Haven and beyond…

Last October, I wrote about the construction of Haven, how it helped to cement my love for Kristal, and our dismay when our friend, the chameleonymic1 Pete Little, decided to call it a day with the Sanctuary server.

So you can imagine our surprise and delight when, barely a month later, Pete announced on his website that he was going to have a new Sanctuary server, albeit with a new server provider – and retain the old map with Haven and Sanctuary City on it! He decided to write some back story for the resurrection of the server, particularly as there were some changes to the original Sanctuary City. It was now a ruin – goodness knows what might have happened if I had actually moved into one of the houses in that area, as Pete had originally intended…

As it was, his story4 laid out the mythos that the ruler of Sanctuary, Lord Beowulf, had tapped into considerable dark magicks and laid to waste the city and its environs. Only swift action by a seer, Sister Crow of the Order of the Crystal Vision, and a fortune-teller, Astragali of the Dice, prevented both the absolute destruction of the land and the death of Mycroft Geek, who was destined to lead the people of the land to a safer, happier future5.

Pete was intent on introducing role-playing elements in this second incarnation of Sanctuary, so in the run-up to the Grand Opening of the Whitelist, Pete got to work on adding Overlook (the floating part of New Sanctuary City) and Umbra (the ground-based portion), while Kristal and I worked on expanding Haven. Betwixt the three of us, a heck of a lot was added!

The last time we lived at Haven, the server was at Beta 1.7.3, so we had no farm (easy now, Kristal…). Out of all the farms that Kristal’s put together, I think this is the best one she’s made:

The farm at Haven.

The farm complex at Haven.

Sister Crow and Astragali needed temples, so they got them: Astragali’s temple was out in the desert beyond the farm, so that it was far enough away from the main Haven complex to be restful (vital for meditating), but close enough to be actually part of Haven:

The Temple of the Dice, with Airship.

Astragali's Temple of the Dice. When this was being built, I thought there was only going to be one little temple! The airship, by the way, had a portal to Umbra at Sanctuary City.

Sister Crow, however, needed to be at the very bedrock so that she could tap into as much of the land’s power as possible. It’s situated around the back of Haven, through a little passageway and cut into the rock. After taking either the stairs or the water drop down, you encounter this:

The Temple of the Crystal Vision.

The Temple of the Crystal Vision, before the altar went in. Fun fact: Kristal originally had the cavern made of obsidian. I changed it to lapis blocks for a laugh - and she preferred it over her own choice!

The Vision Crystal, hanging over the altar.

The Vision Crystal, hanging over the altar, and "reflected" in the back wall.

A head-on view of the Vision Crystal and altar.

A head-on view of the Vision Crystal and altar.

Oh, and we needed more storage space, so this little storage area just inside Haven’s foyer…

The old storage room at Haven.

The old storage room at Haven. Didn't think we'd need more than this...

… was turned into an Enchanting and Potions room:

Now it's the Enchantment and Potions Room.

... and now it looks more like a Starbucks 😉

… and storage was moved downstairs:

The new storage room.

The new storage room. Behind the "camera", there's also a subterranean wheat farm, melon farm, and redstone lab.

So, we got all this built, and Pete began to approve whitelist applications, and people began to come onto the server. But then problems occurred round about January, when Pete started to have problems with his hosting company. Repeated attempts to get the server hosts to fix the problem led to nothing but high levels of frustration for poor Pete – so he decided to once again call it a day, and close Sanctuary. But this time, Haven wasn’t locked away in SMP limbo…

When BitBurner told me that he wanted to hook me up with a better PC than the 2003-era Dell I’d been donated, it was always my intention to keep the Dell and try to use it as a personal server. And now, I had the PC from Bit. Hours of data transfers and many, many updates to Windows XP later, the Dell was ready to become the AstraCrow server.

Given the limitations of my home Internet connection (3.0MB/s down, 0.5MB/s up) and the low-for-a-Minecraft-server specifications of the Dell, there probably wasn’t going to be more than Kristal and I playing on there.

Downside:

  • No possibility of visitors to check out what we’d built (pics and videos are all very well, but you really have to see Minecraft creations in person to experience them properly).

Upsides:

  • With no one else on the server, we didn’t have to worry about finding a place to build that wouldn’t encroach on others’ builds;
  • We could be admins, without having to jump through hoops to rise through the ranks;
  • We could choose which plugins we wanted to use;
  • We could do whatever we wanted… Zombe’s “fly” mod? Definitely. Set fire to a forest? No problem. Let off a few hundred blocks of TNT? HELL YEAH! 😀
  • Most importantly, we wouldn’t lose our builds

Note: What I said above is most definitely NOT a criticism of the owners and admins who work hard to maintain the servers that Kristal and I have inhabited over the last year-and-a-bit:

  • For a start, almost all of the people in question are dear friends to Kristal, or myself, or both of us. BitBurner, alefnull, WelshPixie, xwcg and SeriousCreeper are wonderful people, and it’s always been a pleasure to be on their respective servers. (In case you’re wondering, the “almost” comes in because I only know one of the admin team for The Shaftlands, and one for Minecraft Workbench – the aforementioned WelshPixie.)
  • Of course there have to be rules to stop things getting out of hand! And neither of us would want to grief other people’s servers anyway. If I’m going to give in to my destructive urges, it’ll be on my own maps, thank you very much.
  • It’s inevitable that builds aren’t permanent on servers. Maps may become crowded, cluttered or corrupted. A rollback may be necessary. The admins may want a new map when a new version comes out. Stuff happens.

But it is a little heart-rending (sometimes more than a little) when builds are lost to SMP – we’re proud of them, and many hours are invested in their construction. And we wanted to be able to hold on to what we built. A personal server was the only viable option – and the Dell’s holding up rather nicely (so long as neither of us try to go nuts and generate a lot of new terrain). And (to be a little selfish for a moment), there is a definite feeling of liberation in having one’s own server 😀

Rather than simply using the full Sanctuary map, Kristal wanted Haven to be plucked out of it, and inserted into the map created by the “TarzanBoy” seed she’d found. She loved its massive jungle, and I couldn’t fault her there – it does look awesome 😀 But jungles meant 1.2… 1.2 meant the new Anvil map format… and that (along with many other things, of course) meant all the tools and plugins we wanted to use were borked – with no knowing how long it would take for them to be updated. The ultimate upshot: Haven wasn’t going to be inserted into the map any time soon.

So we made the best of it. While we waited for everything to update to the newest Minecraft version, we conducted some aerial exploration, found an imposing area at the edge of the jungle that we could bend to our will, and built a second base, called The Keep:

The Keep. Quite imposing for a secondary base.

The Keep. Quite imposing for a secondary base.

The Keep at night.

The Keep at night.

There’s a lot more than just those two towers: we wanted The Keep dug into the rock, and the lowest six floors are constructed in that fashion, linking the two towers internally. Those floors are bare… except for The Disco Room, whose floor and ceiling are made from redstone lamps – activated by pigs in one-block-high crawlspaces, who run over an array of pressure plates:

The Disco Room.

The piggy-triggered Disco Room. Why pigs? A damn sight quieter than chickens or spiders, that's why.

And, inside the cone of each tower, Kristal constructed these beautiful chandeliers from iron railings, glowstone and spider webs:

The chandelier in the main tower.

The chandelier in the main tower. Ever since seeing the effectiveness of webs and glowstone for lighting, Kristal's been itching to use it herself. Success, I reckon 🙂

The chandelier in the second tower.

The chandelier in the second tower.

We weren’t sure where Haven would go in the grand scheme of things, but we would at least be able to warp between the locations when the updates arrived. And boy, did we miss having warp capability! >.<

Fast forward a little way, and the updates we needed became available – and thankfully, the work of keeping MCEdit updated was taken up by someone else, so I was finally able to slot Haven into the map! Once this was done, I decided to be a little sneaky, so that I could surprise Kristal. I couldn’t make a warp for the place yet, because she might have stumbled upon it, so I situated myself at Haven, and got ready to teleport her there. I told Kristal in Skype that I’d created something “frivolous” on the server, and would she please take a look at it? She said yes, so I asked her to activate fly mode before I translocated her. Then, just before I hit the Enter key to activate the command, I told her that I’d lied to her slightly: it wasn’t a frivolous build at all (I hate lying to people, no matter how minor). Then I teleported her.

Despite her being at The Keep just before I transported her, poor Kristal got a little confused, thinking that we were in the Sanctuary map. But once I was able to prove to her (courtesy of the /time command) that we were, in fact, on the TarzanBoy map, she was overjoyed 😀

So, at last, we were able to play and build together at Haven once more… though ironically, we’ve not spent much time there lately! I wanted to build a Great-Wall-of-China-style wall, and Kristal suggested I turn a village into a walled city instead. I chose the village of Hillton:

Hillton Village, I have big plans for you.

Hillton Village, I have big plans for you.

… and with a considerable amount of (welcome) input from Kristal, Hillton is now a city.

Hillton City.

Hillton City. My, how you've grown!

Hillton's one bar, The Stunned Chicken.

Hillton's one bar, The Stunned Chicken.

The Stunned Chicken is a very popular place when it rains.

The Stunned Chicken is a very popular place when it rains. Maybe because I don't water down the drinks, like other places do 😉

Silly Iron Golem! Don't you know you're ineffective in water?

Silly Iron Golem! Don't you know you're ineffective in water? (By the way, neither of us put him in there - but I got him out.)

Kristal’s been having fun with redstone and cave spiders:

Glitchy cave spiders get what's coming to 'em, thanks to mad scientist, Kristal Crow.

Glitchy cave spiders get what's coming to 'em, thanks to mad scientist Kristal Crow.

And Kristal wanted to build a “tree fort” in the jungle near The Keep. So far, the walkways are being erected:

The walkways through the jungle.

The walkways through the jungle, leading back to The Keep.

It is a shame that we probably won’t be able to invite people onto the server to check out what we’ve made… but it’s so much fun to have our own personal Minecraft playground at last! 😀

1 One who changes their name a lot2, like The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, or Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. In the time that I’ve known Pete, he’s gone by many names on Twitter, including AgingCodeMonkey, BazingaSoft, Astragirlie and MinecraftGeek…

2 There is actually no such word as “chameleonymic”3. I’ve checked, via Google, Wikipedia, dictionary.com, and Merriam-Webster.

3 There is now 😉

4 Despite his numerous declarations to the contrary, Pete’s writing is very enjoyable to read ^_^

5 By Pete’s admission, he leaned heavily on the style and mythos of the excellent Belgariad and Malloreon series of books by David and Leigh Eddings.

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4 Responses to Haven and beyond…

  1. WelshPixie says:

    Did Pete really call himself Astragirlie? >.<

    Like

    • He did, briefly, yes… The name came from Sophie (Miss_Evils), and the whole thing dates back to a conversation between myself, Kristal, and stephoswalk… which I can’t talk about here because this site is PG-13 XD

      Like

    • Pete Little says:

      Yeah *blushes* it was around the time of the “Anti-Us’s” the antimatter versions of us .. which reminded me of ANOTHER alt I had.. Keeg T. Farcenim (the more observant of you will notice is MinecraftGeek backwards ;p)

      Anyway this fictitious mirror universe people we’re either evil incarnations of themselves.. or underwent some sort of “sexual” inversion. (Think of that Red Dwarf Episode.. Female versions of Rimmer, Lister .. but a CANINE version of Cat)

      I guess you REALLY had to be there XD

      Like

  2. Pete Little says:

    hehe and that’s only the one’s you know about ;p

    Let’s not forget Darthbob, Beowulf1970 and , of course, MCGTechnologies ;p

    I’ve been told I have a butterfly like brain and flit from idea to idea. I personally think the idea that I have a short attention span and am easily distracted to be deeply inaccurate and I can only offer my… … ooh look shiny !!

    *runs off to play*

    ;p

    Like

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