Minecraft: In-Progress Castle


I had purchased Frozen Synapse off of Steam quite some time ago during the Summer Camp Sale. Sadly, I still haven’t “had a chance” to play it for more than 5 minutes because I have been very busy. Very busy playing Minecraft that is. Alas, we are back on the Minecraft server and working on our next project after a 2 to 3 month period of inactivity. The castle by the way, is being built at the expense of nearly every single game that I regularly play. Though, to be honest, there’s not a whole lot out now in terms of AAA titles that I am interested in playing anyway.

The castle is being built completely legit; No console spawning save for a couple of items that I felt were unjustly lost due to server glitches, lag and what not. Seeing as how no large flat areas exist within reasonable distance of the primary server spawn point, we have to demolish entire hillsides in order to make room for any large-scale building project (by we I mean my lovely play partner <3). A separate project, making use of the massive amount of dirt that was unearthed is in progress.

The structure itself is just about done, we just need to work on applying some decorative flair and finish the interior design. As far as functional things, we have two farming modules: 1 with an automated wheat farm system and another with an in-progress farm for sugar cane, flowers and whatever else. We really need a cobblestone generator as well as a tree farm for the sake of not having to strip down even more of the trees from the surrounding area. Also, a minecart station is probably needed at some point.

After months of not being able to find one, there just happens to be three mob spawners within a very close distance of the castle (kind of cheated and loaded the server map into MCEdit): A spider spawner, a skeleton spawner and a zombie spawner (which was accidentally destroyed by a rogue creeper). The skeleton and spider spawners have both been setup with item grinders. It’s nice having a near infinite arrow supply. Oh and, spider farming isn’t the most efficient way of obtaining wool by the way. Though I suppose it is if you just go AFK and leave Minecraft running in the background.

A visual tour of what we have so far is included in the full article. I’ll upload a FRAPS video later.{C}{C} View from the front. I want to add a piston powered portcullis at some point, but I need to see if there’s even room for the redstone. We have rooms that are pretty close to the surface. Also want to add a stone walkway, a moat and maybe a small town/farms at some point.


Garden. The hole in the ground leads down to a fairly extensive mining operation. 2011-07-17_09.32.09

Courtyard. The building on the right is not complete.2011-07-17_09.32.15

Dining hall (in-progress). The table is too tall…2011-07-17_09.31.49


Back entrance. The structures on the right are farming units. The block between the back door and the farm marks a ladder down to a spider spawner.

Main keep (in-progress).

Farming units. Right unit is an automated piston powered wheat farm. Pull a lever, water flows carrying seeds and wheat down to a collection area. Saves quite a bit of time. We eat a lot of bread…

The vault. Located two floors below the kitchen.


Chests and Junk Everywhere (Another Minecraft Rant)

image_20We have shit everywhere. There is one or two chests at the waterfall station near our original spawn point. There’s one chest off to the side of the staircase on the way down from the waterfall station (I built a small supply depot). There are about 3 more chests at a subterranean directly below the mountain base (just South of Home). There are about 10 chests at Home and now 3 chests at The Obligatory Tower, east of Home. Each chest contains a variety of unorganized shit, save for the chests at Home. Those are actually fairly organized.

We  badly need some sort of centralized transportation system allowing for both player travel and supply travel back to Home. I am torn between finding another more centralized location to build a ginormous train station + storage facility or utilizing the existing home base and expanding outwards a bit. Said train station is going to occupy a fuckton of space, because I want it all to be switch operated.

I want an automated cart booster with a pressure sensitive plate to detect players. The transportation hub would also have a master control panel, allowing players to choose a destination. For example, flip a switch to choose your destination, a torch lights up indicating your choice, activates redstone circuitry which in turns changes the track destination to A. The system would also need to be fairly modular should I choose to expand it to accommodate other destinations or features. Some of my destinations are rather far, I may have to implement a satellite switching system: From the hub, go to A, from A you may choose to go to either B or C and so forth.

I was experimenting with automated delivery systems the other weekend (fuck booster carts by the way. Take up way too much space). Halting all progress on the Minecart station since powered rails are supposedly coming tomorrow in 1.5 Which also means that progress on the server will grind to a complete halt in honor of Portal 2. Alas, cruel fate releases two great things in one day…

Minecraft Error “at jg.a(SourceFile:29)”

Hey, just an FYI since I could not find the solution to this problem on any Minecraft forum anywhere. My server started freaking out earlier this week after updating minecraft_server.jar to beta version 1.4. It would just repetaedly spit out these two errors indefinitely:

at jg.a(SourceFile:29)
at jg.b(SourceFile:37)

It’s most likely a permissions error. Check permissions on minecraft_server.jar (and server.properties? Don’t remember exactly what I did last night) and make sure that the user running the minecraft server process has access and execute rights to that file. And remember: NEVER run Minecraft as root! If you are running a Windows server, make sure that the Minecraft directory is not read only and try running the process as administrator.

