Difficult Minecraft Seeds – Extreme Survival!

Posted by admin on April 26th, 2015 filed in Games
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Starting in safe villages and fertile plains in Minecraft makes you yawn? Then you need these Extreme Survival seeds! From day one, they drop you into oceans, abandon you in deserts, lose you in jungles, or starve you in ice plains… o_O

Extreme Survival Challenges

These rare starting locations are challenging because you need to survive in vast, uniform, barren, unfriendly biomes: You can’t just „walk over to the plains“. You have to deal with limited resources, lack of food options, crops destroyed by freezing water, no animals (no wool for beds!), or rough terrain.

Playing these seeds in survival mode is relatively difficult. What I call “easy extreme survival” will be hard for Minecraft beginners — and a lot of fun for an advanced player. Role-play a survival story in a themed setting, or even extreme survival co-op with some buddies! Let’s hope you have experience making shelters and charcoal, fishing and farming, and creative uses of spider string…

Tip: Create the game in creative mode, place some mysterious signs, and hide treasure chests in the most hardcore location (e.g. on an ice spike). Hide signed books with life-saving spoilers and treasure maps in chests in interesting locations close to the starting point. Then switch to survival (or adventure mode) and start a multiplayer game.

Mission: Difficult Desert Survival

  • Your seed: -4369862195398617814
  • Your situation: Island. Desert. Cacti. *eye twitches* Six wheat seeds. Sandstone. No wood. *eye twitches* This is the evilest (scariest) start location I can imagine. :-D
  • Spoilers: There’s a collapsed surface dungeon near the start. Explore what’s east right across the little bay from the start location… Explore the tiny islands northwest, and southwest, of the start location. Also one of the treeless north-western islands has a mineshaft below. This is survivable! If you’re fed up with sand, explore the continent in the south-west.

Mission: Easy Mesa Survival

  • Your seed: 8370819764096523522
  • Your situation: You start on top of a mesa peninsula. A clay desert with no animals, surrounded by an ocean, but at least your mesa plateau comes with trees, grass, and water.
  • Spoilers: The swamp in the west connects the mesa to more civilised lands, and a friendly mooshroom island awaits the curious adventurer across the ocean to the east.

Mission: Medium Mesa Survival

  • Your seed: -6588534024171206345
  • Your situation: You start in the valley of a huge picturesque continental mesa. There is trees and grass, somewhere up there.
  • Spoilers: If this mesa gives you cabin fever, head 1km south east: You will have to cross a spiky bryce mesa inside the main mesa, until you come across a birch forest and finally plains. There’s a beautiful little farming village at a natural harbour, a ravine, and a hard-to-find stronghold.

Mission: Difficult Mesa Survival

  • Your seed: -846515491861754350
  • Your situation: You start in a huge picturesque continental mesa, at the edge of a river valley. There is some blades of grass and one tree. :-)
  • Spoilers: If you’re desperate for wood, climb the plateau south from the start location. In the long term, prepare yourself for a long trip north, across an in-mesa lake and through a beautiful bryce, to reach a swamp and extreme hills. Or prepare yourself for a long trip east, past another bryce, through deserts and savannas, for a chance to find two beautifully located desert temples, and small plains with a friendly village.

Mission: Medium Island Survival

  • Your seed: -2418605763386107003
  • Your situation: You start on a tiny island with grass, no trees, and a handful of pigs.
  • Spoilers: Swim north and east overall to find small islands with trees and plains. Further north-east you’ll eventually come across a life-saving Mooshroom island. Don’t forget your soup bowl.

Mission: Difficult Island Survival

  • Your seed: 1801079296083022203
  • Your situation: You start out drowning next to a tree-less desert island. Fish shoot you with lasers. Great. Just great. :-|
  • Spoilers: From the start point, first swim north to grab some trees. 1km east from there is a beautiful island with Mooshrooms, continued by a desert, and leading to a small forest with cozy plains. A survival fairytale!

Mission: Medium Jungle Survival

  • Your seed: -7672495913189343608
  • Your situation: You start out in the middle of a large mountainous jungle. The good news? There’s grass, cocoa, melons, animals, jungle temples, and an endless supply of wood. The bad news? Jungles are exhausting and confusing to navigate, and aggressive mobs survive in the shade during daytime.
  • Spoilers: Best direction for an easier life (i.e. plains) is south.

