Tag Archives: Minecraft

Xbox One Gaming: Minecraft

So… playing Minecraft can get pretty boring at times; create a world, start doing stuff to survive in it, survive, whatever. Or start a world in Creative mode, build some cool-looking stuff, build some more stuff, bleh.

Because of the world generator, I can’t begin to tell you how many different worlds can be generated within the 17 or so different biomes the game has to offer – and I know there are 17 of them because I wound up getting an achievement for finding all 17 of them.

While it’s easy to get into Creative mode and set up an area to play in and outfit the area with everything you’d ever want or need, the challenge is to do this in Survival mode so what I’ve been doing is creating a bunch of worlds and setting them up “from scratch” – while in Peaceful mode because even after all this time playing the game, I just do not like trying to do something to survive while being attacked by mobs – and especially those sneaky-assed Creepers.

Nothing ruins your Minecraft day than getting blown up by a Creeper that you never saw or heard coming – and having to respawn if, by chance, you didn’t get around to outfitting yourself with some decent armor.

So, I create a world, mark the spawn point and get to building a place using dirt at first, then eventually replacing the dirt with cobblestone, granite, whatever will stand a chance of withstanding a Creeper attack when I eventually put the game into Survival/Normal mode. My task is to build the place in the way I want it to look like instead of starting out “simply” and then trying to figure out how to add on more space – it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

So what I want to do is to build a place that will have a room for the Enchantment block and an additional room for more storage chests outside of the ones I’ve already placed in the “main room.” Place a crafting block and a furnace; start hunting animals for food and especially sheep – making a bed is so very important and more so when you’re in a mode of play that will get Phantoms visiting you if you don’t sleep for three game-days.

The additional trick or task I’ve given myself is to build on the spot that I spawned in and no matter what the terrain is; I might spawn on a flat spot, up on the side of a hill or cliff and the only change in this is when, inexplicably, the game spawns me high up in a tree.

And with no safe way down without getting killed. This is aggravating for a few reasons but for me, it changes the spawn point; if I get killed or if someone comes into my world, guess where you’re gonna show up?

So now, the real reason for this scribble. One goal is to find world seeds that I think my son-in-law and his gang might be interested in working and the world I’m working on now is one that he found to his liking and I even insisted that he check it out because of the features I found while digging a mine shaft down to bedrock and establishing my usual mining area.

There are a lot of caverns along the path I dug; not unusual but that’s not what got me scratching my head – it’s all the fucking lava I stumbled across before I even got the mine finished. It was so bad that I actually copied the world and put it in Creative mode so I could find out what I had to deal with… and it’s a motherfucker and one of the worst situations I’ve seen since playing this game.

The lava, itself, isn’t the problem: I long since learned how to work among the lava without falling in or otherwise getting burnt to a crisp – it’s the amount of gravel and sand that, in Creative mode, I saw was going to be needed. Starting out, I hadn’t found much gravel, the usual stuff used for getting rid of lava – but I had spawned above a beach with a lot of sand and I actually prefer sand over gravel because, when I go to recover the sand, I get nothing but sand where gravel doesn’t always give you a block of gravel – you get flint and except for one use, it’s pretty useless.

I’ve needed so much sand that I’ve almost stripped the entire beach of it down to the water line. To put this into perspective for you, I could walk out of my house and going downward, there was nothing but sand starting a few blocks down. All of that sand is gone; I gathered up so much sand that I had to stop and figure out how I was going to get back up to the top, both to my house and where I found an entrance to a cavern.

And to make things worst, as of yesterday, I’ve run out of sand and gravel. I’m now in what I call a recovery mode which, simply, is me going back and collecting up all the sand and gravel I used to sop up the lava in the first place… and as I go about this really mind-numbing but necessary task, I’m still finding huge lakes of lava that’s making my recovery even harder.

There seems to be no end to it and some of the sand and gravel I’ve used cannot be recovered so easily without digging up the floor at the bedrock level, something I really don’t like doing… but unless I can find more sand/gravel, I won’t have any choice but to do this – and there might be even more lava below bedrock – and bedrock is the one thing in the game that, in Survival mode, you can’t do anything with.

