to an editing error, the ‘wear’ option on party hats will no longer be the default option. Be careful when donning one, as we have corrected it to the intended ‘tear’ left-click option, for those who need to clear inventory space for ranaar.

We will be fixing the clipping issues on the Emperor’s New Clothes gear that was released with last week’s update.

Appryfooz, Brother of Zimberfizz
Head of April Fools

**(We wish you the very best this April Fools, and you can expect the real Behind the Scenes later on today! Promise!)**"

Reforms Finished Ahead of Time

I finished the Reform way ahead of schedule.


Regards, IVIilitarus