Newsletter #13 for June 27th, 2022

Howdy, y’all!

Joe Hills here, writing as I always do from Nashville, Tennessee! I hope you’re having a great summer so far!

I built a shelf and I’m so proud of myself that we’re gonna talk about that first!

[ThatTommyBoii: “that’s not too shelfish, don’t worry”]

Studio improvement: second industrial shelf

Thanks to y’all’s ongoing support, this week, I purchased and assembled a second industrial shelving unit in the studio!

I’ve managed to get a lot of the random boxes, cables, and clutter off the floor, so I’m excited that the space will be much more welcoming (and less of a trip-and-fall hazard) for guests in the future.

PlayOnCon is in two weeks!

What happens if you combine a campsite and a gaming convention? It’s PlayOnCon!

If you every wanted to canoe, shoot a bow and arrow, look through a telescope, and also compete in a Minecraft build contest hosted by yours truly, PlayOnCon is the event for you!

Don’t worry, there is an actual hotel on site, and the indoor gaming spaces are all air-conditioned.

Before the pandemic, PlayOnCon hotel rooms and badges would sell out almost as soon as they went on sale, but this year you still have the chance to make a last-minute decision to attend.

Badges and lodging are still available for purchase at:

This year, I’ll be running the Minecraft Build Contest and the Table-Flipping Contest. I hope some of y’all come out and participate!

Here’s a video of a build contest I hosted at PlayOnCon a few years back:

I also host the annual table-flipping contest! Here’s a video I made from the year Aureylian hosted it, as I can’t film and run the event at the same time.

Other upcoming conventions

Pinball FX3 weekly challenge with Sami Higgins

Week 3 Results: Forgantly wins Medieval Madness!

Congratulations to Forgantly for a second decisive victory in week 3! That’s two weeks in a row!

  1. Forgantly – 94,809,550
  2. kindalas – 23,144,910
  3. MisterLantz – 19,530,530
  4. Parker – 16,491,850
  5. samihiggins – 6,406,450
  6. Joe Hills – 0

[ThatTommyBoii: “At least you’re on the board, Joe!”]

Week 4 begins: Junk Yard!

Thanks to Sami Higgins for organizing this week’s tournament: Junk Yard!

Learn how to compete in Activity-Sign-Ups > #weekly-pinball-challenges  and get your name in next week’s results!

Minecraft server updates

This week, we asked folks if they had any builds they wanted us to showcase, so we’ve got a few of those we’re excited to share!

Deep Slate Nine

Mardigan presents Akulakhan, The Brass Tower, The Weapon of Tiber Septim, Kagrenac’s Apotheosis, The Dwemer’s Folly:

A screenshot of Minecraft depicting a giant partially skeletal figure with a bridge leading into its chest cavity. One of of its arms is chained to the roof.

Maahes0 presents The Birch Tower version 2.0, and writes “This still under construction tower of birch is a monument to the original birch tower which was 17 solid layers of birch trees filling a chunk completely to near world height. The original tower was cut down to get supplies for the nether hub project, but people liked it so much I decided to make a new one and make it into a base of sorts. Near by attractions include my drowned in ink farms and down at bedrock level below those, my large copper aging room.”

A screenshot of minecraft depicting a tower of birch trees in front of mountains that appear diminutive in comparison.


A screenshot of minecraft showing modded blocks from the Decorative Blocks mod, like thatch on the roof of a hut in the foreground, an fancy fences on a ziggurat in the middle-distance.

Mantuamaker writes: “My Mayan civilization inspired base began with a remodel of a jungle temple. It soon exploded to include a large pyramid, palace, village, mini game, and many other out buildings. Unique blocks featured include braziers, palisades, hay piles (as thatch), and supports.”


  • Sami and Phali died as they lived. Phali decided to fight a Warden with stone tools and hubris and Sami’s last words were “PHALI NO”
  • MeinsEins heroically died while trying to take on a dungeon.


WizardOfDocs writes, “I’ve built a cosy house among the mangroves; the path up from the river starts at 20, 63, -218 and follow the muddy root path up the hill. Hoping to have more glowberries in before you come by, but I already love how it’s turning out.”

A screenshot of Minecraft depicting a home made of mangrove wood with a warped wood roof nestled tightly in a mangrove swamp. Vines hang in the foreground.

Two new videos!

HermitCraft 9 episode 17

The title of this episode is ironic, it took me over ten days to record and edit.

My shorts game is on point!

Quarterly Meeting Minutes

If you don’t have time for the full VOD of this quarter’s quarterly meeting, I hope you enjoy the following minutes that our Community Liaison ThatTommyBoii wrote up.