Folks, it got so bad that I re-opened the Creative copy of the world and really started getting after the lava, working with what I’d discovered in the Survival world and once I’ve sopped up the lava, taking all of the blocks of sand out down to bedrock so it will resemble the Survival world, which is one really big mess and I’m a “weird” kinda of Minecrafter in that I don’t like messy stuff all that much. But it is what it is and I just gotta deal with it.

I’ve almost given up on this… project a few times but in my head, setting this world up for Survival/Normal mode isn’t going to be complete until I get the mine squared away and ready for mining… and I can’t do that until I deal with all that fucking lava that is on three of the four sides of the mine proper – that would be the point where I reached bedrock and started carving out the “room.”

The trick to dealing with oceans of lava is to be as methodical about getting rid of it and working only one area at a time which makes sense… when you’re not literally surrounded by the stuff. It’s not only around me but it’s below me – and below bedrock – but it’s above me as well and I don’t recall ever feeling so… overwhelmed than I do at this point. I get an area sopped up and begin recovery – recall that I’ve pretty much stripped the beach of sand to the water line already – and while I’ve found “huge” patches of gravel, it isn’t enough, making the recovery process a very necessary one but also revealing even more lava that’s impeding the recovery process; I can’t reclaim some of the stuff I’ve ready put down until I’ve gotten rid of the new lava I’ve encountered.

It’s part of the game but the real challenge for me is to not make this world a Creative one; it just defeats the reason why I created it in the first place. I could abandon it and stick with the Creative copy… but that would be too easy; I’d never run out of material to sop up all the lava and it’s too easy for me to rebuild the whole frigging area so that it looks like nothing was ever done to it. And that, crazily, is the goal for the “legit” Survival version: Get rid of all the fucking lava and then rebuild the area so that, outside of the obvious cobblestone blocks that’ll be there, it’ll look like I didn’t see one drop of lava and my mine will be all nice and orderly.

You might be reading this and thinking yourself to be very happy that you’re not playing this game because when you read this, how the fuck can it be fun doing this shit? The funny part is that it is fun; it’s being faced with a challenging situation and accepting the challenge it presents; it’s about focus and planning and even planning in the face of the unknown – what’s behind that one block? Is this really all of the lava in this particular area? You almost wind up being a bit OCD dealing with this but not, I think, in a bad way.

The other challenge that comes with dealing with this mess is to not allow myself to get bored doing it – and it’s real easy to do. It is so repetitive that, yeah, at times, I can feel myself starting to nod off; just listening to the actions of the controller itself can be rather hypnotic and, as I’ve found, the sound of breaking a block of sand is actually kinda soothing, as opposed to the more rougher sound of breaking a block of gravel or other kind of stone.

The upside is that when this world goes live, it won’t lack for stuff like coal, iron, redstone, gold, and lapis lazuli although I am quite disappointed that I haven’t found that many diamonds – yet. So far, I’ve only found seven diamonds – and I used six of them to make diamond pickaxes so I can also deal with the obsidian I come across – and I have more obsidian than I know what to do with. The only “practical” use for it is to build a Nether Gate… and I’m nowhere close to building one but it won’t be for a lack of the twenty or so blocks of obsidian that’s needed to build one.

By the time I’m done, I might be able to rebuild my house completely in obsidian which reminds me: One of the ways obsidian can be created is to add water to lava; sometimes you’ll get all obsidian, sometimes all cobblestone, sometimes a mix of both. The problem? You need a diamond pickaxe to collect obsidian… and I haven’t found that many diamonds to make me feel happy about this since, along with the fucking lava, I’ve been running around huge “waterfalls” of water that I have to go after and stop from flowing… so I can get rid of the lava or recover sand/gravel… so I can get rid of more lava… and water.

I think I’ve found an underground ravine and while I haven’t gone far into the area, well, it’s now in the path of my removal/recovery attempts so whenever I get back to it, I’ll find out if it really is a covered ravine or just another cavern-like place and, yeah, it makes a difference but don’t ask me to explain it right now, okay?

