Weekly Update- 7/11/15

Behold, a surefire way to ensure I have content at least weekly: random blatherings about video games that I’m playing! And shit! Whatever, it’s something, okay? Hopefully it won’t die like everything else I try to do here. Positive thoughts, folks. Anyway, let’s get down to business to defeat the Huns.

Definitely the game that’s sucked up the most of my time this week is XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which I just reviewed! It’s very good. There’s something about XCOM that manages to suck me in without fail every time I start to play it, and not only have I been hitting it pretty hard on PC, it’s been getting a lot of love on my iPad, as well. XCOM’s iPad version was on sale for 4th of July weekend, and it’s quite frankly the best mobile port of any game I’ve ever played. It’s not flawless, but the entire game translated pretty well to the smaller hardware, and a lot of the tweaks made in Enemy Within (which is the expansion I got with the iPad version but have yet to buy for PC) are really solid. It controls great, and the loading times aren’t too severe either. If you don’t have this game yet and you consider yourself a fan of the strategy genre, you’d be remiss not to pick this one up. It’s really drawing stuff.

Of course, I couldn’t play a tactical strategy game without being reminded of my absolute favorite 3DS game and favorite game in the genre, Fire Emblem Awakening. I’m currently smack-dab in the middle of a harrowing playthrough on Lunatic difficulty, or, as I like to call it, “Frederick Difficulty“. As the name suggests, Lunatic difficulty is insanely hard, and frustrating as all hell, and most of my time spent playing this game this week was trying the same level over and over again with different characters and strategies. It’s tough stuff, but this game deserves all the time in the world. It’s seriously fantastic, and I highly recommend that every 3DS owner pick it up. It’s the reason I bought the console, and I haven’t regretted it for one second.

Also on the handheld front this week I tried a couple of games for my neglected PS Vita, first of which was Killzone Mercenary. I’d never played another game in the Killzone series before, and I wasn’t too impressed with the only other FPS I’d played on the system (the rather shoddy port of a much beloved game of mine, Borderlands 2), but it was free for PS+ subscribers so I figured I’d give it a shot. I only played the first level, but I was seriously impressed with not only its tight, cover-based FPS gameplay, but also the visual integrity and nearly unnoticeable loading times. It’s got a great system of earning money for nearly everything, as its title would imply, and the campaign level I played was just at the right length of time and toughness to make it a great on-the-go FPS. I hope to play more of this one.

A slightly less impressive PS Vita game I picked up this week was Freedom Wars. I really only bought this one because I was looking for more games to play on the thing, and it’s not … bad, per se. I might even go so far as to say it’s good but not .. good. It’s okay. It’s pretty much a Monster Hunter ripoff with pretty cool grappling hooks an Orwellian storyline that, as someone who wrote his senior thesis on dystopian fiction, I can appreciate. It looks great and runs well, but what I’ve played of it so far is pretty repetitive and not that exciting. Things could always change, of course, and I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, but right now it’s not really doing anything for me.

Back on the PC front, I spent a couple more hours in The Witcher 3 after putting it down for about a month. It’s still spectacular and one of the best-looking, most expansive, and most fun RPGs I’ve ever played, and I can pretty much leave it at that.

Last on the list this week, and undoubtedly the game I spent the most time in this week besides XCOM is my old standby, Team Fortress 2. There’s just something alluring about this 8-year veteran multiplayer FPS that just … gets it. Valve has always had a way to keep this game interesting, and lately it’s a tie between returning to Mann vs Machine with a few friends and the recently-added Gun Mettle Update. While this update does require a $6 participation fee, it more than makes up for it by giving you two contracts a week to complete, based on doing particular things as certain classes or achieving particular goals on certain maps. Completing these contracts will net you new items, many of which can be sold on the Steam Community Market to actually make you profit from buying the entry ticket. I’ve already made back all of my six bucks, and then some, and others have been far luckier than I. That said, it’s all over in September, so the sooner you get in on it, the better.

 

That about wraps that up. Let me know what you thought of this post and I’ll most likely completely ignore you, since I’m going to keep making them anyway. But seriously, talk to me, people. It’s so lonely here.

