Brave New World Order

Screenshot from the game Minecraft, depicting a mostly empty landscape with a few buildings here and there.

I’ve been playing quite a bit since server reboot. Happily, I’ve had a few guests and a couple of brand new folks pop on and carve themselves a little piece of the server as well, which makes me happy. I’ve missed my server babies. <3

The server is mostly survival. I say mostly because I’ve been happily tooling about in creative mode building stuff. It is still surreal flying around the map and thinking to myself “ah yes, here is about where the Crystal Palace is” or “this is where the Four Guardians would be” and so on and so forth as I traverse the bare ground. Ghosts of Minecraft builds past. But I’m excited for what sort of structures may appear in Minecraftverse 2.0.

Screenshot from the game Minecraft showing a forested mountainous landscape with the top of a build visible in the distance.
View of a lake to the west of Center. In the distance the top of a build is visible. This is about where the Crystal Palace would be on the other map.

Spawn House and World Center

Obligatory first builds being obligatory, I built a nice little public house near spawn with some starter crops growing by the door and supplies in chests nearby. Due west of this at 0,0 is the first Tower. I like marking the center of my maps for some reason. Plus it’s a good landmark for folks to navigate by, depending on how far their render distance is. (Mine is cranked out to 64 chunks for the pictures, though I tend to play at maybe a quarter of that.)

Screenshot from the game Minecraft, depticing a large tower with a door at the bottom.
The eastern side of the Tower, viewed from ground level.
a view of the West Side of the Tower.

Subway 2.0

Because of COURSE I’m going to have one. Not really much to say about this, as it’s built in the same style as the old one, though between fill commands, setblock commands and a little typing/repeating help from autohotkey scripts, building them out takes a fraction of the time it used to. So far there’s only one length of track completed stretching from 0,0 to -1024,0) with a station at the midway point; hopefully soon I will have a bisected square of subway line built with a corresponding express track in the Nether.

Screenshot from the game Minecraft, depicting an unbuilt subway station space
An unfinished station shell at -1024, 0.
Screenshot of the game Minecraft, depicting a train station at track leve.
Station at -512, 0 at track level
Screenshot from the game Minecraft, showing the interior of a stone structure. at left, a staircase descends.
Station at ~ -512,0 at entrance level, interior
Screenshot from the game Minecraft, showing a stone structure with a doorway.
Station at ~ -512,0 at entrance level

There isn’t a station built out at -1024,0 yet because I haven’t quite worked out how it’s gonna work with the build I’ve started directly above it.

Huge Unnamed Build #1

So last week poking around Tumblr I ran across the below image. Further poking on the internet led me to more illustrations from a 1929 architecture book called The Metropolis of Tomorrow and an artist named Hugh Ferriss and oh my, talk about jabbing me directly in the Art Deco totalitarian dystopia feels.

a dark black and white drawing depicting an art Deco style towering edifice moodily lit from below
A drawing from Hugh Ferriss’ The Metropolis of Tomorrow

I feel like it would be hard to grow up in New York with an interest in architecture without loving some Art Deco style; goodness knows I did. Anyway I kept circling back to this particular image and thinking “I’m gonna Minecraft that building.” Started to do that yesterday.

Screenshot from the game Minecraft showing the top floors of a new building floating far above the ground.
A view of the floating top floors of Ferris tower from about -512, 0
Screenshot from the game Minecraft showing the beginnings of a building floating far above the ground.
The top four stories and the roof of Ferriss Tower take shape.

It made sense to me to start from the top and build it out from there, after a couple of hours with graph paper planning out the number of stories between building transitions. I’m excited as it’s going to be my first build that will cap out at the 255 block building limit, even if I’m vastly annoyed that Mojang still hasn’t raised the cloud level accordingly. I’ve tentatively named it Ferriss Tower after the artist, we’ll see if that name sticks.

Nether House

Not too much to say about this, as it’s just a tiny house in the Nether at the 0,0 mark. Mostly built it as a safe haven from the passing mobs and so that the nether portal in the Center Tower had a safe destination.

Screenshot from the game Minecraft showing the front of a small brick house.
Front of the Nether House at Nether 0,0. Pretty much a standard ARBT house in red brick
Screenshot from the game MInecraft showing the same brick house on an island in the middle of a lake of lava. Two bridges lead to it.
An aerial shot of Nether House, with the two bridges leading to it from two of the netherrack masses around it.