I know that the more lava I find, the more there’s a need to get rid of it when, really, I could just leave it alone… except. I’ve had too many experiences where I’ve encountered lava and decided to leave it alone, only to run into it while mining so when I see it, I get rid of it because I do not want deal with it later.

I’m just not having an easy time doing it in this world… but I will get it dealt with.

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Posted by on 5 August 2019 in Xbox One Gaming


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Xbox One Gaming: Minecraft Moments

A few thoughts about Minecraft first, like, it’s not as much a game you play as one you do; while a lot of players are all into fighting off the mobs and all that, some are builders, some are miners and, as such, fighting off the various mobs is just one of those things you gotta deal with while trying to finish a building or digging your mine.

Then there’s lava and anyone who’s gone digging around underground will encounter lava and learn what it’s like to have the game declare that you tried to swim in lava. You then learn how to navigate the lava and, importantly, how to use sand and gravel to “soak up” the lava so it won’t give you any more problems as you explore and dig in your world seed’s underground.

I like playing with the lava. It presents a challenge to be overcome while looking for diamonds (in particular) and stuff like coal, iron, gold, redstone and lapis lazuli – this is needed to enchant your weapons, armor, and a couple of other items. In Survival mode, it’s about finding and obtaining as much gravel or sand that you can carry; sixty-four blocks of gravel might seem like a lot but it really isn’t and I’ve run into lakes of lava so “vast” that even attacking it with as many as ten blocks of sixty-four sees me running out of gravel and having to go back and recover the blocks already placed.

It’s time consuming and can be so repetitive that, sometimes, I get sleepy while monotonously dropping block after block into the hot, seething, and dangerous lava. But it’s also rather relaxing, I think, and I can spend hours on lava eradication and allow my mind to think of other things and to keep my mind off of my 24/7 neuropathic pain.

Recently, though, I’ve noticed that the game’s world generator, along with various updates to the game, seems to be putting more lava in the mix than I’ve seen in the past. Instead of isolated lakes of lava, I’ve been seeing oceans of it – and that’s just the lava I can see and doesn’t account for the lava that hides under blocks of stone or whatever but once you can identify such things, now it’s just a matter of getting to it.

In my most recent world – and one I started in Creative mode – I wanted to build some places and set them up so when someone comes to visit me in this world, they can get the basic stuff they need and have a place to sleep at night and in those moments when I switch from Creative to Survival mode. Once I got the building built and outfitted, I dug a few mineshafts to expose more stuff… and to look for lava and dispose of it.

The advantage of going after the lava in Creative mode is that, for one, I’m not gonna run out of blocks of sand; I use red sand specifically because, well, you’re not going to find red sand deep underground and I use it an an indicator – if I see it somewhere, I know I’ve been there already. The other thing is that when you break up blocks of gravel, you don’t always get gravel – you get flint and it’s a pain in the ass and more so when flint, to my knowledge, only has one use and that’s to make a flint and steel that can be used to activate a Nether Gate or to set fire to something you want to burn up.

I’d usually spend, oh, a couple of hours removing lava in those underground areas – almost consistently around level 11 but you can run into some above this level and it’s more prevalent in the many ravines you can come across. But here lately? I’ve run into lava that’s taken me real-time days to get rid of. Every time I think I’ve gotten it all – or all that I can get to – I look somewhere and, shit, there’s not only more lava but a whole lot of it! that one spot that, at first glance, looks easy to get rid of winds up revealing that, nope, not a small spot but the beginning of a huge ocean of lava.

I’ve thought, “Fuck this shit – I ain’t fucking with this anymore!” and with the thought also in mind to leave it for other players to deal with… but I can’t leave it alone and especially when the lava will make digging out a mine a very hazardous thing to do once I turn on Survival mode… so it’s got to go… and I’m not all that happy about it.

I can see one world seed with way too much lava… but I’ve run into this in multiple world seeds and one’s I thought that I got rid of all the lava, only to go back to those areas previous visited and dealt with… and there’s more lava and lava that wasn’t there before.

