Saturday, September 14, 2013

What I'd like to See Next in Minecraft

If you hadn’t figured it out by now, I really have come to love the game Minecraft which was developed by the game company Mojang. The game is an open ended sandbox game that basically gives the player all the tools and resources they need to create most anything they want and delivers it in a way that is challenging, yet easy to pick up for new players. The game has systems built into it to create unique biomes, develop simple and complex electronics, build small or even massive buildings and make them look good to boot. Like most players I was very excited to have horses added to the game in the 1.6 update and I’m already getting pumped for the extra biomes, enchantment options, and other cool new surprises in store with the 1.7 update, but I feel like there’s one area that really needs to be addressed that the developers have yet to touch on, which is understandable given the scope of what needs to be added for it.

Well isn't this exciting?
Most of those who have played Minecraft for any length of time have run into one or more ocean biomes which as you might imagine are rather large bodies of water some with the occasional island tossed in the middle for good measure. While I’ll be the first to admit that these are necessary topographical features it seems that they and their cousins, the deep oceans coming with update 1.7 are severely underdeveloped areas in the game. So far we have a couple helmet enchants that allow for longer stays under water and even faster mining, and of course they are adding some new fishing mechanics with 1.7, but there’s still so much that could be added. Most notable among the needed additions is of course some kind of ship, or at least larger boats that are (please Mojang) less fragile than their smaller counterparts. To this end I believe there is hope for those eagerly awaiting this change as mods currently exist for the game that allow such things and as the developers at Mojang were willing to work with mod developers to implement horses into the game, maybe they’d be willing to do something similar with ships. Even just making it possible to build on top of several boats (as though they were normal blocks) would be a step in the right direction.

Now that's a bit more like it
Of course what is adventure on the high seas without some sort of creature to be feared in the ocean depths? So far the oceans in Minecraft have actually served as a kind of sanctuary for players. Stuck far from home at night? No problem! Swim out into the ocean and tread water for a while. It’s a little inconvenient yes, but no more so than being shot, chewed, bitten, and exploded to death by mobs. Of course we have the fearsome squids to contend with, but what we really need are some hostile mobs down in the depths and maybe a deep sea boss or two somewhere down there… The kind of boss you need to shoot TNT cannons at to defeat maybe (just a suggestion).

Adding some more life and features to the ocean biomes would definitely go a long way toward adding much needed content to the game and would open up so many new options for current and future players to develop and create with the tools they’re given (I mean really, just think of the mini-game options, not to mention multi-player).

So if you’re on board for adding some seafaring features to the official version of Minecraft, be sure to pass this article along to any of your other friends and family who’d be interested as well and of course to the staff at Mojang; not to pester them, but just to let them know what we’re hoping to see in update 1.8 here at the N3rd C0rn3r.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rising Sun

So I had this crazy idea one night while watching a Minecraft let's play on YouTube about writing this story. I noticed for the first time that the NPC villagers have churches in some of their villages, but as a sandbox game the creators of Minecraft haven't created a great deal of official lore to go with the world. As I am very familiar with religious texts I thought it might be fun to give them a hand and write up a religion for the villagers that could easily be official lore as it's based entirely off of the games development and mechanics, but from the perspective of the villagers. The story that follows is what resulted from that idea. Read, share, and enjoy!

In the Beginning was chaos, energy seeking order, purpose, and unity. Trying instinctually, desperately to become part of something more, but alone there was no hope and every attempt was met with only disorder and eventual darkness. Then came

the greater being James Gosling who wrote into being the structure for the Java giving rise to order where before there was none. After four years James Gosling was satisfied with all his work and moved on to other things beyond our

understanding leaving the Java to become what it may. The Java remained untouched and unspoiled for nearly fourteen years until it had structure written into it once more. A great being called Notch found a small corner of the Java with the

potential to be far more than it was and wrote out of what was there the whole land. All that you can see, touch, and hear he made, adding as he saw fit and taking away as was deemed neccessary. But the touch of Notch brought with it unforeseen

consequences. The raw creative forces brought with them roving dimensional rifts. These weak points in the fabric of space and time allowed monstrous things to cross over and possess Notch's creation. This angered the great being Notch and so he

fashioned from all the material and all the power he had remaining in him a mighty guardian to watch over the land. Sadly this guardian was only powerful enough to guard the land during the day and had to retreat to replenish its strength each

night. While this didn't stop the creatures scourge on the land, it did grant the people of the great being's creation a fighting chance against them. Into the vacuum left by the greater being Notch stepped his apprentice the greater being

