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Minecraft: Live Action Role Play
November 10, 2010 1:46 AM   Subscribe

Gary Bigham, pro-LARPer, releases the first known Minecraft LARP. Spoiler - creepers are jerks.
posted by Happy Dave (106 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Spoiler - creepers are jerks."

Indeed.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:05 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wait. Professional LARPer?
posted by delmoi at 3:13 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't that called an "actor"?
posted by adamdschneider at 3:31 AM on November 10, 2010


Minecraft LARP? Wouldn't that just be playing with Lego, but every five minutes someone turns the lights out and smashes your models?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:37 AM on November 10, 2010 [23 favorites]


Minecraft LARP? Wouldn't that just be playing with Lego, but every five minutes someone turns the lights out and smashes your models?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:37 PM on November 10 [2 favorites +] [!]


That's not how Lego is played? I am so pissed at my brother.
posted by gc at 4:07 AM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


Where are the spiders and zombies? I am very disappointed.
posted by Solomon at 4:08 AM on November 10, 2010


...fat guy in a sheet on a pulley system with a couple of Big Gulps of Dew being winched around a darkened school gymnasium while below players scramble and yell, "A ghast! A ghast!" As he slowly sways into position, he unzips his trousers and sends a cascade of burning golden fire down on the players below.

"It burns," they yell, "It burns!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:31 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


He grasped his crystal sword and steeled his wits. He eyed the growing mass of skeletons and quickly made up his battle plan. When the time was right, he charged downhill, shattering their bones and their formation. Across the hills could be heard the bellow of his mighty battle cry, "TWO DAMAGE!"
posted by explosion at 5:08 AM on November 10, 2010


You know, if you hate monsters you can play on Peaceful mode. It's still really great. In fact, better, IMO.
posted by DU at 5:23 AM on November 10, 2010


Don't give cortex ideas!
posted by nomadicink at 5:32 AM on November 10, 2010


Can someone please, please tell me how to enjoy Minecraft? It's a srsly big thing. My two internet communities are both very into it. I tried it out. You can move around. And then, if you hit the right combination of buttons, you can smash things or add things. Smashing roses is fun. But I don't get the point. Maybe I'm just not good at the internet. I loved legos as a kid.
posted by Night_owl at 5:43 AM on November 10, 2010


Night_owl:

Punch Tree -> Get Wood
Hit 'i' for Inventory, place wood in single crafting square -> Get Boards

Now you have blocks you can build with. If you want different (stronger) blocks, you'll need to build some tools and start digging. Once you start mining, you open up another host of issues - the need for light, for protection against zombies, better resources for better tools, and so on.

Before you know it, you'll have built this vast underground mine complex. You'll use all that extra stone you dug up to build a castle. The castle's main tower may or may not look like a wang.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:48 AM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


Can someone please, please tell me how to enjoy Minecraft?

Amen!
posted by nomadicink at 5:52 AM on November 10, 2010


Can someone please, please tell me how to enjoy Minecraft?

Are... are you trolling us, Night_owl?

But I don't get the point. Maybe I'm just not good at the internet. I loved legos as a kid.

You've got to be.
posted by Appropriate Username at 5:53 AM on November 10, 2010


My Daddy was a Professional Minecraft LARPer for 20-odd years.

Until the Cube Lung got 'im.
posted by The Whelk at 5:58 AM on November 10, 2010 [18 favorites]


Don't give cortex ideas!

I shit you not, I woke up this morning trying to figure out what the calendar system for Minecraft's internal game time should be. I figure 20 minute day cycle means 72 days a day, 36 day months means two months a day, 6-day weeks would divide a month into six weeks, call it a seven month year and you've got two years of gametime each game week.

Which makes construction time for huge projects seem a little more plausible. "Yeah, it took me a couple days" becomes "yeah, that took me like four months."
posted by cortex at 6:10 AM on November 10, 2010 [10 favorites]


But I don't get the point. Maybe I'm just not good at the internet. I loved legos as a kid

Actually, I just read up about the game on Wikipedia and maybe the problem I've had with the game is that I've been playing the free classic version, which has unlimited blocks and less features. Evidently if you buy the game you really do have to think and plan stuff when digging mines for ore, which can then be used to build things.

The game currently costs $15 US dollars, $9.95 in British pounds. Might be worth it!

I shit you not, I woke up this morning trying to figure out what the calendar system for Minecraft's internal game time should be.

