The Lives of Darwin Blackwolf

The Learning Centre

June 12th, 2015

by Darwin Blackwolf

Food For Thought (TerraFirmaCraft)


For some people, finding all five food groups can be as easy as just wandering around for a few in-game days.  For others, it can take a frustratingly long time, to the point where you wonder if you'll ever find them.

I've had that frustrating experience in Terra Obscura.  It took me an eternity to find fruits and cows.

But once I found all five food groups, life started getting easy, and yet this created a new level of complications.  All of a sudden, I found myself having to travel for two in-game days by boat, portaging through some lands, just to get to my cows, with no easy way to lure them to my peninsula home.

Image: Underground food warehouse at the peninsula home.Another complication was perpetrated by myself when I decided to plant as many food trees as possible.  Any sapling I'd get from fruit trees, I'd plant them near the peninsula.  So much so that I now have an over-abundance of fruits each year.  They have so far proven fruitful in making vinegar, but even then, I still have ample more to brine and preserve in vinegar.

This is how it works:

When you eat a specific food item (i.e. a carrot), one bite will replenish up to five ounces on your food bar.  It will also bring up that food group's nutrition level.  But unless you wait until you're dizzy and seeing things to eat, you won't be able to eat from all five food groups in one sitting.

Image: Nutritional Values based on different food groups.This is where sandwiches come in.  Each sandwich will cost you up to ten ounces of food, each slot allowing for a different food group.  You essentially get between 1-3 ounces per food group, so your nutrition values will rise practically equally, and you'll find yourself with a stronger health bar.



Image: Various bars on the main screen.

Salads can give you an almost as good a deal, offering up to 20 ounces of food per salad bowl, but you permanently lose your bowl in the process.

So food for thought, sandwiches trump bites from individual food groups.  Your nutrition values will all be high, and that will bring strengthen your health bar.

Image: Various bars on the main screen.

Image: Underground food warehouse at the peninsula home.

Image: Nutritional Values based on different food groups.

June 1st, 2014

by Darwin Blackwolf

TerraFirmaCraft Quick Guide


Created by Bioxx, TerraFirmaCraft (TFC) is a complete rework of vanilla Minecraft, which makes survival a lot harder, but also a lot richer.  Where vanilla Minecraft has an easy learning curve with suspended laws of physics, TFC is more challenging and realistic.

Getting Started: You appear wherever TFC decides for you.  If you're lucky, you won't be in the middle of nowhere.  On the ground are various types of stones and sticks.  The stones, you can knap into tool heads, suck as knives, axes, shovels, and more.  Knives are used to cut tall grass (hay) so you can make blocks of thatch which you can use to make your first safe house.  You will need food and drink, because otherwise, you will die.

Food and Agriculture: In vanilla Minecraft, you prepare the land, seed, and wait until you have to sow.  In TFC, once you've converted land into farmland, it remains farmland.  You then seed, which come in bags of seeds, and you wait a realistic amount of time for the item to grow.  Each item has a separate range for its growth time.  The same goes for the trees.  At last count, there were 17 types of regular trees, plus nine fruit trees.  There are also 19 types of crops, plus several fruit bushes.  When you cut down a tree, your best bet is to use a ladder (for tall trees) and take off the leaves first.  Unlike vanilla Minecraft, each leaf block has a chance to yield a sapling or sticks.  All you have to do to cut down the tree is to use an ax, and the trunk above the cut will fall as logs.

Food Preparation: You can make yourself a 'cutting board' surface with a block of wood and a knife which will permit you to prepare recipes.  One slot on your body can hold up to 160 oz of food.  Food rots, and the more decay there is on food, the faster it'll go.  I had ample venison simply disappear as it was just too much food to eat on time.  Each time you take a bite, you eat around 5 oz of food.  If you don't stay hydrated, you will become sluggish, and might not even be able to break a block.  Look around for bull rushes in the water.  That's drinkable water.  And, if you stand in it, your water bar will slowly replenish itself.  If only I had known that from the start, because outrunning mobs when slow is impossible.

Mining: In vanilla Minecraft, all you need is to mine.  Up, down, front, back, and sideways.  You'll get ore for every block you mine.  Unless it's an ore or a specific type of stone, you'll get cobblestone which you then need to throw into a furnace to get stone once more.  In TFC, you have to be careful when mining.  Ceilings can cave in.  Essentially, the stone involved in the cave-in turns to cobblestone and can cause squishing damage.  It's recommended you never dig upward unless you use support beams.  Both vertical and horizontal support beams are available to help prevent cave-ins.  In combination with ladders, you can slowly work your way up, your only worry being what's above, beyond the stone.  If you want an original block of stone, you need to mine out the surrounding blocks.  Only then will the original block fall.

