Come join us in our own Minecraft World! It’s open to anyone who wants join and add on to our community. We have two IP addresses, one for external access and internal. Contact us for both IP addresses, we’d love to have you on our server.
Internal IP: ???.??.???.???
External IP: ???.??.???.???
You’re playing a game.
You wake up on what looks like an island. Nothing is in your pockets, no one is near by. You don’t know who you are but you have an unnatural desire to hit things because it seems like the only thing to do. As you cut and dig you start collecting things: dirt, wood, grass. Suddenly you realize you can turn your materials into tools. Wood turns to planks, planks turn to wooden tools, a pickaxe lets you cut stone which helps you make better tools. Next thing you know you’re hundreds of feet down into the earth collecting iron, gold and the elusive diamond, making whatever combinations you can think up with the materials you find. As you make your way back to the surface, the sun is setting on the horizon. An unnerving groan whispers its way through the brush. You rush to build a barrier, a home, anything to keep you from the noise. Your walls climb high into the air as you stack block after block of dirt and stone. You finish the roof and climb back down to wait. You punch a hole through the wall and look out. An undead zombie creeps through the shadows outside. You must wait for morning to continue your exploration of this strange world.
This is Minecraft. Initially developed by a single indie developer in Europe and now headed by an entire team of skilled artists, Minecraft is the fastest growing and possibly the most addicting game of recent years. It’s difficult to describe the exhilaration one feels when you see a cliff side and think “Damn, you know what that needs? A CASTLE.” and then proceed to dig, collect materials, design, and build said castle over the next week and a half. I like to think of the world of Minecraft as an infinite box of legos and you’re just a little lego man wandering around building things by day and fending off zombies at night.
But the real ingenuity of minecraft doesn’t come from a complex architecture system or an ultra-realistic fps fighting simulator. The beauty of minecraft comes from its simplicity, which allows for virtually unlimited creativity. Based upon a low poly design with simple textures, each “block” in minecraft is equivalent to a square meter in real life. You break these blocks and collect them as inventory items. You can then place these blocks anywhere or combine them with other blocks to make new items. There’s dirt, sand (which can be melted into glass), stone, brick, flowing lava and water (collected using buckets made from iron), redstone ciruit wire, switches, torches, minecarts you can build track for and create elaborate loading stations for, wool, dyes, TNT, and a vast array of other items that it would be pointless to try to list here. Minecraft gives you all the tools and only asks for you to just be creative and have fun.
One of the best features of minecraft is it’s multiplayer capabilities (something I’ve utilized to set up a minecraft server here at UIW, which I will get into later in this post). The simplicity of the game allows for a server to host up to 16 players at once that can all run around, dig, and build all at the same time. In servers like this (or like the one here at UIW), it’s amazing to see all of the different ways people design their ideas into the landscape. The whole experience develops the same way culture develops. One player will see a building technique or design that another player uses and will then incorporate that into their own architecture style, which is reciprocated by a number of other players on the server. The style will then change and build and can be seen in structures around the server.
On our server, this cultural phenomenon is already present and developing as we speak. The world of DTCM (our server name) began with me and my sister starting a local world at home. We found a spot that looked like we could make safe and began a 2 week process of routing out a pit to serve as the basis of our home. From there I expanded up into the air and closed off the roof with glass, then moved to the outside where I built a waterslide that connects to a hill in the distance. I thought it might be cool to have a lighthouse on that hill, so I built one. My sister wanted an underwater apartment in a pond inside our base, so we built it.
Since then we’ve successfully bid for a static IP at UIW to host a minecraft server and have invited people to begin their own exploration of minecraft. So far there are about 5 regular players and 4 that come and go every few weeks. I will go on every now and then to build a new structure (such as a cliffiside fort that is in construction right now) and marvel at the way our world is beginning to expand. If you’ve made it to the end of this post and want to try it out (or even if you think you WONT enjoy it) I invite you to give it a half hour of your time. I’ve seen 5 people already, that thought they would hate the game, become addicted to the simple building style and limitless creativity afforded by Minecraft.
You can play the alpha (old) version for free online at www.minecraft.net/play.jsp
But to join us on our server, you will have to opt into the beta for about $20 (a reduced price while its still being developed).
Updates come out every few weeks where they add new combinations, new animals, new landscape styles or something completely unexpected.
If you like minecraft and decide you would like to join us on our server, stop by Dr. Lopez’s office and we’ll set you up with the server IP.