Archive for the ‘minecraft’ Category


Postcard from the Edge

Friday, June 15th, 2012

I always liked the idea of someone being at the very edge of things and sending back a postcard. I’m never sure if it is because they want others to join them, wish they were back home, or just excited to see how the world barrels over the edge into a pool of oblivion.

None the less, one of the design challenges this week was to create a postcard from a magical place. Specific to Camp Magic MacGuffin style, it needed to be from our Minecraft camp. So, I ventured over to Bunk House X. BH X is the fabled, mysterious and cantankerous island of veteran DS106er’s. Not unlike the Island of Misfit Toys and certainly with more curmudgeony goodness.

So, I find this dragon which is probably the coolest little piece of Minecraft art going (no dig on the others) and grab a screenshot. The hardest part was trying to find the dang screenshot from Minecraft. The instructions from class were spot on but the navigation needed to be entered into a browser window. Then BLAMMO!

So, here is 2 stars of this week’s 10-star design assignment challenge.

Zazzy Does Minecraft

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Don’t go in the sky.

Click here to view the embedded video.

On Being A Monkey

Friday, June 8th, 2012

mONkEyhouse monkeyThis is a preliminary post which will be added to over time.  Members of the ds106 digital storytelling group The Monkey House may be interested in some of these resources and hints for use with MineCraft.

1) Monkey Skins are available for your MineCraft dude (while you are waiting to customize your own).

The Skindex currently shows 23 skins when you search for “monkey.”

You can either download the .png skin file for use further editing, or you can upload it directly to  your Minecraft profile so that you immediately look like a proper chimp.

2) Monkey House Texture Pack: Following on a question from @BenjaminHarwood, I investigated the Texture Pack feature, and created the beginnings of a Monkey House theme that substitutes a banana for the apple, and introduces some simple monkey artwork.  To achieve this end,

a) download the Monkey House Texture Pack: to a spot you can locate on your computer. The texture back is in a ZIP file format. Do NOT unzip it.
b) Run Minecraft. If you already have Minecraft running, make sure you save and quit the world: you need to be in the main menu to continue.

c) Click Texture Packs button.

d) Click Open Texture Pack Folder button; this will open the folder where minecraft stores all texture packs. If nothing happens, you need to find the folder manually. Depending on your operating system it is:

  • Windows XP/Vista/7: %AppData%\.minecraft\texturepacks
  • Linux: ~/.minecraft/texturepacks (This folder may be hidden in the Home Folder)
  • Mac OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/minecraft/texturepacks (This folder may be hidden)

e) Do not close Minecraft. Place the texture pack (ZIP file) in the opened texture packs folder, do not unzip.

f) In a few seconds the texture pack will appear in Minecraft. Select it and click Done. The texture pack is now applied, you may load your world and see the difference.

You should now see the world through a Monkey’s eyes.

This texture pack will likely evolve over time. I need to address the object naming, create a golden banana, and turn the regular cake into Banana Cake. Other suggestions?

There is more information about Texture Packs on the Minecraft wiki.

Here is a shot of some of our members of The Monkey House posing in front of one of the monkey pictures, with the pile of “apples” replaced (from my perspective) with bananas.

Members of The Monkey House with bananas and monkey art

3) Building Branches in The Monkey House tree.
While a short video tutorial has been requested (might be a nice little project), the basic process that I’ve used to build branches involves using the following bits.

1) the basic wood block for our tree
2) the dirt block
3) the fourth sapling
4) bone meal
5) the dark green leaves
6) the vines.

By placing a sapling on a dirt block and applying bone meal, a tree can instantly be grown on a branch. (remove the dirt block after and replace it with wood). Then add additional leaves and vines to arrive at your aesthetically pleasing result.

NOTE: For when creepers, zombies, skeletons, and spiders come wandering around, having the bow and arrow handy lets you get rid of the monsters without any explosions or collateral damage to The Monkey Hut.