I'd stage and intervention, but have no ore.
posted by nomadicink at 6:21 AM on November 10, 2010


Oh. OH. OH! Now I understand. Hm. Maybe not this month. But that is certainly a most important revelation.
posted by Night_owl at 6:26 AM on November 10, 2010


You know, if you hate monsters you can play on Peaceful mode. It's still really great. In fact, better, IMO.

Yeah, it's a nice alternative to have if you really just want to build stuff and don't want to bother fending off zombies and creepers. I turned on peaceful mode for a while because I had built a castle, and the entrance to my main mine shaft was inside said castle. I thought I had everything in said mine well lit, and, um, I thought wrong. I fire the game up, start down my very long flight of stairs into my mine, and am greeted by a small army of creepers and slimes, heading up towards me.

Slimes, fine. But creepers? God, why did it have to be creepers?

Oh, and as to the actual post (d'oh), I'll just repeat delmoi: Wait. Professional LARPer?
posted by menschlich at 6:28 AM on November 10, 2010


Actually, I just read up about the game on Wikipedia and maybe the problem I've had with the game is that I've been playing the free classic version, which has unlimited blocks and less features. Evidently if you buy the game you really do have to think and plan stuff when digging mines for ore, which can then be used to build things.

Oh my yes. The paid version is where it's at. It's a whole thing, that way, not just sticking blocks on stuff but living (for a, granted, very simple model of living) in a real world with constraints and increasingly complex terrain and nasty antagonists. Obviously I'm not an unbiased source at this point but it is absolutely, positively worth the money you spent that one time on that totally shitty movie at the theater.

I'd stage and intervention, but have no ore.

I'm pretty sure the six day-names should be:

Mineday
Toolsday
Waterday
Dirtday
Fireday
Stoneday

I'm not deeply in love with "Dirtday" but its got the right vowel curve and solves the Tuesday-Thursday "two Ts" problem with the English calendar.

Month names, now, that's a question...
posted by cortex at 6:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [10 favorites]


The game currently costs $15 US dollars, $9.95 in British pounds

It doesn't cost much, JUST YOUR VOICE.
posted by The Whelk at 6:43 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Creeptember, obviously.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:43 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The problem with a minecraft calendar is that the earth calendar is based on cycles which don't exist in minecraft.

Years are based on seasons, months are based on moon cycles and weeks were based on market schedules.

Since the sun rises directly to the east and sets directly on the west every single day, and the moon never has cycles, then there's no basis on which to even have months and years, though weeks are perfectly reasonable to have on a multiplayer server. (Spleef on Sundays!)

Someone needs to ping notch about having realistic astronomical cycles.
posted by empath at 6:44 AM on November 10, 2010


And Aughast.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:45 AM on November 10, 2010


I'm not deeply in love with "Dirtday"

"Oresday", maybe? Has a bit of a rhyme going for it.
posted by quin at 6:45 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thought it gets away from the 'Months named after mobs' theme, Rocktober could work as well. I'd prefer Mob Months (Mobths), though.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:48 AM on November 10, 2010


Buy Minecraft during Nanowrimo? That just sounds sadist.
posted by nomadicink at 6:48 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not deeply in love with "Dirtday"

Dirtsday
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:49 AM on November 10, 2010


Buy Minecraft during Nanowrimo? That just sounds sadist.

By December 1st expect a whole new genre of lost in the wilderness, fighting monsters and building tunnels novels.
posted by The Whelk at 6:51 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Actually, we should probably invent a pantheon of Minecraft gods to name weeks and months after.
posted by empath at 6:51 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Zombuary, Apig, Aughast, Cowtober, Creeptember, and Chicken?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:52 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Someone needs to ping notch about having realistic astronomical cycles.

I dearly wish he will do something like that but I'm not holding my breath. In the meantime, we have no standard time metric by which to track events in a game or on a server; tying an arbitrary calendar to the existing patterns of real life time metrics seems like the next best thing.

"Oresday", maybe? Has a bit of a rhyme going for it.

Ooh, that's rather nice.
posted by cortex at 6:52 AM on November 10, 2010


I think we could go with the Greek mode of two pantheons -- Olympian (sky) and Cthonian (earth).

