A Fortnight in Minecraft

Many many years ago I wrote a Second Life Journal. Now I have a “First Life Journal”; my first life in Minecraft, that is.

Yeah, I’d actually never played Minecraft until now. I owned it (got it for free as part of my work on the Will Wright MasterClass) but I’d never seen a reason to play the actual game until I found myself craving a super simplistic survival game with an easily-installable nude mod.

ElRiatas’ Diary 

(I’m legit not sure where the game found that character name. Was it procedurally-generated?)

Day 1: I spawned deep in the jungle and never even saw the starter crate I’d flagged to spawn. I stumbled around randomly eating watermelons for the first day before accidentally pissing off a zombie and barely escaping with my life. As it got dark, i climbed onto this giant stone structure and clumsily built a 7×3 house, which gave me exactly one square to stand on (it was originally 2 squares, but I punched out and it opened a pitfall deep underground). uncomfy but I survived the night only occasionally having to kite zombies so they fell off the side. 

Day 2 I was sick of the junglescape so I’ve been running in a straight line trying to find any other biome. so far it just seems to be more and more and more jungle, and by night I climbed the tallest tree and just stood there waiting for daylight. during that time I learned how to craft things, made a crafting table, and crafted a sword and axe.

Day 3 I’d run out of food so I continued sprinting through the junglescape, but I haven’t seen any new watermelons. I saw my first cow and got inked by a squid when I attacked it, but when night came I again climbed the tallest tree and hid there waiting for dawn. So far there’s been nowhere to build a house because everything is trees, beaches and lakes.

Day 4 I’d done some research and learned that I’d created a world 4 times larger than normal when I chose “large biomes” which is why this jungle never ends. When morning came I jumped from the tree into the water and sprinted as fast as I could through the junglescape. I found a red mushroom so I could finally craft mushroom stew, which is good cause I was out of food. I finally reached the outskirts of the jungle and built my first house in the first level field I found: a roughly 8×5 little hovel with no windows and a door blocked with sediment cause I wasn’t sure if zombies could destroy doors. That night was spent in pitch blackness until I discovered brown mushrooms give off faint light and stuck them in every corner

Day 5 I decided for the first time to settle down before continuing my mad hike into the unknown. I created a bed so I can finally go to sleep, I explored my surrounding fields, and I attempted to find coal, though I farmed four different types of grey blocks and none of them turned out to be right. I also discovered a massive faultline that plummeted into the planet’s core, I might build a staircase down there and try farming those grey blocks with squiggly black lines tomorrow. A creeper and a zombie scared the shit out of me by walking right past my door while I was crafting mushroom stews

Day 6 I emerged to find that the zombie, spider and creeper hadn’t despawned. the zombie died to fire and the creeper I darted away before it exploded, but I had to kill the spider with my wooden axe and earned an achievement. The rest of the day was spent slowly creating a dirt staircase into the faultline, where I earned an achievement for entering the stone age. That night I crafted a set of stone gear and plan to use it to expedite my staircase. 

Day 7 I completed my staircase…well, as far as I’m willing to take it. It turns out monsters start spawning on the bottom level once I got close enough, so I don’t want to completely reach the core. I stopped along the top near a coal deposit in the wall which finally let me create torches to light my house, not to mention start a fire and cook some real meals. 

Day 8, I’ve decided to continue my hike away from the Jungle, but today was spent prepping. I cut down some trees and converted them into planks, slayed some sheep for a bed, and spent the night creating jerky and a chest to store unneeded items. I left about half my food as well, in case I ever return hungry and empty-handed. Or if I never return at all and have to respawn…

Day 9 started off with a bang, when I walked outside to see burning skeletons everywhere. One of them shot me, but I managed to survive long enough for them all to die of burn damage. And that’s how I got my first arrow! After that I committed to the hike and traversed at a breakneck pace through the fields. near the end of the day I didn’t notice a faultline and fell inside, I hear zombies and skeletons but managed to reach back up to the grass in a blind panic. at the top, I noticed a village and met my first villagers as the sun was setting. One poor sod didn’t take cover and the zombies ate him, so I spent the night in his house, eating his bread and claiming his chest as my own.

Day 10 I woke up and quickly meleed a burning archer skeleton to death hoping to claim his bow, but alas I was unsuccessful. I decided to rest up in the village and spruce my new house up a bit. Then I explored the brewery, the blast furnace, the stonecutter, and other landmarks. I also explored a forest fire going on around a nearby lava pit. Last but not least I tamed by a horse by right-clicking it repeatedly, though I don’t have a saddle and they don’t appear craftable so I doubt the faithful steed will be coming with me. 

