Friday, May 31, 2013

To be a N3rd

The life of a nerd is often anything but easy. Many in society will criticize us for who we are and what we love. We’re told that our dreams are foolish, our pursuits unachievable, and out life is being wasted on that which doesn’t exist and therefore doesn’t matter. A steady job can be difficult to be satisfied with because it all seems so mundane compared with the invented worlds we know so much about, and people will constantly try and convince you that the games you play and the things you read are dangerous, addictive, and childish. I call these people hypocrites.

A look at the “normal” people
Let’s take a look at those that nay say the nerds, the self-proclaimed “normal” people. Often lost and lonely as are we all they’ll spend their time at parties (which they’d define as dancing, loud music, and more often than not alcohol), at sports bars sharing the exploits of their favorite football team, or in the garage chatting about cars. While these things are all well and good for them and no doubt solid concrete things to talk about is it not just the same to memorize facts about science fiction and facts about sports? I mean really, at least science fiction is actually interesting and challenges you to think beyond your normal routine. Sports knowledge is just facts, like memorizing history. Don’t get me wrong, understanding history is important, but sports history is significantly less so. The one thing that the average person has on a nerd is physical fitness. Though I hate to admit it, a nerd’s pursuits are often conducted sitting in a chair and unfortunately this outward appearance is what condemns us as ill-adjusted. Even so, video games are often said to be bad for you. Tell me, when’s the last time a book challenged you to solve a problem or made you question your moral choices? Never is when. A book simply carries you through a story, telling you of someone else’s exploits, perhaps inspiring you, but never challenging you. A video game forces you to participate in the story; it makes you solve the unsolvable problems, deal with the issues, and strive to make the right choices in the face of the most daunting circumstances. Those who criticize the nerds of this world are far guiltier of the very things they proclaim to detest than are those they accuse. We nerds are the dreamers of our society, daring to imagine what is beyond tomorrow. We are the architects of the future, sculpting how society will organize itself and deal with the problems of tomorrow. We are the trend setters, for what we find to be cool now is what the normal people will believe to be cool later in life as they look back and long for what was. We drive humanity forward despite the cost.

The cost
The cost of course is a personal sacrifice of time, energy, and popularity. We’re thought to be lower than most, yet we know we’re the only hope for the future. It’s not a glamorous path, but it’s the one we’ve chosen, not just for us, but for everyone.

Conclusion

The nerd is what makes the world better and drives humanity toward future progress despite the personal cost. So my brothers and sisters take heart and press on; keep the course toward the future and never let those too afraid of others opinions to voice their own drag you down. Continue to stand proud in your N3rd C0rn3r.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Minecraft is Building

Not to be confused with crafting, building in Minecraft is the act of placing blocks to create structures both common and impressive. This could take the form of a simple home in survival, a huge castle, or perhaps the Enterprise as some have chosen to do (seriously, look it up on Youtube, it’s quite impressive).

Game Modes
Building is going to be a little different depending on your game mode. In creative mode you have unlimited resources and can just build to your heart’s content. This is a great game mode for testing out ideas before implementing them in your survival worlds. Survival on the other hand is much harder as you only have access to the resources you can gather and you don’t have the benefits of flight or infinite damage protection. Still, more often than not the reason you’re building something in creative is so you can make sure it works for your survival game as many such projects are designed to make the survival character’s life easier.

What can be Built
There really isn’t a limit to the kinds of things that can be built in Minecraft. These can be simple buildings for basic storage or far more complex things using redstone circuitry to do all manner of incredible things. For the sake of categorization however, I’ll list some of the broad areas for you.
Buildings – This is your most basic type of building in Minecraft which involves placing blocks to make some sort of structure to store items, live in, or for any other purpose you can imagine. Testing these types of structures beforehand serves only to get the structure to look exactly how you want it to before copying the design into a survival world.
Spawners – A spawner is a specially designed building intended to serve as a place for the spawning of specific types of mobs which are then fed into a trap of some sort. These are used to feed into item and experience traps to help a survival player gather the resources to better survive in their world.
Traps – Traps are designed to either hurt or kill mobs and players being fed in from a spawner or foolish enough to try and invade your base. These can use water, lava, cactus, or simple gravity to injure or kill any creature that falls into the trap.
Redstone – Redstone devices are basically any structure that uses mostly redstone to accomplish its purpose. These can include automatic or semi-automatic farms, vertical item transporters, piston elevators, automatic item sorters, and minecart systems just to name a few. The things you can create using redstone are seemingly limitless and testing these designs in creative is highly recommended before implementing them in survival.
Pixel Art – This is a special category for those with an artistic flair. Say you want to create a rainbow as an addition to the view from your penthouse apartment; you could do this by creating a pixel art rainbow way out in the distance. These designs are usually accomplished by harvesting and building with colored wool to create all the colors you could ever need.

Conclusion

Building is almost certainly the primary focus of Minecraft and very much an essential element of the game. If you’re a fan of building, be sure to do a bit of it over in your N3rd C0rn3r.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Minecraft is Crafting

One of the most integral features of Minecraft is crafting. No matter what part of Minecraft you find most intriguing, you’ll have to do some crafting in order to do it. It may seem a bit complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll really make the game for you.

Tools
Crafting can be done in one of two areas. The first area available to you right away is the inventory crafting window which is a 2x2 square made of empty item slots. This is for basic crafting and will allow you to make simple two or sometimes even three ingredient items like torches. The first thing you’ll likely make with this window however will be wood planks. This is done by simply placing wood in the window and then clicking the output item to the right. After this you’ll use four wood planks to create a workbench. Once created place this block down and right click on it to access the workbench crafting menu which is a 3x3 square and allows the creation of much more complex items.

Recipes
Naturally there are many, many possible item combinations in Minecraft and discovering them is part of the fun. Typically an items recipe will resemble the item being created (like a “T” shape for a pick axe). This makes a number of the recipes easier to figure out. Others can be a bit more complicated though, so it helps to have a guide like the one found here. The guide found there will tell you how to use the crafting bench to make most things.

Crafting without the Recipe
Sometimes certain crafted items don’t use the workbench system and must be obtained through some other means. When you find your iron and gold for instance, it will come in the form of Ore and must be smelted into ingots in a furnace before it can be used in crafting. Another example is the golems recently added to the game which are crafted by placing certain blocks in the right shape and adding a pumpkin to the top for the head. These types of crafting are somewhat rare, but they do exist in the game.

Purpose
Crafting is going to play a vital role in pretty much every project you set out to complete in Minecraft. Crafting is how you make your tools, your weapons, all your redstone devices, and the myriad of other things that make the Minecraft world go round (which of course is a figure of speech as the Minecraft world is flat). To really truly do much of anything in Minecraft, you’ll have to do some crafting, but for most that’s not a big deal because crafting is rather fun.

