Minecraft: Agrarian Skies – Blood Wood Trees, Water-Like Stuff of Many Colors and Cats (#UpGoerFive)

It has come to my attention that I might be using too hard words for someone not playing the same game as me.

If someone can explain “how to go to space” like we’re 5, or ask “what are you all playing” with simple words, I am sure I can do the same.

So this next part will use pictures and easy words.


First of all, here is my baby cat being a cat. Of all the places to stand, the bed is always the first pick.


Push it off the bed, and you guessed it, it will sit on somewhere else and block that. I can’t open the chest now. *sigh*

I had a way too exciting time the other day.

It starts with me thinking that it would be a good idea to get around to growing the tree that grows the other way around – a blood wood tree.

Breaking its leaves gives tiny pieces of a red-colored rock, which can carry power, and which I need to make more things that run by themselves.


So I climbed up to a tall place, which just happened to be outside, near the rest of my growing trees and placed the baby tree.

I made it grow fast with fine pieces of the hard things that are inside a person’s body.

Then I stared and could not believe my eyes. (Totally forgetting to take a picture at this point.)

The tree was huge. The middle part was 2 by 2 blocks. It had grown probably 30 blocks straight down, right THROUGH rock and wood and god knows what else.


This is me, nervous, carefully looking down at the tree, when I finally came back to my senses. Boy, it sure is dark down there.

On the bright side, this was maybe not a bad way to move down from the ground floor, so to speak, and get to build lower than usual. (Building stairs going up are easy. Stairs going down when you can fall into nothing and die are a lot harder to manage.)

Being really scared of falling and losing everything, I took care to put all my stuff in a chest first and only brought not important stuff with me. Like lots of rocks. To build with.


Then I tied some sticks together and went down down down ever so carefully, onto the blood wood leaves.


Under the world as we know it…

This sight is both amazing and makes me want to wet my pants.

Tearing my eyes away, I began placing rock after rock, building from the leaves out to form the beginning of a floor.


It turned out that this ended up quite near the back area where my animals were, so I made some rock stairs up to lead to it too.

(Also, always having to climb straight up and down some easily broken sticks scares me to death. Give me normal stairs any time of day.)

Now more or less safe, I started the slow work of carefully knocking to pieces the big old tree.


In a way, this part almost felt like the normal game, where you always go under the ground and meet “fun” in dark places. It had that step-by-step feeling of being in a strange world and looking carefully around each corner, watching where you walked.


Man, this could be any other world, in any old mine under the ground.

I also kept telling myself I couldn’t keep doing this and had to eventually make something that could deal with this for me.


Seriously dark at night. Almost done with the tree at last.

Of course, I didn’t learn from just doing it once. I just HAD to try it again. In the same place, which I already had the feeling wasn’t the best of places to decide to grow it.

This time, chance wasn’t with me.

It only grew 20 blocks down, and went wide, knocking out a big part of the wood floor where other trees were growing, and just missing the places I kept water.


It also took out one of the blocks that was holding very hot rock, which, thank god, didn’t come out and burn everything.

I was still not pleased since that piece took quite a bit of time and trouble to make. And there’s that whole breaking of already-built things that I have to come back later and fix? No, just no. That’s just wrong.

Well, that’s definitely the last time I’m growing this here.


Me. The second tree. Staring. Sick of working. Cleaning up everything that went wrong. Much sad.

Long story short, there was a lot of rock floor building. And taking breaks. And more rock floor building.

At some point, I made a box that could make 16 blocks of rock floor at a time. But it was still hard to place and turn on and then move it to the next bit and so on.

Then I broke it by trying to make it better. Instead of holding 64 pieces of rock and growing them out 16 at a time, the new box could hold 1 piece of any block in 16 different places, which meant WAY too much time putting rock in the box.

I didn’t have enough red-colored rock to make another. (I mean, that was WHY I started this whole stupid blood wood tree business to begin with. Mood: Annoyed.)

Back went the box into the chests in the house. Back I went to building by hand.

Eventually, I had a rock floor just a few blocks lower than the wood floor where my normal trees were growing. This was going to be the next place I would try growing the crazy blood wood tree. Far out and away into the nothing, where nothing important could be broken.


Looks better. Sort of.

Still not pretty. But hey, if it works, it works. Pretty can come later.


This is one of my new favorite things.

The grey box, given power, can cut down an entire tree on its own.

The lit thing under it gives it power through hot water, so hot that it turns into the air-like state.

Which means it, in turn, needs something to burn and water.

The water is already in place from the other grey box in the back, joined to the lit thing.

When I want it to work, I come down and bring stuff to burn and place it in by hand.

Power rushes through everything, I grow the baby tree and the grey box gets to cutting. Fast. Very very fast.

So fast I can’t take a picture of it, I can only show you the remains of the tree getting smaller and smaller down there.


You can even ask the box to keep or break the leaves.


Oh yeah, give me more of that red stuff.

In other news, I finally finished making the job of getting water-like stuff of different colors into a hard block form less annoying.


We begin with many pieces of rock of different colors.

They start as big pieces, and need to be broken into small pieces, and then finally, into even tinier pieces.

(You could just go without and throw the big pieces into the fire, but you get less stuff in the end. Me, I like more stuff.)

After each part, they have to be put back together into blocks, to be broken again. Usually, this is done by hand, 4 pieces at a time.


This little box can do it for you, given power, which yet again is being given to it from behind.


Things to be put together are placed in the chest on the left.


Out they come, from the chest on the right.

The cat in the back has no part to play. Except thinking they’re helping and getting in the way. Like all cats.


The colored blocks are brought to my other favorite thing in the whole world.


This simple yet beautiful group of boxes.

One places all the colored blocks into the chest up high. They fall into the blue box at the back.

This blue box in the back does the work of placing a colored block on the ground.

The other blue box in front has the job of breaking it into pieces.


I even gave it added power with a very strong breaking thing.

The small black box sucks in all the broken pieces and puts it in the final chest in front for me to pick up.

Repeat a couple times until we get this:


The final colored block form.

These are then brought over to the tall brown building that makes them all water-like with a very hot fire, as mentioned earlier.


Note the new glass building next to it.

All the colored water-like stuff runs into it and fills it up.


Like so.


One can read how much of each colored water-like stuff is inside from the block on the left here.


It took quite a bit of doing and trying different things, but I finally decided the least problems happened with each colored water-like stuff having its own form-making black box.

It’s all been set up so that each color runs in by themselves.

Once the form-making black boxes fill up, they cool down into a hard block form.

This then falls out the bottom and runs along the light blue lines until they wind up in the chest on the right.

Any remaining water-like stuff can be sent by hand into the glass boxes at the very bottom. These can be used again later when enough has been stored up.

The one added glass box, third from the right, is my attempt at handling water-like glass. That part handles two colors instead of just one.

