Stupid Girls

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Minecraft 18 - Strip update and Creative World

I've taken a mental health holiday.

I've got my new computer. And michelle bought me a copy of the game, "Minecraft," which runs on her personal server, for her friends to play.

In most of the versions of the game, one begins with rudimentary, survival. One can work up to some rather elaborate, powered mechanisms, adapted from parts that were originally designed to move mine carts about.

BrianJ and michelle have been expoiting these devices to create such things as automatic wheat harvesters, roller coasters, defenses against monsters, elevators and even a small computing machine.

In this video, michelle tours her museum of these devices and takes viewers on a tour of creative world, in which resources are unlimited and people can not only fly, but are immortal. It's here she shows some of my fantasy landscapes and architectural designs.

Rachel, you will find the rail technology interesting.

I'm very impressed by the artificial intelligence of "mobs:": interactive creatures in this world. Some are monsters. Some are livestock. There's even a race of very passive, ugly humanoids called "villagers."

I've been spending many hours here, in 3 versions of the world of various degrees of difficulty.

"Blue Lagoon" is an area in which I was playing as a single player. michelle brought the area to Creative World, damn near crashing her server in the process, as it was a substantial chunk of data. Two of the mountains in the Lagoon are named: Monte Michelle and Calamari Hill (I accidentally had my finger pressing the right mouse button, as I got into bed, while the thing was set to spawn squid. Problem was, my character was on top of a mountain. I got in bed, looked at my screen, and saw several dozen spawning squid at my feet. BrianJ and michelle had to kill them for humanitarian reasons.)

I used to die all the time. Monsters would get me as I fell from the surface, through holes, into unworked mines. I now have a beautiful, glass house with precious stone floors, indoor gardens, underground wheat farm, indoor water features and an underground livestock pen, complete with its own pool.

I've learned many game skills, all based on real chemistry and physics, with only slight modifications into the fanciful.

The graphics are simple, three dimensional blocks, stacked into sculpted terrain, landscapes, flora and fauna.

The music is wonderful. The adventures are endless. The options for how to play are not limiting.

I have 4 dogs, 4 cows, 5 pigs, who knows how many chickens . . . My house sits atop a mountain that is riddled with deep, dangerous caves, full of vast mineral deposits and "red stone," the energy source that makes mechanical devices work.

I'm slowly mining my way in from the sides, as falling down holes is wearing me out and triggering some pretty nasty emotional episodes. Rather than fall from above, I've covered surface holes with glass. This way, sunlight penetrates the mines. Monsters can't grow in light, and I can see well enough to work below.

michelle is a wonderful game companion. BrianJ is a brilliant inventor and monster slayer. A few new people have shown up recently. Mostly, they're trying not to fall in lava, be attacked by wolves or eaten by giant spiders. They're also designing flat, corporate logo-inspired "billboards," as I describe them, in Creative World (which dismays me, but ....)

I will return to responsible, adult life soon. michelle was given another week off from work, as she's having serious struggles with stress. So, she's working a lot in minecraft. She's video taping how the game is played. She dug a "strip mine" so players will have access to raw materials when they come into the most dangerous, full-survival mode of the game. As she is Welsh, and my people are Appalachian hill folk, we've had serious discussions about the ethics and impacts of strip mining and how our ancestors would disapprove, even in this game, of the destruction of strip mining.

So, I'm playing with michelle until she goes back to work. It's been wonderful to get inside her head about computers, circuitry, alternative realities, self esteem, skills sharing, running a server. We sing songs and tell each other stories and jokes, audio calling via skype in real time, six thousand miles apart, both killing the same monsters, sharing the same foods, building the same structures, sleeping the ten-minute "night" in "double" beds, telling each other our lives.

BrianJ spends much time with us,as his disabilities keep him at home a lot. He and michelle have adventures, mostly in technologies. He runs the game on another server and his Mincraft world is called the YouTubeiverse, as most of his game players are friends from YouTube.

It's been wonderful to build secret sanctuaries of obsidian, lapis lazuli, spider webs, cake, gold and diamond.

Mostly, it's been amazing having so much uninterrupted time to learn who michelle is and show her who I am. Yesterday, a monster called an Archer turned up in my bed as we chatted. Later that ten minute "day," I headed for bed and said, "Hope there are no archers." She replied, "there'd better not be! I don't want you two-timing me. We haven't even hugged yet!" I, of course, nearly melted right onto the floor.

So, I think she wanted us to have some way to be together in real time, from six thousand miles apart. It's a very rich environment and lends well to intimate conversations between us. Plus, we help each other and cooperate on projects, so we're learning how we work as a team. We work very well. We like how each other thinks, reasons and feels about events in our lives. We respect each other. And we're creating memories of squid massacres, lime-green lambs and ice palaces. It's amazing.

So, when she goes back to work, I'll go back to being a struggling, low income exile in the wilds of rural New Mexico. Until then, I'm the bumbling, but charming and somewhat dashing, tender, supportive, teasing playmate of a very wonderful woman six thousand miles from me.

It's a most interesting way to bond, to be in each other's heads, to be children, women, heroes and playmates together.

I told her today, "You know, michelle, if we were living in the same house, we'd probably be doing exactly what we're doing right now: each of us on her own computer, chatting via skype, plotting mayhem and masterpieces on this game." She agrees.