Day 11 started off scary enough…I had gone to sleep because there was a spider outside and I wanted to kill it for fishing string in the morning, but I noticed an enderman as well. I tried to fight it outright but it hit like a truck and kept darting around. at low health I finally hid inside a house, but it loitered around the front door screaming. Then the stone giant guarding the town stumped over and beat it to death. I owe that guy a beer. I returned to the nearby faultline and mined every chunk of coal I could find. I also carved a path to the river just to see the faultline fill with water. Looked pretty sweet. That night I dumped all my useless stuff into a crate and prepared to venture forth, leaving the village behind me. 

On day 12 I postponed my upcoming exodus when I realized you can right-click on notable villagers to trade, and I realized I was close to trading with the cleric (32 rotten flesh) and farmer (26 potatoes). I filled his plots with my stolen potatoes and fertilized them with bone meal, then went AFK in my house waiting for the last few potatoes to grow. When I returned, it was raining outside and I saw the farmer being assaulted by a zombie. I charged out there and kited the zombie into the iron golem. Realizing I could farm zombies this way, I darted around in the rain luring various undead foes (including my first baby zombie) to their ironic death. Until a horde of zombies spawned and murdered my iron bro ;_; I found an empty house and quickly went to sleep. 

Morning of Day 13 arrived with burning zombies everywhere. I kited them together and harvested their flesh for the cleric. After trading with him and the farmer, I earned my first two emeralds which I crafted into red dust. I don’t actually know what it does, but it was expensive as hell so it’s gotta be good, right?
It was already noon, so I ended the day by doing everything I hadn’t already tried in the village, since I wanted to leave before causing more destruction for the poor townpeople. I crafted iron boots from the remains of the iron giant and grabbed some pig and salmon meat to cook over a fire tonight, and I fell asleep hoping a spider would spawn tomorrow so I could try fishing. 

Day 14 arrived, and I charged outside and fought some burning skeletons, burning zombies, and (yessss) two spiders! They dropped more than enough string, so I finally crafted me a fishing rod and headed down to the river. I threw the bobber in, but i couldn’t figure out how to reel the fish in. Every time I tried nothing seemed to happen– BOOM! A creeper had snuck up behind me and one-shot me. I guess I deserved it for not keeping aware of my surroundings. 

Welp, thus ends this journal, as I promised myself I’d stop when I first died. Goodbye cruel world… though imo two weeks isn’t a bad track record for a first life.

Getting Back on Track

687328533

But which track?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been in something of a slump these past two weeks. I’ve written only two articles, one of which was a glorified announcement, and my only video was an unedited rip from my stream.

 

Part of it is a mental gridlock as I decide where to put my mental energies. I have many ideas for videos, but where should I post them? I want to post them on the SPUF of Legend, but I’m now a paid videographer for VGFAQ, it feels silly to spend my energy releasing videos for what essentially amounts to a failed attempt to make a standalone YouTube channel. After 3 years, the only videos that get any enduring traffic are the Overwatch League clips and me showing how to close a game without alt-f4 or the task manager. So, for this article, I’m mostly getting my thoughts out in one place:

Option 1: Release videos for both channels at the same time. It’s becoming increasingly clear I can’t do this. I spend a lot of time on my videos, and I don’t like having them constantly separated. I know I work better when pouring all my resources into one place to make it the best it possibly can. Which means my actual options are:

Option 2: Release videos for VGFAQ. There are some obvious pros; I’m getting paid money for doing so (albeit not much at all, but I think my value would increase quickly if I gave them my full attention) and I even have something of a fanbase. (There are a couple users who chat with me on Twitter and visit my Twitch channel, and they explicitly came from VGFAQ.) Plus, when talking to people in real life I can answer “63 thousand” when they inevitably ask how many subscribers I have.

Option 3: Release videos for the SPUF of Legend. The main pro is that someday, god willing, it came become a standalone channel where I get 100% of money. Right now I get a very small percentage of the money from VGFAQ, and unless Kevin bequeaths the channel to me in his will or something, that’s never gonna change no matter how big we get. In addition, SPUF was my creation; I created the channel with 0 subscribers and I’ve worked hard for over three years to bring 530 subscribers and 175,000 views to my channel, and I take a lot of pride in what it’s become. I like how all the notifications involve videos I made, unlike on VGFAQ where 99% of them are ancient videos published before I’d even joined.

There’s no easy solution. My upcoming video, My 5 Favorite Healers in Games, is one of those two-minute lightning lists that the SPUF of Legend was made for. It’s probably going on VGFAQ, but it’s gonna feel weird because it’s probably only gonna get a few more views and then disappear in the sea of their other content creators. I can’t help but feel I’m giving up on my chances of becoming a standalone YouTuber by selling myself to another channel.

