|Run you poor bugger, run!|
After supper we logged back in and I took my older daughter on a tour of the natural caves below the hold. We packed a pile of torches and went exploring the deep, mining coal and a little iron as we found it. We also fought a bunch of spiders, skeletons, zombies and a few creepers. The caves were pretty extensive and we found a couple waterfalls and natural amphitheatres before we ran out of torches and had to turn back. We were just using text to communicate and when I asked how she liked the caves her comment was "Scary". Good scary I think, the finest kind of gaming brings immersion that gets your nerves tingling like this. She wasn't playing Webkinz now! We returned to the hold with our loot and I set her to refining the ore into iron while I ran out to get some food. I found a herd of wild cattle in a nearby valley and returned to fry up some steaks on the stove. I had enough iron to made iron helmets and iron swords for us.
Then it was bed time.
This was a lot of fun and I was thinking a lot about it. Getting the kids involved in this kind of gaming is fun for me and I think it builds some procedural logic skills that will be useful for them. I was very tempted to set up a home Crossfire server as well and let them run around on it. I think that that game might have a bit too high a learning curve at the moment (tons of key bindings to keep up with the mostly text command parser), but I am certainly keeping it in my back pocket. Crossfire was an excellent experience for me because it got me into the guts of team programming (especially exposure to C and Python), and I've taken a lot of those concepts into the workplace, even if I'm not doing much programming. It will be interesting to see if they get into programming via video games like I did.
Oh yea, and the WASD control scheme will train them to play Left 4 Dead with me too!
*ok it is 3d and there is lighting effects but still it's all regular polygons here and Minecraft must have incredibly inefficient code to require so much RAM.