Mission: Medium Ice Taiga Survival

  • Your seed: -7737005355040326451
  • Your situation: You start on ice plains, between ice spikes and a cold taiga. High mountains, deep caves, frozen lakes, grass, trees, pumpkins, and a blade of sugarcane. Maybe you’ll meet a wolf, but I’m still hoping for chickens.
  • Spoilers: Best direction for more comfortable long-term survival (i.e. a cozy plains village with a farm and animals) is north-east.

Mission: Difficult Ice Plains Survival

  • Your seed: -7213637072292167171
  • Your situation: You start at an icy bay, with a few trees, grass, a blade of sugarcane, and mountains. After an arduous 1.5km track north through the snow, you encounter a cold taiga with a cold heart full of cold ice spikes.
  • Spoilers: Best direction for long-term survival (read: plains) is west, but that would be boring.

Tip: Not extreme enough? Create your extreme survival game with world types “Large Biomes” or “Amplified”! A “Large Biome” world is scaled wider, which means it’s unlikely that you will ever reach another biome on foot. An “Amplified” world is scaled taller, which means… um, well… look for yourself. :-D In contrast, in a “Default” world you always still have the option to just walk a bit if you need to import goods from neighbouring biomes to civilise the heck out of this place.

Intermediate Minecraft Seeds – Biome Exploration

Posted by admin on April 6th, 2015 filed in Games
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The first time I saw an ocelot, I wondered what was running away. The first time I saw a wolf, I wondered what was running towards me… The first time I saw a Mesa, I thought Minecraft was nuts. The first time I saw a mushroom island, I thought I was nuts…!

You can play minecraft for months, and still come across a rare biome or animal that you have never seen before. Just check out these „themed“ survival seeds where you get your chance at exploring rare biomes. Some of these biomes extend 500m to 1km in each direction, so bring some spare leather socks and hold on to your pumpkin helmet!

Extreme & Rare Biome Exploration

It’s not difficult to survive here, but uniform worlds inherently come with certain additional challenges. That’s why I would consider them intermediate, and wouldn’t recommend them for beginners. Use these seeds for themed multi-player adventures, or if you want to build a themed home in a specific setting.

Vacation package: Welcome to Your New Island-in-Mesa Home

  • Your seed: -7425002264200452688
  • Your situation: You start out right at a survival-friendly archipelago of tiny islands next to several low-lying underwater monuments. After you secured wood and wheat, look for the larger flatter island, which makes a good base (bring bones, I saw a wolf there!). When you are ready to cross the ocean and head for the mainland — you’ll notice that 80% of the surrounding shores are mesas!? Pretty crazy place.

Vacation package: Tame Wolves in a Continental Mega Taiga

  • Your seed: 117036858270340384
  • Your situation: You start out on top of one of the tallest trees in a taiga. Mountains, trees, sheep, cows, wolves, mushrooms, and mobs as far as the eye can reach. Brilliant seed if you enjoy taming wolves: Focus on collecting bones first, and don’t run around too far, so the wolves don’t despawn before you have enough bones.

Vacation package: Indiana Jones’ Jungle Adventure

  • Your seed: -2669895394793511890
  • Your situation: You start on a tree at the edge of a jungle peninsula near an inland sea. The jungle is tough to navigate, but rich in resources — wood, melons, cocoa, grass, trapped treasure temples, and a stronghold. Cross the ocean north east of the starting point to explore a large mesa, and swim east for a trippy mooshroom island. Choose this world if you enjoy the challenges of the jungle and exploring exotic landscapes by boat.

Vacation package: Landfall on Planet Bryce

  • Your seed: -8389145599236388234
  • Your situation: You start at the bottom of a huge bryce mesa, surrounded by weird colorful clay spikes. This world is unique, fascinating, and very alien. It’s not difficult to survive here (there are trees etc.), but the valleys are very steep, which makes moving around a challenge.

Easy Minecraft Survival Seeds – Villages

Posted by admin on April 4th, 2015 filed in Games
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These are some of my favorite Minecraft seeds, plus my suggestions for a survival challenge or mini-game. My categories (easy, intermediate, difficult) are roughly based on how hard it will be for a beginner to find resources/food, move around, and find shelter at the start location during the first few days.