Conclusion

Though the system may seem a little complicated, there are plenty of aids out there to help you and it’s easy enough to catch on to it. If you’re a player of Minecraft, I don’t know how you could even manage to survive without crafting in you N3rd C0rn3r.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Minecraft is Fishing

If you’ve got water anywhere around you in your Minecraft world, you can use it to go fishing. This is helpful early on for getting some basic food and later for taming and breeding ocelots.

What you’ll need
Basically all you’ll need to get started is a fishing rod and some water to fish in, which can be as little as a single source block (however be aware that the rods durability drops rapidly when the bobber hits a solid block, so it’s best to cast into larger bodies of water). As mobs don’t drop fishing rods and they’re rare to find in villages you’ll probably need to make one. The recipe is quite simple using only 3 sticks and 2 string, items easily obtainable within your first few days in your Minecraft world (sticks from wood planks [wood planks from wood] and string from spiders).

How to fish
With your fishing rod selected just right click on a water source block and the bobber will fly out toward the block and land in the water. It will sit there for a bit until a fish is on the line which you’ll know because your bobber will dip below the level of the water for a brief moment. When that happens right click again to quickly pull the line back in toward you. If you right clicked in time a fish will fly from where the bobber was toward you where hopefully it will be caught by your character. If not, never fear, it simply means it landed behind you. To help prevent the fish from flying past you just fish with your back to a wall whenever possible. The fish you catch can either be cooked and eaten, or given to ocelots to tame them and breed them (no need to cook those given to ocelots). Fishing usually has a chance to catch a fish of 500:1 every tick (each 20th of a second) and will yield an average of 1 fish every 25 seconds. To speed things up fishing outside while it’s raining has a chance to catch a fish of 300:1 every tick increasing the average up to about one every 15 seconds.

Fishing for non-fish
The fishing rod can also be used to hook other creatures like mobs and villagers to move them closer to you. This counts as an attack and so normal consequences of attacking will apply, but this will deal no actual damage. Once hooked, right clicking again will “reel them in” pulling them rapidly toward you. This is useful for getting certain mobs in certain places (like a creeper into a trap set to get you music discs). Keep in mind however that this use of the fishing rod incurs a triple durability penalty, so the rod’s durability will rapidly deteriorate.

Conclusion

While fishing may not be the most exciting aspect of Minecraft, it does provide some vital resources and affords a player a unique strategy of dealing with and moving other creatures. As such it’s highly recommended that you check out fishing in your N3rd C0rn3r.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Minecraft is Taming

Specifically we’ll be talking today about neutral mobs that can be tamed. Why on earth would you want to tame a neutral mob you may ask? There are actually several good reasons which are different for each of the creatures.

Tamable Creatures
Ocelot/Cat – The Ocelot is indigenous to jungle regions and is incredibly shy, running from any approaching player. However if you spot one, you can slowly sneak toward it without startling it and eventually if you remain still it will come to you. Once it’s in range just feed it a fish and you will have yourself a wonderful new cat companion. The cat will follow you around until you tell it to sit at which point it will remain seated in that spot. Cats can be bred by feeding two of them fish in a close proximity to one another. Aside from just loving cats, the reason to have a few cats around the house is that they serve as a creeper deterrent. For some reason creepers are just absolutely terrified of these friendly felines and will flee from them even when a player is nearby. Surrounding your home with an army of these creatures will effectively stop the threat of outside creeper attacks, but other mobs will be unaffected.
Wolf/Dog – For those who prefer the company of a canine the wolf is also a tamable neutral mob. The wolf can be found in forest and taiga biomes and will not attack the player unless provoked. Typically these creatures will appear in packs and so if one is attacked, the others will follow suit. Once tamed these mobs will never attack the player, even if accidently injured by the player. To tame a wolf, you need to feed it a bone. Once tamed, their heath can be restored by feeding them any type of meat. Feeding a tamed wolf meat will also trigger breeding with any other nearby wolf who has also been fed meat recently. Because these mobs have no negative effects from the consumption of rotten flesh, it’s best to use this to restore their health and breed them, as it has very few other uses. A tamed wolf will follow the player unless commanded to sit and will attack any mob the player attacks making them great for hunting mobs.
Zombie Villagers – While not neutral mobs, zombie villagers can be “tamed” or at least made less zombie like by hitting them with a splash potion of weakness and feeding them a golden apple. If the process works you’ll hear a hissing sound and the zombie will begin to shake eventually turning into a villager. While the villager is not technically controllable, I’d still call them tame in comparison to their previous zombie state. The benefit of course is that you can set up a village this way if you happened to generate your world without premade structures (like I did).

Conclusion

Taming neutral mobs (and zombie villagers) is both fun and beneficial. If you’re looking for some mob hunting companions, creeper deterrents, or a way to make a village in a no generated structures world, be sure to include taming in your N3rd C0rn3r.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Minecraft is Ranching, Sort of

As a Minecraft player you may already know about the ranching system in the game, by which I mean the animal breeding and harvesting aspect. Maybe you already have a “ranch” of your own set up, or maybe the concept is new to you. Either way I believe I’ve some tips and tricks for you that you may find useful.

Animals
In Minecraft there are several animal varieties that can be bred and each has its different uses.
Chickens – These often troublesome creatures produce eggs and when killed will drop raw chicken and feathers. Eggs and raw chicken are used in cooking recipes and feathers are used for making a book and quill (in which you can record your Minecraft adventures) and arrows.
Cows – These are larger farm creatures used for producing milk and when killed will drop raw beef and leather. Milk is used in cooking and for getting rid of poison effects and raw beef is used for cooking. Leather can be used for armor, but it’s most useful application is in book making. If you want a successful enchanting program, you’ll need to make sure you keep those cows coming.
Sheep – These creatures are used pretty much exclusively for wool. They’ll usually drop one block when you kill them and two or three when sheered. To make things interesting, they can be dyed different colors and will from then on produce wool of that color and offspring of that color. Breeding sheep of mixed colors can sometimes produce lambs with a color made from the two (white and red sheep yield a pink lamb) or if the colors are incompatible will yield a lamb of one of the two colors randomly. Since sheep can be sheered for their wool, once you’ve got one for each color you needn’t breed any more.
Pigs – Pigs are used for their dropped food item raw pork chops and will drop between one and three when killed. These are an excellent food source when cooked on par with the steak from cows. Pigs can also be saddled and ridden by players using a carrot on a stick to control its movement and make it go faster. This allows a player to travel at speeds of 5 blocks per second. Interestingly, pigs can be turned into zombie pigmen when struck by lightning. It’s a rare occurrence, but it can happen.

Breeding
Each of the above animals can be bread using different harvestable items. Cows and sheep both consume wheat, chickens consume seeds, and pigs consume carrots. If you feed the appropriate food to two of the same animal in the vicinity to each other they’ll approach one another rub noses for a moment (literally, that’s not a euphemism for anything) and out will come a baby animal of the same type. Baby animals take about 20 minutes to fully mature and adults can be bred every five minutes meaning you can get four generations for each Minecraft day. Chickens can also be bred by throwing eggs. Each egg has a 1/8th chance of spawning a baby chicken when it is thrown. Using some creative redstone systems (a vertical item elevator linked to a redstone clock) and a few hoppers you can actually create a mechanism that automatically collects the eggs and breeds chickens so you don’t have to. Just make sure you have a way to shut the system off if need be as the population can grow to alarmingly high rates rather quickly.

