I don't get time to write, but I thought that a few of the topics I will write here deserve a blog article instead of a quick forum post and it's not really JR News material. This could be a rant, this could be a wall of text, but hell, I hope this is an interesting read for people who take the time to read through it.
I've been asked recently and for a few years, why keep JR running, why waste the money, why is it so important?
I hope your sitting comfortably.... because this maybe a long post.....
Money is material, I do need it, at this moment in time I seriously do need money, but if I gave up JR I'd save a ton of money but all my efforts would be for nothing. People spend thousands on their hobbies people restore and modify cars, invent new things, drink, smoke, collect unnecessary things and more.
JR is that thing to me, I spend a lot on it yes but I don't do much else.
While I spend a lot on it if we dig down there are many reasons why I keep JR running.
This may sound weird to many of you but I keep JR running to keep a smile on peoples faces, gaming for many people is a great get away, so is the internet. I have a dark side, just like anyone else. I got bullied from a young age and when I mean bullied I mean bullied. I got hit, kicked, mentally abused and it has left a imprint in my head. People need a get away and I know for many users that use and have used the service over the past 11 or so years that this has been their getaway, their virtual home as it were.
JR is named JR due to it's original name Jamie's Rebellion. The reason for the name? Well read the paragraph above. I was rebelling against everything that was happening to me at the time.
Either way Jamie's Rebellion was my getaway, it was the one thing I could say was mine,
JR has brought many challenges to the table and has helped me to grow the way I am now. I have learnt to code from JR, I have learnt to run servers, I have learn't how to listen to people, their problems and I have learnt to accept peoples opinions and work with them to make me and my site a better place. I always ask for feedback now as while JR is mine, I believe it's the communities as well.
JR has also brought many relationships to the table. Without realising it there has been in the past members and staff getting together, some who actually live with each other. Not that I condone ever meeting up with anyone on JR or online due to reasons that are coming to light more and more in todays society it's been amazing to see actually relationships that have forged through JR. If JR was not here, would they have ever got together ? I don't know.
JR also brings to light my creative side. I was never great at art in school in england (supposedly I can draw when I really want to), Though when you come to education I was never good in school, I was the guy who slept in every class towards the end of my school life because I was just giving up. But JR brought out something in me that really helped me to understand what I can do. Designing a website, making things work and bringing people together to get things to work, seems I'm half good at that.
JR has also brought to me many friendships that I cherish, while I don't show it half the time I actually care so much about the staff here and the people that have helped me get to where I am today.
JR at one stage got rather big (thanks minecraft), and if you look at the member count you will understand that it got big, Now unfortunately that huge memberbase doesn't have everyone active but I'm hoping that we can as a community bring more people to JR to help increase our popularity. Not that popularity is what I want from this experience, it's the fact that if we don't get more popular and get JR earning money itself I don't know how I will continue to afford to fund things. (I normally find a way though)
Getting back on topic as I feel like as I write this things are just been thrown out, I'm not re-reading this because I want this a genuine piece from my brain.
After over 11 years of time I ain't going anywhere, JR is staying, I want this to continue to help make people smile, to help people in need and I want to continue learning from this roller-coaster experience. To the previous members if you are reading this, why don't you join back and chat to me personally, I'd be really interested to find out what brought you originally to JR, what you enjoy here and to the new or current members. I'm a human being as you may have noticed. If you message me I will chat to you, if you are ever in need to ever speak to someone if you are down, message me.
My mental health is getting better and if you noticed I said earlier in this post JR was a getaway. It's not so much a getaway for me now, it's a part of my life that I am glad to have in my heart.
If you are ever suffering and you need help, remember JR is always there for you.
I know it's been a while since I've been around on JR. However, I'm currently trying to formalize a philosophy I have developed over this last year (and which I find in a lot of other places too), and I've always thought back to the JR blogs as somewhere I have spewed out brain-droppings. Therefore, I think I'll continue to use this as not only a way to get my ideas out into text, but to stay active on JR.
I decided to stick with this blog, since it's interesting to me to go back and read old posts to see how much I have changed as a person. However, for convenience, I am naming this series "Unnamed Philosophy", to distinguish the brain-droppings from me trying to write chapters about this philosophy.
I hope you all enjoy this. Remember that it is a philosophy, so it will confront everything in life, dark and light. As someone that has embraced this way of thinking, though, I do think I have a clearer view on the world around me and myself. Enjoy your read.
It's been nearly a month since we posted our last development topic. While we haven't posted anything we have been rather busy.
Removed old JRCash system for a new system, This will allow products to be bought from the JR store in trade for JR Cash. Unfortunately this took away JRCash from minecraft, which we are working on to bring back as well as other servers
Tweaked mobile slightly
Added full steam integration. This shows what games you've been playing, what you are currently playing, if you are on or offline. To use this all you have to do is login with steam.
Added marketplace so users can trade JR Cash between themselves for virtual services or virtual goods.
Small nav UI Changes
Added custom images within the forum to make things a little more friendly
Added Ark: Survival Evolved and added mods:
Added JC2MP and added new mods:
Jobs (Drive people to locations for money)
Join Leave messages
Wingsuite (Double Tab shift)
AI Traffic, (Sea, Air and Road)
Added a gas system, when you run out of the gas the car doesn't move. There are many locations around the server to fill up (Gas stations)
Added a bank system so you can store your money even when the server resets
Chat bubbles, occur when you chat automatically
Scoreboard (Press alt)
Anti-spam and 10 minute announcement added to show users where JR is
Added Buy panel, you can buy items from the money you earn in jobs
Added better admin system
Social Media Changes
Updated about page and small tweaks to facebook
Moved to a faster better server to handle all that we host
Tweaked VM's resource usage
Updated all packages across all servers to latest versions
Working on PHP 7 on main server currently but at the moment we have tested and had a catastrophic failure. Hopefully we can resolve this issue soon to bring the latest in PHP for speed, stability and security to JR soon.