We'd need gods of the Sky, the Sun, the Moon, of Good Mobs and of Bad Mobs, the Mother of Creepers, the Lord of the Nether who commands ghasts, skeletons, zombies and spiders, the harvest goddess, gods of each biome, and so on.
posted by empath at 6:56 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


In Minecraftian cosmology, the square rather than the circle represents the Ideal Form.
posted by The Whelk at 6:57 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lousy Smarch weather.
posted by ostranenie at 6:58 AM on November 10, 2010


Yeah, empath, we won't really be able to get a good Minecraft horoscope unless we assign some sort of mystical motivation to the time periods.

With a six week month, we could ascribe each week with a stage of mob encounter?

Meet (You see a mob)
Surprise (Mob sees you first.)
Hassle (Mob gets in your way)
Torment (You devise something to torment mob)
Slay (You kill the mob)
Drop (You get their stuff)

Obviously, starting a building project during the second week of Creeptember would be inauspicious. There would be feasting during the fifth week of Apig.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:06 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Has anyone determined the distance and sizes of the sun and moon and what speed they're travelling at, assuming a block equals one meter. I assume you can do it based on shadow lengths?
posted by empath at 7:06 AM on November 10, 2010


Buy Minecraft during Nanowrimo? That just sounds sadist.

I have to say, I'm currently waiting out hearing back from publishers about a novel I have on submission, and playing minecraft all day is soooooo much better than the coping technique I'd previously been using to deal (endless Doritos, woe).

And I'd just been thinking last night about whether or not there was some sort of extant minecraft calendar, or some way to keep track of the days, or if someone had already started that (are we all living in Year One?). Though I guess it brings up all manner of existential questions...
posted by mothershock at 7:11 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which makes construction time for huge projects seem a little more plausible. "Yeah, it took me a couple days" becomes "yeah, that took me like four months."

That dawned on me as I finished the roof of my clifftop all-glass house and went down to hang my Kings Quest portraits by the bookcases.

First thought: Hey, that only took a couple of days.

Second thought: Holy shit, from his perspective, it was like three weeks just making the glass, and he had to shatter roughly half of the skywalk when I realized I'd screwed up the design. Poor bastard. I suck at God.

I need to return to the fold at Mefightclub. I hear their server is thirty kinds of badass. But part of me is kind of invested in a whole zombified Robinson Crusoe storyline in my head where my poor dude has to find a way to keep mining and building without going mad mad, I tell you, MAD! from the futility of all that mining and building for a world no one else will ever see.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:13 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also the thought of griefers breaking my hard-built stuff is too much for my heart to bear.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:15 AM on November 10, 2010


In Minecraftian cosmology, the square rather than the circle represents the Ideal Form.

And the cube is the perfected form of the square. The cube has six faces: six days in a week, six weeks in a month.

Seven months in a year is a curious artifact of prehistorical cultures, the true origin long forgotten but several theories argue for different possibilities; one popular if contentious notion is that the seventh month represents the cube's seventh, inner face, and that the whole of the universe is contained by this inner face of a single cube in a higher universe.

Critics of this theory laugh it off as superstitious nonsense, the stories of idle minerlings not yet into their first digs. But some theoretical metageologists have posited a "many worlds" theory that posits that there is not just one universe but a preponderance of them, existing in rough parallel though each different in its details, the number of universes growing over time; some have argued that this theory establishes a rational basis for the spiritual belief in the Inner Face.
posted by cortex at 7:23 AM on November 10, 2010 [14 favorites]


I AM NOT DOING NANOWRIMO THIS YEAR I AM NOT DOING NANOWRIMO THIS YEAR I AM NOT DOING N—
posted by cortex at 7:24 AM on November 10, 2010


Though I guess it brings up all manner of existential questions...

The righteous need not cower before the drumbeat of mob spawning. Though the sands of yesterday smelt into the glass of tomorrow, Notchstill watches and judges us. Evil lurks in the tunnels as it lurked in the dark of yesternight. But it was never the dark that was evil.
- Sister Miriam Blockwinson
"The Blessed Endeavor"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:25 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


We need to start a minecraft cosmology wiki.
posted by empath at 7:26 AM on November 10, 2010


Has anyone determined the distance and sizes of the sun and moon and what speed they're travelling at, assuming a block equals one meter. I assume you can do it based on shadow lengths?

I don't believe we have any way of making such a determination. Shadows are curiously static in the Minecraft world; while the sun clearly shines more light than does the moon and stars, the configuration of shadows on the ground remain consistently top-down regardless of the position of the stellar light source. Perhaps this suggests a curious diffusion effect in the atmosphere, overwhelming any perceptible point-source shadows from the sun by some generalized top-down pattern of illumination. The atmosphere acting as some sort of lens that redirects the bulk of visible light.

