Having a wonderful time, wish you were here…

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Minecraft isn’t always the most social experience.  In fact, it’s a game about an extremely lonely existence while trying to survive!  The original game had you running from creepers, zombies, and skeletons while hoping to just survive.  In the current versions, you have the chance of running into a villager, and there’s always server play, so things can be less – lonely – but one way of looking at Minecraft is an adventure to some far away place.

I’ve been trained in my years of gaming to avoid the F-keys.  F1 was always “help” and the rest of the F-keys rarely did something useful (although auto-save was useful).  So, when it came to Minecraft, I ignored the F-keys for a pretty long time.  Until I realized how amazing they really are!  F1 removes the HUD (health bar, and any overlays, etc), F2 takes a screenshot, F3 shows debug info (great for seeing your X, Y, and Z position!) and F5 shows a different perspective – letting you even take a selfie!

Above is a selfie I took on stream, for a viewer in a “Make my day” lottery I run.  The challenge for you: take postcard pictures and shoot them to me on twitter: @thewizardllewyn

 

Minecraft Command Basics – for Creative & Server Play

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A few months ago, I launched my first Minecraft server.  I also had my first creative building experience.  Up until that point, everything I have done was in survival mode.  Despite my knowledge of Minecraft, I was lost when it came to some of the amazing power that Minecraft 1.8 actually has in the way of commands.  If you want an exhaustive tutorial on setting up a server (and many commands) check out the Gamepedia tutorial.  But below is a cheat-sheet of useful commands.  And, for people who have never used chat/command, type T and you’ll get a chat window.  Type in all commands there.

Useful Commands When Creatively Building

/time set

This command will take a 3rd parameter which is either a TIME or a name.  Named times are “dawn, day, midday, dusk, night, midnight”  So, and example would be: “/time set day” or “/time set night” (both without the quotes when you’re typing it in).  You can control the exact hour if you really want, but I won’t cover that.

/weather [clear/rain/thunder] duration

This command will change the weather.  Clear means sun, rain is raining, thunder means storms.  Duration is in seconds and isn’t necessary.  Example: “/weather clear” “/weather rain 3600”.

/gamerule

Gamerule changes a bit of how Minecraft works.  It can do some crazy things and you can find the full list here. but when it comes to creative builds, here are some common and useful uses:

/gamerule doDaylightCycle false (will not let time progress – so if it’s day, it remains day, if night, remains night.  To turn it back on, change false to true)

/gamerule doMobSpawning false (will determine if mobs spawn normally or not.  Great for when you don’t want mobs running around your creative worlds)

 

/fill x1 y1 z1 x2 y2 z2 block

The fill command is new to 1.8 and is EXTREMELY powerful.  It lets you fill a given region with blocks.  you can even do a find/replace.  For full details see this tutorial. but here’s an overview.  Start by pressing F3 and seeing your current co-ordinate positions (the block your feet are in).  Use that as you X1 Y1 and Z1.  Then move to the end area and use those co-ordinates for your X2 Y2 and Z2.  It’s an easy way to make a wall.  You can also use “air” for the block and clear.

Examples:

/fill 100 60 250 100 70 290 stone

This will make a wall 10 high (in the Y direction) and 40 in the Z direction.  Made of stone.

HUGE TIP:

Minecraft will also let you use relative numbers using ~.  ~ represents your current position.  So, if you want to hollow out a 10x10x10 box you can use the command:

/fill ~ ~ ~ ~+10 ~+10 ~+10 air

Useful Commands When Running a Server

This is far from a complete tutorial but it will give you some useful notes when running a small server with friends.

1) On servers, the initial spawn area is protected.  Only people with OP access can build there or access chests.  The first user on the server is by default an OP.

2) To OP another use type: /op [minecraft_name].  Example: /op thewizardllewyn

3) to DEOP a user type: /deop [minecraft_name].  Exmaple: /deop thewizardllewyn

4) If your server is set up to whitelist (which is always a good idea) use: /whitelist add [minecraft_name] to add a user to the whitelist

5) To ban a user: /ban [minecraft_name] [optional reason why].  Note: to UNBAN a user you need to do: /pardon [minecraft_name]

Hopefully these help you to have more fun and keep gaming!