Stonemasonry: From knapping a stone you've found on the ground, or you've mined, to using a hammer and chisel on a block of stone, TFC brings a lot of possibilities to the game. In vanilla Minecraft, you take four smooth stones, and you make one stone brick block.  In TFC, you use a hammer and chisel on a stone to make a brick.  Then, using a hammer, you crush certain stones to get flux, which in turn is then used to make mortar, which then is used in combination with bricks, to make stone brick blocks.

Woodworking: As with stonemasonry, the procedures to make wood products is a bit longer.  In vanilla Minecraft, to make a stairway, you need to cut a tree down, make wood plank blocks, then use these blocks to make a stairway.  In TFC, you cut a tree, use a saw to make wooden planks, then make wooden plank blocks, which you place where you want the stairway.  Then, you take the hammer and chisel, and you chisel your stairway.

Chiseling: Whether stone or wood, you can chisel it into practically any kind of work. The only catch being it uses up 2x2x2 pixels of space each time.  I hope in the future, it'll go down to a 1 pixel cube, because a lot more precision can be had this way.


I'd like to continue, but I could probably dedicate a good ten or twenty pages babbling on about the game.  Instead, I recommend you look at some of the snapshots below, and if it interests you, check out the TerraFirmaCraft web site and wiki.  What I'm lacking in information here, those sites have aplenty.

Here are some images taken from my own personal offline TerraFirmaCraft world.


This is a snapshot of a hot spring with a waterfall in early winter.Check out the detail on a male deer.  Yes, I said male.  Every animal has a male and female counterpart to help with animal husbandry.This is what is called a charcoal pit.  The idea is you set up piles of wood in a certain design, set it afire, cover it with dirt, and wait.  Each block yields eight layers of charcoal, so eight pieces of charcoal.This is a forge.  You need coal or charcoal to get it started, and the chimney needs to be done a certain way to prevent the rain from extinguishing the forge.Here's a snapshot of the main floor of my home, including a fireplace, a barrel, and tool racks on the walls.  Very useful when you can't put tools into a chest.Instead of making the porch out of stone or simple wood planks, I decided to make it look more realistic, along with cracks between the planks.  It's amazing what you can do with wood and stone.<>1 - 6

May 3rd, 2014

by Darwin Blackwolf

Etho's Lab


Etho is one of the most prominent Minecrafters on YouTube.

His YouTube channel, called Etho's Lab, contains several video series, and occasional one-shots, pertaining to Minecraft (and occasionally, other games).

Whether you're just starting, or you're an advanced gamer, Etho's Lab has a video series for you.  I deem his work a learning experience for everyone.  In one fashion or another, he manages to cover mods, resource packs, builds, and simple gaming.

When you follow along with his videos and included commentaries, you feel like you're there with him.

One of his latest videos is a speed challenge, where rules are set to achieve a certain goal within a certain amount of time, or simply as quickly as possible.

Be warned: Etho has been at this for a long time, and with his videos usually ranging around 20-30 minutes apiece, you'll need a lot of time on your hands.  Or maybe you'll do like I did a few times, and forget the time.  But guaranteed, somewhere in his videos, you'll find inspiration.  I have.

If you wish to simply follow his channel, or join it, you'll need to get on YouTube and look for Etho's Lab.  Or, you can follow this link.

At the time of posting this, this was the latest video posted to Etho's Lab:

(YouTube Source: "Etho Plays Minecraft - Episode 339: Slime Blocks")

November 1st, 2013

by Darwin Blackwolf

Coming Soon


The idea behind The Learning Centre came about in a previous version of this site, where I was embedding links to videos located on other sites, as well as some of my own material.  Not every item will be a how-to video or recipe.  Minecraft has become a worldwide phenomenon for people of all ages, where people build the most amazing of structures.  Lego for adults indeed.  It's no wonder Lego has jumped onto the bandwagon.  I'd ask for help in locating videos to embed here, but time would allow me to only look at a few, and I wouldn't want to alienate one person's request over another's.  Stay tuned, though.  Something is coming soon.


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