Monday, July 20, 2020

Minecraft Hardcore Challenge

This is a walk-through for the "Hardcore Challenge", which consists of killing the Ender Dragon, on Hardcore mode, using a random seed, in a minimal amount of time. This is different from a "Speed Run", in that this method should result in a fairly high chance of surviving -- depending on your skill and how closely you follow the instructions, you should have about 50%-90% chance of surviving and killing the Ender Dragon, in 4 to 8 hours.


This is essential the whole process, in graphical form. Start at the top-left. Complete all steps in each colored area before proceeding to the next.

First Things First

tip: Before starting, change your render distance to ~16 -- the highest value your machine will tolerate without significant lag.
  1. Run to nearest tree.
  2. Mine 6 Logs
  3. Look around for stone; if within 20 blocks run to it, else dig down* (or into a steep hill)
  4. Craft 24 Planks from 6 Logs; Crafting Table from 4 Planks
  5. Place Crafting Table near stone
  6. Craft 16 Sticks from 8 Planks; Wooden Pickaxe from 3 Planks and 2 Sticks
  7. Mine 3 Cobblestone with Wooden Pickaxe
  8. Craft Stone Pickaxe from 3 Cobblestone and 2 Sticks
  9. Mine 32 Cobblestone with Stone Pickaxe
  10. Craft 4 Stone Axe; 1 Stone Shovel; 1 Stone Pickaxe; 2 Furnace; 1 Boat
  11. Mine Crafting Table
You should now have zero raw materials. Your inventory should be:
4 Stone Axe; 1 Stone Shovel; 2 Stone Pickaxe; 2 Furnace; 1 Boat

Over Land and Sea

Next: kill Sheep until getting 3 Wool of the same color, and craft a Bed.
  • Use Stone Axes to kill all animals you come across; always jump, aim, and strike right before landing for extra damage; this will kill most animals in one strike. (Chickens do not require jumping, they will always die from a single aimed attack with a Stone Axe)
  • Sheep only spawn on Grass blocks. Preferred biomes, in order: Plains, Swamp, Birch Forest (white trees), Forest (avoid Dark Forest), Taiga (big trees), Jungle. Avoid other biomes.
  • Use a Boat whenever possible to travel more quickly (and without using up Hunger).
  • If mixed colors collected, and not near more sheep, and near water, kill 3 Squid and dye all wool black.
  • While traveling: mine 1 Log; kill any cows, chickens, or pigs that are on your way; and collect any Sugar Cane you come across. Do not go out of your way more than ~20 blocks for any of these.

Next: short-term food supply.
  • Kill 10-12 animals or fish near you.
  • Mine Logs, crafting them into Planks then Sticks; need twice the number of Sticks as of raw animals.
  • Place both Furnaces, cook all meat with the Sticks.
  • Mine Furnaces once done.
As you explore the Overworld, eat the cooked meat to keep your Hunger up. Always eat the food that you have the lowest number of, to maximize inventory space. You should not need to cook any more until you are done exploring the Overworld (if it takes extra long, repeat this step when you are out of food).

Next: collect all Overworld supplies from various biomes.

Continue to follow coasts/rivers when possible. Use the Boat for faster travel, and also for Sugar Cane.
Biome priorities:
  1. Swamp: spawn farm animals, and extra Sugar Cane
  2. Plains: spawn desired animals, and are easy to travel through
  3. Desert *edges*: only via Boat, for Sugar Cane
  4. Forest / Birch Forest: spawn farm animals
  5. Taiga / Jungle
Avoid other biomes.

