Interview with the creator of a Minecraft world

“A pen and paper
is all we need
to win our battles
and craft our creed
to leave us speechless
soft and tender
while we wait
for Minecraft to render”
poem by AvionPhoton, the creator of the Minecraft world Flower Valley

 

Q: How did Flower Valley come about?

AvionPhoton:  It was born a month or two after I started my creative world, Avión’s Creative Puzzle Builds. It all started when I fell in love with a magnificent seed, 4661581597754505763.

Q: What made that seed so special?

It had a wide variety of biomes in a relatively small area. But perhaps the main reason was a valley I encountered in a flower biome..  It was surrounded by mountains, hills, a lake and a river and I chose it as a starting place.

Q: What makes Flower Valley different from your creative world, apart from the game mode?

A: It is more coherent, since everything is built in more or less the same place. My style became more refined and my technique also improved a lot.

Q: What happened next?

A: I built on the world during many months, journaling in detail about every new building, exploration and discovery I made. I wanted the project to be a long-lasting expression of my personality and life experience and I poured everything I had into building and writing, combining a multitude of sources for inspiration. I have a passion for beauty, creativity, love, playfulness and openness. For combining what is magical, practical and profound with new ways of thinking.

Q: If you have to choose, what are your favorite builds in Flower Valley?

A: Perhaps the giant tree in the middle. It was built after almost all the other buildings were already in place. Some of the rarest resources in the game are stored in chests inside its trunk. While the chests are open melodies are played from colored crystals built on the branches of the tree. The tree was also the favorite of many of the people following the creation on the online forum where I published the build journal.

flower-valley-before-the-tree
Flower Valley before a large tree grew in the center

Q: Are there other builds you think deserves attention?

A: Most buildings were built with the purpose of storing a category of resources imagined to be collected by a person dedicated to a particular craft or task, such as the overgrown tree trunks where all lumber are housed where I imagine a lumberjack lives. Similarly a smithy, stone mason next to the mine houses all ores, iron and minerals.
But after building the giant tree I made a place called ‘The Adventurer’s Hub’ to show my appreciation for people in the forum. I dedicated a unique creation to each person I received support from in the journal thread, I think it was ten in total. I had a lot of fun!

Q: What did you build, more specifically?

A: One of the builds was a winding tunnel leading down to a moisty cave. Another was a dance floor with disco lights turning on as soon as a music disc is placed in the jukebox outside. I also built a dragon and a cherry tree. I don’t want to spoil it any more, perhaps people reading the interview wants to download the world and explore it.

Q: Where can they do that?

A: The world is available on the web-page http:/bkh.me/flower-valley

Q: How did you manage building coherently in a survival world?

A: While I enjoy the challenge of survival and gathering resources, I use a separate creative world to sketch complicated builds and designs. This helps. I also build mostly in the game mode ‘peaceful’.

Q: Why do you play on peaceful?

A: I feel that I am a conscious part of a creation that is infinitely beautiful. It has led me to become a vegan in real-life and to encourage everyone to be aware of and care for all forms of life, be it humans, animals, plants or otherwise.
Within the game this translated to a tendency to not overly alter biomes and to not build farms for exploiting animals or mobs, something which is very commonly done by other players. Playing on peaceful also help when building, since aggressive mobs do not spawn and disturb the creations.

Q: Could you do everything possible in the game playing in this way?

A: No. I sadly broke my rules and killed cows for leather and octopuses for ink sacs at a certain point.

Q: Why?

A: Books, item frames and black dye were not possible to get in any other way. I desperately wanted books to write in, and item frames to decorate with. I also farmed blazes in the nether to gain experience points to upgrade my equipment to maximum efficiency. I also killed mobs to gain access to building resources otherwise not available.”

flower-valley-End-freed
“There seemed to be no other way” says Avión

Q: If you were in charge of the development of the game, what would you do?

A: I would solve the dilemma of killing octopuses by letting charcoal, a currently rarely used resource be equivalent to ink. And to leave the cows alone, I would add cloth to use for creating a dyable outfit to wear instead of leather armor. The cloth could be made from five reeds mixed with four strings or from nine cobwebs. This cloth could even replace wool to make Minecraft truly vegan friendly

Q: You seem to have thought a lot about this. Do you have any more ideas?

A: I think it would be be cool to see ALL creatures and players in Minecraft live in peace!

Q: How would this be possible?

A: Loot currently only available by killing could be dropped by hugging. In practice, it could be by right-clicking mobs while unarmed, at least in the Java version of the game. The drop would only occur once per creature, to keep the excitement and challenge of finding rare mobs and resources. This would also have to include peace between the ocelots and chicken, the wolves and the sheep and the guardians and the octopuses! =D

Q: Any last words before we end?

A: I just want to thank my family, friends and everyone else who have helped my become who I am today. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart!

Q: That’s it. Thank you for being here for this interview!

A: Glad to be of service!

Enlightenment jokes

I hope these can enlighten up your day

But.. we don’t need anything!

Shh… don’t tell anyone, I am having too much fun making this stuff up


— Why is it impossible to stop?

— Because you never move


— What is the difference between you and I?

— We are both empty


— What does God do to create the universe?  [<- notice the present tense ]

— Nothing. God is both subject and object, never does a thing. Lazy bastard!


— What is the question to which there is no real answer?

— All questions are that question. The answers of all questions are equally unreal


— What is the difference between God and a dog?

— The letters are reversed.

— Then what is the similarity between God and a dog?

— Neither actually exist outside the mind

— Then why are we talking about God and a dog?

— Both point to nothing


— Why do you never finish anything?

— There is no thing that can be finished. And no time in which to finish it


— Why is the poorest the richest?

— To have nothing is to have the source of creation


— Where are you going?

— To work

— What do you do?

— Nothing

— Seriously?

— There is nothing else to do. It is all that ever happens


— I just discovered I am not a human being!

— Then what kind of organism are you?

— An organ of Truth, an ambassador of nothing


— Is there a spherical Minecraft?

— Yes, you are in it!

note: Minecraft is an immensely popular (over 100 million copies sold) sand-boxed based video game based on placing 3D-blocks

Reclaim your keyboard! (and your fingers)

 

IMG_1892.JPG
giving my trusty mechanical keyboard the “DVORAK treatment”

The most common keyboard layout, often referred to as QWERTY, comes from one of the early typewriter models, over 140 years ago. From being part of a tool only used in certain professions it is now something almost everyone uses daily.

The QWERTY layout grew out of necessity and convenience during the early stages of the typewriter. The top row of the layout has all the letters of typewrite, so that the salesperson could easily demonstrate the new invention. The letters had to be arranged in a way that the mechanical hammers which the paper had the least chance of getting stuck to each other. You can read more about QWERTY on Wikipedia.

But today, on electronic devices, the reasons behind QWERTY’s layout does not make any sense. In my opinion it is a perfect example of systemic resistance, where short-term thinking and lack of awareness gets in the way of a positive change.

But even if QWERTY seems unavoidable, there are ways around it. I will describe one of them.

A few years ago I discovered Dvorak. It is a keyboard layout developed in the 1930’s, with the intention of replacing QWERTY. Dvorak takes account letter frequency and hand physiology into account.

In Dvorak the most common letters are placed in the middle row and all vowels are on the left side of the keyboard. This creates a very pleasant sense when typing. I can compare it to the satisfaction of performing a drum roll, allowing the body to move controlled yet relaxed, with regular symmetrical movements.

Dvorak is available on the common operating systems for many languages, but few people know about it. It takes a little work to set up.

First is configuration. If your keyboard is designed for a less common language, like Swedish in my case, a layout might not be available by default. In that case, you need to create it yourself. I did it using Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator
You can also use the design ideas of Dvorak to create a custom layout based on any unique typing patterns.

How to change the keyboard layout:

In Windows 7
In Windows 10
In Mac OS X
In Linux Ubuntu

The second part is the keyboard. With a laptop, it might be difficult to rearrange the letters, but on most external keyboards, the key caps are removable. Making the rearrangement takes perhaps an hour. Another thing you can do while rearranging the keys is take the chance to clean it if it is dirty, thus prolonging its lifespan.

If you switch, be prepared for a significant relearning period. You will be typing like a toddler again!

If you can overcome this however, the rewards are

  • an amazing sense of flow
  • the possibility of pushing the typing speed limits without the strain on the fingers QWERTY is prone to

If you tried this, I would love to hear about your experience!

Life as a game, you as the player

It was an ordinary evening a few years ago, I was playing the immensely popular computer game Minecraft, digging for treasures and building materials and avoiding or fighting monsters. A game I had played for countless hours, beaten and then coming back to again for more. Then suddenly it dawned upon me. My emotional state controlled what I was encountering in the game. If I let go completely of my preconceived notion of the monsters in the game as hostile, they changed behavior and became passive and didn’t attack my player character. I tried this concept with another computer game, the real-time-strategy game Starcraft II. The opponent would never attack until my first hostile thought or frightened emotion occurred, and by being conscious of it, I could control it. It felt surreal for me at the time, as well as it might seem for some of you reading this, but I encourage you to explore this. This is part of the real power of thought, mind and consciousness! For me it was a beginning of a journey where I realized that I wanted to use my energy to be more creative and contribute to the world I live in, instead of a passive, unconscious consumer. Have you ever had a similar experience?

Set your game mode from survival to peaceful, and explore the universe in new ways!