Minecraft + Microsoft

If you haven’t heard already, Microsoft bought Mojang (creators of Minecraft) for $2.5 billion. It hit me unexpectedly, and even while reading the press release I thought it was a big April fools joke, except not on April Fools Day. However, after continuing to watch Twitter, I finally believed it. I’m not very happy with this acquisition, and I’m very disappointed in not only Microsoft, but also Mojang because of this.

First of all, I’m not the biggest fan of Microsoft. I don’t like the Windows operating system, but I didn’t really have the right to say that until just recently, when I went to a week-long day camp where I learned about using Visual Studio, and C++. I was also able to install Windows 7 Professional on one of my unused machines, but I wasn’t able to activate it because I never bought it. So now a message keeps popping up when I use my Windows 7 machine saying that the version of Windows “is not genuine.” So after looking at the C++ programming language, the Windows operating system as a whole plus the high price of the software, and the fact that almost all virus attacks are on people using Windows, I can now conclude that Mac OS X and Linux and their default software packages are so much better than anything from Microsoft.

Having said all that, I feel a strange feeling now that Minecraft is under the reign of Microsoft. It’s that feeling when you know that you shouldn’t like something, but you can’t help it because it’s so awesome. But really nothing has changed to the PC edition of the game except Minecraft 1.8, which actually came out just before this was announced. Also I don’t have to be afraid that Microsoft will drop support for the Mac OS X and iOS platforms, or the PlayStation, which I also have. Minecraft was built with a programming language that is supported on Mac and Linux, and if they were to drop support, they would have to do a lot of code changes in the Minecraft source code. They also assured us in the press release that “there’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop.”

Minecraft was made by an independent game developer. It was created because the developer liked making games. In fact, the creator left Mojang because of this. He didn’t like too much popularity or money (although he said it was nice to get an award every now and then); he just wanted to have fun programming. It was very inspiring to me, because I’m an ammeter programmer, and I have dived into game development a little bit. I’m probably not going to make any money off these games, but it’s really fun developing this stuff.

But now Microsoft bought it, and Minecraft is not an indie (independent) game anymore. And here’s what I hate about all this: Microsoft bought Minecraft because they decided it was an investment, which basically means they bought the company with plans to make more money using the company. So now it makes Minecraft all about money, which is not what the game was about in the first place.

Those are my reasons why I’m disappointed in both Microsoft (for reasons I just wrote about) and Mojang (for accepting the offer). As far as the future of the game, I hope that Microsoft does not mess with the PC edition of the game, including but not limited to tweaking the look & feel of the game and changing the initial logo to include Microsoft in it, and I hope that Microsoft does not mess with other existing editions of the game, including but not limited to PlayStation and iOS. As far as what they will do with future platforms the game will be supported on, I don’t care, because I will not be playing editions. Finally, I hope that modding will not differ much, and that Bukkit continues being awesome and up to date (I’ve heard that some problems were arising and that Bukkit may not continue).

Microsoft, if you make Minecraft a pile of junk, consider me less likely to buy any of your products.

If you want to know more, here are some links.
Mojang.com press release: https://mojang.com/2014/09/yes-were-being-bought-by-microsoft/
Microsoft.com press release: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2014/sept14/09-15news.aspx
Random Place people are discussing the acquisition: https://community.lego.com/t5/MINECRAFT/MICROSOFT-ACQUIRES-MOJANG-FOR-2-5-BILLION-DOLLARS/td-p/11149187

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Retina is overrated

Retina is overrated. Apple keeps advertising their products as the new iPad! Oh my goodness, it is so thin, it’s like an iPad 3 that has been out under a roller! The camera is better than any device ever created. Now with retina display.

Hold on… what did you say? It now has a retina display? Did you just use the word NOW with it? Didn’t the older iPad have a retina display? Oh yeah, it did. What, are we supposed to be amazed? Retina displays come on almost any product Apple makes. If it has a screen… BOOM put a retina display on it. It’s on the iMac, the MacBook Pro, the iPhone, the iPod touch, the iPad, the iPad mini… what is it not on?

So I know the retina display is supposed to make the screen look good, but personally I would rather have a not-retina display on my laptop rather than a display with a pixel so small you can’t tell the difference even with a magnifying glass. It’s fine on iOS devices, because more than half my mobile devices I’ve used are retina and I’m used to it. I can’t even get good accuracy with my thumb anyway. But on the laptop, I like accuracy, and I like making windows the exact dimensions as the window behind it.

And really, on the Mac, you’re probably not going to get too close to even tell a big difference.

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The making of LORD OF THE DONUTS, part 2

This is the second part of this story.

I released the first two parts of Lord of the Donuts in January of 2013. Then there was almost a year long wait. There are several reasons why I didn’t work on the project much.

First of all, I really thought the series sucked. I had gotten so much positive feedback about those two parts, but I never really paid much attention to them. I thought LOTD was horrible because that character who Éomer called “Legolas” was not really Legolas. I didn’t know who the real Legolas was because I hadn’t yet gotten that far in reading Lord of the Rings, and now after having read the book, I regret naming that character Legolas. So I changed his name to Fesbie. I tried to come up with an explanation for the name change, but never released any explanation. Personally I thought I wasn’t very funny either. I also thought the camera quality was bad, when I compared it to my recent projects like “Cookies,” and there was a lot of light flicker and the animation was bad as a whole. The only thing, though, that I thought was good, was the way I synced up the speech with the hand motions.

I also lost inspiration for brickfilming and did a lot of programming in the summer, and played a lot of Minecraft (I got the game in the middle of May 2013).

I got a renewed interest in brickfilming when an animation competition came up. It was the Twenty-four Hour Animation Competition, where I had to make and upload a complete brickfilm in less than 24 hours. I live in a good place so that THAC starts at the beginning of the day, and I have a whole Saturday to work on it. There was somewhat of a family reunion going on during the competition, but I had been waiting for this day for a year. I ended up finishing my film in 17 hours, and I slept the rest of the competition (I did have to go to church the next morning). It was very fun, because I had like ten cokes to drink, I consumed an entire bag of candy, and munched on tortilla chips. I also talked with fellow competitors on Skype.

Going back to Lord of the Donuts, I finally realized how much people wanted me to continue the series. I actually discovered why it was funny. So I made a final draft of my screenplay, animated, voiced for Fesbie and Saruman, but I didn’t want to voice for Gandalf. I heard this guy named Nathan Wells does a good job at Gandalf, so I asked him. I waited a week for him to respond and he finally declined. I voiced Gandalf myself, released the video, and started working on the script for future parts.

Part four came a few months later. Unfortunately I lost all the voice manipulation settings for Gandalf and the Uruk-hai 2.0, so I had to redo everything. Actually what happened was I thought I saved the settings, but apparently not. But everything turned out all right, except when the Uruk-hai 2.0 should have said, “Pay no heed…” he actually said “Pee no heed…” and I flinch every time I see that part.

But now were are at the present, and I have the screenplay written out for several parts. After part 5, The story will turn more into something is lost and several different teams are looking for it, instead of the fact that everyone thinks it’s a ring.

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The making of LORD OF THE DONUTS, part 1

The Lord of the Donuts is a brickfilm series created by myself, tenny1028. Several factors lead up to the creation of Lord of the Donuts. One was a quote I saw on the LEGO Messageboards. This guy named Johnathan000 had an interesting signature. It said, “Author of the Famous Quote, ‘GET HIM, He’s got donuts!!!'” I really liked that quote and said it a lot, especially when I saw someone with donuts.

Another of those factors was the release of the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I was very excited when it was released, because I was very excited a year ago when it was announced, and I wanted to continue with that enthusiasm.

For Christmas of 2012 I received the LEGO set from The Lord of the Rings theme 9471 Uruk-hai Attack. It came with Éomer, his horse, a Rohan soldier, and four Uruk-hai. I didn’t know who these characters were, because I had not read the books or seen the movie. So this made me want to see the movies, but for that to happen, I had to read the books (House rule, generally unavoidable in my family). So I started reading Lord of the Rings.

Also, 79000 Gollum’s Cave from The Hobbit theme was sitting under the tree that year. I was excited for that set because it had Bilbo, the Ring, and Sting. I opened up the box, and SURPRISE! I found two golden rings in the box, and also two small daggers, one of which Bilbo calls “Sting.”

Finally I received a total of $60 in iTunes money for Christmas. That’s when I found two apps on the Mac App Store I use almost daily now. The first one was iMovie. Before this point I had the dumb version of iMovie, iMovie ’08, and I couldn’t do much with it. the latest version at that time, iMovie ’11, had all sorts of cool things: more titles, extra backgrounds, Trailers, and the ability to adjust the speed of a video. I also found an interesting program called iStopmotion 3, and apparently it was on sale, because I bought it for almost $30 and the next time I checked the price, it was at $50. It had the ability to use my iPod as a camera, or a DSLR. And that was the deciding point. Up until that point I could not find a stopmotion app that uses a DSLR or an iOS device as a camera. But iStopmotion was the perfect program for me and I had the money for it. I still use it, after one and a half years.

Animation for Lord of the Donuts began on December 26, 2012. I had just bought iStopmotion, and I wanted to test the program out, so I got out my new LEGO set, and started animating. I did the first few shots in the kitchen, which has a bay window. The windows were large, and let in a lot of natural light (There was also heavy snow on the ground). So it wasn’t the best idea to animate there, but I figured it was just a test. Then I got an idea. I looked at one of the rings from the LEGO set, and saw how Bilbo held it, and I was thinking that the ring, if it were on the same scale as a LEGO Minifigure, it would be the same size as a donut if the donut was to scale.

Thus, Lord of the Donuts.

This is the first part of the story. The second part will be coming out soon.

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How to blog about your dragon, part 2

Warning: Possible indistinct spoilers.

Disclaimer: Not actually about blogging about dragons.

I recently watched How To Train Your Dragon 2, and I would have done a movie review about it like I did about Frozen. However, I didn’t pay much attention to much of the movie, and therefore I don’t remember much, so I will not be doing a detailed review of How To Train Your Dragon 2.

The movie was a good movie though. The imagery was detailed and the animation was lifelike. The film was playful with romance, with snarky remarks like “That’s why I never married!”

The dragon Toothless is a doglike character and expresses his emotions, which can be surprising when at first assumed dragons were dumb, in a hilarious way with his postures and eyeballs.

Every human had noses shaped like balls, and the way each nose was implanted into the face made me find it obvious why they had so much trouble with snoring in their sleep.

The deaths of certain characters in the film seemed to be over-exaggerated in the solemness which resulted afterwards. This is because when the actual death was happening, most of the time the “cameras” were fixed on something other than the individual dying. In one instance, somebody gets knocked really hard by something, and it turns out they died. It didn’t look like they got hit hard enough for that kind of damage.

Of course even if you haven’t seen How To Train Your Dragon 2, these reviews may not be new to you because they may have been the same in the first film of the series. This is all new to me as it has been a long while since I saw the first film, and I was quite young then, so I have forgotten most of the backstory behind the second film.

For an overall rating, I would rate it 4.5 stars out of 5

At the end of the movie, right before the credits, the logo of the film appeared, in front of a black display. I suddenly felt like I just finished watching the theatrical trailer, and the full thing hasn’t come out yet. You probably know what I’m talking about because most trailers and previews for movies always, or almost always, end up with the title in an impressive logo design.

And on one more final note, the main villain of the film looks like Grima Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings… well except the mouth. The villain’s mouth is the most non-symmetrical mouth I have ever seen.

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A Shrinking World

In the most recent seasons of both Mindcrack  and Hermitcraft UHC (season 16 for Mindcrack, and season 1 for Hermitcraft), they used one of the new features of Minecraft 1.8: a world border. This world border has a couple of aspects to it that make it dangerous. If the world border is shrinking (because it can do that), you can get caught outside the world border, and die, with a message saying that you suffocated within a block.

This post is about how to determine the position of a shrinking border, assuming that the center is at (0,0). All you have to do before the border shrinks is set the starting side length, the final side length, and the time it will take to get from the starting side length to the final side length. Then all you have to do after the border shrinks is give the amount of time that has elapsed since the border started shrinking. The formula will return the distance from (0,0) to where the border is.

NOTE: The elapsed time variable may be in seconds, minutes, hours, or anything else, but it has to be the same unit as the variable that marks the time the border will take to shrink. My recommendation is in minutes, but the Minecraft command for setting the world border is in seconds.

Here is the formula: 

[i] = The side length of the border when it starts shrinking.
[f] = The side length of the border when it finishes shrinking.
[t] = The total time the border will take to shrink.
[x] = The elapsed time since the border started shrinking.
[y] = The distance the border is from 0,0

y = (0.5)*(i-((i-f)*(x/t)))

If you don’t want to have to apply the formula yourself, I have made a program with a built-in timer you can run in the background while you play UHC. Before UHC starts, you give the initial side length, the final side length, and the total time it will take for the world border to shrink. Then when UHC starts, click start. The timer will automatically start, and every second the program will get the amount of elapsed time and find the distance from the world border to (0,0). All you need to do is quickly switch to this program, read the distance, then switch back. You can download it here: World Border Locator.

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A Frozen Movie, Analyzed

WARNING!!! If you haven’t seen Frozen, don’t read this post because there are spoilers.

Frozen is definitely a great movie for kids who don’t mind Disney romance. But when I was watching it, my mind was focused on other things besides the story and what the creators of the movie wanted me to focus on. It started from the very beginning.

