That Felt Good (Mystcraft 0.12.3.02)

Post by: on April 25th, 2016 | File Under Mystcraft, Ramblings

I just pushed the first Mystcraft build since November, and it felt really cathartic. :D

I must admit, I was a little worried about whether I’d remember how to do anything, particularly with the Gradle build system. Turns out, I don’t seem to have forgotten any of it. Which is good, because lots of it has forgotten itself.

For starters, I had to set my dev environment up on my new desktop PC. Fortunately, I remember all of the setup commands (probably through having to run them so much in the past) and had this up and running in little to no time. I also have the old setup running on the older computer beside me, so I can reference it easy for the really specific values and things (Eclipse run configurations, anyone?).
Then I went and did a bit of debugging and fixing. The longest challenge was finding the fastest way to check a srgname these days. Still MCP bot, so I had to install an IRC client (this computer is REALLY new).
I made my fix and went to build… and it failed on trying to pull the LookingGlass API from the maven. A little investigating revealed that my maven repo server was just gone. I spoke with Nick over at ReasonantHost and he’s already getting me fixed up with a new one. Thanks guys!
Regardless, I was still out a maven repo, so I just manually bypassed that and ‘viola!’, I have a shiny new build.

It wasn’t easy, and that’s what made it feel so good. It wasn’t really hard, either, which probably helped.

Now, the build itself is fairly minimal; I just made a single change to try and deal with an error I’ve only ever seen once. The idea was that it was a reasonably straightforward issue that I could tackle directly and push a build for. My goal was and remains to get back into modding at a reasonably slow pace. Leaping in head first is fun, but I don’t want to fry myself again so soon after returning.

So here’s to the return of Mystcraft and LookingGlass.
-XComp

EDIT: Whoops! Missed my usual end text:
Mystcraft is available from CurseForge.

Mystcraft Changelog

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The Dawn of the Fifth Day

Post by: on March 29th, 2016 | File Under Announcements, Ramblings

OK, I know it’s been a lot more than five days. And, no, you weren’t holding Helm’s Deep during this time (which is probably for the best).
Just let me have my Gandalf moment, OK?

It’s been a while. This post is to serve as a recap and explanation as to why. It’s also the announcement of my return, I suppose.

About a year ago (Jan of last year) I was in a bit of a predicament; my residence permit to live in Finland was to expire as February ended. Since I didn’t want this to happen, I needed a source of income to apply for a new permit.
At this time I had been trying to start a PhD for some time. I had managed to find some potential supervisors, but funding was much more scarce. It never pulled through.
So, as February rolled around I basically entered panic mode. Bailing on getting a PhD position, I simply tried for any research or teaching position I could get. Fortunately, this tactic worked much better, as someone who recognized my name called me up wanting me to build cool things for him. I counted myself very lucky.
so, for the past year (Feb to Feb) I was working as a researcher on an interesting augmented reality project based out of Padova Italy. The work was interesting, the people were fun, and I learned a lot. I don’t think I could have asked for more given the circumstances.

Some of the more attentive folks might be able to correlate March with a sudden boost to my modding time and productivity. Essentially, I suddenly had the time and comfort to enable me to be more creative. Unfortunately it didn’t last. Come August I was informed that my contract would not be renewed when it expired in Feb. This coupled with the project needing to finish soon and the theatre group I’m in starting it’s latest production (in Sept; performed last week) pretty much killed all that time and desire to work on my personal projects.
And that’s when the big gap started.

I managed a few sporadic fixes and updates since, but I honestly had some difficulty wanting to work on anything due to the stress I was already under. I will honestly tell you that making a mod as big as Mystcraft is stressful not for the work doing it, but for dealing with the community around it. I didn’t want to interact with that source of stress, and so I distanced myself from all of it.

Leap forward to January of this year. I, once again, found myself with an expiring residence permit. I’d been doing the same as the previous round, trying to start my PhD, but the climate for that is even worse now than before.
And so I bailed on academia and went looking for a job at a game company.

In the end, come late Jan/early Feb, I secured a contract with Mindfield Games here in Finland, and I could not be happier. It has been so much fun and is exactly the kind of work I love doing and am well suited for. The peopel I’m working with are awesome as well.

