Still Here, 2015

You know how the longer you take to speak to a friend you’ve not been in contact with for a while, the harder it gets? Months or years pass, and then it’s too late. A blog can be a bit like that too. I’ve wanted to post something here many times over the last 18 months, but I’ve not really known how to get things started again. So much has happened, and very little of it terribly pleasant, but I think if I just post pretty much anything here, it’ll make it much easier for me to post again.

So. First of all, I’m still alive. There were a few times in 2014 when I wasn’t sure I’d make it to 2015, but here I am, so that’s good.

As folks noticed in 2013, my videos became further and further spaced apart. My energy levels were dropping, and the pain was getting pretty intense, and then, in late August, the doctors gave me some spectacularly unpleasant news which had the effect of sending me into a rather dark place of despondency. My kidneys weren’t just unwell. They appeared to be dying.

By early 2014, after a biopsy, they turned out to be necrotic. It’s a rare form of kidney necrosis that is poorly understood, and the only treatments are rather experimental and unproven. In the meantime, my kidney cells are dying off, one by one, sending me, alongside the side-effects of the many medications I have to take now, into a world of weird things I never knew my body could do.

I might write more about those experiences at some point. I don’t have a sense of privacy about such things at this point, but it does get pretty gross, and I am conscious that folks come here to hear about gaming or science, rather than to hear me moan about grisly body-fluid-related tales.

At any rate, I don’t feel better than when I stopped blogging. I actually feel rather worse, but you do get used to it after a while, and there is a limit to how long you can sit around struggling with your sense of mortality before it gets a bit boring.

Oh, in other news, I got a cat!! I’m pretty much house-bound at this point, so little Tinkerbell keeps me company. I got her from the RSPCA, and due to her allergies, she has to remain indoors, so we’re perfect for eachother. I’m immunosuppressed, so it’s good she can’t be bringing any exciting new germs into the house. She’s a little bundle of joy who takes very good care of me.

Tinkerbell on desk

There. With this first post of 2015, I hope my own mental log-jam that has been stopping me from getting on with things here has at least been weakened, if not entirely demolished. I’ll try not to wait another 18 months before the next one.

Ark’s Magical Modded Minecraft Misadventure 53 : A Dish Best Served Cold

I have bided my time, lulling them into a false sense of security, but it is now time for the goblins to reap the whirlwind they have sown. This time I bring some friends.

Well, that could have gone better. Also, I kept calling it Tundra for no good reason, when it was clearly a Taiga biome.

In all honesty, snow golems are not terribly effective troops, and I would have been far better off using some of Special Mobs golem options. I did want to take the opportunity to show them in action though, and they’re quite fun. The wolves performed excellently.

Mods Encountered

Goblins 4.2 by Sartharis : Those green menaces have defeated me again! I shall need to re-equip and regroup in order to retrieve my equipment. Fortunately, it’s safe inside a Taigore’s Inventory Saver, so it’ll be there waiting for me.

I managed to get rid of one of the goblin spawners, at least, and did kill an awful lot of the goblin menace. If I understand correctly, goblin spawners only have a finite number of goblins they can create, so I will eventually whittle them down.

Mo Creatures 5.2.3 : Last time I battled the Goblin camp, a polar bear decided to interfere and was partially responsible for my death. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. I much prefer to make exciting new mistakes.

Ark’s Magical Modded Minecraft Misadventure 52 : Random Rummaging

I’ve had a lot of viewers suggest I give Plunder Rummage a try, so I take it for a spin.

It’s a clever, well put-together mod, but I don’t think it suits my playstyle in its current version with default settings.

Mods Encountered

Plunder Rummage by Guff : While the default loot from Plunder Rummage chests is far more generous than fits my playstyle, it’s worth pointing out since recording I discovered that the loot tables are customisable (The folder for loot configuring is in the main .minecraft folder rather than with the rest of the configs.), and I might have a go at finding a balance that suits me better. My personal preference would be to make the maps themselves an extremely rare drop, but that is not possible at this time.

