Wednesday, 17 April 2013

My craft, your craft, we all wonder what's mine craft?

Many have been seeking from Eme an elusive document known as his birthday gift list. He did make one a while, back, but it seems to have gotten lost. So tonight I had him recreate it. I had him recreate it mainly for my convenience, for reasons that may soon become apparent; but.here for everyone is the all-but incomprehensible (to the uninitiated in the arcane craft of mine) list, exactly as his soon-to-be-six-year-old fingers bullet-listed it on my laptop:
  • Minecraft: Cheat pack mod.
  • Skate Board.
  • Minecraft: ChistmasCraft Mod.
  • My little pony.
  • Minecraft Account.
  • Minecraft: TrapCraft Mod
It is the background colour he chose to publish behind it, also. The font he chose (which you're lucky is likely is not showing up for you) is Excalibur Logotype.

You may notice (besides a couple of anomalies) a theme. And also that the lad is a bit of a Brony.

The "mods" are add-ons for the Minecraft computer game Eme has basically grown up on and continues to be obsessed with. He knows more about Minecraft mods than I do, from watching fan-made videos. But, alas, he is not able yet to install them himself. In fact they are generally a pain to install, and extremely tedious to maintain, even for me. They are free creations made by Minecraft players (which is convenient and nice), but as such, they are often incompatible with current versions of Minecraft, have conflicts with other mods, and sometimes make the game unstable. Also, while curious and fun for a bit, they tend to completely unbalance the game/simulation as it is played in normally (and so I can't very well install them in our regular game world without destroying it).

Emeth's Christmas list from last Christmas was fairly similar to the above list, but just with different mods. For Christmas he desperately wanted "Creeps and Weirdos mod", and "PortalCraft mod". Istra additionally most wanted "Shapeshifter mod" (which lets you turn into animals and other creatures). So I finally buckled down back then and figured out ways to hunt down and install different needed versions of Minecraft in their own little sandboxes, and get the desired mods working in individual environments. It worked well, though it hasn't been without headaches. It looks like I'll be making a bunch more of these modded worlds in the coming days...

While everyone else continues to scratch their head and ponder what in the world he actually wants for his birthday. Just get him socks.

Emeth's redstone madness
Above is an image from one of Emeth's latest creations. Looking at it will be even more incomprehensible than his list! I've often described Minecraft as a sort of super "virtual lego", where you live in, build, dig and explore the blocky worlds. There are, however, many other aspects to Minecraft. One other aspect is a sort of basic electronics simulation. You use a substance called "redstone dust" to create trails that are used as wires. You can hook these wires up in crude looking circuits to relays, switches, pistons, various power sources, and other select objects. Emeth spends hours doing this. He doesn't really understand a lot of the reasons behind what is happening, but he just keeps fiddling and making things do things, and trying to copy ideas he gets from videos of other people creating things, until he comes up with the most fantastical and bizarre Rube Goldberg machines. Like the one above (which I won't even begin to try to describe what happens when it is fully powered up). He dreams of using all these devices to create an epic "adventure map" one day. ("Adventure maps" are packaged Minecraft worlds created by someone for others to play. They usually have puzzles, challenges, and often a bit of a story line told through signs and books placed in the game world.)

He also desperately wants to program his own mods. But that's a whole other story...

Maybe when he's seven years old...?!

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