I hear their server is thirty kinds of badass.

It really is pretty damned great, though I'm personally excited for the "survival" part of "survival multiplayer" to really arrive.
posted by cortex at 7:29 AM on November 10, 2010


Obviously.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:30 AM on November 10, 2010


I don't believe we have any way of making such a determination. Shadows are curiously static in the Minecraft world; while the sun clearly shines more light than does the moon and stars, the configuration of shadows on the ground remain consistently top-down regardless of the position of the stellar light source.

Actually, as you watch the sun go down, the shadows spread across the earth slowly, and vice versa.
posted by empath at 7:32 AM on November 10, 2010


MINECRAFT HAS NON-CORNERED
SIMULTANEOUS 4-DAY
TIME SPHERE
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 7:34 AM on November 10, 2010 [15 favorites]


While there has been some griefing on the mefightclub server (RIP watersilde) it is fairly reflective of mefi vs the internet at large. As in, people on the server are on the whole pretty decent, neighborly, doing awesome things and being awesome, etc. And there are new protections in place, though I'm not exactly sure how effective they are/how they work.

If you make your stuff out of something non-flamable I think you'll be fine. Also with mobs being all kinds of funky in multiplayer, I think the only place you can find gunpowder is in dungeon chests. It would take lots of dedication to get enough TNT to blow up your stone/glass/whatever buildings.
posted by fontophilic at 7:34 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The common thread in most Minecraftian mythology is the Void, which had neither Up Nor Down and the two brothers (or sisters, it's kind of confusing) One of whom built the first nerdpole, creating the Up and the other dug the first nerdhole, creating The Down.
posted by The Whelk at 7:34 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Every time there's one of these Minecraft threads, I feel like I'm anxiously, edgily walking around a big, alluring box labeled "DO NOT OPEN- PROPERTY OF PANDORA."
posted by COBRA! at 7:37 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


the big red shiny alluring box?
posted by The Whelk at 7:38 AM on November 10, 2010


Every time there's one of these Minecraft threads, I feel like I'm anxiously, edgily walking around a big, alluring box labeled "DO NOT OPEN- PROPERTY OF PANDORA."

I did that for a long time. And then, half-drunk and not having anything to do while on a business trip, I opened it.

Then I punched a cow.

Open the box, COBRA!

Open the box.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:42 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


May god have mercy on my soul.
posted by COBRA! at 7:49 AM on November 10, 2010


Every time there's one of these Minecraft threads, I feel like I'm anxiously, edgily walking around a big, alluring box labeled "DO NOT OPEN- PROPERTY OF PANDORA."

As a recent arrival to the world of Minecraft, I can assure you that you are 100% correct about this.
posted by FishBike at 7:50 AM on November 10, 2010


The common thread in most Minecraftian mythology is the Void, which had neither Up Nor Down and the two brothers (or sisters, it's kind of confusing) One of whom built the first nerdpole, creating the Up and the other dug the first nerdhole, creating The Down.

Do I have to be the one that points out that the male is the pole and the female is the hole?
posted by empath at 7:53 AM on November 10, 2010


As a recent arrival to the world of Minecraft, I can assure you that you are 100% correct about this.

Seconded. The Penny Arcade comic nails it.
posted by menschlich at 7:53 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I AM NOT DOING NANOWRIMO THIS YEAR I AM NOT DOING NANOWRIMO THIS YEAR I AM NOT DOING N—

Hey, you could just type that out another seven or eight thousand times and call it square.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:00 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


In our youth, we fear one parent and love the other. Thus when we are born to the island, we fear the arrival of the moon and welcome the coming of the sun. But as we age, we grow apart from our parents, and so we turn our backs on the sun and dig deep into the earth. Free from the parental cycle, we only return for the occasional visit, perhaps to chop at the sun's gifts or stymie the moon's aggressions.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:08 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


maybe the problem I've had with the game is that I've been playing the free classic version, which has unlimited blocks and less features....The game currently costs $15 US dollars, $9.95 in British pounds. Might be worth it!

Make sure you have at least a week's worth of clean laundry before you take the plunge.

Curse you, empath. Curse you for the day you made me go, "Waitwaitwait. There are zombies in this game?"

