So i decided to play Minecraft

My pandemic project was to learn to play video games. I feel like there’s this whole new art form, and I’m illiterate, and wanted to learn to “read”.

I tried a bunch of things, but ended up intrigued by Minecraft. It has a bunch of things to recommend it:

  • The controls are fairly standard, so if i got better moving in Minecraft, that would be a transferable skill
  • It’s pretty. That matters a lot of me
  • It’s an open world. I can’t “get stuck” behind some achievement that i simply can’t do. (Or that’s not fun.)
  • It’s a multiplayer game. I can “hang out” with other people in the game.

Also, I like playing with blocks and in sandboxes. So it’s a good fit for me. It’s also nice that there’s a range of difficulty levels.

I haven’t been very successful at becoming more “fluent”. I still sometimes hurl my tool away from me when i want to move forward (hit Q rather than W), i get disoriented when I’m in a new area, and i panic fighting scary monsters.

But i have had a lot of fun, and thought maybe I’d share some of what I’ve done.

I actually started in a group server, not “playing Minecraft” but square dancing with friends. We use discord for voice and music.

I’m clumsy, but it’s a lot of fun, and we are still playing from time to time, even though we are able to dance in person again. But we ended up with a group spread across the northeast US, southeast Canada, and California, and it’s not easy for us to dance together in person.

That’s a pretty developed world, and i wondered if i could survive and start a game myself. My son suggested i find a seed that started me in the mushroom fields, and i ended up doing that. One downside is that mushroom fields are ugly. Another is that there was nothing nearby other than mushroom fields and badlands, and a jungle. (Spawn is actually in some hilly jungle). So while i had plenty of feed, and shelter was easy, i didn’t have easy access to a lot of basic resources. Like a bed.

(And while the jungle is resource-rich, it’s also very difficult terrain if you aren’t good at video games.)

But i survived, i made it to the mid game, and i now oversee a bustling village with lots of librarians and I’m about to investigate the nether for the first time. The nether scares me, because maps don’t work, and i get disoriented easily.

I like the red and blue “wood” from the huge Nether fungi, but I have to travel to find the starter materials to grow them back at my base. I dread crossing lava oceans when the place I need to go is on the other side. I either painstakingly build an enclosed bridge or I go way up to just below the nether roof and tunnel along in the netherrack. I don’t have the fast-twitch reflexes of the younger players, so traipsing across one block wide paths over lava while dodging attacks from ghasts induces gut-clenching anxiety. I have the same problem when trying to travel in the End, building bridges over the Void. I can only take it for so long before I have to go do something else. :grinning:

Sometimes I play in a solo world, which I almost invariably name “Parallelogram Universe”, but I have played a little with my daughter and her college friends on a private server, and I have played quite a bit on a public server called “World of Apollo”. The players there are all over 18 and from around the world. (Australia, Canada, Romania, Netherlands, UK, Brazil, Portugal, US, etc.) I’m not the oldest player there, but I am probably in the top 10. No griefing (stealing or destroying other player’s stuff) is allowed. Everyone is very nice and helpful.

Sorry if this is a hijack, but if you’re new to games, and like pretty environments and simple controls, you might also want to consider The Witness.

I had not heard of The Witness. It looks like its a puzzle-solving game similar to Myst.

Another sandbox game with a lot of construction aspects and beautiful scenery is the scifi game No Man’s Sky. It’s generally not a pulse-pounding action game, although the occasional ship-to-ship combat can require some practice or faster reflexes.

I’m like you, I’ve recently gotten into video gaming after a lifetime of being video game illiterate. I picked up Fallout 4 in a Steam sale for $5 and I had a lot of fun playing it. If you’re looking for something different than Minecraft you might like one of the Fallout games. Lots of exciting adventures in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

It’s also open world, and in FO4 you can do a certain amount of building and crafting, so it’s not just battling raiders and monsters. You can gather and scrap basic materials like wood, steel, parts like gears and springs, and make things like shelters and defenses for settlements you build up and attract settlers to.

Enjoy your virtual journey!

If you’re playing survival (e.g. with active, aggressive monsters) remember that your ability to form your environment is your best defense. A single monster is usually easily dispatched with any sword, and running from serious trouble sometimes works… but sometimes you can’t. Have a stack of cheap blocks in an action slot and you can almost instantly, with just eight clicks, construct an impregnable minifort, building a two-block column immediately next to you in all four directions. (Spiders can climb, but other monsters cannot.) If you roam far from home just have enough stuff on you to construct a mini house to spend the night.

Once you find sheep you can gather wool to build a bed, at which point you can just skip nighttime entirely.

In terms of resource gathering in the early going your priority is iron; it’s the one thing that seems to run out quickest because it’s so important for quality tools and armor. While coal is very important (torches EVERYWHERE, man) it seems to be way easier to find and anyway you can create charcoal if need be. Your most energy efficient approach is to find pre-existing caves and looks for open iron and coal seams. Constructing a self-dug mine under your house is a pretty standard move too, but you’ll have the basement dug out surprisingly quickly.

