Minecraft and Villager Farming

I think I am the only person in the EG family who does not play Minecraft.

*Quick headcount… not counting Zaltu, since she is only three years old and still mastering Diego’s Dinosaur Adventure on the Wii*

Yep. I’m the only one.

So when I walk into the bedroom and hear EG Dad cheering because his villagers are breeding all on their own… well, of course, I am going to be concerned. Curious, but definitely concerned.

Minecraft at the Opera House 5 - credit Michael Yore

Image provided by Sydney Opera House – credit Michael Yore

It all started when I saw a villager trapped in a room… a digital room within the game of Minecraft, not a real villager in a real room within the EG Lair.

 

For those new to Minecraft, it is a computer game available online through servers or locally on your own computer. It is a game based on your ability to ‘dig’ (mine) and ‘build’ (craft). There are lots of elements to it, regarding challenges to complete, worlds to create, and strategies to apply. For all of these things, you need to find resources to create various items. And here is where villagers come in.

Villagers are useful because you can trade with them. Different types of villagers trade different kinds of stuff. For example, a cleric will sell you an emerald for an amount of rotten flesh. If you do that trade a few times, it unlocks another “level” of trades. But you can only do a limited number of emerald-for-rotting-flesh trades before you are locked out of that particular benefit.  This means each villager has hidden benefits but also limited usefulness.

The more specific the trading, the harder it becomes to find these specific villagers and thus creating the pathways of trade.

EG Dad had intentionally kidnapped a villager. He had found a village a fair way off and was tired of the travel to and from the village for trade.

To the Googles! EG Dad then learnt of a few ways you can “farm villagers”.  Essentially, he pushed a villager into a boat and then brought them across the ocean to his base. There he kept his villager safe from monsters and well-fed on potatoes. How magnanimous of him.

I’ll be honest. I felt a little uncomfortable about the idea of EG Dad holding a villager captive to help increase his trade record.

It’s not a unique idea but it definitely is new for our family.

The concept is that you create a space where the villagers are contained, so they don’t go wandering off and are accidentally attacked by monsters. A place where you can bring them together so they can breed. Give them enough food so they are content and therefore breed. And then they produce baby villagers and you create a beautiful cycle of trade.

In a simple process, you give them food. In the complex one, they will start to farm their own food.

The second night, I walked into the bedroom and see EG Dad has captured a few more villagers. Because his base was in a roofed forest biome, it means that it was difficult to set-up. Instead of flat terrain, EG Dad needed to work with sloping hills. That’s the thing about “villager farming”—you need resources to build this from the beginning. It is not something you can simply set-up overnight, particularly in survivor mode. As your farm grows, you are going to need space to separate them out a bit and allow room to trade.

Working with his hilly environment, EG Dad created a slightly more complicated design to prevent them from escaping—for their own good, of course. “To keep them safe from monsters”, he assured me.

He had set up a flow of water against villagers, preventing them from moving up the room to the door and their unattainable freedom.

Again, I was seeing a problem but finding it difficult to express my concern at his slavery villager farming.

It all came to a head on the third night when I heard cheering from the bedroom. His villagers had started to breed, all on their own.

I will not go into the complicated details of the whole program because even though it is just a computer game, I have watched Tron and Tron: Legacy too many times to feel comfortable about the treatment of characters ‘in the computer’.

Which EG Dad finds hilarious.

The thing is: This set-up works. And introducing me to the mathematical concepts within the World of Minecraft, I can see how it works. I’m not too sure how I feel about that, but I appreciate the work and strategy behind it.

If like me, you have no idea what in Hel is going on with Minecraft, then you may benefit from the Minecraft Festival being held in Sydney today and tomorrow (2 and 3 July 2017).

 

Minecraft at the Opera House 1 - credit Michael Yore

Image provide by Sydney Opera House – credit Michael Yore

 

The Sydney Opera House is hosting Australia’s first Minecraft competition and festival in the Concert Hall on 2 and 3 July. The Opera House’s grand Concert Hall and Northern Foyers have been transformed into a Minecraft extravaganza spanning three sessions over two days. If you have been lucky enough to score a ticket, you can come and go between the main competition on stage and the activities in the foyer. If not, you can still buy tickets for Monday, and maybe even catch a glimpse of yours truly.

Alongside the competitions, there are a few helpful interactive sessions for beginners like myself. You can join me with Jens Bergensten (Lead Creative Designer of Minecraft) and Lydia Winters (Brand Director of Mojang), as I hopefully pick up enough tips and tricks to start playing with the spawnlings.

I’m not even attempting to meet EG Dad on his level just yet.

 

Minecraft at the Opera House 4 - credit Michael Yore

Image provided by Sydney Opera House – credit Michael Yore

 

Stay tuned for my post-event review on GeekMom, and follow me on social media – #SOHMinecraft

 

 

 

Astrofest 2017


Well, this is highly unusual. We have an awesome astrophysics event booked for Sydney this weekend, and an AMAZING weather forecast!! 

Of course, I’ve probably jinxed us all now. But let’s note it for prosperity or historic reference or something: on this day, we all held great hope for Sydney Astrofest 2017.

If you’re looking for stars this weekend, why not enjoy it with some truly evil genius minds in the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO). They’re hosting Sydney Astrofest 2017 at the University of Sydney this Saturday, 1 July 2017.

It’s free. It’s family friendly. It’s educational. And it’s outside (dress warmly – it’s a max of 14C predicted for the day). 

There’s going to be:

  • Night-sky scope viewing
  • Astro talks
  • Planetarium shows
  • Interactive activities and demonstrations

If you have any spawnlings with a burning desire for everything extra-terrestrial, this is worth checking out. And if you’re not based in Sydney, then I’ll try to share some live coverage on the night – just to rub it in.


Check out the website for more details. 

Venue: Charles Perkins Centre and the Veterinary Conference Centre, The University of Sydney.

Leave any cars with reflective strips at home. Far away from the event. Far FAR away.

Date: Saturday, 1 July 2017

Time: 4pm to 9pm
See you there!!
PS> not a sponsored post. Just sharing the spacey love 😜

Kings’ Kids Corps

kings-kids-corps

Summer school holidays are in full swing, and the spawnlings are not yet restless… but only a fool would allow them to reach that point.

Kings Comics are to the rescue! They are putting on a special kids day for all your little heroes and villains.

So what’s on offer?

  • Cosplay Competition
  • 10% off All-Ages comics (DC Superhero Girls is a fave in our Lair)
  • Games and Activities
  • Kids workshop with Louie Joyce
  • Face-painting (I want a unicorn)
  • Lucky dip bags
kings-facepainting

Used with permission / Kings Comics

The staff at Kings Comics have really been building its community spirit over the past year. Free Comic Book Day was huge back in May, with special guests Nicola Scott, Dean Rankine, Tristan Jones, and Mark Sexton. That particular celebration was the most family friendly (and the most fun) in all of Sydney—dare I say, the best of ALL FCBD events.

Yes, I will dare to say it!

fcbd-kings-guests

Used with permission / Kings Comics

 

The team at Kings Comics always make people welcome in their store. In 2016, Kings also kicked off the women’s only comic-book club Queens of Kings with monthly meets and special guests. They also had their first Single Issues Night earlier this month; a social night of merriment with fellow comic-fans and plenty of single issues to flick through (single issues of comics, not single people with issues… though, I see your point…)

But forget about the ladies, and who cares about drinking and reading comics!! The next big thing is the Kids Corps! Now is the time for all the spawnlings to come and have some fun!

For more info, check out the King Comics Facebook page. Evil Genius Inc will be there (minus EG Dad). Cosplay and all. You couldn’t keep us from the party!

 

When:                 

Tuesday 10 January 2016  –  11am to 4pm

Where:                

Kings Comics

310 Pitt Street, Sydney

 

kings-fcbd-balloons

 

Microsoft Xbox Fanfest: Sydney 2016

The next big event on my social calendar work-duty list is the EB Games Expo, starting next week on Friday 30 September. I’m heading in for the day, under the codename “Official GeekMom Writer”, which should improve my chances of scoring some playtime with ‘yet-to-be-released’ computer games. My preview expectations is up on GeekDad/GeekMom.

