Minecraft- cavers are gonna love this game!

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Minecraft- cavers are gonna love this game!

Postby JR-Orion » Apr 6, 2012 9:49 am

Minecraft is a $27 PC game. You can download and install it to your computer (for best performance) or even play it from a web browser. It's a little hard to describe, but basically it's an open world sandbox game where you can do whatever you want- explore, build structures, craft items, or fight monsters.

The game has a blocky, old school look. In fact, everything in the world exists as blocks, which you can move, stack dig through, or rearrange.

But here's the part I find really amazing- when you first start a game, a world is randomly created for you. Oceans, islands, rivers, forests, jungles, deserts, mountains, and caves. This whole unique living world pops into being, and it's yours to explore as you see fit. In the horizontal plane, the world is essentially infinite- you can't circumnavigate the world, and I don't think you can ever reach the end- the world just continues to generate as you walk.

Anyway, let me focus on the caves. There are some huge, complex cave systems in this game. And while they are created randomly, the way they are laid out seems to make sense and feel quite natural. Some of them reach the surface, some don't. Hill and mountain regions tend to have more caves, and you get all types- deep pits, small shelter caves, sea caves, and my favorite- the epic cave systems.

Here's a post I found on a video game forum of a person discovering a natural cave system while mining underground-

http://vine.rottentomatoes.com/vine/sho ... ostcount=1

(the pics really don't do the game justice- it's much nicer to see everything up and running in person)

But my best experience so far comes from deep underground. All of the best materials are found at depth, so I begin digging greedily, and too deep. At about 50 blocks deep, I cut through a last wall of rock before coming upon this scene: (picture).

Now, I realize that this might not look like much. But I actually let out an audible gasp as I stepped into this room. I had felt a sensation that I've only experienced a handful of times in my entire life: the shock of the new.

Most games have hidden secrets, little pockets of world that only the dedicated will find. But these secrets are all created, and with the intent of being found. They exist to please the gamer. But this room wasn't created. It was procedurally generated, the result of a mathematic algorithm. It didn't ever need to be found. I was incredibly lucky to even stumble upon it. If I had been digging 5 blocks to the left, I would have missed it completely, and it would have sat there for eternity, unseen.

It didn't need anyone to witness it in order to exist. I set foot into a room that no one had ever seen before, and although this may sound stupid, I felt incredibly lucky. I think it might be a little like how real explorers feel, when they came across something like the Grand Canyon. A place that is resolutely not for you. Something that wasn't created so that you could enjoy it. Something that just is.


That pretty much captures how I feel about caving in the real world. :)

Last night I broke into my first cave system, and it was awesome. Will type that story up in a minute.
:grin:
:kaver:
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: Minecraft- cavers are gonna love this game!

Postby JR-Orion » Apr 6, 2012 10:15 am

So you're born into this world with nothing. A message directs you to punch a tree trunk. As you do, wood blocks collect in your inventory. Open the crafting screen, use the wood blocks to make wood planks. A second message recommends using four planks to make a crafting table, which allows for more complex creations.

Use the wood planks to make sticks. Combine the sticks in a certain way to create a hoe for farming, a pickaxe for mining, or a sword for dealing with the monsters that come out at night. Once you have the pickaxe, you can dig into dirt and stone. Once you start collection stone blocks, you can use sticks and stone to make a stone pickaxe (which is stronger and faster than the wooden pickaxe).

Dig into the stone and you'll find deposits of coal. Combine a stick with some coal and you get a torch. Congrats! You now have everything you need to explore the caves of Minecraft.

You are going to need a shelter- a base of operations, and safe place to get away from the night monsters. I started the game near the base of a large, wooded hill, so I just dug right in to that. Hollowed out a little square room, and set up my crafting table. Then I started digging a narrow passage straight into the mountain. After a while, I started digging down at an angle. Mostly dirt at first, but then I hit stone. Mines and caves get dark in a hurry, so I placed torches as I went. Eventually I started hearing a low rumbling noise. From what I'd read on the internet, I knew that meant I was close to a natural cave with lava flow. I didn't take me long to break into the room, and suddenly everything lit up from the glow of the lava.