Starting on lush plains with forests? Easy!
Starting at the bottom of a treeless valley? Difficult.
Starting on top of the highest tree, surrounded by wolves? … Intermediate. (No complaining! YOU HAVE A TREE!)

City Building Challenges

Minecraft villages provide you with food and shelter, but your mere presence attracts mobs. NPCs have no defenses against zombies and, as a result, the village you stay in could die out in a week. Can you reward the villagers’ hospitality and prevent that? Yes! Light up the place, build city walls, set up monster traps, build stables, and plow farmland.

You will notice that Villagers plant and harvest vegetables on any farmlands within villages. While you build more zombie-save housing, they tend crops. After a certain number of vegetables and houses (i.e. doors) are present in a village, villagers start multiplying. Simply increase the size and security of a village, and you can watch it grow and prosper.

City Building is a creative long-running mini-game, and also suitable for beginners who enjoy building.

Easy Village Mission: Horsing around in Horsington

  • Your seed: -1159117477290614370
  • Your situation: You start in a large horse traders’ village in the plains with a library and blacksmith.
  • Your Surroundings: Continental plains, caves, forests, and swamps full of resources (such as slimes to craft leashes) are close by. Deserts, savannas, and oceans are over 2km away.
  • Your challenge: If you enjoy breeding horses, look no further: These villagers have practically all colors of horses, plus donkeys! They need a bit of help with farming however. Grow the population, keep out zombies, and protect the horse stables from creepers. Then make the villagers work as farmhands for you, while you go for horseback rides.

Medium Village Mission: Unite Porkville

  • Your seed: 2747445053228389581
  • Your situation: You start on lush plains with three villages a stone’s throw from each other! Vegetables, library, church, blacksmith, lots of pigs and other farm animals are easily found.
  • Your surroundings: Plains surrounded by forests, mountains, taigas, and inland oceans. Swamps and deserts are rare and about 1km away.
  • Your challenge: It may be a bit time-intensive, but it will be rewarding: Set up defenses and build city walls and new houses between the three villages, until they merge, and grow one huge prosperous city! Bonus challenge: Attract a golem into your village.

Medium Village Mission: Fortify Sheepham

  • Your seed: 3906430579344617764
  • Your situation: You start in a prosperous village with fields, a church, library, and blacksmith, lots of sheep and all kinds of farm animals. The downside? The village stands on top of several shallow caves full of angry mobs. The Upside? At least there’s cool natural gravel stairways leading down to your doom.
  • Your surroundings: Nice variety of biomes within reach. Plains, forests, and ocean on one side; large deserts, savannas, and pretty mesas on the other. Swamps are rare and over 1km away.
  • Your challenge: Secure and grow the village. Build mob traps in the caves.

Difficult Village Mission: Cultivate the Desert Oasis

  • Your Seed: -7184741135147749929
  • Your situation: You start in a small farming village with flowers, pigs, sheep, acacias, and cacti, next to the coolest skyscraping mountain I have ever seen.
  • Your surroundings: Savanna, a few groves — and endless dessert. Forests, taigas, ocean, and swamps are all over 1km away.
  • Your challenge: With somewhat limited resources, can you turn this quaint village into a fortified, bustling Las Vegas?

Minecraft Island Survival

Posted by admin on March 28th, 2015 filed in Games
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You got the hang of surviving the first days in Minecraft, but you’re not ready to play hardcore yet? Then the next challenge is to survive being dropped into an… extreme biome!

What’s an extreme biome? I’d say anything that’s not a plain or a forest. Deserts come to mind — no wood, no farming, and sand collapses when you dig a shelter. One of my first random seeds started me off at the bottom of a barren valley, surrounded by steep hillsides. Stone, soil, no water, one tree, and nothing else. That’s a challenging startpoint for a beginner, and just survivable enough to not be frustrating. Grab the wood, run up the side of a climable hill, and look for a more habitable biome nearby.

Recently though, I landed on a island. Wow, island survival is tough… There are several challenges:

  • Travelling is more difficult — water slows you down, and islands can be very steep.
  • You cannot find lacking resources by simply “traveling a bit”.
  • Avoiding and fighting monsters is tougher if your mobility is limited by cliffs.

My first island was a steep cliff jutting out of the ocean. It had stone, lava, coal (yay!), a few trees (yay!), sand, a little soil, a bit of sugarcane — and two blades of grass. :(

Torches and a shelter were easy to get, and I replanted saplings and sugar cane, which worked well. But the grass didn’t give me any seeds, and I was close to starvation as soon as I fell off the cliff for the first time and got hurt. I made a simple sword and hoped to hunt down spiders for string to build a fishing rod, but I had no luck.

Then I spotted a flatter, tree-less grassier island on the horizon. With help of a cockleshell boat, I gathered a good handful of wheat seeds there. Here I made a mistake: I returned to the cliff island and planted the wheat there. The next morning, a skeleton had spawned in the water and didn’t burn in sunlight. I couldn’t climb down to the wheat farm without being riddled with arrows. I had no long-range weapon, no fishing rod, and was already wounded, so I died before the wheat was even ripe. I “rage-quit” and deleted the island, and didn’t keep the seed.

In retrospect, I should have set up camp on the flat grassy island, laid low, waited for the wheat to grow and restored my health, before returning to the harder-to-navigate cliff island.

I thought I was done with islands, but just today, I came across a really nice Minecraft island seed… Try -4993501936725104316.

You start with several small islands within swimming distance: Most are flat and some a bit hilly, none is steep. Sand, soil, grass, and trees are within reach, and one island even has a natural bay. Horses, cows, chicken, and pigs spawn on several of the islands, so even an intermediate-beginner has plenty chance of survival. And there seems to be a larger landmass towards the south…

Solar Eclipse 2015

Posted by admin on March 20th, 2015 filed in Hacks, Space
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Start of solar eclipes. Photo taken with iPhone through protective glasses. Yes. I kept the glasses from 1999 for just this purpose. You didn’t?

Projection attempt 1: Sun shining through a piece of aluminium foil with holes in it. What did I expect? X-) Wait for it…

Oooh, shiny! Tiny suns being projected through several holes in aluminium foil! *Squint* Proves that anything opaque with tiny holes in it can project a solar eclipse. No civilization or protective glasses necessary, it can be the gap between a stone age person’s fingers!

Towards the middle of the eclipse. Photo taken with iPhone through a tinted glass pane + detached camera lens that my colleagues had brought.

Projection attempt 2: Binoculars on paper. Now we’re talking!

Projection attempt 3: Best. Projection. Ever.

Projection attempt 4: “This is the worst plastic pocket telescope that I ever bought for 2 Euros! *turns it around* Ooops heheh.” Kidding, of course it works!

End of eclipse. Photo taken with iPhone through a tinted glass pane + detached camera lens again, but blurry because I failed holding it all together while pressing the button.

Minecraft? Can I Mod That?

Posted by admin on March 7th, 2015 filed in Games
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In Minecraft, you can “choose” among four types of armour: leather, gold, iron, and diamond (in order of quality). I expected that I would start with leather, and work my way up to a higher quality. Or that each type would have vastly different pros/cons. In reality, I use iron armour and tools almost exclusively.

Obviously, Minecraft character starts out owning neither leather, iron, gold, nor diamond, you have to mine and collect all materials. But I skipped the leather-armour “stage”, simply because I couldn’t find any cows. By the time I found a herd in a mountain biome, I had mined enough iron to prefer iron in 90% of situations. A long while later, I could afford a diamond tool here, or a piece of diamond armour there. Around the same time, I learned to improve my tools and armour with the help of books and libraries. And of course I apply costly enchantments only to high-durability diamond items, because I want to make the most of it, so no use for leather here either.

Similarly with tools. Gold tools mine a bit faster, and gold is cheaper to enchant, but gold is rarer and less durable. Sounds balanced, but practically, everyone enchants iron tools for everyday tasks, and sometimes diamond for special events (e.g. raiding underwater monuments, or mining obsidian). Virtually nobody uses wood or gold tools. That’s not a gameplay choice…

I would have preferred clear pros and cons, so I can play the game of choosing the best equipment for my task. Some examples of gameplay that would be more interesting:

  • “Using iron in rainy and watery biomes incurs a small malus, while using (rust-free) gold incurs a small bonus.”
  • “You receive a small bonus for wearing civilized clothing (i.e. leather) while crafting, farming, and herding, and a malus for wearing clumsy metal armour.”
  • “You must use a tool harder than the material you are mining. E.g. you cannot mine wood with bare hands, only sand and gravel, which drops flint to craft your first wood cutting tool, etc.” (*)

Let’s not go overboard with this either — players do not want to schlep 15 types of armour and tools, and change depending on weather or wind direction, obviously.

