Saturday, October 26, 2013

Minecraft 1.7 Mods? Not Until December

Minecraft 1.7.2 is out, and people are wondering when they'll see their favorite mods update. They're not going to like the answer.

LexManos (the leader of the Forge team) made an important post on the Forge Forums yesterday. The hows and whys can be found in the full post, but the following excerpt boils down the end result.

"As it sits however, 1.7 will be a rather large update for quite a lot of mods. As I said before, Minecraft has changed a lot. Which means Mods themselves will take a while to update. We are trying to get Forge out as soon as we can for mods to start, but don't expect any major mods to be updated until possibly December."

December, well that's fan-freaking-tastic. I guess the silver lining here is that mod authors now have plenty of time to polish (or update to) 1.6.4 without having to rush or skip straight into 1.7. Also, players will have ample opportunity to try out the "new" additions to Minecraft (which some are now calling "the update that destroyed the world").

So, I think I can sum things up. You can't use mods in 1.7, but that's ok because 1.7 adds the mods for you. Yup, that's just about right.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Terraria, M&M:DoC and Minecraft 1.7.2

I know it's been a while since my last post. I've been trying yet more games (oddly none of them are actually MMOs), and I'll go over them a little bit here.

First off, I picked up Terraria about a week ago for next to nothing during a Steam Midweek Madness sale. I heard about the title a couple of years ago, but I was busy raiding in DCUO at the time and completely forgotten about it since. Happening onto the sale seemed like the perfect time to finally give it a go.

Image from Nerd Age
I'm sure you've heard all the cries of Minecraft "clone" or "ripoff" by now, so let me address that first. Yes, it's blocky, and you spend a good deal of time mining materials from biomes, and there's even a rudimentary wiring/power system, but that's about where the similarity ends. To claim it's a Minecraft ripoff for these properties would be like saying SWTOR is an Everquest ripoff because they both have classes, races, and experience levels.

While Terraria has the sandbox, block-building thing going on, there's another side to it altogether which is about 2D platforming, game-changing powerups, and epic boss battles. It ends up feeling like a "Minecraft meets Metroid" hybrid, and while that sounds odd, it works very well. I'll likely be talking about this title at some length soon.

After trying SolForge and eagerly awaiting to play Hearthstone, I figured it would be a good time to look at Might & Magic: Duel of Champions as well. Let me start by saying that now is a good time for fans of online/digital card games. I've been playing those since they began (anyone remember Chron X?), and things have certainly changed a lot over the years. There's a pretty vast selection of games to choose from now, and they're available to just about everyone because of the the low system requirements needed. Some are available as apps, and there's even a number of browser-based titles now, so you can play virtually anywhere.

As for Duel of Champions itself, it has a very tactical feel. Sure, some of the common CCG abilities are present, but the layout of the game really makes it feel like a battlefield. You have a front and back line to deploy your creatures (shooters in the back, melee to the front), and extra spaces to play spells affecting certain areas of the field. You can choose to attack with each creature or move it to an adjacent space, which sometimes may be more advantageous or safer depending on the situation.

The game does use a resource system (you typically gain 1 more each turn to play your cards), but it's a bit more complicated than say Hearthstone's due to your hero card and the Might/Magic/Destiny levels. Each turn, you can choose to increase one of those levels (or use a different hero ability). You'll want to increase those levels some as you play, because cards have level requirements in addition to the resource cost.

As if that wasn't enough to remember, all players also have access to the event cards at the bottom of the field, which is reminiscent of the Planechase addition to Magic: the Gathering. This gives you yet more options and ways to use your resources.

There's a lot to understand in this game, and it's about on par with Magic in terms of complexity. Thankfully, the game has a training/tutorial system built into its campaign mode so you can learn these details as you go. Still, I've had a few turns where the timer countdown ran pretty low (against living opponents) due to all the options available. It definitely forces you to manage both your time and resources, which is a good thing.

Finally, it's that time again... Minecraft released version 1.7.2 today. It's packed with new commands, custom settings, clickable chat functions and lots of QoL tweaks. Content-wise, it's doubling the number of biomes (and changing biome placement code), expanding the fishing system, allowing for larger Nether portals, tiled wall maps, and adding colored glass, new wood/sand/dirt variants, and lots of flowers.

I like all the backend improvements without question, and they're preparing the game for the upcoming Plugin API (which is a step in the right direction). In terms of content, there's not much here that wasn't already available via mods. All this does is force what was once optional (modded) content into vanilla play, while spitting on the mod authors that introduced the content in the first place. To my knowledge, only Dr. Zhark has been credited as modded content officially made its way into the game, and that's kinda lame. Even then, he had to come up with a workaround for his horse breeding system to include vanilla horses (which causes confusion to players even now).

We don't need games to add things already available via mods that were already working just fine. We don't need mod authors to actually "lose" by contributing, only to have their work become obsolete and uncredited. It's unoriginal, unnecessary, and inconsiderate - please stop. Why not work on adding truly new content, or perhaps that Mod API everyone is so desperately waiting for?