The room was underneath me, maybe too far to just drop into, so I placed some blocks to act as stairs, and climbed down into my first cave. The room was small, and it didn't go, but it was a neat little gem to find hidden in the mountain.

From there I dug straight out, not wanting to dig down in case there was more lava underneath. 20 spaces out from the room and nothing interesting was going on. Went left and right, still nothing but rock. So I started digging down again. Down and down, until finally I saw some coal deposits up and to the right. I dug at them, and broke up into a huge natural cave. No lava in this one, so there was no auditory clue that I was near a cave. I stepped up into this huge, dark, sloping room that took off up and down. Had it not been for those random bits of coal, I probably would have went right past without knowing it was there.

Not wanting to get lost, I marked the tiny area where my mine met the cave with a pair of torches. I set off exploring up the subway sized passage. Up and up and up, placing torches to fight off the total darkness, until I started seeing light up ahead. The cave broke the surface! It was a tiny little opening tucked away in an alcove. Don't know if I would have found the entrance from the surface or not. I explored the surface for a while, but didn't know if I could find my way back to my shelter via the above ground route, so I enlarged the entrance and marked it with two torches.

I hiked back down to where my mine met the cave, and went down this time. Down and down, until things levelled off and split into two directions. By then it was bedtime, so I still have that area to explore tonight.
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: Minecraft- cavers are gonna love this game!

Postby JR-Orion » Apr 6, 2012 10:23 am

Some info on the different cave types in Minecraft-

http://www.minecraftwiki.net/wiki/Cavern

Above ground terrain types-

http://www.minecraftwiki.net/wiki/Biomes
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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JR-Orion
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Re: Minecraft- cavers are gonna love this game!

Postby JR-Orion » Apr 6, 2012 10:36 am

Here's a video of a kid exploring a huge cave-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIfLlHdeafA

warning- contains salty language as the guy freaks out over his discovery.

Another video of a gamer exploring an epic cave-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xsp9cvPf ... re=related

(no salty language)
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: Minecraft- cavers are gonna love this game!

Postby JR-Orion » Apr 6, 2012 2:51 pm

Did some reading on the history of Minecraft- it was originally going to be called Cave Game.
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: Minecraft- cavers are gonna love this game!

Postby nathanroser » Apr 9, 2012 10:25 pm

I bought it awhile ago when it was still in development and the price was a few bucks lower. Haven't done too much, but the stuff some of those hardcore nerds put together in multiplayer, like a full scale replica of the Enterprise. It's also made millions of dollars despite how it was developed pretty much by one person and it spread by word of mouth.
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Re: Minecraft- cavers are gonna love this game!

Postby JR-Orion » Apr 10, 2012 11:04 am

Cool, glad someone has tinkered with the game.

From what I've heard about Minecraft, I thought it was free or maybe $10 at the most. But even at $27, I've gotten my money's worth out of this game.

I'm still loving the way the caves work in this game. The cave I broke into is so huge and winding that I had to come up with a way to mark the path so as not to get lost. There's no map feature, so I started by placing torches in such a way that they would be on the right when moving back towards the entrance- light right returning instead of red right returning. I also would mark important passages with a pair of torches.

But the cave kept going and branching out, and my torch system was getting overwhelmed. So I discovered that you can make wooden signs, and label thing as you see fit. So now you go in the Main Entrance, down to the Little Lava Room, hit the Breakthru Point, take a left and go down at The Big Slope, then hit The Old Tracks.* From this point the cave gets rather complex, as you encounter The Big Room. The Big Room has at least six exits, and a few upper level passages overlook the room from high above. My first step into The Big Room was a fun moment in virtual caving. :)

The way the water works is pretty neat. I've ran into a few underground lakes and rivers.

I keep hoping to find another natural entrance, as I'm starting to feel rather far from the surface. If I don't find one, I might have to whip out the pick axe and make my own.


*The tracks are from an old, abandoned mine that happened to intersect the cave.
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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