Conclusion

Once again I’m in awe of the vast complexity and interconnectedness of the different aspects of Minecraft. If you need more food, potion cures, or enchanting materials, or perhaps a mount or some wool definitely include a Minecraft ranch in your N3rd C0rn3r.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Minecraft is Tree Farming

From day one in your Minecraft game you’re going to need wood for almost everything you do. This is the material your first tools are made from, you need it for powering your furnaces, making torches, building chests, and a myriad of other things including simple aesthetics. As such one of your earliest projects is going to be building a tree farm

Types of Trees
There are four different types of trees in Minecraft; birch, oak, spruce, and jungle. These trees are all functionally the same, but some things crafted out of them will have different colorations so you can pick your favorite later if you wish. Each tree also has different possible sizes. Birch has the fewest and will never grow taller than you can harvest from the ground so it’s a good option for your early farming endeavors. Oak and spruce trees both can grow short or tall versions, but spruce will only grow strait up while oak may have some branches in the taller versions. Jungle trees planted by themselves will create a small or large version as normal, but with 4 saplings planted in a 2x2 pattern will grow a jungle giant which can take a whole Minecraft day to harvest and will yield a huge amount of wood for doing so. However, because of the falling risk, these trees are somewhat dangerous to harvest and are for more advanced tree farming.

Types of Farming
There are a few different types of farming used to harvest trees in Minecraft. The first and easiest is of course the on the ground harvesting method which is best for gathering birch. This method involves a flat area with birch trees interspersed throughout. You can either wait for them to grow naturally or help them with bone-meal. Then simply harvest them once they’ve grown and replant them afterwards by placing a sapling down where they were previously.

For taller trees such as Oak and Spruce, you may wish to create a structure to help you get up to the top of them or just pillar up with sand or gravel. You can then harvest from the top down which will usually take less than 5 minutes and so if anything falls you just grab it when you’re done. If you pillared up using sand or gravel you can then just break the bottom most block over and over to recover your materials and not leave behind ugly looking pillars of material.

Jungle giants are by far the most difficult and dangerous to harvest. These trees can get up to 32 blocks high and if harvesting from the top, it’s important to note that the canopy will occasionally have random gaps in each level, so make sure to watch out for those lest you potentially fall to your death (typically 24 blocks will kill you, though boots enchanted with feather falling can help significantly in harvesting these types of trees). Getting to the top can also be a challenge. The shortest jungle giants can be as little as 11 blocks high which means creating a structure may be challenging as there’s a wide variance to account for. Pillaring is an option and it’s typically safest to go up through part of the canopy with your pillar. Jungle giants also grow vines, which can be harvested with shears and placed to create a ladder up the trunk of the tree. While it’s often possible to get to the top without harvesting the vines and just jumping from side to side, it is extremely dangerous and I’d advise against it. Finally, you can also choose to create a spiral staircase out of the tree trunk as you harvest your way up and then gather the rest of the wood on the way down. This is a very effective method, but may cause some of the leaves to disappear before you get a chance to harvest them. Because there’s so much harvesting to be done on a jungle giant, you may wish to use an iron or diamond ax
 or at least bring a couple stone axes with you.

Conclusions

Wood is a vital resource in Minecraft and one that I’m happy to say is infinitely renewable in the game. With some creativity you can set up a tree farm that meets your needs and supplies plenty of wood to your N3rd C0rn3r.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Yo Quiero Taco Bell


For many a nerd and this one in particular nothing says delicious like a couple soft tacos with lava sauce from Taco Bell, but what is it about this restaurant that makes it so compelling? We’ll take a look at three possibilities as we explore the delicious joy that is Taco Bell.

Low Prices
With the struggling economy, it’s no wonder that many would flock to a restaurant that offers tasty foods are reasonable prices. With two dollars you can get yourself a couple soft tacos and a glass of water and have change left over to donate in that colorful weighted fountain thing found at many of their locations. Value meals can be purchased there for under $5 (though some are more) and while combining specific items can cost a bit more, it’s often well worth it and with a little creativity it can be made less expensive.

Semi-Ethnic Experience
It doesn’t really come as a shock to anyone that Taco Bell isn’t serving authentic Mexican cuisine and frankly the majority of us like it that way. Taco Bell is essentially American style done up with Mexican seasonings and placed inside flour tortillas instead of buns creating a whole new style of food with its own unique twist. If you’re a big fan of the filling materials typically used in a burger, but not so terribly fond of the buns, Taco Bell is a compelling option as it does away with the majority of the breads and replaces them with thin tortillas which while still a bread of a kind isn’t going to overpower the other flavors, but rather serves as a medium to get the delicious contents from the plate to your mouth. Taco Bell is nestled neatly in between American and Mexican making it a great choice for those that like both and even some of those that like neither.

Pepsi Products
It’s so difficult these days to find restaurants that serve Pepsi products such as Mountain Dew and even rarer to find one with its own flavor of Mountain Dew (Baja Blast). Typically you’ll go out to eat and be stuck with Coke products which will offer Mellow Yellow at best, though more often you’ll end up stuck with Sprite. Don’t get me wrong, Sprite is ok, but it just doesn’t cut it when you’re hankering for the tangy citrus burn that is Mountain Dew.

Bridges Social Classes
See, Taco Bell can be dressed up
People from every social class like Taco Bell. While that’s not to say everyone likes it, it is to say that all kinds of people enjoy their food. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or if you’re poor you can be a Taco Bell fan. You can even dress up your Taco Bell for some fine dining if you prefer.

Conclusion
While it’s true that not everyone is a big fan of Taco Bell, so many that call themselves nerds are that I’d be remiss to not talk about it here. I’m a big fan myself which is why you’ll occasionally find Taco Bell in my N3rd C0rn3r.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Efficient Air Cooling for your PC


Although with high end PCs liquid cooling is becoming more and more prevalent, I just never was able to get over the idea that my really expensive electrical components would be right next to a hose full of liquid that could leak or burst at any moment, ruining my expensive components. Add to this the trials that come with living in a humid climate (forms condensation outside the tubes) and you have yourself a good reason to consider air cooling alternatives.

Thermal Dynamics
To really get a good air cooling system you’ll need to know some of the basics of thermal dynamics. Simple rules like “heat rises” are important, but not as much as how heat moves from one type of material to the other. Obviously your metal materials like copper and aluminum are great heat conductors. Air absorbs heat pretty well, but the molecules are so spread out that the effect is not as prominent. This means that in order to maximize dissipation of heat, you want to move a lot of air over the hot surfaces and of course the more surface area you can create, the better off you are for this (this is the principle behind heat sinks). Heat is also absorbed by liquids better than air because of the higher density of molecules. Now this would seem like an argument for liquid cooling, but you can get the best of both worlds by using heat-pipe solutions for your hottest components.

Materials
Obviously you’re going to want to use a case that’s mostly if not all aluminum or some other type of highly conductive metal to help better radiate ambient heat in the case. Knowing that heat rises you’ll also want to make sure your case has a place for a fan at the top (or if it doesn’t, you can create one with a hole cutter and a drill). This will give ambient heat a convenient escape if it’s not in the main flow pattern. To create an effective airflow you’ll want the biggest fans you can mount to maximize the volume of air being pumped through the system. Use power efficient fans when possible as these will generate less heat from operating and thus make them more effective at cooling the rest of the system, but don’t sacrifice speed as the faster the fan spins, the more air it can get into the system. You’ll also want to include dust filters of some sort to prevent dust from clogging up your systems heat dissipation components as dust will absorb and hold heat preventing it from being effectively removed from the system.

Airflow pattern
The objective when setting up your system is to create a vacuum inside the case that will suck in fresh cool air. This is accomplished by setting up more exhaust fans than intake fans. You also want to make sure the air is flowing through open space (so cable management is a must) and is effectively passing over your hottest components (typically CPU and GPU) before leaving the system. With a typical case a good way to do this is to set up your intake fan at the front of the case and your exhaust fans at the back, on the top, and on the side. You also want to make sure your CPU heat sink is facing so that the air will flow in between the fins (have the fins running from front to back rather than up and down) so that it will pass over all the surface area rather than have it run into the broad side of a single fin. Once the air passes through the heat sink it gets channeled out the side, back, and top exhaust fan areas. The one problem with air cooling in hot environments is that the air inside the case can never get any cooler than the air outside the case. As such if you really want to keep your PC cool even under a heavy load, you might want to consider keeping it in a cool environment or even attaching some kind of air conditioner unit to the front intake in order to maximize how much heat the air can absorb and carry out of the system.

Conclusion
If you have a high-end PC that you want to keep cool and you’re nervous about liquid cooling as I am, you may wish to consider an air cooling solution for the PCs in your N3rd C0rn3r.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Minecraft is Enchanting


For those who’ve been playing Minecraft long enough to have gotten the best kinds of materials (redstone, diamonds, obsidian, etc.) the next step in your journey lay in enchanting. Enchanting is essentially an intermediary step between finding the good materials and heading to the Nether and while it’s not strictly necessary, it’s very helpful.

How to Start
The first thing you’ll need for enchanting is an enchanting table. This is made using four obsidian blocks, two diamonds, and one book (made of one leather and three paper). Once you have your table, you can get started right away by placing it and right clicking it to open the enchanting window. To get started place the item you wish to enchant in the item slot on the left hand side of the window. The right side will then display the available enchantments. There should be three available each with a number by them going from the smallest number at the top to the largest number at the bottom. This number is the number of levels worth of experience you’ll have to pay in order to get a random enchantment. Don’t worry though, experience is much easier to get in 1.5 and you should find you have plenty just from doing your ordinary routine. Enchantments can cost anywhere from one to thirty levels worth of experience. The more expensive enchantments are well worth it as they give you the higher level IV and V enchantments which are considerably better than the lower level ones.

Upgrading Your Table
You may notice that initially there aren’t many high level options available to you from just the enchanting table. This is because there’s actually an additional aspect built into the game to boost what you can get out of the table. In order to increase the level of enchantments available to you, you’ll have to surround your enchanting table with bookshelves. These will feed into your enchanting table (a process represented by text flying from the shelves to the enchanting stand) and open up higher level enchantments. The best way to get the book shelves close enough is to make three 2x3 walls made of bookshelves with one of the walls being short 2 bookshelves (good place for a chest to store enchantment books/materials). You can frame this structure with anything to help save resources. The idea is that you need to get 16 bookshelves within one square of the enchanting table with nothing between them and the table but air to get the best enchantments available.

Enchantments
There are a number of different enchantments available in three different categories, tools, weapons, and armor.
Tools – Tools have four different kinds of enchantments, efficiency (faster use), silk touch (harvest actual material [diamond ore instead of diamonds]), unbreaking (increases durability), and fortune (increases the drop rate of items from blocks [extra diamonds])
Weapons – Melee and Ranged weapons each have their own enchantments sets. Melee weapons can be enchanted with Sharpness (extra damage), Smite (extra damage vs. zombies, zombie pigmen, withers, skeletons, and wither skeletons), Ban of Arthropods (extra damage vs. spiders, cave spiders, and silverfish), Knockback (increased knockback), fire aspect (lights the target on fire), looting (increased drops), and unbreaking (increased durability). Ranged weapons can be enchanted with unbreaking (increased durability), power (extra damage), punch (increased knockback), flame (sets arrows on fire which sets target on fire), and infinity (consumes no arrows)
Armor – Armor can be enchanted with protection (reduced damage from all sources), fire protection (reduced damage from fire, extinguishes fire faster), blast protection (reduced damage from explosions), projectile protection (reduced damage from projectiles) feather falling (reduced falling damage), respiration (reduces rate of air loss underwater, increases time between damage while suffocating), Aqua Affinity (increases underwater mining rate), thorns (chance of doing damage to mobs attacking the wearer), and unbreaking (increased durability).

Conclusion
Enchanting is a cool feature available to players of Minecraft and one well worth looking into once you’ve got the resources for it. If you’re looking for a way to get some extra advantages or just a fun new project, definitely include enchanting in your N3rd C0rn3r.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Point of Pumpkins


If you’ve been playing Minecraft for a bit you may have heard of a new harvestable item they’ve added called the pumpkin. These new crops may seem like little more than a novelty, but they are actually very useful in your Minecraft world.

How to get them
Before we go into the many uses for these handy little crops, let’s address the issue of how to get them. Even if you’re playing in a world created before the update that introduced these new harvestable items you can still get ahold of them in your world, though you may have to travel out for a while. Pumpkins can be found wild typically in either a plains or mountain biome, though mountain seems more common as that’s were most people find theirs (including myself). When you harvest them you’ll find that you collect whole pumpkins which cannot be planted. However you can turn the pumpkins into pumpkin seeds by placing a pumpkin in your crafting window and clicking the output (which is four pumpkin seeds). You can then plant these seeds which will grow a vertical vine. Once it’s mature it will spawn a pumpkin on a dirt or grass block adjacent to it ever one and a half Minecraft days or so. As with most plants pumpkins grow more quickly when near water and you can control where the pumpkins will spawn by limiting the eligible adjacent land to a single square. This is handy for more efficient pumpkin farming as lining all the vines up in columns of two with two dirt or grass blocks between each column will cause the pumpkins to spawn in two neat rows.

Uses
As you can imagine there are several different uses for pumpkins in Minecraft for both consumables and other items.
Pumpkin Pie – The first and probably the most obvious use for pumpkins is the creation of pumpkin pie which is made with one pumpkin, one egg, and one sugar. They restore four hunger and are stackable which makes them a great option for adventuring and they can be crafted in your inventory which makes them easy to make on the go if you find any wild pumpkins, eggs, or sugarcane. It restores 8 hunger points (or 4 of the 10 drumstick shaped bars above your hot bar), but has a relatively low saturation.
Jack o’ Lantern – Another use for the pumpkin, and arguably the more common is to create jack o’ lanterns by combining them with torches. These can then be used for a number of different things including decoration for Halloween.
Light Source – a jack o’ lantern can be used as a light source in much the same way as a torch, but with a few additional benefits. The jack o’ lantern actually produces as much light as full sunlight and more than a regular torch making them great for use as a mob deterrent. They will also allow mobs to spawn on top of them so they can be effectively used in slime farming as well, though they require a solid block beneath them to be placed initially, but the block can be removed afterwards. They’re also great for use as underwater light sources as they only require a solid block beneath them in order to be placed. This makes them an excellent option for under water exploration and construction projects.
Golems – The other use for jack o’ lanterns is the creation of golems. These can be created out of snow or iron. The snow golem is at this point more of a novelty as it doesn’t seem to actually attack anything, however an iron golem created using four blocks of iron in a “T” shape with a jack o’ lantern placed on top for a head will attack most mobs (but not creepers) with devastating effect. This is especially handy in villages to protect the villagers from zombies. They’re also used to great effect as the killing mechanism in mob traps. Golems do not attack villagers or players unless attacked.
Helmet – It is entirely possible to place a pumpkin on your players head for use as a helmet. This affords your character no armor, but does alter the screen to make it look like you’re looking through the carved out portions of the pumpkin. The great advantage of doing this is that enderman don’t register you looking at them while you have a pumpkin equipped as your helmet which can make the end, considerably easier.

Conclusion
Pumpkins are a cool new addition to the Minecraft world that are well worth taking advantage of. If you haven’t found any yet, stock up on some pork chops and head out on your own epic quest to bring pumpkins back to your N3rd C0rn3r.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Star Trek: Into Awesomeness!


Well, the joyous day has finally come and the newest addition to the Star Trek franchise Star Trek: Into Darkness was recently released. As I mentioned in my last article on Star Trek, I had every intention of seeing the new film and yesterday that’s exactly what I did. So now sit back and enjoy my thoughts on the new movie, but be warned, following the end of this paragraph there will be A LOT of spoilers.

Cinematography
The Enterprise at Stardock
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the newest Star Trek was just as visually appealing as the last, if not more so. CGI has come a long way in the past few years and I’m happy to say that this movie really put those advancements to good use. The ships were just as amazingly well done as before and there was a clear contrast between ships used for exploration and those used strictly for a more military application (namely darker colors and more angular lines).

SFX and Music were equally well done. I have to give the hat tip to Michael Giacchino for the excellent work on the movie’s music. As with the first of the Star Trek reboot movies the music really serves to establish the settings and set the mood for each scene, breathing life into the story.

One thing I’d like to note. It seems that JJ Abrams really loves the “rise of the Enterprise” shots where it comes up through some sort of gas or liquid. The first film had one such shot and the second has two. It’s hard to fault the man as they are amazing shots, but I thought it would be worth noting as a potential pattern is forming. Could there be three such shots in the next installment?

Story
The real draw for the new Star Trek is of course the story (why else would you see a movie?). The movie opens with an almost unrelated side mission that establishes some initial tensions between Kirk and Spock, and Spock and Uhura, which also leads to a stunning revocation of Kirk’s command of the enterprise. Now those familiar with the original series movies will remember that Kirk never was one to play by the rules and in fact did get busted down from Admiral to Captain, but that was somewhat later. This is but the first of many, many differences from the original series that result from the alternate timeline having been created. The Film then jumps to the introduction of a new character who becomes the primary antagonist of the story. This new character played by Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan. The events from the previous movie however have altered his fate as well. Ever aware of the threat of more advanced ships and weapons coming from the still open black hole or other external threats to the federation, Admiral Markus forced Khan into designing advanced ships and weapons by holding the rest of his crew hostage. To rescue his crew Khan places them inside a new type of photon torpedo that he designed in order to smuggle them out of the facility, but he believes them dead when the torpedoes disappear without a trace and sets off on a quest for revenge that results in the death of a number of Starfleet’s senior officers including Admiral Pike. Kirk is quickly reinstated as Captain of the enterprise and sent on a mission to go kill Khan who used the traswarp beaming formula from the first movie to go from earth all the way to Qo’noS (Kronos), the Klingon homeworld where he intended to hide out knowing any official action by the federation would lead to all-out war. Kirk disguised as a civilian goes down to Qo’noS to capture Khan and take him back to the federation to stand trial for his crimes. This deviation from mission brings Admiral Markus to the scene captaining an advanced warship of Khan’s design. When he finds out that Kirk captured rather than killed Khan he turns his weapons on the enterprise intent to destroy her, leading to the final climactic moments of the movie, which I’ll not ruin for you.

The story line is absolutely amazing. As someone who’s seen the originals you’re always looking for those little differences and this film has some major ones, but impressively none without explanation. I’m very impressed that the writers are only changing things as a result of what happened in the previous movie and not simply on a whim.

Conclusion
The story seems to end in a set up for a television series, though they reasonably could continue doing the movies. We’ll just have to wait and see what’s coming next for Star Trek here in our N3rd C0rn3r.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Asian Cuisine


There can be no doubt that there is a connection between Asian cuisine and nerd culture. We can see this quite clearly on shows like Big Bang Theory where every other meal is Chinese, Japanese, or Pad-Thai. As such is seems appropriate for me to share my thoughts on some of these dishes for the enjoyment of my fellow n3rds.

Personal Experience
General Tso's Chicken (Yum!)
Admittedly I’ve never actually had Thai food, but after participating in the nerd culture for so many years, I would really like to (as you might imagine). However I have a fair amount of experience with both Japanese and Chinese food, so I’ll focus in on those.

Of course my first experience of Asian cuisine was Chinese food. In particular General Tso’s Chicken. I don’t know my Chinese history very well and so am unfamiliar with General Tso, but I can tell you the man had great taste. His chicken is amazing and I’m so very glad that he doesn’t seem to mind sharing it. Compliment this with fried rice and a well done egg roll and you have yourself a winning dish almost every time. Now I should mention that I recently learned to make fried rice, by which I mean I looked up a recipe online and then didn’t follow it at all and I have to admit that it has ruined me for restaurant prepared fried rice. Theirs is just not as good. If you’re interested in the recipe, it’s really easy. Pour olive oil in a skillet (it has to be olive oil, trust me) so that you can cover the entire bottom of the pan with a thin layer by letting it run from side to side on the skillet (seriously like 2-4 tbsp.… not a ton). Break 1 large egg into the skillet. Use a spatula to “scramble” the egg and then dump your pre-made pot of rice into the skillet before the egg is cooked all the way through. Let it fry a little on medium heat, flip the rice. Use the spatula to separate the rice and then flatten it back out (like they do at the hibachi grills) repeat. Add less sodium soy sauce so all the rice is brown (assuming it wasn’t already) flip, let sizzle, flip, repeat. Then once the rice seems to be really sticking together (or it starts burning, whichever comes first) it’s ready to go and you eat it. Absolutely blows restaurant fried rice out of the water. Anyway, the Chinese food venue also offers great options like sesame chicken, sweet and sour chicken, bourbon chicken, and others though most everything outside these dishes is outside my experience and thus something I can’t legitimately recommend without being a hypocrite, which is something I do my best not to do.

Of course my second experience in Asian cuisine was Japanese food, which for me (not really a steak or seafood fan) was a little different, but proved to be amazing when I was introduced to the white sauce. If you’ve never had white sauce, you’ve been missing out on both a large amount of calories and a flavor explosion that will just make you fall in love (with the food, not in general… it’s not like a love potion or anything). Of course my first forays into the world of sushi came shortly thereafter and while I’m not a sushi fanatic, I do find that I crave it every now and again, both for the delicious flavor combinations and the opportunity to show off my chop stick skills.

Conclusion
If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying a little Asian food, I’d strongly recommend you try it, especially if you’re participating in the nerd culture even a little. So if you’re a nerd and you’re hungry pick up the phone and get some Asian food delivered to your N3rd C0rn3r.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Podcasting


Whether you’re trying to run your own blog podcast or trying to get your preacher’s sermons online, podcasting is a great and relatively easy way to take that step into sharing your audio and video with the world. While it may seem like a mysterious and complicated endeavor, it’s actually probably not that far off from what you’re already doing.

Step 1: Recording
A Roosterteeth Podcast
Your first step in setting up a podcast is to actually record what you want to submit. This can be either audio or video and will require a certain amount of equipment to get started.

For audio, naturally you’ll want to have a microphone so you can record the audio for the podcast as well as potentially a set of headphones for any live guests so that they and you aren’t distracted by the delay echo of pushing what you say back through a speaker. While it’s not necessary to buy the most expensive professional edition equipment you can find, it’s a good idea to get something that will give you a higher quality of material to work with. Next you’ll need some sort of recording software and what you choose will depend largely upon what kind of podcast you’re doing. For an over the internet podcast with guests calling in you may wish to consider Skype with an add-on called Pamela which will allow you to get a large group of guests to all call in at once and record the whole conversation. If on the other hand you’re just recording yourself or one person in a more live context you might want to go with something like Audacity which is a free to use audio recording and editing program.

For video, you’ll want all the above equipment as well as a video camera and some sort of video recording and editing software. Naturally as your audience will be seeing everything that’s going on, video podcasting is going to require an additional level of preparation to make sure everything in the studio is visually appealing.

Step 2: Editing
Once you have your recording complete it’s time to edit the raw material into a final product. This will make use of the editing software you obtained for step one and the kind of editing software you have will largely depend upon your needs. For some editing may not take too long as they may be happy with the original product while for others they may wish to add in extra things or remove bloopers. Either way when you’re finished editing you can move on to the final step.

Step 3: Submit
Once you have your finished product you just need to submit it to a podcasting service that will get it online for you. If you’re doing an independent podcast (perhaps as part of a blog) you can submit through one of many services such as PodBean.com (a pay to use service with a free trial) or if you’re podcasting as part of an established website you can submit the podcast through your web site provider such as Go Daddy. These services will take the podcast and make it available online as well as push it to (or submit it for you) iTunes so that people can get it either through your site or the iTunes podcast section allowing them multiple options for receiving your product.

Conclusion
Podcasting is a great way to get your recurring audio and visual materials out to the public through the internet without going too far out of the way from what you’re likely already doing (for instance you likely already record the sermons at your church). If you’re trying to reach a larger audience, podcasting might just be something to include in your N3rd C0rn3r.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Jump Cloning in EVE Online


If you’ve been playing EVE Online for any length of time then you’ve likely encountered the concept of using what’s called “jump clones,” but like myself you may not know exactly what they’re for or how to get started using them.

Misconceptions
First of all it’s important to note that a jump clone has absolutely nothing to do with your medical clone. A medical clone is a back-up copy of your skills for in-case you get your pod blown up. A medical clone is typically only for preserving your skills should your character die. A jump clone is used for an entirely different set of reasons which we’ll go into later.

You should also note that jump clones are not just for moving around quickly and moving from one to another doesn’t destroy the body you just left. For the longest time I thought this was the case and so never bothered to even consider using jump clones. Having been corrected by browsing the forums I’ve found that jump clones are actually quite handy and are well worth the investment.

Uses
The primary use for jump clones is to move about the EVE universe rapidly. It’s much like a fast transit system in any other game except that you can only use it once every 24 hours so before you jump clone to the other side of the universe, make sure you’ve taken care of everything.

The second use comes from the fact that a jump clone is not destroyed when you leave it meaning that all your implants remain intact. For example let’s say your active clone is using +5 stat boosting implants to speed skill training. When you transfer your consciousness into one of your jump clones, your previously active clone becomes a jump clone and you can return to it after the 24 hour wait period. When you do, you’ll find that your implants are intact. This is true for all your clones, so each jump clone can have a different set of implants for different tasks (one for ore mining and one for ice mining for instance). This means you won’t need to create a whole new character just to use a different set of implants. You can actually have six different sets on one character through the use of jump clones.

How to Get a Jump Clone
In order to install a jump clone you’re going to need a combination of standings, skills, money, and facilities available to you. First and foremost is the location. You need to be at a station with a medical facility at which you have an 8.0 or higher standing. This might end up being rather challenging as even grinding missions for months will only get you so far in the standings department. A good way around this is to check and see if your corporation has really good standings with anyone and if so, install a clone at their closest station with the correct facilities. Don’t worry if it’s inconveniently located, you can always move your clone later. Once you’re at a station with the right standings and facilities, make sure you have the skill Infomorph Psychology trained to level one. This will grant you one jump clone. Each skill level grants you one more for a total of 5 jump clones plus your default active clone allowing you six implant sets. If your skill level is where it needs to be then select the medical facilities icon to open the related window and click on the “Jump Clones” tab. At the bottom will be two buttons one of which should say “Install Clone.” Clicking this button brings up a dialog box that informs you you’ll need 100,000 ISK to install the jump clone. Just click yes, the money will be deducted from your account and you have your jump clone. Once it’s ready to go you can move it simply by jumping into it taking it where you want it to go and then jumping back to another clone. To jump between clones you must pause any current skill training, but you can resume it as soon as the jump is complete and your jump clone will remain where you left it perfectly fine without needing the right standings or the appropriate facilities.

Conclusion
Jump clones are a powerful tool for use in the EVE universe and one well worth investing in, especially as a more experienced player who does different things in different parts of the universe. If you have need of extra implant sets or rapid transit I suggest you include at least one jump clone in your N3rd C0rn3r.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

All About the Internet


We all use the internet on a daily basis. It’s our means of communication, it’s how we obtain information, and it provides endless amounts of entertainment. However few if any of us know where the internet came from or how it works.

