28/11/2011

[MC] The Building of Ethea

This entry is Minecraft related, and concerns my plans to create a world of my own on my own server. So if you don't like Minecraft, this entry might not be for you.
However, if you like your MC with a dash of hedgehog, then read on. But if you're reading this from Sonic Blast and have read my hints/ideas in the main MC thread, this entry might be considered a spoiler. If you're cool with that, then onwards!
Haven and the Death Egg, visible from the far side of the massive scar running across the land.


The original working title of my server was "MoD's World", and after some consultation with my girlfriend(who is now exploring Minecraft for herself, as she likes destroying things... griefer in the making? XD) and my lil brother I had decided to keep this name. I wanted a proper name for the place but for now, MoD's World would have to do.

Some hunting around with Tobi-Wan Kenobi led me to Daddycheese for my hosting requirements - £9.99 covering everything I'd need. Considering I was once spending about £30 for Eve on three accounts(before I found out how to get it for free) I consider this low price A Good Thing for my fix of MC.
Daddycheese are awesome. They set up the server almost instantly after they received payment, and there's even an option to have a world with Bukkit installed. The server is 24 slot, but I decided there was no point in opening it to the public until Bukkit updates to 1.0.0, and thus I could install the WorldGuard and WorldEdit plugins, to name but two. They also handle support tickets quickly and with a large amount of patience, a useful feature as me and the bro have been stress-testing the fuck out of the server.
Death Egg on the left, and across the smashed bridge lies Hope. It should be mentioned that this is all still a WIP while waiting for Bukkit to update.

After generating about 6 or 7 maps, me and 690(the lil bro's handle) settled upon a nice site. Spawn site was in a swamp, just up the hill was a nice little village(Haven) and we developed it a little. I then thought back to why I wanted my own server in the first place - I was fed up of building shit, and having it lost to viruses or wiped because of a 5 day rollback. Seriously fucking fed up. I'd built 3 floating island chains, and a 38-block high Death Egg.
And that's when it hit me... why not have my Death Egg, but crash-landed by this NPC village?

Excitedly, I ran through the idea with 690. He suggested making it half-buried to make it look properly crashed. I then came upon a semi-serious point... if it were to crash, it would surely leave a massive impact crater of some sort on the surface?
Cue two happy idiots TNT'ing the shit out of the place to make it look like a huge impact had happened. Not just the impact site itself, but a massive scar running across the land! We messed up here and there but eventually stopped... Eventually.

I mentioned stress test earlier, right? Well 690 wanted to see how good this server was. So he dug down about 40 blocks or so, and filled the map up from there up AND down, with TNT. He placed a good 300 or so blocks. He then had a heart attack as I set off the TNT before he was out of the pit he'd created.
As 690 is running on a notepad, his system lagged out quite badly. I was sitting about 25 blocks away when the explosions went off, and it all happened lag free.
Think about that. Lag. Free. No lag. It was fucking hilarious to watch 690's notepad try to keep up, but the server itself was fine. Admittedly there are no plugins installed currently, but it was encouraging.

This hole was now big enough to store a suitable Death Egg. Setting Creative mode, I made a sphere of 50 levels using a schematic from Plotz.com - far bigger than the previous 38 block high I'd made on the previous server. Using the experience gained from the previous Egg, this one only took me about 4 hours to make but it was totally worth it. I then set about giving it a full interior - central column, broken nuclear power supply, multiple levels, so on. I then set about TNT'ing the crap out of it at the front end of the station, noting that it overhung a bit of a lava pit. Some lava rivers were added to help make it look like we were in Lava Reef or something similar. After that I said hi to some Creepers, to try and make the place look like it had been overrun by mobs. A few exploded greenies later and I was satisfied that the place looked suitably worn and torn. Oh, and I didn't bother to light it properly so there's guaranteed to be some evil spawns if you're unlucky.

So why crash a Death Egg next to your NPC village and grief it, I hear you cry? Well it's all part of my plan to get people involved beyond a simple "turn up and build" mindset - or more specifically, try to capture the parts of Lodainn I liked before it went tits up and obsessed over roleplay. Everyone had clumped together into small towns and created huge communities. I liked that, and was a part of my own awesome little place on Lodainn, together with Tort and Orwell. Those were the days, when building was encouraged...
Back on-topic, let's say these NPC villagers were around when the Death Egg crashed. Would they know what it was? What it meant to its creator? Or would they see it as a crashed grey thingy? I went for the latter, and set the time of the crash at roughly a few years ago. Long enough for the Creepers to take a hold of the place, and yet still a reasonable timespan to explain why there was leaked fuel everywhere and it was on fire after all these years. Which is nuclear, in case it hadn't been mentioned before.
So let's take this a step further. An NPC is concerned that the last exploration team went in and didn't return, and everyone is too scared to go take a peek. Would you, brave warrior, take a look?
Inside the Death Egg. You can see where the front end dragged across the ground quite clearly here, and the view into Lava Reef. Yes, this is going to stay this dark!

The Death Egg has been set up with a single chest right at the top of its structure. The way up to it isn't too obvious, but it's intended to be a "you're new here, let's get you some nice equipment." Everyone wants diamond gear straight away? Sorry, I'm going to run a survival server so you're gonna have to work for it. But if you complete this small challenge, you can get some stuff that can help you until you find diamond.
What's that? You would rather run it with friends? You might actually need to, just be sure to split the loot! You want to run it with diamond gear? Well that's a bit pointless as the items won't be of any benefit to you as they're intended to get people started on the server.

There we have it, our first quest. Add in some NPC stuff in the form of Dr. Epsi blogging on signposts and the picture is just about complete. Depending on whether people join the server and actually take on these quests, I may well set up other treks. Ones that involve helping the NPCs out again - maybe getting rare materials for them. And as more quests get completed and time goes by, the crash site will evolve into a repair and eventual launch site. Imagine... that horrible, deformed space wreck being repaired and primed to do what it originally did? People would log off one day, and return to see a panel being beaten out straight and the lights working again.

Finally, there's the name change. After including the quest, it felt a bit arrogant to name the server after myself. So after some playing about on name generators I settled on Ethea. It's not the name of the planet, but instead the country the Death Egg has crashed in. The villagers of Haven aren't sure what to make of it, but the nearby town of Hope would sure love to have a poke around inside the place! Hope's a town I made on Lodainn that I liked so much I resurrected it for my server.

I do believe that's it for the Lands of Ethea. I may well have to create some forums for the server, as well as somewhere to host a dynamic map. But once Bukkit is finally ready to be applied to my server, well...
Watch this space.

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