But on the other hand, this could be an opportunity. Right now, SPUF essentially has no community; nobody ever contacts me asking when my next video will go live, and if I rebranded it into something completely different I doubt we’d suffer any real losses in subscriber count. If I could publish a different sort of video on SPUF (something the gaming-focused VGFAQ wouldn’t be interested in), I think I could find the energy to start releasing content for both channels again. And if I ever knuckle down and learn how to animate, I’m going to need somewhere to publish them…

Electra City character timelines

Emilena and Flora are my two main characters of the cyberpunk Electra City franchise, appearing in significantly more stories and eras than any other character. Since there are so many different sources of content, and most of them were written out of chronological order, it’s basically impossible for new readers (or heck, even old) to follow their journeys coherently. This blog post aims to change that by providing a personal timeline for each character, letting interested readers follow their history from start to finish.

Note: I must admit that these timelines are going to be a bit fractured and hicuppy no matter what, simply due to how long I’ve been writing all this. Also after so many years of stories, lots of them (especially any involving flashbacks to a character’s past) will have plot holes and retcons simply due to personality tweaks and writing evolution. I’ll do my best to leave notes explaining anything unusual. A red asterisk* indicates the piece contains explicit sexual content.

Emilena Echo

Emilena was born in 2030, the first child of moss farmers Emile and Lena Shipper. Her parents named her after themselves and put her up for adoption in Electra’s unpleasant Nature’s Heart orphanage. At the age of 7, she volunteered herself for the Accelerated Growth Program, a controversial government initiative involving using rapid-aging chambers to boost orphans up to “taxable age” (the test subjects were named with the military alphabet, where she got the surname ‘Echo’). She served as a junior officer for the Electra Police Department for three years before burning down her former orphanage and losing her badge. She’s still on probation when the events of Electra City begin.

  • Officer Echo – A series of 11 stories set during her police years. “Orphanage” and “Hapsburg Manor” include extensive flashbacks to her childhood before she was artificially grown into an adult.
  • Redacted Echo Case Files*Several old stories I’ve removed from the series. They relied too much on violence, shock value, and R-rated situations. Honestly recommend skipping them, I wasn’t a great writer back then
  • Electra City* – A full-length novel. Officer Echo races to apprehend a psionic fugitive, a terrified amnesiac named Lily who’s also being pursued by the Purifiers, a radical anti-technology terrorist group. This was the first thing I ever wrote with Emilena, so she’s pretty severely out of character.
  • Tabula Rasa – The sequel to Electra City. Emilena and other survivors attempt to rebuild their lives in the neighboring city of Cornova, but the Purifiers have other plans.
  • The Hemlock Gang – Emilena and the survivors of Tabula Rasa are now running drugs in the alleyways of Cornova. There’s a tone shift to more lighthearted and “zany antics” plots.
  • Electra City Chronicles* – Despite the name, most of these vignettes take place during the gang’s drug-running years in Cornova. Emilena herself stars in “Bare-athon” and appears briefly in “An Aquamarine Phase”.

Flora Hapsburg

Eric Hapsburg was born in 2019 to a rich family in Electra. He attended Ywens Boarding School and transitioned to female after developing very weak changeling powers that turned her skin fuchsia. Fearing her family’s reaction, Flora fled to Cornova of her own volition and first meets Emilena during the events of Tabula Rasa, becoming the designated driver of the newly-formed gang. And buckle up, because her backstory has gone through so many changes over the years that’s about all that stays consistent…

  • Lucid Dreaming” from Echo Chambers features extensive flashbacks to Flora’s childhood at Hapsburg Manor.
  • A Shiny Red Revelle*” from Electra City Chronicles is the only story starring Eric before he transitions to Flora. He’s also in high school instead of boarding school for some reason. I don’t know, this vignette’s really old.
  • Hapsburg Manor“, though told from Emilena’s point of view, includes Flora’s family members and the mansion she grows up in. Flora herself is relevant to the plot but doesn’t appear.
  • Dances With Clowns” from The Hemlock Gang contains repeated flashbacks set during Flora’s journey from Electra to Cornova, though it was written far earlier than almost all these others and she’s way too young to fit the rest of the timeline.
  • Tabula Rasa – Flora encounters the Purifiers and joins Emilena’s team. Also she somehow begins the plot still in school, despite being in Cornova. Maybe she went to college and it was never mentioned again?
  • The Hemlock Gang – Flora appears in every story as the designated driver of Emilena’s drug-running crew.
  • Electra City Chronicles* – Flora appears in every vignette and is the protagonist of “Flora++”, “A Shiny Red Revelle”, and “An Aquamarine Phase”.
  • Echo Chambers* – A series of 13 stories starring Flora as a test subject in an Egyptian psionic research facility, where apparently she fled after the law caught up to her in America. Despite the setup, it’s mostly slice-of-life and romance plots among the staff/subjects who live within the facility.