Jeb. The great being Jeb continued his teacher's work adding to the world and giving its people many gifts. Among the most blessed were the mighty warriors that arose from amongst the people. To them the greater beings granted the ability

To craft, to build, and to fight. However their greatest gift and their curse was their immortality. Even when the enemy overcame one of these mighty warriors the greater beings would restore their life and allow them to carry on. Death however

was not without its costs. Even the mightiest warriors would find themselves as weak and feeble as a newborn after death forcing them to train and work that much harder again to continue the fight. This is their blessing. This is their curse.

There are those however who rise up without the blessing of the greater beings. Their torch burns bright and quick. These heroes do not linger on as do others. They are honored in song and legend for their courage despite the odds against them.

It is these heroes both immortal and not that protect the children of the greater beings during the long nights. These heroes however are not immune to corruption and some do fall, becoming champions of the dark. These lost souls seek only

to bring about pain, suffering, and destruction. They would seek to undo all that the greater beings have sought to accomplish. To prevent all of their order from falling, the last of the heroes established a code of conduct that would

protect them from their own weakness. First the heroes pledged to watch over the creation of the greater beings, preventing damage where possible, fixing damage where necessary, and improving where desirable. Next they pledged to

train and learn to fight the creatures that plagued the land. They became experts in melee and ranged combat using technique and strategy to overcome their foes. They pledged also to master their worlds, gathering the elements around

them and repurposing them to aid in the fight against the dark. The heroes learned not only how to create light, but how to fight the scourge even in the deepest darkness. They pledged to use every advantage given them in their fight, even the

arcane arts to better their chances. Finally they pledged to guard the weak from the creatures of the night even fighting through the very depths of the underworld to cure those once thought lost for all time. This order of heroes was known as

the order of the players and it continues in its quest to this day. Each player is said to be a volunteer from among the great beings who becomes like unto one of us to save us from the darkness. We honor their courage and sacrifice with

our prayers and the humble assistance we can offer them when they are here with us. Thankfully the greater beings are a generous people and ask little from us in return. They are also a pragmatic people, not wishing for us to become lazy or

complacent and as such they do not grant our every request. Take comfort in the knowledge that you shall not ever want for what you need and be satisfied with what you have been blessed with. To desire the riches and power of the greater beings

is to dishonor what good things they have given you. Do not be like the fools who built their homes deep underground, seeking the riches hidden there for they have all come to unfavorable ends. Instead place the entry to your home where it

can be seen by the great guardian of the day so that he might know of your devotion to the greater beings and so that you might be remembered and protected by them. Likewise do not stray too far from the homes you've been blessed with, lest you

become cursed to roam the land until the night takes you. Be fruitful and fill your village, town, and city with the sounds of children playing until all the homes you've been blessed with have been filled. Only the priest, clothed in a

purple robe may use the dark stones, for they are a holy material of the greater beings and will lead only to the destruction of those not sanctified to make use of their power. Avoid the creatures of the night, the creepers who sneak

up behind the unaware, the skeletons who will shoot you from afar, the zombies who seek to make you like them, the slimes who are never truly alone, and especially the enderman who will seek to destroy any who is brazen enough to gaze upon

them. All these however pale in comparison to the dragon. So powerful is he that our realm would have been utterly destroyed should he have been left to roam free. Not wishing to see their creation ruined the greater beings imprisoned

the dragon in a pocket dimension they called "the end," but they knew this was only a temporary solution. The greater beings foresaw a great hero from among the order of the players arising and venturing into the dragon's cage to end the