Anyway, regarding the VIDEO IN THE FPP, I have three comments:

1. Really annoying lisp, and not in a "that's funny because it's a humorous exaggeration" way.

2. Why wasn't the ghast throwing fireballs, er, red Nerf balls or something?

3. Skeletons running AWAY from the player? Girl, please. Monsters don't run away in this game, no matter how sparkly your sword or how Leeroy Jenkinsesque your battle cry. LARPFAIL.
posted by Gator at 8:17 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Missing The Ladder and Falling to My Death, Closing the Program, Swearing it Off, Opening it Back Up Five Minutes Later: The Game.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 8:23 AM on November 10, 2010


I'm building a bar in Porkton (with a performance space/club under it ..the uh ..Mineshaft) And I am so adding these weekdays to the daily specials list

MINEDAY: AGHASTLY ALE
TOOLSDAY: 2 4 1 FURNACE BLASTERS
ZOMBIES DRINK FREE DIRTSDAY.

And so on in that fashion.
posted by The Whelk at 8:27 AM on November 10, 2010


Sweet, my bros and I are heading there to get totally smelted this Firesday. We're gonna put Green Record on repeat and pound 1/2 price grilled pork apps til we HORK!
posted by Demogorgon at 9:00 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awesome, Pixie & The Voxels will be playing, part of the Golden Apple Tour.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 AM on November 10, 2010


LARPing? My 4-year-old daughter call that "recess."
posted by Ratio at 9:20 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


With regards to griefing on the MeFightClub server, there have been two major incidents in the two months I have been there. That's nothing. One member had a few things altered (water fountain messed up, various features of a property disturbed). I had a boat ride burn down, and I can't even prove that it was griefing. Both times it looked like it was an act of aggression against the individual, not the server at large.

In other words, middleclasstool, come play with us. Nobody is going to screw up your stuff. The worst you'll likely have to contend with is a property rights discussion when your cave touches someone else's or something trivial like that.
posted by komara at 9:35 AM on November 10, 2010


My Daddy was a Professional Minecraft LARPer for 20-odd years.

Until the Cube Lung got 'im.



Me Da' hasn't played Minecraft since the '80s.

Bloody Thatcher.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:57 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


My cautionary tale: How to Completely Screw Yourself With Portals
posted by straight at 10:42 AM on November 10, 2010


I'm now wondering if there'd be any sort of benefit to building an area up at the top of the sky and setting up a portal there. But I'm not wondering too hard because I'm finding the Nether to be a colossal pointless bore, for the most part.
posted by Gator at 10:54 AM on November 10, 2010


There is ...a portal ...hovering ..far above ..Porkton.

It worries me.
posted by The Whelk at 10:56 AM on November 10, 2010


So, I started playing this morning. MeFight Club people, should I jump into the server, or is it better to sit off on your own for a while and learn the ropes? Or should I just start LARPing? My office really needs someone to carry around a block of stone.
posted by COBRA! at 11:27 AM on November 10, 2010



Mineday
Toolsday
Waterday
Dirtday
Fireday
Stoneday


The Rolling Stones, "Ruby Toolsday"

The Moody Blues, "Toolsday Afternoon"

The Easybeats, "Fireday On My Mind"

&c.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:38 AM on November 10, 2010


COBRA!, I recommend you play the single-player game (with monsters, not on peaceful) at least long enough to:

1. Build yourself a secure, well-lit structure in which to safely pass the night.

2. Explore natural caverns at least until you get deep enough to find some iron.

It's fun to figure things out for yourself, but you'll eventually want to peek at a crafting guide because there's lots of stuff you can make that you wouldn't think of on your own. Killing a few spiders to get string to make a bow should be a pretty high priority -- it will make a huge difference in surviving encounters with monsters.

Other fun things you might want to try in single player include

* build a boat and explore the world until you find some new biomes

* dig a deep mine

* make buckets and play with the weird, fun water and lava physics

* use cactus, lava, and/or fire to make monster traps

* build a treehouse

* make your castle / dungeon /whatever more awesome
posted by straight at 11:43 AM on November 10, 2010


I like how this game is turning us all into Flintstone writers.
posted by The Whelk at 11:43 AM on November 10, 2010


should I jump into the server, or is it better to sit off on your own for a while and learn the ropes?

