One Metre Cubed Blocks

Lockdown has led me to have the chance to learn how to play Minecraft. I know it’s not that hard, but I’ve found it interesting and fun. I’ve also had the chance to explore parts of the world that I can’t do in real life. I had started thinking that I would write today about systemic racism and privilege in our modern society but I’m not going to, yet. I think there’s been enough said over the last while and if you read these communications you will see what side I’m on. What I will say is that if you deny systemic racism then you either a purposely not reading or learning anything about our modern society or you are racist. I think my favourite thing I’ve seen written recently was – We hate Trump because he is racist, you hate Obama because you are racist – and don’t you go thinking this is just an American problem, it is rife in this little island over here too.

Minecraft World
Minecraft World

This is how much of the current world I have explored. It is approximately 5km across its furthest points. The base is somewhere in the middle of all that! This is the second Minecraft world I have generated, the first had me on an island in an ocean and I spent quite a while on that world but I have to say that being spawned in the woods and on a land of large area is much easier. It’s much easier to find resources. I find that I tend to separate my playing sessions into three main types.

  • Building Structures
  • Off Adventuring
  • Mining for Materials

The loop top right is one that I spent a few “days” exploring. When exploring I always have a bed, food and compass in my inventory. The bed is to be able to skip the night so that I encounter as few monsters as possible. Food is a requirement and then the compass I use to find my way back to the world spawn point. My main base is close to the world spawn point and I think that’s important along with a compass. I haven’t yet figured out how to use the Minecraft maps properly I need to do some reading on them. Each session I play is between one and two hours. I find the mining good fun and I think I try to see too much logic in the placement of blocks but also need to understand that while it’s random it is also procedurally generated. Building structure is excellent and my plans are slowly getting larger. I haven’t really figured out the aesthetics of it all yet and I need to practise my use of materials cleverly to look good but I’m getting the hang of it slowly.

My Buildings - Minecraft
My Buildings – Minecraft

My main structures are marked with red blotches in the above picture. Starting far left they are:

  • Beach House
  • Beach Station
  • Meadow Station
  • Main Base
  • First Harbour
  • Secret Mountain Base

I found the beach while I was off on a wander and I decided eventually to build a pathway from the main base to it as easy access to the sea is helpful in this game. Once I had a pathway in place with lit towers marking the route I then decided that the “day” it takes to walk was rather annoying and I chose to make a railway from the main base to my beach house. I knew I would have to gather a lot of resources and that I did. I needed plenty of railway and powered rails along with lots of blocks to make the whole line one straight section of railway. I chose to do this as it’s easier to head in a single direction through mountains and over rivers than winding your way, it also requires less material. The resulting railing is just under 1,6 kilometres long.

It's a long way to the beach
It’s a long way to the beach

To travel this far in the minecart takes about three real minutes. From main base to the beach house is about five real minutes of travel. At least it gives you time to sort out the inventory and make sure everything is placed neatly. Once the main railway was in place I built stations at each end and I don’t have any screen shots of those at the moment. I then wanted to build two decent looking bridges over two rivers and a future job is to build a nice viaduct where the railway passes over the swamp biome.

My Suspension Railway Bridge
My Suspension Railway Bridge
My Standard Railway Bridge
My Standard Railway Bridge

Ill try and get some screen shots of my stations and secret mountain base and put them on here sometime soon. I wanted my stations to be fun and represent the areas they headed to. So the station near the main base is fun colours and looks like a sweet while the station near the beach is green and looks like the forests the line heads towards. I have really done any Redstone constructions yet apart from the railway. I think I will need to start these soon as I would like to have a switch which turns railway points so you can pick your destination in the station and the correct railway line is chosen automatically. While I don’t know if this can be done I am sure I could find a guide if I wanted but I will learn bit by bit.

Because I’m classically on the left of politics I’m going to mention some problems with this game. Is this important? It’s just a game you say. Well, yes this is important because all of this adds to culture and what people think is acceptable. What do the Marvel films teach us? That the world will be saved by gods and masked superheroes with immense damage and that all arguments can be solved through violence. This is partly why I don’t really enjoy these movies, that and they aren’t that good. So, Minecraft. Let’s look at the overall themes. I mine coal to power my cooking and smelting processes. I harvest trees for the wood but at least I can regrow the trees or even plant more than I have destroyed. Animals roam the land and I can use them for my own purposes. I get points for killing them and also for breeding them. If I’m trapped in a village overnight I can kick a villager out of their bed and sleep in it. I can destroy the villagers’ homes with no repercussions, I can steal their food and their possessions with no repercussions. I can kill them with no repercussions. I can take their lands and use their goods for my own purposes.

This game teaches you that there are no repercussions to stealing land, taking food, killing natives, destroying the planet, building whatever you want. I know this game is played a lot by younger children who love it. They love the creativity of it. They love challenging each other and it is a massive online arena with YouTubers careers made on explaining it to the world. But, when you break it down, what does it teach you? If there’s a better metaphor for historical and current European descent white supremacy then I’m not sure I know what it is. Where was this game created? Stockholm. Who owns it now? Microsoft. This world is biased and people claim they can’t see how! There, I managed to end this communication on a depressing note.