There is the problem of the two colors sometimes backing up and not being able to fill the black form-making box right, so I needed somewhere for the other color to go first, just in case.

Truth is, it’s yet to be tried out to a serious breaking point. Worse case situation, I make another black form-making box for it down the road.


At the end of the whole thing, is so very many pretty colored hard blocks.

Final mood: Happy.

(As for the cats and what they’re up to, that’s for them to know and the rest of us are left to only guess.)

Minecraft: Agrarian Skies – The Fires of Industry

Oh my.

The major thing you need to know about me is that I tend to break the scales as a Bartle-style Explorer.

When confronted with a system I don’t understand, my reaction tends to be “YES, something to DO!” “Holy shit, this is so intricate and deep!” and “Time to knuckle down and figure it out and beat it into submission, reducing it into smaller and smaller principles until slow old me (and thus, anyone else) can understand it… or until it breaks and is proven to be lousy design.”

I don’t mind if it takes me longer to understand than others, or even most people.

I’m a very slow, steady and helluva persistent type of learner.

I’m not the sort to just copy a guide or walkthrough to satisfy a need and then forget about it until the next time I need something. No, I’ll copy the guide or walkthrough, but I’ll be doing my best to figure out exactly WHY that person did it that way – why it worked, while this or that didn’t.

The Agrarian Skies modpack for Minecraft feels like A Tale in the Desert, on steroids, mixed with a side helping of The Incredible Machine (not quite, but I use the example because I think more people recognize it) or more specfically, a very old game that came out in the 1980s – Rocky’s Boots (which somehow successfully taught circuits and AND, OR, NOT gates to kids by absolutely masquerading as a fun game, and it was.)


Each step of progress just opens out a dizzyingly insane universe of possibilities and MORE THINGS TO DO, MORE FUTURE PROJECTS, OMG WHERE DID THE TIME GO.

The utter coolness is that you can progress through it at a pace that is comfortable to you, especially when playing singleplayer where you don’t have to compete with anyone else, or be influenced by them (until you yourself -choose- to research online and watch videos and stuff.)


As you can see, I caved in and put a JABBA barrel (from the “Just Another Better Barrel Attempt” mod) in place of the simple vanilla Minecraft chest on my automatic cobblestone generator.

This barrel basically stores only one item, but up to 64 stacks of it (or 4096 potential cobblestone blocks.)

It can also be upgraded with structural upgrades to hold even more, if you really needed it.

At the moment, I’m quite happy with a stock of 1000-1300 readily accessible cobblestone.

The downside to this barrel, as I found out, when the Terrain Smasher block – the main workhorse of the generator – got stuck and had to be pickaxed and replaced to kickstart it back into action. I pickaxed the barrel unthinkingly to get at the Terrain Smasher and STACKS of cobblestone exploded out as the barrel popped out from the ground.

There was framerate stopping lag for a couple of tens of seconds as my ailing computer shrieked at trying to handle the inventory issues, calculating how many stacks of cobblestone could be attracted to me, how many fell into the water and floated downstream, plus how many fell into the lava and got burned up. (I really don’t want to know. I’m just thankful the barrel escaped unscathed.)

The chests in my house had to be temporarily co-opted into taking on stacks of cobblestone – and the lag was such that they were almost refusing to open for a time.

So yeah, I wouldn’t break any more barrels without offloading them first, if you can help it.


Speaking of the chests in my house, I made a desultory attempt to sort them out a little more.

Unfortunately, Agrarian Skies lacks the pretty lockers that I was using in Hexxit (which is more of a ‘fantasy realism’ sort of modpack) so it’s been chests all the way.

This particular modpack enforces a sort of ‘chest progression’ with the Iron Chests modpack. Larger capacity chests have to be upgraded with expensive metals (silver, gold, etc.) and diamonds and stuff.

Makes a certain amount of sense for the feeling of progression and achievement but is kinda horrible aesthetics-wise.

The house is really getting too small to handle the clutter. May need a new base of operations at some future point.

(I -hear- that there is a super-sophisticated futuristic storage option in the Applied Energistics modpack – which is sort of a matter/energy network that can pretty much send/transfer items on demand. I’m sure it’ll be awesome when I get to it, but when I peeked at it, it required Redstone Flux power and a whole lot of other things that I don’t think I have the mental capacity to deal with learning just yet.

So yeah, chests. They’ll still open even in a virtual power blackout.)

The coolest new thing is the Vacuum Hopper, which I finally was able to build when a chance Enderman spawned in the night, on the outer edges of territory I was expanding and failed to keep well lit.

I went after it with an axe, screaming “I want your Ender Pearl. DROP me my Ender Pearl!”

(Oh, another cool thing about this modpack is that a well-used Iguana Tweaks-leveled up Tinkerer’s Construct tool can do a fairly awesome amount of damage, so there’s no big need for any other weapon on normal mobs.)

It kindly did.

My Sieving chain is now pretty much complete (with the exception of ludicrous amounts of automation to feed stuff in automatically and get it all chained up, of course.)

I just load up my Autonomous Activators with whatever I want Sieved into metal ores and so on, and the Vacuum Hopper sucks it all in and feeds it into the large capacity Silver Chest.

I spent a while trying to figure out if it could send stuff into the two vanilla chests I was using to store Sieved products, experimenting with Itemducts, and while it did, it messed up the very particular and rather OCD arrangement I’d gotten my metal ores manually sorted into.

That was unacceptable. *nervous eye twitch*

So I settled for letting it auto-sort how it wanted into another chest, and I could come back later and cheerfully hum and manually sort things all Bhagpuss-like into the ‘proper’ arrangement JUST SO and everybody’s happy.


The next Ender Pearl went into a Vacuum Hopper for the mob grinder.


Now no drop is wasted, even when I’m not there, but merely watching mobs fall down the glass chute from a distance, cackling away to myself.

The sharp-eyed may have noticed the extra head on the pillar.

Lesson learned: When playing around with the extended map and waypoint system (accessed by pressing “M” and “B”) and seeing a “Teleport To” button and thinking to use that to get out of a hole that one got accidentally stuck in (Microblocks and fences can act a bit funny)…

…It was probably not a good idea to use the only existing waypoint called “Last Death.”

Especially since it teleports you to the EXACT coordinates of the death – aka directly on top of 5 damaging Punji Spikes, in a glass chute specifically engineered for 2 block tall mobs and people to have -nowhere- to run.

Cheaters never prosper.

At least the vacuum hopper sucked up all my items for easy retrieval.

And I learned that the vacuum hopper can also suck up XP. Hence the new tank of green Liquid XP fluid which I have no real clue how to use just yet, but I’m sure it’ll be useful down the road…

As for Tanks, there was a learning process to them too.


Seared Tanks from Tinkerer’s Construct are generally what one encounters first, as part of the Smeltery, but those can only hold 4 buckets (or 4000 mB) worth of fluid.