You can do both! Just keep in mind that they are two VERY different experiences, for now anyway. For single player, I recommend (as always) that you watch "How to survive your first night" and that guy's subsequent videos for a quick beginner's guide to survival, crafting, and general getting-around know-how. (The Mincraft wiki is kinda useful, but also kinda not, in some ways.) Welcome to the addiction.
posted by Gator at 12:08 PM on November 10, 2010


I managed to create a portal in the sky, somehow. I think I broke down the new ones that appeared, then returned to my base to go through the original portal that I created. Doing this a few times netted me lots of Obsidian and access to a different cave every time. Apart from the last time. Cause when you drop out of the sky onto Dirt, it's not funny.
posted by Solomon at 1:12 PM on November 10, 2010


Half my EVE Online corporation is obsessed with Minecraft, and has set up a server and everything, but they stay logged in on our usual voice-chat, so while I'm trying to bypass space piraces in between Caldari and Gallente space or fitting tech-2 afterburners on my new interceptor, I'm listening to stuff like, "How do I build stairs?" and, "Look, I made a garden for my penis-castle!"

Which is disconcerting, to say the least.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:20 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


...I'm finding the Nether to be a colossal pointless bore, for the most part.

Hrm? But the whole *game* is pointless at the moment, in the sense that there's no goal. How is the Nether any more pointless than the regular world?
posted by IjonTichy at 2:11 PM on November 10, 2010


The paid version is where it's at. It's a whole thing, that way, not just sticking blocks on stuff but living (for a, granted, very simple model of living) in a real world with constraints and increasingly complex terrain and nasty antagonists.

Minecraft is a PhD simulator?
posted by ersatz at 2:12 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


How is the Nether any more pointless than the regular world?

For me, the Nether is pointless because there's nothing unique or useful to do or to mine down there, other than Lightstone, which is pretty much useless as far as I can tell. Somebody in another thread (I think) said you can use it to make a light that works underwater, but Lightstone is way too hard to get for such a lame use. They also say Lightstone will be needed for lanterns, but even if that's true, I don't see the point -- bloodstone already provides a perpetual light source. Ghasts and pigmen only drop gunpowder and pork chops, which you can already get on the surface, more easily. And with the most recent update, Notch said that the ghasts and pigmen will no longer suffer damage from fire or lava, making them harder to kill with no special payoff. If there was something, anything, unique in the Nether that could be mined for making a cool new weapon, armor, or some other neat tool, I'd find it a worthwhile place to set up camp and go mining and exploring, but right now it only seems good for grabbing a few easy stacks of bloodstone for burning on the surface.
posted by Gator at 2:30 PM on November 10, 2010


Agreed. Once you are over the novelty (love the ghast sounds), it's really just a world with 2 block types and entirely too much lava.
posted by cj_ at 2:58 PM on November 10, 2010


Three. Three block types. Don't forget slow sand.
posted by komara at 4:28 PM on November 10, 2010


Ah, I see what you mean now. It does provide a method of fast travel, but I suppose that's no reason to linger there.

I'm having a hard time thinking up something useful enough to make it worth going there. Maybe that could be the only source of diamond? That'd be harsh, though.
posted by IjonTichy at 8:19 PM on November 10, 2010


1. The World is the totality of all the blocks that have been placed.
posted by anotherbrick at 9:36 PM on November 10, 2010


...
7. Where one cannot build, one can only sneak by in silence.
posted by anotherbrick at 9:41 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


My impression from Notch's comments is that the Nether is only supposed to be a dangerous and creepy method of fast-travel. It's not a destination.
posted by straight at 10:46 PM on November 10, 2010


I haven't been to the nether myself, but one interesting use of it would be to allow players to craft things there that cannot be crafted in the normal world. Easy would be different versions of normal things -- a flint + a stick + a feather makes a Nether Arrow if you do it in the nether. Or allow a workbench that has a 4x4 grid and new things to build with it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:00 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aporkalypse is BIG. Nether is going to be very useful for travel.
posted by Bonzai at 12:10 AM on November 11, 2010


Three indeed. I don't know why I forgot about the Mud, considering how useful t is. Still, though, there's not much there.

The big problem with Nether is he chose to implement it as a separate world. That works out great for single-player, but how the hell does he expect that to work in a multi-player server? Load both of them at the same time in separate threads? Haha! My beefy hardware is already struggling under the load of rendering one world.

I think he's backed himself into a corner here. He either needs to re-implement the concept of the Nether entirely as a single-world thing (rendered underneath bedrock) or abandon multi-player entirely. Judging by how things are going, I suspect he'll do the latter.
posted by cj_ at 5:25 AM on November 11, 2010


My impression from Notch's comments is that the Nether is only supposed to be a dangerous and creepy method of fast-travel. It's not a destination.