On the first game day, you have nothing and almost die because your three blades of wheat didn’t grow. And the next day, *bam*, you have a farm, and chests upon chests of loot. ;-) I’m exaggerating, of course. My point is, there is nothing to use your wealth on. I built a railroad trying to exhaust my iron, redstone, and gold reserves; I built a city with shops (bakery, carpenter, butcher, restaurant, market stalls, hardware store, tailor, etc) just for storing my loot; I build a friggin glass floor over a ravine. … Now what?

There is no exponentially cooler gameplay with these amassed goods, and hardly any new recipes. I don’t grow healthier if I eat more food; my traps don’t catch more monsters if I use more Redstone; my torches do not shine brighter because I have more coal and sticks; my fields do not need exponentially more fertilizer to remain fertile (actually, they need zero). Truth is, I have stopped harvesting altogether because I have more food than I need. At least armour and tools wear out and need to be replaced every few days.

In other words, in Minecraft, I am rich, but there is nothing to buy…

(*) The idea of enforcing a tool hierarchy is not mine, I got it from the MITE Mod (“Minecraft is too easy”). What I don’t like about MITE is, that mining is so time intensive that it becomes boring. Also there are so many monsters that it’s only survivable for fighter-types with good hand-eye-coordination. :-P But MITE is doing a lot of stuff right by forcing you to work your way up through all types of materials. In MITE it feels like progress just to be able to make flint-and-wood tools during the first (RL) day — while in Vanilla Minecraft, you skip the stone age during the first (RL) hour.

The Award For the Most Boring Quest Goes to…

Posted by admin on February 7th, 2015 filed in Games
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One of the first goals I set myself in Minecraft was: “Dye all the sheep!” … Not very useful, but quite amusing nonetheless:
dyed sheep in minecraft

Although you do gather xp (experience points) in Survival mode, Minecraft has no leveling system. You lose xp when you die, and you spend xp to improve tools and armour in higher levels — nice game mechanic.

Minecraft will also never tell you that you have “gained a new skill”. Your skills depend on the tools and armour you crafted, and their effectiveness depends on the quality of materials you mined. That’s why it’s called mine-craft. :-) You can discover recipes by trial and error on the workbench, or look up recipes on the wiki for inspiration.

By the way, there really aren’t any quests either… I use the word “quest” here in the following loosely meaning “goals that you set yourself”.

Beginner “Quests”

Mark your roads and underground passages (wooden signs and dyed wool come in handy), secure passages with torches, build visible landmarks (lighthouses etc) and shelters. Explore caves systematically, e.g. place all torches so they point the way out, and fence off unsecured passages.

Fight monsters and collect loot. Explore villages, ravines, witch huts, temples, dungeons, and abandoned mine shafts. The loot includes ores, books, uncraftable horse saddles, and rail tracks. Find villages and trade. Go fishing and fish up fun junk or even treasure. For the full Indiana Jones experience, craft maps, a clock, and a compass.
replant all the things

Replant everything: tree saplings, wheat seeds, vegetables, melons, mushrooms, cocoa… Use bone meal as fertilizer. Make sugary food out of sugarcane, but save some to craft paper which will become valuable for your enchantment library later.

Breeding farm animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, rabbits, chickens, is useful to obtain milk (antidote), eggs and meat (healing), leather (enchantment books), wool (decoration), and feathers (arrows). Lure animals with wheat or seeds, or pull them with a lasso made of a slime ball plus spider strings. Donkeys are useful for carrying chests. If you found a saddle, tame a horse to travel faster. If you have bones and rotten meat, tame a wolf to fight for you. If you found fish, tame an ocelot kittycat to annoy you.

Intermediate “Quests”

Craft decorations for your civilized abode: Armor stands, item frames, flower pots, dyed leather clothing, paintings, carpets, dyed wool banners, fences, cobblestone walls, furniture.. Turn sand into glass windows to check for monsters without being noticed. Glass bottles become useful later when you start brewing potions.

Collect redstone dust and build traps and fun mechanisms: There are buttons, doors, levers, pistons, pressure plates, trap doors, dispensers, minecarts and rails… Go wild!
temple exploration - it's a trap!