History
fiber optic cables
The internet, as I was told by my esteemed professor at MTI was initially invented by an unknown man working for the United States Air Force at the time and was merely a group of interconnected computers at first; just a small network like any other using static IP addresses which had to be input manually for new computers to join the network. The idea of file sharing spread so rapidly among this officer’s friends that it wasn’t long before they were asking to be added to the network, which he was happy to do. As people often do, those friends told their other friends about this network and they requested to be included. This pattern just kept repeating until the number of daily requests to be included actually drove the Air Force officer mad. Rather than let this massive network that had been created stall out or die, the government took it over and implemented the TCP/IP protocol using dynamic IP addresses that were generated automatically so no actual people had to manage it all and thus the internet was born. From there it grew and expanded until it became what it is today. Now perhaps this version of the internet’s creation is just an urban legend, but it’s much more interesting than the official story on Wikipedia.

How it works
The internet uses a networking protocol called DHCP which is a hierarchical structure to create what we know as the internet. This basically consists of millions of servers acting as information providers for your computer each with a specific area of expertise. For example when you hop on your computer to come visit the N3rd C0rn3r at http://www.n3rdc0rn3r.blogspot.com that translates into an IP address associated with that URL. Your computer then sends a query to the server used by your internet service provider to see if it knows how to get to that IP address. If it does it provides the information to your computer and you quickly find yourself on this blog. If it doesn’t it will pass you up to the next highest level of server to see if it has the information you need. This can continue all the way up to the top level domain servers which contain a list of all the sites registered under .com, .net, .edu, etc. which then passes you down to the appropriate .whatever domain which will take you to the host site, which will take you to the blog. There are 13 or these top level domain servers and if these should all go down at once for any reason, the internet will stop working until at least one is repaired. This was the premise for the hacker attempt to bring down the internet. Though there are only 13 of these servers they’re quite well protected (as you can imagine) and the attempt failed to get all of them, but came very close.

What it’s good for
The internet is a great tool for communication allowing users to share data through a number of means. This allows it to be used for work from home situations, social networking, text, audio, and video communication and of course online gaming plus a myriad of other things I can’t even think of.

Conclusion
The internet is a very useful tool in our modern society that should be cherished and protected. It makes our lives easier and it’s what makes possible the N3rd C0rn3r.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Are There Extra-Terrestrials?


Over the years many people have wondered about the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. The question “could other intelligent life exist?” has been at the forefront of the minds of scientists and science fiction fans alike for years. Still the question remains, is it possible?

Reasoning
The concept of life on other planets is a natural conclusion of the theory of evolution. Even with the odds being astronomically high against it happening at all, if evolution did occur on Earth, perhaps it took place elsewhere as well. If that is the case it’s entirely possible that intelligent life, like humans, could exist somewhere out there. Many organizations have put a great deal of resources into tracking down these possible extra-terrestrials, most notably among them being the SETI Project which searches the night sky for radio transmissions and other indications of advanced intelligent life. We assume other civilizations will likely produce and send out such signals because as an advanced civilization we do.

Pros
Little evidence at this point has been found of life on other worlds though attempts have been made. The Mars rover’s discovery of bacteria fossils on Mars is about the strongest indication so far of life on other planets, though this is far from the intelligent life that many search for. UFO sightings abound of course, but it’s hard to say whether those can truly be taken seriously. Still, there’s always the old adage “if it happened once it can happen again,” to fall back on.

Cons
The real issue is did it even happen once? In depth studies into evolutionary theory have shown conclusively that the chances against it actually happening are so high that it’s basically impossible several times over. As this has been brought to light many scientists from various fields have changed their tune and now back the theory of intelligent design which essentially puts forward that we were created by an intelligence and are not the product of random coincidence. With this as our premise we have to ask ourselves if an intelligent designer would create life on more than one planet. The answer to that depends on what kind of intelligence you’re talking about. If we’re talking alien intelligence than I definitely believe that once they figured out how to create new intelligent life they would do it on as many worlds as they could find in order to maximize the chances for a success. However if we’re talking about God then the equation is just a little different. A true God though able to create and manage life on an infinite number of worlds, would I believe focus on just one not needing to maximize probabilities as they’d be the maker of those probabilities. This consolidation would allow that God to alter things on a scale that would affect everyone at once without the need to sacrifice additional resources (for instance the death of Christ would only be known to those on Earth and other intelligent life would be left without this life giving knowledge).

Conclusion
While it’s an interesting concept, I find it difficult to believe that evolution is possible and that a loving God would create beings that would be unreachable with the good news of salvation for such an extended period of time. As such the idea of extra-terrestrial life is one I must ultimately reject for inclusion in my N3rd C0rn3r.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The EVE of a New Kind of MMO


For the as of yet uninitiated, EVE Online is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) that puts you in the role of what’s called a “capsuleer” which is basically a pilot. Your character flies their ship from a small escape pod called a capsule contained within the ship and compatible with any type of ship in the game. The real difference between EVE and other MMOs is the way you advance your character. Gone are the days of grinding monsters for that next level. Now you simply decide what you’d like to do and start learning the skills to do it. Each skill has 5 levels to it and you can train as many or as few skills as you’d like, but only one at a time. Many of the skills are interrelated meaning training certain types of skills is going to make you better at that sort of thing. The best part though is that skills train in real-time even when you’re not logged in which means even if you’re not actively playing, you can be training skills to make your character better. As you can imagine, there’s quite a diverse number of things you can do.

Mining
One of the earliest avenues open to you as a new player is the mining career path which involves going out into a system, gathering the ore that’s there in the form of asteroids and bringing it back to a space station where you’ll refine it and either sell it or use it for other things. If you choose to go this route you’ll have to start slow using a frigate equipped with a mining laser, but eventually you can work your way up to larger more impressive kinds of ships that will allow you to mine an entire asteroid belt by yourself over the course of just a few hours. Naturally this career splits into two related careers and what you choose will depend on how many like-minded friends you have. If it’s just you, sticking with the typical mining route works, or you can branch into ice mining. On the other hand if you have other friends who also mine, you may choose to branch into the mining foreman career set which will allow you to provide mining yield bonuses to your friends through the use of your ship, skills, and modules (equipment on your ship) This can be great if you work out a deal to share the profits equally between everyone as the cargo capacity, mining bonuses, and extra security provided by a mining foreman for even just one mining ship can equal out to more than the total of two mining ships working together.

Missioning
In the EVE universe there are many agents who need things done. The more you help particular agents the better they like you and thus the more lucrative the missions they’re willing to give you. These agents often times will also refer you to other agents they know who are offering missions you’re qualified to handle. These agents typically work for a particular corporation and the more missions you do for agents of that corporation the better your standings with that corporation will become. This can become important as good standings allow you discounts, more lucrative assignments, and extra perks where as bad standings can lead to being attacked on sight by agents of the offended corporation. Most players start off doing missions as the agents where you start off provide the tutorial missions for you.

Manufacturing
One of the coolest things about EVE Online is that the entire economy is player driven. Miners collect resources which manufacturers then use to create goods (everything from boosters for your character to giant space stations). These goods are created using blueprints which tell you what you’ll need to make the item and how long it takes. Once you have the blueprint and the materials you select an open manufacturing slot at the station you’re at (assuming the station has a manufacturing center) and let it run. Like skill training, manufacturing is done in real-time so once you start it going, you can move on to other things.

Research
Research is strongly connected to manufacturing, but it’s a career path all its own. Using research facilities located on many of the space stations you can improve any blue print originals you have to reduce the amount of material used and the time it takes to make them. This can be a huge advantage for anyone who wants to offer their products for less, or offer more over a shorter period of time. To get started you’ll have to do a fair amount of missioning as access to research resources is one of the perks of higher standings.

Exploration
Even in EVE not all has been discovered. Exploration is a means of tracking down randomly generated hidden areas in a system. These areas can contain enemy bases, rare mineral deposits, and valuable information caches that can be an advantage in many of the other career paths.

Shipping
As the economy in EVE is completely player driven, so too are the shipping lanes operated by the players. Goods are produced for less or more conveniently in one location, but are worth more in another. A manufacturer can choose to transport their goods themselves, sell them from where they’re at allowing someone else to buy them at the lower price and ship them to a place with a higher sell price, or contract the job out to another player. No matter how you cut it, there’s money to be made by moving products from one area to another.

Combat
While a thriving economy can be a goal in and of itself, so often it seems the need for goods is fueled by the desire to destroy. Combat is a major part of EVE online and in fact the whole game is a PvP area. While the consequences of attacking another player in certain areas can be severe, you’re never truly safe in EVE. This can take the form of legitimate warfare between corporations or somewhat less legal privateering. No matter how you cut it though, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of felling one’s foes.


Conclusion
EVE Online offers its players a truly unique experience among MMOs with a level of micro-management that would satisfy even the most demanding detail oriented gamers (I can say that because I am one and am quite satisfied) If you like complex player driven games with a sandbox feel, definitely include EVE Online in your N3rd C0rn3r.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Slime Farming


If you’re new to Minecraft you may not yet realize the need for slime in the game, but it serves some vital purposes. Both sticky pistons (useful in a number of applications) and several brewing recipes use slime balls as part of their crafting recipe; as such these little balls of slime become a valuable commodity. In order to obtain slime balls you have to kill slimes… carefully. Too much damage and the larger slimes won’t split into as many smaller slimes and the smaller slimes won’t drop the items you’re trying to get. This means that if you want to maximize your slime ball drops you’ll have to punch the creatures to death (rather than use a sword) or come up with another gentle system. While it may not seem like that big a deal to just go out one night and hunt some slimes, unless you’re next to a swamp, you’re not going to have much luck. Slimes only spawn in a swamp or in particular chunks (16x16x256 block squares) as determined by the seed used to generate your game world. Finding these special slime chunks and maximizing their spawning potential is what slime farming is all about.

Finding the Chunk
Slime Chunk Map
There are a couple ways to do this and one is easier than the other. Slime chunks are randomly dispersed throughout your world so that there’s one slime chunk in every ten chunks on average. Knowing this allows you to set up a large grid (9 16x16 divided rooms at no higher than 39 on the Y axis). Each grid section will correspond to a different chunk. Once the grid is set up, make sure you’re at least 25 squares away and wait for a few hours. When you come back, some slimes will more than likely have spawned in one or two of the sectioned off chunks. It’s important to make sure the walls are at least 2 blocks high to make sure slimes don’t jump from one to another. If this happens, you won’t be able to know for sure where they’re spawning.

If you prefer an easier approach a handy web application called Slime Finder exists which will map out your world and highlight all the slime chunks in green for you. This application can be found here. In order for this to work, you’ll have to enter the seed from which your world was generated. To find out what seed your world was generated from you’ll need to hit the “T” key in game to open your command prompt dialog and enter the command “/seed” (without the quotes). If you’re playing with a newer version of Minecraft this will cause the game to display a long number; this number is your seed. Record the number and enter it into the Slime Finder application and you’ll soon have a complete map for your convenience.

Regardless of the option you choose you’ll need to use your information dialog in game to know where you are as far as coordinates and chunks so you know where to build. You can open this by pressing F3 in game.

Building the Farm
A Slime Farm Under Construction
Once you’ve found your slime chunk (and preferably several side by side) you can start building your farm. The idea is to maximize spawning, but only for slimes. Unlike other mobs in the game slimes will spawn even when an area is well lit, so be sure to keep it lit up in order to prevent other types of mobs from spawning. This is also fairly handy during construction. There are some things to remember when building your farm about mob spawning. A mob will need to have enough space to spawn in an area (typically) and so for the purposes of slimes you’ll want an area at least 3x3x3 in order to allow room for the largest of the slimes, though for an effective farm you’ll want much more surface area to work with. Mobs won’t spawn on bedrock, so make sure your lowest spawning floor is at 6 or higher on the Y axis (as bedrock is present from layers 1-5). Slimes won’t spawn directly on top of torches or glowstone blocks so you’ll want to use either jack-o-lanterns or redstone lamps with redstone blocks in order to light the farm. If resources are a bit thin, torches will provide as much light, but they’ll slightly reduce the spawning rates. Finally, mobs will not spawn within 24 blocks of your character so make sure you have your waiting area at least 24 blocks away from your farm, but no more than 200 blocks away from the far as this will cause the slimes to start despawning. You can also use this as a loot collection point for convenience. Taking all this into consideration you’ll build your farm by creating floors with 3 blocks worth of space in between them as spawning floors for the slimes. These floors can be created anywhere from layer 6 to layer 39 on the Y axis. Try and fit as many floors as you can into this area as the more surface area you have for the slimes to spawn the more slimes you’ll have spawning and thus the more efficient your farm will be.

Setting the Trap
Once the spawning areas are complete you’ll want to consider how to get those precious resources you’ve made a place for. There are literally hundreds of trap designs to choose from assuming you don’t wish to simply make your own or hack and slash your way through each floor in a mad rampage for slime balls. Whatever design you select should be something you have the resources for and that will make the whole thing very convenient for you. Bear in mind for this the typical behavior of a slime left to its own devices. When not chasing a player a slime spawned in your farm will move to the nearest wall and continue from there to the nearest corner. As such, you can use this information to get slimes from the very top of your farm all the way to the trap at the bottom. Remember however that it can be a long way down and you want to kill them gently so if you opt to have them fall from on high, provide a pool of water at least 3 blocks deep for them to land in so they don’t die prematurely and without splitting reducing the effectiveness of your farm.

Conclusion
While it may seem like a lot of work for some slime balls, the slime farming process will save you a great deal of effort in the long run. So set up your farm and get ready for all the slime balls pouring in to your N3rd C0rn3r.