Category Archives: Minecraft

July in Review

The Site

Nothing exciting happened to the site itself this month.  The scheduled post notification, which still uses the “new comment” icon most of the time, is still annoying.  I haven’t quite gotten around to looking at the blogger feed in the side bar just yet.  So all I have is that at some point this month I passed the 4,000 post mark.

Quantity... has a quantity all its own...

Quantity… has a quantity all its own…

Also, I still have some storage space left, which a concern given the number of screen shots I upload.

One Year Ago

I was feeling a bit of the summertime MMO ennui blues.

Project: Gorgon was off with another Kickstarter campaign.  Would the third time be a charm? (Spoiler: yes.)

Need for Speed: World shut down, so I said farewell to Palmont.

Derek Smart began what would become is crusade against Star Citizen, detailing why he felt we would never see the game that was promised.  It could have ended there, but RSI responded in a way guaranteed to turn it into a fight and took away his Rear Admiralty.   Game on!

In Minecraft I was learning about not falling off of things, bringing light to dark places, and accumulating materials.  Also, sheep stole my mine cart.

I was mucking around in War Thunder for a bit.  It is a pain to return to the game because there is always a huge update required.

Over at Daybreak, there was a vote up for the EverQuest progression server Ragefire about speeding up the unlock of Ruins of Kunark, as well as talk about raids and such.

On the EverQuest II side of the house, there was a beta for its first nostalgia servers.  I avoided the beta but was there when the servers went live… for the big surprise, the return of the Isle of Refuge, adding to the nostalgia experience.

And while that was going on, it appeared to be the end of Smed at Daybreak.

In New Eden my alliance, TNT, handed over its last system in Deklein. We then lived in Tribute.

The Aegis expansion hit… but there was a delay between that and other bits of what we now call Fozzie sov to be deployed.  But entosis link modules were finally able to take sov as the month rolled along.  So we started to learn by doing.

There was a plan in the Imperium to bring in care bears to mine and rat in order to raise ADMs so that our now much reduced space holdings would remain secure.

At one point Mordus Angels managed to claim some sovereignty in Pure Blind!  Can you imagine?  Crazy times!

Meanwhile, in the cash shop… erm… New Eden store, more skins were being rolled out.  Or, rather, the same skin on more ships.  The blog banter of the month was on about attributes, and I was bitching about never having enough jump clones.

On the Azeroth front, Blizzard said they would be announcing the next World of Warcraft expansion… right after the Q2 quarterly report was released, which raised some suspicions in me.  What would the subscription numbers look like if they felt they needed a big announcement to distract from them?

And I finally got my copy of Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls from the Kickstarter… only two years late.

Five Years Ago

Google+ was already starting to become annoying.

I tried Civ WorldI didn’t like it.

In EVE Online, the results of the emergency CSM Incarna summit were released with CCP basically saying, “Ooops.”

I hit level 50 in LOTRO, got into Eregion, and actually saw the door into Moria.   Only a couple of years had passed since I bought the expansion. Gaff was ahead of me, as usual.   Meanwhile, Isengard was in beta, but nobody was supposed to talk about it.

Getting lost… rules.

EA, BioWare, and their new Origin service got together and combined my accounts without bothering to mention they were doing it in advance.  Just another day at EA as I understand it.  Customers come behind their own convenience.  Still, I was interested in their authenticator and how it stacked up against others.  Can you actually buy those yet without getting the CE?

Speaking of authenticators, SOE made one available as well that looked just like the Blizzard model.  But they cannot be swapped, one for the other.  I got the official line from VASCO on that.

And on the SOE front, they announced that they were going to revamp Freeport, which I took as a waste of time.  (Plus, of course, Qeynos got shoved off until later.)  I am still not convinced that either revamp was worth the effort of the time spent downloading the assets.  But I am not sure Beastlords were either.  They seemed pretty broken when they launched.

The instance group wrapped up our last adventure in EverQuest II Extended.  There were a number of way the game wasn’t right for us.  It wasn’t just the ugly mounts.

The pending closure of Star Wars Galaxies led to interest (and concerns) about SWG emulation.

But PlanetSide 2 news was coming.  I think they are in closed technical alpha at this point.

I started playing Need for Speed: World, a driving MMO.  It wasn’t a bad game with the right music playing.

Zynga helped reveal the two faces of Tobold.

And World of Warplanes was announced, which got me wondering if this might not be a spiritual successor to Air Warrior of old.

Ten Years Ago

July 2006 was some sort of barren wasteland for related news.

Microsoft was talking about a device to challenge the iPod and denying they would ship an XBox 360 with an HD DVD drive.  Being on the mark half the time is pretty good for them.

EA was trying to retain people by giving out more stock options while Take-Two Interactive was being investigated over stock grants.

The ESA announced they were downsizing their yearly E3 conference.

The Civ IV – Warlords expansion came out on Windows and Super Dragonball Z launched on the PlayStation 2.  Woo hoo.

Featured Sites of the Month

For this month’s featured MMO Blog I want to bring your attention to:

I have my own EVE Online picture blog, but Mark726 at EVE Travel goes way beyond that, finding the various attractions in New Eden, documenting them, telling you where to find them, and how dangerous the journey might be.

Then of the “other” site of the month, I want to point you at is:

Connor has been running MMO Fallout for over seven years now.  He covers MMO news that doesn’t always make the big news sites.  It is not unusual to see Massively note MMO Fallout as an initial source for a story.  If you want to know about what is up with Jagex or NCSoft or some other non-headline grabbing companies, it is a site that should be in your feed.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  2. Titans Down in Okagaiken Trap
  3. The 7.0 Patch Looms
  4. Pre-Ordering WoW Legion at a Discount
  5. The Pokemon GO Phenomenon
  6. LOTRO Headed for the Grey Havens?
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. Cross Country to Frostfire Ridge and the Bloodmaul Slag Mines
  9. Last Moves Before the Big Move
  10. Defeat in the North and New Destinations
  11. Pointed Towards Delve
  12. Last Minute Garrison Gold Grubbing

Search Terms of the Month

orcs fucking
[What I get for using the phrase “more fucking orcs” in a post I guess]

دانلود بازیهای پورنو برای
[This is what the Ayatollah said would happen]

where is darkrai in pokemon emerald
[Nowhere, as it happens]

eve online on kindle
[I don’t think that meets the system requirements]

world of warcraft legion will suck
[There is always somebody…]

origin unifies your gaming life
[Unity is over rated]

EVE Online

It was time for a change of direction in New Eden.  After a strong start to the month, where we bagged some titan kills, The Imperium gave up its war in the north, postponed the reconquista indefinitely, and set its sights on Delve, the traditional place for Goons to invade.

And then we spent the rest of the month packing our stuff and hauling 41 gates/13 jumps south through hostile territory.

EverQuest II

I wasn’t expecting to play much in Norrath.  My account was set to lapse soon.  However, the Race to Trakanon server came up and I used my last few days to get to level 10 and collect a “one for every character on your account” mount as a prize.  Worth the effort to me.

Minecraft

I have spent some time in our Minecraft world, but I haven’t had a real project to focus on.  so I built another base with a giant structure along the great rail loop.  I am thinking about trying to build some sort of city skyline in the near distance along the rail line, with lit up windows so if you take the rail line at night it will look like… well… a city skyline at night with windows lit up.  We’ll see.

Pokemon GO

Since I do not actually have a smart phone, Pokemon GO hasn’t really been much of a game for me, personally.  And yet it is everywhere.  It is something those birthday cards that list out what was going on during the year you were born will mention decades from now.  As to whether or not it will survive as a game, I couldn’t tell you.  But it has gotten to much press to be forgotten now.

World of Warcraft

There was the roll up to the 7.0 patch… and after that I sort of lost interest.  The game is in a strange spot for me, as I am somewhat interested in playing, but not so much that I want to get out and do things with my level 100s.  When I have played, it has mostly been with lower level alts.

Coming Up

Considering what an empty month August can be, with so many people on vacation, there are actually some things coming up.

There are the Olympics, provided anybody is going to show up and compete.

There will be a chill Blaugust event according to Belghast.  Sign up today!

WoW Legion pre-launch events will be kicking off, and people who pre-ordered the expansion directly from Blizzard will have access to the new Demon Hunter class on August 9th.  Scrubs like me who got the 20% Amazon Prime pre-order discount will have to wait until the box shows up on or around the expansion launch date.

And then there is the big WoW Legion expansion launch on August 30th.  Will the servers be ready for it?  How long will the queues be on opening night?  How many people will show up?

In New Eden we should be done moving to Delve and ready to attack the region in force.  Lots of player groups in the area likely to oppose us.

Plus we will have to see how Pokemon GO fares as time wears on, school starts, and gyms are taken over by increasingly higher CP Pokemon.

Minecraft and the Map Room

l have gone on a bit about how much I like having access to rendered maps of our Minecraft world.

The current-ish map of our world

The current-ish map of our world

Having that available really helps me with the big scope road and rail projects I have been working on this year in addition to just helping me find things in the world.

But there are also maps within the game.  I have tinkered with them before, but they can be a bit quirky and I haven’t really found a lot of use for them, aside from being decorations.  I have maps of the local area hung up in a few of my bases.

On the decorative front, Skronk’s map room in Firenze is probably the high point of their use in the world.  Skronk went out and put together maps of various locations in our world and hung them up with labels in the map room.

Looking at the map room in Firenze

Looking at the map room in Firenze

Recently, Aaron went on a tour of our world, riding the rail loop I had built.  He too was impressed with the map room he saw.  He was so impressed that he decided to make his own map room, in a very Aaron sort of way.  He is the guy whose base has samples of all of the flora and fauna in the world in neat little areas.  And now he has a map room with the biggest map collection in our world.  Behold the map wall.

Aaron's map wall

Aaron’s map wall

That is 224 map segments affixed to the wall with frames.  The just visible red square in the middle of the map is part of Aaron’s base.  The map itself is backlit using sea lanterns at several points.

A closer look at the map gives a better feel for the level of detail that the in-game maps can achieve.

Standing closer to the map

Standing closer to the map

There you can see the red square is actually a grid of red netherrack from Aaron’s charged creeper farm, detailed in a past post.  This also shows Xydd’s castle in the upper left corner and one of my bases to the right of Aaron’s  Also visible is some of the road and rail network.

It is pretty cool.  It won’t replace my rendered maps, which show more detail, but it is still something great to have within the confines of our world.

The same area in a rendered map

Approximately the same area in a rendered map

And, being another Aaron epic project, you can see that his map room has two more walls ready for map segments so that the room will eventually give a panoramic view of a segment of the world.

Ready for more maps

Ready for more maps

I do like the idea of having the maps backlit.  I may go do that to some of the base area maps I have hung up around the world.

Minecraft Night Renders

I have written about Minecraft Overviewer before, the utility that will take the data from your Minecraft world and render it into the Google Maps format so you can see the big picture of your world in a browser. (There is a GUI utility as well, for those who want to avoid command line fun.)

While I have avoided mods and kept to a vanilla server for more than a year now, this utility is now almost essential to me for the sort of big road, rail, and exploration projects I have been interested in.  Yes, with location coordinates available, I could build in a point to point fashion.  But that isn’t as much fun as looking at the terrain you have explored and finding the more interesting or optimal path through the world.  The great rail loop is made up of straight lines, but I usually knew where I was headed due to the map.

The current-ish map of our world

The current-ish map of our world

That screen shot of the map doesn’t do the map output justice.  Being in Google Maps format, you can zoom out to get the big picture… as big as your monitor will allow I suppose… or zoom in to see details.

Firenze continues to grow

Firenze on the rail line

But Overviewer has a number of rendering options.  I tend to just run it with the high quality, smooth render option set, which gives you a daylight view of the world.  But you can also render the world at night.

Firenze lit

Firenze lit

I played around with the night rendering when I first downloaded Overviewer.  It is kind of an interesting view.  However, its utility didn’t seem all that great.  It lets you spot dark patches in your compound, which is where monsters will spawn at night, but you can also render with an overlay option that will highlight dark spots in red on the daylight map, which is more precise than looking for shadows.

Since then though, I have warmed to the night render.  To start with, I think it just looks nice.

Xydd's castle lit

Xydd’s castle lit

And it does let you see how well you may have lit a given outpost.

Fire station town along the rail line

Fire station town along the rail line

I am definitely going to get monster spawns in that fenced off area north of the wall.  Better light it better to protect my flock.

You can also see the strange yet useful bug where lighting remains behind after you burn down part of a forest to clear a path for progress.

No need for torches here

No need for torches here

And, zoomed out, you can see the lit path of the rail line running through the world.

Some sections need more torches

Some sections need more torches

It is like those views of Earth at night from space, where you can see population clusters because of how they are lit.  (You can see the lit woods from the picture above along the lower left of the wide view picture.)

But it was the wider view that caught my interest.  You can also see all sorts of pools of light on the map.  Every bit of exposed lava shines, as does every torch I planted while exploring. (Also a little strip of woods I may have set on fire.)  I realized that the night view was a handy way to find things that wouldn’t necessarily show up on the daylight map.  I used to use lit netherrack to mark places, as that shows up in daylight, but in the night render single torches stand out in the darkness.  You can scan about for little pools of light which highlight villages that we haven’t visited yet.

