To Build or to Explore…

I seem to be splitting my time in Valheim between base building and exploration. I enjoy base building immensely and my server mates indulge me by providing copious quantities of materials so I can build and enhance the public facilities.

If I had to tally the time spent doing each, I’d probably say 70% base building/ 30% exploring.

Near our main base, I found a nice abandoned farming community in a Meadows biome so I began redomesticating that with a barn and guard tower. Of course, just a short jaunt to the north was a beautiful point at a navigable river delta and the sea that connects our home island, the farm island, our first swamp/crypt delvings and our Elder Base which became bronze central because of the abundance of copper in the Black Forest there.

At the point, Unna wanted to create a new base and I wanted to experiment with something different, so the Round House was born. Building in the round is a bit fiddly but I learned quite a bit building this one.

Continue reading To Build or to Explore…

My Virtual Life: Zwifting

Worlds collide…

Worlds Collide

Wilhelm and I joke in our gaming group that we’ve been preparing all our lives for the COVID lockdown. No, we’re not preppers or neoapocalyptarians (I just made that up). No, like a lot of our friends, we’ve always found ourselves a bit removed from what apparently many people call life, the real world and everything.

A lifelong member of the Differently Social(tm) club, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in strange little bubble worlds like various forms of gaming, uncool, unpopular sports, hobbies and interests, and generally hanging around (IRL and virtually) with other weirdos, dorks and the socially ill at ease.

When the COVID lockdown hit, of course it caused massive disruption to everyone’s lives (mine included). The irony of course is that as Real Life went virtual, those of us who’ve been mostly one foot in, one foot out of virtuality didn’t really miss a beat on a lot of these newfangled ways to interact. We just called it “Tuesday”.

The pandemic has certainly reordered Things That Matter for many people, myself included. Without meaning to be glib, the phrase I use is “COVID giveth, COVID taketh” and it certainly has.

Continue reading My Virtual Life: Zwifting

A Rude Awakening

I woke up in the East River…

A few random Valheim thoughts for a Monday morning…

Logging out while on a boat

Or more specifically, logging back in after logging out in a boat… I was out exploring in my Karve when I had to logout to attend to things IRL. I was just off the coast of a Meadows biome, so it was pretty low risk, but I thought, why bother landing, I’ll just log off close to shore so I can resume when I log back on.

Much to my surprise, when I returned, the game dropped me in the drink next to my boat. Those ladders are there for a reason. I’ve got to suspect that its something to do with the game engine’s way of handling moveable objects like carts and boats.

I recall having many odd experiences in Medieval Engineers. In that game, you often took your life in your hands when building. You never knew when the evil spirit of Clang would visit to tear apart your construction. For example, when building a cart, you typically started making a structure that was fixed to the landscape, attach wheels, etc. and they sever the connection to the landscape at which point the cart became a mobile object (hopefully) and didn’t fly apart and kill you.

So far, nothing so disturbing in Valheim other than the slight weirdness I experience in my cart-on-a-boat project. Similarly, when I logged and relogged, the locked up cart seemed to have just been dropped in to the water at its last location which is fine by me.

Somehow Valheim knows…

Others have commented on this as well. Valheim knows which direction you intend to sail and promptly aligns the wind in the opposite direction. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve undertaken a long boat journey having to paddle for most of the way, then on the return leg, having to do the same thing in the opposite direction.

Valheim also knows when you are thinking about logging out and visits some parade of horribles upon you so you are left with the the option of logging out anyway without addressing the situation or spending more time in game to resolve it. This has resulted in countless late bedtimes for me.

Case in point, after a successful adventure with our little group Sunday, I found myself at what we are calling our Elder base– so named because it was set up to be near the Elder altar. The Black Forest area around there is rich in copper and tin, so while a bit austere, the base has smelting facilities and a high level forge.

Evening chores done, I decided to log on to experiment with a few crafting ideas– more on that to come. Having just about exhausted my time and creativity, I was about to log off only to have a troll– its always a troll– show up and immediately begin attacking the base. I never left the walls of the enclosure, he just spawned and came right for the base and started destroying the palisade wall and things just inside.

I, of course, was completely without arrows or the means to make any decent ones. Between smashes, I managed to crank out 40 or 60 measly wooden arrows. At that point, the troll was in the compound (which is quite compact) and he caught me and one shotted me.

My respawn was mere feet from where I was killed which is both a good and bad thing. Good in that there was no run back, bad of course, because my corpse was still in range of the troll ravaging our base.

I was able to recover my gear, reequip and then play ring around the rosy with him around our base building plinking him with an arrow, then running to the other side of the building forcing him to change directions. Lather, rinse, repeat, troll dispatched.

What he left behind was a complete mess. The palisade wall was down in spots, so that had to be fixed. He had smashed one side of the base building including beds and chests leaving a glittering mess to pickup. Frustrating when your bags are full since you suck up all the bits when you get near and have to rebuild someplace to store them etc.

Nothing to be done but to get to work restoring the palisade, putting walls and a roof back on the base and then getting chests, beds and a fire situated again. Two plus hours into my 30 minute excursion and it was past my bedtime again…

Valheim always knows.

Shipping News

The evening’s modest goal: A cauldron.

After all the wild and wooly misadventures of late, I thought I’d have a quiet evening working on the farm Unna and I have been building. Our carrot production was ramping up so we’d soon have enough to feed captive boars, replant and use to make Carrot Soup to add some all important diversity to our Valheim diet.

Carrot Soup requires a cauldron and a cauldron requires Tin. Tin can only be found in the Black Forest, often near the shore, so that shouldn’t be too hard. I was also looking for more Fine Wood which comes from Oak and Birch trees. Some of those should be in the Black Forest as well. As far as I can tell, there are no Oak or Birch “seeds” in game yet, so they cannot be farmed yet.