Recently we have been backend doing some development that has and hasn't been released yet.
Mobile: We understand that as technology evolves so does our mobile presence. To acknowledge this shift in the industry we have been working on JR so it plays friendly for tablets and mobiles. To sort these issues we have run a variety of tests on multiple devices (1080p Phone + Tablet, iPhone) to see what problem areas are and to fix problem areas.
We found and patched the following bugs:
Disabled background load on mobile phones
Moved logo to center of the screen up top and removed margin pushing the website lower. On devices that have a low resolution or screen size when used in a portrait orientation the logo will be pushed more to the left to make way to use the return and other links that are provided on the mobile nav bar
The back to top link now automatically moves to the center bar.
Social Bar: JR is working harder to provide more push notifications to our social pages to expand our community not just inside but outside our website. You may have seen the bottom links in the right hand corner. If you haven't already please join our social presence. We will be releasing competitions on these pages soon. If you are a Xbox player please join our Xbox club, you can do so by clicking on the xbox logo and clicking join. When JR members are playing you will be able to find them easier to play and news about events coming soon will be posted on the xbox club.
Advertising: JR knows that advertising is headwrecking but we also have to gather some return on the expenditure for our services which is currently adding up to quite a bit out of my back pocket. To help with the struggle we have moved advertising to easier to see places. If you are a premium JR member advertising will be removed on your account. If you are a guest or a member advertising will still show for you but we promise only to show 2 adverts on a page at a time.
Un - Released:
Recently we bought a servers list app to show users what servers we have, what is online and how many players play on JR. Unfortunately the developer did not provide any support to help us with anything. Therefore we are developing a similar application which #1 is tailored to our needs and #2 is our application and only our application. Features we code will be unique to JR. We are hoping this application will help us better monitor our servers, our uptime and of course make it easier for users to use our services.
We plan to also integrate a skinned down version in the help center so you can easily check if any server is offline. This feature will also alert admins in the event of a catastrophic failure causing downtime.
You can see the latest progress here at: https://dev.jrnetwork.net/
We are currently working on a better method to get map images with a failover system incase for some reason the map images are not accessible. We hope to remove the current serverlist we purchased and release this new project in the next week or so.
If anyone has any suggestions regarding this all critisims and suggestions can be either PM'ed to myself or simply write a comment here. Nothing is stupid and every suggestion will be taken in to consideration.
Caching and site optimisation:
We are always looking to make JR load in a better way. We are currently working on a site optimisation method and better caching methods to increase site load times and pings from different areas. This will be coming soon!
We hope that this update with the current development on JR will show why users may or may not have seen me do much at JR recently. There is a lot of background development going on and after the servers app is released in some form our development focus will be on expanding our server capabilities and adding more games that can be played.
These changes have happened since the last change log.
Help Center Added
Gameserver Wiki (This will be used for all docs related to our game servers)
Ticketing support updated and more accessible to use with Help Center
Our own server management application in beta https://dev.jrnetwork.net. Set to be released in the next week or so
Fixed an issue backend with admin groups and moderator groups
Fixed a bug when a administrator was to edit, add or delete support departments
Contact us for at the bottom now submits a support ticket
All servers updated to the latest spigot build which allows for 1.11.2 client support
Removed unnecessary plugins
Recreated permissions due to plugin changes
Switched from essentials to command book to reduce load on server and remove unnecessary features
Changed server side settings to use less RAM and CPU usage
Reset all maps and generated a big block radius (we will not do that without notification again)
Recompiled and updated Apache + PHP on website server
Updated required packages on all servers
PHP settings changed to help with server security
Removed some server files to save space
Clear notifications after you have read
Remove shouting from topic titles. (E.G. LIKE THIS -> Like this)
Show if users are online by a green circle around their profile picture
Allow users message, ignore, find content for a user in the forum under their profile tidbit
You can now preview a post in the forum before submitting a post
We have had to add a cookie notice due to EU law, but this will disappear as soon as you login
You can now view who viewed your topic
Added two factor authentication
User colors around the website now show and changed colors for member groups
JR Anniversary now public but still in beta and development
Fixed missing images that should have showed when a user was to setup Google Authenticator with JR's two factor authentication
So here we are 2017 and I said I'd blog a small bit when I could!
Recently work has been busy, with retail (especially technology retail) november onwards is busy very busy. I've survived black friday (black week) for another year. It was busy and it's funny how it used to be Christmas which was the busiest but now the tables have turned, November has the busiest week of the year instead of the last week to Christmas.
Now it's January and things are getting quiet which is brilliant. I'm relaxing playing xbox every few days and I'm starting to get my head out of retail in to different areas when I'm outside work. What also helps is that I have a brilliant beautiful girl to look after me.
Today has been a quiet day at work but I was really busy as managers were not in work people called in sick and I had to sort out the place. On coming home and I had a fight with the stair case and twisted my leg and arm which was fun but after that I cooked a brilliant BBQ pasta bake.
So now chilling after the day and I'm going to work on small things on JR and I'm working on designing a new look for it I have updated JR's system to the latest so I can start working on the look and feel of things to improve them
Anyway, that's everything I have to talk about tonight. I'll post another blog soon.....
Today, I'd like to share a few images of my day. I went for a walk / drive out to somewhere close to a place called castlegregory in Ireland. It was a beautiful day so I said I'd take a couple of shots. Have a look
I must admit the S6's quality is something amazing.
On the other side of things, JR is going well a lot better than it used to and that makes me happy that I'm starting to really rebuild the team, services and stuff that we do best.
More to come...
Recently, I have been so busy with loads of things, work, girlfriend, work and more work.