 

The Community Minecraft Server

The greatest asset that Minecraft has over most other games is that it is a sandbox game.  For those unfamiliar with the term, a sandbox game is one where the gameplay is not linear and you can do whatever your imagination wants.  With the introduction of modding (both server side and client side) the amount of things you can do in or with Minecraft are nearly endless.

That is one of the reasons I’ve chosen it as my game-of-choice for streaming, and the main reason I decided to set up a community server.  Although, with so many options – do I set up a modded server using a popular modpack like Bytesize, Karma, or SkyFactory 2?  Or do I set up a basic survival world?  I decided to set up an adventure map that included a bunch of mini games.  It allows people to play for a few minutes if that is all they have, and it allows people to easily join the community without feeling behind.

It makes heavy use of a great feature of the most recent Minecraft versions – command blocks.  I use command blocks to summon horses and pigs for the races, and to enable certain areas be creatively built in.

I’ll be spending the next few posts outlining different sections of the server and showcasing some of the awesome community builds.

My Adventures in Streaming Part 2: Full of Derp

Derp

interjection

  1. Also, derp derp, herp derp [hurp durp].  (Used as an inarticulate response to a foolish or awkward comment, action, or person).  I can’t believe I just did that – derp.

These past 3 months of streaming have been full of derp.  I want to share them with you so that you can laugh along with me, and hopefully learn something.  I’d also be lying if this wasn’t a benefit for myself as well – forcing myself to look back and reconsider what worked well and what flopped.

Some of my biggest Derps

I was a bit too trusting – and I let grief happen.

I have a semi-public Minecraft server that anyone in my community can play in (all you need to do is follow my twitch channel, and I’ll add you to the whitelist).  It is not your normal Minecraft server in that most of it is in Adventure mode – meaning people can’t really do the basic minecraft stuff (break blocks, and place blocks) but it’s full of different games.  Racing games, jumping games, bow-and-arrow games, etc.  It’s meant for doing multi-player events.

But recently I’ve discovered I can create “creative zones” which allows people to build structures in creative mode (they can place whatever they want without having to mine it).  The first few days I did this, it went beautifully, but, open something up to the public long enough, and someone bad is bound to get in.  Someone came to the server, and near the end of the night, placed tons of TNT and basically erased nearly 2 hours of collective building between many people…

It was a frustrating moment for all – and even more so for me because I could have prevented it.  There are server-side minecraft mods that will actually allow you to “undo” recent actions in the world.  I had failed to install this plugin and it was a bit of a blow to the community.

Lesson Learned: If you ever want to have a semi-public server, make sure you have a way to protect against (or undo) grief.  It only takes a few minutes to set up and is worth it simply for peace of mind.  If you’re doing minecraft – check out core protect.

 

I Over-committed to Craziness

Early on, I tried to do something gimmicky – in hopes that novelty would get people to talk about the stream and bring in new people.  I decided to do an entire stream while using the Deckard Cain voice – all while playing Diablo II.  I can’t quite call it a fail stream – but it was most certainly a waste.  People love impressions, and my Deckard Cain voice is often requested, but if you do anything for more than 10 minutes, it can get old VERY quick.  On top of that, it’s a big challenge for yourself (and sometimes a strain on  your voice).  When all was said and done, I got no new followers, and some eye-rolls from existing members of the community…

Lesson Learned: People are there to chill with you – if you want to do impersonations, or things very different from your norm, do them only for a short time and stop before they get stale.

 

I Changed Things Up Too Much

While I’ve been playing Minecraft for every stream (except for the 1 Diablo II stream, and a bonus stream where I played Katamari Damacy) I have been terribly inconsistent in what Mod Packs (essentially a new game built on top of Minecraft).  So – people who followed me because I played something like MadPack 2, might not come back if I switched to Sky Factory 2 or my other pack.  On Fridays I play “Vanilla” Minecraft (Minecraft without any modifications) which allows anyone to play – which has been a nice boost to followers, but it took me a while to really figure out the right balance and get that going.