It feels good to be playing and building again, even if I’m neglecting some necessary life things to do so. >.> Hell, maybe I’ll start streaming myself again, considering this build is gonna take me a while to finish.

Starting all over

screenshot from the game Minecraft, depicting forested terrain with a house and a tower in the distance.

Typical Andee syndrome – I have so many things going on and projects in the fire that often things get neglected. Like my games for one thing. I’ve barely had time to deal with real life let alone play games!

A friend of mine was raving about the Minecraft Update Aquatic this week (it’s been out for at least three weeks now, shows you how out of the loop I’ve been) and so I decided to check it out, and oh my, is it pretty. This got me back into wanting to build things and tinker around with the new stuff I hadn’t really played around with, and I got to thinking about the main ARBTServer map and how I’ve exposed so much of it in the last few years that I’d have to hike quite a ways through the Nether to find any new ground to generate new stuff on. That and we have only occasional outside traffic these days… So I made the difficult decision to archive it. That map, which I’ll probably forever think of as the Main Map, I’m renaming V.2. The old survival map will be version 3, and the newly rebooted map, which is now live, is v.4.

Speaking of which, yes, the server’s back up, and I’ve completely rebooted the map. I played around with Mineatlas for a little while after deciding I wanted to start fresh, looking at other seeds to try, and after awhile I was just like… you know what… same seed. Just start from scratch. What with all the new stuff since the last time I’ve generated a new map with this seed I figured there’d be a few slight differences in the terrain, and there are, but it still looks familiar, if not quite the same. I’ve already put in a new Spawn House, and there’s a beacon tower already at World Center (0,0) that will eventually become the center of a new rail system, because you can take the woman out of the subway but you can’t take the subway out of the woman apparently.

I’ll miss the old map, but the beauty of archives is that there isn’t anything preventing me from bringing it back one day.

In other game news, I am not sure when I’ll be back to Twitch or just regular game playing, as again… too many irons in the fire. Hopefully sometime soon.

Update for January

Allo and Happy new year, beautiful game related people!

Server Mama has had a January. Eaten by projects, work, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp (no, really) and 50 ft anxiety hamsters. As a result, game stuff went a bit by the wayside.

Rust and Minecraft (Bedrock) are open for play again! Definitely feel free to drop in for a visit in either place.

I have not gone back to Twitch streaming just yet. Still trying to figure out what I want to DO with it really, and with the recent merger of OBS and Stream Labs I still need to sit down and figure out the new software.

In addition to that I haven’t really had much time to sit down and you know. Play video games. Too many irons in the fire per usual.

Reorganizing my life a little bit, and then I aim to come roaring back better than ever in February. Keep on Playing!

Rust offline for December

screenshot of the game Rust depicting a snowy landscape and a red tinged sky.

Happy Holidays everyone! It’s December 1st so as far as I’m concerned, it’s now okay to start with that. 🙂

Just a general announcement that Rust will be unavailable until the January 4th wipe for Reasons. (Translation: I and my computer need a break.)

More posts to come – I’ve been playing games, just not writing about them, lol

No one warned me about the adorable dogs!

So I finally FINALLY had a few minutes of uninterrupted downtime today to play Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch. I hadn’t gotten out of the Sand Kingdom yet and both the Beasts are WAY ahead of me so putting in some catch up time was overdue. So I finished up with the boss (That is an awesome boss battle, btw!) and played a couple of the little minigames that unlock when you do… and then I ran into The Puppy.

So there’s a dog wearing a little pork-pie hat in the town just wandering around. If you follow him and try to play with him (translation, bonk him with Cappy a few times) he’ll lead you a little ways into the desert to a beam of light emitting from the sand. If you ground pound the beam, you get a Moon. Standard side quest stuff. What I was not ready for was for the dog to become your BFF for the rest of the time you stay in the Sand Kingdom, loyally trotting around after you wherever you go. You can even play fetch with him if you toss Cappy for him to chase, and it is the Cutest. Thing. EVER.

Go get it, boy!
Who’s the best boy in all the Kingdoms? It’s you.

And then this happens.

Noooooo, puppy. 🙁

He can’t get on the Odyssey with you. He’ll look distressed and then do this thing where he’ll stand up to follow you, and then sit, and then stand up again. And you’re like… nooo new puppy friend, I want to take you with me! But the game won’t let me!

Not gonna lie, I was a little bit heartbroken to have to take off for the Lake Kingdom without my hat wearing buddy. I guess in this game there can only be one faithful companion on this adventure. Damn you, Cappy!

…and of course, kill Dracula.

So the RCA to USB thingie arrived on Saturday. Installed and test ran it, and pleased to say that while the picture feed isn’t the sharpest, it does work pretty well after you tinker with OBS a bit. So for my Monday night stream, I’m going to be doing a nostalgia run of Super Castlevania IV, which is, oh, only my FAVORITE game ever for various reasons.

I’m hoping this’ll be my first “oh hey you can see my face!” stream too, provided I can work around some latency issues with my cam/phone/mic. So you’ll get to see each annoyed face I make when I mess up, in living color as well as in stereo (where available).

Anyway. Come check me out, I’ll be starting at 8pm EST.

Some thoughts on retro gaming, nostalgia and childhood stories

A section of the splash screen from Tetris (Original game boy edition)

So after a few weeks of streaming some of my current PC games, I’ve been trying to think of what sort of overall theme I want my Twitch/YouTube presence to have. I could keep mostly streaming Minecraft * but really there are a million MC streamers out there. Really there are about a millionty-one PC game and current console streamers already out there, and I feel like if I keep doing what I’m doing, even keeping the “my kids** and their friends are watching lol look at how bad I am at this okay self try not to cuss too much” angle, it’ll keep feeling a bit too much like a retread of what literally everyone else is doing.

This week I’ve been bopping around on Amazon staring lustfully at the ElGato HD60 because I was thinking about streaming my hilari-bad attempts at playing Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey*** but I can’t quite justify the cost of an HDMI capture card, not at this point in my fledgling streaming… experiment? Sure, let’s call it that. And then, poking around the cheaper options, I stumbled across RCA to USB converters and something in my brain said “Aha!” and immediately the theme from Zombies Ate My Neighbors started playing in my head.

Look, y’all know I’m an Old. Full disclosure, I’m staring down the barrel of 40. Not quite Pong old, or even quite Atari/NES old, but old enough to remember needing a box or a stool at the arcade because I was too tiny to reach the controls at five or six, old enough that having a personal computer (moment of silence for my Apple IIGS) was still a revolutionary thing to have, especially for a kid, and definitely old enough to remember the sheer unadulterated joy of finding Super Nintendo games under the Christmas tree in 1991, knowing that the console itself was under there somewhere (and my dad muttering something about “someone put the cart before the horse” but enjoying my moment anyway). I still have that exact console, which still works and get played with regularly in my house. I also still have a working Game Boy**** as well as all but one (two?) of my own games. So yeah. Old.

A while back, in a conversation I had about reissued game consoles that tend to hit the market every Christmas season, a friend of mine said something about not understanding the idea of spending money on retro-gaming. As far as games were concerned they didn’t want to keep wallowing in the past, but wanted to embrace the now or the future in terms of game consoles. This person has also previously stated a similar viewpoint on keeping/rereading books, because “what’s the point if you know how the story ends already?” Needless to say I respectfully but vehemently disagree, as my home library can attest. While I admittedly should go through and cull the books I am definitely never reading again, my library contains volumes I have acquired over the years – dusty hardbacks, Scholastic Book Club paperbacks I have meticulously repaired with scotch tape, gifts from friends – that I return to repeatedly to the point of almost considering the books themselves old friends.

Unsurprisingly, I have the same attitude towards games. While I had both Game Boy and SNES growing up, I only had a handful of games because I was 13, games were expensive and my parents, being Olds even at the time they were raising me, really didn’t see the point of constantly buying me new ones. I think I had less than 5 total for the SNES, only a couple more for the Game Boy and borrowed the rest from friends. Then high school started really kicking my ass and I didn’t have time for video games again until after college. As a result, I’ve played the ever loving crap out of my handful of games, and occasionally going back and revisiting them has the same feel as picking up a well-loved book. Sure, I’m older and wiser and not as blind to various flaws in the game (Example: that rampant Princess as Macguffin trope as well as other problematic gender stereotypes in Mario games – shoutout to Black Girl Gaming, btw) but picking up an old controller and executing a series of jumps that are still in your muscle memory a quarter century later is its own kind of weirdly comforting.

Anyway. I bought a cheap ass analog to USB converter dongle, and this weekend I’m going to see if I can get it to work. If I can, I’ll take y’all on my latest trip down Nostalgia Lane with me. Possibly with less cussing.


* I know, I know, I need to make a post about the Contemporary build eventually. lol I am bad at game blogging.

** by “kids” I also mean my former Minecraft server kids, they didn’t call me Server Mama for nothing.

*** insert pout about how much farther Husbeast and Wee Beast are than me – I’m still in what is essentially Mario Mexico because I’ve barely had time to play.

**** Not my original; my nephew drowned that one in a bucket of water in, like, 1997. I’m still bitter.

I should probably announce my Twitch schedules here too, huh

lol, yet another “lookit me, I’m bad at game blogging” post.

Tonight’s Twitch schedule! (all times Eastern US)

7pm: Stardew Valley

This one was a request from one of my friend’s kids who just started playing. I think this is a good opportunity to show off the main game and the big farm, which I think I’m four years (game time) into at this point. Married Shane, had two kids, aging an unholy amount of wine in the basement, blah blah blah.

8pm: Minecraft

I’ve decided to start my next Big Build! It’s been a while and I’m excited about this one. I will probably do a post here about what inspired it, but I’ll reveal what it will be tonight during the stream.

Hope to see you tonight!

Some news type things

Two characters, Pearl and Marina, from the game Splatoon 2. Pearl is glaring at the camera, Marina looks excited.

Open a gaming blog, immediately neglect said blog; that seems to be my general M.O. I’m thinking scheduling content time might be the only way to keep me posting regularly, so I declare Sundays are news post days… starting now!

ARBT gets a Switch

One of the major reasons I’ve been absent the past week is I got a Nintendo Switch after stating that “I’ll get it for my birthday” nearly all year. Wellp, up came my birthday and here we are. This is the first console I’ve ever actually bought for myself, so I’m kind of stupid excited about it. (My previous two were the SNES and the Wii, the latter of which I primarily used as a Netflix delivery vector before we got a Roku.) I’ve haven’t really gamed on any kind of console in literal decades, so I’m having to finally confront the irrational controller fear that kept me away from Xbox and Playstation. (Oh God, so many buttons. I’m an Old, shut up.) This is me trying to get past that hurdle/prejudice/aversion/something something dark side.

So far I’m slowly (very slowly) figuring out how to handle myself in Splatoon 2. Not ready for salmon runs or what have you yet by any measure, but at least I am thoroughly enjoying beating up tentacled creatures and making a huge inky mess in the bargain. Husbeast also got Mario Kart 8 maybe the day after the Switch arrived, and we also later picked up another set of Joy-Cons so we could all play it at once. The trash talk factor in my house has gone up exponentially much to my amusement, especially since Husbeast and Wee Beast pout in exactly the same way when they lose races to either Eldrich Teenthing or me.

ARBT on Twitch *

I’ve now had two streaming sessions on Twitch and have had decent feedback on both, so I’m going to set a regular stream time from here on out: Monday night from 7pm US EDT to ??? I’ve done one session on Minecraft (which I’ve lost – kind of a bummer) and one on Stardew Valley (I may chop that session up into highlights and put clips on Youtube… haven’t really decided yet). I may do a run on Rust this Monday just because I wanna do a bit with the Halloween features before Thursday’s wipe. I may switch it up mid-stream but I’m not 100% sure yet. I’m still kinda figuring out how to Twitch and the overall character of my channel right now. I’m sure I’ll settle on some direction as I do it more, but for now it’s pretty much whatever I feel like doing.

And that’s pretty much it for this week’s news post. Since it’s all stupid and rainy and both the kids are otherwise occupied I’m gonna go put in some more Splatoon time.

ARBT out.

* The rhyming headlines were in no way intentional.

Kitty Trap

WW2 era gun bunker on a hill with "Come see my cat" spray painted on one side

So noodling through Tumblr I discovered the above picture. After having a chuckle and mostly agreeing with the notes under it (my favorite being “this would be the horror movie scenario which gets me to leave my car and get murdered” because yep) I looked at it again and went “hey, that might be fun to build in Rust.” So I found a desolate looking hill by the satellite dishes, quickly built a bunker (with some decent loot hidden inside), then carefully lined up two huge wooden signs on the front facing the road. I then doctored up a cropped photo of just the graffiti, sliced it in half, and loaded it onto the signs using the SignArtist oxide plugin. I’m pretty pleased by the end result.

A Rust recreation of the same WW2 bunker with graffiti.
Happened to catch the cargo drop in the picture too.

Undecided whether this is a one-off joke or if I’ll be including the bunker in future wipes, but for right now I am VERY amused.