Shit. As I labored through my most recent lava removal project, I began to think that the Minecraft programmers decided that there’s not enough lava in the game so let’s put even more lava in there – and while and because they’ve been indulging in a lot of recreational drugs and emptying many bottles of their favorite hair of the dog.

Before this recent turn of events, I’d go into an area and get rid of all the lava I can see and/or get to, including all the lava hiding under block of obsidian. Now, I leave the lava that lives under the obsidian right where it is, not because I’ve gotten lazy but it occurred to me that if someone comes into my world and they need obsidian for something – and especially if I’ve neglected to build a Nether Gate, well, they can break out their diamond pick axes (the only tool that can handle obsidian) and get it… and they can deal with the lava – I got enough of the damned stuff to deal with already.

But, yeah, it’s just part of Minecrafting. Dealing with the lava in Creative mode, well, sure – some would consider it cheating but given the huge amounts of lava I’ve been seeing, I don’t have a problem with it. Now, I do and will attack it in Survival mode only because it’s the real challenge and it’s kinda fun to be desperate for more gravel or sand and, fuck, you can’t ever seem to find it when you need it… but when you don’t, there’s more gravel than you know what to do with staring you in the face.

Figures, huh? Anyway, I just wanted to share this with you!

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Posted by on 12 July 2019 in Xbox One Gaming


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The Ocean Monument

The picture you see is the inside of an ocean monument in Minecraft.  The thing to note is the interior of the monument didn’t look like this when I found it; take away the patterns in the floor and all the lights that you see… then imagine, if you can, this entire space filled with “debris,” for lack of a better word.  Let me set the stage for ya…

Those of you who play Minecraft probably know about ocean monuments and, if so, you also know how hard they are to find and how hard they are to get to since they’re sitting at the bottom of the ocean and, in Survival mode, patrolled by guardians who pretty much kill anything that gets close to the monument.  I can’t say for certain but I know that when you create a new world, you can count on at least one of these things being present somewhere and I’ve seen up to three of them in one world.  In Creative mode, you can easily find the one closest to you – just invoke the /locate monument command and it’ll provide you the coordinates and you can teleport yourself there or, since you’re in Creative mode, fly to the coordinates.

The monument has a distinctive look and even if you happen to stumble across one while rowing a boat in the ocean or, gasp, bouncing along the water on your way to dry land, you can, at the least, see the sea lanterns at the very top of the monument.  Getting down to it is gonna be a problem if you don’t have the right stuff on you to prevent yourself from drowning – special potions and enchantments – and don’t forget that unless you’re in Survival/Peaceful mode, those guardians are waiting to fry you with… lasers.  Yeah, Minecraft is pretty much a low-tech kind of game except for the guardians’ weapon of choice.

The monuments, externally, are all the same; texture packs can change the way they look and, here lately, there’s a room at the top of the monument that seems to change its configuration and depending on the texture or world pack you’re using.  What’s the big deal?  Well, I’m glad you asked!  One of the monumental tasks (and, yes, the pun is intended) you can undertake is to make the interior of the ocean monument look like the picture I’ve provided but there are some things you gotta do, oh, like get rid of all of the water surrounding the monument, uncovering the monument to free it from all the debris it contains and is surrounding it, then restoring it to its former glory; what you do with it after you’ve done all of this is up to you and the picture tells you what I’ve been doing with them.  Other players have done some pretty cool things with the interior of these things and even I’ve thought of a few things I wanna try somewhere down the road.

“Okay, I see what you’re saying… what’s the problem?”

It’s simple:  In Survival mode (and not Peaceful), chances are that you’re going to drown, die, and wind up respawning again before you can erect a wall of some kind around the monument.  Some who tackle this use glass, glowstone lights, or sea lanterns and even whatever stones they can find… but whatever you use to build the containment wall, you’re going to need a lot of stuff to accomplish this while avoiding guardians and drowning which is why I’ve never attempted to drain one in Survival mode.  Minecraft purists would say that tackling an ocean monument in Creative mode is taking the easy way out but I can tell you that even in Creative mode and having access to every material the game has to offer, it’s not easy to do this and takes a lot of time to finish.  As an example, some folks that are on the game’s Facebook forum report that it takes them months to expose the monument to air; since I’m retired, I can spend a lot of time doing this (and provided I don’t have something else I need to do) and it takes me days to get the monument looking like the picture you see.