Needs more torches... and a wall

Needs more torches… and a wall

I can also locate a lot of the little overnight rest stops I have dug out while exploring, often just a door in a wall somewhere with a torch for lighting.

Wilhelm slept here

Wilhelm slept here

So I have spent some time looking for the foot prints we have all left around our world.

But sometimes I just look at the night map because it is neat, like the guardian farm lit up and glowing.

The Guardian farm at night

The Guardian farm at night

Now I wonder if there is a way to count how many torches there are deployed in our world.  Given all of them I can see on the surface, plus all of them strewn about the nether, plus all of them in the various mining operations under our bases has got to add up to a significant number.  I know that most of the coal I dig up goes to torch production.

June in Review

The Site

In the land of WordPress.com, another new feature/annoyance was introduced this month.  There is a little alerts icon at the top right of the browser window when you are logged into WordPress.  It announces when somebody leaves a comment or follows the blog or when your page view stats see a spike.  Generally I see the latter only with my other blog, where more than 30 page views in a single hour is cause for mention.

But WordPress.com added a new notification in June.  This one pops up to tell me that a scheduled post has, in fact, been posted as scheduled.

O'rly...

O’rly?

The problem for me is that every single post that goes up here is scheduled in advance.  While that is only one or two notifications a day, they aren’t something I really need.  I already have a notification scheme in place that doesn’t require me to be sitting in front of a browser and logged into the blog.  Additionally, the notification uses the “somebody left a comment” icon, so inevitably I go to the blog, see that icon, wonder who left a comment, and am rewarded with a reminder I didn’t need.  Not the worst affliction in history, but I am still looking for a way to turn that off. (Actually, they finally changed the icon to something unique, but I’m still annoyed.)

Meanwhile I am getting a little tired of seeing this in my side bar.

FeedDown

My MMO blog feed seems to be down quite often of late.  At first I thought it must be related directly to my Rube Goldberg implementation.  But I have a second feed, for Gaming Company news, down at the bottom of the side bar, that uses the same process, and it is never down.

But that feed gets relatively few new items in it on a daily basis.  The main feed potentially  draws from more than 200 feeds a day.  And given the times it appears to be down most frequently… which tends to correspond with times when most bloggers in my feed seem to post… makes me wonder if it is struggling to keep itself up to date, or just won’t display when an update is pending.  Anyway, I may pare down the list of blogs it draws from to just a few to see if that changes the reliability.  I’d like to have lots of blogs able to appear, but I would also like the list to appear a bit more regularly as well.

One Year Ago

There was a cheer for the NBI class of 2015.

I was wondering what Turbine would do after they cancelled Infinite Crisis.  I was also looking for a summer game to play.

After waffling before a live audience, Blizzard finally caved and said there would be flying in Draenor.

Remember that time we killed a Mordus Angels Revenant?  It seems like everybody has killed one by now.

Also in EVE Online we got the Carnyx expansion, which had some of the initial Fozzie Sov features.  So we were out sov-wanding station services, though Dominion sov quirks still ruled the day in our fight at ED-9LT.  We then headed back north thinking maybe our friends in Querious would come visit us some day… *cough*

The coming of Fozzie Sov also meant further consolidation of holdings to make sure we could defend our space.  TNT got pushed out to Tribute to share space with the Circle of Two.  We saw how well that worked out.

And then there was Burn Amarr.  I took some screen shots.  And I splurged on ship skins.

Over at Daybreak they were talking about special servers for EverQuest II at last.  It looked like we might get some sort of progression server, for which there was a poll.  And then another poll, looking for a name.

Meanwhile, over in EverQuest, they were still working on how to deal with raiding on the Ragefire server, and the Ruins of Kunark unlock vote was upon us.

I was playing Neko Atsume on the iPad… back when it was only in Japanese!  I was also going on about 64-bit OS requirements finally coming to video games and an old grievance of mine.

My daughter suddenly wanted to play The Sims.  That lasted for about three days.  This is why I make her wait a week on any sudden new fad she want to follow.

The Steam Summer sale came and went and I bought nothing.  That turned out to be the last sale with the traditional daily specials format.

I brought up the F2P business model yet again based on a quote over at Massively OP which, if nothing else, got a long comment from Brad McQuaid on the subject.

And, finally, I played Minecraft with my daughter for Father’s Day, which led to a whole new adventure in gaming.

Five Years Ago

I had to get out my Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD.

Team Fortress 2 went free to play.  Begin the hat-based economy!

I was wondering if people were picking on Lord British.  This was before he started talking about his “ultimate RPG” and made it a very entertaining sport.

We were not playing WoW, but guild accounts were being hacked.  And we were not even among those 600K WoW players that supposedly went to Rift.

LOTRO announced the Rise of Isengard expansion and offered up a exp boosting item for pre-orders.

I was wondering what launch conditions would be like for SWTOR.  Of course, I sort of figured it might launch before mid-December.

LEGO Universe announced it was going free to play.  At our house, my daughter enjoyed it for a bit, but eventually dropped it for Animal Jam.

CCP began a slow and deliberate campaign of alternating between shooting itself in the foot and sticking said foot in its mouth, all in the name of the Incarna expansion.  And my sentry drones were still boring.  And then LulzSec brought them down.  At least they had finally made it much easier to find an agent in the game.

SOE announced a new version of Station Access, its “all games for one low monthly price.”  Called SOE All Access, which had a price of $19.95 a month.  This was a welcome drop from the previous $29.99 a month price.

However, by this point, SOE had dropped The Matrix Online and had just announced they were killing Star Wars Galaxies, so there were certainly less games to play.  Of course, that was also back when they had some games that were not free to play.

At least SOE was up and running after the PSN/SOE outage.  A pity they fumbled the marketing opportunities offered by their make good plan.

The instance group had finally gotten out of the damn starter zone in EverQuest II Extended, but the game still wasn’t sitting well.

On the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server, the Ruins of Kunark expansion was opened up and then “finished” in short order.

Ten Years Ago

Paul McCarty turned fucking 64 already and could probably afford to buy the entire Isle of Wight at that point, regardless of how dear it was.

Sonic the Hedgehog turned 15, which I guess means it is 25 now.  Maybe I shouldn’t do call backs to birthdays.  But relevant gaming history was a bit light a decade back, so I felt like I needed some filler, which explains the first three items in this section.  Come September it will be better.