Lesson Learned: Do one thing for a few streams in a row.  You can change things up as time goes on, but if every stream is something new, it will be harder to get/keep your audience.

 

I Tried to Hard

I have a nice little community, but I’ve often treated it as if it were larger than it really were.  Early on, I decided I was going to resurrect my old game – BoredomVille – with a few twists as a way for my community to be able to play games together.  I had lots of fun building it, and bringing it back, but when I look at how much time I spent – I can not justify the efforts.  I would have been much better doing anything else.

I also created a bunch of things to support the stream, such as a game called “Monkey Do” that allowed the community to make suggestions for silly things for me to do, then I would have to race against the clock to get things done.  I didn’t spend too much time building the game, but, out of the 5 or so times I tried to play the game, we only had enough suggestions to do it 3 times, and only 1 time was it really fun for both the community and myself.  But – I was able to extract the value out of the game, and create a newer (simpler) game called “Make My Day.”  It works like a lottery, and lets people in the community join.  One random person is picked as a winner and they get to make 1 request.  So far, this has been a pretty good success.

Lesson Learned: Do things small and quickly, and if they work, make them bigger.  I tried to go big first, and it was a waste of time.

 

I still have a bunch of derping to go – both in game and with the stream itself.  In fact, a week or so ago, I pressed the “record” button instead of “start streaming” and spent 20 minutes not actually streaming.  Thankfully I had a good laugh over it.  But, for anyone looking to start streaming – hopefully you can learn from my lessons and not make the same mistakes.

 

My Adventures with Streaming – Part 1: Getting Started

A little more than 3 months ago, I pressed the “start streaming” button for the first time, and my life changed a bit. I entered a world – the likes of which I had never encountered before. One of excitement, friendship, trolls, and immense joy.

What the heck is streaming?

Since accepting streaming as a regular activity of my life, I’ve started talking about it to people who aren’t part of the community – many of which seem quite baffled by it.  In fact, I’ve heard “So you play video games and people just watch?” been said more than once.

So, to those of you not familiar with Video Game Streaming, it works like this – you play a video game, open up a chat window, and people can watch you play your game live (although, on the service I use – twitch.tv, there is about a 30-second delay between what you do, and what people see).  But, not only can they watch you, but they can also interact with you via the chat window.

Not only are you playing a video game, but you’re also an entertainer.  You are the locus of a community.  It’s a mix between playing video games, watching TV, and tweeting all at once – a group of people are gathering around the collective experience of an individual playing a game.  Unlike TV or Youtube, the viewers can chat in near-realtime with the streamer and create a real connection (or just help out with advice on what to do next).

Why did you start streaming?

I started streaming because of the streaming community.  I work from home, and besides my wife and son bursting in on me through the day, my contact with the outside world can be somewhat limited.  In fact, I often used (and still use) twitter as a way to stay connected with people and as a way to take small breaks while at work.

I could go on for a long time on how I stumbled in to watching streams, but let’s just cut it short and say that I came to become a regular “listener” of JonBams stream.  I would leave it on in the background while I worked – the way people would listen to the radio.

Since graduating from college, I haven’t really done much acting (despite the rare occasion that I get to do improv), so I had an itch to perform.  I did some planning, some research, etc, and finally got things all set up and I got up the courage to press the “start streaming” button.

Performing in front of an empty stage…

The advice every streamer will give you when you ask about getting started is the following:

  1. Keep Talking
  2. Have Fun
  3. Expect to stream to zero people for a while

Under most circumstances number 3 is a reality.  If you go to twitch and scroll to the bottom of the live-streamer list, you’ll see a huge number of people that are streaming to 0 or 1 people (often the 1 is the person leaving the stream on their own PC).  But, like most things in life, there are huge rewards to being a positive member of a community.  Before I hit that “start streaming” button, I talked with anyone who would listen about going live for the first time.  I had about 20 followers before even streaming once.  In addition, a couple of my friends were generous enough to tweet out about my first stream which ended up getting me nearly 100 views and about 60 new followers.  I was most certainly lucky for that.  (A HUGE thank you to AerinNight and JonBams for that!)