My concern remains that the structures that can spawn when you use a map could end up squashing something you prefer unsquashed. Using maps found near my home might have unintended consequences. If that second chest had come with a hollow tree like the first did, it would have made a heck of a mess. It would need a config setting to turn off structure building in order to make it properly safe to use in inhabited areas.

That said, Plunder Rummage is extremely innovative, and has vast potential. I’ll be keeping a close eye on its development to watch how it progresses.

Ark’s Magical Modded Minecraft Misadventure 51 : Railcraft Watertanks

Just a quick episode in which I fiddle around with setting up a Railcraft watertank, in order to top up my water network.

Mods Encountered

Railcraft 7.3.0.0 by CovertJaguar : I was pleased and surprised that the watertank automatically powered the output pipe. While it doesn’t provide that much water, it should more than compensate for any water my occasional Carpenter use takes out the system.

Ark’s Magical Modded Minecraft Misadventure 50 : Mystcraft Adventures!

Episode 50! Such a milestone episode deserves a true adventure, and so I finish off my Mystcraft infrastructure, and head off into the infinite universe. What mysteries shall I uncover? What precious materials shall I find?

Mods Encountered

Mystcraft 0.10.5 by XCompWiz: Wow, what an adventure. I came close to dying multiple times, but somehow made it through.

This Mystcraft Age has tendrils of Nether Quartz, making it incredibly useful to me. While the land was certainly dangerous, it’s probably safer than the Nether. I also spotted many other surface ores that I shall have to gather up.

For a random age, it seems relatively stable so far. The atmosphere is mildly toxic, hitting me with debuffs, but nothing too serious. The constant lightning is probably also a symptom of instability, though some of it may be the work of some of Juton’s near relatives.

I probably won’t try to make a home in Dimension 2, but it will certainly be worthy of further exploration, and resource gathering expeditions.

Biomes O’ Plenty 0.5.5 : The Dead Forest biome is from BOP. The Forest Hills biome I spawned in is a Vanilla technical biome. Ordinarily it would just be found as a part of a larger forest biome, but in a Mystcraft Age it can be a full biome on its own. I was confusing it with Extra Biomes XL’s Forested Hills, partially because I was thrown by the presence of the Quarried Stone, which looked like a material added to a custom biome. However…

Railcraft 7.3.0.0 by CovertJaguar : Turns out that Quarried Stone I found is from Railcraft. It smelts into Quarried Blocks.

Ark’s Magical Modded Minecraft Misadventure 49 : Thermal Expansion Pulverizers

Coal is a wonderful substance, but there comes a time when we must move on from such primitive fuels. Thermal Expansion has Buildcraft energy powered versions of the furnace and crusher, as well as many others.

I only have the materials to make the pulverizer today, but that’ll halve my coal requirements on its own.

I won’t be giving up coal entirely, as regular furnaces and crushers are perfect for whenever I’m setting up a fresh outpost and need to get things up and running right away. Much as I’ll need to be doing in Episode 50 when I take my first journey to a Mystcraft Age.

Mods Encountered

Thermal Expansion 2.4.6.0 : Thermal Expansion has a whole heap of different machines I’ll put together eventually, but I’m getting distressingly low on resources.

Buildcraft 3.7.1 maintained by CovertJaguar: The Redstone engines and pipes are part of Buildcraft. My base becomes ever more tangled with pipework. There *are* ways I might use to cut down on that (Such as Thermal Expansion’s teleporting tesseracts), but those are rather more advanced techniques.

Mystcraft 0.10.5 by XCompWiz: The Z-fighting on the linkbook stand had been annoying me for a while. I’m glad the lecterns don’t seem to suffer from the same problem.

Ars Magica 5.52.014 by Mithion: Summon Rift is a terribly useful spell. The amount of storage depends upon the power level you cast the spell at. It lets me carry a good amount of occasionally useful gear with me, though it would be a bit awkward if I lost my spellbook until I could make a new one.

EQNext : Do You Hear the Ratonga Squeak?

Ratonga in EQNext