It started when the Disney logo showed up with it’s castle, and the music accompanying the logo reminded me of Lion King. Hmm… I didn’t know we were watching an African movie…

But a frozen lake showed up, that doesn’t really look very African does it? But I forgot all about the African part when someone stabbed the ice with a pickaxe. After he did that, I was hoping he knew what he was doing, because if he didn’t, all the ice would have cracked up and he would have fallen in.

During the whole scene with the guys who collected and sold ice, I was really hoping the ice wasn’t going to break, and when the scene was over and no one was hurt, I felt very relieved.

Then when Anna hopped up onto Elsa’s bed in the next scene and laid down on top of Elsa, I was thinking that what Anna did would have hurt. I was also concerned for Anna because I never saw the bed she slept on… maybe I missed it.

In the next scene, Elsa and Anna are running to that ball room or whatever, and when Elsa was telling Anna to be quiet, she wasn’t being very quiet themselves, and in fact both were being really loud, even when they started playing in the room filled with snow, they were being loud. When Elsa was calling for their parents, she wasn’t any louder than they were when they were playing, but their parents came in as quickly as if they were in the next room when the accident happened.

As the family was riding to the trolls, they were making a trail of frost. So I guess the horse was magic, or what? I’ve never seen that happen.

The next thing I was really concerned about was the trolls. They were called trolls, but they didn’t look like trolls. I thought trolls were big and liked to argue with each other, and turned to stone in the day.

The next few scenes were quite boring, and I got really tired of song Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

The next thing I really wanted to point out was one of the horses, which reminded me of the horse in Tangled, and really the whole movie reminded me of Tangled. Then Anna starts singing with this guys we’ve never seen before and suddenly they get engaged, and they call it true love! Anna thinks she knows everything about true love, but really, I doubt it. She’d been cooped up in a house with nobody to play with except pictures on the wall. How could she hardly know anything at all about any kind of love?

Next Elsa runs away to the north mountain and puts on a show that nobody is watching. Yes, I’ve heard that song even before I saw the movie. Let it go, they tell me, but I ain’t lettin’ nothin go because if I do I’m gonna drop it… and then it’s gonna break, if it’s glass or LEGO.

During the song she builds this gigantic castle made entirely of ice. Hopefully she put up a disclaimer so she wouldn’t get sued if someone slipped in the lobby and broke something, like an arm.

Then Anna decides to find Elsa. You would think it’s simple: follow the trail of ice and snow. But how are you going to do that if the whole place is now a world of ice and snow?

Next up is that weird country store, selling summer clothes and swim stuff at 75% off and all winter stuff at 0% off, but it was all out of stock anyway. Kristoff comes in and demands to pay ten bucks for a pickaxe, rope, and carrots, but because “demands are high this time of year for winter stuff,” he had to pay $20, but he didn’t have that much money. All I cared about was the fact that his little store they were in was in the middle of nowhere. How could demands be high if nobody ever visited his shop?

After they leave the shop, Anna starts talking about her fiancé. She only hinted at the fact that they got engaged only after a few hours of knowing each other, but Kristoff seemed to notice it, and he wouldn’t stop talking about that, even though Anna kept trying to get back on track. At that point I was liking Kristoff because he’s like me; I’ll notice small details that are strange or wrong and magnify them greatly, making sure that other people notice it.

The next major part of the movie is the snowman, Olaf. While he’s my favorite part of the movie, he’s actually quite dumb. His dreams of having fun in the summer are absolutely crazy, but at least he can do things without all of his body being there.

During the conversation between Anna and Elsa in the ice castle (I’m actually surprised Anna never slipped on that ice), I was really hoping Elsa would just tell Anna why she couldn’t be with her. At least once she did that, Anna would know now to keep away from Anna and avoid getting hurt. But hey, the story wouldn’t have been a good story if the conflict was solved too easily.

During the next scenes I was busy scratching a mosquito bite a few inches above my ankle. I actually started paying more attention when Anna’s hair was completely white. Then her hands started to slowly frost, then suddenly she was an ice statue. For a second I’m thinking that’s a lousy way to show that someone’s heart is freezing, then I’m thinking that that statue feels a lot like what happened in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, when the witch turned her enemies to stone, and they take dramatic poses right before they died. When she started unfreezing, she unfroze just the way victims of the Witch’s wrath were brought back to life.

When the sword of Hans breaks because he hit the frozen Anna, I couldn’t believe it. What kind of ice is hard enough to break a sword, without getting chipped at all?

Then the unfrozen Anna punches Hans right into the lake. That must have not been much of a punch, more of a push, because I can’t see a punch doing that kind of damage.

So overall, I think Frozen was a great movie, but not as great as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which came out in theaters the same time.

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