Sometimes you forget how much you do in a day but I thought I'd give you a bit of an insight in what I actually do.
I work in a business called Harvey Norman, it's a computers, electrical and bedding/furniture department store. Day in day out I sell to customers, give support, help out in the photo section I work closely with the managers making sure that the staff are performing up to standards. I'm in charge of extended warranty and the hardware section and it takes a lot of effort and work for the role I play. For example the last few days I've had to run our department, while doing this there are a lot more responsibilities. (complaints/refunds/replacements/making sure staff go on lunch and so forth).
Being honest, with work it's helping me learn how to organize and delegate my work better.
After work I generally come home tired, when I mean tired I mean tired. Most days all I want to do is sleep when I'm home. (Great I know).
I've started to really get my life back on track, not just with scheduling what I do better but actually eating a breakfast, it's helped me. I'm not as tired as much (yes it's a thing).
I'm glad that I've started to really work hard at JR when I can, I can't do it every day but when I can I work hard. My goal is to get everything working very stable so everyone can enjoy playing at JR. Whether minecraft or other games.
I don't blog much but I'm going to start to use this as a kind of outlet to help me concentrate better and give you guys an insight in the life of me. I hope you guys want to hear about me and if you don't it's cool just don't read any further
So that's that.. For now, more to come
I was quite distracted by JRCraft today, because I made a little minigame on the minigames server! This one's a non-profit, so it's for free (which will be the norm, don't worry). It's called "Ghost Survive", and the idea is that you're on top of a skinny tower, and ghosts (floating skeletons with creepy ghast faces, that shoot you from very far and with flaming arrows!) slowly float up towards you, and you and your friends need to fend them off as long as possible.
The game works well enough, but is in an early stage of development. I'll add a proper high-score system, a proper death system, and plenty of customised messages. For now, you just need to survive as long as you can up top the tower. To get there, you have to go through the "Franchovy minigames" hub at warhub, then click on the only minigame available. Hopefully the sign teleportation system works, if not, please let me know. I already have encountered issues when multiple people are using the signs, so I might need to search for alternatives or ways to fix it.
Be sure to check it out! I'm happy to play some short games with friends if anyone is up for it! However, I have some finals to study for now.
I'll also be adding little games like this to the minigames server in the future! They're never-seen-before games, so they could attract some attention to the server
See you all next time,
I've just built a roulette machine at the Minigames Server spawn, and after doing so, I decided to rebuild an arcade! However, all my fans out there that read my blog posts will know that I'm trying to get rich on JR. Thankfully I have OP on Minigames so I can just give myself money with commands. I've decided to make a casino before an arcade! There, people can play classic casino games by themselves or with other players to lose make money. I could also mix in the games that I used to have at the arcade with money, giving people money based on their score, and making them buy coupons of some kind to play. A big shoutout to @Jamie for allowing command blocks, and letting all of this be possible.
Also, as usual, I will use evil psychological techniques to make people lose money. One of these include the fact that if you pay money for something, you'll value it more than if you didn't, so the amount of money I make people pay will pay off no matter what
The arcade/casino will start being built in 3 weeks time! I hope you're all excited for it. It's gonna be a lot more than pushing buttons, thanks to the clever updates our friends at Mojang have come up with since Minecraft Beta!
This blog post may come off as more of a criticism, but I'll do my best to make my argument clear and convincing rather than personal or something.
So ever since I logged onto JRCraft this year, I noticed something strange. I think I logged on around two months ago, a little after I re-started posting things on the forum and people started to come back. The first thing I noticed, as I entered the server, is that there were two distinct survival servers. I was quite confused, (mostly because of the super-disorganised spawn at the time), and managed my way to one of them. I started playing on the Survival server, where I made the cute house, obelisk and bulk shop. Later, as Jamie updated the hub and the servers became clearer, I realised that the Survival server was where more people were playing, so I started building there. That's the server where I built my rich-person house and where I own the one and only dragon egg that will totally make me rich. Now, Jamie has added a third survival server, called "Survive". I liked his idea, when he first proposed it, but I feel like we've strayed from our intentions.
I ask myself: What's the point of having multiple servers that all server the same purpose? If we're not trying to distribute some large amount of players, then I find it quite inconvenient. All I really want to do while playing is to hang out with friends, which is loads of fun! Much nicer than surviving on one's own. But if 3 friends are on Survive, and I'm trying to build my house in Survival, it gets bothersome. The solution around this is to make, or stick to, a server's purpose.
Jamie originally proposed the "Survive" server as a hardcore, thrilling and difficult server, where players could fight it out like true anarchists. When he first gave this idea, I imagined that there would be little-to-no build protection, stealing/looting would be allowed, no god mode or flying whatsoever, etc. I was expecting it to be a true struggle to stay alive.
Therefore, with these expectations, I was quite unhappy with the result. Obviously, things like stealing, looting and griefing would have to have strong regulations on what is allowed, and what isn't (I think a good idea would be protection allowed on regions against griefing, but not on doors or chests, so people would have to barricade their houses accordingly). Such regulations could simply be discussed based on what we want and what we can do. I'm also aware that the server isn't completely built yet, but I would request that godmode and flying be turned off as soon as possible, so that people start surviving in a truly hardcore way.
Making Distinct Servers
You might think that these conditions would make survival on the server way too hard. Worry not! The whole point of the Survive server would be for hardcore players who are ready to go all in, surviving with their clans, building locked-down, threatening castles with traps, or hidden underground bases to avoid looters and rivals. If you're not up for that, then the Survival or Classic server would be perfect for you. One of these, at least, should have keep-inventory, flying, godmode, and plenty of other goodies that people go on plugin servers to play with, rather than vanilla. I have little ideas, though, on how to make a stronger distinction between the Classic and Survival server (I think we should start by changing either "Survival" or "Survive" to something more different). Jamie proposed a skylands world, and I think making a skylands linked to Survival, for example, could be a good way to go, but there's some steps of discussions that all the staff and the community should go through before.
