Archives 2012

Let's watch Let's Plays!

Let's Plays are cool. At first, I wasn't really a fan for them because I just couldn't see the appeal - it seemed like one of those situations where it's fun to make the product, but not fun to use it (in this case; watch them). Lately, I've come to my senses and realized just how incredibly good these are for the gaming industry on so many different levels. Let me take you into my mind as I rant on about this and hope to make something coherent for todays blog post!

For those of you who have somehow steered clear of youtube for the past few years, allow me to enlighten you about what an LP actually is; In its basic form, a Let's Play is a video of someone playing a game. It may sound uninteresting to some, and that's because they're actually so much more than this. I'm going to try to document a few cases of what LPs actually are, and hope to make them sound a little more interesting than that bland description!

Let's Plays are... Fun to watch.

Quite simply, they just are. You're watching a funny person or persons play this game that you've likely already played before, and they're having fun and this makes you feel like you're having fun with them. They joke about the game, you laugh. They have a problem, you can actually help them for their next episode. It's like a fun TV show that allows you to talk to the presenters between the episodes; I guess that's because it actually is.

For some games, like Minecraft, you can just picture the LP being a show that just happens to be set in ...

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Funtimes with two!

Ola's here! Woo!

And she's set up her own blog and is updating it very frequently. You should go check it out because I'm a big slacker and don't update this one often enough! :D Clicky here!

In other news we need to go find her a job, so... if you happen to know anyone who is looking for a Polish + English (+ soon Swedish!) speaking Chef + Graphics Designer then please give either of us an email or tweet!

That's all for now. Go read Ola's blog :D

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I can into Sweden!

I came to Sweden three weeks ago tomorrow, from this blog post. June the 29th. Feels like just yesterday. I've put off blogging about this because I just don't know what to say yet. I'll just go at this from whatever pops into my head and hope it forms a coherent blog post.

First up, Sweden is cool. Literally and figuratively. The weather was awesome and sunny when I got here but it's gotten a lot colder and rainier since. That's good, I like rain. Was even thundering a little too - I haven't heard thunder in many many years!

It's going to take me a lot of time to get used to everything here. It's all the little things that are completely different to back in UK that keep throwing me off. Even the light switches are opposite :( It's also kinda weird hearing Swedish everywhere. I feel like I sometimes know what people are talking about but never what they're saying. I'm picking it up slowly, I think.

My new apartment is awesome. It's huge, very roomy, and just all around great. It feels empty though. I'm sure that will change when Ola gets here :) It has pretty cool internet, 16Mbps down when I'm lucky, but it disconnects very frequently (like every 15 mins or so). Very annoying. I have to get a new router because this one isn't wireless, and if it happens with the new one I'll see about yelling at people to fix it. I also has a TV which is cool, but not that many channels and they're all in Swedish. Oh well, something to learn from!

Mojang is fantastic, the office is huge and looks very nice. The ...

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Meltdown

My computer is fairly old. I think I build it at the start of 2009, and it's starting to show its age.

Since the day I built it, it's always been fairly loud but I've never thought anything of it since I'm always wearing a headset when I'm near it. It's also always had a habit of crashing the graphics card for me. Since day 1, if I'm watching a video or playing a game I'll just have the 10 second blackout and flicker with "Your graphics card stopped working, but it's okay again now". Me being me, I've always forgotten about this 10 seconds later - I'm in the middle of [a game|a movie] man!

Recently, things have gotten worse. My computer will just suddenly stop everything it's doing; the monitors get no signal, the drives stop spinning, all input is dismissed and it acts as though it's powered off with the exception of the case fans which are going crazy. I have to hold the power button for 10 seconds to turn it off "properly", then when I turn it on it does the exact same thing immediately. Turn it off again and turn it back on, and it's fine again for 30 minutes.

I've asked lots of my friends for advice and we all came to the conclusion that it's overheating. Seems obvious now, but it's nice to have group support. To verify this, I installed MSI Afterburner and restarted my computer to see what's up. The results were... quite interesting.

As I write this blog post, my GPU cards are at 85°C and 87°C respectively. The only applications I have open are chrome, XChat and MetroTweet ...

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Let's invade Sweden!

If you read my "I'm a Mojangster" blog post, then you'll probably know that me and my fiancee are moving to Sweden. Well we have a progress report, and as people keep yelling at me to blog more, it's time to share that with you!

We've been looking at apartments and Human Entrance has found us a really awesome one that fits our needs perfectly. It's available June 15th, and we're drawing up contracts now. It comes with all utilities in the rent; including internet! And apparently swedish internet is cool, so this is very awesome. It's also 100% furnished, so huzzah :D

The apartment itself is right next to the current office, but about 30 minutes walk away from the new office (by the time I'm moving, they'll already be in the new one. Probably.) Located on the cool island-thing of Södermalm, I can tell it's going to be a cool area to live in!

Living Room 1 Living Room 2

Assuming everything goes well, I'd likely be moving there on the 4th week of June. My fiancee Ola will join me probably during the first week of July. We're very excited, and I definitely can't wait to start this new life! Very scary too. Moving to a whole new country!

I'm going to miss my family back here in Shrewsbury, but I'll just have to come fly here every now and again to say hi. I also recently just found out that there's a surprising number of Shropshire based redditors who have been hiding until now, and one of them suggested an arbitrary "going away" party... but I'm not so sure I'd be brave enough to attend :D People are scary, man!

That's it for ...

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Calls from the future

I'm pretty sure someone is trying to call me. From the future. No, really.

Sometime last year, the phone rang and Ola picked up. It was a guy, sounding distant and echoey. He said something like "HELLOO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? HELLOO?", some static, then a click and a beep. His voice was really distorted. We thought nothing of it, since our number is one digit off a taxi number and thus we often get wrong numbers.

Towards the end of the year, the phone rang and I picked it up - it was a guy, sounding distant, echoey, panicked and distorted. "HELLOO? CAN YOU HEAR ME?! HELLO?!", static, click, beep. I was instantly reminded of when Ola told me about her answering an identical call many months before. I joked about it being a guy from the future, reminded of the south park episodes where Cartman called himself. It was almost exactly like that.

Yesterday, the phone rang, and guess who it was! Future-man. He sounded panicked, distorted, distant and echoey. "HELLOO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? HELLOO?!", static, click, beep. It was 100% identical to when I last took the call, again many months before, except he sounded more rushed this time. Of course, each time it was a little faster than that one sentence; I'd try to talk to him, say hi, I can hear him, etc. But he'd just repeat "CAN YOU HEAR ME?" or "HELLOO?" and then hang up

I'm convinced that it's someone I know from the future, who has to tell me something important that may change the fate of the world. Or it's a guy who frequently gets the wrong number and has a broken phone. But I prefer the first explanation.

If you're reading this in ...

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I'm a Mojangster!

First off: Sorry for this being late, I really don't have as much time to update my blog as I'd like :( Now that that's out of the way...

I work for Mojang now! Hurrah! I guess this technically means I'm now a real living Game Developer and that's pretty cool and stuff. Living the dream and so forth.

I'll be mostly responsible for designing/implementing both the client and server modding API for Minecraft, and that's a pretty big job, but I'm allowed to go tinkering off and working on other Minecrafty stuff in general; I've only been hired for a week, and I've already made a nice little list of bugs that I've fixed!

So this is pretty cool and all, but unfortunately it's not all fun and games (Get it? Haha. Hah. Sorry...) as it's actually a pretty big life changer for both me and Ola; we'll be moving to Sweden within the next 2/3 months, and that's both scary and awesome. Mostly scary. But pretty awesome. And scary. Oh god.

We're looking for a place to live now, and it's not easy. From what we've been told, finding an apartment in a populated area in Sweden is like finding a "you've won a free ipad" advert that won't steal your credit card info. Anyone have any advice or know any way of helping out? I'd appreciate it!

The rest of the Bukkit guys got hired (Grum, EvilSeph, Tahg) but won't be moving just yet. I'll be foreverabone in Sweden! We're set on going to visit the Mojang offices again towards the end of this month, so that'll be fun!

In other ...

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FAQ About Plugin Channels

So far I've seen an amazingly good response to my previous announcement, but I've also seen a lot of people with (reasonable!) questions and some thought of their own. I hope to address those here :)

"I'm A Beginner, What Does All This Actually Do?"

Basically, right now the mod community is fairly fractured - there's a huge divide between client mods and server mods, and getting these mods themselves to talk with eachother isn't so simple. We at Bukkit partnered with Mojang to introduce a new official system that should help alleviate the pressure on this, and make things easier for everyone involved. You can now efficiently talk to a client mod from the server, or vice verca, without having to worry about compatibility issues or conflicts or bandwidth or anything like that. It's all so very easy.

If you want this even simpler and a real world example of it all, think of Bukkit server plugins communicating effectively with MCP client mods. Before, this was a pain. Now, it should be very simple :)

What The System Is

The new system is a tool. It's something to use in the background and just forget about it. It's something for mods to implement silently, and it will immediately grant them 100% protection from now until the future against any conflicts on a network level. You're guaranteed that they will never interfere with the client/server if it's running something else, and that other mods will never interfere with your mod in return. You're safe in knowing that it's efficient, and you'll never waste a single byte sending data to someone who doesn't know what to do with it.

What The System Is Not

It's not a replacement ...

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Minecraft Plugin Channels + Messaging

Some keen eyed developers may have noticed that there's a new packet in Minecraft 1.1, with no purpose or usage anywhere in the codebase. You may be wondering why this was added, and what use it could possibly have. You may also be wondering who cares, and why you have this page open. I'm here to answer all of these questions in a nice little (disclaimer: may not be little) blog post!

Update: See the FAQ on this over here! Now with simple questions like "but what does this actually mean?"

Backstory

We did some thinking a while back, about how the state of client mods and server mods for minecraft isn't really what it could be. There's so many problems with conflicts and one mod causing a bug in another and so forth, that it's really harming the potential of Minecraft modding in general. While we by no means think that we can solve this, we did start hypothesizing ways that could at least improve how mods play together, and try to make things a nicer experience for everyone - the users, the client modders, and the server modders. Most importantly, those who fit in all of the above!

One of the biggest issues with client and server modding is that having both can be hell for your users. If you have a server mod that needs a client mod, if a user without the client mod tries to join then they'll crash with seemingly no cause. Ditto for users with client mods joining a server and crashing themselves, because the server mod isn't compatible with that client mod.

Honestly, this whole thing is a mess. I'm sure most people will agree with me here. There are attempted workarounds, sure, but ...

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