In the main quest book, the first step of the Fluids section is to construct three different tanks from three different mods and experiment with them to see which suits your purposes.


The Fluid Tank from Mariculture holds 16 buckets of fluid.

This is certainly an improvement over Seared Tanks. It uses copper ingots, planks and glass to construct – not too terribly expensive.


The Portable Tank from Thermal Expansion seemed promising at first.

When you scan it in the NEI, you can see that it actually comes in 4 versions, with increasing progression and cost.


It starts out at 8 buckets capacity, goes up to 16, 32 and tops off at a whopping 64 buckets.


Despite its name, it, however, does not save the fluid when the block is pickaxed and moved elsewhere manually.

I guess ‘portable’ in this case merely means ‘compact.’

Being that I’m still using a lot of manual processes, moving tanks from machine to machine by myself, instead of dealing with tubes and pipes (or Fluiducts and Itemducts) all over the place, this was not currently ideal.


The winner, for my personal tastes anyway, was OpenBlock’s Tank. (Here seen collecting milk from Mariculture’s Tank, via a Seared Faucet.)

This simplistic beauty looks great, being an essentially clear glass block containing colored fluid. It saves the amount and type of fluid that goes into it, even when pickaxed and physically moved to wherever.

One block of it holds 16 buckets.

It also cheerfully -expands- its capacity into a multiblock tank, by sheer virtue of placing other Tank blocks beside it, or stacking them together. A full 16,000 mB block will divide its capacity into 8,000 mB by placing an empty tank next to it.

It’s quite awesome to see the fluid flow, though of course, one has to be careful when arranging these tanks next to each other. Full tanks of different liquids won’t mix, but an empty one will.

It uses 4 obsidian blocks and 5 glass panes to make 2 Tanks, which isn’t terrible either.


You see, apparently you can make stone barrels, not just wood ones.

And stone barrels can hold lava.

And if you dump water on top of them, voila, obsidian!

AND they cheerfully pop right out with one right-click, rather than having to mine endlessly at a solidified block with a pickaxe.

Obsidian brick-making, who’d have thunk? For me, it’s just as addictive as brick-making was in ATITD.

(The Portable Tank above has been relegated to a simple non-moving water-storage device for me to bucket water out of and place it back in again.)


The lava, meanwhile, comes from the nearby crucibles.

Which have been upgraded to being powered by Netherrack fires.

Ever since reading the very helpful Agrarian Skies Reddit thread, one has learned that the ever helpful lava-filled Stone Barrels can produce Netherrack by right-clicking redstone on them, or even Ender Stone, by right-clicking glowstone on them.

I’m getting tired of manually loading in cobblestone, so I might figure out a way to automatically load in cobblestone soon. (Taken to an extreme, of course one can also pump the lava directly out into the stone barrels and then automate the whole process too. But that might be more trouble than it’s worth, for small amounts of obsidian.)

After all, I did do something similar already:


Behold, the Pulverizer Mark 2000.

The Igneous Extruder block seemed like too much of a pain to construct, so I went for the Terrain Smasher on vanilla cobblestone generator idea.

I glass-encased it, because…purty, you know?

The Terrain Smasher breaks up the cobblestone, and outputs it directly on top of a Crucible.

The Crucible melts the cobblestone into lava.

The lava is pumped out of the Crucible via a Fluiduct, and sent into the Magmatic Dynamo.

Which produces Redstone Flux energy from the lava, which powers the Pulverizer.

This can now be left running and self-powered for all time – though of course, I can’t resist installing shutdown levers… just in case.


Sometimes, figuring out machinery has its quirks.

I wanted an automatic dirt composter to run while I was busy collecting leaves and chopping wood and growing trees from bonemeal.

It was a bit of a struggle with the whole circuit of Chests, Itemducts, and banging on them with a Crescent Hammer to get them to flow appropriately and still remained powered.

Trying to get a more compact configuration to curve around corners ended up a struggle with levers and redstone and pneumatic servos trying to get the Itemducts powered on and functional, so I gave up eventually and went for a straight circuit.


Another odd quirk of barrels that froze me in my tracks for a while, researching other people’s videos, was the discovery that barrels will not offload their cargo from the side.

They -must-  come out through the bottom.

I’ve not tested it yet, but I’m going to assume that the same is true of the input and that they must be loaded in from the top…

This does, of course, have aesthetic implications.

Honestly, I like my humble composting shed more. But I can walk away and let this run while I do other things, so yeah.


Said other things being growing a tree in an empty swimming pool.

Ok, ok, the original intention was to expand out my humble fishing pond into something a little more respectably pond-sized.

But I had to have sufficient birch wood planks to construct the sides, and the simplest way to do it was to directly obtain the birch wood there and then.

It turned out a rather comfortable way to manually mass grow trees and harvest leaves, since it was a safe cozy room that I could jump to my heart’s content and not worry about falling over the side, and everything was well lit, so no mobs (beyond those plunging to their doom in the glass shaft in the distance.)

I gotta make me another one of these rooms just for tree-growing, I think.

Some day.


I eventually stopped tree-growing and filled it in with water.

The trick, as I learned via lots of Google research, is to put a layer of dirt just one block below the water layer, and fill only a one block surface until all the water is still, aka, become source blocks of water.

Then dig down and remove the dirt, and the water will flow down to fill the remaining layers, while not creating any currents.

Fishing is a bit easier now, though experiments with the Fishery part of the Mariculture mod will still be a while.

Some attempted in-roads into that revealed some clunky design and weird logic/naming conventions (eg. if you stand out of the water and fish, you get fish with male and female traits, that are used for breeding. However, these are ‘dead’ and yet cannot be eaten?

If you stand and fish -in- water, either completely submerged – using snorkels and scuba gear or whatever – or as I figured out later, standing in just one block of water with head above water and feet in water, you get ‘raw’ fish. These ‘raw fish’ are used to construct other more complex mariculture equipment like fish feeders and automatic feeders, and can be eaten straight out of hand.


Doesn’t it make more sense to have breeding type of fish be ‘live’ and fished from within the water? And then the dead and raw fish ought to be fished from outside of the water, and ought to be possible to be eaten raw, or cooked and eaten – currently it’s not possible to cook Mariculture fish – and used to construct the complex mariculture equipment?)

Even the creator of the mod admits it’s due for a bit of a revamp.

In its current state, it still has some promise and potential, but I’ll have to chase down a whole separate path of Mariculture-only equipment to do it. And that’s not something front and center on the agenda when I can work with other mods that interrelate with each other more.

Bees, apparently, do everything that fishes can, and better. So they say. Not that I’ve had time to go down that crazy-making path either.


You know what’s really crazy-making?

The front of my house, where Pam’s HarvestCraft mod has taken over and run rampant.

I -meant- to create a big square of dirt, that I could turn into a tidy organized farm.