Bill Gates announced that he was planning to relinquish his remaining full time positions at Microsoft in order to focus on his foundation.  Though Steve “Uncle Fester” Ballmer had been CEO since 2000, Gates was still Chief Software Architect and Chief Research & Strategy Officer (along with being chairman of the board).  As of today he still retains the position of Technology Advisor to current CEO Satya Nadella.

EverQuest II got the Fallen Dynasty adventure pack, the last such pack until 2015’s Rum Cellar.

Nintendo finally shipped the Nintendo DS Lite in Europe, though $3.2 million worth of them went missing en route from China.

Half-Life 2: Episode One was released as Valve briefly tried to pay attention to the core of their biggest franchise at the time.  Still waiting for Episode Three.

Featured Sites of the Month

For this month’s featured MMO Blog I want to bring your attention to:

Rohan has been at it for more than a decade now digging into the nuts and bolts of game mechanics as well as bigger picture issues.  While World of Warcraft has been a prime focus, he has delved into other titles along the way.

Then of the “other” site of the month, I want to point you at is:

I am a little bit late in pointing at this, give that the NBI 2016 event ends today.  But I haven’t been able to keep up with the event in any case, it having taken to Discord.  Still, it has weekly summaries of this year’s event, which includes the new bloggers joining in and the blog posts done in support the whole thing.  Hopefully there will be a final event summary post tomorrow so I can crib the list of new blogs for a post of my own.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  2. Remembering Spaceship Warlock
  3. Blizzard Admits that WoW Expansions are Just Going to Take Time
  4. Thrill of the Hunt Not Thrilling Enough, Being Removed from New Eden
  5. RAZOR Leaves The Imperium
  6. One Hundred Million Copies of Minecraft
  7. Scenes from the Saranen Undock
  8. Return to Draenor
  9. Minecraft 1.10 The Frostburn Update
  10. Hurricane Massacre
  11. A Carrier Dies in Deklein
  12. Landmark Goes… Live

My post about the Warcraft movie was in 13th place, but on the Chinese version of the blog it is totally at the top of the list.

Search Terms of the Month

recommended skills to fly a naglfar well
[A tolerance for losing expensive ships?]

hyperion or dominix
[Megathron]

joke european heaven and hell
[Must involved Brexit somewhow]

does anyone play everquest 2 time locked servers
[Yes, yes they do]

jotunheim brass tiamat corpse mud
[Mixing up your Forgotten Realms areas aren’t you?]

Spam Comments of the Month

Labelling the third time inside collection of as the most important improve nevertheless, Jagex documented potential customers will capability to take part in the wow free of necessitating coffee beans or other stopper inches.
[And that is just one sentence out of five long paragraphs of nonsense.]

With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems
of plagorism or copyright violation?
[Posted to my picture blog.]

EVE Online

Just to annoy people with another inapt WWII analogy, so popular with sideline pundits over the course of the war, we seemed to have our Battle of Britain Adlertag in Saranen.  After trying to sit on us and hold us down for weeks in the system, during which we undocked to fight again and again against superior forces, where we were losing the ISK war daily, and were feeding the hostiles many kills, our foes got tired of the whole thing and went away.  Now we just have to liberate Europe… erm, the north.  Maybe the MBC will attack the Russians.  Of course, if we really want to beat this analogy to death, that ends up with them making satellites out of the eastern half of the area and a new cold way or some such.

Anyway, we’re still in Saranen, but with the letup on pressure, we have begun to push back into null sec again.  For us, the war, the same war that has been going on since January, continues.

EverQuest II

I did spend some time pottering about on the Stormhold progression server.  I continued moving along at a leisurely pace.  What I might call my “main” there is just level 25, but I spent some time crafting with him, so his crafting level past 30 now.  And then I used his skill, he is an armor smith, to equip and alt that I ran up to nearly 20 before I set him to crafting as well.  Pretty much usual story in EQII, just at a slower pace.

However, with the return to WoW, I suspect my time here is at and end.

Minecraft

I passed the one year mark for playing the game.  Our world continues to get sporadic attention, though after finishing one grand project, the rail loop, I am looking for another.  Minecraft pretty much took the time slot that used to be filled by a secondary fantasy MMORPG, which is why EQII has fallen off the “games I play” section of the side bar.

World of Warcraft

My daughter and I are back in WoW, though just yesterday she confided with me that maybe we came back a little too early.  She is stuck with one level 100 on the horde side and a level 91 on the alliance side and isn’t keen to do level cap stuff or run through Draenor again.  We’ll see if we can find something while waiting for the pre-Legion 7.0 patch.

As noted, I have made unlocking flying in Draenor my goal, which has given me a series of things to do on a regular basis without it becoming too grindy.  I did warm up a couple of the trade skills so I could get my tailor cranking out hexweave bags again.  Bigger bags are always good.  So I am reasonably content for the moment having a few goals that won’t take huge efforts.

Coming Up

There are a few posts I have planned already, including a salute to NBI Class of 2016, if I can find a definitive list of them somewhere… or even if I cannot… some sort of summary of where I ended up in EQII and what I liked (or did not like) so far with the Stormhold progression server, what I am up to in WoW in some more detail, and some mention of the original PlanetSide, which goes dark tomorrow.

On the WoW front, there is a reasonable chance that the pre-Legion 7.0 patch will drop around the end of this month.  I would not expect it to hit earlier than July 26th.  August 2nd seems more likely, as that would give us four solid weeks with it before WoW Legion goes live.  More than that “feels” like it might be too much, with August 9th being the latest date I think it will hit.  We shall see.

Amazon also delivered my copy of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  If I can get some time in front of the TV, I will play it and probably end up writing about it.

The Steam Summer Sale is going on right now, and will wrap up this coming Monday.  I haven’t posted about it.  But then I haven’t bought anything either.  I haven’t even been logging into Steam to get my daily trading cards during the sale.  I am bad at Steam.

Minecraft and a Year of Statistics

So now that I have the long winded reflection post out of the way, here is something lighter.

Also a pretty Minecraft sunset

Also a pretty Minecraft sunset

One interesting side-effect of playing on a single server for 99% of my one year Minecraft career is that my stats for that server are pretty much my overall stats.  So here we go.

General Stats:

  • Games Quit – 762
  • Items Dropped – 539
  • Fish Caught – 148
  • Junk Fished – 16
  • Treasure Fished – 9
  • Talked with Villager – 919
  • Traded with Villager – 921
  • Cauldrons Filled – 2
  • Water Taken from Cauldrons – 3
  • Interactions with Brewing Stand – 39
  • Chests opened – 11,996
  • Trapped chests triggered – 166
  • Hoppers searched – 1,108
  • Droppers searched – 4
  • Records played – 2
  • Ender chests opened – 58
  • Items enchanted – 71

I like that it is “games quit” rather than started for no real reason.