Any time you spot a new Village, go to it:
  • check all buildings for Bookshelves and Chests.
  • Mine any Bookshelves into Books.
  • From Chests, take all of: any meat, Apple, Arrow, Book, Bucket (if Water Bucket, take it and empty it), Diamond, Empty Map or Compass (only 1, prefer the map), Feather, Flint, Iron Ingot, Saddle.
  • If find armor, equip the best; if find Iron tools, replace your Stone tools with them.
  • Do not take other items -- including Gold Ingot, Emerald, Bread, Coal, Horse Armor, Obsidian, etc. At this point the inventory space is not worth it, you will collect these easily later.
  • If you do come across a Saddle, use it on the next Horse you find, to speed up exploration; but do not become too attached to the horse -- if your normal exploration would take you where a horse cannot travel, abandon it immediately.
    • Mark-off buildings as you leave them by placing a block over the door.
    • Kill all farm animals.
"Farm animals" refers to Cows, Sheep, Horses, Chickens, Llamas

Any time you come across an Enderman (at any point in the game), either try to get it into your Boat and kill it, or pillar-jump up 3 blocks and provoke it (by looking at its eyes). Unless on a 3 block pillar, or from water, never provoke an Enderman.

From killing farm animals, collect:
  • All raw meat
  • Feathers: 12-16
  • Leather: 46 (or 1 less per Book you get from Villages)
Additionally, mine these items from around you:
  • 18 Gravel/Flint
  • Sugar Cane - at least 20, up to two stacks (128)
  • Apple - at least 2
  • Iron Ore (optional) - whatever you come across; do not pursue if more than ~20 blocks out of your way
  • Logs - 1 stack of 64, and another stack of at least 10 (40 for Boats, 22.5 for Bookshelves, remainder to make pickaxes/shovels/torches/crafting tables)
If, during exploration, your inventory becomes near-full with junk, stop a moment and throw away anything you have not deliberately collected.

Settle Down and Dig

Find a top-side to your new home, by the water.
  1. Find a waterline with sand/grass/dirt.
  2. Plant all Sugar Cane.
  3. Place Furnaces, fill with food to be cooked (to get them out of your inventory).
  4. Place Crafting Table.
  5. Craft a Chest, place it, and store Feathers, Leather, Gravel, Flint, Apple, etc.
  6. Craft 40 Logs into 160 Planks into 32 Boats, and place semi-randomly filling a loose circle around your chosen area.
  7. Dig next to the water, 1 block away from it, straight down*, a shaft (hole) three blocks wide.
  8. Dig all the way down to bedrock (or lava).
  9. On one side of the three-wide shaft, pillar-jump back up the surface.
  10. Break one block between the shaft and the water supply.
You should now have a two-by-one shaft from the surface down to bedrock, with one side flowing water and the other air. Use this to easily travel up and down the shaft.

Craft Cobblestone into Furnaces, place, and fill with remaining meat and Sand. Your inventory should
If you have any coal from digging, use one to craft 4 Torches, use the rest to fuel the furnaces.

Travel back down, and start tunneling:
  • Dig one direction 4 blocks from the shaft, and then the opposite direction, also 4 blocks from the shaft.
  • Go back to the shaft, turn 90 degrees, and start digging sideways.
  • Place Cobblestone to block the entrance to the vertical shaft, blocking mobs from reaching it.
  • Monitor your pickaxe, to make sure it will not break before you can return via a parallel tunnel.
  • Mine a straight line, 2 blocks high.
  • Mine any exposed Iron Ore, Gold Ore, Redstone, Diamond, Emerald.
  • After about 60 blocks in one direction, turn right or left, mine 4 blocks deep, and turn back the way you came.
    • a new Stone Pickaxe has a durability of 131
  • Dig a parallel tunnel all the way back to the vertical shaft.
  • Place Cobblestone to block the entrance.
You have completed one leg of mining.
  • If night time, place the bed, sleep, and mine the bed.
  • Travel to the surface.
  • Kill any mobs captured in the boats.
  • Harvest any grown Sugar Cane, and replant.
  • Craft a few more furnaces from the excess Cobblestone you now have; enough to hold all Iron Ore, Gold Ore, and any remaining Cobblestone. Place these at the bottom of the shaft.
  • Use any Coal for fuel; first cook the meat and Sand, then Iron Ore, Gold Ore, and lastly Cobblestone.
Do mining trips in this way several times, with minor adjustments:
  • Use Iron Ingots to craft, in order: Shield, Iron Pickaxes (as needed for mining), full set of iron armor, two Buckets.
  • Once have Buckets, and find Lava while mining, use Lava for furnaces.
  • Smelt Cobblestone into Stone, and then into Smooth Stone, simply for the XP. You will want two stacks of some type of stone later, but most of this can be discarded.
Repeat mining trips until you have:
  • 5+ Diamond
  • ___+ Iron Ingots (aside from your tools, full set of armor, and two Buckets)
Craft Diamond Pickaxe, use to mine 14 Obsidian (note: this is *not* for your portal to the Nether).
Do full inventory from the surface.
TODO _____
Get 16 Flint; convert from Gravel if needed.
Fill both buckets with water.
Travel down the shaft.
Use water and lava to create a Nether portal of Obsidian, start with Flint and Steel.