However, since composting takes so long and I was distracted doing other things, the square courtyard had been left only half-filled with dirt.

I’d installed a sprinkler system to water the couple of crops from seeds collected from the tall grass around the previous farm…

Turns out I’d chosen to place this dirt square on the bulk of a Forest biome (with only one small corner of it Plains).

Presumably between that, and the Sprinkler watering everything, there’s Tall Grass -everywhere-.

And in Pam’s HarvestCraft mod, where there’s Tall Grass, there’s wild crops of every imaginable variety, wild saplings that will grow into fruit trees by themselves, and when you clear Tall Grass, you get seeds of the crops of every imaginable variety.

Every time I get a seed, in order not to worry about storing it in my ever flowing chests, I just hoe a patch in the dirt and plunk it in…

…now I’ve got an unorganized humongous square of the most diverse crops ever (hooray for no crop rotation needed, eh?), fruit trees every which direction, and STILL no end of Tall Grass.

I am more or less resigned to treating this place following the in-game lore/premise as the first ever reclaimed part of the natural world.

From this central location of odd factories, the new mortal creator will spring forth and generate a new world, complete with hand-crafted rivers, forests and mountains… like Slartibartfast’s glaciers, and this small patch of wild is only the beginning…

It really feels like Noah’s Ark in here, but for plants. I’m collecting one of every possible type of flora to re-populate the world or something.

It does, however, mean I need yet another courtyard for more organized crop planting/harvesting, possibly automated, and yet another courtyard for more organized fruit trees, with possibly automated fruit pickers.

(And if I want to play with bees, I think room for apiaries and bees to interact with other Forestry trees need to be made somewhere around here too.)

Le sigh.


Still in progress is the High Oven ore-processing chain.

Well, the High Oven is done, and it’s a beauty.

From Tinkerer’s Steelworks, this is an upgrade of the Smeltery and very reminiscent of the great variety of Furnaces (Blast, Hades, etc. all with unique operating parameters) one can find in a Tale in the Desert.

It’s a multiblock structure, built tall for higher temperatures and higher capacity, and requires Charcoal Blocks to get it up to super-operating temperatures in a fast amount of time. Feeding in normal Charcoal is like trickling in the power and will take you forever and will probably not even get you to the temperature desired.


This thing is a monster of high octane large capacity production.

It converts ore into 3 ingots, where the Smeltery only converts it into 2 ingots worth, and the vanilla Minecraft furnace only produces one.

It takes so long to heat and cool down though, that you probably don’t want to just do one ore type at a time…


I was running out of things to throw into it at the end. Even sand went in for molten glass. Note the many different colors of fluids all stacked on top of each other.

The high oven doesn’t produce alloys, so one is safe, and the Smeltery still has a use.


OMFG. Where am I going to PUT all this stuff?

There’s plenty of potential for automating the whole process, of course. Something I neglected to do because I like building things piecemeal and figuring them out that way.

The immediate problem, naturally, is figuring out how and where to funnel all these molten fluids into holding tanks, and from there, funnel them into casting basins for metal blocks, or casting tables for ingots. Preferably at speeds and quantity faster than one at a time.

This is going to take some thinking…

There is also a Deep Tank as a companion multiblock structure to the High Oven, which I also need to get around to building since it’s some Agrarian Skies quest or other.

The Deep Tank apparently can store all these fluids from the High Oven, with the potential of a larger structure to have more surface area for drains and fluiducts to move things from one place to another.

Still working out how it’s all going to be arranged…


Finally, like an idiot, I thought I’d take a baby step into opening up the Magic quest section and faithfully followed instructions and created the Thaumonomicon from the Thaumcraft 4 mod.

It turns out that a) There’s a complete separate Blood Magic mod, that can be quite dangerous and uses up life essence/hearts, which I want to dabble with because it can produce chicken and squid spawn eggs – two animals I’m having a shortage of.

And b) the other line is Sky Shards and the Thaumcraft 4 mod is INSANELY huge….


This is the Thaumonomicon book.

7 Sections – covering basics, wands, alchemy, golemancy and god knows what else.


There are pages and pages of esoteric info like this to work one’s way through.

It’s insane.

It’s incredible.

One is not going to have nothing to do for a very very long time.

(Oh, I hear there’s a WvW tournament happening, back in GW2. I guess I should get back to that too, since a new week is out and it’s no longer walkover ‘get your alts 100% WvW map exploration’ week.)

Minecraft: Agrarian Skies – Snapshots from Hermit Island

Home Sweet Sky Platforms....

The fun thing about starting from an identical map is that shortly thereafter, each player puts their own unique “home” imprint on things, arranging things how they like with what made sense at the time.

Before you know it, the place won’t look the same at all.

Here’s the view from my front door, complete with good luck cat.


In the original dirt spot is a peach tree, grown from a lucky reward sapling. A plum tree has joined it in the background, but I’m clean out of any more fruit tree growing space.

Future plan: Extend outwards to get a proper orchard going.

There’s some milk sitting in the oak barrels, conveniently sheltered by a cobblestone roof extension that was actually raised flooring for Cobblestone Generator, Version 2.

That was just an experiment to see if the milk would keep and not spoil, though I believe there are a lot more effective fluid storage means (like fluid tanks of one sort or another) that I haven’t gotten around to sampling and learning yet.


Speaking of Cobblestone Gen V2, here it is.

Pretty much copied off the Minecraft wiki, it uses two lava flows and four water sources funneling blocks to the center location you stand at.

Because two cobblestones are formed, you can essentially just keep on mining instead of having to wait for the lava to form another block.

It took me a surprising amount of time to figure out that one can also just hammer the cobblestone to get gravel immediately.

There was no room on the ground floor of the island, and I was a little paranoid about safety and mobs sneaking up behind me while tunnel visioned on mining cobblestone, so it made a lot of sense to me to just knock a hole in the house roof and extend out a second floor.

Of course, this was not without its learning hijinks.


This is why you take the effort to put obsidian blocks behind the lava source of the cobblestone generator.

Version 2.0 did not.

Naturally, I was bound to accidentally mine through the ordinary stone brick and create a lava leakage. Which, due to its placement, created a lava waterfall and took out the original peach tree.

Could have been a lot worse.

Version 2.1 was hastily retrofitted with obsidian, and Peach Tree #2 has been quite safe for a while now.


Having absolutely no experience with Minecraft mods of an industrial nature, it’s been very baby steps for me, tiptoeing slowly into the automation portions.

There won’t be any complex machines here for quite some time, I think.

I generally like to take my time and understand each component singly and get it functioning in a simplistic way – easy enough for me to understand – before getting ambitious and chaining them all in a way that might either break the machine or my CPU.

Cobblestone Generator V1 was upgraded with one of my first automatic machines, which honestly seems sufficient for my present cobblestone needs.

It uses a Terrain Smasher.