 

TWMC: Volume XI

Quite a few things have happened since my most recent installment in This Week in Minecraft. I’ll give a brief synopsis: I began to work on a new spawn area which will essentially be a canyon with a giant tree in it. I used Voxelsniper, a world editing plugin that’s terrain based, to help me with this. I tried out various fun plugins, a few of which were fun, but most of which were utter failures. Someone on the server whom one of my friends invited not knowing they were a griefer completely wrecked the current spawn. Luckily, I had a recent backup of the spawn area to revert to and was hoping to remodel it anyway, so I quickly dispatched of the culprit by using a few helpful plugins and fixed it all up in a matter of hours. Cedric500 had me move his castle (which was previously on the main island) over to his own area, and then he built a mountain behind it and filled it with some pretty cool stuff. Also, we’ve been experimenting with a vanilla survival world in which everyone fends for themselves, and it’s been coming along nicely. RememberThaName in particular has been doing some awesome work in that world. However, since his stuff is hidden and I’ve only been able to see it by teleporting to him, I have no idea where it is and thus can’t take any pictures. Sorry! Now, for the pic dump!

minecraft valley

The beginnings of the new spawn.


The new (old) spawn.


A lake in the new (old) spawn.


minecraft house

My house in the new (old) spawn village.


minecraft house

RTN’s house in the new (old) spawn village.

minecraft village
A big view of the new (old) spawn.
Cedric's castle's new location, with his mountain behind it.
Inside Cedric's mountain.
minecraft treehouse

TWMC: Volume X

It’s starting to seem insufficient to call this “This Week in Minecraft”. I’ll probably only be able to really get this stuff out on a monthly basis, if only for the reason that sometimes I randomly stop playing Minecraft or nobody does anything exceedingly noteworthy. This past week, however, we started up the first in hopefully a series of competitions to see who can build the greatest of whatever that week’s category is. We started off broad, with a castle competition. For each of these competitions I decided to set up a grid, made up of four 100×100 squares outlined in glowstone. There were really only two competitors, and since they were myself and RememberThaName, we pretty much counted ourselves as the winners. Check it out!

My castle-

minecraft chinese castleminecraft chinese castleminecraft castleminecraft castle towerminecraft castleminecraft castle tower

The Sacred Cherry Tree (hidden cave beneath)

And here are a few pics of RTN’s huge, and undoubtedly better castle:

Minecraft medieval castleminecraft castleminecraft castle

Minecraft CastleAnd now for a nighttime view of the two…

minecraft medieval castleNext, I recently decided to make portals between each of the four main cities on the server, the main island, Kinggarlic Bay, RTN’s medieval village, and my Chinatown. Here are the portals in each location.

Last, a friend of mine joined the server and requested I make him a mountain. He immediately began building giant animals and making dungeons filled with pigs. To each his own?

minecraft giant pigminecraft giant chickenminecraft giant cow

Well, that’s about it folks. Hope you enjoyed this pic-dump of a TWMC update, and I’ll catch you next time!

TWMC: Volume IX

Well, last weekend, after I messed around with some java programming on the Linux computer on which the Minecraft server is located, I quickly realized I could use that for putting some plugins on said server. I installed Craftbukkit (a plugin client) to the server files and put a few rudimentary plugins on the server, plus some fun ones. The plugins I used were Essentials, WorldEdit, PortalStick, and Multiverse. These all served to make the server a bit more professional, more fun, and help with making and moving things. It also means that at some point in time I’ll be able to go live with the thing, now that things are properly protected, but this will happen in the future due to the fact that I’ll need to find a host to hold it. However, since we’ve had the ability, Kinggarlic, Rememberthaname, and I have been working on some neat stuff on the server that I thought I’d take the time to show you.

One of the first things I did with the use of WorldEdit was make some changes around the main world of the server. First, I expanded the Lost Woods area to be nearly double its original size.

minecraft forest

The Lost Woods in all their glory.

I also moved the public mob tower (yeah, the one that looks like a creeper) a bit further away from the island to leave more space in its previous location and create a better aesthetic feel to the island village.

