Monday, 18 March 2013

Zombies and skeletons and CREEPERS, oh my!

HALP! Creeper on my house!
Post #2 as promised! This one will probably leave most readers going 'huh?' but it's an attempt to explain what I've been up to since not coming into SL these past months.

My little boy, who will be 5 in a week's time, likes to browse YouTube for computer game reviews, which feature commentary with video of the gameplay. He discovered Minecraft this way, which is a very popular game because it isn't just about fighting monsters, it also has a creative and social element just like SL. He really wanted to try it and I let him have a go, even though I thought it might be a bit difficult for him. Turns out I was wrong, he is a whiz - at least with building and fighting, he isn't so great at resource gathering and conservation, but that's what mummies are for ;-) I got hooked too, and another SL friend set up a multiplayer server, to which I have now attracted three more friends from SL! It's like I am spearheading a mass exodus, muahahaha *ahem*. Anyway, Bean loves playing on his own in Creative mode, where you can just build without worrying about resources or monsters, or dying when you fall off the roof; but he especially loves to come adventuring with me on the server, despite the fact that we frequently die in horrible ways. More about that, and creepers, in a moment, but I will explain a bit more about the game first.

The creative element of Minecraft is that you get to build things, just like in SL but with NO PRIM LIMITS!!! although there are very few shapes to work with and you can't individually texture things. There are also no space limits as you have a whole world to explore, with computer generated terrain equivalent to the surface area of Neptune (so you really can't complain of being cramped). Another fun element of the game is that you have to go out and gather your resources from the world around you instead of simply rezzing what you want, so for example if you want to build a wooden house, you must make an axe and chop down trees; if you want to build with stone, you have to make a pickaxe and go mining. This is where the monster fighting comes in, because during every night cycle of the game, they spawn in the wilderness and come to get you. Some of them also hang around during the day, and since it is always dark underground, there are always monsters when you go mining. It helps to have armour, but iron ore is underground, so that you have to encounter more monsters while finding it, a somewhat circular scenario especially since your armour wears out and you keep having to craft a new set -- though in theory, if you play with friends, you could stick to a purely building and farming role and let them do all the dangerous work bringing home materials. You have to farm to generate food for survival, as hunger also plays a part in the game and you don't heal up on an empty belly.

Anyway, this brings us to the monsters, and specifically, the pictured avatar. (Bet you were wondering when we'd get to that.) The game has your typical zombies, skeletons and giant spiders - and big cubic slimes that bounce on you, which Bean loves attacking - but by some accidental* stroke of genius, the game creator also came up with one of the best monsters ever (imho). They are called Creepers, and they are totally silent and, in the dark (and particularly among trees) very well camouflaged. They scuttle up to you soundlessly on their four shuffling feet, and when they get within range, they explode. This obviously isn't good for your health, though not fatal if you are wearing armour, but it has an extremely annoying side effect. The explosion doesn't just damage you; it takes out everything within blast range,   carving craters in the ground, destroying your buildings, letting in flood water, or knocking out bridges and dropping you hundreds of meters down into a chasm - or worse, when you're deep underground, a lake of lava. The only warning you have of this impending doom is the soft 'psssss' of a primed creeper just seconds before it goes off - enough time, if you aren't backed into a corner, to sprint in the opposite direction and at least escape the worst. You could probably walk around in real life and determine the Minecraft players by sneaking up on people and going 'psssss!' behind them; the ones who leap forward like Olympic sprinters are a sure bet.

*It really was accidental. He was trying to make some kind of explosive pig.

As you can imagine, Minecraft players grow to hate creepers. As a concept, and when you aren't directly confronted by them, they are awesome. Close up and personal, they are anyone's worst nightmare. I'm sure I am no different from most Minecraft players in having a love/hate relationship with the little hissers. (Bean adores them. He will set them off deliberately with no regard for his own health, or adjacent architecture. But then his first attraction to the game was through TNT, so go figure.) So when I found out that someone had made a creeper avatar, I had to get it. It's a little bigger than it should be (dwarfing other residents, when it should be person-sized) but I might be able to shrink it with some careful modding; unfortunately it's no copy, which is always a bugbear with worn items. It also doesn't have any sound or explosion animations. However, it was only L$80 and looks great, so I'm not complaining. I climbed up onto the 'roof' of my house, an up-ended ship, and love the photo I got (top image) which is now my desktop. If I saw that in Minecraft I'd be going NOOOOOOOOOOOO! - best thing to do in these circumstances is run out of range then take the critter out with a bow and arrows before it wrecks your build.
Explosive new design on the catwalk
While wandering around in my new avatar (some time back in February) I visited SL Fashion Week because of something I'd seen on Rudh's blog. The entrance to this market is a catwalk, so I found myself in a hilarious situation as a creeper doing a fashion walk. You had all better raise the rafters with your applause or this creeper will take out the whole stage! Nobody wants a creeper to have a hissy fit. "This season, it's all about camouflage - work those greens, baby!"

If you want to know more about Minecraft, besides trying a free demo from their website, you could watch some fan songvids on YouTube. There are some hilarious and beautifully made parodies of current pop songs, staged using in-game graphics, and you can pretty much just type in 'minecraft song' and surf, but because I've been discussing creepers, here's one of my favourites about them. Actually I think the song is completely original, and a pretty catchy tune!

Item Credits:

Creeper avatar by Mai (maimoamimo) sold on marketplace.

Shipwreck, fully furnished with undersea themed low-prim mesh furniture, FREE from the Arcadia Asylum Recovery Library (I will have to make a post about this soon, there is some awesome stuff there and word deserves to get out). The palm tree at the bow is my Khargo tropical log (see last post) which I have since rearranged.

1 comment:

  1. LOL love the Creeper on the catwalk at SL Fashion Week... The game seems more interesting than I thought after reading your post, yet I still don't think I have any desire to play it myself. It seems fairly complicated and I am still learning how to make SL work LOL!
    LOOK OUT THOUGH there is a creeper on the roof of your house!!!!