Thus ends the Workplace Saga. At least for the foreseeable future, as this contract is indefinite. :D

However, February and March ended up a very busy time for me. Between the new job and the theatre production (which I’d now been upgraded to both a main character and the producer for) I simply didn’t have any real free time. (One thing to another, my life is.)
The shows (Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards! adapted by Stephen Briggs) occurred last week. I spent Easter weekend recovering.

And now I’m back to being able to do fun stuff.

There’s a small hill of things I’ve been putting off that I’ll be working through (including setting up/finishing building a computer I got over Christmas) but I’m looking forward to getting back into the groove of Mystcraft and LookingGlass. It’ll be slow for a while, but I’m on my way back.

Cheers!

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Hey, XComp, where’d you go?

Post by: on November 12th, 2015 | File Under Announcements, Ramblings

(This post is very “personal life” oriented. Steer clear if you don’t care.)
I’ve been staying pretty quiet about my hiatus. It wasn’t planned (or I’d have given warning) and has lasted much longer than I’d have liked.

The reasons are pretty mundane. I’m not dying (any faster than usual; at least such that I can tell). I’m not sick. I’m not even getting married or something significant like that (I’d probably have mentioned that if I were).

I’m just working full time on a project (for work at the Uni) that has been in crunch mode since about August. Keeps one busy.
At the same time, my motivation has been a little upended. This has to do partially with work as well, but the reverse direction.

About August (what is it with August this year?), I was informed that at the end of my current contract I cannot be guaranteed funding. This isn’t the problem most people would expect for me. While, ya, not being paid is problematic, I could try to get money from other sources (I could mod more and depend on Patreon again). The problem for me is residence permit. In order for me to get a permit to live in Finland I need to have an income. Thus, no funding means I can’t get a residence permit beyond my current contract.
I don’t think I need to say that the possibility of being kicked out of the country one considers home is a bit stressful.

Thus I’ve been looking for other ways to stay here in Finland. The first looks were how to stay in academia, but I’ve largely given up on that. There isn’t any money in the universities here and most of them are in a recruiting freeze because of it. At this point I’m trying to get a job “in the real world/industry.” It’s made a little more complex by wanting to stay in Finland.

I have some time, still, before “Volcano Day,” but it’s still stressful to the point of deterring me from working on Mystcraft.

I just felt that you all deserved to know why Mystcraft stopped updating around August and where I’ve been. Thank you to everyone and I hope I can be back on playing around with Mystcraft fairly soon.
Cheers!
-XCompWiz

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Mystcraft 0.12.3.01

Post by: on November 12th, 2015 | File Under Mystcraft

Sorry for the hiatus. I wish I could say it was over, but the reasons for it persist.

In the mean time, there’s a bug fix build for Mystcraft.:P

Mystcraft is available from CurseForge.

Mystcraft Changelog

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What are packs? (Baby, don’t hurt me…)

Post by: on September 25th, 2015 | File Under Ramblings

The younger of you may not get that reference.
Those that do may not appreciate it. :P

Something that comes up really often for me is modpacks. Part of this is that Mystcraft is constantly inundated with modpack requests, but also because I interact with the community on this point. I enjoy providing tools and options to people building interesting packs.
So this post about modpacks will be to modders, not pack creators.

I think of modpacks as something akin to a remix. Taking things which already exist and arranging them to make something new. This is what I think a good modpack should be these days.*
Now, this squarely sets me as one of the modders who wants to build my mod(s) such as to allow easy remixing. Thus I provide lots of configs and options and IMC tools and try to make things as adaptive and adjustable as possible. I realize not all modders see things this way, and that some don’t want to allow for that level of customization. That’s really up to them. However, I would implore everyone to consider it.
You don’t have to make it as easy as a config option -IMC mechanics work well for modpack creators-, but allowing for mechanics to be added, tweaked, and disabled permits pack creators to produce even more creative things.

Some thoughts to consider:
You never can control how a user uses any software you write. Ever. Ultimately, how a user wishes to use what you have created is up to them.
If you are creating a mod, you are doing precisely this to someone else’s mechanics; you are modifying and extending the base game. Disallowing others to do that to what you have created is your right, but it is when we build on others’ work that the most interesting things occur. Letting others build on your work can lead to exciting things. Sometimes those contributions can be integrated into your work, and that saves you a lot of work!
Enabling remixing and control over how things work at any level helps build a stronger (,better, and more friendly) community. I know that the MC community is often… well, not as great as we’d like. The trick is to insulate yourself with the better of them (and ignore the rest). This helps with that.