After you have a solid amount of diamonds, iron, and xp, create an anvil to repair equipment, and transfer enchantments from damaged equipment or from books. Don’t overdo the enchantments though, they greatly increase repair costs.

Advanced “Quests”

“Go to school”… According to in-game lore, books teach you how to be more powerful and resistant. Create obsidian where a waterfall meets stagnant lava, and craft diamond tools to mine it. Craft an obsidian table, build a library around it, and enchant your armour and tools.

“Go to hell”… Create portals out of obsidian and travel to the Nether, where you gather alchemistic ingredients. Back in the overworld, craft a brewery and put formerly useless loot (such as spider eyes, glowstone dust, blaze powder, rabbit foot, puffer fish, and ghast tears) to a good use by brewing alchemistic potions.

I found atlantis and the fish are shooting lasers
“Go to Atlantis”… Prepare water breathing potions, dive into an underwater temple, and fight big fish to collect small fish. Loot the temple for gold, prismarine, and sponges. … Seriously? This sounds like the most boring quest ever. I hope Mojang add some more gameplay options here.

“Go to heaven”… Find a stronghold with a portal to the End. Walk on a floating stone cloud and defeat the end boss. Or don’t, because this sandbox game doesn’t really care if you do. ;-)

Minecraft For Beginners and Beginners-to-be

Posted by admin on January 2nd, 2015 filed in Games
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minecraft first day

Looking back on my first weeks playing Minecraft, I noticed that every game starts the same. In the first 3-4 game days, I always…

  1. Mine wood –> craft a workbench –> craft wood tools;
  2. Mine stone and coal –> craft stone tools and furnace;
  3. Mine iron –> craft iron tools.

The UI in the character’s inventory lets me craft only primitive things: torches, planks, sticks, but most importantly, a workbench. A workbench lets me craft civilized things: leather clothing, wood and stone tools, bread, pots, doors, ladders, fences, leashes, chests, and a furnace. I can use the furnace to prepare more nutricious meals (cook meat), and to cast metal ore into workable ingots. With ingots, the workbench can now craft metal tools, armour, and buckets.

Later in the game, you will craft complex artefacts such as minecarts on powered rails, enchanting tables in libraries, anvils and golems, and you even brew magic potions.

You feel the progression from cave man to stone age man to iron age, and beyond. :)

First-Day Survival – the Basics

Your day-one goal is to set up camp and survive. You don’t have the weapons to win a fight on your first day, so avoid monsters alltogether. Especially, don’t stand around attracting creepers! Also beware falling off cliffs and deep dives that hurt you.

Where ever the game drops you:

  1. Locate trees (for wood and tools), dirt and seeds (for setting up camp and farming).
  2. Craft a wooden workbench to craft tools: hoe, pick-axe, axe, sword, in that order.
  3. Mine coal and craft torches.
  4. Collect produce, or hunt animals for meat.
  5. Mine cobblestone and craft a furnace to prepare food and iron ingots.

You don’t have any food supply on your first day, so you can’t heal yourself yet. For now, hide in a dirt hole in the ground over night, until the sun rises.

Don’t Starve

Food restores (hunger and) health, but not all food sources are available in every biome. Always gather food while roaming, especially on your first day!

  1. Punch grass and collect seeds. Craft a hoe to plant seeds on soil near water. You’ll need to wait ~2 days for wheat to turn from green to brown. Then make bread on your workbench. Tip: Bonemeal speeds up plant growth, but you’ll have to rip the bone out of a dead skeleton’s cold hands. Literally.
  2. Collect carrots, “oak apples”, potatoes, and melons. They’re good to eat raw right after harvesting, but harder to find than seeds. Tip: Similarly, you’ll likely rip your first vegetables out of a thiefy Zombie’s dead hands…
  3. Punch chicken / sheep / pigs / cows to get raw meat (keep wool and leather too). Don’t waste energy chasing rabbits, bats, or horses on your first day. In emergencies, you can eat meat raw. For better nutrition, cook meat in a furnace.
  4. If you have two pieces of string (from a spiders web, looted chest, or by defeating a spider) and sticks, make a fishing rod. You can fish in any puddle.
  5. With lower priority, collect pumpkins, eggs, sugarcane. You will need a furnace and other ingredients before you can consume them at all.

discovering an NPC-made village in minecraft

Make the Most of Villages

Be aware of these resources at your disposal:

  1. If you see an NPC village, or a chest, by all means, steal some torches, vegetables, wood planks, tools, if it helps you survive.
  2. If the village is uninhabited, or monsters are on your tail, lock yourself into a torch-lit hut over night.
  3. If the village is inhabited, consider that your presence will attract monsters that kill the villager NPCs. So if you intend to trade, better set up camp outside the village.
  4. NPC villages often have farms, furnaces, or workbenches for you!

