dragoness_e: (gaming posts)
For those of you interested in the Minecraft mods I maintain:

Hadite Coal is in testing. It loads, and I can even display some of the textures! Still needs the rest of the models and recipes and stuff.
dragoness_e: (gaming posts)
A set of posts to another DBZ fan about Minecrafting, which I will continue as a report on my world:

That sounds like an interesting world. I may have to try that seed. (From Jenny Islander: The seed is (take out the spaces) 7267 5644 6546 4405 901).

Right now, I am playing through a peaceful run of Direwolf20's 1.12.2 2.2.0 modpack. I added "Hunger in Peace" to the pack because I like food to matter even on Peaceful mode, and "Smoother Fonts" because being able to anti-alias fonts and pick the font you want for the tiny print on tooltips and buttons is really nice. I also updated a few mods in the pack before Direwolf20 did, because I don't like keeping known bugs that have already been fixed. The official pack has since caught up. I also set the world to a "rare" Lost Cities with Biomes O' Plenty (BOP) configuration, but someone's definition of "rare" is a lot different from mine, because there are abandoned, crumbling cities at various distances in all directions.

I spawned in a BOP Highlands area right next to a Thaumcraft Magical Forest (which means all the oaks are giant branching oaks, the grass is bluegrass, and there are Greatwood trees--a Thaumcraft (TC) specific tree with huge branching trunks and a very dark wood, like Dark Oak only darker. There are also TC Silverwood trees, which are magical, birch-like trees with branching trunks, and giant mushrooms and weird mushrooms.)

Magical Forest biome

As the pack also includes Botania, and BOP has a lot of biome-specific plants, there are strange flowers galore, everywhere. Since my base style tends to be "tunnel into the nearest hill before it gets dark" and expand from there, I have my base on the border between the Magical Forest (the lowland entrance to my base) and the Highlands (the mountain interior of my base).

Entrance to my base

Entrance to my base

My sheep pen is up in the Highlands, as I found dozens of sheep up there.


Sheeps

I also built chicken pits there, after bringing a few stacks of eggs back from one of my major expeditions to the nearest "Lost City".

Chicken Pit

My current base load power generation is up on the mountain, too, as is my nether portal and, just built last night, my Astral Sorcery crafting table.

Highlands power gen area

I'll explain the power generation another time. You can see a "Lost City" on the upper left, not very far away. The dead "city" (more like a small office park) nearest me has been a treasure trove of glass, iron bars, anvils, bookshelves, crafting tables, furnaces, the occaisional enchanting table and brewing stand, flower pots, and endless stacks of terracotta, which were the Minecraft material used to generate that 'modern brutalist concrete' architecture look. (McJty's Lost Cities mod defaults to using vanilla materials to generate the dead cities). That terracotta has turned out to be useful in some of the other mods, saving me the trouble of digging a lot of clay out of the bottom of local ponds. The dead office park has also been a trove of other junk, such as mob spawners; since I'm doing a Peaceful mode play-through, they are mostly useless and harmless. I guess I'm bypassing the intended difficulty of pillaging the abandoned office park by being on Peaceful; apparently its supposed to be infested with zombies, skeletons and giant spiders. OTOH, I don't get to use the monster spawners to make mob farms. I'm going to have to get mob drops the hard way: breeding BEES!

There were also "feral" chickens; on one of my later visits, I penned some chickens in the bottom floor of one of the abandoned office buildings and bred them until I collected several stacks of eggs, which I took home to start my chicken farm. (Chickens don't transport easily long distances, but eggs do).

