Minecraft: inspiration from Hermitcraft

I’ve never really been much of a regular YouTube watcher, and I’d certainly never watched any “Let’s Play” series, but getting into Minecraft has changed that for me.

YouTube was the obvious choice for when I wanted to learn about Redstone or get tips for building. After a while, I realised that there was a big difference between building stuff in Creative mode when compared to Survival mode, and Survival mode was what interested me the most. I started watching some Hermitcraft episodes, and I got hooked in – this was exactly the kind of inspiration I was looking for.

The Hermitcraft server has been going for over five years, but I only started watching it this year. I’m really pleased I found the series and the huge back-catalogue of videos to watch.

Hermitcraft can be considered as the whole community, but fundamentally it is a Minecraft Survival server where around 20 content creators (known as Hermits) work in the same world – mostly producing regular “Let’s Play” video series on YouTube, as well as live streams on Twitch and Mixer.

As I mentioned before it all started with Redstone, I wanted to know how to build some of the contraptions I’d heard about, so I started watching various videos, and I found Mumbo Jumbo.

Mumbo is a content creator from the UK who is well known in the community for his Redstone videos and tutorials, after watching a few of his videos I started watching him play on the Hermitcraft server.

Survival mode is more laborious than Creative; rather than having an unlimited supply of every block variant in the game, you have to go out and gather the resources from the world around you and craft the raw resources into the items you need. You’re also going to need somewhere to store all your stuff (usually known as a “base”) as well as all of the tools, weapons, and armour to be able to survive in the world of hostile mobs, unforgiving lava, and the many stupid mistakes that will happen along the way.

This is how they play on the Hermitcraft server, and this is precisely how I want to play the game.

Mumbo Jumbo may not be the best Minecraft player in the world, but he is extremely entertaining with many endearing characteristics coming through in his videos:

  • He always wants to have a cool (and huge) base
  • There’s always lots of item sorting and storage contraptions
  • He will make way more farms than he could possibly need
  • He never carries a bow with him
  • Creepers will blow him up
  • And he comes across as being honest with his audience and speaking his mind as he plays

(I have to say that I’m always impressed by content creators who take the risk to put themselves out there, but I digress; back to the Minecraft)

After watching many of Mumbo’s videos, I started to branch out to some of the other Hermits including Cubfan, Xisuma, Wellsknight, Scar, False, Rendog and more. Each of the Hermits have their own builds in different areas of the Hermitcraft server, and have collaborated with each other in various ways throughout the years they’ve been playing together.

Between these various players, I’ve got an excellent understanding of what amazing things can be accomplished in Minecraft, as well as the differences in play style between “Builders” and “Technical Players” – and how the lines are often blurred.

Reading between the lines of some of the Hermit’s videos, I’m not sure what the future holds for Hermitcraft. Some of them seem to be suffering from inspirational burnout, whereas others are concerned about dropping viewer counts. (I’d be concerned too, especially with YouTube’s recent monetisation changes…)

Minecraft is more popular than ever, with 74 million active players every month. Hermitcraft will always be a favourite of mine, and I hope the Hermits continue to be inspired and financially incentivised to continue on their creations.

I’ve taken so much inspiration from these creators, and I’m thankful for their hard work. Because of them, I am better at both the building and technical sides of Minecraft, making this hobby even more enjoyable.

Minecraft: my new favourite game

Later to the game than many, my first experiences of Minecraft were on the Xbox 360 in 2013 and Windows Phone in 2014. By the time the Windows 10 Edition came out I’d started many worlds on both versions, but I hadn’t progressed any of them very far.

At the time my biggest complaint was that there were multiple versions of Minecraft and worlds could not be synchronised between devices. The loss of my favourite world – when installing an update on my phone – made me give up until I could play anywhere.

It was fun, but I just couldn’t put up with the multiple versions and lack of backups.

Earlier this year I took another look at all of the editions of Minecraft available at that time and decided to take a bet on Realms for the Windows 10 and Pocket Edition versions of Minecraft.

Realms are essentially private servers hosted directly by the folk over at Mojang. This drastically improves on-boarding and allows for a seamless experience in-game. The world is hosted behind the scenes in the cloud, rather than on devices – resolving my biggest complaint with the game and allowing me to connect from mobile and PC.

In the summer of 2017, I created a new randomly generated world inside Realms and called it Scrumptious Kingdom with the intention of having a long-term space for my future wife and I to play Minecraft together.

We built a dirt hut on a hill right next to the spawn point, and since then it has progressed into an always-improving house with multiple rooms expanding out to the infinite world around it.

Scrumptious Valley comparison, June and November 2017:

I picked this version of Minecraft because I knew it had a future – the Windows 10 and Pocket Editions have since been unified into single codebase (Bedrock) and updated to all work together seamlessly (Better Together).

Now I can play in my world on my phone, tablet, PC, and Xbox One – instantly appearing wherever I left off.

Having consistency is exactly what I wanted. Now I have a world worth investing time in, improving the house, mining for resources, crafting new items, and taking on new challenges to progress the game.

Recently we defeated the ender dragon and gained access to more freedom with Elytra wings and more storage possibilities with Shulker Boxes. (Organising in-game items! Bliss!)

Every time I play this game I am impressed by what it has to offer and I’m excited about what is going to come in the new Aquatic Update, due Spring 2018.

Mavis Podcast

From pencils and paper, and each-others “weird quirks” to the current and future of technology, the hosts discuss whatever they like.

I thought this year would be busy for me, and I can safely say (in November) that it was even busier than I expected. Phew.

One of the new things I decided to take on this year was a podcast… and I’m really pleased with the results. While I haven’t had enough time to do as much writing on my website, I’m glad I have the podcast an outlet for some of my ideas… and excellent co-hosts to discuss them with.

I’ve enjoyed doing the first ten episodes of Mavis, and I look forward to doing more.

You can find out more about Mavis at mavispodcast.com, or follow @mavispodcast on Twitter.

Episode 1: I Hope I Won’t Be Dead in 5 Years

Starting with why Jules says “bing it” and doesn’t like Google, it doesn’t take long for the guys to discuss device authentication and Essential phone. Swiftly moving on to where the big-5 tech companies get their revenue from, and where it could go in the future.

Episode 2: A Coke Problem

Does a Lemsip count as a hot drink? The ongoing debate is sparked again, in a discussion of why Andrew doesn’t drink hot drinks. Then moving on to an introduction in to the hosts stationery, notebooks and daily-carries.

Episode 3: Package Full of Mess

Messy fountain pens, a Bing notebook, a review on the Kuru Toga Advance pencil and a discussion on how the hosts stay productive day in and day out.

Episode 4: Emojay

After clearing up some stationery follow up, including a revised review on the Kuru Toga Advance from Jordan, the guys discuss Windows Phones, Julian considering a temporary iPhone and a heated discussion on iPhone’s and Samsung Phones vs their release cycles.

Episode 5: It’s Not a Problem If You like It

Why wouldn’t someone clean out their tabs, and why would you use a handful of browsers at once?! Jordan and Julian try to explain. Andrew gets a new machine, but finds himself in a predicament. Slack vs Teams, why both and how do they compare?

Episode 6: Money Plus Sunset Deluxe

Recapping the Lemsip & hot drink discussion following Andrews brief illness, before moving on to follow up with the use of tabs, Jordans new Sharbo LT3 and the new Campfire Field Notes. Andrew then discusses his new iMac, the setup process and how he’s finding the trackpad. Finishing up with some casual talk about personal financial management, modern banking and how AI’s could help with management and investments.

Episode 7: The Notch

Julian fixes his Lumia 950 XL in a “smart” way. The iPhone 8 finally gets it’s discussion, back to Touch ID nightmares and more importantly, how will The Notch turn out?! Ending the show with a good old chat about gaming histories, feeling nostalgic and getting stupidly close to relapsing our addictions with games.

Episode 8: I’m Actually Daredevil

Follow up with RuneScape, did the hosts play it? Take a guess. What’s the difference between Redstone in Windows and Minecraft? Given the news of Microsoft and Amazons collaboration, how will Alexa and Cortana mingle? What are the pain points and how we’d prefer to interact with them. Jordan and Andrew are having sleeping problems, what’s good for sleep and what’s bad for sleep? How can we resolve our sleeping problems?

Episode 9: The Functionality? Stupid.

New Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Issues with iOS 11 GM. Jordans new Baron Fig notebook set. Finishing up with some stories on how we got in to software engineering.

Episode 10: That’s When I Stopped Doing Birthday Cards

Welcome to the 10th Episode of the Mavis podcast! After the celebrations, we turn to hating on Facebook and discussing our issues with their stupid notifications. We also discuss the social ethics of birthday messages. Jordan picked up a new iPad Pro 10.5”, In which we then hate on iOS 11, or at least Jordan does. Initial thoughts for the first 2 episodes of Star Trek Discovery and finishing up with a surprise Field Notes review!