Just my two cents on the topic. I use mods to produce the game I want to play. I like when those mods are balanced and interact well with each other, but sometimes they don’t do that out of the box.
Providing the tools and options to fix that balance to your community (not necessarily to average users, but to some level of the community) allows others to do that balance work for you and strengthens your community.

Cheers!

*There are the two cases of packs outside this. Packs for smallish communities, which I think should be private, and packs for media content creators, which I allow to be public so that streamers and YouTubers can let their audience play along.

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Mystcraft Trello Board

Post by: on August 3rd, 2015 | File Under Announcements, Mystcraft

Lots of posts in a short span of time, but everything kind of fell together at once. :P

Mystcraft now has a (public) Trello board. https://trello.com/b/0iPcFEAy

I’ve gone through a a few iterations on it for a little while, and I’ve settled on a timeline-like format. The upcoming features are to the right, and past things are to the left. Older versions are archived.
I’ve been on this format for a little while now and found that it works well for me. I can quickly arrange things based on when I think I will get to them, structure larger arcs of development, and put features which depend on stuff after the things they depend on.
While it’s not strictly a timeline, in that sometimes a feature might get warped from a later list to suddenly being an active task as things come up, it helps give a general impression.

I’ve opened it up so that anyone may comment on it, and there is a voting system, so let me know your thoughts. :)
(Note that, if the public commenting should turn out to be an issue, I will just turn it back off and we’ll just discuss everything on the forums like we have been. :P )

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Maven Repo!

Post by: on August 3rd, 2015 | File Under Announcements, LookingGlass, Mystcraft

(Forewarning: This post is mostly intended for other modders. It’s a cool thing and means neat stuff for the future, but the immediate applicability of it is limited to modders…)

Dev and API jars Mystcraft and LookingGlass are now possible to pull from a maven repo. maven.xcompwiz.com

Example GradleCode:

	repositories {
		maven {
			name "xcompwiz"
			url "http://maven.xcompwiz.com"
		}
	}
	dependencies {
		compile "com.xcompwiz.lookingglass:lookingglass:0.2.0.00:dev"
	}
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Mystcraft 0.12.3

Post by: on August 3rd, 2015 | File Under Mystcraft

No LookingGlass build this week.

This Mystcraft release is centered around the trading system, which has been in a state of partial completion for a while now. Check out the changelog for what all that means and what else got thrown in. :D

I’ve also finalized the maven repo for my projects. More info for that will be posted somewhere soon. :P

Mystcraft is available from CurseForge.

Mystcraft Changelog

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Mystcraft 0.12.2

Post by: on July 21st, 2015 | File Under Mystcraft

No LookingGlass build this week.

This Mystcraft release was mostly bugfixes and compatibility handling for a few things.

I’ve been really busy with general travels and things. Haven’t been home since slightly before MineCon, really, so I’ve had limited opportunity to work on things. Should be returning to a “normal” schedule at this point.

Mystcraft is available from CurseForge.

Mystcraft Changelog

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Using Trello

Post by: on July 13th, 2015 | File Under Ramblings

I’ve been experimenting with using Trello for Mystcraft for a little while now. Thus far, I’ve found it a good way it organize my TODOs, and definitely an improvement from my flat text sheets.

For those who haven’t seen it, Trello is a neat little web app for project management. It supports the creation of lists in which you create “cards” detailing different tasks (or “stories”) which need to be completed. It is modeled on the Kanban paradigm.

I’m still on the fence about the best way for me to manage the lists, though. I tried the “standard” arrangement and set my lists up in a Kanban-like system, moving the cards between lists depending on what I’m currently doing and what I won’t be doing for a little while.
However, I’m thinking about arranging the lists as release arcs, breaking up the lists into individual releases as I hit them. The main idea behind this is to get better relationships between the cards. Currently you can just link to the cards, but there’s not really a dependency system.

It’s possible, I think, to try and put all the things which would depend on a task inside the same card, but since I like to have pretty small tasks this results in not wanting to have large cards. I also like to detail things pretty well, and it’s hard to detail the checklist elements on a card. Now if there were sub-cards….

If anyone has any thoughts on this (particularly anyone who has used Trello) I’d love to hear them. I actually have been thinking of making the Mystcraft Trello board publicly accessible and opening it up for comments and things, so let me know if you are interested in that as well.

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