I also used it to make the dome around the Spleef Arena look less, well, terrible.

minecraft spleef arena

Yay for domes!

Another mod I used was the Multiverse mods, which allows you to make new worlds and portals to them. Not only did I create a specialized portal to the Nether:

minecraft nether portal

Just jump in!

But I also made two new worlds, both in Creative mode, to mess around in. First is the Freebuild world, which is a Creative mode flat map used to build whatever one wishes. Here, RTN and I started work on what will be a PvP arena once we go live, and it looks pretty danged awesome.

Minecraft pvp arena

Pretty awesome, right?

I also made another flat world, deleted the ground, and copied some sections of the normal world into it, using the brush mechanism in WorldEdit to make it more purdy. The result? Skylands.

minecraft skylandsminecraft skylandWe also built some shops stylized for the different items they would be selling there.

minecraft shops

The shops

Last, here’s a picture of the portals to the individual worlds.

minecraft portals

Freebuild, End, Skylands

TWMC: Volume VIII

This week in Minecraft, I was spending quite a while playing on the server, with the addition of trying out a few adventure maps in SSP. The surplus of multi-player Minecrafting came mostly with the fact that I managed to mostly synchronize my gaming time with my buddy RememberThaName, and when it comes to Minecraft, you know what they say, the more the merrier (that was for all you Sonic Heroes fans-the rest of you look it up)! In any case, I was prompted to do some more work on one of my most proud achievements in Minecraft, and the one that without a doubt gets me the most hits here: Chinatown. This is basically a collection of old Chinese-style temples, pagodas, and dojos which look pretty darn awesome and take a long time to make. I only added one thing, but since it took me an entire week, and looks spectacular, it was definitely worth mentioning in this volume. For more information and pictures of Chinatown, see TWMC Volume VI.  Anyway, with further (much) ado, here are some pictures of the new addition!

minecraft chinese templeminecraft chinese templeminecraft temple interiorminecraft temple interior

In addition to my work on the new temple, RememberThaName has been doing some building of his own. He’s been working on a medieval town not too far from Chinatown, and while he’s not finished, some of his stuff is so cool I had to show it to you anyway.

minecraft medieval houseminecraft medieval archery rangeminecraft medieval guard towerminecraft medieval garrisonNot bad, eh? Well, that’s all that’s been done this week in Minecraft. I hope you enjoyed it!

 

EDIT: It has recently come to my attention that RTN’s work was indeed not his own. I must say that the last four pictures can be credited to a minecrafter by the name of Jamziboy. Sorry about that.

TWMC: Volume VII

Well, obviously, I’m not managing to get this out every week. However, distractions like TF2, Sonic Generations, Tribes, the Dreamcast, and the new PS3 have all been contributing to me spending less time in Minecraft. Even so, I have been playing recently, and while I haven’t done anything very notable, (the server’s not even on 1.0 yet, oops) I have messed around a bit with the new 1.1 update.

There are a couple of pretty neat things in this update that I’ll talk about first. For instance, now, sheep eat grass and can regrow their wool. This is useful because once a sheep was out of wool before, you’d have to breed them and get more. Now, though, you can continually use the same ones as a source of wool, which is a nice addition. Also, Notch added full language support, and the Pirate language he added is pretty fantastic. There are also a few lighting changes.

Last in this update, and most important, are the two changes he made for Creative mode. First, the player has the option of creating a completely flat world to begin with, and while this is awesome for Creative mode, in Survival it’s nigh impossible to play due to the lack of materials and shelter, and the rather annoying presence of about a thousand Slimes ready to kill you in a second. minecraft slime

That being said, the flat-world mode is great for Creative mode. You can build anything you want to with infinite materials and infinite space, and it even has the ground level be just 3 above bedrock, to give you the most building space possible. The last thing he added were mob spawn eggs. These are only in Creative mode, and allow you to spawn every type of mob, from Cow, to Ghast, to Testificate. This is a great touch, because it allows the players to really have the world at their fingertips and make the most ideal and perfect Minecraft scenes in Creative mode. Kudos, Notch.

minecraft mob spawnAgain, I apologize for the brevity of this post, but as I said, there’s really not much else to report. Go check out the new update, it’s pretty awesome. ‘Nuff said.

