14 April, 2012

Minecraft got a lot of loving

A lot of Minecraft

Wow. Just…wow.

Back about 13 April 2012 at 23:11 (UTC) or so, Minecraft made five million, five hundred and fifty five thousand, five hundred and fifty five sales, and more by now. I even managed to get a screenshot of the event.

Oh, and as the full sized screenshot will show, I was using a favourite plugin of mine—FlashBlock.

04 April, 2012

Feel like bacon, anyone?

Let's ham it up

Bacon and eggs go together like…well, bacon and eggs. They're great as a pie, or even on their own without pastry. However, one place where they really don't go together is in a game. Except for one family of games.

First, take a family of birds. They like life. And they like eggs. Funny that, because that's how they become birds. And then there's pigs. Pigs like eggs too, but not for the same reasons. They don't need the eggs to become birds first. They just like eggs. Cooked. Any way they can.

Needless to say, the birds don't like this. In fact they get rather angry about the fact that the pigs (green, in this case) have come along and stolen their eggs, in preparation of a right pig-out. Yes, that's right, I think you've all figured it out by now.

Take some angry birds…

In the game Angry Birds and their sequels, you play the part of some really really angry birds. You're given a catapult, and different sorts of birds, all to kill any pigs on screen. The fewer birds you have to use, the better your score. Oh, and it's even better if you wipe out every piece of structure protecting the pigs too, but killing the pigs is where it's at. Or releasing the other birds, if you happen to have bought Angry Birds - Rio.

It's become kind of a cult classic, but I've no idea what following it has, save that it comes top of the category at the App Store for downloading. Suffice it to say that this may not be the game for COD4 or MW3 players, unless they're tired of playing with all their buddies online, and just want some downtime, to rest up the braincells.

Don't think you'll be resting them with this game, though. Even though the target is simple—kill all pigs (or release all the captive birds)— that can get surprisingly hard to do, especially if you're after the full three stars that nearly every level offers. And then there are the chances to get golden eggs, which unlock further levels for you to play on. If you think “Pshaw, how hard can killing pigs be?” then try going through all four games, completing all levels, and all goldenegg levels. When you've succeeded in that, decide whether you want to run back to MW3.

Then there's the inevitable chase for the highest score you can possibly get in each level. I don't quite know how the score is calculated, but the higher you get, the more points you have. And you might even get a golden egg level out of it. If you feel like releasing a bit of frustration, then I'm sorry to say that some of the levels in this game are infuriatingly hard to get. Needless to say, I haven't finished all the levels yet.

The games are cheap enough, at only $4.95 each you're not going to have months of gametime, but it'll while away enough time for the price. The most recent episode costs $5.95, but that's because it's only just been released. In addition, the games are not just available on your humble PC. No, sir. It made an appearance in the smartphone market when I first saw it, and it had become a classic top-of-category by then. Once tablets started becoming more common, it was only a matter of time before Angry Birds (and sequels) topped the charts at the App Store. In addition, you can even play some of Angry Birds for free, in a number of ways. It's available as a Google Chrome applet, a Google Plus game, as a Facebook game, or even as a standalone demo for the PC/Mac (running on OS X)/Android/iPad or smartphone.

And it's a good alternative to Minecraft.

EDIT: Unfortunately, these games are no longer available for download in their PC versions from the original producer, so the only way you can get them is either on disc from retailers that still sell them, or from Steam, who currently only sells Angry Birds: Space through their platform.

Piracy and its effects (link to article)

I've just finished reading an article about piracy that has opened my eyes a bit more than they already were. I'm not going to bother summarising the points in the article, instead, I'm going to point to it instead.

It's available as the Piracy article on tweakguides.com.

'nuff said.
Oh, and due to the controversial nature of the current feeling about it, I deliberately won't be accepting comments. Sorry, folks.

05 March, 2012

What, more mining?

Minecraft moves up

In my last post, I wrote about a quiet little gem. They've since had a wildly popular convention, made the official release of their popular game, and even managed to update the game further. In the process, they've cracked five million sales, and that's not including the Pocket Minecraft version—that's already recorded more than a million sales in its own right. They've also received awards for being the most popular indie game to date. In fact, it's become so popular that LEGO are going to make a Minecraft set of pieces to go with all their other LEGO boxed sets.

In the process of updating, the Minecraft programmers also teamed up with the most popular provider of server mods (bukkit.org), added several new blocks, and even more cute and not so cute characters. And even more fixes. Oh yes—and recently, Notch gave three million dollars of earned dividends away to his employees, gaining several really grateful responses.

But is the sky really the limit?

No, not yet. But since Minecraft programmers doubled the allowable build height, the ability to build up to level 256 can ensure some pretty tall buildings. After all, how many real buildings can claim to be more than 200m tall? As of today's quick reading of the wikipedia, Dubai has 63, Wuhan has 6, Britian seems to have 4, and in comparison, the United States has more than a hundred. Still, plenty of buildings can be built, and in any shape you could make blocks fit.

Pah! Building is for Pansies! I like my Adventure!

Fine, then I'll send a zombie horde your way. And in hard mode, they'll even kick down doors between them and you—or any other poor soul they happen to want to eat. It rather reminds me of what happens in Terraria under a blood moon. Brainssss, anyone?

The monsters have got a lot better at finding their way to you, making the game that bit harder in survival mode. Now, it's not just a case of building your own impregnable castle, your adventure mode can even include weapon and armour upgrades so you have a little more help on your side. But first you have to go kill a lot of monsters. The more monsters you kill, the better you can make your weapons. In addition, the monsters very occasionally drop other nice little things in addition to the usual bones, rotting meat, string, gunpowder and arrows. Jusssst don't turn your back. You'll never know when the other enemy mobs gain the ability to open doors, smash glass or even smash their way through other blocks.

But I gave up my computer! How can I play Minecraft now?

If you have an Android-powered device, it's likely that Pocket Minecraft will work on it. The Pocket version is still well behind its PC brother, but it is catching up, having recently gained survival mode. The XBox 360 version is expected to come out soon, so all you XBox 360 console owners can look forward to a different way of mining on the controller.

Anyhow, I'm off to go see how long I can survive in a super-flat world with nothing but my wits, a stray village or a lot of dirt blocks stacked up in a tower.