Friday, October 11, 2013

MultiMC5 and Fixing Forge 1.5.2

I haven't loaded up modded Minecraft in a while, and was unpleasantly surprised to find that I could no longer get Forge to work for 1.5.2. Whether using the old vanilla launcher or running MultiMC, I kept getting errors about not being able to download needed files.

This was pretty frustrating because the game could always download them before. Oddly enough, the files would need re-downloaded each time I launched the game, which never made sense to me, but whatever. The problem of course comes when the server hosting those files either removes or changes them... which is what happened.

After some searching I found a post on the Minecraft forums with a simple explanation and permanent fix, which I will now be sharing here.

User funjust0 writes:
I've found the solution:

the launcher is looking for scala-library.jar and bcprov-jdk15on-148.jar.
The problem is that the owner(s) of the site have changed this files to stash files
so now they are called scala-library.jar.stash and bcprov-jdk15on-148.jar.stash.

So you'll have to download them here:
(same sites as before, but now with .stash)

put this files into your lib folder and change their names to what you need (remove the .stash at the end)
You will get a message that the extension will change, but you can ignore that.

If you now start the launcher again, It will already find the files and it wont try to download it anymore Posted Image

So you're ready to play (this worked for me anyway) 
Not only will this get your game to work, it will speed load times slightly by not having to download the files each time you launch!

In other news, MultiMC5 is in an open beta/testing stage and so far seems to be doing well. MMC5 works for Minecraft 1.6.4 and lower (though you may have to use the fix above for 1.5.2 and older instances). For all the features added to the vanilla launcher, it's still primitive compared to even the beta version of MultiMC.

If you want to give MultiMC5 a try, here's a direct download link. If you have any questions/suggestions/praise/etc. be sure to post it on their forum thread!

Friday, October 4, 2013

WynnCraft and SolForge

I've been looking around a bit to see what games are available, because let's face it, I'm not just an MMOaholic, I'm a gameaholic. While watching some youtube, I discovered a free to play online card game in open beta called SolForge.
The game was initially funded by Kickstarter, as a collaboration between Stone Blade Entertainment (makers of Ascension) and Richard Garfield (originator of Magic: the Gathering). You get a team like that to work on something, and people are going to want to see the result!

I've been playing around with SolForge a little bit each day for about a week now (there's daily rewards), and it's worth taking a look at. The gameplay differs from traditional CCGs a bit by taking advantage of the computer environment (as opposed to physical cards) - I'll explain.

At the beginning of each game, spells and creatures in your deck all start out as rank I. As you play them, the next rank of the card gets shuffled into your deck. Currently, cards can get up to rank III (and I'd doubt you'll see more ranks right away). This allows for greater card complexity, as the difference in power between rank I and rank III varies a lot between cards. A great example of this is Chrogias, who starts as a measly 1/1 at rank I (probably one of the worst rank I cards ever), but turns into a mighty 40/40 with extra abilities at rank III. Conversely, other cards are strong in the early game, but not as super-powered at rank III.

Another big feature of SolForge is the absence of a resource system. MtG players are all too familiar with having to include the right amounts of mana-generating cards in their deck to play anything, and many CCGs feature a similar mechanic (including Hearthstone, which is also currently in beta). In SolForge, you normally get to play 2 cards per turn. While it feels limiting at first, you realize it's the tradeoff for not being "mana screwed" (though mulligan-type hands ARE still possible). I'm sure the 2-card limit also helps to keep crazy infinite combos from popping up as well.

I'd like to go into more detail on SolForge, but I'm already long into the post and have something else to talk about, so perhaps I'll have more on this game at a later time.

I've been keeping an eye on Minecraft as well, and with the current set of update woes, it's hard to get too excited over mods. It seems all your favorites are only working in certain versions, and you have to make decisions on what to keep and what to remove.

That's where something like WynnCraft comes along and changes it up. WynnCraft is an MMORPG-styled world built in Minecraft, and you need no additional mods to play (not even Forge)! You choose a unique character class with its own set of special abilities and equipment, then go adventuring about the land. You can complete quests, find random loot chests, and brave carefully-made dungeons.

Unlike normal Minecraft, you don't spend time doing a lot of mining or crafting as you can't break blocks. Think of it as an adventure map on steroids, with a big ol' realm to discover full of monsters, towns, quests, ruins, and of course epic loot.

WynnCraft has a number of nice server features like friend lists and such, but it also includes a party system. You can create a group and invite people to join you - which gives increased XP gain among other incentives.

I've only dabbled in this for a few hours earlier, but had a good deal of fun. I met some people in the game, went out adventuring, and had a blast. We started out by dying a few times to mobs way too tough for us (in all fairness they were guarding a chest), then leveled by killing easier stuff. Soon we were exploring the map and going on quests.

I should also add that while not needed, you can utilize some clientside mods as well. Here's a direct quote from Wynncraft's twitter:
So, if you're tired of having to put together a working mod list or just want to try something different, check out WynnCraft. All you need is a legitimate, updated copy of Minecraft (currently 1.6.4).