Ten years on HermitCraft!

Howdy, y’all!

Joe Hills here, writing as I always do from Nashville, Tennessee!

Today is June 1st, 2022, but that wasn’t always the case…

Ten Years Earlier

It’s been ten years since I released my first HermitCraft episode, recorded along with episodes two and three in a marathon collaboration session with GenerikB and Hypnotizd:

A suspicious invitation

Viewers ask me sometimes, “what was it like to be invited to join HermitCraft?” and I’ve gotta say, it was a real surprise.

I’d never heard of HermitCraft! It was only a few weeks old at the time, and I didn’t really know any of the members personally.

Earlier that year, HermitCraft’s founder, GenerikB, had somehow stumbled onto a 49-hour charity stream benefitting the LLS I was co-hosting with a Leukemia researcher from Vanderbilt University’s Hiebert Lab. Please permit me a few digressions about that weekend:

  • That was my first real attempt at helping organize a charity stream, and y’all were generous enough to contribute $1700! I’m always incredibly grateful to have such a kind audience!
  • Don’t ever schedule a 48-hour charity stream on a weekend when the clocks change, because your pre-event marketing, schedule of events, and reality will all desynchronize at 2am Sunday morning.

Anyway, when GenerikB was a few weeks into launching HermitCraft, he somehow got it in his head that his new server full of talented builders and redstoners needed a wildcard, and he chose to invite me out of the clear blue Skype.

I’d never recorded a single Minecraft SMP video, as my channel was primarily focused on playing Super Hostile CTW (Collect The Wool) maps with occasional collaborations to compete in Minecraft contests like the Race For Wool maps, where I played on Team Tunnel Rat alongside PauseUnpause, Zisteau, and ZombieCleo.

The invitation sounded like such a poor fit, I was skeptical it was some sort of scam or intellectual property theft attempt, but when GenerikB assured me I didn’t have to sign or pay anything to join the server, I decided I should give it a try.

I’m glad I did!

An adventurous decade

The last ten years of my life have been incredibly hectic, but the opportunity to work and play alongside so many talented and creative artists on HermitCraft has been a constant source of motivation and inspiration for me.

The broader HermitCraft community has supported and encouraged us all, and we couldn’t accomplish what we do without you. An invite to play on HermitCraft would be worthless without the time and energy to create and perform the acts of imagination we attempt.

Y’all made the last decade of HermitCraft possible for me, and I hope my work can demonstrate how much I appreciate your assistance.

It’s been wonderful revisiting old times, but I’ve gotta get out there and build.

Until next time, y’all, this is Joe Hills from Nashville, Tennessee. Keep adventuring!


Reflecting on my first week of my transition to full-time

Howdy, y’all!

Thanks to y’all’s amazing support, this week I began my transition from hobbyist to full-time “YouTuber” by working a mere three-day workweek at my day job!

With those extra two days, I have already been able to do the following:

  • Recorded an incredibly fun collab with VintageBeef and FalseSymmetry
  • Appeared on The Shaft Podcast for only the second time in nine years
  • Ordered parts to build a new streaming/recording PC that I hope will let me record at 1080p60
  • Learned how to add chapters to YouTube uploads
  • Spoke to the organizers of PlayOnCon about hosting the Minecraft build contest again this year, as well as a possible new Animal Crossing home tour event
  • Started compiling a list of all the entertaining and talented folks I have met in the last decade at conventions who I am overdue to invite as interview guests
  • Accepted a guest spot on next week’s Mindcrack Podcast to discuss current events and gaming with hosts Guude and Sev alongside fellow guest and active Hermitcraft member Docm77.
  • Selected a June book for my Patreon book club, which I’ve been too overwhelmed to hold the last several months: NYPL’s Stonewall Reader
  • Researched dedicated server hosting options and provisioned a new E-2288G equipped server to migrate our current Patreon realm, “Seven of Mine,” to later this month
  • Impressed by her recent efforts on the Draw4Charity fundraiser for Child’s Play, I interviewed and hired NJCoffeeJunkie for a few hours per month to help keep me organized and on track as I wrangle about seven years of ideas I never had time for

I look forward to another three-day workweek next week, and once July hits, I look forward to having even more time and energy!

Keep adventuring!

Daily Reflection for May 23rd, 2017

I’ve been kicking around ideas for a while about the sort of questions I’d like to ask myself at the end of each day, or at least days where I have a bit of extra time before bed that I’d otherwise squander, and I’m going to answer a few of them here. I may cycle some questions in and out day-to-day depending on how interesting the answers are.

What did I do to improve myself as a game designer today?

  1. Listened to the first half of Dragon Talk from 04/27/2017  on stealth mechanics in DND5e. Jeremy Crawford stated that the DM is the authority on how effective stealth is in a given situation, but that players should be encouraged to do things to increase the likelihood of success, such as a creating distractions. I need to think of opportunities for players to mess with folks they need to distract.
  2. Spent a few hours driving while thinking about ways to a friendlier way to invite a novice group of DND5e player characters into Barovia to kick off a session of Death House, the introductory adventure included as an appendix to Curse of Strahd.
    The provided premise is that two unchaperoned children crying outside their house at night beg the players to go help their baby sibling trapped inside with with a monster. I felt this opening seemed kind of way too much like a trap.
    My angle is to have the players receive a letter with a job offer from the parents inviting them to meet at their home to discuss the removal of some pesty witches who’ve established a residence in one of the family’s most profitable grain mills. The players would still arrive and find the children crying outside the house, but would be more likely to rush inside to help the rest of the family on the basis of the extended (though not yet enacted) job offer. I’m hoping to try this out next weekend, and if I do, I’ll let you know how it turns out.
  3. Read through the DND5e magical artifacts in the Dungeon Master’s Guide to see if any of them would seem like a reasonable down payment the party could receive as a token of goodwill when accepting a job from a new, unknown employer. It gave me the idea that there should be more Deck artifacts than just the Deck of Many Things or Deck of Illusions, but I haven’t gotten further than wanting to be able to give the players weird cards that do things. Maybe have a “Hellodeck” that lets them ask famous dead heroes or historical figures from within the setting for advice?

What did I do for my fans today?

  1. Added/edited a few pages of this website.
  2. Purchased an actual box fan for my recording studio so I can record through the hot months. Between this and the dustbuster I purchased last week to vacuum the studio, I’m pretty committed financially at this point—above and beyond the long-term lease, anyway. It’s been a big month for engines that propel air.
  3. Brainstormed a few ideas for tomorrow’s Hermitcraft recording. I’m thinking the storage buildings should be constructed of or with whatever they store.

What did I do to improve my health and fitness today?

Not every answer will be a list… especially when it comes to trying to be healthier.

This was a travel day back from the beach, so I loaded and unloaded the car, but otherwise was pretty sedentary. Having decided that I should force myself to answer this question, I’m going to go get the scale and weigh myself for the first time in months, and I’m 167, which would be fine if it were more muscle.

I’ve been tempted to have a question in here like “How many push-ups did I do today?” because I know that will make me go do more than the 0 I have done each day for the last few years. So, Be right back on that. I’m just going to see how many I can do in a row with proper form. Don’t get your expectations up. Okay, 14, so that is about 6 better than I expected.

All this passive toddler carrying I’ve been doing must count as exercise somehow.