The Magical Forest lowlands had wild cows and pigs wandering the forest, so I used some of the extensive supplies of wood I had lumbered off to build cowpens and pigpens, and lured some breeding pairs in. I still haven't found any carrots, but it turns out that pigs can be bred with beetroot, and beetroot seeds drop from breaking grass in this modpack, like wheat seeds do. So I have everything I need to breed my sheep, cows, chickens and pigs, which keep me in meat, wool, eggs, feathers and hides. (And help power my power plant, but that's another, more complicated story). As for the rest of a balanced diet, this modpack includes Pam's HarvestCraft, which has all the fruits, vegetables and recipes to use everything you could want. I have already found and started growing many different vegetables and leafy spices. The main things I am still missing are carrots, potatoes, and orchard trees, though I have found the latter on my travels--they just didn't have ripe fruits for me to pick and take home and plant.

I have far more I could tell you about; Direwolf20 the YouTube guy likes to play around with different tech mods and has a very easy-going style on YouTube (i.e. he's competent at making a good video, but can get too enthralled in the "exciting" tasks of making things in a crafting table). His modpack is what they call a "kitchen sink" modpack: some of this, some of that, mods tweaked as necessary to play well together, no special emphasis on "balance" or "progression". Very much a sandbox to play in rather than a game to play through, if you get my drift.

The pack includes some nifty little tools that make building easier, such as Building Gadgets and MeeCreeps. Also /dank/null turned out to be the most useful device for storing (and/or auto-voiding) all that junk/potential building materials that you dig up when mining--cobblestone, dirt, gravel, diorite, etc.

Building Gadgets include the Builder, which is like a Builder's Wand on steroids--it will let you lay down lines and walls of blocks from your inventory without having to place each one yourself. If you've ever hung off the edge of a roof or cliff trying to place another row of edging, you'll appreciate it a lot. The Builder will work with the /dank/null widget and pull blocks out of its inventory, if they exist. I have found the combination handy in mining--an iron /dank/null holds 1152 of any individual block in it, like cobblestone, so as I mine out all that cobblestone, it gets stashed, and if I need to bridge a chasm, out comes the Builder and I can use it to toss up a quick bridge from that stash of cobblestone. (It also has an 'undo' function, so I can take that bridge back down when I'm done with it).

The other Building Gadget is the Exchanger, which lets you switch a block in inventory with a block in the world, also in walls, columns, etc. This is handy for laying pretty floors and paneling your underground base's walls in something better looking than stone cut by random seams of diorite/granite/andesite.

MeeCreeps are summoned by a widget craftable by vanilla stuff you will collect in deep mining, such as diamonds. They are turquoise-blue enderman looking dudes who will carry out simple tasks, depending on where you summoned them--if you summon one by clicking the widget on a tree, it will offer to cut the tree down for you. If you click on the floor, it will offer to flatten the area, or build a cobblestone platform, or dig down to bedrock, or whatever. Extra materials do need to be provided by you: if you want a platform, throw stacks of cobblestone at it if the local area doesn't have stone.

More to come, I hope...
dragoness_e: (gaming posts)
I hear Netflix is going to be discontinuing streaming "Clone Wars" in March. Guess what I'll be binge-watching? I'm already halfway through season 3, so it's not that far to go to finish it.

On WoW, I got Bedewyr (my warrior) to level 10 (woo-hoo!), found the bank in Stormwind, and finally unloaded all those crafting ingredients into storage. Not enough bags, captain! I also learned the sad news that WoW does not have shared banking slots. WTF? How are you supposed to trade gear between alts? Later, Becky told me that you use mail to send stuff to your alts. That's all well and good, except where it isn't: one, as a trial player, I don't have access to mail; two, I tend to use shared slots as a central depot that all my alts can come pick over for supplies. I don't see how to use mail for that. So, when it comes to altoholic friendliness, WoW is not so friendly as EQ2 or EQ1.

I also started my Tauren druid, Finvarien. Gee, I see why Becky said the human zones suck--the Tauren starting zones are so pretty! Even the hideous Thornsnarl area appears to be a shout-out to a certain Disney movie. Even if the mixed fantasy native American aesthetic of the Tauren is wildly anachronistic, it's a refreshing change from pseudo-medieval European everything (also usually wildly anachronistic).