Say goodbye to the Overworld.

Nether Travels




The End


Monday, July 6, 2020


What I do today, more than anything else, determines who I will be tomorrow.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Brain Exercise?

Some ways of thinking stretch your mind. This can be exhausting, and you might feel like your mind hurts, but it is not harmful.
Some ways of thinking squash or smash your mind. This can also be exhausting, and your mind may feel like it hurts; but this is harmful.

Do not let your thinking smash your mind. It is a terrible thing to waste. 😢

Monday, March 23, 2020

COVID-19: How long?

As everyone settles into this new "routine" of social distancing and semi-quarantine, I think a lot of us are wondering how long this will last. The true answer is complicated by many things, which vary by territory, immunity, politics, etc. But I think we can put some useful boundaries on the timeline.

The numbers below are all based on the United States, but in reality the outer bounds are probably pretty close regardless of where on Earth you live; because we are all in a global community (except for you, North Korea).

Least Time

Say that we ignore COVID-19, live like it does not exist, and let it spread as fast as it can on its own. This means that at some near point in time, everyone will have become exposed/infected, and a while after that everyone (who survives) will become immune. This is the minimum amount of time that COVID-19 will affect us all.

Down to the numbers. To start some calculations, we need several values. These are all averages/estimates.
So given all of that, the reconstruction:
  • on 3/23/2020, there were 504 deaths in the USA
  • given 15 days from infection to death, and 2% death rate, this means there were approximately 25,200 infected persons on 3/8/2020
  • given 6 days to double the number infected, this means that ever person in the USA would be infected by 5/30/2020 (this glosses over a lot of factors, but we're doing quick estimates here)
  • again, given 15 days from infection to death, this means the last fatality could be as soon as 6/14, so middle of June 2020.

Most Time

Now that the whole world is up in arms against this virus, what will it take to wipe it out completely? It would take a massive vaccination. But we do not yet have a vaccine.

Question) What are the scientists saying is a reasonable time to have a COVID-19 vaccine?
Answer) The New Yorker did a story on this; the gist is 12-18 months is the fastest reasonable time it could be done

Now, before just taking this at face value, let's try to probe it for reasonableness. What is the fastest that a vaccine could be made? From the WHO, the fastest vaccine development is about five months.

Given that, if we dump infinite money and resources into this, I don't believe we will see a useful quantity of a COVID-19 vaccine in less than 12 months.

But now we are estimating the farthest likely timeline. So say everything goes wrong, maybe this takes 24 months, putting it out to March 2022.


Prepare yourself, mentally and physically, to be affected by this pandemic for months. Maybe three months, but more likely six months, or twelve months, or even longer.

But do not despair. In two years, this will be behind us all, one way or another.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

1000 Blank White Cards


Ostensibly, the purpose of 1000 Blank White Cards is to get the most points.

The true purpose (IMHO) is to create the best game cards you can, evaluating which cards are "best" by playing the game with them.

What You Need

  • 2+; I recommend no more than 6, at least the first few games; the more people play the longer each game will take.
  • A stack of blank white cards. You should have about 10 per player. Cards can be unlined or lined; regular (3" x 5"), extra large (5" x 8"), or even cut down in size (3" x 2.5").
  • If you have played before, a deck of cards from the last game.
  • Pens/pencils/markers; at least one per player
    • NOTE: If you use markers, or felt-tip pens, they will soak through the cards. So be sure each player has a “backing” card, both to hide the back of their cards, and to catch any bleed-through ink when creating new cards. And you may wish to "back" each card, by gluing another blank card to it; though this will make shuffling very challenging.