TWMC: Volume VI

It’s been quite a while since I posted one of these, since I haven’t really been playing a whole lot. Whenever I do play, it’s just little odd jobs here and there, but I do have a couple of projects I’ve been working on so I figured I might as well keep you updated. I’ve been spending most of my time on two servers: mine, and the Shaftlands, a server created by and for listeners and hosts of the Minecraft podcast, the Shaft. I worked on a roller coaster on their creative world, and on my server I’ve been working on my rendition of Chinatown. I have a few pictures of Chinatown on my server, so I’ll show those to you, but I haven’t got anything on my roller coaster on the other server yet. However, I’m trying a slightly different format than usual with that one, so check back in this post later, since I’ll be inserting it.

In any case, here are a couple of pictures of Chinatown.

minecraft dragon

Dragon Waterfall

 

Minecraft chinese temple

The Temple

 

minecraft waterfall

Waterfall

 

minecraft dojo

The Dojo

 

minecraft guard tower

The Guard Tower

 

minecraft chinatown

The Whole Town

That’s about it for Chinatown so far. I built all of that, and it’s located in a desert which I converted to a plain. Not much has been going on on the server, since I’m really the only one whose not busy with other games right now (Curse you, Team Fortress 2!) so no one but me has been on the server. That’s pretty much it.

In news, Minecraft 1.0 was released, and the game is now at its full price. For more information about that stuff, go here. Lastly, I made myself a new skin which I will most likely continue to use. Here’s a picture of it using Notch’s new camera controls.

Minecraft skin

Cheddarface's New Skin

In the background of this picture is a teaser of a project I’ll be working on for a while. See if you can figure out what it is!

Minecraft server pics

Due to the recent lack of TWMC’s and the fact that a lot of people seem to be finding this blog through searching for Minecraft pictures, I’ll post a whole bunch of pictures taken in my server here. The captions will explain what they are and who built them.

minecraft redstone

Redstone mess #1-Kinggarlic

minecraft redstone

Redstone Mess #2-Kinggarlic

minecraft ship

The HMCS Surprise-Cheddarface

minecraft city

Island Overview-All

minecraft archery range

Archery Range-Kinggarlic

minecraft forest

The Lost Woods-Cheddarface

minecraft drop tower

Mob Drop Tower a la Creeper-Cheddarface

minecraft american flag

American Flag-Cheddarface

minecraft dock

Fishing Dock-Kinggarlic

minecraft brick house

Irweg Island-Irwegwert

minecraft airplane

Airplane-Cheddarface and Cedric

minecraft spleef arena

Spleef Arena-Cheddarface and Kinggarlic

minecraft tower

Der Turm von Käse-Cheddarface

minecraft castle

Kinggarlic Castle-Kinggarlic

minecraft bridge

The Wooden Gate Bridge-Kinggarlic

minecraft port

Kinggarlic Bay-Cheddarface and Kinggarlic

minecraft roller coaster

The Crazy Colby Coaster Mk. II-Cheddarface

minecraft castle

Castle of Cedric-Cedric

minecraft mob trap

Giant Mob Trap-Cheddarface and Kinggarlic

minecraft large mine

The Big Flipping Hole-All

That’s about it. Thanks for visiting!

This Week in Minecraft; Volume V-1.8 Edition

Hallelujah! A week before tomorrow, Minecraft version 1.8 came out, chock-full of brand new features for the game. Due to server issues, we weren’t able to get 1.8 on the server until Sunday, but now that it’s there I’ve been messing around with it without fail. This week I’ll name my top 5 favorite new features of 1.8, and then I’ll say anything I’ve done in in SSP or on the server. So, here’s my list!