I figured out how to reset the tutorials, so I would get the explanations again. Yay me! Low-level stuff is still very handholdy--I have yet to be in serious danger from anything. Even with Bedewyr, the only time he took enough damage for me to bother eating some food was after fighting 5 wolves without pause (3 at once during the fight). Does it get tougher at higher levels, or is this a sign I should be pushing on to tougher stuff?

ETA: Craftwise, Bedewyr is a Blacksmith/Miner, and Finvarien is a Leatherworker/Skinner. No doubt I'll have others.

Superbowl

Feb. 5th, 2017 09:35 pm
dragoness_e: (Echo Bazaar)
No post about today, because I'm still reeling from the game. Wow, that was one hell of a Superbowl! Free football, records broken, edge-of-the-seat nail-biter game. The Pats won, but I don't feel too bad about that, because they earned their victory. It was an incredible game between two very good teams, and the Patriots showed why they are champions. Atlanta did pretty well too, with an impressive early lead, but I think they got complacent with the lead they had going into the second half, and the Pats showed them why that was a mistake.

Just, wow! Awesome, incredible game!
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
Everquest2 is having login issues. For long stretches of the day, it wouldn't let us log in, which squelched a lot of our plans for the day. No Sammie & Deanne, no guild run. Bleh. Steve ended up installing WoW to try out, though we finally did manage to log in to EQ2.

Instead, I did a major grocery run and we cut down more bamboo in the back yard, which exhausted us both. Steve was shocked by how low his blood sugar was after all that work; fortunately, I'd picked up plenty of sugary snacks. I dug out the TV antenna and hooked it back up in preparation for tomorrow--I do love me some Superbowl commercials. The game might be mildly interesting, if only to boo the Patriots. I loathe cheaters, and always want to see them lose.

At least the bamboo cutting gave Elsa something to do outside with us; she had been frustrated all morning because Steve wouldn't take her for a walk, because it was so cold this morning. It got to the point where she was all but standing in his lap trying to get his attention for the walk she wanted. I finally took her for a short walk, which made her very happy, before I went on the grocery run.

Worked on some of my baby characters instead of the big guys. Mallard got a bunch of tradeskill quests caught up, and Natashae finally made 75. Okay, she's one of my big guys in the crafting department. Made some improvised stir-fry for dinner, and concluded that stir-fry needs some kind of sauce to keep from being incredibly bland. The vegetables themselves aren't strongly flavored, nor is chicken, my usual meat of choice. I noticed that most actual Chinese stir-fry recipes have some kind of sauce, so I need to figure out what I'm going to do for my generic improv stir-fry.

One of these days I need to stop staring blankly at my RP tags and actually respond to them. I've noticed that people RP with me more if I actually respond to them. Weird coincidence, that...
dragoness_e: (Echo Bazaar)
I see I forgot to post yesterday. Well, I don't post about work, but I will say that yesterday I took some time in the middle of the day to attend a lovely retirement luncheon for a co-worker--specifically, our office manager and de facto "office mom". As far as I can tell, everyone in the local office turned up for the luncheon, including some of our retired guys, which was held at a nice beachfront bar & grill. It was a perfect day--beautiful, sunny, not too hot and not cold, and the sun just glittered off the water. Just lovely. Everyone was nice, it was a wonderful and moving get-together, (her out-of-state kids who couldn't be there sent videos) and we'll all miss her. Seriously, she was one of those wonderful "office moms" who hold things together and helps everyone find their shit when they've lost it. I don't know what we'll do without her.

As her husband tells it, it was originally supposed to be a temporary gig, just 3 months. Over 20 years later, she's retiring from that "temporary" job. So, you never know...

I crashed early last night, after all that. I'm still under the weather a bit, and seem to run out of energy easily. Going to finally take my doctor's advice and see a specialist about these recurring, chronic sinus infections; I'm getting tired of being debilitated and tired all the time.