Pre-Game Phase - Card Creation

  1. First, you need to set up the deck.
    • If this is your first game, place 10 blank cards in the middle of the table for each player, for creating new cards.
    • If you have played before, place 5 blank cards in the middle of the table for each player, for creating new cards. Also add 5 cards per player from an previous deck of cards.
  2. Everyone will now take a few minutes to turn their blanks into actual cards (explained at the end). Each player can fill in all of their cards, or leave a few blank.
  3. When everyone is finished, collect all their cards and add them to the deck.


One player can do this while the others are still working on creating cards.
  1. Shuffle the deck thoroughly. Ideally, the owner of the deck of cards will do this sometime before coming to the game.
    • Since most cards are flimsy, and easy to permanently bend, the most common ways I grew up shuffling cards (weave, riffle) are not recommended. More gentle alternatives include the Overhand shuffle (, the Hindu shuffle (, or just cut the deck into many stacks of small piles, and pick them back up in random order.
  2. Deal out five cards to each player.
  3. Place the remaining cards face down, creating the draw pile.
  4. Designate a place for the discard pile; usually next to the draw pile.

Playing the Game

Play begins with the player to the dealer's left, and moves clockwise.

For each player's turn:
  1. Draw the top card from the deck
  2. Play a card from your hand
  3. Apply instructions on card (if any)

1. Draw the top card from the deck

If there are no cards left, skip this first step. As long as each player whose turn is active can play a card, the game continues.

2. Play a card from your hand

You can generally play a card on yourself, on another player, or to the center of the table. The card affects the player it is placed in front of, or when placed in the middle of the table it affects all players, including yourself.

If you cannot play any cards from your hand, draw a second card from the deck into your hand, and it is the next player's turn.

Once the active player cannot play any cards, and there is no deck remaining, the game ends. All players discard all remaining unplayed cards in their hands.

3. Apply instructions on card

If the card has a point value or some other sort of lasting effect, leave it in place until it is somehow nullified, discarded, or removed by another card. If the effect is completed, place it in the discard pile.

If you have a blank card in your hand, you may turn the blank into a playable card at any time. You must do this in order to play it -- you cannot play a blank card. It is best to do this during the other players' turns, to not make others wait on you.

Game Over - Winning

Total up the point value of the cards in front of you, and add the point values of any cards played to the center of the table. This is your score (and yes, it can be a negative number). The player with the highest score wins! Huzzah!

Epilogue - Cleaning up

After the game is over, you will have a pile of cards. The next time you play, you will be using a random selection of cards from this pile, so you want the best cards to be kept, and the worst cards to be removed. To facilitate this, the Epilogue phase of the game is a process to choose which cards to keep.

Take all the cards from the game you just finished, as well as any previous cards that didn't get used, and spread them all out on the table, face-up. Each player will pick up their favorite cards, so they can be used again next time.

Optional ways to limit how many cards are kept:
  • Each player can only preserve their favorite 7 cards
  • Take turns picking a favorite card. When a player does not like any remaining cards, they pass. Once half of the players have passed, stop picking cards to keep.
  • All at once, players pick up their favorite cards; when they are done, they put them all face-down in front of themselves. Once half of the players have finished, reserving cards is over for all players.
Reserved cards should be held by the person who brought the supply of cards.

The leftover cards can be thrown away; carefully archived in a huge library of three-ring binders; or baked into a tasty casserole -- your choice!

How To Create a Card

Okay, now for the important bit, the bit you've all been waiting for! .

Here is a sample card, with descriptions of its various parts.
First, a title. This is what the card is called. Yep.

Next, picture or drawing of some sort. Artistic ability is not required; stick men, or even scribbles, all good.

Last, a description of what the card does. This can be a point value, some sort of instruction, or both, or neither. Instructions can be based on anything you like - existing cards, the current month, current or future actions of the players, anything you can describe.

