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!

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.

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.

Bizzy. Baksun.

Being eaten by another non-gaming project at the moment.

Servers are still up for now, but probably won’t get back to content/streaming until next week. Have fun in the meantime!

Baby’s First Twitch Stream!

screenshot from Minecraft with overlay at top for twitch streaming

So as a procrastination project from what I’m supposed to be doing until next weekend (I know) I’ve been working on this blog and also slowly setting up my Twitch channel for For Realsies streaming. I finally got all my ducks in a row and went live last night. As a test run, I noodled around ARBTServer and toured a few of the builds.

I’m pleased with how it came out. Aside from hating how my voice sounds outside of my head, lol, I think I did reasonably well for my first time, and I learned some things, like how there’s a 30ish second delay between capture and view, and that I need to really start paying attention to the chat channel so I can respond to people. And maybe need to slow down a bit instead of babble nervously. But despite the nerves and the “oh god I’m talking into the void” bit, I had a ton of fun and will definitely be streaming again. I will post ahead of time when I do!

A big hat tip to the folks at Black Gamers Revolution for their help, advice and support in getting this done!

I like what you got

Screenshot from minecraft, depicting a pixel art rendition of the Cromulon from the TV show Rick and Morty

Well considering I found this on the Minecraft server right when I was wondering how I was going to kick off Blog 2.0, it seemed like a sign. (also thanks for the laugh, EvilPenguin!)

But yeah, this is the second incarnation of my gaming blog. It will mostly still be minecraft based, but I’m hoping to feature some Rust as well as maybe other Stuff I Play (because you all really need to hear about my angst over whether to marry Shane or Elliott in Stardew Valley, right? right.) I’m hoping in the coming weeks to slowly bring the Builds section of Minecraft up to date and kick off my Twitch channel.

It occurs to me that some might wonder why I’m dedicating most of my blog to my mostly-dead-these-days Minecraft server and my lets-face-it-it’s-always-dead-in-here Rust server. I don’t know. They may not be the most populous places in the game world, but they’re mine, and a fair bit of my non-player friends occasionally ask about what I’m doing in Minecraft these days so there’s that reason. Also as a black lady gamer in these troubling times, I feel the need to represent, to be a candle in the pepe-the-frog-littered darkness that is gamer space, to be all like “Hey. It’s not all 14 year old edgelords here. I’m here, and others like me are here too.”

So. I’m ARBT. And I’m here again. Come play with me!

Featured Build of the Month: A cottage near spawn

August is drawing to a close and comes with several new faces from WSE, a blip with the website domain, and many amazing builds being built or just getting started on. Today I would like to highlight, a cottage near spawn. The cottage was built by BatMan3054 and the farm was built by Swarmhut.

I like the use of bricks as part of the path material, because it really pops against the green of the surrounding grass. I admire how the windows of the building are irregular and somewhat mismatch. The windows of the house make it feel quirky.

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The inside of the cottage

Stepping outside to the garden area features your basic crop setup and a outdoor shed.  I like the use of the dark oak and the quartz as the retaining wall holding back the hill.

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The best part of the build in my opinion is the roof. The roof looks worn down and has a very natural slope to it.

rroof

Well that’s it for this FBoM, until then keep on building.

Update: Due to some miscommunication, I incorrectly identified Rudie as the builder. If the builder would get in contact with me, I will update it to the correct person who built this.

 

General server news

So things have been a little slow around ARBTland, mostly because I haven’t been online much in the past few weeks. (Stupid real life.) That said, over the past couple of weeks there have been a few changes of note.

First of all we got another visitor from WSE – Rudie! Always glad for the cross pollination between the two servers.

In terms of build news, the monument behind spawn keeps on expanding as new people come in. Rate we’re going that things going to extend into the sea. In addition to adding Rudie, FatalDeath and Billybob decided to silly up their statues by giving them tongues.

FatalDeath has been working on a wizard tower, and Rudie has also been building a very fairy-appropriate home in a large artificially created stump.

I’ve been busy too. Started working on a new skyscraper not far from Wacker Tower, loosely based on a building from SimCity BuildIt, which I’ve been also playing some on the side.

Lastly 5 has been working on a secret project under the Rainbow Balloon. Did I post pictures of that since I refinished it?

One thing I’ve been irked by since a few game updates ago – when they changed all the lighting, the ocean lost its translucency. It’s now REALLY hard to see underwater, which is a pain if you’re building something really deep under, and impossible if you’re trying to take pictures of said something, so the best I can do is sorta present a vague blob under the water taken from the surface.

In server improvement news, I’ve been waffling on transferring the game to an external server for a bit, weighing pros and cons of each platform. I’ve all but decided that I want to move the game to Pocketmine, as I have some experience with running it and it offers the most flexibility and customizability right now. But on the downside, it’s lagtastic, and mobs don’t work yet, which is a bummer; I like having random creatures roaming the world. It gives what can often be a lonely game a little bit of life. I supppose I could treat the missing mobs as a temporary problem, as the goal of PM will be to eventually replicate the full experience of the game, and its main programmer now works for Minecraft proper. The other major problem is that transferring/ MCPE worlds to PM is still an ordeal thanks to the leveldb storage format being a pain in the butt to work with/translate. I and others have put so much time and love and work into this world, so its pretty important that we continue to be able to play with it.

“And that’s Numberwang.”

Featured Build of the Month: Hachi’s Base

As July is coming to a close, with it comes exciting news from Minecon, a redesign of the subreddit and many of fun server runs.  FBoM is in its 2nd month and is here to highlight Hachi’s base. The first thing I like about this build is the bottom floor with the checkered pattern used on the bottom floor.

The bottom floor
The bottom floor

The diorite fountains are a nice touch, because they contrast well with the blue stained clay.

A closer view of the fountain
A closer view of the fountain

Going up the large staircase we enter the main room that houses the bedroom, a living room and a small bathroom. A nice detail that is present is the small canopy above the master bed.

Going up to the top floor opens up into a rooftop balcony great for watching the sun rise/set.  wp_ss_20150720_0004

If you want to check out Hachi’s base for yourself, it is located near spawn, behide the farm. You will need to go past my base to locate it.