This interesting block breaks up any block placed in front of it. That is. the cobblestone that keeps forming when the lava meets the water.

I added a lever, so that I can turn it off and on on demand.

I suspect I’m just a bit more of a manual control freak than an automation personality. I take immense pleasure in being able to flip the switch and watch the machine go. Then walk away and do some things while knowing it’s running. And then coming back and flipping the lever to turn it off, while I drool over the cobblestone produced.

I mean, I know I can just create an essentially bottomless barrel instead of a chest and leave the thing to run on automatic forever and never lack for cobblestone again… but the idea of exhausting my computer cycles and lagging me out every now and then, producing needless waste just… offends, somehow.

I just like it a lot better when I can say, ok, time to stop and time to start.

(And the chest on top of it collects the cobblestone it smashes up. Because of said control freak-ness, I rarely let the machine go long enough to fill up its capacity. There’s only so many stacks of cobblestone one needs at any one time, anyway.

I know that one day I can set the whole thing up in a big long chain to funnel cobblestone from hither to thither, machine to machine, all on automatic without me having to move a muscle, but meh, that day is not today. I’ll need so much more floor space for one thing, and it seems to take out some of the fun without manual input and control. Sort of like, yeah, one day, you could probably get a robot to drive your car for you and ferry you from place A to place B with the push of a button, but manually controlling the car and having some say in the matter has a certain ‘feel’ to it too.)


The glass-encased ladder (because I don’t like climbing high places without a safety net to prevent strafing off ladders) from Cobblestone Gen V2 leads up to this beauty…

The Pulverizer Mark 1000.

My most complex machine to date, I made an entire raised floor for it (and future automation machinery) because I was nervous that I might break something or cause it to explode. Everywhere on the ground floor was already too cramped as it was, even before considering the damaging effect of an explosion or fire.

See, cobblestone has to be hammered into gravel. And gravel into sand. And sand into dust.

If I didn’t want to be chained to manually hammering stacks and stacks of the above blocks (and I don’t,) then I had to figure out an automatic way of dealing with the problem.

It uses a Magmatic Dynamo – which creates fuel/energy based on me feeding in buckets of lava.

This is connected to the main Pulverizer block in the middle.

(It would be a point of hilarity to share that it took me a while to figure out how these two blocks connected up. I originally placed the Pulverizer alongside the Dynamo block and it just wasn’t receiving any input. Turns out that I placed the Dynamo so that the output was facing up, and not sideways. Still, it was a happy accident. I kind of like the look of it this way.)

One can then set the Pulverizer block to output things on any of its faces – in this case, left and right. Chests are connected to it so that there’s somewhere for the items to go.

(Presumably one can eventually make pipes or conveyer belts and things that can move stuff around to more conveniently located chests/storage, but meh, why complicate things when learning?)

It took a while to figure out how to get blocks to feed into the Pulverizer. A mere chest on top of the input face didn’t work.

So the next step was to dump a hopper (that grey upside-down pyramid) on the input face.

This worked.

Except the hopper only could hold 5-6 stacks at once. So the chest got dumped on TOP of the hopper.

Now anything placed in the chest, falls into the hopper, which feeds it into the pulverizer, which does its crushing thing and feeds the output to the two side chests.


Add a lever for on/off control and celebrate.

The Mark 2000 is being planned soon. One problem that I ended up encountering with the present model is that it’s a pain to ferry lava up to this platform, two buckets at a time, from my main crucibles below.

I believe it will be possible to actually make a cobblestone generator up here (aka a one-block Igneous Extruder machine) that will feed its output into a crucible, which will melt it into lava, and then let the lava flow directly into the Magmatic Dynamo. Yet another Future Project to consider.


Meanwhile, my Smelter is doing fine. It’s the same basic construction I used in Hexxit, with one side devoted to casting three ingots at a time, operated with a button, with the three blocks linked with a redstone circuit.

Another side has casting basins for solid blocks – though somehow the last block doesn’t respond very well to a button-operated redstone circuit (the power cuts out too quickly for it or something) so I’m reduced to manually operating the faucets when needed.


The only funny story about the smeltery so far is that an escaped pig from the nearby pasture apparently made its way to and INTO the smeltery, while molten metal was present in it. Naturally, it must have roast itself to death, because I found 40 mB of blood in the smeltery later.

And the blood was busy clogging up the pipes and preventing the molten iron on top of it from flowing out into their ingot casts.

Enter problem-solving efforts to figure out how to get the blood out.

Fortunately, after some reading, it appears that Seared Tanks keep the liquid stored within it, even after being pickaxed and moved elsewhere.

So it was a matter of moving away a casting table, replacing it with an empty Seared Tank right under the faucet, turning the faucet on and letting the 40 mB of blood drip into the Seared Tank, then moving the Seared Tank off to the side and replacing the casting table.


The one lone pasture has been extended with another.

Ironically, they ended up in a Jungle biome by sheer accident, so an insane number of ocelots have been spawning in. I’d have more tamed cats sitting around, except I haven’t had time to fish.

Unfortunately, this means chicken-keeping is quite impossible with all those wild cats roaming about, turning randomly spawning chickens into balls of feathers and chicken meat, so another Future Project is to create a safe chicken rearing area.

I am also super proud of these stairs that lead up and down to the smeltery and Cobblestone Gen V2 on the roof.

Building these up and down, and installing fence railings, while suspended over a void was quite a feat of engineering.


Another view of the back area.

The artificial pool keeps being extended and deepened, in an effort to make fishing easier. The hook still keeps sticking into the sides and bottom though, if I don’t look up at the sky to cast, so really, it can stand being extended even further.

Eventually, there will need to be more water tanks when I experiment with marine aquaculture anyway.

The water barrels for clay making have been moved to a more stable platform – which is also conveiently producing mossy cobblestone via leakage from the barrels.

Outdoor crucibles making lava are barely visible beyond the barrels – these were moved outside because I was worried about risk of fire from lava as a fuel source. (Plus eventually, a perpetually burning netherrack fire when I get my hands on some netherrack.)

Some corridor space was co-opted for experimental mycelium and witch water barrel production, as well as a safe isolated spot for infesting a single tree with a silkworm for silk. But really, I need a proper mushroom farm area some day… Future Project Number Whatever. I’ve lost count.


This beauty took quite a while to construct.

I don’t make mob spawn/farm/grinders very often, but since one of the quest instructions was to make one of these… and the turn-in requirements were 10 rotten flesh and 10 bones, it seemed like a project to work on.

It operates on the simple “drop a mob through a center hole in the floor” principle.

Except I pretty much had to construct the ground it stands on – double layered, because I’m scared of accidentally pickaxeing through a one layer floor and falling to my doom. (It’s not like I don’t have enough cobblestone now.)

Creating the mob spawning floor was a bit trickier.

It’s relatively compact, and doesn’t allow for a straight 8 blocks of flowing water to push mobs into the hole. So I had to experiment with the compact design of curving water around cobblestone slabs until they ended at the hole.

The problem was that I shortly ran out of viable spawning locations between all the water and cobblestone slabs, so I had to construct a second floor to spawn mobs in.

The second floor has a 2×2 hole, surrounded by open fence gates (as suggested by the wiki to fool the mob AI into wandering into the hole – without the fence gates, they certainly didn’t seem to drop very often) that dumps them either directly down the chute or into the first floor, where the water should eventually push them to their doom.



You see the head mounted on the right pillar? That’s mine.

This claimed one life from me when I accidentally stepped into the running water stream while constructing it, and failed to react fast enough and generate sufficient force against the current.

OF COURSE I already put the Punji Sticks at the bottom, so even if the impact on the floor didn’t off me, the five sticks with nowhere to run would certainly have their way with me.

The only good news is that I could walk back and collect all the items that fell out of my corpse.

Yep, stress-tested and proven to work!

The glass drop chute was an experiment with Forge Microblocks – a mod that lets you chop a solid Minecraft block into smaller and smaller shapes, oddly reminiscent of Landmark’s microvoxels, in a sense.


This was the size test. You can chop them into slabs, panels, pillars, strips, corners, notches and so on.

I settled on Panels – which appears to be 1/4 of a normal block.


They’re placed on the OUTSIDE, on the surrounding blocks, leaving a complete 1 block clear space for mobs to drop unimpeded through.

I didn’t want to climb up 23 blocks or more to make the mobs die on impact, so I added some Punji Sticks at the bottom, which do enough extra damage to off the mobs quickly.

If one gets the timing and positioning -just- right, one can actually get a hit in for some experience, but it’s certainly not the most effective experience grinder. That can be, yes, Another Future Project down the road.

The really accidentally nice thing about this that I discovered is that one can pretty much walk all around the shaft and collect any items that drop, they’ll float right through the clear glass microblock if you can’t reach it from the front.

Eventually, I suppose one can put a vacuum hopper to suck up drops into a chest… but I’m still working on producing Ender Pearls to make one.

I made my mob grinder to only have a two block height limit, because I didn’t want to deal with Endermen spawning, running into a water stream and freaking out, then teleporting all over my base moving blocks around.

Still, this means I need to either think up another way to get Ender Pearls – aka experiment with Pearl Oysters from Mariculture or bee-keeping (though that might be more complex a task than bargained for), or make a more controlled mob spawner/grinder, just to handle and deal with Endermen.

Future Project Number Umpteen.

And always alongside, is the reminder of being endlessly hungry and needing food.

To combat this, beyond the sustainable basics of growing lots of carrots and juicing them into carrot juice (with which I’ve been living on most of the time), this means going further into Pam’s Harvestcraft mod and working out recipes for more substantial meals.


I bit the bullet the other day and sat in my teeny tiny house, making all the complex utensils the mod requires – Pot, Mortar and Pestle, Saucepan, Skillet, Mixing Bowl, etc. and then arranging them on Bibliocraft shelving units so that it looks a bit kitchen-y.

You can also tell that I’m fast running out of storage space and need to expand elsewhere, eventually.

My sieve has graduated from being manually operated to having two Autonomous Activators feed in gravel/sand/dust and shake it for me on their own (as controlled by on/off levers.)

I’m going to eventually need a vacuum hopper to suck in the stuff produced (so far, it’s just me standing in the house doing stuff and absorbing what’s produced) and to move it off or make another one elsewhere with more space to point more automatic machines at it.

Yet More Future Projects. No clue where I’m going to have room for that though.

The recipes though, require quite a bit of food/crop variety and animal products…


My dinky little farm also needs to expand out into a proper crop-growing space with rows and a fruit tree orchard.

The Sprinkler I installed is really quite nifty though.

It apparently waters stuff in a radius surrounding itself, so there shouldn’t be any more irrigation channels needed in the future.

It certainly encourages tall grass to grow very very quickly – which is great for getting a big selection of all the seeds and crops and fruit tress that Pam’s HarvestCraft mod apparently has.

I found a wild strawberry the other day, and promptly planted seeds of it. There’s an avocado growing too.

Then as beet and blueberry and coconut fell into my inventory, I realized I really really needed more space.

More cobblestone floor extension soon(TM.)

Minecraft: Agrarian Skies

Pete from Dragonchasers has been on the hunt for a single-player Archeage – that is, a farming, crafting, home-building and occasionally get out and kill things sort of game… without the 4h queues.

While I personally couldn’t quite think of a game that plays in an exact similar vein as Archeage, as in 3D WASD mouselook, MMO quest-driven, with trade runs and sailing, as well as crafting, farming, home-building, etc…

… I can think of games with bits and pieces here and there.

Trade runs and sailing is one of those systems that I haven’t seen done for a very long time since the days of MUDs. I vaguely recall some MUDs I encountered in my sampling days where these were a thing. Beyond that, the closest we’ve gotten is in the sci-fi space trading genres, where one effectively flies a starship from planet to planet and station to station buying low and selling high.

Modded Minecraft has been the popular recommendation over in the comments section @ Dragonchasers.

Blue Kae mentioned Agrarian Skies and Crash Landing as popular challenge maps, and I simply couldn’t resist checking at least one of them out.

(It was about time I dabbled with the Feed the Beast launcher anyway, which appears to be the other popular launcher that isn’t the Technic Pack – which I dabbled with, when I tried out Minecraft: Hexxit some months earlier.)

I haven’t logged into GW2 longer than 15 minutes in the past two days, having chosen instead to feed all available leisure time into Minecraft, which is as much testament and recommendation as I can give to this particular mod.

Agrarian Skies is a Skyblock type of map.

In case you’re just as outdated as I am on the latest fashions in the Minecraft modding world, what this apparently means is that they dump you off on a floating rock in the middle of nowhere with nothing but void surrounding the dinky island.

Basically, you’re on a block in the sky.

And it’s time to start fending for yourself, with whatever resources the creator was kind enough to supply. Hope he or she was feeling magnanimous.


Installing Agrarian Skies was fairly simple and painless, though one did run into “doh, that wasn’t obvious to a newcomer at first glance!” issues.

1) Download the Feed the Beast launcher.

2) Navigate over to the 3rd-Party Packs tab and select/install Agrarian Skies.

3) Launch Agrarian Skies from the button shown, select Single-Player Minecraft, create a new world and promptly fall out of the sky and die repeatedly until all three lives were lost and the map deleted itself.


Apparently, one had missed Step 2.5, which is:

2.5) Navigate over to the Maps & Textures tab,  and click on the Maps button. This brings up three maps for Agrarian Skies, which you can choose to install.

Step 3 then consists of selecting the pre-existing map, so that you get dropped off where there is actual solid ground – rather than creating a new world, which led to the looping death scenario.


First Impressions

I went for the default map, which as you can see from this picture stolen from Google Images, is a small but fairly generous-sized island, with a small but fairly generous-sized decorative house.

Except that there’s only one block of dirt on this island. The rest is colored hardened clay.

In a chest in the house, is one of each type of basic sapling – oak, birch, spruce, etc, three stacks of bonemeal and a couple of guide books from some of the mods installed.

Your quest, should you choose to accept it, is to rebuild the world.

The especially nice thing about Agrarian Skies is that it comes with its own version of GW2’s Level Up Guidance System, so that completely clueless noobs like me don’t just stand there, looking aghast, trying to read up a dozen wikis figuring out where to even BEGIN, and promptly starve to death in the interim.

It’s called the Hardcore Questing Mode (or System) and essentially provides direction for beginners, leading them through and ensuring that the player ends up familiar with the various crafting pathways that will unlock more complicated technologies later.


The first section, as you can see, is basically a tutorial in learning how to skyblock – or survive in a Skyblock map.

The others appear to be about cooking, machinery, bees/forestry, magic?, storage systems, and fluids and so on.

One has a limited number of lives. One can earn more by completing said quests and getting the quest rewards.

Yours truly died once by accidentally digging through the block that one was standing on – trying to replace clay with farmland – and then subsequently followed that up with another by attempting to retrieve all the dropped items by flying down to the impact zone in creative mode. Note to all: it doesn’t work. (I think I must have forgot to toggle on god mode. Oh well. I sucked it up as a penalty for trying to cheat and just made new tools for my new life.)


The beginning reminds me a lot of starting out in A Tale in the Desert.

You start with practically nothing, engage in a number of repetitive actions to accumulate a resource, which then unlocks another resource, and on and on. Ultimately, you’re striving to unlock the tech tree to the point where you can afford automation and industry.

One dirt block equals one tree grown. (Thankfully, they supplied bonemeal to speed this up on demand.)

Tree yields wood, and a couple more saplings.

Repeat until one has sufficient wood to build various workbenches, including the Tinker’s Construct workbenches which open up an entire system of creating intricate tools. I’d previously encountered an earlier version of Tinker’s Construct in Hexxit, so it wasn’t too perplexing, but a newbie would probably spend some time playing with the whole thing.

How does one obtain more dirt? The questing system tells us how.

We have to create barrels to compost organic material into dirt.


There are a few not-so-obvious ‘stuck’ points that are not explained, probably under the assumption that any Minecraft player who plays around with mods are so used to and take for granted.

Use of the NEI is pretty much assumed.  That is, the “Not Enough Items” inventory mod that allows a player to flip through and keyword search through all the various items supplied by all the various mods, and look up recipes by pressing R or right or left-clicking on the item in the NEI.

I started out not so familiar with the NEI, and ended up Googling for info initially, but one eventually does get used to it.

The above barrels are quite neat. Covered, as above in my little composting shed, they accept things like saplings, leaves, rotten flesh, carrots, wheat, etc. and turn it into a dirt block.

Uncovered and left open to the sky, they collect rainwater until they fill up to 1000 mB and can fill an ordinary bucket as water.

The quest system walks you through creating a crook. Using it to hit tree leaves increases the chances of more saplings. More saplings = more compost = more dirt = more trees, unsoweiter.

From there, it takes you on a journey to obtaining string (via the most hilarious silkworm farm ever – contrast this with the utter brain-destroying pain silkworms are in ATITD), and working out how to create cobblestone from virtually nothing.


Also known as a cobblestone generator.

I have never been prouder of obtaining cobblestone in Minecraft before this.

You see, getting that one lava block was no trivial matter.

Dirt blocks – each one painstakingly composted from the death of many trees – are run through a Sieve to get stones. Stones are assembled into cobblestone.

This is then hammered into gravel. The gravel is hammered into sand. The sand is hammered into dust. (Again oddly reminiscent of A Tale in the Desert and running after medium stones to crush them with a sledgehammer.)

The dust is soaked in a barrel of collected water. (Hopefully, you already made an infinite water source some time ago! Though you’ll need a fired clay bucket to move water around in, without an iron bucket!)


This wet dust turns into clay. The clay is combined with bonemeal to form porcelain clay, and shaped into a crucible. This is fired in a furnace to make it functional.

The crucible, atop a heat source, will melt 4 cobblestone into 1 lava – which you pick up in a bucket. Except if it’s a clay bucket, it’s good for only one use.

Imagine my utter agony when my first attempt at a cobblestone generator… yielded an obsidian block, because moving water came into contact with stationary lava, instead of the other way around.

For my second go at it, I decided not to reinvent the wheel and copied the simplest cobblestone generator from the Minecraft wiki page so that absolutely nothing could go wrong.

Agrarian Skies does a marvellous job of making what are typically commonplace materials a rare and valued resource. This does change the feel of the game considerably.


Every last cobblestone of the modest bridge took effort to produce – even if it’s just mining it off a cobblestone generator. (One day in the future… we look forward to automating the process!)

Room for the tree farm, and the trees themselves, were created from almost nothing – just one sapling and a lot of bonemeal.


The modest farm that holds starving to death in check? (Yes, you can starve to death in Agrarian Skies, and food items don’t fill you up as much.)

Every block assembled with invested effort. No free digging stuff out of the world like in regular Minecraft.

And it’s only the beginning.


My current project is the Smeltery, from Tinker’s Construct. Something I’ve, thankfully, done before with Hexxit.

Even then, one has to figure out where to put it!

There is no more room left on the island, which means room has to be made. Which means a floor of cobblestone somewhere, at the very least…

There’s a massive tech tree to explore.

I assume there is automation and fluids somewhere in the far future. There’s a Pam’s Harvestcraft mod that seems to expand to a ridiculous amount of fruit trees and cooking recipes. There’s beekeeping. There’s the Mariculture mod – or marine aquaculture, I presume.



Minecraft: Agrarian Skies is very much a crafting / tech exploration / achievement delight.

Where Minecraft: Hexxit places the focus more on an adventuresome exploration of a fantastic world, with farming and crafting and home-building more in the background, Agrarian Skies is a mod that places progressing through the crafting aspects front and center.

Along the way, one will unlock more and more blocks, from which to assemble the world itself, in a manner that pleases you.

The planning of which becomes ridiculously addictive.

Recommended, definitely worth trying.

State of Mind: Scattered

Why, yes, today's guild missions are brought to you by Skittles.

I’ve kinda been all over the place in the last few days. Yes, even in my gaming and entertainment leisure time.