Also, gotta mention a few stories that don’t fit in the timeline since I never ported them to star humans (most of the early drafts for above stories were anthropomorphic animals because these characters originated from role-plays on the Gang of Five forum.) The below stories were left furry because, honestly, they were just flimsy excuses to string sex scenes together:

  • Breakfast at Yiffany’s* – Flora visits Emilena’s parents on their moss farm. Emilena only appears in the introduction.
  • Weekend at Jessica’s* – Flora visits her sister at a nudist colony. Emilena only appears during the epilogue and Flora’s flashback dream on Saturday night.
  • What Happens in Legal…*” – Set during Echo Chambers. Flora’s surprise party for a new test subject is interrupted by a psion with ulterior motives.
  • The Approaching Light” – This one’s not really like the others, written as a non-canon crossover between several different franchises. Young Emilena appears, but the time-travel plot causes her to grow up in 20th-century Spain without ever undergoing the Accelerated Growth procedure.

Video Games

Emilena has appeared in two non-canon video games. (She can also appear in yours, she’s part of the sprite pack I released into the public domain!)

  • Electra City – As one of the four playable fighters in a 1v1 pixel brawler.
  • Echo of the Undead – A little in-browser game where she fights a horde of zombies until she dies. Hence the title, geddit?
  • You can also play as her in Minecraft, if you really want to.

RP Continuity

Last but not least, since I’m trying to be thorough here, I should catalog the role-plays Emilena and Flora appeared in when they were still a fox and a folf. This should essentially be considered a completely different iteration of the characters from their human counterparts, not the least of which because those role-plays got pretty bizarre and don’t have much in the way of coherency:

  • Scorched Earth – An ancient role-play I didn’t even participate in, but during Into the Black‘s character creation I decided to make Emilena the daughter of StarfallRaptor’s characters.
  • Into the Black* – The first role-play, mostly tells the same story as Electra City. Emilena was my main character, and also such a dick most of the other authors admitted they were really hoping I’d kill her off and bring in a new character.
  • Racing the Storm* – A weird sci-fi romp where the main characters are traveling the world trying to stop a fleet of psionic gecko warmongers from taking over the planet. Emilena and her gangmates (including Flora in her first-ever appearance) are actually recurring antagonists who make life harder for the heroes. I was originally planning on killing them off one-by-one, but positive reception led to Flora getting an epilogue where she survives the warship’s destruction.
  •  Around the Folf* – Flora, having crash-landed her escape pod in the Sahara, makes her way to a psionic research facility. The original furry version of Echo Chambers was set during this.
    • Bathroom scene* – Halfway through Around the Folf, the Gang of Five updated their rules to ban sex scenes in forum posts. All subsequent ones were RPed in private via Google Docs. This one was between Flora and a test subject named Yurei.
    • Bedroom scene* – This one was between Flora and a nurse named Emma.
    • Folf in a Hot Tin Pool* – This one starred four characters (including Flora) in a jacuzzi.
    • Taming of the Revenue – This one was completely off the Gang of Five, and starred Flora and ‘Life’, the fursona of someone who paid me real money to RP it. More details here.
  • After the Storm – Apparently, Emilena survived the warship destruction too. She’s now rich and famous due to her role in saving the world, but pretty gray around the muzzle, having aged faster than normal due to unexpected side effects of the Growth Acceleration Program. I wanted to try writing her as a more physically-crippled character who had to rely on her wit and smarts to survive the dangerous situations that keep finding her.
  • Blanking the Slate – Not everyone was happy with how bizarre Racing the Storm got. The other authors created a separate timeline, set immediately after Into the Black and ignoring all other RPs, which returned to the initial city and told another story starring the Purifiers. I completely reworked Flora’s character for the reboot, now she’s a pop star who keeps mouthing off to everyone and I quickly got sick of her new interpretation. She’s lucky the RP died out before I killed her off. Plot was adapted into Tabula Rasa.
    • Enter Bianca* – A sex scene between pop star Flora and a young woman named Bianca, who’s actually Nick’s character Rose in disguise.
    • Epilogue – Like Racing the Storm, I wrote an epilogue after the RP petered out. Flora and Emilena are both present, and the latter dies because I traditionally kill my main character at the end of an RP series.
  • Ask the Characters– An out-of-universe thread where people could ask questions to characters from the various RPs. Emilena and Flora have answered a huge amount of questions over the years.

(If any of these links ever die, I have archived copies of all these RPs in this blog post.)