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Blog Entries posted by Mecmax

  1. 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.
  2. Mecmax
    Hey guys,
    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, 

  3. Mecmax
    Hey guys,
    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!
  4. Mecmax
    Hey guys,
    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. 
    Server Purpose
    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.
  5. Mecmax
    Hey guys!
    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.
  6. Mecmax
    Hey guys,
    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.
    Current Ideas
    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?
  7. Mecmax
    Hey guys,
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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...  )
  8. Mecmax
    Hey guys!
    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.
  9. Mecmax
    Hey guys,
    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.
  10. Mecmax
    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.
    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
  11. Mecmax
    Hey guys,

    With the new redstone update, I'm coming up with ALOT of Ideas for minigames, and now that I'm back on Jr, after I'm finished My castle build, I'll start working on a new arcade. I'll try to get it implemented into the minigames world so that all of you could have fun
    I can't guarantee anything, cause I can get pretty lazy sometimes

    See you on Jr,
  12. 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/
  13. Mecmax
    Hey guys!
    I'm back on Jr now, cause I wanted to try minecraft again, and I'm lovin' it!

    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!
    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!
  14. 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:

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

  15. 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 ).
    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!
  16. 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
    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:

    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


    Wish me luck!
  17. 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

    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.
  18. Mecmax
    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 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:
  19. Mecmax
    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 ... 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??
  20. Mecmax
    Here are the links to the downloads!!!
    Please tell me if there are bugs or if something is too difficult or whatever!
    Download and play! (You can play up to 4 players!!)

    Map download: http://www.mediafire.com/?9p85zg589ktetyl
    (old) http://www.mediafire...dypsznq3q9d9rc5
    Texture pack download: http://www.mediafire...23o8dt7atn2b6cc

    Have fun and thanks for supporting!!
  21. Mecmax
    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 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...
  22. Mecmax
    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
    Im also gonna release a version of the texture pack for normal survival minecraft.
    Ill post the link to everything in my next post!
  23. Mecmax
    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 ) that will show people all the different features of Jr! (Prepare to learn!)
    -I will remake Empire Estates and revive Ponyville!
  24. Mecmax
    Hey arcaders

    I'm back (read my other post), so Im finally gonna remake my arcade in the "minigames" world (the world with the mob arenas and stuff!
    Its gonna be better than ever, be sure to recommend any game creations!

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