What do you stream?

I hope to become a variety streamer – meaning a play a bunch of different games.  I’d like to play a mix of retro games – favorites from my past – and new releases.  But, for now I play Minecraft.  I play Minecraft for a bunch of reasons.  It’s fun, it’s a sandbox game – so it has huge replay value, it has an extremely active modding community which have extended the gameplay immensely, and not least of all – it has an existing community on twitch that provides me a pool of potential new viewers.

What is your schedule?

I stream every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 9:30pm EST – 11:30pm EST.  Monday and Tuesday I play single-player, and Friday I play on a server where anyone in the community is welcome to play with us.  You can find the stream at http://twitch.tv/thewizardllewyn.  Having a schedule is huge – people will start to look forward to you going live, and are often available at the same time every week.

A final note

If you like the social and community aspects of video games, I recommend you check out twitch, pick a game you like, and watch some of the more popular (or, make someone’s day and find a less-popular) stream and check it out.  Thanks for listening and I hope to see you in one of my streams!

 

 

 

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How to Play the MadPack 2

NOTE: Sadly due to me being an idiot – the images have been deleted.  If I can find the source files or recover them, they’ll be back, but for now :: sad panda ::

According to the MadPack 2 description: “The MadPack 2 is a combination of survival and tech. The pack’s difficulty adapts and is completely unforgiving. Attempt to complete quests and challenges while just about everything including the pack wants you dead! See how far you can make it in The MadPack 2 (playable in any mode, BUT The Mad Pack 2 is designed for hardcore!)” [source]

It is an incredibly challenging, but also rewarding, hardcore survival map created by JonBams, Kehaan and a bunch of other amazing contributors.  Frequently, the question comes up: “How do I beat the MadPack?” and, being the seasons Minecrafter and streamer, I decided to make a visual guide to playing the MadPack 2.

Step 1: Get the MadPack 2

This is a simple step.  Go to http://atlauncher.com and download the launcher, then create a MadPack 2 instance.

 

Step 2: Launch the pack

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Step 3: Create a world in hardcore

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It is important that your world is in hardcore, the challenge goes away quickly when death becomes trivial.

 

Step 4: Enable magnet mode

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If you feel that magnet mode is cheating, I guess you can skip this step, but if not, always remember to turn it on!

 

Step 5: Find food

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Pam’s HarvestCraft gardens and berry bushes are a great and easy start.  A juicer will really stretch the value of berries.

 

Step 6: Get coal (for torches) and iron (buckets & tools)

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Step 7: Die to a Geonach

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Step 8: Create a new world in hardcore

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Step 9: Spawn in a jungle and attempt to get food…

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Watch out for the laser a…  I mean Spriggans…

 

Step 10: Find an awesome Roguelike dungeon to raid

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Step 11: Get eaten by a Chupacabra

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Step 12: Create YET ANOTHER world in hardcore…

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Step 13:  Find a zombie spawner you can cheese

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Step 14: Cheese away – success: claim your reward!

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Step 15: Go mining

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Make a bunch of picks, stone is best, so that you don’t veinmine too much!

 

Step 16: Find a cave and get slain by Aldtoastzom the Non-Suspicious

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Step 17: Make a new world in soft…  Ok – don’t wimp out.  Hardcore

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Step 18: Spawn into an ocean

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Step 19: Get slain by an Abtu on your way to land…

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Step 20: WHEN WILL IT END!  WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF!  …  Create another world in hardcore

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Step 21: Find a Roguelike dungeon

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Step 22: Load up on gear and armor

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Step 23: Skeletons…

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Step 24: Close Minecraft, ATLauncher, and play some MineSweeper

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And, always remember – NEVER fight bosses on the day of a Full Moon:

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Never give up, because victory is always possible:

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Thank you for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed.