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.