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Just a casual blog. Read at your own risk.

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Mecmax

Hey guys,

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.

Mecmax

Originality

Hey guys,

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.

Conclusion

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.

Trailer: 

 

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 :P

Mecmax

Hey guys!

I spent a night at my friend's house on minecraft and built this epic pig race map! I'm wayyy too lazy to write down the whole description out again, so go take a look at the build on planet minecraft. Leave a diamond if you have an account!

Basically, there are two race tracks that are changeable through a set of commands in command towers. one is a basic figure-8, another is a "challenge path". They are both epic, try it out when you have friends over for a fun thing to do!

here's the link: http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/go-pig-racer-the-best-of-the-pig-racing-maps/

Mecmax

Hey guys!

I'm back on Jr now, cause I wanted to try minecraft again, and I'm lovin' it! :D

At first, I had a really tough time finding my way through the servers and worlds, cause I didn't know how they worked and there was noone else online (on the survival at least..)

I soon found out about the new system, so I tried the hardcore world first. Man, it is HARD CORE! I died in the first 30 minutes and ragequited to the creative world.

The first thing I noticed were the plots, which kind of make me sad, cause I feel restricted, even if my structures arent large enough to fill one... But it's organized, so it's also nice to have!

Anyways, I built a self-welcome back structure that took 15 minutes (you know me and my building method... I get spurs of insparation and I have to build it quick before I loose it)

I started building myself too, right next to zombie myself coming out of my grave.

I'm proud to see that Jr is running well and that most bugs are solved through the different servers! Now if we can find a way to either show who's online on the other worlds, or even chat through different worlds, that would be so awesome.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you soon on Jr! :D

The "good-old Mecmax445" ;)

PS You might have noticed that I'm not helper, and I'm not reclaiming my role back right now (unless I want some non-citizen features and I have more time to dedicate to Jr). But feel free to ask for any builds, cause that's pretty much the only thing I love doing!

Mecmax

Hey guys!

For some reason, I sort of got bored of Jr (even the site) a month ago. Since my trip back to France I'm back on the site, but I don't go online on Jr...

You might be wondering why....

Well, first of all, I got a huge load of games: Bioshock, Ghost Recon 2, Amnesia, (Ive also started playing Yogbox), and I'm downloading Team Fortress 2 (I'll be on Jr there :D ).

When I do play minecraft, I work on my next custom map(s).

Finally, when I do go on Jr, there usually isn't anyone online that I know, cause of my time zone.

So that's pretty much why I don't go on Jr anymore.

But it's just a phase, I know I'll be back on in a month or two!

see you later!

Mecmax

Mecmax

Hey guys,

My next custom map is gonna need alot of new sounds, textures, and a bunch of stuff, so I thought it would be simpler if I made a completely new launcher that would be compatible with all my custom maps. (a bit like deep space turtle chase)

Do any of you know how to do this? If so, please teach me and help me achieve (virtual) lifetime success: :P

If this isn't possible, Do any of you know how to make a automated installer?

Thanks :D

Mecmax

Heres the mail I sent to the yogscast:

Hey Yogscast!

I've created a Custom Map (It took 5 months to make) pretty much for you guys.

Its called Trinitology, and its a map made for TNT people like you guys :D

It has mazes, jumping puzzles (single player only. You're safe for now, Simon.), tnt (everywhere!) and a bunch of other stuff.

Its my dream to have you guys play it. Please consider it!

This is the reply I received a few hours later:

Hi,

Thanks for sending this across to us! I'll forward it across to the

guys, but i'm unable to guarantee it will be used.

Once again, many thanks!

Kindest Regards

MintyMinute

Wish me luck! :D

Mecmax

Trinitology... Posted!

Hey guys!

I posted Trinitology on a few different sites, all the links are down below. I added -Majestikmooss, -K2trf, -Flaw_22, and a few of my friends with cracked accounts here in india.

On PMC I got 6 downloads in the first 5 minutes, which is pretty awesome :P So far about one third of my views are downloads. You guys can check it out (I fixed and added some things) on some of these sites:

http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/trinitology-a-tnt-custom-map/ (please go and give it a diamond to make it more popular! you can also subscirbe to my works there)4

Heres the final version for mean and lazy people who dont want to go on PMC:

http://www.mediafire.com/?q9jccao8kudb2cv

Mecmax

Guys, I really need you people to test out this map before I put it on planet minecraft, since I dont want it up with problems and everything. Its a map about TNT, so most of you should love it, and you get to blow up monsters, huge robots, and make tnt cannons!