In the meantime, Microsoft is doing their own special lead-up to the Expo with Xbox Fanfest: Sydney 2016.

xbox-fanfest

The Good News: Fanfest is totally free. I kid you not. This is a free event and it comes with some pretty cool stuff. More on that in a minute.

The Bad News: Tickets are limited to the first 250 people who turn up at the Microsoft Store in Pitt Street Mall at 10.30am Tuesday 27 September. Tickets will be first-come-first-serve, one per person, adult only (no kids AT ALL), and must be there in person ready to go for the next three (3) days.

If you do happen to satisfy all the criteria (including the insanity of lining up early enough to gain the ticket), then you have this to look forward to:

  • A special Forza Horizon 3 launch event at Sydney Dragway (Tuesday afternoon – transport provided);
  • A secret Wednesday activity for Gears of War 4 (late Wednesday afternoon);
  • Exclusive early access to the Xbox booth at EB Games Expo (Thursday night);
  • Fan swag, Xbox fan shirt, and other loot;
  • Meet and greet with some top-notch developers.

Let me know if you score a ticket, Willy Wonka style. If not, don’t stress. There is still EB Games Expo starting on Friday 30 September.

I’ll see you there.

 

Art of The Brick: DC

There are only a handful of themes which truly stand the test of time. The kind of things shared between generations; dancing across language barriers; appreciated by any child, anywhere, anytime. Lego is definitely one. DC characters are absolutely there. Art is certainly there.

And then whoa! You have someone like Nathan Sawaya combining all three?!? Welcome to the Art of the Brick: DC Comics.

Continue reading

Sydney Brickshow 2016

Happy 5th Birthday to the Sydney Brickshow!

We’ve attended four out of the five shows in Sydney; Sinister won a place as a Junior Builder in 2013.

Each year the show is an absolute hit with the kids AND the bigger kids. It’s a huge exhibition for Lego fans to show off their designs. This is not an official Lego show; these are fans who create displays that combine sets with free play – just like every spawnling dreams!

Check out the beach scene – you won’t find this as a set in any store. You’re going to have to cannibalise whatever you have at home.

But it’s not just a flat Lego scene. Look at the barrel in that wave! The use of the linked bricks! And they move! That’s an added level of creativity.

Sometimes the fans just want to build their fandoms, whether or not Lego has released a set.

This year had a stand-out Pokemon display. Not only were the Pokeballs impressive (see above), the complete layout for the original opening route was equal parts nostalgic and inspiring.

That’s the secret weapon of these local exhibition shows – not Lego itself, but the ability to inspire you to go home and create.

I overheard one parent comparing the Sydney Brickshow to the other hot Lego ticket in town, Nathan Sawaya’s Art of the Brick: DC.

Both exhibitions are designed to inspire; both show the endless creativity available with Lego as a medium.

But while I love Nathan’s ability to show play as an art form, I also love the approachable nature of local exhibitions.

For me, the star of the show (for this and ALL the Sydney Brickshows I have attended) was this guy: Henry Pinto.

He just started this year – won Best Newcomer for 2016. Built the above chess set for his son to learn how to play, as well as a very cool collection of Bat-vehicles.

But the real reason I would give him the title of Evil Genius Lego Builder is because of this:


Not only was Henry willing to show how he made his chess set, he actively encouraged the kids to recognise the pieces they may have at home. He is interacting with his audience and showing them how to do it too. He is sharing stories with them! He knows about being a Lego fan and shares that. This all happened so quick and so naturally, I’m lucky to have caught it at all!

While we love all the exhibits and will definitely be back next year (maybe junior builders again?), Henry is the guy I will be looking for.
All photos from our visit will be posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. No sponsorship – happily paid for our family tickets as the money supports a fantastic charity, Bear Cottage.