Fair enough, I’ll go get some Tin and along the way collect whatever Fine Wood I could find along with any Raspberries, Blueberries or Mushrooms I mind find too. Because Tin is usually near the coast, I’ll take the Karve which has 4 modest storage slots.

Of course, if I’m going to be mining in the Black Forest, I might as well plan for collecting Copper too, if I find it. Bronze is always needed and I’ve been consuming more than I’ve been collecting and feeling a little guilty. And if I’m sailing to the Black Forest, I might as well skirt some new territory to see if we can find that elusive trader, Haldor, who has yet to show himself. This is my typical session in Valheim– an ever expanding list of things to do, all sparked by desire to accomplish One Simple Thing.

Ok, Tin, Copper, Wood, Berries, a longer sail… This could get time consuming if I have to go back and forth. Enter the Container Freight Solution. In looking on the web for something about Birch and Oak seeds, or lack thereof, I ran across a quick reference to putting a cart on a boat to be able to increase the Karve’s carrying capacity.

Well, if I’m headed out to collect things by boat, this sounds like a great idea to tryout. The first challenge was to get a cart on to the boat.

First attempt, I wheeled the cart down to the dock and scratched my head. A vain attempt to drag it on to the boat from the side failed, so I went with Plan B. Build a platform over the deck, build the cart on the platform, destroy the platform.

Of course, I attempted this at night, but you can see the floor panel with the cart on it as I’m about to destroy the floor.

Success! Platform removed, cart on deck. Time for a shakedown cruise. I wasn’t keen on filling it up until I was reasonably certain it wouldn’t end in complete disaster, so off I went.

The cart seems to get knocked about a bit on deck which is a little disconcerting. The pull shafts seem to get caught up in the sail lines as it pivots with the wind. Still it seems to handle the rough seas fine enough.

Surviving the shakedown cruise, I finally got to the task at hand. I left the boat just a bit off shore because of a nearby troll. There’s always a troll… As soon as I started mining some copper, the troll decided to visit. Troll dispatched, I resumed mining only to hear the sound of crunching coming from the boat. I immediately suspected grey dwarves.

No dwarves. The boat and cart seemed to be having some kind of a tussle and damage figures were floating in the air. At first, I thought perhaps I’d moored too near a submerged rock and the swell was beating the boat on it. When I got on the boat though, it was clear that the cart seemed to be fixed to the landscape while the boat was floating on the water. As a result, the boat was dashing itself against the cart and taking damage.

I couldn’t move the cart, and I couldn’t destroy it, so I finally managed to yank the boat free before it destroyed itself (note the damage in the screenshot below). With the boat out of the way, the cart remained fixed but floating just above the water.

Various attempts ensued to build a platform out to, under and around the cart to either retrieve it or break it down, all to no avail. Finally, I gave up and had to log out for some chores around the house.

To my amazement, when I logged back on, the cart was still there, but this time it was floating in the water so I was able to bump it back to shore and roll it up on to land again.

My plan was to just break it down and continue experiments at a later time. After all, the whole point of this excursion was to get materials for a damned cauldron and 2 hours into it, I was no closer to my goal.

In for a penny, in for a pound, so before I completely gave up on the cart-on-a-boat idea, and thinking of how many land or sea trips it would take to retrieve the ore I just mined, I decided to give one more go.

I built a proper dock with the level of the dock well above the height of the gunwales of the boat. Then I grabbed the cart and just rolled it on to the boat. While far from a precision operation, the extra height was just enough to allow the cart to fall into the boat in suitable fashion. I loaded it up with 800+ pounds of stuff and off I went back to base. While the boat didn’t ride any lower, handling certainly felt more sluggish. I’m assuming the physics engine is still accounting for weight somewhere.

On arrival at my home port, I was confronted with the opposite problem. Do I shuttle all those goods out of the cart on deck or is there another way. Well, at this point, safe at home, I said what the heck, lets try the brute force method first.

I got in the boat, stepped into the control position of the cart, took control and with a mighty tug or three, managed to yank the fully loaded cart off the boat onto the dock. Op success.

From that it was a piece of cake to pull the load up to the crafting area of the base.

Now all I had to do was turn piles of wood into coal, smelt the tin and copper ore, carrying some tin and copper overland to the farm base, build a forge, and then the cauldron so finally, I could make my carrot soup.

Just another typical day in Valheim.

Valheim: Teachable Moments

Would have been nice for this to be a river and not an isthmus…

The bounty of Valheim experiences continues fast and furious. So much so, that its hard to find time not playing in order to share anything. Ultimately, I take that as a good thing. Valheim does a great job of sucking you in deeper and deeper. Most tasks are very accessible but inevitably suck you into deeper and deeper game play.

Case in point, harvesting basic timber (Beech) with a simple took (stone or flint axe) will cause basic crafting recipes to unlock. In the next higher difficulty Black Forest biome, Fir and Pine trees appear which can also be harvested with basic tools but Pine trees drop core wood which unlocks more crafting recipes. Even the incurious will likely get sucked into the lure of the pursuit of new gear to harvest new materials to make new gear/items to harvest more new materials to make more new gear, etc.

Valheim will often tease you with the upgrade path before you know its there. As we all know too well, falling trees cause a lot of damage (and are responsible for much early stage comedy as well). Falling Beech trees will damage adjacent trees as they fall. Sometimes that will completely break a tree into lootable wood. Even trees that you wouldn’t have been able to harvest with a stone or flint axe like Birch or Oak. That’s how some fine wood dropped for me and voila, a host of new mostly aspirational recipes unlocked for me, teasing me with more goals… etc. Maddeningly addictive. Just five more minutes until, something else…

Continue reading Valheim: Teachable Moments