Minecraft Highlights - Pistons, Explosives, and The Hunger Games
Minecraft is a phenomenally successful indie game developed by Mojang for a variety of platforms. The title is basically the ultimate sandbox game, having a huge variety of block types available for collection, gameplay variants to allow for survival and adventure aspects, and the potential in-game creativity allows for any architect or general artist to create interactive mechanisms along with various other things. Its online multiplayer features also allow for a great deal of player interactivity, and as many people started to explore the limits of the virtual world, a number of artificial competitive modes were created for friends to play with.
One of the most addicting modes to play is a specific type of player versus player mode. The idea is simple but leads to endless possibilities for strategy: Players are divided across a small map on formed landscapes by walls of sand for about 15-20 minutes, and after the timer runs out, the barriers go down and the last man standing alive wins. The flexibility of planning comes into play during this time, as players need to find a balance between creating shelter, looking for hidden chests that contain equipment, or even constructing elaborate traps if they would like to. It's their own time to manage and there's no single correct way to play the game.
Several other ScrewAttack community members have been recently trying to push for a weekly event of this, where each week we would play at least a few competitive games. Maps are designed for either free for all or teams of two depending on how many players come to participate. If you would like to get involved with this, you can talk to g1 DrCoolGuy who has generously been managing the server itself, g1 2200 who is a moderator for said server, or anybody else interested in playing. Twitter and Steam are good ways to communicate.
I feel showing some screenshots of the game would help better explain why player versus player is a fun mode to participate in, so here is the first game I played which was a four person free for all. By the way, Minecraft has a built in screenshot feature (simply tap F2 while playing), so you should feel free to make your own mini-blog posts showing your perspective of the action! Anyway, this first match involved a basic forest biome with a barrier counter of 15 minutes. Some people dug underground in caves and explored dungeons to get equipment, but I had a different idea that I improvised... which unfortunately failed pretty badly on my end.
In the beginning I started making a dirt house and some wooden materials; I didn't have a plan yet for what I was going to do but because of the stressful timer, I wanted to think and be productive at the same time. So I eventually got some tools and cobblestone, and then I found a chest with pistons and redstone about halfway through the countdown. While the other players were trying to explore caves and create strong equipment, I wanted to make a trap that would push someone off the map into the endless void of doom. To do this, I had the theoretical idea to use sticky pistons and hide them with dirt blocks.
There were a few design problems with this: My dirt house made it obvious where the pistons were, there was not enough remaining time left to fully cover up the trap, and g1 2200 decided to punch me off the map since I neglected to make my improvised house out of a more durable material... whoops. But you can see the incomplete trap above which included a switch connected to the sticky pistons via redstone.
The second game was on a similarly sized map but with a few differences. We had eight people now, so we assigned ourselves into teams of two. Additionally, this new map had fencing on the edges so the piston strategy wasn't going to be a working option this time. g1 Zimphf and I were working partners, and we had the idea halfway through the match to create an explosive trap using TNT blocks he found. During the about 10 remaining minutes, we tried to hide an explosive trap in a way that would look natural above ground.
Here was the plan: There was a farm in our area, so we decided to hide a large explosive trap underneath it with me leading a path of redstone hidden underground. I hooked up the fuse and waited to hit the switch, and g1 Zimphf watched in the trees to alert me when somebody was over the general area. Unfortunately, there was apparently an update to Minecraft at some point making button switches not work while crouched, so I ended up hitting the switch a few seconds late in confusion. But we did manage to make a cool explosion, and a picture of that can be seen above! He also ended up getting second place overall, so congratulations to him!
This is pretty freaking awesome. There was a game map that basically mimicked the fighting environment of The Hunger Games, a popular fictional novel that was later adapted into an also popular film. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, the idea is that an oppressive futuristic government forces a varied number of children each year to fight to the death. These cruel events are broadcast on television, and any supplies that are provided are usually placed in hostile areas or provided by sympathizing sponsors. Everything else used for survival or future attacks has to be acquired naturally; food for example becomes an issue over time.
The rules are pretty clear: Players start in a center arena filled with chests containing various survival materials, and everybody is immune from attacks for the first 45 seconds. You are also not allowed to take anything from the natural landscape apart from leaves and mushrooms; any items that you decide to use must be found in hidden chests which may or may not be surrounded by deadly traps like an arrow dispenser or lava. Also, after the second day, an administrator may start spawning monsters and certain natural disasters on players at random, so spending too much time avoiding combat is another factor to consider.
In summary, this game type takes the brilliant structure of the popular book series and turns it into a form equivalent for Minecraft. Some screenshots can be seen above if you are interested. The first round ended pretty badly for me: I wanted to imitate the film's main heroine and immediately run away from the combat center, something which proved bad as I had zero equipment once someone else found me. The second round ended better for me: I managed to find a number of chests containing food to keep me alive, although once there were only two people left, a spawned army of creepers led to my demise by knocking me into some lava.
If you join us in future player versus player events, you should make sure to take a few screenshots while you are playing. My blog post was just a fun set of highlights, but keep in mind that the pictures were only from my perspective. It would be ideal to have multiple blog posts so that people can see the matches from multiple points of view, so feel free to make your own if you would like to! And if you would like to join a future Minecraft PVP (Player Versus Player) event, feel free to contact the people I mentioned earlier in this blog post or organize something via the forums, Twitter, or even Steam. Thanks again for reading my perspective!