Nonsense. I intend to build a vacation home there.

The big problem with Nether is he chose to implement it as a separate world. That works out great for single-player, but how the hell does he expect that to work in a multi-player server? Load both of them at the same time in separate threads?

Well, chunks are chunks, yes? Right now a server exists, to my understanding, as a collection of not-necessarily-connected clumps of chunks around each player. I'm off hanging out in the pile of chunks near my Sierpinski Carpet, in the meantime The Whelk is over in Whelkonia fifteen miles away tooling away at whatever goes on in Whelkonia, and the server isn't actively keeping track of the big stretch of un-loaded chunks in between.

I'm not sure that, in Notch's architecture, Nether is really all that much more than another particular biome loaded with another pile of chunks at a time. I'm more worried about general client-server code issues and shit like redstone and minecarts than I am about Nether becoming a burden.
posted by cortex at 7:07 AM on November 11, 2010


Perhaps we should try MetaFilter LARP one day?
posted by FishBike at 5:59 PM on November 11, 2010


Only if I get to play as the Flamer-Outer class. And as a half-elf. Half-elves rock.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:06 PM on November 11, 2010


Well, chunks are chunks, yes?

Kinda. If you pay attention to what's going on in the filesystem, it's not that simple. There is the concept of a "world" which is a theoretically infinite string of chunks. But the Nether is implemented as an entirely different world located in a subdirectory of that world.

I believe he did this out of laziness. The right thing to do is keep the Nether as part of the same "world" (directory structure), perhaps constrained to being under the bedrock, but he chose to just spawn a new world. I'm not sure what technical problems led up to this, but that's what he's doing. The problem then becomes: For multiplayer, to support the concept of some players being in the overworld and some players being in the Nether, you need to run 2 servers at once. If you play single player, you'll notice the game reloads when you enter a portal. That is not feasible for multiplayer.
posted by cj_ at 12:32 AM on November 13, 2010


Damn you people for convincing me to get this awesome game.
posted by drezdn at 9:45 AM on November 14, 2010


I believe he did this out of laziness.

I think it's a function of how the terrain is generated, it's based on x-y coordinates and a random seed. I don't see a problem with having the nether as a separate server, it's easy enough to run two and tie them in together, if you're already running one. Eventually he's going to make portals go between servers anyway.
posted by empath at 10:15 AM on November 14, 2010


Damn you people for convincing me to get this awesome game.
posted by drezdn


Seconded.
posted by COBRA! at 12:52 PM on November 14, 2010


it's easy enough to run two and tie them in together, if you're already running one.

No, it isn't. What you have to realize is that just running one world is extremely resource intensive. Running two simultaneously is going to knock every server operator that can't afford high-end hardware out of the game. You may feel that's OK, but it's unprecedented. It's been understood thus far in the universe of multiplayer gaming that even modern games don't need much server resources, as stuff like graphics rendering is handled client-side. But Minecraft is written in pure Java and eats memory like a pig. I have hardware that can host a SRCDS server for 32 comfortably but is struggling under the load Minecraft is putting on it. Doubling that load is patently absurd. I suspect that's why he didn't even try and Nether isn't even implemented.
posted by cj_ at 2:43 AM on November 15, 2010


(And I have every reason to believe that the reason he made it a second world instead of the same world with offset coordinates is so he could have a different skyline canopy. You can see this yourself if you set hellword=true in the server properties. You get a red sky. In other words, he implemented Nether in the most lazy and unfriendly-to-multiplayer way possible just to easily accomplish some aesthetics he had in mind.)
posted by cj_ at 2:47 AM on November 15, 2010


Just get a second host. It's like a couple of dollars a month for a hosted minecraft box.
posted by empath at 5:11 AM on November 15, 2010


In other words, he implemented Nether in the most lazy and unfriendly-to-multiplayer way possible just to easily accomplish some aesthetics he had in mind.

He hasn't implemented anything yet. The game hasn't been released yet. You're fooling around with one of his rough drafts.

The whole point of alpha builds is you can quickly implement a new idea in a half-assed way to see if you think it's worth taking the time to do it right.
posted by straight at 11:59 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh joy, one of the "It's Alpha!" warriors.