Minecraft: Log Cabin

We constructed a nice living room on the second floor of base 3 last night (overlooking the library). The original intention was to make it a bedroom, but the space we dug out was awkwardly large. Also, I really wanted to tile in a nice wooden floor with a red throw rug underneath the double bed. Unfortunately, because of the way the first and second floor are laid out, that is an awkward thing to do unless I want a multi-color ceiling above my wheat farm.

So, I built a log cabin up top instead. Dave fenced off the top area; We still need to level out the dirt but as of now, there’s a nice grassy plateau with a wooden cabin, a natural pond and some trees. The spiders can still jump over certain areas of the fence and the creepers will explode if you get too close, regardless of what side of the fence you are on. I may just carpet the entire area with torches for safety or at least shovel off more dirt below the fence line. We have already had a few….setbacks. The cabin’s interior decorating isn’t entirely original: I found a great thread last night with awesome decorating ideas. I really liked the kitchen ideas in that thread.

Here’s a picture of the back of the cabin, which is more interesting than the front (which is little more than a wooden wall with a door). The cabin is a studio bedroom with a small kitchen and a loft. I’m not sure I like how some of the roof turned out. It looks odd in my opinion, but I can fix that later.

The ladder on the left leads up to the loft. If you go past that, there’s a staircase around the corner leading down into the second story of the base (note to self: post pictures later). The bed is sitting on a 3×3 red wool carpet. For some reason it took a while to find the rest of the roses that I needed to dye the wool. There are a lot of yellow flowers in the area but not red. At some point I would love to add a fireplace on the left wall, but don’t want to burn down our cabin.

This is the view from the other side near the ladder.

Here is the kitchen. I had originally built a bread dispenser (dispenser + bread + button) in the store room, but moved it up to the cabin. Hadn’t considered that it would make a decent looking fridge in combination with an iron block. The counter-tops are made up of a log with signpost paneling and stone buttons for granite counters.

And here is the loft. I don’t really know what to place up here. Another bedroom? Bookcases? Chests? We will decide later.

Musings: Minecraft & the DA2 Demo


I’m unsure what exactly the Beta 1.3 Minecraft server client did to my poor server, but it didn’t weather the new update too well. In fact it kind of imploded, or rather, was inundated with java errors every time I would start the Minecraft process. I finally got around to fixing it this weekend (was a simple error on my part lol), so huzzah, back to building we go! I’m not sure if it’s because I dropped Craftbukkit (white list feature eliminated my need for a mod wrapper) or because of the new save format, but since the update, server CPU usage is down by approximately 25% to 30%.

Not being able to get on the SMP server on the patch release day wasn’t so bad (in addition to server problems, Minecraft.net was having authentication issues….). Tuesday by coincidence, was also the release day for the Dragon Age II demo. Combat is much faster for better of for worse; It is much more engaging, but at the same time I have a sneeky feeling that a large portion of the tactical combat aspects have been compromised in favor of the new pacing. I loved having to pause DA:O in order to seriously think about my combat strategy and am hoping that DA II a similar level of difficulty.

Out of curiosity, was BioWare really going to deny us content if the demo didn’t reach 1 million downloads? Also, Dragon Age seems like a kind of odd game to release a demo for given that it is one of the most anticipated games of the year and also given that RPGs (or any long complex game for that matter) don’t demo that well in my opinion. I wonder how many more purchases they got out of it. But regardless, I am sure that I will have fun and am greatly looking forward to Dragon Age II. I have always been impressed by the writing and presentation that BioWare places on their games.

Oh, Shadowfang keep finally popped on my heroic daily. Yay achievement!

No Eggs, No Cake


I have a mild cake obsession; I can resist or just not care about a lot of things, but if free cake is offered I have to get a slice. Most people that I communicate with regularly have realized and this fact by now. To my personal delight, Cake was added into Minecraft beta 1.2. It seems to function a lot like Lightwell in World of Warcraft: It is a multiple hit healing item. You place it on the ground and it is good for 1.5 hearts x6. Most importantly though, it is a fucking cake and naturally, the first thing (well, maybe no the first) that I wanted to do once establishing myself on the new SMP server was to bake a cake.

Cooking one of these delicious treats requires: 3 buckets of milk, 2 sugar, 3 wheat and 1 egg. The milk isn’t a big deal, any one cow yields an unlimited supply; Neither is the sugar and wheat (yay indoor farming). Eggs however, I have no eggs and have not seen any all week. So thus began my egg quest. Sadly, it took a good portion of Sunday morning (and two cups of coffee) to gather all of one egg. After about an hour of wandering around the known world, searching the ground for eggs, it had occurred to me that trapping a chicken and waiting a couple of minutes was probably a more efficient gathering method.

However, one egg isn’t good enough. Nothing short of an elaborate egg farming mechanism was good enough for the sake of future cake baking. So that started the next project: An egg farm. The plan is to load the eggs into a switch operated dispenser that would shoot them into a glassed off pool. Chickens would pop out of some of those eggs and lay more eggs. The water currents within the glassed off area would carry the eggs to a safe gathering point. Today I learned two things about constructing dispensers. Both should have been obvious, but I haven’t delved into Minecraft in a while. If I recall correctly, pre-Beta was when I set the game aside to fixate on Cataclysm.

  1. You need to use a pickaxe to destroy a dispenser if you want any hope of reclaiming it. If you punch it, it is gone. The dispensers are a little bit finicky to place, it randomly turned the other direction twice. In the process of repositioning them, I had accidentally punched one to death. I had used my only bow to construct it was out of string. So I had to go wandering around in the middle of the night searching for spiders. When I accidentally destroyed the second dispenser, I rage spawned another bow on the server console.
  2. The dispensers don’t autofire by default; I thought they did. Press the button once and one item pops out. If you want the dispenser to function as a rapid fire turret, you need to connect a series of rapid pulsers. Ugly wiring.


This is a screenshot of us, enjoying floor cake together.

Here’s a nice map of the server thus far. Tertiary Base is coming along nicely, despite minor creeper setbacks. I’ll post about it once the library and tree farm are complete.

Keiya’s SMP Minecraft Server


My latest “project” has been a dedicated SMP Minecraft server. For the time being, the server is running off of a 512 Linode slice. If I recall correctly, general internet consensus pins the minimum memory requirement for a Minecraft server at around 1024MB; For two people however, 512MB should really be fine. In theory. My stupid map generator seems to increase my CPU usage by quite a bit, but nothing too bad. I will see how the server holds up. Not that it matters, seeing as how there’s probably only going to ever be two people online at a time max >_<. If I find a cheaper game server host I may switch service but I’ve been very happy with Linode and enjoy having full control over the server.

Oh, Mr. You Know Who (If you are reading this): I have a tertiary base not too far from Base Site Beta. It used to be fairly hidden, but should be fairly obvious now, with the outdoor reed farm, glass exterior and all. There are a couple of goodies inside of it as well. PS: Please don’t blow it up with a creeper. I did that already earlier because I was watching TV. The glass is a pain in the ass to redo.

Minecraft: Wanderlust (and Minecarts!)


I went on a Minecraft binge the other weekend and spent all Saturday morning searching for a dungeon spawner (or something interesting) because honestly, I haven’t really found anything noteworthy in the game for quite some time.  I was unable to find one through standard means so I started using the half-in sand/gravel x-ray vision cheat to scope out areas beneath me. No such luck. So then I generated two Cartograph maps: A normal render and a render displaying only mossy cobblestone (code 46 by the way). I overlayed the mossy image over the normal image in Photoshop and used that as a rough adventure map.

That map showed that there was a dungeon roughly between the island observation tower and the mountainside base. After searching for it for about an hour I gave up and resorted to running a standalone 3d visualizer to search for certain block types. It turns out that the dungeon was way deep and that I probably would never have found it unless I had dug a hole straight down to the baserock. I also found out that there was a dungeon literally 20 paces East of my spawn point. It was one block below the surface, go figure.

I played around with the portals more later that day. I wish that they were a bit more precise, I’ll explain: Portal A is located on the second floor of my base and leads to Point A within the Nexus. I had created another portal at Point B within the nexus, approximately 30 or so paces from Point A. Point B opens up to Portal B in the normal world. Every single top side portal that I have created leads to Point B, no matter how far out I am. I’ve tried destroying Portal B to see if that made a difference, but not so much. Portals C, D and E all link to Point B.

In the process of creating Portal C (or D), I had destroyed Portal B without bringing a compass. Instead of rebuilding and hopping back into the portal I wandered and got hopelessly lost, eventually burning down a large Forest and starting a small base in the middle of the destruction for the sake of mining enough obsidian to complete a portal that would lead me home (I didn’t want to die and lose my inventory). I turns out that the new base was located over a huge network of caves (seriously huge, I think I found Moria…). I mined enough iron to complete a lengthy cart track linking my spawn, the island tower and the mountain base. I want to link Portal C and the new base in the middle of burning forest but I ran out of iron. Here’s a video of it:

October: Games Played and Time Lost


Happy Halloween. By the way, most of my WoW gametime has been more or less pushed to the backburner until Cataclysm comes out. This is usually about the time that I take an extended pre-release WoW break anyways, but to be honest, there’s just not a whole lot to do at the moment. I guess I can PvP or run dungeons, but the two big things that I really wanted to complete before the expansion (Loremaster and Kingslayer) have been finished. Besides, it’s gaming season and all of the new shit is starting to come out. Come early December it’s not like I’m going to do anything else on my computer for X months other than play WoW.

I posted a series of Minecraft videos on YouTube. The original idea was to narrate them, something that I still might do. I was going to do a Keiya’s adventures sort of continuous story bit but, eh. The problem with that is Minecraft is one of those games that I am usually playing while either half-watching or half-doing something else. It’s relaxing (when not in dark areas at least lol) and I like it that way. These videos are ultra crap-ass but I had fun recording them and hope that at least at least one person enjoys them.

I haven’t had much of a chance to play the Minecraft update in depth, just in small spurts; Partially because I was busy this past weekend and partially because a new Sims 3 expansion (Late Night) pack came out. I caved in and bought it after work on Friday; Obsessively playing it for a good portion of the weekend, which means that it probably warrants a review post. It’s a fairly standard expansion pack for better or for worse. I’d say that it’s probably my favorite out of the three that have been released, but much of it seems half-assed compared to the corresponding Sims 2 expansion features. The implementation of apartments in particular are pretty lame.

Wow is it really November already? Hey, CoD and AC:B are coming out soon…

Minecraft: Brave New Worlds


Note: If anyone cares, there are forums on this site; Mostly for me to play around with, but guest posting is now enabled. If anyone has a question or concern about any topic I post about or any game that I play, I would be happy to respond.

I played around with the new talents and mechanics in the latest WoW patch last week. The verdict on the new retribution changes is still out in the open, but that is for another post. So in Minecraft World #1, Base Beta has a spiral staircase that winds all the way down to the bedrock layer, where there are a series of tunnel mines extended off in various directions. One of these tunnels goes on for quite a bit but surfaces up against the edge of a lake. Base Gamma was built a short distance away from that tunnel in a small valley surrounded by mountains and a neat waterfall flowing into a small lake.

There’s a small cave entrance off in the far corner of the lake. I explored it and unearthed a huge huge series of underground caverns (which was later connected to a tunnel dug from inside of Gamma ). In the process of exploring, I came across a section of the cave that just infinitely spawned mobs of every single type. Had I been wiser, I totally could have setup a bad ass mob farming trap. I mean, I sat there and whacked on them until I ran out of weapons and arrows and they still came.

Later on, I had explored the area in peaceful to see if there was a mob spawner nearby, but could not find any. What I did find was an even larger series of caves right above me in the same chunk. I am assuming that they were spawning in the darkness and falling down some hole in the ceiling. I didn’t realize that they could spawn in that quantity that fast. That cave was also nowhere near my origin chunk. I checked that too.

Anyway, being a dumbass, I kept dying in that same area, losing 2 diamond picks and a small stash of diamond ore in the process because I had not bothered dropping them off at Gamma. It was then and there that I had pretty much ragequit that game and started a new world with the intention of being more build centric. So Minecraft World #2 is what I have been up to lately. I made a video today detailing what I had built last week over the 3 day weekend (and some change. The dock, underwater tunnel and tower were built this week). It was supposed to be narrated, the YouTube annotations will have to suffice for the time being.

Also: Is there a better way or program to use to re-encode Fraps videos? Is there? Or at least, is there some way to get Fraps to encode differently so that 1 minute videos aren’t 500+ MB in size? Handbrake doesn’t seem to ffmpeg very well and would encode videos without errr the video part, so I had to decompress the file in virtual dub (couldn’t get the proper codec working in that program either, but didn’t really bother trying. It was late), then encode it in handbrake. Bah. Nevermind. The issue was fixed in Handbrake’s nightly builds.

So here’s a Cartograph render of my World #2 map (posted below this paragraph). The generated map was about twice the size of the cropped image that I uploaded. Out of everything rendered there were 43812115 blocks of stone, 390598 blocks of grass, 23159 gold ore, 9505 diamond or and a whopping 410 blocks of clay. CLAY. Why is it so damn hard to find clay? I can’t possibly build my brick empire with 410 blocks of clay. More exploring is necessary.