Here’s an external shot of The Monkey House tree with the original large big branch. The plan will be to add additional large big branches such that each monkey can build a tree house of their own in the upper reaches of the foliage.

"The Monkey House tree" by aforgrave, on Flickr

"The Monkey House tree" by aforgrave, on Flickr

4) Select and Name Your Temporary Bunk: We have prepared a good number of bunks in the main level of The Monkey House tree. Select an unoccupied bunk, and then update your sign (break, then replace) with your name, your twitter name, and the type of monkey you would like to be.

"One Funky Monkey Bunk(s)" by aforgrave, on Flickr

"One Funky Monkey Bunk(s)" by aforgrave, on Flickr

5) Members of The Monkey House can use our #tag when posting to Twitter:
We are #mONkEyhouse106.



Our Bunkhouse Is a Treehouse

Friday, June 8th, 2012
Something I'm envious of

Just a quick screenshot from #mONkEyhouse106 in Camp Magic MacGuffin. I’m still mostly hopeless in Minecraft but my bunk mates built an entire tree house. Not everyone came to tonight’s social but those who did learned a ton! Led by Andrew Forgrave, we managed to add basic bunks for everyone, and some nice torches for light, and we began adding on more tree branches while dear Shannon forged ahead alone making a spiral staircase that runs up the trunk of our giant tree from the deck level to the top. At some point Kathleen and I learned how to rid pigs (in our tree!). Unfortunately neither of us could get back OFF so we kind of messed up the house for awhile, but it’s all back in order now, and the pork chops were delicious. Shout out to Tim for turning day to night and doing a few teleportations of lost campers. And to camp director Alan who managed to join our social for a few minutes before heading to dinner – come back and visit anytime!

Crafty Business

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

So! Campers have started to explore the MineCraft incarnation of Camp Magic MacGuffin in droves! Last Friday evening, a good number of folks showed up simultaneously within the virtual space, and by Tuesday evening, the area surrounding the Camp Centre had been transformed with a whole slew of new construction.  With a multiples of folks now working here and there, the opportunities for group photos start to occur. Of course, why settle for a static pose when you can go for the ubiquitous simultaneous-on-the-count-of-three-everybody-jump shot. Three images (one repeated, then looped) to produce a little animation.

Giulia, Shannon, and Ben on the Beach at Camp Magic MacGuffin

Giulia, Shannon, and Ben on the Beach at Camp Magic MacGuffin on Tuesday evening

Of course this becomes more difficult with an increased number of people.
Not only was the co-ordination of the jumping a bit less synchronized with five, but the rapid capture of screenshots using the native MineCraft screen capture (F2 key on PC, FN+F2 on Mac) introduced a whole slew of filenames superimposed on the successive images, which I had to edit out. But the result was worth it.

INSERT 5-PERSON ANIMATED GIF HERE (revised image to come … )

After getting switched to Creative Mode (to avoid the MineCraft Monsters), folks have been getting the basics of manoeuvring and flying down. @timmmmyboy, @mburtis, and @leelzebub have been particularly helpful and responsive in getting new arrivals out of danger (Survival Mode) and flying around.

Quite a few crafters now have customized their Minecraft Steve with a unique skin.  (Search The Skindex  if you want to choose from a huge selection of pre-made skins, or see the embedded skin editor, Skincraft, at the end of this post.)

After getting oriented, most folks are getting together with their bunkmates and working to build their bunk houses.  The Camp Centre has taken a few hits as Creepers continue to roam and blow stuff up, but everyone seems to be pitching in to make repairs.

After seeing that Bunkhouse Five (The DigiOuijas) was casting a nasty shadow on the centre camp at high noon (causing the night-creatures to come out at mid-day), @timmmmyboy graciously removed and relocated Bunkhouse Five and introduced a shadow-free transparent floor at the same time! Tuesday evening he spent a good chunk of time working to get his piston-elevator system working.  I had a chance to test it out — and while we both encountered a bug or two …

You Moved Too Quickly (Hacking?)" by aforgrave, on Flickr

You Moved Too Quickly (Hacking?)" by aforgrave, on Flickr

… it did manage to transport my MineCraft self up to the top of the world.