Try to make the intent of the card clear. When ambiguities arise, some discussion is fun, but too much confusion can be boring.


Friday, February 21, 2020

Plain javascript

This guy Pablo Olóndriz made a game in plain javascript, and it's pretty cool!

I recommend anyone who wants to play and learn web development use I've started a few projects, but the only one I'm proud of is
And I guess is ok too, though it's really just a couple open source libraries with a wrapper.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Pokemon Go Super Effective Attacks by Type

The data for this
The above flowchart shows only the "Super Effective" attack types -- adding the "Weak" attacks makes a pretty absurd looking flowchart.

However, if you are choosing a Pokemon type that will be Super Effective for a fight, you also want to know what the effectiveness of the opponent will be against you. Because if type A is Super Effective against type B, then type B effectiveness against type A might be Normal, Weak, or Extremely Weak. This is represented by the color and thickness of the lines.

  • Thin, pure red lines: effectiveness of the reverse attack is normal
  • Thicker, somewhat purple lines: effectiveness of the reverse attack is weak 
  • Thickest, dark maroon lines: effectiveness of the reverse attack is extremely weak
So if your opponent is type Psychic, your best option is to choose a Pokemon with type Dark.

The data for this came from In text form, the full data is

  • Bug does 1.6x damage to: Dark, Grass, Psychic
  • Bug does .625x damage to: Fighting, Fire, Flying, Fairy, Ghost, Poison, Steel
  • Dark does 1.6x damage to: Ghost, Psychic
  • Dark does .625x damage to: Dark, Fighting, Fairy
  • Dragon does 1.6x damage to: Dragon
  • Dragon does .625x damage to: Steel
  • Dragon does .391x damage to: Fairy
  • Electric does 1.6x damage to: Flying, Water
  • Electric does .625x damage to: Dragon, Electric, Grass
  • Electric does .391x damage to: Ground
  • Fairy does 1.6x damage to: Dark, Dragon, Fighting
  • Fairy does .625x damage to: Fire, Poison, Steel
  • Fighting does 1.6x damage to: Dark, Ice, Normal, Rock, Steel
  • Fighting does .625x damage to: Bug, Fairy, Flying, Poison, Psychic
  • Fighting does .391x damage to: Ghost
  • Fire does 1.6x damage to: Bug, Grass, Ice, Steel
  • Fire does .625x damage to: Dragon, Fire, Rock, Water
  • Flying does 1.6x damage to: Bug, Fighting, Grass
  • Flying does .625x damage to: Electric, Rock, Steel
  • Ghost does 1.6x damage to: Ghost, Psychic
  • Ghost does .625x damage to: Dark
  • Ghost does .391x damage to: Normal
  • Grass does 1.6x damage to: Ground, Rock, Water
  • Grass does .625x damage to: Bug, Dragon, Fire, Flying, Grass, Poison, Steel
  • Ground does 1.6x damage to: Electric, Fire, Poison, Rock, Steel
  • Ground does .625x damage to: Bug, Grass
  • Ground does .391x damage to: Flying
  • Ice does 1.6x damage to: Dragon, Flying, Grass, Ground
  • Ice does .625x damage to: Fire, Ice, Steel, Water
  • Normal does .625x damage to: Rock, Steel
  • Normal does .391x damage to: Ghost
  • Poison does 1.6x damage to: Grass, Fairy
  • Poison does .625x damage to: Ghost, Ground, Poison, Rock
  • Poison does .391x damage to: Steel
  • Psychic does 1.6x damage to: Fighting, Poison
  • Psychic does .625x damage to: Psychic, Steel
  • Psychic does .391x damage to: Dark
  • Rock does 1.6x damage to: Bug, Fire, Flying, Ice
  • Rock does .625x damage to: Fighting, Ground, Steel
  • Steel does 1.6x damage to: Fairy, Ice, Rock
  • Steel does .625x damage to: Electric, Fire, Steel, Water
  • Water does 1.6x damage to: Fire, Ground, Rock
  • Water does .625x damage to: Dragon, Grass, Water