The first time I did this, I found myself overwhelmed by the task at hand; it looked “easy” but proved to be otherwise and even though I eventually finished the task, there were many times when I wanted to abandon it.  One of the things needed to do this is patience and another is perseverance.  Every time I decide to do this – and after I initially said I wasn’t gonna ever do this again, mind you – I take a deep breath and say to myself, “Okay, let’s get to work…” and begin the arduous task at hand.

First, I gotta examine the monument to see what kind of shape it’s in, particularly its support columns.  I recently discovered that those columns are 16 rows long from the bottom of the interior “ceiling” to the “floor”, completely trashing my thoughts that the columns were only six rows long.  So, the first thing is to dig down at every column until I’ve exposed the 16 rows and while I’m at it, restoring where the columns are missing its prismarine blocks.  As I dig down, I’m also digging out away from the monument to establish both a walkway and the point where I’ll start building the containment wall, which will go from the bottom of the monument to just above the surface of the water.  I recently expanded the walkway from two blocks wide to three, starting the containment wall at the fourth position; I have an idea for this extra space but actually haven’t worked it all out and compared to what’s next in this process, it’s insignificant at this point.

Building the containment wall literally takes thousands of whatever I’m using to create it – and maybe now you understand why I do this in Creative mode and not in Survival; there’s no way I can carry all that material and, in most cases, the monument is located in the “middle of nowhere” and without any land nearby.  I could use the material I’ve dug out to make the wall but even doing this initial work generates more material than I can carry; the good thing about Creative mode is that I can dig for days and not pile up material in my inventory.  The lights you see in the picture are sea lanterns and along with becoming the containment wall, they also provide light; again, Creative mode lets me use a potion that will “light up” things and they are needed because, as you might expect, without light, it’s pretty damned dark down there.  Every time I do this, I’m always trying to work out a more efficient way to create the wall but it’s still time consuming just the same.  Once I’ve located all of the columns and restored their outline on this one side (four across, sixteen down) as well as exposing the walkway and where I’ll start the wall, I’ll start laying down the sea lanterns on all four sides until the wall is level with the area just above where the columns begin.  Once I’ve built the wall to this point, I will fly around the monument and use sponges to seal off any gaps that lead to the interior of the monument; by doing this, it makes it “easy” to contain whatever water is inside the monument and, here lately, that’s not been a whole lot of water because it seems since the latest updates to the game, every monument I’ve come across has been filled to the top with garbage (I’ll get to this part in a moment).

So… the containment wall has been built to a certain point and gaps closed with sponges; the next step is to close the gap between the containment wall and the monument with sponges which seals off the bottom of the monument from the rest of the water.  Once this is done, I remove a corner sponge and “dive down” into this space, replacing the sponge I took out… and now it’s time to get rid of the water that’s been trapped in this space.  Using sponges makes this easy but it’s still a bit of work to keep flying around the monument and sponging up the water; the game’s creators have improved the physics the game employs, i.e., the water has currents and it “moves” and this alone can make getting rid of the water interesting because it keeps pushing me out of the way and other annoying things.  It might take me, oh, maybe twenty minutes to soak up all the water in this space but once it’s done, I now have a dry space to work in and it’s on to the next step: Cleaning out the interior of the monument.

This can take days for me to do and more so since, as I mentioned, all the monuments seem to be be filled to the brim with junk and there’s no easy or simple way to get rid of it outside of maybe a command you can use; I know it exists but I don’t know how to use it.  That means clearing out whatever’s inside the monument the hard way – one row of junk at a time.  It is monotonous work; not only do I have to clear out all of the junk inside, but I also have to remove all of the junk that’s in the five rows between each column to expose them on all four sides.  At one point, I though about using TNT to get rid of as much of the junk possible… except, um, I have a tendency to use more TNT than I need and the last thing I wanna do is do any more damage to the monument than already exists.  To keep from putting myself to sleep with this repetitive work, I’ll section off areas, cutting a huge area of junk into more manageable areas and whittling them down until there’s nothing but clear floor and all columns are fully exposed.  Next, restore all of the columns.

This is kinda/sorta easy since they’re all made out of the same material – those prismarine bricks I mentioned but it’s time consuming to fly around each column and replacing whatever’s there with the bricks; while I’m doing this, I’m thinking about the floor and what I want to do with it.  My latest thing is the pattern you see in the picture but once the floor has been fully exposed, you’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to how you want it to look.  As I restore each column, I’m also adding the lights you see on each column, as well as lights along the ceiling; the “see in the dark” potion only lasts eight minutes (and I usually go through about 100 of potions just doing this part) so the lights become a necessity.  Once the columns have been restored and lights placed, it’s time to work on the floor and in whatever way that’s come to my mind; compared to everything else I’ve done to this point, doing the floor is quite easy… but there’s still a lot of work to do.

After the interior has been done to my liking, it’s time to leave this dry and lighted space and go swimming to finish the containment wall – but taking a moment to go to one area of the monument and seal it off with sponges.  To break the monotony, I’ll actually seal myself inside this rather large and maze-like space so I can sponge up all of the water inside; that can take an hour or more and employ the use of thousands of sponges.  Getting rid of all the water in this interior space is a pain in the ass… but not even as bad as the next step:

Getting rid of all of the water trapped within the containment area.  Some of the other players who tackle this use sand to sop up all the water in this space and I even thought about using sand myself… except what you’re really doing is replacing all of the water with blocks of sand that, eventually, will also have to be removed.  It’s too much of a pain for me to calculate the volume of water to be removed; oh, I can do it and I know the math involved… it makes my head hurt so I try not to think about it.  By using sponges, I don’t have to fill the whole space with them (and like I stupidly did the first time I did this) and I keep working on more efficient ways to use the sponges so that I get rid of all the water but makes removing used sponges not so much of a chore.  My latest thing is to quarter off the top area of the monument by creating walls of sponges; from there, it’s a matter of laying down rows of sponges in an area, slowly but surely lowering the water level and removing used sponges – it’s easy to get rid of them as I go along than to leave all of those sponges in place and cleaning them up later.  It’s almost painfully time consuming and the water isn’t making it easy to move around as it buffets me here and there, making flying around underwater not so easy.  To remove all of the water from the four sections can take hours as well but the way I do it, for now, seems easier and less painful that filling this huge space with blocks of sand.  Now, in Creative mode, I’d never run out of sand… but if you can, try to imagine how much sand you’d need to fill this space that’s maybe sixty rows high on all four sides and maybe fifty rows high and above where I’d already sealed off the bottom of the monument.  Do the math – I refuse to but trust me when I say this is a lot of space to fill and even more sand that has to be used, recovered, and reused until all of the water is gone.

As much as I want to see exactly how much sand is needed to do this, nope, no frigging way I’m doing that; it just makes a hard thing to do even harder in my opinion.

It takes me days to do this in Creative mode; in Survival mode I don’t know – or want to know – how long it would take me but, like I said, some Facebook forum members report that it takes them months doing this because, of course, they don’t have the time to constantly work at this due to work, school, and other things.  The bad and maybe even funny part is that every time I do this, I tell myself that this will be the last time I work a monument and, indeed, as I explore the world, I might run across another monument; I’ll see it, remember what I just went through doing the other one, and just pass it by.  Even when I create new worlds I don’t go looking for them any more but, um, sheesh, if I happen to stumble across one, fuck, why not – let’s work this one anyway; maybe I can think of better ways to uncover one that won’t take three or four days to complete.

Other than making oceans of lava disappear, I think this is one of the hardest things one can undertake in the game and especially in Survival mode.  It makes battling the mobs of bad guys look easy and carefree and the only places in the game that I think could be a lot worse are the Nether and the End World.  Getting to the Nether is easy – just build a portal… and then hope that once you step through it, you don’t find yourself plummeting to your death, which has happened to me more times than I want to admit to.  The End World isn’t so easy to get to; first you have to find a stronghold – which may be under a village or not; you have to navigate the stronghold and it’s a maze and even when you find the End Portal, you need certain items to activate it and those items aren’t easy to come across in Survival mode.

But those last two places are for another discussion.  Why go through the hassle of exposing an ocean monument to air and doing other stuff with it?  Because it’s there.  It will test your patience and your ability to stick to the job once you’ve started it and while there’s no Xbox achievement for doing this, I tend to get a great sense of accomplishment doing this.  I currently have 44 worlds I’ve created and have messed around in and I’ve not bothered to work at least one monument in every world because, um, I’m not that patient and, really, if you’ve done one of them, you’ve pretty much done all of them outside of whatever additions you might make, like as you see in the picture.  I actually have a video of one monument I completed with the help of my son-in-law; while I was working the inside parts, he was building additions to the monument that, honestly,  I never thought about doing.  Sadly, WordPress won’t let me include the MP4 video in this post, which is a damned shame because the completed and modified monument is, in my opinion, spectacularly pretty thanks to my son-in-law’s work.

Still, as much as doing this can be a major pain in the ass, I actually find it relaxing as I methodically do the work; I’ve done this so many times now that I’m not really thinking about what I’m doing outside of the logistics of getting it done and, yeah, a downside is that it can be so monotonous that I’ve found myself starting to nod off from time to time.  As I work, I do think about some stuff, like, how many blocks really make up the containment wall and, at the least, thinking about the math required to compute the exact volume of space inside the containment wall; I think about how many bricks actually make up the columns including the blocks on the inside; the columns are actually “solid” blocks of prismarine bricks; each row contains 16 blocks and there are 16 rows down to the floor and, if memory serves me, there are 25 columns – again, if you wanna do the math, be my guest.  But as I’m thinking about stuff like this (and refusing to do the math), I’m methodically getting it done and I always seem to surprise myself to find that I’m done doing something.

Those of you who play Minecraft and have done this know what I’m talking about; those of you who don’t play the game, well, um, if you ever choose to play it – and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t play Minecraft (it’s actually pretty addictive), if you ever come across an ocean monument, ya might think twice about tackling one and more so if you don’t have the time or the patience to do so but, then again, if you need to work on being focused and being more patient, this’ll be the thing you wanna try to accomplish…

Provided you don’t drown first or get killed by guardians, of course – I did mention this earlier, didn’t I?


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Posted by on 25 July 2018 in Life, Living and Loving


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I actually didn’t think I’d have anything else to write about this game… until the new “better together” version of Minecraft was released yesterday… and it was a disaster.  The gaming industry has been talking about this upgrade to the game because since Minecraft has been around, there are millions of people playing the game across the different platforms – iOS, Android, PC, and the consoles – but unless you were on the same platform with someone you wanted to play with, I couldn’t play with someone who might be playing on their Android tablet due to a mismatch in the protocols that were specifically written for a given device.  Well, they finally solved the riddle and figured out a way for everyone to play Minecraft with everyone else and regardless to their device of choice; as I recall, the only exception is the Java version of the game and that’s because most modern devices other than PCs won’t run Java (or aren’t allowed to).

The beta version came out on Xbox One and to mixed reviews from those who gave it a try and one of the things I know many tried – and because I did it – is taking a world from the Xbox One version and converting it over to the beta version and it worked perfectly for me and many others.  Admittedly, the world I converted wasn’t a big one in terms of file size but there were others who had already built worlds that were not only grandly elaborate but in terms of file size, they were massive.  Still, the beta performed the conversion to my satisfaction even if I wasn’t fond of how they changed things like the game’s menus from what I’d painstakingly gotten used to playing the Xbox One version and I wasn’t the only one as evidenced by the riffing folks were doing on Facebook’s Minecraft Xbox One group page.