Number 5: Combat Updates

There are a few things that have been changed from previous versions that make combat more realistic and more fun. Seeming as we only have two weapons, I’ll also encompass the new mobs in this section as well. The combat is something I’ve always thought needed to be done better, and now the fighting has a few key differences that help it be so. First we have parrying. Now, with a sword, right-clicking allows you to hold your sword out in front of you and block incoming attacks. You can then quickly strike back with a blow. It’s a simple change, but a nice one. Next, arrow charging. When firing with a bow, holding down the right click button will zoom in on your target and cause a stronger shot. The longer you hold it, the stronger it will be. Last in the weapons section are critical hits. Now, if you attack while jumping or full charge a bow, you will have a critical hit, which causes a neat graphic and does extra damage. As far as the two mobs go, we have Cave Spiders and, of course, Endermen. Cave Spiders are small blue spiders that poison you that can only be found in caves from spawners. Endermen are large, black, spindly dudes that romp around at night, picking up blocks and attacking you if you look at them. In addition, there’s Silverfish, which look like regular stone blocks until you mine them, and then they pop out and attack you. These new mobs are also a nice addition to the game.

Number 4: New Server Mechanics

Server controls and moderation without the use of an external mod has always been difficult. It’s still a bit clunky, but a couple of nice touches have been added that make it more fun to deal with. First, the player list. Now, holding tab will overlay a transparent list of who’s currently connected and how strong their signal is. You can still move and do whatever you want while the overlay is showing. Next is the server list. Upon pressing “Multiplayer” on the main menu, you are now greeted with a professional-looking menu, listing any servers you have added to your list and their signal strength. After this is the death messages. If you’ve ever been on a server you’ve probably seen something along the lines of “SOANDSO took a bath in a lake of fire.”. This is called a death message, and, until 1.8, was only available with plugins. Now they’re in the official game. Last, we now have the ability to, as ops, change any player between creative and survival mode. Switching to creative mode gives you access to infinite amounts of any block, lets you fly, and break any block with a single click. All these changes make the game nicer to play in SMP.

Number 3: Hunger and Food

In his efforts to make the game more realistic, Notch added a system of hunger in the form of a bar that slowly drops down over time. If your bar is above a certain point, you will slowly regenerate health. If it drops to the lowest, you will begin taking damage and eventually die. To counteract this, he added several new food items. Chickens will now drop chicken meat which can be cooked into a roast chicken, cows will now drop beef which can be cooked into a steak, and zombies now drop rotten flesh. If you eat raw meat or rotten flesh, your bar will fill up a bit, but you will be poisoned and you will lose the food you gained rather quickly. With the addition of a new hunger bar, we lose the ability to have food heal our hearts directly, and now there’s a neat little Cookie Monster-esque graphic when eating. This addition makes the game feel much more realistic and is a lot of fun. It’s not as much of a hindrance as I thought it’d be.

Number 2: Sprinting

This addition to the game is just downright fun to mess with. Now, upon double-tapping the W key, players will sprint forward and move extremely fast. In addition to this, your field of vision increases a bit while sprinting. Jumping while sprinting allows you to jump extra far, as well. Sprinting causes your hunger bar to go down faster, and you can’t sprint if it is below 3. There’s not much else to say about this other than that it’s fun.

Number 1: Terrain and Biome Generation Changes

I’ve always thought the biomes in Minecraft were a bit too small, and that some of them were way too hard to find. In 1.8, the more rare biomes appear much more often, the graphics in them all have separate several tweaks, and now there are huge ocean biomes which go down a lot deeper and extend massively far. There are also a few things he added to the generation of worlds, such as ravines, rivers, NPC villages, and abandoned mine shafts. Ravines are large, random chasms in the earth that go down quite a ways. Rivers are large extensions of ocean that go through entire biomes and meet up with another ocean on the other side. The NPC villages are extremely glitchy, and have no NPC’s, but they do provide you with a smelting area and a source of farm material. Abandoned mines shafts are procedurally generated shafts in the world that can have minecart tracks, wooden planks, torches, cobwebs, and cave spider spawners in them. Overall, the additions he made to world generation are outstanding and all work fairly well.

In the server this week, Cedric and I messed around for a long time with giant mushrooms, sprinting, and creative mode. I made the missing chunk go through bedrock, and I also made a pretty neat roller coaster. That’s it for this week!