MOB Stats:

  • MOB Kills – 14,601
  • Damage Dealt – 89,672
  • Damage Taken – 6,086
  • Players Killed – 0
  • Number of Deaths – 35
  • Animals Bred – 1,087
  • Zombies killed – 1,424 (killed me 3 times)
  • Skeletons killed – 851
  • Spiders killed – 526
  • Creepers killed – 512
  • Zombie Pigmen killed – 255 (killed me 4 times)
  • Magma Cubes killed – 206
  • Blazes killed – 185
  • Cows killed – 153
  • Slimes killed – 140
  • Sheep killed – 135
  • Silverfish killed – 129 (killed me 1 time, don’t go AFK!)
  • Chickens killed – 110
  • Ghasts killed – 98 (killed me 1 time)
  • Cave Spiders killed – 75
  • Endermen killed – 72 (killed me 1 time)
  • Witches killed – 54 (killed me 3 times)
  • Rabbits killed – 19
  • Squids killed – 15
  • Bats killed – 2
  • Ocelots killed – 1
  • Wolves killed – 1
  • Unaccounted for kills – 9,638 (dunno, just copying the stats)

I am not sure what else is inflating the MOB kill number, which is on a different page from the individual MOB stats.  The Ocelot and Wolf kills were both accidents while trying to tame them.  Doh!

While Zombie Pigmen have been directly responsible for more deaths than any other mob, Ghasts and Skeletons have both knocked me into lava, and my death, multiple times.  Ghasts have also set me on fire, which lead to my death, as well.  So I think they might be the MOB most dangerous to me.  I learned to use the bow and arrow specifically to kill Ghasts.

Crafting Stats:

  • Crafting Table interactions – 6,335
  • Furnace interactions – 2,176
  • Most Crafted item – Stick (needed for rails, torches, fences, tools, and more)
  • Most used item – Pick
  • Most depleted item – Pick
  • Most dropped item – Fish (from the Guardian farm no doubt)
  • Most mined item – Stone
  • Most picked up item – Cobblestone
  • Most crafted block – Stone Brick

The mend enchant has meant using diamond tools which can be repaired by experience globes, so I haven’t crafted many tools since 1.9 came out.

Travel Stats:

  • Walked – 2,273.26km
  • Sprinted – 20.96km
  • Crouched – 24.56km (most of it backwards)
  • Swum – 16.04km
  • Fallen – 8.54km
  • Climbed – 29.39km
  • Flown – 14.49km
  • Dove – 9.19km
  • Minecart – 591.01km
  • Boat – 105.06km
  • Pig – 335.71m
  • Horse – 129.3km
  • Elytra – 0mm
  • Jumped – 94,150 times
  • Times slept in a bed – 560

I do most of my travel by foot, though that includes every movement not covered by any other travel method.

I ended up turning off the auto-jump that came with Minecraft 1.10 because it was way too easy to walk over barriers I had put up to keep me from falling into lava and the like.

Minecarts are the most hands-off travel, while boats are the most efficient, so long as there is water where you are going. (And now that boats don’t break when you sneeze on them.)

Horses are great, but you have to keep an eye on them and they need a path 2 blocks wide and 3 blocks high.

And then there is the pig, which I rode just because Bhagpuss brought it up the last time I put up some Minecraft stats.  Not a very good way to travel, since the pig moves at  about walking speed, but amusing for a lark. (You can compare travel speeds with the chart here.)

Riding a pig away from Farm Station

Riding a pig away from Farm Station

So that is what I have after a year.  Sticks and stone and picks and a lot of walking.

Reflecting on a Year with Minecraft

In which I write a lot of words about a game… again.

As of today I have spent a full year playing Minecraft.  It was on Father’s Day last year that my daughter suggested we play together, a suggestion she has come to regret in that dismissive way that only teens can manage.

“Are you still playing that?” she says with that eye-rolling world weariness that she gives all such parental endeavors.  But I still remember our first little house in the game, and remind her of it.

A house on the hill

A house on the hill

A lot of time has passed in the world since.

According to Raptr I have spent more time playing Minecraft than any other game besides EVE Online and World of Warcraft.  Considering that I have been tracking with Raptr for five and a half years and I have only been playing Minecraft for one year, that says something.  My top five games on Raptr, as a percentage of time tracked, are:

  1. World of Warcraft 24.5%
  2. EVE Online 20%
  3. Minecraft 9%
  4. Rift 8%
  5. EverQuest II 7%

There are reasons that Minecraft has gone up the list so fast.  We’ll get to that.  But needless to say, I have spent some time with the game over the past year.  Bang for the buck, even with server hosting, has been pretty high.

And I have a pile of blog posts that follow what I have done, which I will just list out here as a retrospective, in case you want to catch up with the story so far.  In order from oldest to newest:

  1. Father’s Day Minecraft
  2. Further Exploration in Minecraft
  3. Minecraft and the Importance of Not Falling off of Things
  4. Minecraft and Bringing Light to Dark Places
  5. Sheep Stole My Mining Cart
  6. Minecraft and the Accumulation of Material
  7. Minecraft and the Gift of Fire
  8. Minecraft and the Hosted Life
  9. Paving the Nether
  10. Minecraft and Another Vision in the World
  11. Minecraft and Dungeon Making
  12. Major Minecraft Setback with NetherByte
  13. Don’t Throw Eggs at the Zombie Pigmen
  14. Minecraft – Our World
  15. Minecraft and a New Age of Exploration
  16. The Demise of NetherByte and the Portability of Worlds
  17. Into the Roof of the Nether
  18. So Close to Taming an Ocelot…
  19. The Barad-dûr in Minecraft – First Attempt
  20. Minecraft, Bases, and the Urge to Explore
  21. Minecraft – Under the Sea
  22. Minecraft and the Great Northern Road
  23. Finishing the Great Northern Road
  24. Minecraft and The Guardian Farm
  25. Prismarine Towers and Horse Field Dreams
  26. Minecraft – This is The End
  27. Our Automated Farms in Minecraft
  28. Upgrading to Minecraft 1.9
  29. Just Another Pig in the Wall
  30. The Move to Minecraft Realms
  31. Minecraft Rail Plans
  32. Collecting Tears…
  33. Finding the Northeast Passage in Minecraft
  34. One Hundred Million Copies of Minecraft
  35. Abandoned Mines and Prismarine Spans
  36. Minecraft 1.10 The Frostburn Update
  37. Minecraft and Closing the Rail Loop

So, after a year of this, I figured it was time to reflect on the game, the good bits and the bits that maybe aren’t so good… because I have to have that whole dichotomy thing I insist on bringing with me wherever I go.  Bear with me.

