Last week, I spent an enjoyable evening hosted by Vance Stevens on the EVO Minecraft MOOC server. We were joined by other moderators and course participants including Jeff Kuhn, Rose Bard, Dakota Redstone,, , J , David Plume007, and Christophe Technotof.
You can watch the recording in full here (I have cut off the first couple of minutes due to my ‘winky’ audio 😉 )
- We started off exploring caves in near my winter base (beginning here) before engaging in a zombie fight in which I was the victim of a friendly fire incident.
- We later visited a ‘mobfarm‘ – a construction which generates a kills hostile creatures allowing the player to collect their drops.
- We finished off the evening with a look around a village Dakota had found and taken under his protection.
- An interesting discussion between Vance, Dakota Redstone and myself about Minecraft and game-based learning starts here and runs up to the 45 minute mark.
As we played and visited different areas of the world that people had discovered, created or modified, it struck me how differently was had all approached the game. My builds were small – designed for the practical purpose of shelter and little else. I had then used my base as a starting point and safe house for venturing into the natural caves around me. My goal could be described as one of environmental exploration.
The Mob Farm was something completely different (and something I had heard about but never seen before). Here was an extremely complex structure created to generate items for the player. No need to go in search of a fight to find some special items when you can literally have them drop in front of you! Here the goal was more of of environmental manipulation – a use of the resources available to achieve something that I am sure not even the developers had conceived when creating the game.
The village showed yet another approach to interacting with the gameworld. Dakota had created a safe haven for the hapless villagers, building a wall, securing entry and exit points, and providing sufficient light from torches to keep mobs at bay. He had then set up a sugar cane farm in order to craft paper to trade with his hosts.
Thinking about it further, though very different in appearance and approach, the Mob Farm and the Walled Village both had the same aim – to provide the player with easy access to resources that would otherwise be difficult to obtain (or require a lot of grinding to generate).
And my base even, though a simple build by comparison to the other two, was deliberately placed with the goal of having quick and easy access to underground resources – I just did it in a more, shall we say, typical way. The Mob Farm and protected enclave of Hinderval show that even in survival mode, players can be creative!