Okay, I Caved in to Getting Minecraft

Posted by admin on December 29th, 2014 filed in Games
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I resisted buying Minecraft for several years. I knew I would “waste” a lot of time playing it… It’s exactly the game that I would have wanted to write, “plus better”. X-) But with the upcoming holidays I finally caved in.

If you haven’t played it yet, Minecraft is a sandbox game that generates a Voxel planet as setting for your own story and creations.

You can play your Minecraft world in different ways:

  • In a “creative” world, you can reshape the ground and build palaces and cities out of Lego-like bricks. You have unlimited building resources (stone, glass, metal, wood, etc), you cannot die or starve, you can fly, and no monsters attack.
  • A “survival” world plays like a first-person shooter: You can die and respawn, you craft and build with limited resources that you mine (or loot), tools and armour can break and must be repaired, you must hunt and gather food to restore your health, you cannot fly, monsters attack you, and you (optionally) can beat an end boss.
  • I’ve never played “adventure” mode (press t and then type /gamemode 2?), but I know you can play user-created maps. Adventure maps are filled with dungeons and puzzles and traps for other players to explore, but mining and building are restricted.
  • Plus, you can switch each between single-player or multi-player (LAN or internet).

Overall, very well designed game features.

Sandbox games have no preset goal or winning condidtion. So what goals can you set yourself, for example?

  • You are a hero who was sent to rid this land of the Endermen and their dragon. Your main goal is to find the End portal, and you only gather resources that prepare you for this epic battle. You generously fortify an NPC village in exchange for an opportunity to trade, and you visit the Nether for potion ingredients. You don’t care about beautiful palaces and cute baby bunnies.
  • You strive to become the most efficient farmer and rancher. You develop automatic crops harvesting, and optimized animal breeding farms and slaughter houses. You’re so savvy, you even trick villager NPCs into working as farm hands.
  • You design impressive monster traps and redstone mechanisms, you create smart railroad systems with switches and unloading stations, and build fortresses with secret doors and hidden chests.
  • You lay out vast cities and streets, design beautiful palaces and gardens, and build golems that people will talk about in ages to come! No zombie will ever get one of your villagers.
  • You’re a nomad, you travel light, with difficulty set to hardcore. The supplies in your pocket are all you need to explore the world. You never stay in the same place twice, you don’t have a bed, and never use chests. Why would you make a boring farm if you can hunt?
  • You are a colonization pioneer who sets up monster-free housing, food supplies, and infrastructure in preparation for “colonists who will arrive later”. You’re pragmatic and value function over design. You leave the Endermen and Ender dragon alone, but you might repurpose Nethergates and secured Nether tunnels as travel shortcuts.

And the Bead Goes On

Posted by admin on September 6th, 2014 filed in Steampunk
Comments Off on And the Bead Goes On

I keep seeing Steampunk-inspired tchotchkes everywhere, is this a new thing, or have I just never noticed them before? Turns out, there are whole stores filled with “charms” that are waiting for YOU to turn them into happy pretty lucky bracelets!!! Or something?

Since they were on sale (I wonder why) ;-) I picked up a handful of Steampunk-related “beads”: Various keys and clocks, and some gear-shaped rings.


I’m a bad Steampunk anyway, I’m beginning to feel a tad commercial. Didn’t I vow to buy real metal stuff at the fleamarket and antique stores? Well, the catch with real keys (and clocks and gauges etc) was that a) they were too large and heavy, b) they were rusty, and c) many looked too modern. Whereas these trinkets are small, lightweight, and have a faint “Victorian treasure chest” vibe to them.

Why is there a dinosaur, and the bug, you ask? Obviously, the dinosaur refers to Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. And the bug, I herewith declare a dragonfly — the second most steampunk animal after the octopus! … … No, honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing either… ;-)


  • Metallanhänger Steampunk (I don’t have these particular ones, but it’s the same brand. The ones that I got were last year’s “out of fashion” left-overs.)