What's the point of the Survival and Classic servers? I know the Classic is meant to bring back a map that was many players' favourites, but is that really the best thing to do with a whole server? If the server is only there for reminiscing purposes, then I think there are better ways to go about it (like downloading the map or something through internet). "Survival", to me, seems like the type of place people go to build communities, farms, shops, and have social interactions in friendly ways. It might be better to either turn off pvp or turn on keepinventory, because both combined make for some sketchy ethical restrictions that nobody is sure of.
The Creative and Minigames are perfect examples of extremely dedicated servers. The Creative Server is one where you are in creative mode, so you can build what you want. For this reason, we don't need two creative servers. The Minigames Server has a similar logic; there is no current need for two servers with the same purpose.
I'd truly appreciate it if, as a staff team and community, we could discuss the purpose of the three survival servers, and make them as dedicated to their purpose as possible. Having too similar servers will confuse guests as they try to pick somewhere to invest in, hoping that they won't need to change servers because they actually would have been happier building on another. As an example, we could make the servers:
"Survival" (shops, no pvp, flying, protection on anything, mob-arena (I have an idea for a 'survival server mob arena'), communities, love and cuddles)
"Lawless" (Clans and clan wars, raids, looting, traps, pvp, no godmode, hard difficulty, area protection),
"Creative" (you know)
"Minigames" (money-making games, classic mob-arena, team and pvp games, spleef, cool command-block original minigames by me)
I'm all ears to arguments towards keeping the classic server or against other ideas I've stated. If something is unclear, let me know and I'll elaborate.
I've been playing a little on survival lately, mostly focusing on building my fancy house (Czech it out at /warp FranchHouse). I've decided to make it look really nice and visitable, with the possibility of adding extra rooms to host close friends.
The next thing I'll build (in 5 weeks! I'm gonna be off of JRcraft as much as I can until then for the sake of my grades in my upcoming finals) is going to be my starter shop. Over there, I'll primarily sell food, coal, iron, wood, and seeds and saplings of all sorts. This shop will be made for people who just joined the server, I'll do my best to adapt the prices for them (everyone starts with 150 dollars!). Possibly after that, I'll expand into a second shop that will sell music discs, potions, and some other more "luxurious" stuff. I'll also be buying materials, especially building materials because I'm not a huge fan of mining. I'll design the shopwarp so that people can put up ads about shops people can sell stuff at, or sales that are happening (for example: "Franchshop buying andesite for 200$ per stack!"). I think once I build my shop and people start using it, others will be more inspired to build shops of their own, and the best ones will be selected to be featured at /warp shopwarp. We'll have to come up with some application system, I don't think it should be too difficult.
I can also envision some type of admin-managed mall (fresco-like) where people can buy stuff at, but at a higher price than "market value". The reason for this is that what the owners of the shop (it doesn't actually have to be an admin, it can be a citizen) do is go to other more local shops, buy their stuff and use it to fill stocks of the mall. By having higher prices, the owners make a profit and people are encouraged to go to smaller shops. However, I think people will be quite interested in buying everything together, so we'd have to both minimise the discomfort of /warp shopwarp and find better advantages to local shops. I think by raising prices high enough, everyone will be happy.
On a more personal level, I've gone to the end, killed the ender dragon to then retrieve a ton of xp and a dragon egg. To be clear, it's the only dragon egg in the Survival server (there's only one per world). I decided to sell it for 1 Million dollars, which will, in my mind, end up happening eventually. Some rich person will eventually buy it, and if not, I'll keep it as a nice trophy for myself. I also continued to explore the vasts of the end, which are new to 1.9, to find impressive islands full of weird plants that give a ton of fruit (which is a nice, EXTREMELY cheap source of food), which I'll definitely sell at the starter shop for something like 1$ for 16 fruits. I also found some interesting ender cities, which I made sure to loot, and retrieved very interesting items, including "end rods" (very fancy lamps that I'll also be selling, maybe 50$ a piece); some strange blocks that I don't think I'll bother selling; and more importantly, dragon heads (which I might sell at something like 10 000$ per head) and elytras (once again, around 10 000$). These last two are a lot more rare and very lavish, the elytra gives you the ability the fly (glide with style), so I am selling them for much more. There's only 1 per 3-4 cities, and cities are difficult to find.
This led me to the goal of becoming the richest person on JR. It's pretty arbitrary and might seem a little ridiculous, but I hope to make it in order to prove that my business strategies have been successful, and if the JR economy is booming as I intend for it to, it will give me many opportunities to build all kinds of projects. In other words, I want to be the Donald Trump of JRCraft
PS: I discovered through an accident the mind-blowing fact that if you put 4 spruce saplings in a square, then they'll grow a massive and pretty pine tree. I now have my exterior decoration problem settled.
What is this new blog?
I've figured the type of blog entries I want to write aren't gonna fit into the forums or either of my two blogs, so I therefore made made a new blog. I need to get these ideas out of my head anyways; I figured this would be the best place to do so.
Here's a short description of this blog:
A blog documenting, contemplating and discussing the progress JRCraft (and possibly a little bit of the forums too) is making and can make. I'll be criticising systems that don't seem to work, while discussing solutions. I'll also throw out ideas that could be implemented into the server, in survival or minigames. These ideas probably will have either to do with the economy or the server easier to be on for players. They can also either be individual (as a personal project) or server (the staff will have to work on it) project ideas.
This blog will slightly be like a brainstorm and discussion ground to go through before posting ideas in the "suggestions" area of the forums.
Shops: I think player shops should be the fuel of the JR economy. I've already suggested the "shopwarp" idea in the forums, in order to give everyone easy access to other player shops. It seems to be an idea people like, so good shops are going to have to be built. I have two main ideas for shops at the moment.
Bulk Shop: This shop is already built in the classic survival server. However, if only the survival server matters, then I'll have to find a way to make enough money so that people sell their materials to me (I doubt people will buy more cobble and dirt than will sell). But anyways, this is quite an easy shop to build.
Starters Shop: This shop is one that I'm excited to build, and will be most beneficial. It could be built at a personal level, close to spawn, but getting staff to place it as close to spawn as possible would be ideal. This shop would sell wood, cobble, minerals, basic tools, armour, food, and horses. The horses will allow people to go as far as they want in the world (assuming flying is turned off, which it might or might not be). Survival servers can be really harsh on new players if they have to scavenge for minerals and food while finding a place to start surviving, so this shop would be ideal. People could sell stuff to replenish stocks automatically too. However, this leads to another problem: New players have no money, so how could they afford anything at such a shop? In comes in the idea of jobs.
Jobs: This is an idea that came to mind while thinking about how starters could get money. An example of how it could work is by having new players walk into a courtyard and having them chop wood, farm, or kill mobs (three ideas at the moment). Then they cash in what they got to get money in return. As a builder, I could then use the materials they get for my own projects, and also sell them to others that need them. I'd have to figure out the details of how to stop them from taking too many tools or something like that from the shop when they're sent to go work (are command blocks available?? That could make things very simple for me). Using this method, people could make money at any time in the game, which would be especially beneficial to new players.
Minigames: As usual, I'm interested in making minigames for everyone on the minigames server. With or without command blocks, I could make fun multiplayer games where people could either make money or gamble money. I also am considering to build a casino on the survival server, where I could make a lot of money, which would then fund my sell shops. I don't know how ethical gambling is on a minecraft server though, I'd have to get some feedback from staff to decide.
So my questions to staff:
Are command blocks usable on the server?
Is gambling ok?
What do you think of these ideas?
this blog post is more for me. I just want to go over the different map ideas I have at the moment, from most to least specific, giving details about their purpose and a general idea behind them. I also have a lot to write about since I'm not letting myself build anything at the moment, since my finals are in 4-5 weeks and I need to be studying. Therefore I've been doing a lot of concept-building and other contemplation rather than actual building, so that once exams are done I'll have a nice to-do list to complete.
By the way, if anyone comes up with nicer names, I'm all ears. I'm not happy with most of these names. Also, if anyone would be up to help me build my maps, I'd love to have some assistance.
HUNTERS VS POACHERS or HOUND HOUSE
This is the map I've been actually making in the last few weeks (just 2 hours or so per week). I've finalised the redstone behind it, and other than the actual map layout, that's really all the brain that's needed. I can't do much more abstract work now.
The idea is that you have two different teams, the Hunters and the Poachers. The teams are equal and start on two sides of a relatively large map (1 x 1 km square). The teams have to kill each other like in a Call of Duty search & destroy game, where once you die you stay dead, so by elimination. The last team standing wins.
What makes this map more complex is that one team is constantly glowing (one of the new status effects). You can see people glow through walls, so this gives a huge advantage to one team that isn't glowing. On top of this, in the map, there are 15 locations where a button can be. If this button is hit, then the glowing switches to the other team, and the button also gets sent to another random position. Each team has a dozen or so classes to choose from, with very specialised gear, including a scout class with an elytra (that give you a flying ability), a tank class with a shield (that protects from arrows), an archer-mage class with enchanted arrows, and a ninja class with invisibility potions and buckets of milk (that you can drink to get rid of the glowing effect). The physical map will include buildings on the outskirts and a forest on the inside, with two - three stories of vertical moving space. The map will mostly be dark brown and green, being made of dark wood and leaves (and other stuff obviously).
I'm planning on completing this map as soon as possible. I have finished with the redstone (you can watch my vlogs about them but watch out, they're pretty boring), so now the building is what's left. I'll probably be using some build plugins like voxelsniper but I'm afraid since most of the stuff is actual house-building, I'll have to spend a lot of time hand-building it (thus help from others is appreciated!).
This is the idea that somehow led to Hunters vs Poachers. The idea is that you have two teams that have a randomly-selected volunteer each that both appear on parallel tracks. These tracks present different kinds of obstacles that the runners have to go through. These tracks also happen to be very thin (2 blocks wide), and some of the obstacles are unsurmountable without the help of potion effects. Therefore, the rest of the teams is placed inside two tracks that are 20 or so blocks away from the two tracks, and the players are given bows and specialised arrows. The team members then have to shoot their opponent volunteer to harm them or knock them off, or their own with positive status effects so that they can get through obstacles. This is a lot more of a minigame and can be built much quicker, so I need to go over conceptualisation before anything.
TROPICAL ISLAND AND TRIBAL ADVENTURE MAP
For some reason, I got the inspiration to make an adventure map on a tropical island where you (and probably a certain amount of friends; multiplayer is so much more fun) are part of a tropical island's native tribe. I'll have to do a bit of research to choose what location brings the best cultures in real life which I can use as inspiration (east vs west pacific islands, indian ocean islands, african islands, etc). The idea I have at the moment is that you're a young teenager that needs to go through a trial to prove themselves worthy of adulthood. This trial can then go haywire as some natural disaster takes place, or possibly colonialists come over (although I am not as much of a fan of this idea), and you have to save yourself and your tribe. I'd love to have some people of the tribe follow you around/guide you throughout the island, so I'd need to learn how to make some custom A.I. for mobs (I'm having trouble finding anything on this topic at the moment). I can imagine this island being relatively small (less than a kilometre in diameter), with a volcano in the centre (natural disaster + good looks! This could mean it's a Hawaiian or other pacific island and tribe). I don't know why, but I've always thought of having games that aren't the usual context of today's modern world (actually not that common in minecraft custom maps), and from an english-world perspective. I recently saw videos of Far Cry Primal and thought it was such an awesome idea.
COWBOY AND WESTERN OPEN WORLD RPG
This is a map I was actually building a few years back, which I stopped for an unknown reason. It's pretty much a re-make of Red Dead Redemption in Minecraft. I loved the concept and still do, although I would have to re-conceptualise most of the map, because I simply hadn't thought things through. I had a currency in-game, which you could get more money by playing certain games (that were, back then, powered by huge redstone machines and had huge limitations, just like my arcade on JR! Those made for some great times though..). I really didn't think the map through at all though, which means that it's a good thing I didn't complete it then because I would have had a really inconsistent storyline. I'll start conceptualising soon! This map is much farther down my to-do list, compared to the one right before which I'd love to complete this summer.
I don't want to put too much on my plate, but I've had some other vague ideas of maps. Back in middle school, when minecraft (and JR!) was all the rage, I had four or five ideas of maps that I could build. However, I think the critical thinking skills I've gained really changed the way I saw these maps, since when I look back at them now I feel like none would have been good. Such maps included a horror map (with no real plot?~~), a puzzle map where close to every block has the same texture (therefore making for a really frustrating experience.. Where's the puzzle in that?!), a "combat training" map (which didn't really teach you to fight at all, it just put you up against mobs), and a RPG adventure-mode survival map with different islands (which I think could turn out well if I build it! However, the idea is pretty vague so I'd need to think it through some more).
I think the new combat dynamics added into the game allow so much more! I honestly love the idea of having shields and enchanted arrows. I think single status effects can make a whole game if it's planned right (like Hunters vs. Poachers!). I'm really looking forward to building the first two maps, so please contact me if you'd also be interested.
..As if a single person out of the 20 that go on JR would read this whole blog post... )
I'm excited to announce that I've come up with an ambitious idea for a game and map! This game would be a team pvp game, with two teams that fight to the death in a rather large map. One of the two teams would glow (with the glowing effect from 1.9, where they can be seen through walls), so that the other has an advantage in tracking them and taking them out. However, there is a button that can be activated that switched which team is glowing. The button moves around the map, having multiple possible rooms to be in so that teams have to search the map if they are currently glowing, in order to change the game to their advantage.
The map would have to be quite huge, currently I am imagining a 1 x 1 km map, with buildings on the outskirts and a dense forest on the inside. There wouldn't be more than 3 vertical floors at any given moment, I imagine the map being rather flat. However, extra floors in the house could be cool, allowing for some rooftop action.
Players would stay dead when they get killed, and they would probably start fully geared with possibly a choice of classes. The teams would fight to the death in a search-and-destroy type game.
I made a vlog explaining what I've come up with so far!
This map will take time to build though, so before exams (6 weeks from now) I'm solely focusing on redstone.
This isn't about the JR Arcade, which doesn't exist anymore due to me not being a regular minecraft player (rip in peace :'( ) (I use that ironically, I know what RIP stands for.), but I thought my passion for mapmaking should be generalised under this blog. Anyways, I'm trying not to ramble on here (like I did on my other blog post).
Basically, if you haven't seen my billions of posts about it, I made a team multiplayer survival PVP map called Cake Break! and I love it. However, I've been thinking about alternatives to the original to spice it up a bit. I don't want to add anything to the original for now, but I have some ideas about what I could make as derived versions of the map. Here's a trailer to the map to give you an idea of how it works:
So here are a few ideas I had:
Note: these are simple changes that potentially add new dimensions to the game. If you come up with any other ideas, suggest them!
A version where randomly, items spawn on a central platform. This platform is equidistant from all islands, and items could include armour, diamonds, monster spawn eggs, enchanting tables, cake, or something along those lines. This would allow a new dimension of objectives and a "king of the hill" type of dynamic. It would also be very difficult for players to hold all their resources while protecting the platform, which could be a hundred blocks over the islands.
A snow biome version: this would allow players to use snow as a weapon early on in the game. Snowballs deal no damage but knock back enemies, and considering that this is a game where half of what you stand on is one block thick and you're never more than a hit away from falling into the void, snow would be an interesting addition. Also, snowmen would make good anti-mob defenses.
Gravel layer version: there would be a layer of gravel under the layer of sand on each island. (I might actually change the original to contain some of this) Having gravel allows people have a better access to flint and steel rather than just fire charges, and also gives better access to making arrows. That's pretty much it.
Nether portal version: one or more nether portals could be in the map, and players have open access to them once they are lit. One idea I had was having one nether portal between two islands, so that each island has one portal to focus on and they have to fight over it (king of the hill theme again). The nether could either be an edited version that looks a lot like skyblock, with possible custom objects, or it could be the real full nether. This could let people get a lot more resources and get out of the skyblock-claustrophobia, but then again, that could be a bad thing. People could also just run away indefinitely in the nether, and even if all their resources are taken away, they can annoyingly hide in a hole, which is one thing the Cake Break game prevents.
Toss me any other ideas! Or perhaps any thoughts/feedback on these ones.
Recently, I've been thinking about originality. Is anything really original? What is originality? Is anything real? Just kidding for that last one, of course nothing is you foolish mortal.
As you probably have noticed if you've looked around the least bit on this website, a lot of my attention has been going to my latest minecraft map called "Cake Break". The game essentially is a four team skyblock survival, where teams have to survive in harsh skyblock conditions and try their best to prosper with the little they have. On top of this, they have the most meager resources to make cake, which is an essential part of the game: when you die, you lose 10 points, and when you have no more points, your team loses. To counter this, you must eat cake, which gives you 3 points per slice.
I didn't come up with this idea out of the blue. My friend and I, after having played on a survival map with some other friends for a while and craving a real game where you can build a base and essentially survive while also having to fight others, decided to make a map where this was possible. The original concept we came up with was making a few chunks of the overworld with a big line in the middle; two teams then have to mine and survive as they would do, then attack each other. However, there was a lot that could go wrong with such a map, and we did not think it was so much fun. I then started to brainstorm more on my own.
(I added headings because this is a really long blog post. If your attention span has been shredded by the internet, then you can skip to different headings, but I recommend taking a deep breath, putting away your phone and spending a few minutes reading this to understand what I'm trying to say.)
Developing "Cake Break!"
I came up with the idea of using skyblock rather than a normal overworld simply due to the harshness of the game in terms of resources. In skyblock, losing a bucket heavily handicaps you, and losing your lava block will force you to make dirt-wood hybrid houses, which aren't the best. This would force teams to take extreme care of their resources and benefit teams with both better defense and better hijacking tactics. I talked to my friend about this idea, and together we came up with an awesome concept: having an essential resource that decides who wins the game, for example, an object that is a "flag" in a capture the flag. We came up with an idea of each team having a cow, and teams would have to steal each other's cow, making extremely stressful games where you need a dumb AI to follow your wheat while your friend tries to hold off the enemy. We thought this was a great idea, so I started building the map during the weekend.
However, while doing minecraft command block research, I encountered a few problems. There wasn't a way I could find that would eliminate the risk of players killing their own cow, or possibly killing other team cows. So I narrowed onto the idea of breeding cows, since that would force teams to keep their cows alive. At the same time, I found that the scoreboard in minecraft could count different achievements, so I considered making the scoreboard check for how many animals were bred in the game, letting people get more score as they breed more (I imagined around 150 points for a cow bred, and 10 points removed for death). However, I encountered problems. In terms of game flow, there was a problem with giving people score for breeding cows, since it's pretty much a positive feedback loop: the more cows you breed, the more cows you have available. This would mean that some teams would make thousands of points while others make none, and as a hardcore socialist, this didn't sound like a fair game.
Scrolling through the possible counters that the minecraft scoreboard option had available, I came up with another great concept. Players would get points based on achievements they received, initiating a drive for progress, but also providing a limit to how many points players can get! However, this idea broke down fast after I noticed I would have to create one command block for every achievement per team, resulting in way too many considering the small command-block-and-redstone space constraints I had set for myself back then. I ended up picking an ideal stat counter for the game: cake slices eaten. This meant teams had resources that they had to keep safe, and struggled to bake cake as soon as they could to get an advantage on the enemy. I developed this version of the game with another friend who I met online, who helped me redesign a few concepts in the game, for example ditching the space constraints on the redstone (allowing for fancy graphics and stuff!), etc. I find this version extremely successful with few setbacks, and it really is a ton of fun to play. (If you want to play with my friends and I, you're very welcome. Just ask me and I'll invite you the next time we play, so far we've played with 5 players, and we'd really like to try with more.)
Anyways, back to the point on originality.
I learned a lot from designing this map. I think concepts of a map are more important than looks or anything when it comes to how well it plays. The original skyblock, even if it might have taken the builder 30 minutes to build, possibly took them hours to come up with and optimise for the best play. Little details like what one has in the starting chest is crucial to the game. I learned that if I continue building custom maps or PVP maps in the future, I will have to do a lot of conceptualising ahead of time. Because I have school at the moment, I only play minecraft on weekends, and the fact that I take the train for an hour and a half a day (while staying away from my phone so that I can have some time to think to myself and come up with stuff like this) helped me realise this.
Copying or improvement?
I don't know whether it's my confirmation bias due to me only noticing this now rather than before I made the map, but it seems that ever since I have posted my Cake Break map on planet minecraft, many new projects seem to be based on skyblock, or even worse, "sky wars". One post I found that was created this morning made me laugh due to how similar it was to my map. Here's the description on the post:
"a 4 team skyblock with a custom villager shop you will compete with your friends to complete all the challenges. the first one out of your team is the best skyblock survivalist in the world "
The other maps mostly are just other versions of skyblock. However, even if they are not very original, I am not in any way against changing a map to spice it up. I think this kind of inspiration is important to all kinds of art; a few of my favourite songs are covers of originals that I don't like as much. This is also why I am against strict copyright regulations, because it actually reduces competition between industries (or any other competing parties, for example: me vs the 4 team skyblock with a custom villager shop guy). However, what I find saddening about minecrafters "copying" or "inspiring" themselves off of maps is how little creativity they put into their remakes. People ask themselves "what is missing from skyblock that I could improve?" and immediately resort to "Diamonds! Gold! Villagers!" and whatever else. The problem with this is that they do not fully understand the reason why skyblock is such a successful map (so successful in fact that I would prefer to call it a game mode of minecraft!). The lack of resources is the ESSENTIAL part of skyblock, and what makes the map so much fun. It makes the map such a different and memorable experience compared to normal survival.
The key to success
The skyblock is just an example for a larger issue. I think people need to understand what concepts are needed to make something successful. And by successful, I don't mean something that will make you famous, I simply mean a good quality map, (possibly) original, that is fun and memorable to play. To do this, people should analyse what makes maps great, the same way you would analyse a book in your high school english class to find out what makes it a good book. This analysis is used predominantly in literature and visual arts, which helps people create more great material. I started using this for minecraft maps, thinking about what concepts in a map make it successful. (It can be applied anywhere though.)
One thing that is important to note: the more abstract you get in your analysis, the more freedom and originality you will have. In other words the more "outside the box" you think, the more freedom you have. When you find a fun map or even a fun game, you may think it's due to something physical in the game. Using the skyblock example again, people might think it's fun because you're in an island in the sky. However, you now know this is not the true reason the game is fun; the game is fun due to the harshness of the environment and the large amount of thrill one gets for such simple minecraft achievements, like building a house or growing wheat for the first time. There is also disproportionate amounts of value on objects like dirt, which would usually be completely useless in normal minecraft. The value of items in this strange context is what makes skyblock an amazing game.
Back to Cake Break: I actually didn't base the original idea of Cake Break on skyblock; as I explained, I was searching for a way of making players care more about themselves than killing others, and thinking of a way to make players make more intense decisions based on what they have and what they want to take from their opponents. Thinking outside the box made me grab a whole lot of inspiration from skyblock, which has exactly these conditions. Even if my map is very similar to skyblock, it is for the simple reason that common items have a whole lot more value up in the sky than on the ground.
All this just to say that I encourage any content creators out there, whether your field is graphic design, visual art, engineering design, cooking, music, planking, or whatever else, to think deeply about the real reason why some things are successful. I wish you all good luck in your artistic endeavours.
Links to Cake Break:
Planet minecraft: http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/cake-break-a-skyblock-pvp-survival-2players-teams-scoring-system/
Minecraft Maps: http://www.minecraftmaps.com/pvp-maps/cake-break
Honestly, give this map a try with your friends. It's so much fun.
The Yogscast playing my map: http://www.youtube.com/yogscast/4dEfn!laLe/?/
I'm going to start writing more blog posts, they're a really good way for me to look back at my life
It's been a while since I made a blogpost. In order to not sound as hostile, I will avoid from quoting (aside from one at the end and statements I made myself) and will not name anybody in this story here. For the past week or so I have been ranting to my fellow staff members about a problem I've had with another server. I used to play on it constantly two years ago, but last year, I was banned from it for apparently having a "hacked client," emphasis on apparently. I had and still have absolutely no recollection of having one at all. Therefore, I made an appeal. Have caution, though. This is much harder than it sounds.
Before I made my ban appeal, I had to find out the format they required for writing one. I found this, and it was quite clear, but on the same page, they went over the reasons you could be banned for and how to appeal them. It makes all the banned people, whether or not they were rightfully banned, feel like monsters and sin committers to the server. THe first two lines of the instructions to appeal begin by "sympathizing" by saying that being banned can be frustrating, especially if you disagree with it. Yeah I felt great when I read this. All I had to do was appeal, I thought. Ha, no way. Below that line I found possible reasons for banishment. Under hacked client, which is what I got stuck with, I heard that it was the worst ban you could get. The author of this post confirmed that they have a custom-made hacking detection plugin that is only set to bypass REI's minimap and other conventional mods that do not create an unfair advantage. Seems as though it is so flawless that any other mod just trips up the system and bans you for hacking. This is just ridiculous. Are they saying that the anti-hack program has never tripped up? NoCheat trips up all the time because of server lag and performance errors. After assuring everybody that there is no way that the hacking program could have made a mistake, the members of the server have the right to declare any appeals regarding having a hacked client unable to be appealed. This is where I became frustrated with server. It definitely wasn't the last time, either. Under that they claimed that "admin bans," which was my type of ban because an admin banned me, are always 100% justified and, and the admins are always right. Therefore, those bans will always stay intact because they are so very worshipped and trusted by the entire staff. Remember this statement for the remainder of my post. It is the entire reason why I am making this in the first place.
I still made the appeal, though. I figure I should try, and the staff seemed to have the common sense that they should try to reply to everyone that tries to get unbanned. So, I made this. Keep in mind this was attempt one:
I can't quote the reply, but it basically said "I personally trust the admin who banned you, and that video shows no relevance whatsoever. Sorry, your account will not be unbanned." The topic was then locked, so I couldn't have made any reply. Not even a "thank you for answering my ban appeal." The fact that they locked the topic (which I believe they do for every appeal when it is replied to) shows that they probably don't really have any proof of anything here, and that they don't want to risk being proven wrong or argued against by the victim. That's my theory.
It didn't bother me as much until my friend asked me to play on the server again. After seeing that I was still banned, I felt like for the sake of both of our enjoyment (of playing together on the server), I should try again. After refreshing my mind and being discouraged by the same page of directions (mind you this was a year later, in fact last week), I made a more sensible appeal that talks about assuming that I could have done something wrong.
This appeal wasn't directly replied to, because two days later it was recommended that I make one more story side. So, I did just that and made it clear for them to acknowledge this ^^^ one along with it. I really can't tell if they did. Anyway, I made this one as well to add on.
It took the staff one week to reply to my ban appeal, and this is all it said:
"You were not banned by our nocheat system. You were banned, by one of our most experienced and trusted admins, and I'm sorry, but the ban will not be revoked. Appeal denied."
As you can see, they almost literally copy/pasted their last response and left it at that. I practically wrote two essays and I get a sentence back. I almost have no doubt in saying they quickly skimmed both of them, or at least the first one.
It's just outrageous. They have shown me no proof and I feel like they expect me to give valid proof. Well for one if I didn't do anything then I can't prove I wasn't doing anything, and how in the world am I supposed to prove that I don't have a hacked client?
The moral of this story goes to JR directly. We need to make sure we take EVERY ban appeal and EVERY question into consideration and simply, just put ourselves in the victim's shoes. Whether they are innocent or griefed 10000 blocks, think about what they are trying to do. Think about the effort they put in to get back on this server and apply it to our responses to them. Whether we deny appeals or not, we should return the favor, if they made an effort, and reply in a civilized manner giving reasons for our actions besides trust. Maybe ask some follow up questions. We should not solely use personal trust as a justification for banning anybody.
Thanks to @troll or @MineDr, this problem has been indirectly solved (thanks man!), so I can play on this server again, but I wish things could have been easier.
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