"Top of the World" by aforgrave, on Flickr

"Top of the World" by aforgrave, on Flickr

@BenjaminHarwood and @GiuliaForsythe chose a location for Bunkhouse Two (The Wäscälly Wäbbits) and did some serious digging in, both in terms of into-the-cliff-burrowing, and front-entrance garden planting. They also spent time working on a Pirates of the Caribbean boat attraction, and I had an opportunity to experiment with MineCraft TNT at their site while trying to create an exit for the trapped boats.  Check out the proud Wabbits in front of their collaborative digs.

"Two Wäscälly Wäbbits" by aforgrave, on Flickr"

"Two Wäscälly Wäbbits" by aforgrave, on Flickr"

@shauser and I returned to the site of the new BIG HUGE GIANT tree for Bunkhouse One (The Monkey House), and spent some time working to make it bigger and more tree-like. – It’s getting there.  But we also had some fun when we managed to fall out of the world while visiting Ben and Giulia.

  • aforgave fell out of the world
  • <aforgrave> did you cover up that hole?
  • <shauser>    yup, planted that sapling where you fell through
  • <aforgrave> how deep is the dirt?
  • <shauser>    like three deep? should it go deeper?
  • <aforgrave> tree?
  • <shauser>    i don’t know, i had a sapling on hand so i planted it
  • <shauser>    in memory of you!
  • <shauser>    but you didn’t really die :-)
  • aforgave fell out of the world
  • shauser fell out of the world
  • <aforgrave>  yes — unless we want to make it really thin and let others follow!
  • <shauser> haha yes lets fix

In fact, the experience was so enjoyable, we enjoyed it a couple more times:

  • aforgave fell out of the world
  • shauser fell out of the world
  • aforgave fell out of the world
  • shauser fell out of the world

We then repaired the original hole at the Wabbits site, but not wanting to say goodbye to the fun, we built an amusement ride for all to enjoy at the Camp Magic MacGuffin beach — The Fell Out the World Fun Ride.   Enjoy, everyone!

"'Fall Out the World'Fun Ride" by aforgrave, on Flickr

"'Fall Out the World'Fun Ride" by aforgrave, on Flickr

Shannon and Tim and I also took a little excursion to try to find some of the sights I encountered during my Lost in the MineCraft Wilderness Expedition, and some more work was completed on The Monkey House tree house, but those details will remain for a later post … 

Skincraft: A MineCraft Skin Editor


See? I made a Gumby skin for my MineCraft dude

Why settle for some off-the-shelf Steve skin, when you can Create Some Art and make your own with this handy skin editor?

The editor gives you a tiny little .png file. This is what I uploaded to my profile at to skin my dude as Gumby …

My Gumby Minecraft Skin

Who would you like to be in MineCraft? What key features do you need to capture to make your character’s skin instantly recognizable and unique?

Use the embedded editor below. Just click Play. Make some MineCraft Skincraft art! 

(It’s a .swf file, so you’ll need to edit on a device that supports Flash)
Skincraft © 2011 The-Swain | Afro-Ninja | Mike Welsh Sponsored by Newgrounds

Adventures In Minecraft

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

I’ve been really busy on Minecraft these past couple weeks! Here are some highlights of the things I’ve built (you can see the whole “Adventures in Minecraft” album on Flickr):

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge!


An observatory

Inside the Observatory

Inside the Observatory. You can watch the sun and moon!

A Myseterious Pond

A myseterious pond… Won’t you throw something in?

These creations are actually old new news, but I’ve been away from my blog for some time. I guess things have been busy on the “first world” side of the computer universe. I’ll be sure to take some screenshots of new happenings and update the Interblags about my travails when I can.

Adventures in Minecraft

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Dudes!  Check out the brick shanty I built in Minecraft!

my first Minecraft house

My Minecraft house.