I understand it's Alpha. If no one complains about his decisions during alpha, he will go ahead and release them, assuming they were good decisions. It is your duty as an alpha tester to communicate your problems with his alpha build. That is all I am doing. Defending buggy/non-working code is not actually helpful to him or the community. Your job as an alpha-tester is to give him honest feedback about bugs, what sucks, and what you want from the game.

Alpa Tester != Evangelical Defender
posted by cj_ at 3:28 AM on November 18, 2010


There's a weird sort of psychological battlefield that has emerged from Notch's newfound fame, where on the one hand there are folks who have been profoundly, out-of-proportion critical of his failure to do things exactly as they would prefer and on the other hand there have been folks responding to that overt criticism with uninflected praise and support of Notch's every whim, regardless of that whim seems to serve the actual player base very well.

I don't really think either of those extremes has been much represented in mefi discussions—it's more the stuff of the dude's (awful, he-should-close-them-down) blog comment sections and the nutso kiddos on 4chan and so forth—and I appreciate the more nuanced back and forth that we've generally had here as far as what people like and dislike, agree and disagree with, about how development has gone on this game even as it has suddenly and unexpectedly gone from being Some Indie Guy In Sweden Building A Game to an online phenomenon with millions of dollars behind it. Minecraft presents itself as an unquestionably interesting and engaging thing, but Notch is absolutely not a polished game studio with the resources to go with it and it shows in his haphazard approach to testing and release. There's lots of stuff for reasonable people to disagree about here.

I personally wish Notch would make multiplayer his absolute top priority, to the point of releasing fixes for basic broken stuff before arsing about with shiny things. There's lots of neat stuff happening on the mefightclub server and it's frustrating that some of it is hamstrung by lack of functioning features; minecarts went from not-working to not-working-differently, boats have gone from buggy but workable to outright borked, and the latest patch resurrected a block repop bug that's about as close to anathema to meaningful mining and construction work as you can get. But...we're still hacking away on the server and having a pretty great time with it. We're moving several hundred thousand blocks around on the server on a daily basis. So I have mixed feelings; on the one hand some of the dev weirdness is annoying and in specific cases bums me out a little, but on the other I've been getting just unprecedented value for my money out of this unorthodox public-alpha-release approach to the game and wouldn't trade it for pretty much anything I've played in the last ten years. It's tricky.

All that said, folks arguing that self-admitted alpha software (that, six months ago, no one would have had any expectations of) is just that, software in active early development likely to be all kinds of weird from moment to moment, seem to be pretty grounded in the reality of the situation. The "alpha warriors" things is kind of a lousy jibe for folks whose main error is not being pessimistic about a cool game they like, and insofar as the overly-critical /b/utt puzzles, and not the this-is-awesome-and-i'll-be-patient folks, are the ones who have been e.g. performing DDOS attacks on the infrastructure of game itself, I have a hard time feeling like people who just think the game is neat and are willing to deal with some three-steps-forward-and-two-steps-back development meandering really deserve grief about it.
posted by cortex at 7:01 AM on November 18, 2010


there are folks who have been profoundly, out-of-proportion critical of his failure to do things exactly as they would prefer and on the other hand there have been folks responding to that overt criticism with uninflected praise and support of Notch's every whim

Yup, welcome to fandom, Notch. You're in good company, along with J.K. Rowling, Joss Whedon, Stephenie Meyer, Gene Roddenberry, Kevin Smith, George Lucas...
posted by Gator at 7:28 AM on November 18, 2010


and the latest patch resurrected a block repop bug that's about as close to anathema to meaningful mining and construction work as you can get

Oh come on, some people really enjoy mining. So being able to pickax that same bit of rock or shovel that same block of gravel four or five times in a row just adds to the the pleasure... right?

I've had some weird luck in preventing this by adjusting the speed with which I move when mining; slightly slower than full forward seems to eliminate it, but it might just be confirmation bias on my part.
posted by quin at 7:44 AM on November 18, 2010


My approach has been to take a "dig-through" line where I make sure that I am still swinging away at where the first block was even as I begin hacking away at the next block. Mining a flat strip of ground at foot-to-waist level by digging forward at a moderately declined angle and walking forward makes it seem like the bug isn't even there.

But not every situation lends itself to that approach.
posted by cortex at 7:48 AM on November 18, 2010


cj, You sure don't sound like an alpha tester giving constructive feedback. You sound like a dissatisfied customer complaining.
posted by straight at 10:20 AM on November 18, 2010


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