The Good

The game really scratches the whole “wordly” itch, something that used to be the domain of MMORPGs like EverQuest, Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft.  Your Minecraft world is a place to explore and live in.  That has, no doubt, reduced the time I have spent in what I would consider my more traditional domain, fantasy based MMORPGs.

In addition, the whole persistence aspect of the MMO genre is also covered.  We’re still working with the same world my daughter and I started a year ago today.  A work in progress.  It has been hosted at home and on three different hosting services so far, so not only does it persist, it is portable as well.

The multiplayer aspect is a big deal and, again scratches an itch that was otherwise the exclusive domain of the aforementioned MMORPGs.  That I was able to setup a server and have friends along to play in the same world was a big draw, one that keeps me coming back.  Going to see what other people have done in the world is a treat.

Then there is how each of us tackle the world.  Everybody has their own vision and things they like to do, and that makes looking in on everybody else all the more interesting.

And, of course, the variety of hosting options out there make sharing your world easy.

The sandbox nature, the ability to not just explore, but change the world factors in my enjoyment.  I spend most of my time either building things, or collecting resources to build things.  Crafting and farming enter into this as well.

There are still some nice things to find in game, like villages, desert temples, abandoned mines, dungeons, along with the whole nether and end experience that give you something to work with in the sandbox.

Survival mode provides the requisite friction to make building, exploring, and whatever seem… game like maybe?  If I set the world to creative mode and could just create things out of thin air and build whatever I wanted, flying around and placing blocks, I would have likely tired of the whole thing fairly quickly.

Which is not to disparage creative mode in general.  A lot of people like that, my daughter included, and that is great for them.  But for myself, in order to scratch that itch that video games satisfy, the environment has to impose constraints to work against.  In Minecraft survival mode that manifests itself in the day/night cycle, hostile mobs, the need to gather resources and move them to the site where I want to use them, the time it takes to travel places, and even little things like falling damage, food requirements, and the need to work around things in the environment like water and lava.  Certainly the possibility of death brings spice to things, but even things like item wear and inventory management forces you to adapt.

The requirement to collect raw materials is actually one of my favorite bits of the game.  I spend a lot of time mining in Minecraft.  Funny that.  I dig down to level 12, set up a central area with storage and an auto-furnace, and start throwing out shafts every third block.  I put on an audio book or a podcast and I can mine away for hours.  It can be quite relaxing… or exciting if I dig my way into something under ground.

There is a certain joy in the simplicity of the game, from graphics to actions.  I am not a fan of pixelated graphics for their own sake, but Minecraft has hit a happy balance for me.  The simple nature of the basic game “feels” in accord with the graphics.  The game itself is an odd mix of sophistication and doing things in what I might unfairly call “the easy way.”  The game graphically looks like something from a past era of video games, but in ways couldn’t exist outside of the current era.  Our world currently occupies about 1.2GB of drive space and requires fast internet to load and play effectively on the server.

So it looks like it could be from the 80s, but needs resources that have only become generally available… things like high speed internet and cheap 1TB hard drives… much more recently.  You couldn’t do this on an Apple ][ or a 486 Windows 3.1 PC or probably even that 400MHz Pentium II Windows 98 box with a TNT2 card I had around the turn of the century.  However, even with those requirements, its simplicity makes it feel happily retro.

Finally, there is the whole mod situation, which extends from simple client mods like texture packs, to handy additions like a mini-map, to server mods to change the very nature of the game.  There is a wide world of choices out there which I have yet to scratch the surface of at this point.  All I have really used is Minecraft Overviewer, which renders your world into Google Maps format so you can see it all.  I love this.  And it even has a UI now, so you don’t have to learn the command line if you don’t want.

The Downsides

The world in Minecraft can be a repetitive place.  For every interesting bit of scenery there is another plain or forest or desert or ocean that looks very much like the last one I saw.  Exploration can end up being very much a race to find something, anything interesting in a world of sameness.  I feel like I am most likely to get lost because any stretch of forest looks pretty much like any other, causing me to work out my frustration by setting things on fire.  Burn, forest, burn.  I’ll find another just like you over the next hill.

The downside of persistence is that sense of wanting to hang on to your work.  There are times when I want to just start another world, but then I look at all the work done on ours… and I don’t want to redo that.  I don’t even want to play on other worlds because if I want to play Minecraft, I want to spend the time improving our world… for specific definitions of “improving.”

Sharing your world with others is very cool, but actually doing things with other people can be annoying.  It can be surprisingly difficult to do simple things like travel overland together.  The whole first person view thing makes keeping and eye on other people a chore.  And, in this sandbox which is focused so much on building, we do tend to just build away on our own little projects.  I did get significant help on resources for the rail project from both Skronk and Aaron.  But you tend to let people do what they’re doing because it is their project.

Sharing is also… complicated.  Now and again I want more people to join in on what we have, but who can I really trust?  Who will be compatible and who will just come in and just blow up our stuff.  The joys of a destructible world!  Doubly so since a couple of us have our kids on the server now and again, so there are minors to protect, which lets out almost anybody who plays EVE Online as a possibility, because we’re all horrible people.

The weight of the sandbox nature of the game can be a burden.  When you have a project, all systems are go.  But when you have finished it… well, you have to come up with another project or else just potter around with what you have already setup.  And, frankly, pottering around mostly involves waiting; waiting for crops to grow, waiting for villagers to get something interesting up for trade, waiting for your automated production marvel to make the stuff it makes, or just waiting for the sun to come back up again.

I feel a bit of emptiness in some of my projects.  When my daughter and I first started, she built us a shelter that was just what we needed and no more.  It was pretty cramped.  Then she built the house we moved to, which was nice.  It had a few rooms, but there was something going in on each room.  Then I went and built a castle.  I had a vision of many rooms, each with a function.

However, as I completed the castle, I noticed that I really only used the room that I had setup initially to shelter in over night, plus some empty space around it where I put in chests for storage and built an auto furnace.  That and the automated farm on the roof are about all that the castle has in it.  The problem is that there is nothing to “do” in the castle.  I don’t need any rooms outside of the one where I sleep.  Likewise, in the area I refer to as The Kremlin, I have built several towers, a stable, and a large two story building, all of which are starkly empty inside because I still just sleep at night in the little room I dug in the side of the mountain when I first arrived.