The inside of my Minecraft house

Two images of my brick hut of which I am quite proud, because it took for EFFING ever to figure this game out.  I haven’t played a video game (other than free, online Tetris) in years.  Figuring out the controls takes some time seeing as how the keyboard commands are so different from what I do from day to day.

I should’ve worked on Minecraft a few weeks ago when I still had a slew of middle school kids to help me out.  Probably would’ve taken a lot less time if I didn’t have to toggle between the game and Google searches.  I admit getting frustrated at some point in the process and thinking, “This really isn’t worth my time.”  But I stuck with it, because there’s some gratification in overcoming challenges, getting outside of the comfort zone, learning something new, and all of that cliched horse palooey.  And it’s fun.


Harrowing Night

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The Sunset before "Harrowing Night"

Given that my mine is currently overrun with a variety of creatures and is imperfectly defended, I have been working on the higher reaches of the space, having protected myself by breaking the access via the construction bridge from below. My current goal is to close in the sky-high view panorama window, thereby sealing the mine from unintended external access. However, fascinated as I was by the colours of the setting sun, I waited far too long to vacate the recently-installed construction scaffold on the outside window. Before I knew it, it was too dark to make my way off the perilous structure and back to the security of my nearby mining hut. I was able to create gaps in the scaffold at either end (it was still attached to the sheer cliff face), and resolved myself to wait out the rising of the sun.

That I am still here to tell this tale the next morning is the shortened conclusion to the experience. However, the cold from the high altitude (snow is prevalent), the grunts and cries of nearby monsters, the darkness of the night, the onset of drowsiness (normally, I pass the night by sleeping), and my vertigo-fueled apprehension of falling made for a very traumatic ordeal.

Still Alive the Next Morning

Still Alive the Next Morning after the "Harrowing Night"

Homesick? Not Me!

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Day one at Camp Magic MacGuffin and the best way to stave off homesickness is to stay busy. In that spirit I did a little exploring of the landscape with some activities and unpacking some of my camp equipment.

First, I opted to jump in and play with The Daily Create #134. The challenge was to redesign an image of an animal. I opened my camp kit and pulled out GIMP to alter a photo of an animal (so not truly the task) because I’d never used photo editors short of the auto-correct feature in iPhoto. Here’s what I came up with…

My personal favorite from the task was the Dande-hedgehog from CoachK though.

I also unpacked Minecraft and bee-bopped around there to see what that platform/game has to offer. Admittedly, this product has a tremendous following. A quick YouTube search of “Minecraft” and you’ll be up to your ears in video tutorials that rapidly take you through different aspects of the environment. Back in Camp Magic MacGuffin, it appears that Minecraft will be used for community and storytelling. Here’s a little trailer about Minecraft to explain the platform.

I did purchase a Minecraft subscription for the experiment so that I can be fully immersed in the DS106 experience. I will admit though, I am always a little skeptical about virtual worlds for learning and sharing. There was a time when I played World of Warcraft and after some time could begin to see potential lessons in leadership, anthropology of gaming environments, social protocols and mores, etc. It took some time and creative thinking to get passed the game to see those things though. None the less, Minecraft is different than WOW (even if it were just in cost alone) in many ways including the ability to host and create your own world with a specific purpose. So, I’m all in on Minecraft. Perhaps I’ll create my own little world (apart from my own little world I live in regularly) and explore some possibilities for learning, teaching, and fun.

I jumped in on the Twitter feeds, browsed my fellow campers blogs and began watching the week’s assigned video for reflection. I just need to find the time to do all this camping.

As for homesickness, being active and immersed is the best way to stave off those “I miss home” blues. So, stay busy campers!

A Series of Time-Sucking Tubes

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Who got trapped on the Internet today? This girl!

Things I’ve been reading/watching/wasting time with:

Also been spending time on DS106′s Minecraft server. It’s lonely in there, so head over and we’ll build epic shit together.