Minecraft and Fort Point
koppie — Thu, 08/18/2011 - 11:02
You may have heard about this awesome computer game called Minecraft. It's actually been out for a while now, but I've held off on blogging about it, for one very good reason. I can explain why this game is awesome, I can link to a review that explains why this game is awesome, but the best writers say "show, don't tell," so I had to wait until I could really show you what makes this game so awesome.
So, what is it? Think Legos, but in a computer game. "But Jordan, don't you have real legos?" Of course I do, and they're fun too, but (a) I don't have unlimited legos, and (b) my wife gets mad when I leave them out. Minecraft is a fully immersive world where you can craft and build things. It's also interactive; the time of day changes, you can have weather, and you can build things with moving parts, like your very own roller coaster. And at night, the monsters come out. No joke; the game has zombies and skeletons and stuff. You defend yourself with armor, swords, and bow and arrows.
But ultimately, a sandbox world is only as fun as your imagination. When I fired up my first game, I found myself on the shore of an island covered in snow. I found a point at the end of a promontory and started building. The first few days were a fevered race against the dark, so I could defend myself when the monsters came out, but the whole time I had a plan. I knew I needed a safe place, a fortress if you will. And if I'm building a fortress, you know there's only one thing I'm building.
That's right, Ft. Point.
For those of you who don't know what Ft. Point is, stop reading now. You're not my friend. For those of you who do know what Ft. Point is, you know it's pretty much my favorite place on the planet. So it makes sense that, given the chance, I would build my own Ft. Point where I could play all the time.
I actually built this thing last year, but haven't talked about it because I was waiting until I had some photos of the real Ft. Point for comparison. We just had an event last weekend (which was awesome), and I took the opportunity to shoot a few basic shots that represent, to me, some of the most important features of the fort. Here we go.
You've already seen the front of the fort:
There's only one way in, through the double doors:
This leads you into the sally port, with arrow slits on either side:
To the left is the guard room. This was the very first part of the fort I built. It has a window and doorway into the courtyard:
From the courtyard, you can see three tiers of casemates and barracks, with a stone spiral staircase leading up to the roof:
Did I mention spiral staircases? Yeah, turns out they're hard to construct. But why let that stop me?
Hard to photograph, too. Climbing up the staircase, we reach the second floor, which contains a row of casemates. When the fort was active, each alcove contained a large costal defense cannon, but now they're empty:
The second floor also contains the officers' barracks, which were made of wood:
Inside each officer's quarters is a bed, furniture, wall hanging, and windows to the outside:
When I quit the game, I come here to "rest." Silly? Perhaps. Anyway, the windows have real glass in them. (In the game, you create glass by melting sand in your forge.)
Continuing on upstairs, we come to the roof. The stone staircase is capped by a wooden structure:
And finally, rising above the fort, one of the oldest lighthouses on the west coast:
Unlike the real fort, my lighthouse still works:
My fort also has something else the real fort doesn't: a working cannon. You heard me right:
Yes, you can build a functioning cannon in this game. It's tricky; you have to obtain gunpowder and fashion it into explosive charges, you need an electrical primer and fuse, and the cannon itself must be made out of durable obsidian, which is only made through volcanic processes, and can only be mined with a pickaxe that's a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Yes, it's really that involved. But the end result is you get to blow holes in mountains:
You'll notice I got the dimensions slightly off; my fort is narrower and smaller than the real one. Also, because I ended up on a frozen world, I can't find clay to make bricks, so my fortress was built out of stone instead. (Although I have to say, the stronger material came in handy when I got attacked. Think: Ft. Sumter.)
Another difference: the real fort was supplied by the United States Army; mine has to be self-sufficient. To that end, I added a wheat field;
an underground greenhouse to grow trees for wood construction;
and a rail car to take me deep under the earth so I can mine for the metals necessary to create all this. (The game is called Minecraft, after all.)
I'm also working on a glass tunnel that goes under the ocean to a nearby island:
The truth is, I rarely have time for a game like this. That's the problem with growing up. But if you do have the time, and you're feeling creative, it's hard to beat Minecraft.