I ran one of my EQ2 dudes through a bunch of tradeskill quests he'd fallen behind on, and yet again mused on all the decorating I want to do when I have the time. After being inspired by DW20's Let's Play series yet again, I built a Buildcraft Filler, and used it to clear the ground for my giant stable wherein I will move the sheep to. I also used to lay the foundations; it's a serious labor-saver. I built a Malisis' Carriage Door for the stable entrance, and will build the rest of it sometime soon. It's visible on the map. I need to find some spruce so I can make medieval castle doors for the main entrance of my lair, though.

I've been reading some old mystery novels I found in a used booksale, or possibly inherited. This time it's George Simeon's Inspector Maigret. It'll be interesting to compare and contrast with the other stories in the omnibus, all published in 1958. Simeon is French; I'm pretty sure the other authors are not. Cultural differences are always interesting; for example, the French justice/legal system is quite different from the American or the British one.
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
It's about time I got back to posting on this thing. John Scalzi started his "Whatever" blog to keep in practice writing a daily column, and it would benefit me to practice writing a daily dairy or opinion piece. So here I am.

I won't talk about work. That leaves hobbies and Real Life and opinions. Hobbies are all over the place, but mostly involve gaming and RPing, these days. Also modding, which is writing software for games. At one time, I used to write little software utilities for tabletop RPs, but that was a long time ago--like, when DOS and Turbo Pascal were things. I had a nice little elaborately detailed treasure generator for AD&D, based on the tables from Powers & Perils. I also wrote a weather generator based on the tables in the back of the AD&D Wilderness Survival Guide, and I still have my huge Traveller sector generator program based on the Megatraveller system generation tables. Anyone see a pattern here? I'm actually porting that Traveller program to Java, as Java practice, and combining it with a very ancient X-Windows C program to draw pretty maps of sub-sectors. It should scale up to sectors if done properly. Much of the aforementioned crap was done decades ago, but the source code is upon my website somewhere. Along with archives of ancient Megatraveller ship designs.

These days, my hobby programming is primarily Minecraft modding, and putting together the occasional Minecraft modpack. Most of what I'm modding are other people's mods that I took over when they abandoned the Minecraft modding scene. I never did get back to my own mods, as Simple Ores and akkamaddi's stuff takes up all my leisure modding. Of course, I've rewritten them so much they might as well be my mods.

State of the RP: I sometimes play Dead End at The Wake. Fellow Transformers fans may remember that I used to write Stunticon fanfiction; I still like the crazy boys. I've also tried my hand at playing Hellbender again at Cyberformed, but I'm just not feeling him. He played best off Becky's Hook and Ladyboss's Shockwave, and it's not the same without them. Fortunately, Cyberformed has almost no AC, so I can just coast until I get sorted out.

Writing: I haven't been. Perhaps I should set my computer up to boot to Linux first, instead of Windows, as Linux-side is where I keep my manuscripts. Windows is where the games dwell. When I get back to writing, Starscream is still waiting for me to continue "Spearmaker". Certain original characters are waiting in the wings, as well--Shani the Nubian would like me to recount her adventures across the ancient Hellenic world. She'd also like me to figure out a true Nubian name for her, instead of random Swahili, and change the name of that idiot Greek merchant she travels with. Characters can be so picky! I've also got villains who want me to put them in stories, but they do need me to find heroes to stand against them. (Seth Kane insists he makes a fine villain protagonist and his enemy is worse; I'm like, nooo... let's find a real hero somewhere, then you can reluctantly help the hero by way of double-crossing your enemy. Also, let's pick a less-obvious nom de guerre. Seriously.)

Gaming: ooh, boy. I watch Direwolf20 videos, which get me fired up to play Minecraft, then go play Stardew Valley, which has eaten my evenings. Awesome game. It's also a relaxing contrast to the usual action/adventure MMORPGs I play. The little bit of combat is pretty simple, especially if you luck out like I did and get the Galaxy Sword right after repairing the bus. (Best weapon in the game, and I got a prismatic shard out of a geode from the quarry, right after it opened).