threat of the beast once and for all. To facilitate the fulfillment of this prophecy the greater beings left three portals to the prison dimension scattered throughout the world. These were left inactive to prevent all but the prophesied one

from finding their way into the dragon's lair. The portals were locked in their inactive state and the 12 keys destroyed and the pieces scattered to the far ends of creation. Some fell into the hands of the endermen and granted them unnatural

teleportation abilities. The other pieces where cast into the Nether, an infinite garden dimension where every manner of tree and plant could be found. The key pieces set this idyllic dimension ablaze and gave rise to creatures of pure flame

who desire nothing more than to spread the eternal flame forever across the Nether's now charred and barren surface. The prophesied one must not only defeat the powerful enderman and capture their pearls, but also journey into the very depths

of the Nether itself and capture the concentrated essence of flame from the creatures of pure fire. They must then combine these elements and set them aloft that they might lead the prophesied one to the nearest of the portals, for the keys are

always seeking to return to their locks. The greater beings did secure the beast so very well for it is no simple foe. No fortification can stand in the way of its strength and the beast will not be taken by surprise. The beast knew full well

that the greater beings would not simply leave it be and so it did it's best to prepare for the final battle. The beast made pillars of the holy stone to hold aloft mystical crystals with the power to heal their possessor and he learned to

see even that which doesn't appear to be there. Never the less, the prophesied one will enter into the beast’s prison and they will bring the beast to its end with their sword and their bow and even their axe if necessary. When the greater

beings see that the beast has been destroyed they will open a new portal to return the prophesied one home, leaving in their care the dragon's egg that’s contents is a mystery even to the greater beings. The destruction of the beast will

not be the end of the danger however, for while it alone stands as the greatest threat to the safety of the people a dark shadow lurks in the depths of the Nether waiting to be unleashed. The sands of the once idyllic realm hold the souls of

its former inhabitants, those who burned in the fires of the creatures of pure flame. Their anger was trapped in the sands sprouting warts of a blood red hue. The souls of those lost blame the greater beings for what became of their home and

sit idly for now, just waiting for their moment of vengeance to come. Only the unified wills of three deadly withering foes can give purpose to the anger and bring about the revenge that the lost souls so deeply crave. Sadly the threat will never

truly disappear, for the anger contained within the sands is as plentiful as the sands themselves and anyone who comes into possession of the wills could summon the power that lay there in. Yet this truth brings with it some hope. For being

the summoner of one’s own enemy gives one the unique opportunity to choose and prepare the field of battle which can often times assure victory over ones foes. The prize for such a victory is but a small crystal that lay at the heart of the

creature. This crystal is formed when the beast is and contains the purified souls of those lost to the blaze at last freed from their hate, having released it into the beast’s destructive purpose. Now while it is but a small thing, proper

reverence for the souls within can turn their power into a force for immense good giving strength, speed, and even rejuvenation to those who come to pay their respects. Finally when a villager’s work is complete and their life does come

to an end, by whatever means, their spirit departs from their bodies leaving creation behind and travels to an eternal village made of the holy stone and much gold. There will the villager find all their relatives gone before them and an

abundance of all that which they hold dear. They shall want for nothing and shall have no fear of the night for this village exists free of the night and all the evils it bears along with it. At last the villager shall rest in peace

knowing that their life has been well lived and that the long struggle with the night, while not over, is no longer their burden to bear. Blessed are those however who live to see the final days of creation, for their struggle will end suddenly

and without any pain. Very suddenly a darkness will fall over the world, but unlike night. This darkness will swallow up the world whole leaving little more than a ghost of creation behind to mark its passing. Yet even in this end there is

hope. For the eternal village will escape the end of creation and even the consuming dark of creations end holds the hope of new creation where once the world had been. And thus the cycle will begin again; creation, correction, consumption, and

back to creation repeating endlessly, over and over again for so long as the greater beings will it to be so.


If you liked this story and would like a copy that you can copy/paste into your own Minecraft world or would like to read more original Minecraft themed stories like this one you can find them at: