Minecraft: Wanderlust Reloaded – Magical Castaway

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts...

As sheer serendipity would have it, an idly rolled up world to argue the merits of procedural generation yielded a seed that sent my imagination into overdrive.

One turned up on the edge of what appeared to be a modestly sized island continent surrounded by ocean, beach/desert in the vicinity and what appeared to be a jungle or tropical rainforest in the distance to explore.

Surely, this place is tailor made for a survivor-castaway scenario.

But how could I make it different from the ongoing Wanderlust Reloaded game I was playing in a relaxing learn-all-the-mods-slowly fashion?

A few ideas struck me.

I tend to be attracted to tech/modern mods and make a beeline to Tinker’s Construct and Minefactory Reloaded as a comfort zone, since those were the first few I learned in Agrarian Skies. However, setting up a factory goes rather completely against the theme and idea of a sailor or person castaway on a desert island. How would they even make a modern machine?

So, rule 1: Minimal to no tech/modern mods to be used in this particular game world.

It so happened that some initial scouting revealed the presence of some magical NPCs on the island. Perfect. The rationale then would be to use nature and magic-based mods to progress, with the explanation that the NPCs had ‘taught’ these to my castaway character.

I was also somewhat sick of the constant nightly attacks of zombies and skeletons. Wouldn’t it feel a lot more immersive and like I was really cast away on an island if the night stayed peaceful and quiet as well, rather than recapitulate the zombie apocalypse every single time the moon rose?

Setting it to peaceful mode seemed a little like cheating though.

But then really, as I thought further, maybe it would actually make progress -harder- in that I wouldn’t have an easily renewable source of string from spiders, gunpowder from creepers, rotten flesh from zombies and bones from skeletons. In fact, I wouldn’t even be able to make a mob grinder… and that started to worry me a bit.

So I concocted a little trapdoor for myself. The -island- would stay peaceful, but I’d switch it back to normal mode if I changed dimensions. Yep, Nether, Twilight Forest, a Mystcraft age, whatever.

It made a certain kind of immersive sense that I’d crash onto a deserted island, save for a few peaceful natives, learn magic in an attempt to get away, and then eventually cross over into other dimensions that would be more hazardous and filled with hostiles.

Rule 2: Play in peaceful mode on the island. Switch back to normal mode once one crosses dimensions.

I was also a little sick of the common Minecraft tactic to dig a big mineshaft or stairway to bedrock or y = 12, and then dig a whole bunch of straight line criss-crossing tunnels pulling out diamonds, redstone and other valuable bits of ore.

It’s efficient, yes, but didn’t seem terribly immersive to me.

So I came up with another crazy idea, one I’m not sure how far or long it’ll last, as I really don’t know the layout and if it’ll yield enough resources…

Rule 3: There will be minimal manual mining through stone.

The idea is that I’ll go into already exposed caves and ravines and mine the ore that’s actually visible and a block or two around those visible veins. I won’t start hand carving massive dwarf mines through perfectly solid rock with a handful of stone or iron pickaxes.

The little loophole there is ‘manual’ so that later, if I like, create a golem or something that will mine straight tunnels for me, or create some sort of super-efficient magical pickaxe, then it’ll seem a bit more consistent to the ‘realism’ of this particular world that I could then create vast caverns if I wanted to.

Rule 4: We will try to build aesthetically thematic structures consistent with a ‘magical castaway’ theme.

Cheating in decorative blocks to paint textures on say, carpenter’s blocks, is permissible, to both make life easier and make it more aesthetically-pleasing, but cheated in blocks will not be used in functional ways. The carpenter’s blocks themselves would have been made with uncheated wood resources.

Sadly, I haven’t had a lot of real life time to play this particular world, or any Minecraft, to be honest, since I’ve also been distracted by buying the remastered Grim Fandango lately, but here’s the beginning of the adventure:

mc3

Cast away on the shores of a strange island, I try to make my way inland to gather some wood. Shelter, and a signal fire is primarily on my mind. Oh, and food, and a fresh water source.

mc2

I nearly perish when unawares, I stumble into a patch of quicksand. Some frantic digging and scrabbling away at the edge of the pit saves me.

There are a number of these differently colored patches of sand around, hazards that I constantly have to keep in mind.

mc4

With some relief, early on, I find a small stream that can serve as a source of fresh water.

After chopping down some nearby trees and chipping away at a rock wall to make some primitive stone tools, I manage to put together a modest survival shelter.

mc5

It is a quiet but peaceful night on this desert island.

I cobble together a small furnace made out of rocks and begin making some charcoal out of the logs I’d chopped earlier.

mc6

Daybreak heralds the start of exploration of this island.

I urgently want to build a signal fire, in case any passing ships draw near, but I realize that I don’t have any flint-and-steel to rapidly start a fire with. So after desultorily piling some wood together, the gnawing of my stomach suggests I need to pay attention to something a little more urgent than a rescue fire.

mc7

Following the edge of the island leads me into a tropical rainforest proper.

mc9

I find a melon patch with some relief – food! – but worry about how long these wild melons would last me. I save some seeds and hastily sow them. Only the gods know how long it’ll take them to grow though.

Merry giggling catches my attention, and I discover that there are others on this island… if these strange nature spirits could be called so. A number of dryads are taking a bath in a cavern fed by seawater.

mc8

For the most part, they say nothing to me, but I notice them paying a great deal of attention to certain flowers, which seem to glow with an almost-mystical light. Surely, these flowers hold some manner of arcane secret. I begin collecting them as I travel.

mc12

As night falls near the dryads, my breath catches in my throat as I realize that these sea nymphs appear to have also been tending a magnificent reef garden filled with glowing coral, like so many ocean-flowers. The constellation-filled sky is a wondrous accompaniment.

But I cannot linger, and I turn away, heading further inland.

mc10

I come across an eerie stone circle, even spookier at night, but nothing seems to stir from it.

mc11

Nearby, I encounter my first sentient being, a human, I suppose, who dresses like a witch. She introduces herself as Shannon Spellman, but refuses to speak of anything of more substance to me, telling me that I am not yet skilled in the Art.

It seems that I may just have to learn, somehow, if I am to find a way off this island.

mc13

And then I find it. A settlement! There are beds of crops – potato and cotton and some manner of berry.

mc14

There are even grapevines strung up in trellises, an old disused smelter of some kind, and a herd of sheep wandering unfettered through it all.

mc15

To my surprise, there is only one human dwelling within this place. A man dressed in what appears to be priestly or mage-like robes. He declines to give his name, but seems open to sharing some of his crops and making small converse.

A hobgoblin is the only other creature keeping him company, wandering about crooning to itself in its hob-like manner, keeping its own counsel. I am not sure if it is merely a friend or the mage’s familiar, but I think it a question best unasked for now.

I will likely have to return to this strange pair later and see if I can befriend them further, but for now, parting as an acquaintance rather than an enemy seems wise.

mc16

I pass by caves and deep ravines, some with exposed veins of metals, which I mark for later exploration, and even a blasted wasteland which I give a wide berth to, for now.

mc17

The forest has given way to some kind of scrubland, filled with acacia trees, and red rocky soil.

mc18

And then, near dawn, a curious sight on the horizon. Is it… could it be… a castle?

mc19

As the sky brightens, I draw nearer. It seems only to be a lone tower of some kind?

mc20

It is fully daytime by the time I get up close, and its skull-like demeanor puts me off from venturing within. Perhaps another time, when I actually have armor and a weapon, and am not starving.

The scrubland dries up, becoming a desert once more, and I realize that I have almost circumnavigated the entire island.

I stumble over one noteworthy feature, a large pool of oil that has bubbled to the surface.

mc21

And am almost frozen in my tracks when I notice an alien sight, some kind of meteor that has cratered onto the boundary between shore and ocean, and whose sky stone is somehow…repelling? the seawater from itself.

mc22

I give that a wide berth for now too.

For now, it is back to my humble shelter, to figure out semi-reliable sources of food so as not to go hungry, and to prepare my signal fire.

And then, I suppose, I should attempt to learn the Art.

To be honest, I think this is a great seed.

mc23

I actually preliminary scouted the whole place out to get an idea of whether the rules I was planning would actually work, or no, and I think there are enough resources and interesting features on this pretty big island to manage it, more or less.

Yet, importantly, it does appear to be largely an island, rather than a continuous neverending landmass.

It’s probably a great place to have all kinds of Minecraft adventures, not just a strictly nature/magic one, so if you’re interested in playing in the same surroundings, this is Minecraft, with the Wanderlust Reloaded modpack and Biomes of Plenty world type, with the seed “Why I Explore” (without the quotes.)

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.

as3_kitten1

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

as3_kitten2

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.

as3_bloodwood1

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.

as3_bloodwood2

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.

as3_bloodwood3

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

as3_bloodwood4

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.

as3_bloodwood5

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.

as3_bloodwood6

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.

as3_bloodwood7

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.

as3_bloodwood8

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.

as3_bloodwood9

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.

as3_bloodwood10

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.

as3_bloodwood11

Looks better. Sort of.

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

as3_bloodwood12

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.

as3_bloodwood13

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

as3_bloodwood14

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.

as3_oreprocess0

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.

as3_oreprocess2

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

as3_oreprocess3

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

as3_oreprocess4

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.

as3_oreprocess1

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

as3_oreprocess5

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.

as3_oreprocess6

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:

as3_oreprocess7

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.

as3_oreprocess8

Note the new glass building next to it.

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

as3_oreprocess9

Like so.

as3_oreprocess10

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

as3_oreprocess11

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.

as3_oreprocess12

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 (Hexxit) – The Curse of the Albatross – 6. Is This Real Life…Or is This Final Fantasy…

Early efforts in chocobo breeding were hair-pulling exercises in frustration.

Oh, I tempted the three chocobos I had seen earlier along the red mountain ridge home without problems with gysahl greens.

They kept hopping the fenced pen I had nicely set up for them outside the cottage.

Now converted into a cow pen, along with a stray sheep who thinks it's a cow.

(Now converted into a cow pen, along with a stray sheep who thinks it’s a cow.)

I also realized that all of them were females.

Which prompted another surroundings-spanning search for the rare, elusive male chocobo.

I eventually found one in the snowy taiga, and figured out that males had a colorful feathered crest. Bringing it back, I bred it with one of the females using a rare mutant version of the gysahl green I was farming.

The baby chicobo promptly ran out of the pen when I opened the fence gate to leave.

By the time I herded and prodded it back inside, another two chocobos had hopped the fence again.

It was about then that I realized a simple fenced pen wasn’t going to suffice, and that I had drastically underestimated how much space I was going to need to breed the birds.

Efforts in chocobo breeding were abandoned for a week as I patiently sawed, smelted and mined, amassing large quantities of red cobblestone to turn into brick, fir planks and lots of glass panes.

There were nights of balancing precariously on high, sniping back at skeleton archers who thought to knock me off, and taking out creepers before they ruined construction efforts.

barn

Finally, the chocobo barn was complete.

barn2

I moved the by-now-entirely-escaped birds into their new home even before the final finishing touches of glass were complete, whereupon the baby chicobo again tried to drown itself by getting stuck in the cauldron for drinking water.

Patience with the avian brain eventually paid off with the birth of the first non-wild type mutant, a green-feathered chick.

greenchicobo

This variety, according to the Chocopedia, which had now become my reference for all things to do with the chirping creatures, was supposed to be more adept at climbing than the regular yellow ones.

I guess it was just as well that they now had a new climb-proof housing.

I grew more and more gysahl greens in the search of the lovely and golden variants that would tempt them to breed. Plenty of bonemeal fertilizer got involved.

gysahls

I was starting to drown in regular old gysahls. There were only so many gysahl pickles I could cook and eat.

agrilocker

I was starting to drown in chocobo feathers.

feathers

I was starting to drown in chocobos.

chocobosoutthewazoo

Then came the day they refused to breed.

I think they ran out of space. The overpopulation made them unreceptive to approaching their mates. Oh, they ate my rare gysahls, but refused to move after, or give birth to more babies.

I debated slaughtering some of the ordinary yellows for food.

But… they were all named already, and I didn’t have the heart to kill them in front of their fellows, or to lead them out unsuspecting only to cut their throats.

There was only one thing left to do.

barn3

They got a second barn.

The birds were living in a bigger space than I was.

It was around this time, during one of the mining trips in between mad chocobo breeding, that I met the shade with purple eyes again.

enderman1

It did not look happy.

It was not a pleasant meeting.

We exchanged furious blows, with it teleporting in and out, and me relentlessly chasing it down.

I could have sworn at one point that I struck a killing blow, but then it healed, that strange twin-lived being and again vanished before I could strike it down once more.

On a second trip, I had the fright of my life when I thought I saw TWO pairs of purple eyes in the dark.

enderman2

Surely there cannot be two of them…

Tell me I did not create a second shade in that earlier fight…

A night or two after that, there was yet again a resounding crash-thud in the dark.

Unsuspecting, I walked along the northeast path, my usual path, the path I had always walked… to the tower, to Weisferd, the albatross path…

…to find that there was something entirely new.

theportal