There's a new expansion out for the Everquest2 Time-locked Expansions server, Stormhold, where Steve & I play: The Shadow Odyssey. Early word is they actually got itemization, progression and balance right this time, so maybe more people will be happy. I just know that it opens up a bunch more furniture recipes that my carpenter needs to grind faction for--I like decorating, okay? I still need to get 2 of my big 4 crafters to cap and do their tradeskill epics. Not to mention work on leveling Sammie, my highest-level adventurer. And I have so many houses to decorate! Oh, and then there's the live server I still have characters on, and there's a new expansion, with more tradeskill stuff....

Becky & Tai are playing WoW, which has me somewhat interested. I at least installed the free Starter version and am playing around now and then with Bedywyr, a human warrior. It's deja vu all over again, because the last time I played 'free trial', I had a human character... and humans always start in Northshire/Goldshire. Same hand-holding quests. I would have been bored to tears (and briefly was), except that I finally figured out how to open my crafting menus and play around with crafting. Yay! I don't know that WoW-boy will get much play, because of so much to do in all my other games, but you never know.

I just finished re-reading Diasporah by W. R. Yates. As far as Google can tell me, it was the only book he ever wrote. My guess is it was his first novel, it tanked, and he either stopped writing, or wrote his 2nd novel under a different pseudonym. Sadly, it was not good. It was not as bad as a few published things I've seen, but it wasn't good. The author was way too fond of showing off all his world-building and research, and pacing suffered badly from it. Also, possibly because I had read it before, the "big reveal" at the end was quite obvious from all the clues dropped. Foreshadowing is normally good, so things don't come out of left field and make no sense, but when they make the climax of the story entirely predictable, that's not good. Finally, the author's pro-Israeli politics were downright anvillicious and character-distorting--all the Jewish characters are interesting, three-dimensional characters, Israel's massive paranoia and arm's race is entirely justified, and all their enemies are stereotypical anti-Semites or stock totalitarian thugs. Except for, of course, for the stereotypical Japanese who were allies. Boring. The author would have been better off taking some of the word-count devoted to the engineering of the Svengild and spending it on showing us in more detail why the U.N. was a ruthless dictatorship and why the French space cities were viciously anti-Semitic and actively trying to destroy the Israeli orbital city while the U.N. looked the other way. (The reasons were told in a few sparse lines somewhere mid-book--and since the virtual undeclared war by the French space cities drove the whole damn plot, a little more detail about the whys and wherefores might have been helpful.) All in all, it was a useful review of 'mistakes not to make in writing one's first novel'.
dragoness_e: (Echo Bazaar)
Now I see why certain acquaintances are so fond of this game. Echo Bazaar is addictive, if you have a taste for gothic, indeed Lovecraftian, Victoriana, and many of us do. Think of it as a choose-your-own-adventure game set in a fantastic 19th century London that's fallen into the Underdark.

It's a web-browser game that uses either your Twitter account or your Facebook account for login services. I don't have a Facebook account--no real use for one, and I don't like attaching my Real Life info to a public social network--but Twitter turns out to be happily unconcerned with my anonymity or lack thereof. It's also very easy to set up an account--all you need is an e-mail address that works and the ability to imagine a suitable username/password pair. So now I have a Twitter feed--though about all I use it for is Echo Bazaar snippets.

EB keeps you from racing through the content by restricting your actions per day and per hour; it's a turn-based game, and without turns ("actions" in EB parlance), about all you can do is look at your options for what you could do if you had spare actions, and trade in the Bazaar. This does somewhat ameliorate the common MMORPG problem of players "beating the game" (i.e., experiencing all the content) in hours or days, getting bored, and quitting or worse, trolling/griefing other players for lulz.

So far, it's fascinating, and there is some opportunity for social interaction with other players, though most of the action is solo vs. the world. Or something like that.

April 2019

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