My goal is to get it onto the Yogscast, so if you could all help out, Id be eternally greatful :D

Map download: http://www.mediafire...9p85zg589ktetyl

Texture pack download: http://www.mediafire...23o8dt7atn2b6cc

Also, Ill be releasing a version of the texture pack made for casual survival soon.

Mecmax

Staff Age limit?

Hey guys,

So I recently learned that there was a newly-added age limit to the new staff, which I find pretty useless. I know there was a topic somewhere to dicuss it, but I can't find it :P ... Anyways, I know Joe_JRN, Zolacolor, and a bunch of others proved that age didn't show how mature you were. I find that instead of this useless method, staff should get to know people, and come ask them to be staff like in the old days, instead of just anyone asking to be helper after 2 months of playing on Jr.

For example, many admins know me, and usually think Im 16 or 17 by the way I act, speak and look. And I'm turning 15 in a week. But that didnt stop me from spending 10 months on Jr, working to keep it a happy place when the staff wasnt there, like breaking up arguments and fights, helping with greifs and giving people help when they were having trouble registering. I activated my citizen+ thinking I could apply, but I was deceived when I heard about this. So all I'm asking for is for you guys to rethink and reconsider this rule, so that Jr could be a fair place.

By the way, what does citizen + give you that normal citizen doesnt have??

Mecmax

Custom Map

Hey guys,

My custom map is finished, so right now all I'm doing is adding textures to the texture pack of the map. I need some bug testers and stuff though, so If you guys could help, that would be awesome :D

Im also gonna release a version of the texture pack for normal survival minecraft.

Ill post the link to everything in my next post!

Mecmax

Problems Resolved

Hey guys,

I'd just like to telll you that my recent problems are pretty much resolved

1) I have no more broken leg! Hallelujah!

2) Internet came back a while ago :D Im back on xbox :)

3) My quarter projects and exams are over, Im gonna be on Jr much more now :)

However id like to know if theres just no one on anymore, or its just that everyone is on Tekkit...

Mecmax

I'm Back!

blogentry-6225-0-01770500-1350391815_thu

After a Long struggle of 6 weeks with Indian workers, we managed to make them hit a few buttons and get our Internet back.

Now I will be very active on Jr, and will be releasing my custom map after a little bit of Bug testing! (I'm finished!) (please support me!)

I have a few things to do that I didnt do before (but I said I would):

-Remake my arcade! It'll be in the world made for arenas and games, where people cant give themselves loot like they did in the creative world. Also, I've designed two different clocks that will power my games that are 100% Lag-free!

-I will build my museum (with the help of others of course :P) that will show people all the different features of Jr! (Prepare to learn!)

-I will remake Empire Estates and revive Ponyville!

Mecmax

Hey guys,

just to keep you updated on my new indian life, here are a few things that happened over the last moth or two:

- My internet has been down for 3 weeks, don't worry if I'm not active, I still love Jr.

- I couldn't really do anything about it for a while since I broke my leg and had to stay home for a week and a half, and noww I'm wearing a cast but I can use the school internet.

- I'm staying over at a hotel for the weekend, so I have internet for 24 hours.

- I've been working on my custom map quite alot, so I'm practically finished. I'm just re-texturing some more blocks and items, and bug fixing. Ask me if you'd like to test it.

- Jr tekkit coming out is probably the best thing that happened in my life for the last month :D I still love Jr!!

Mecmax

Hey guys,

I won't be on Jr as often as I usually am, just because I'm working on a custom map that I have been half-working on for around two months. I never really put much effort into it, I just want to finish it off and get over it.

I'm sure its gonna be really great, I hope many of you try it out once I'm done!

Mecmax

2012

I've just noticed in 2010 and 2011, everyone was panicking about 2012 and the end of the world. Now were four months from the "end" of it and no gives a ****!

:P

Mecmax

blog editing

Does anyone know how to edit the blog? Like can you add a cool background like with your profile?

I noticed the "Theme" button, but I really dont get how it works.

Thanks :D

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