Kingdoms of Amalur went on Steam sale over the weekend, and I couldn’t resist picking it up and trying it out. It’s… kinda ho-hum. It looks pretty and decent enough. I was kinda expecting something Skyrim-like, but got something a touch more generic. The NPC interactions are all voiced and functional, but it weirds me out that they all seem to be giving me one generic response treating me like a human even though I chose to play an Alfar – eg. they stand around telling me all about the Alfar like a narrator, sometimes putting in their snide opinions about the race, while I’m standing over here thinking, “Don’t I look like an Alfar to you?”

Combat is third-person console action-like, a little bit Dark Souls-ish but probably a lot easier, with blocking and dodging and all kinds of weapons that you can eventually unlock combat combos for and stuff like that. There’s a certain slickness of presentation – eg. combat moves can be reviewed in a separate menu page which even kindly includes a short embedded video of what the move looks like when performed (very nice, more games should do this a la DOTA 2, etc.), the manual itself is integrated into a menu page for you to review if desired.

And there’s also clunky aspects, like promptly overloading myself when I unwittingly took stuff from a chest in town that was apparently extra weapon/armor DLC and me not being able to figure out where there’s a house or stash to put them in again… The quests are not especially thrilling me, they remind me a bit of a soulless typical MMO – lots of errands, little choice about how I can react to them or roleplay (if the quest suddenly decides you gotta kill these people, then you gotta kill the targets it wants you to kill, unless you don’t do the quest at all and don’t get the xp), and I don’t even have the fun of socially interacting with other people to boot.

We’ll see. It’s not a -bad- game per se. It just seems like I had slightly different expectations of what it could give me, going in, and I may have to turn to another game to get it, while playing this game for what it is, at a later date.

I’ve been sneaking in daily missions in Path of Exile. It’s about all the time I can spare for it at the moment.

I have a sudden urge to check out Marvel Heroes, but I’m really just too scattered this week to manage it.

A chance comment some time ago got me thinking about Babylon 5, and I decided to start a marathon session of it alongside my gaming during the more meditative, mindless moments. Also taking advantage of this to backup my DVDs into digital form – already had one minor scare when I found scratches on Disc 4 of Season 1 and it seemed unplayable in the DVD drive. Had to give it a mild polish with, of all things, toothpaste – making tons of smaller minute scratches to polish down the big one sufficiently to be read. Just starting Season 2 now.

There are more than a dozen things I could be and am sort of kinda maybe want to be doing in Guild Wars 2.

I’m not quite at the ‘overwhelm’ stage of can’t cope, but I’ve been distinctly squirreling all over the place in the last few days just unable to concentrate or focus much or decide on a direction.

  • There’s a nagging reminder in the back of my head that I need to update my guide and take out FGS references and clean up a few paragraphs that are unclear or slightly off course, now that the feature pack is out.
  • There’s my regular iron ore or platinum ore node runs. It’s a decent way to make pocket change off the dungeon runners, since I really don’t have the personality or playstyle to do 5-6+ dungeon runs a day. (It’s entirely possible there are crafter and TP middlemen in there as well, as the gold generated by dungeon running somehow filters down to the other player types through the TP.)
  • There’s another nagging reminder that I haven’t done a thing about the optional achievements for not-quite ‘hard-mode’ Living Story challenges for Dragon’s Reach Part 2.
  • There’s finding the time to attend TTS Teq or Wurm runs.
  • There’s finding the time to do some WvW – I hear there’s a tournament going on. Personally, I’ve been super grateful that the required participation this time around is only 5 events.

Mostly because I’m still having periodic driver issues with my X-Fi soundcard. Every now and then, while in GW2 and someone constantly talking over Mumble, a magic frequency or pitch will be hit, or the card just decides it’s had enough, or there’s a memory leak, or the driver just decides to malfunction, or I DON’T KNOW, the whole damn thing will freeze my computer for good. Cue hard reset, cue a lost place in WvW and no mood to continue because the continuity of whatever urgent battle there was has just vanished, cue an undetected soundcard on reboot, and about 15 minutes of Driver Sweeping all traces of the soundcard driver off my system and reinstalling the exact same drivers again.

It will then promptly go back to working for an unspecified period of time, playing MP3s, movies and VOIP with no issues whatsoever… UNTIL  IT DECIDES TO DO IT AGAIN.

The good news is that it’s looking likely that I’ll have accumulated enough spare budget for a new computer sometime in October *crosses fingers, hope I don’t jinx anything by saying it* and I might be able to finally stop playing on a toaster run by PotatoOS and relegate this box to being a secondary system.

It does mean that I need to factor some time in the next few weeks to research current computer hardware options for putting together an affordable dream computer. While pleasant to look forward to, it -is- another fairly big project on the to-do-sometime list making me even more scatterbrained, having too many choices of fun pleasant things to do with leisure time.

  • Back in GW2, there’s wanting to take advantage of the new money-making opportunities from the collections that just launched and changes to certain classes making certain gear suddenly more desirable, plus WvW tourney being in effect. Not going to specify more than that, since I don’t want my targeted niches to close too quickly, but let’s just say the prices of certain things have shot up to amounts that raise my eyebrows and have me going, “Oh man, I would SO DO THAT for 15 minutes over 15 minutes of CoF ad nauseam and get the same 1-2 gold from it.”
  • On a related note, camping out in the Font of Rhand also seems to have developed into a popular activity. I think it’s awesome, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I really enjoy that minidungeon and wish more people knew about it / experienced it. Well, these days the rewards seem to have become worth it for folks to portal others in, even. You get a daily rare on killing Rhendak, similar to a world boss. And with each new character, a daily chance at opening his chest, likely for blues and greens, but you might get a rare and maybe even the Chalice of Rhendak for the Treasure Hunter collection. There’s also trying to get him to cough up his exotic ring…. that’s going to take a while. He takes 10 minutes to respawn, which seems like a fair enough respawn time – I’ve been getting through quite a few Babylon 5 episodes while cycling through spare characters.
  • I’ve completely wiped out my fractal relics from making Mawdrey II. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I’m on the lookout for jumping into -some- fractals to get relics accumulated again.
  • There’s the dungeons collections, which I’ll probably never get in a hurry, but I wouldn’t be opposed to getting some more tokens whenever…
  • Oh, and there’s my new charr mesmer who’s level 24, just shy of my stagnated human mesmer at level 26, who seems more promisingly fun to level. Sometimes it’s really about looks and feel of your character, I guess. I’d love to get him back into leveling and map exploring… except I seem to have gotten stuck waiting for the buggy mines in one of Diessa Plateau’s hearts to be fixed (can’t interact with them) and have somehow ended up camped out in Rhendak’s underwater chamber after chowing down enough skill scrolls to cheat my way to getting Portal on the utility  bar.

Yeah, I think you get the idea.

There’s plenty of other RL stuff that I ought to be getting done somewhen as well.

I think I’m eventually just going to have to sit down, sacrifice an hour to make a list and prioritize one thing over another, but yeah, squirrel mind is being squirrely at present.

I expect blog posting and updates to be fairly squirrely for the next week or two too.