45 and Birthday

My first day of self isolation was one month ago. On the 17th March. The night before the government had announced that people whose household had someone with CV-19 symptoms had to self-isolate for two weeks. So, given my contact with my family I had to self-isolate. I was actually kinda happy to do this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, my mental health was starting to suffer with the inaction of our government over the previous three weeks – it was starting to feel as though senior members of the government didn’t understand how much people moved around and things like six degrees of separation along with incubation periods. Secondly, I can’t remember my second reason for happily being at home, probably because it would get me out of the hotbed of transmission which is a school where 1400 people gather and mix every day. Oh well. Time at home was probably needed to be honest.

As any fule know Gran Turismo gives you a bonus car on your birthday. I’ve a communication from 2014 for you. This year I waited with anticipation as I opened the game [after I had done my proper job work thing you understand]. I was happy! The game gave me a McLaren F1!

Pretty Cool Birthday Car
Pretty Cool Birthday Car

Not only that but the game also gave me a fireworks show to impress me a little more!

McLaren F1 for my b/d
McLaren F1 for my b/d

Around the same time I also passed into Level 45 territory. This is quite an achievement I think. I remember tweeting something about getting to level 40 before and then my save-game got corrupted and I lost all my cars. I had to start again. I now regularly backup my save-game files to a USB stick after checking how many cars are in my garage. It doesn’t seem like much I guess but I’ve got quite a time investment in this game and I would be sad if I lost everything again. I’d just start again but some of the challenges are quite hard work.

I made level 45!
I made level 45!

I also have a screen shot of my current game progress to share with you. This gives a rundown of all my statistics. Let’s give you the rundown:

Current GT Status
Current GT Status

Some things I am proud of [I think]:

  • 18,600 miles driven!
  • Campaign 100%
  • Level 45
  • Days logged on 353

This is not to do with President of the USA number 45 because he’s a lying bullying racist cunt.

It’s Still A Win

Here’s a win. Me racing my Porsche around Brands Hatch. Started in 5th and ended in first. I was pretty happy. This also means I don’t have the child rapist cabal that is the catholic church as my last communication.

Another Go

I don’t think this will last long. I’m having another go with the PSVR. It’s a virtual reality set for the Playstation. The last time I used one I felt sick almost immediately and got cold sweats. I expect the same to happen again, but this time I have a plan. I am going to keep working at it and try and overcome the sickness.

The other night I set it up and then tried a few of the simpler, slower, non-moving experiences and I coped quite well with that. As I felt good I went on to have a go at driving in Gran Turismo. I did a couple of laps of an oval in a slow car and felt OK. I then managed a few more laps in the same car around Brands Hatch GP circuit. By that point I was tired and starting to get very slight cold sweats. I stopped.

I reckon, that with time and sensible use I might be able to play it enough to be happy with the financial costs. It will take time.

The principle reason that made me get a PSVR again is that I should be able to hook it into the PC and get the flight sim working in VR. This will be an amazing improvement to the sim. This should be reasonably simple so I am going to wait for a time when I have a whole day uninterrupted to do this. I find that setting things up on the PC either take twenty minutes or four hours. There isn’t really an in-between.

Super Licence S-3

I’ve a feeling these communications will not prove interesting to most of my readership, but then again, I’m not sure what would interest my readers and this website isn’t for them anyway.

This is my progress through the Gran Turismo Super Licence S-3. The test is a lap of the Silverstone Stowe circuit in  KTM X-Bow R. This is a picture of the track with the double blue lines showing where the start and finish line is. The chicanes circled in blue aren’t part of the GT6 circuit.

StoweThe challenge times were:

  • 1:04:00  Bronze
  • 58:50 Silver
  • 57:03 Gold

The car is interesting. Here’s a shot as I headed down the long straight.

KTM X-BOW, Silverstone, Stowe Circuit
KTM X-BOW, Silverstone, Stowe Circuit

As this is a licence test adjustments can only be made to the traction control and anti lock brakes settings. My session went as follows:

Lap 1 – Off, first corner, oversteer.
Lap 2 – Collision corner 2, hit cones placed on inside to stop cutting the corners.
Lap 3 – Off last corner. No time set so far.
Lap 4 – Cut corner 1. Restart.
Lap 5 – Cut corner 2.
Lap 6 – 58:913 Bronze.
Lap 7 – 58:072 Silver.
Lap 8 – Off, last but 1 corner.
Lap 9 – Off at the end of the straight, too fast into the corner.
Insert here about 5 offs which I neglected to record.
Lap 15 – 58:137 Silver.
Lap 16 – 57:370. Close to Gold, 0.07 off.
Lap 17 – Off corner 4.
Lap 18 – Off corner 1.
Lap 19 – Off about half way around.
Lap 20 – 57:437.
Lap 21 – 57:121 Gold.

Job done. Here’s an arty shot:

KTM X-BOW, Silverstone, Stowe Circuit
KTM X-BOW, Silverstone, Stowe Circuit



Think I’d like to break into the top 10000. Doing ok at the moment on Angry Birds. Have spent far too much time playing it though.