Monday, August 13, 2012

Lessons from Cubeland: Communeguy Weighs In

My Settlement on Graymane's Server. I spread my wings and fly.
I was going through something of a communist phase when I worked for the major contact centre on my resume, probably because I was reminded of 1984 by the whole ordeal, and for that reason, I established my Minecraft Username as Communeguy, back when the game was cheap, and now I'm too cheap to buy a new account to have a different name, so Communeguy is the name I go by, and by and large it suits me well. I have a tendency to build things that are of utility and then offer them to other people on the premise that they were to repair or replenish the things that they used. Perhaps bizarrely, Minecraft's actually gone ahead and taught me a few things.

Chapel Interior from the Buildspace.
The first, of course, is that I'm pretty much Anal Retentive. I spend entirely too much time making things symmetrical and if there's a necessary construct I don't like the look of I find some way to hide it inside something else, which can be a resource intensive project - made worse only by my tendency to occasionally build things just to have the thing, when they serve no real purpose at all, such as the chapel on the right or the bridge above.

A slime farm, done badly. Photo from the Server.
I've also found a tendency to start projects without thinking them through. I get taken with an idea and follow it through to the end, frequently in a less than efficient way. Take the farm on the left for an example. There's a type of monster in the game called a slime, that only spawns below layer 40 on the y-axis, and only in certain spots. So I mapped out one of the spots, hiked out into the desert to find it, and dug this 16x16 meter quarry thirty-some layers down into the ground. What's worse is that it's STILL not working, because of other complications. If I'd taken a moment to do some consideration, I think it would have occurred to me that I could have dug down to the appropriate depth and then opened up the chamber, rather than making the chamber reach all the way up to the surface. And I've done this with a few other things - some of them more important than others.

An automatic wheat farm. Someone else's operating principals,
 improved with my design
 There are, however, some positive lessons applicable to real life in all of these adventuring. The first is to take ownership of the fact that the imperfect really leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. It's actually part of the reason I don't play on the server as often as I otherwise would. I very frequently wind up having to leave a project half-finished for a time, and it bugs the hell out of me every time I walk by. The same is true of the real world, of my work life, my home life, and my other creative and recreational pursuits. I've always been incredibly irritated by what I would define as the "half-assed" solution, which can be seen in my tendency to hyper-organize things. That whole tendency is just as bad, since a restrictive system tends to wind up becoming ignored.

This strange device farms and kills spiders. It's from the server.
The main lesson, though, is to learn to explore and have fun. Seriously. Keeping ones options open is the healthiest thing to do for the mind. I like to know that when I'm not working, there's no housework, and the rain's out, I have something else I can tinker with.

No comments:

Post a Comment