Build a lot of chests. You’ll need them.

When exploring, if you haven’t created a map, use torches to mark your way. It’s helpful to place a few in a line pointing towards your home base.

Because of COURSE that’s the kind of dancing you’d do in Minecraft. :slight_smile:

Yes, my first real adventure was to build a boat, sail to more gentle biomes, and capture a pair of sheep which i returned to my base. A helpful enderman left a block of grass not far away, and i was able to cultivate that into a small sheep paddock. I planted birch trees around it, and have had as many beds as i needed ever since.

I’ve since built out a little arboretum, with a few of every tree (except azalea and nether trees, which i haven’t yet encountered) so i have my choice of building woods.

That may have been the most challenging thing I’ve done yet.

Anyway, my son says that if i get him a nice set of gear he’ll accompany me to the nether, so I’m off to trade with villagers…

I’ve decided i don’t want to torture villagers, though. So my prices are higher than ideal. But I was able to use the model for a “peaceful mode iron farm” to build a supply of emeralds and iron. I built a string farm based on a spider spawner, and have an outpost of fletchers nearby who generate iron golems as well as turning my string into emeralds. And with a good supply of emeralds and iron it wasn’t hard to train up some villagers to sell me diamond gear. (The gear I’m currently wearing was made from diamonds i mined, but my son’s set won’t be.)

But i really want to get shulker boxes, ender chests, and elytra, so there’s a lot more development i need to do.

Flying over the landscape is one of my favorite in-game activities. :grinning:

Once i can do that, i may build a zoo. I have a small archipelago of moderately flat terrain that would be a good place for a zoo.

If you acquire some goats for the zoo, make sure their enclosure has a roof. The silly beasts can jump a ridiculous distance up and over obstacles. :grinning:

A sufficiently large structure will spawn monsters inside if it’s mostly not lit; I once constructed an enormous pyramid with a slightly lit glass tunnel going through it that could be used to tease the monsters.

Foxes and rabbits also jump high enough to be hard to contain. And rabbits have some weird bug where they get “stuck” sometimes.

I haven’t seen goats, yet. I mostly built a zoo in the square dance server, but that was pre the introduction of goats. Of all the new animals, i think the only one I’ve seen is the glow squid.

Glow squids are surprisingly easy to find.

I haven’t seen a goat, either. Or if I did I didn’t notice it wasn’t a sheep. I do have a lot of donkeys and llamas around, and I don’t know what to do with them.

My effort to build a max height tower has now gotten to the point that at no time or condition is the top of the tower not partially greyed out by distance when viewed from the ground. They raised the max height more than I’d thought. I’ve lost track of how many blocks high it is.

If you like building things, and like space, you could try Kerbal Space Program. It lets you build rockets, fly them, and run missions like Mission Control. There are mods that let you automate some things, like doing the actual flying, so you can concentrate on the parts of the game you enjoy the most.

There are different game modes as well. You can just play as a sandbox game that lets you use all the parts, or you can use Science Mode, where you have to complete missions to unlock science points to research new parts, or a full economic mode, where you also have to earn money to pay for your rockets. All of them have their fun aspects.

There are also challenge modes, where you re-create historical space programs, or proposed future space programs.

I think they only spawn in mountains. I haven’t gone climbing, yet. I haven’t really explored any of the new mountains and caves, honestly, since i started this game in 1.17, and have mostly stayed in areas that were already generated when i upgraded to 1.18. I kinda want to go to the end and get elytra before i do a lot of other exploring.

I do have some pretty substantial hills around and the pigs and cows will stand around on steep cliff faces like those goats that climb old Roman dams in defiance of gravity. It’s hilarious.

Painful memories of the last time I played this. The exhaustive wiki which I highly recommend.

From what I can gather, you’re playing on Peaceful level. This is good. Peaceful is your friend. I know everyone here’s raring for you to go balls to the wall on Normal, but trust me, the best way to get things done is to not die every 15 seconds. Worked fine for me.

The only problem, which you’ll learn once you get serious about the crafting aspect, is that not everything is obtainable from mines, plants, or harmless beasties. Even something as simple as string (required for bows and various devices) can only be had from spiders, which only come out at night on Easy (remembering that “Easy” in a video game is “Probably Won’t Kill You, But Update Your Will Just In Case” in most other recreational activities) or harder. And fighting enemies at night is when the fun really begins! :grimacing:

"The fun" - Scenario 1

  1. A rampaging thermonuclear apocalyptic humanity slaughtering goddess of absolute global annihilation “witch” shows up.
  2. She throws a potion at you.
  3. You die in five seconds.
  4. Maybe eight. It’s been a while.

"The fun" - Scenario 2

  1. You get spotted by one of those zombies that reduces your food level, and if you’re shaking your head at the very concept of that, buckle up.
  2. You struggle horribly to both gorge every scrap of food in your inventory and fight it and the other hunger zombies that show up, kind of like the most messed up Pac-Man ripoff ever.
  3. This continues until you either lose the struggle and die or Scenario 1 happens.

"The fun" - Scenario 3

  1. You get hounded by second-tier killers… skeleton archers, creepers, Endermen, the aforementioned spiders, etc.
  2. Man, are they supposed to hit that hard?
  3. Keep at it until you’re dead or Scenario 1 or 2 pans out.

You’re thinking of tackling the Nether. It has stuff like ghasts and blazes. It is worse than overland at night. I died repeatedly every time I was in the Nether. On the PS3 version… the only one I didn’t royally despise… I made extensive preparations for the Nether and still got whacked dozens of times.

See, the thing you need to understand about any long-running video game, especially in the age of live service and always-online, is that the programming staff is constantly trying to tip the scales of power against the player. (I noted in this journal how Ubisoft first put a +51 floor on all area levels, then reduced power-up sockets, then made certain attacks less effective… and on… and on… and on… and on… :scream:) The usual step is to “nerf” anything that’s overpowered. In the case of Minecraft, however, the player has the power to alter the environment itself, and there’s no way to take that away without completely wrecking the whole point of the game. So the team worked the other end. Tougher enemies. More aggravating enemies. Deadlier enemies. Most hostile biomes. And if that’s not enough, make them even harder… and even harder… and even harder. Oh, and don’t overlook the little things, either. Carrots are convenient and perfectly fine raw? OP! Release swarming bunnies to gobble them! That’ll show ya! Cobblestone is everywhere and useful for a lot of things! OP! Put in a bunch of other mineral types which can’t be used for anything and do nothing but wear out tools! You can just grow a tree anywhere? Let’s see you deal with five tree types clogging your inventory, wiseguy!

This has been accepted standard procedure for many years, incidentally, so don’t expect any sympathy the first time you dip a toe into Survival Easy (or Survival Normal/Hard, which, if I’m being brutally honest, probably amounts to the same) and get blasted 50 ways from Jupiter. Well, okay, I’ll sympathize, but that probably won’t help very much.

But if you can build with the speed and precision of a Rampart TAS, you should be okay.

Anyway… my advice is to explore the Nether in Peaceful with flying on, explore the place a bit, and decide is this is the kind place you want explore with no flying and no unlimited health and also lots of fire-shooting monstrosities roaming about.

You seem to be doing fine so far, though, so way to go. :+1:

I’m playing in normal mode (survival), and yeah, one witch killed me, and another didn’t because i managed to run away, but it was close. I haven’t run into the hunger zombies (husks) recently, but was killed by those back when i was playing on the shared square dance server.

And yeah, I’m expecting to die several times when i explore the nether. In fact, I’m busy crafting myself a second set of gear before i go so i don’t get too frustrated when i die repeatedly and lose all my stuff…

I have stacks and stacks of string, because i have a working spider farm (based on a spider spawner.) I dug an enormous pit, and they just drop to their death, leaving me piles of lovely string. Initially i just wanted it to make some scaffolding, because i tend to fall off ladders… Yeah, I’m not very good at this game. But then i discovered that villagers (specifically fletchers) will give me emerald for string, so i set up a fletcher outpost close to the spider farm. And the fletchers make iron golems in their spare time, which have been considerately walking into a floating block of lava and dropping iron for me.

But i need resources that can only be found in the nether. So i gotta do it. Wish me luck…

(I did start out in the mushroom fields. Which are a special biome where most monsters don’t spawn. I need to be careful about phantoms, and sometimes drowneds that spawn in the ocean come ashore and kill me. But it gave me a lot of extra breathing room to get started. Except for having no nearby source of sheep…)

Funny story about that iron farm. I had a problem with golems occasionally spawning too far away from the lava. And then the villagers stopped making new ones, and i had to kill the golem. (They have a gazillion hit points, and can kill me in one or two blows, but they aren’t very bright. If i stand up high i can shoot them with arrows and they just stand there looking at me while i do it. But it was a nuisance to have to keep restarting the farm.)

But then i got lazy, and instead of traveling between my base and the spider farm by boat, i built a portal through the nether. Not the real nether. It turns out there’s this completely safe space on the roof of the nether, that you can get to via what might be a bug. The roof of the nether is an awesome way to travel quickly from here to there.

Anyway, my son built me a two-tier portal, one to the real nether and the other to the roof. And I’ve been using the one to the roof…

So i built this portal right next to the fletcher outpost. And what do you know! When they create a golem that’s too far away to wander into the lava, it wanders into that portal. I have a growing collection of golems there. Also a llama and a wandering trader. It’s great! Now i don’t have to keep fixing my iron farm. At some point I’ll probably need to kill them, but right now I’m finding it kind of charming to see them roaming around.

(i should also figure out where the :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: those golems are spawning, and remove the blocks, or cover them with slabs or carpet or something. But it feels less urgent now.)