Enaldi and Skronk have built the most amazing Italian town in our world.  Great buildings decorated inside and out.  They set it up with NPC villagers so that they go about their business around the town square.   It is the most wonderfully alive place in our world.  I love it.  But, in the end, there still isn’t anything to “do,” it is just decorative.  Enaldi and Skronk, to my knowledge, don’t log in to “play” in their creation.  They just add more to it.  Just building more and more can feel a little Sarah Winchester now and again.  (I live not far from her house.)

And, without that sense of function, I have stopped putting up large buildings for the most part.  Bridges I like, because they have a function.  But putting up a castle or the like doesn’t appeal to me now because they just end up feeling empty and lonely.  So I work out my anger by marring the landscape with giant public works projects.  I have seriously considered making the rail project double tracked.  Or maybe a six lane highway right through the middle of the continent.

Meanwhile, the friction which keeps the world interesting can also make it annoying at times.  The day/night cycle especially.   If you are on alone, you just hit a bed when the sun goes down and then the day begins anew.  But if other people are on and in the middle of something… nobody cares about day or night deep in a mine, nor when they are AFK waiting for their automated device to crank out some supplied… you have to coordinate or interrupt them or just deal with the night side of the cycle.  And, in the way of things, the day always feels too short because you’re getting things done, while the night feels like it goes on forever because you’re stuck inside or you’re fighting zombies, skeletons, and the seemingly endless supply of creepers the game loves to spawn.

I am unhappy with the behavior of water in the game.  Lava too, but I don’t want to create rivers of lava in the world.  Okay, that’s a lie, I would totally create rivers of lava as well if I could.  But working with water to create anything like a river just involves too many runs with a bucket.  I could just turn on creative mode and do that, but then there goes the magic of friction in the world.  And I want water to flow.  I want to drain lakes and flood mines.  Instead water just sits there or, at best, runs off for a few blocks, gets tired, and gives up.  It does make very nice waterfalls at times though.  I will give it that.

I have also had some poor experiences with hosting services.  There are so many to choose from and there is no real way to tell how things are going to work out.  Who knew NetherByte would fold up shop suddenly?  I suspect that our problems with MC Pro Hosting were related to them co-hosting us on an over taxed machine, so performance went to hell during peak hours.  I understand that problem, but for what we were paying I expected more.  Minecraft Realms has been good, and it is probably the simplest solution, certainly it is the one most integrated into the product, and the price is right, but you give up a lot of control options there.  So I remain vaguely dissatisfied on that front.

Finally, I have, to this point, spent exactly zero time with mods.  Part of that is because in my long history with video games I have developed a love/hate relationship with player developed mods and extensions to games.  I like them, but I have been burned enough times that I also try to keep them to a minimum.  Part of it is a desire not to screw up our world based on experiences related to the former.  Part of it is that it is nice just to be working with the simplest possible set of rules.  And, finally, since we now host on Minecraft Realms, we cannot have any server mods, and even if we could, they would all be broken right now because Realms is always running the latest release version.  There are still mods out there that haven’t been brought up to version 1.8 and we’re now at version 1.10.

Also, totally off the farm here, but I hate when versions don’t get zero padded and the plan is to change the digit count.  For me the sequence should be either this:

1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 2.0

or

1.07. 1.08, 1.09, 1.10

Where I grew up, 1.1 = 1.10.  But that might just be me.  I still like monospace fonts too.

Summary

If you are reading this and just love Minecraft beyond life itself, don’t take my comments too much to heart.  The day I cannot find something to complain about is probably the day I show up dead.

For me, understanding what I do not like about a game, and why, is as important as understanding what I do like.  No, I cannot just play the game.  It just isn’t in me.  And, I will add a the long standing policy here at TAGN is that I almost never bother to write about games I simply do not like, and certainly not at depth.  This is just a bit of my collected thoughts after a year of playing the game.

I logged in and played yesterday, I will likely log in and play again tomorrow or the next day.

Minecraft and Closing the Rail Loop

After finishing up the Prismarine Bridge and under water glass tunnel… and screwing around with that huge series of abandoned mines which I still haven’t finished clearing out… I took the rail supplies I had accumulated and started building that last stretch of rail line to cut across the north of the rail loop and bring me to the mesa biome where I could start angling to join the whole thing together.

I made one base along the way in order to have a place to hole up at night.  The day/night cycle can be a burden.  You can either commute to and from your base every time the sun goes down or you can stay in the field and fight stuff all night.  Commuting is safer, but it eats up valuable daylight hours the further you get from your base.

From that point I kept pressing forward across plains, through a forest, into a savannah, until there, in the distance, I got my first glimpse of the mesa biome from this end of the tracks.

That bit of color there past all the sand

That bit of color there past all the sand

Seeing that put my goal in sight.  Also visible there is a desert temple, one of those naturally generated bits of the game.  When I reached it I found that it had, of course, been looted by Xydd already.  All of the hallmarks of his work were on the place.

But that was fine.  I didn’t need any more luggage, though I was happy enough to reuse the empty chests he left behind.  I sealed the place up, putting doors on the openings, lit the interior and the surroundings, and ran the rail line right up next to it, creating a station stop there.  This was to be my base at the north end of the mesa biome.

Desert temple becomes base

Desert temple becomes base

I needed a base because I still had to build a rail line across most of the mesa biome which, as its name implies, is made up of a lot of flat topped mountains.

There I had to make a choice as to how to proceed.  I could stay at about sea level and tunnel through mesas at need, or I could run rails up to the top of the first mesa and build bridges between them.

Tunnels would certainly let me collect plenty of colored clay, but I had already got to the top of a mesa at the south end of the biome, so going upwards seemed to be the better choice.  Plus the view is better from up there.

Also, using some extra powered golden rails was a benefit, as I have an excess of gold and redstone, while I am always looking for more iron.  I actually started laying golden rails more often as I went along.  You only need 1 every 30 iron rails to keep a mine cart up at full speed, but I cut that back to about 1 in 20 to reduce iron usage a bit and because, if you get stopped by something on the track that 1 in 30 plan won’t get you back up to full speed unless you hit a hill or a station.

I had also hauled along a lot of stone brick.  I have furnaces all along the rail line smelting cobblestone back into stone in order to make stone bricks, which is my current preferred building material.

So I pushed the rail line into the mesa biome and ran it up to the top of the first mesa that seemed to connect to a line of mesas that formed an arc along the eastern shore of the biome.

After I had gotten that side settled in, I went back down the rail line to the portal at the prismarine bridge, took the nether transit system to the portal already in the mesa biome, and came up there to start building the rail line from the other direction.  This was because there was going to be more work at that end of the line.  I had built the original rail terminus where there happened to be a portal and not with an eye to extending the line further along.  So I had to turn the terminus into a station and start building eastward to catch the southern end of that same arc of mesas.  From there I pushed northward until I got the other end in sight.

At that point I ran a bit ahead to build a last bridge on the northern end of the line so as to bring the two ends together at a point where I could build a little marker.  And so the circle was complete.

On this spot, the golden rail was laid...

On this spot, the golden rail was laid…

So what have I wrought with all of this work?

Well, there is a great loop railroad.  Single track I am afraid, and no sidings.  But there isn’t much traffic on it, so collisions are unlikely, unless we are talking about wildlife.  I’ve run into a few pigs.

The line is horse compatible, which means the right of way, as railroad people refer to it, is two blocks wide and three blocks high.  That is the size you need to be able to ride a horse through, so it can act as a road for those in the saddle.  The only exception is the line between Skronkholm and Firenze, but there is an alternate surface path there.

There are 19 main stations along the line, spread out thus:

Stations... you may want to click to enlarge that...

Stations… you may want to click to enlarge that…

The stations that are at each of those numbers:

  1. Desert Temple Station – North end of the mesa biome, lodging and storage only.
  2. Mesa Biome Station – Former terminus of the rail line, has a portal and the beginnings of a mine. (screen shot when it was just the terminus)
  3. Bridge Portal Station – A quick tower to spend the night in and a portal.
  4. Horse Fields Station – A prismarine rest stop with a stable and a portal.
  5. Farm Station – A large base of mine with a portal, a large series of mines, and a farm.  Additional building projects and a town nearby. (screen shot)
  6. Schloss Adler Station – A base I made in a mountain, with a mine and a portal.
  7. The Kremlin Station – A sprawling, walled base at the end of my second major rail line.  Has a portal, a farm, livestock, a mine, and paths off to a town and other structures.  Has several experiments in tower building and an ender portal off one of the mine shafts.
  8. Aaron & Xydd Station – The stop that leads off to both of their bases.  There is a rail line to either, though Aaron’s has grown such that it has crossed over the main line.  Portals and all sorts of buildings and machinery there. (screen shot of the vicinity)
  9. Spawn Point North Station – The stop at my first castle north of the spawn point.  A portal, a mine, and a farm are nearby.
  10. Spawn Point South Station – The stop south of the spawn point that used to be the end of the rail line to Skronk’s holdings.  Our first base in the game is nearby.
  11. Skronkholm Station – Skonk’s first works.  Includes a farm, a portal, and mining.
  12. Firenze Station – Skronk and Enadli’s elaborate base that has about everything.  Voted a world historical site by unanimous acclaim. (screen shot)
  13. Southwest Station – A minor base on the southern end of the west line, a quick place to sleep.
  14. West Plains Station – A small base located near a portal with a mine.  Food is available. (screen shot)
  15. Stone Mountain Station – A more elaborate base near a portal, with a mine and a small farm.
  16. Fire Town Station – A station I built adjacent to an NPC town, which I then walled in, expanded, and added a portal and a mine to.  So called because I built a two story red building that looks a bit like a fire station.  Horses are nearby as well. (screen shot before I built the fire station)
  17. Desert Town Station – A convenient stopping place during the build. Only lightly improved with an unfinished wall, no portal and no mine.
  18. Prismarine Bridge Station – A long time resting point for me, with a portal, small farm, dock, and a mine that leads down to a series of abandoned mines that were a source for much of my iron rail in the last push.
  19. North Point Station – The last station built on the line, used primarily as an overnight spot so I did not have to roll all the way back to the bridge.  Has a stable, as I rode a horse up there to use to scout the way.

Of course, that isn’t nearly obsessive enough.  After finishing off the line I had to go and travel the whole thing.  I decided to go from station to station and chart the distance between each, noting my odometer setting in the statistics panel as I hit each station.

  • Desert Temple to Mesa Biome – 1.58km
  • Mesa Biome to Bridge Portal – 1.12km
  • Bridge Portal to Horse Fields – 1.71km
  • Horse Fields to Farm – 1.70km
  • Farm to Schloss Adler – 1.43km
  • Schloss Adler to The Kremlin – 1.03km
  • The Kremlin to Aaron & Xydd – 0.50km
  • Aaron & Xydd to Spawn Point North – 0.41km
  • Spawn Point North to Spawn Point South – 0.36km
  • Spawn Point South to Skronkholm – 0.53km
  • Skronkholm to Firenze – 0.59km
  • Firenze to Southwest – 1.31km
  • Southwest to West Plains – 0.46km
  • West Plains to Stone Mountain – 2.52km
  • Stone Mountain to Fire Town – 1.61km
  • Fire Town to Desert Town – 1.57km
  • Desert Town to Prismarine Bridge – 1.67km
  • Prismarine Bridge to North Point – 1.30km
  • North Point to Desert Temple – 1.07km

That ends up totally to a 22.47km rail loop.  Of course, I opened up Excel and put that data into a two dimensional grid so I can expand it out to have a table that shows the distance along the rail line between any two stations.

I also timed the runs between each station, though that was a bit more problematic.  That required me to start and stop a stopwatch, which introduces some error.  Then I ran into animals at a couple points, which put off the time.  And then there are a couple of stretches of the line where I need to go back and inject a few more golden rails to keep mine carts at full speed.  I was stingy with those rails early on.

The times were off, but they seemed to indicate that a minecart, kept at top speed, moves about a half a km a minute.  That jibes with the wiki, which says the top speed is 8 blocks a second, and blocks in the game are a meter on each side. (Speeds of various things in Minecraft if you are interested.)

So that is a rail line that is 22,470 meters long… or, if you prefer, 22,470 sections of track… which, if you kept at top speed, would take 2,808.75 seconds to travel, or a bit more than 45 minutes.  I was considering how to showcase the rail line and thought about taking a video of a trip around the loop, but I don’t think a 45 minute video would be a big winner.  I’d have to speed it up.

And, as one additional bit of semi-related trivia, the explored area of our world… which admittedly still has some holes in it… is about 15km by 8km, which makes it about the same as the estimated size of the Kalimdor continent, as measured by somebody who attempted to apply some science to the topic.

So that is a major project completed in Minecraft.  I still want to go back and spruce up the bridges I build in the mesa biome.  I was in a bit of a hurry towards the end, so they are mostly just flat platforms between mesas.

So what was The Great Northern Road back in October, finished up in November, which later became the Great Northern Railroad ,and then plans for the great loop were hatched, which I did not post about until early May, when I was already pretty far along (14 of 19 stations in place by that point), is finished.  And that brings us to the eternal Minecraft question, “What next?”