So now it was just a matter of the beta running its course and many people were waiting for it to go live.  I don’t know about the other console versions but Microsoft assured everyone that once the new game went live, we could still play the original version – it just wasn’t going to be updated going forward.  Additionally, anyone who had either the game disc or had purchased the digital copy and had played the game for five hours or more would receive the new game free of charge; it was also announced that any add-on packs purchased would be applied to the new game and work as expected but with the understandable caveat that some packs would take a bit of time to be included.

I fired up my Xbox to see if the new version was available there and only because I saw where my iOS version, Minecraft Personal Edition (or PE) had updated and I took a deep breath and proceeded to update my Xbox game and in a note to my son-in-law, I told him that I was afraid to open it but did so anyway.  Now things get interesting.  First, before I could do a thing with the new game, it locked up and eventually crashed my console and had to be reset.  Once that was done, I reopened the game and just like everyone else was probably doing, when to convert my current world into the new game; when it got done, I opened it… and discovered that literally half of my world was missing!  I found myself hovering in mid-air – and that’s because it was what I was doing when I closed that version of the world when I last played it – and then I turned around toward my “headquarters,” only to find that except for a few things, it was gone – all I could see was water where there was never any water.  Even better, I moved to where my headquarters used to be and discovered that the mountain that sits behind my place was literally bisected and to the point where one of my mines was exposed!  That’s about the time I started laughing because I knew if I was seeing something like this, there would be others who’d see it as well and as evidenced by hearing my son-in-law suddenly curse when he did the same thing I did and found parts of his converted world missing.

Several attempts to re-convert my world resulted in more of it being done but one of the things I noticed was that the world I was trying to convert was 257.5 MB in size… but only 170 MB had been converted.  I thought that perhaps the missing megabyte were tied up in the add-on pack attached to the original game so I went to apply it.  The size of the add-on is 8.4 MB… but the process kept getting to 8,1 MB downloaded and just stopped… then the game crashed and took my console along for the ride.  I told my fellow Facebook group members what I’d experienced and even provided pictures of the “carnage” and, yup, a lot of people were having similar problems.  But wait… this gets better!

If you had created a world in the beta, it would open up without a problem… but if you had an add-on applied, well, you could go to it in the menu and download it… except it wouldn’t download.  On the Facebook group, many people were reporting that they could open their worlds from the beta… but there were some things that weren’t working anymore that were working before this thing went live.  But wait… it gets even better from here!  Remember when I said that we were told that if we already had the game either in disc form or digital download we’d get the new game free?  Well, some people who had the game already discovered that when it was time to download and launch the new game, um, it was gonna cost them $349.00… and I had to laugh as I wondered how many people actually re-purchased the game at this price and while hoping that no one did.

I went to to check system status one to see what they knew and, two, because this thing had crashed my console three times already and, indeed, Microsoft was aware that something was very wrong – and that’s about all they said; something’s wrong and we’re working on it so check back to see if/when we get it fixed.  I had another good laugh thinking about how Mojang – the creators of Minecraft – and Microsoft were getting bombed and slammed by millions of players and pretty much all at the same time.  I know some shit about moving stuff from a test/beta environment to going live so I know that you can test things until you get them working the way you need them to work but once in production mode, um, things don’t always go smoothly.  Talking to my son-in-law, he managed to get in touch with someone on the Mojang team who told him that they were having problems because they didn’t expect four million people to start playing the game pretty much all at once and because that’s what happened, everything was crashing and burning around them.  Now, you know, being experienced in such things, I said, “Really?  They should have expected it and should have planned on this happening!”  Whether those involved really did take this into consideration or not doesn’t change the fact that the much ballyhooed and anticipated new edition of Minecraft just blew up and now tech teams were – and are still – scrambling to fix it.

I’ve yet to check Xbox system status or fire up my console to see if things got fixed but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still broken.  And, yes, I am very glad and happy that I can still play the original Xbox version that has my world very much intact and functioning properly.

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Posted by on 21 September 2017 in Life, Living and Loving


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