Patreon reward tier review

  1. The tiers were created 6-7 years ago and no longer align with the current reality of things, but Joe does not wish to remove any existing tiers.
    1. The $1 tier does not have a reward, it does not require change.
    2. The $5 tier gives discord access, it also does not require change.
    3. The $10 tier is listed as giving realms access, which is no longer accurate.
      1. Joe edited the tier to reflect the access being for a server.
    4. The hydration break tier is capped at 30.
      1. Maahes asks if that was too high if Joe only streams 6 days a week.
        1. Joe clarifies that he usually runs out due to taking multiple hydration breaks during longer streams aor thanking two people for one break when two shorter songs are played.
    5. Kindalas asks if old tiers could be closed and open new tiers
      1. Joe asks if there is a logical space for a new $50 tier that doesn’t promise a HermitCraft episode
        1. Joe wonders if there is an alternate $50 tier or a $75 tier that could be an option and opens it for suggestions
          1. Maahes suggests a tier that would be for when HermitCraft is on hiatus
            1. Joe says he would leave that for when HermitCraft is on hiatus, which would hopefully not be for another year.
    6. Joe sees no reason to change any of the remaining tier rewards and opens the floor for feedback

Patreon community goal review

  1. The first goal was $168 to offset internet and software expenses
    1. This goal is no longer accurate and does not provide enough incentive. Joe deletes the goal.
  2. The second goal was $678 to guarantee 3 HermitCraft videos per month.
    1. This is also no longer accurate.
    2. Maahes recommends the minimum episode guarantees should not be used
      1. Joe asks folks to vote thumbs up or down on if they agree with that
        1. MisterLantz disagrees and says that having a minimum amount of episodes would have Joe be accountable with the community
          1. Joe agrees that it does hold him accountable but the poetry tiers and ad removal tiers would still have the minimum episode promise and keep that accountability.
            1. MisterLantz says the goals should keep focus on what Joe wants to achieve and the tiers should reflect how to get there.
  3. Joe asks the community to suggest goals for the Patreon
    1. Kindalas says that any goals that explicitly commits Joe to an expense would be a problem
      1. Joe says that people already want Joe to be committed to an expense and that by getting a quote for what people want he can then have the goal in place for the community to get what they want.
    2. Mardigan suggests an incentive to have more guests on streams
      1. Joe says that’s a good example but it is something that he is already budgeting for with the parade streams. Mardigan is on the right track.
    3. Kingu says family level of support
      1. Joe says that is more of a tier than a reward
    4. Joe suggests that at $5000 a month he could commit to lowering the $10 tier to $7
      1. Giljaxon says the price difference doesn’t lower the barrier in a meaningful way
      2. Qwarkeh says that other subscription based games already cost more
      3. Opnull says they’re worried about the minecraft servers not scaling up
        1. Joe states that minecraft servers are expanding already with the addition of Yirggzmb’s Vanillish server
      4. Mantuamaker says they don’t like the idea of opening it to more people as that could cause more issues
      5. Redrags is worried that hitting the threshold would cause a shift that would result in falling back below that level
    5. Mardigan suggests having a meetup as a goal
    6. Misterlantz suggests a goal to have Patreon cover the cost of server hosts
      1. Joe states that the cost of server hosting is already covered and he pays more in server operator costs.
        1. Having a goal to own a server rather than renting one would be beneficial
    7. Misterlantz suggests goal reviews quarterly or yearly and updated them as need be
    8. Kindalas suggests hosting servers for other hermits
      1. Joe states this wouldn’t work out as Joe does not wish to be responsible for the servers of other hermits.
    9. Joe suggests at $3000 a month he would add a European server
      1. MeinsEins says a European server wouldn’t be necessary
      2. Opnull says hardware would be a bigger concern
    10. Joe asks if a European moderator was wanted by the community
      1. Kindalas says 24/7 mod coverage was ideal
      2. Joe says the staffing budget is currently maxed out
      3. Kindalas says requiring US TIN is a reasonable requirement
      4. MisterLantz says it wouldn’t have to be someone based in Europe, just someone awake during those hours
      5. Redrags says staffing 24/7 is a reasonable goal
      6. Seanard asks if there is enough coverage currently
        1. Joe states yes coverage is good with the addition of QueenDarkLady and Sami
    11. Joe wants to add goals like build a workshop and do carpentry streams but feels it would need to be a goal of $12000 a month as it would require equipment and renting a space
    12. Misterlantz asks if there was any equipment Joe had wanted currently
      1. Joe states he was looking at some but there was nothing he needed to make better HermitCraft videos
    13. Kindalas suggests more VR streams
      1. Joe said it didn’t warrant a goal
        1. Kindalas suggests pinball as a goal, to buy instead of rent a machine
          1. Joe suggests having weekly pinball streams at $5000 a month to afford buying a pinball machine
            1. Joe wonders if having a transcriptionist goal at $3500 and pinball at $5000 a big enough gap
            2. Joe mentions his current studio being suboptimal.
    14. Joe says $3000 a month would be equipment and studio upgrades and adds it to the Patreon goal.
    15. Joe considers the logistics of a transcriptionist, and asks if folks would be okay with an episode being held for two days to be transcribed
      1. Kingu says two days is a lifetime for content distribution
      2. Joe clarifies it wouldn’t be two days every time as it depends on the time the video is given to the transcriptionist.
        1. Joe considers doing shorter yet more frequent episodes
          1. Misterlantz says he misses the shorter more chaotic episodes
            1. Joe states he does cut content out in the longer episodes
  4. Joe asks if there is any other suggestions for goals
    1. Redrags suggests more game nights
      1. Joe states he already intends to do more of these
    2. Maahes asks how much would Joe need to make from the Patreon to cut out on freelance work
      1. Joe states that the freelance work has a high billing per hour, and that the problem with it was when clients would call at inconvenient hours and ends up pushing the rest of his schedule around.
      2. Joe considers a goal of not having to do freelance work but is concerned that if he does not renew his contract and HermitCraft goes on hiatus he will lose funds.
        1. Phali asks if joining another SMP during a hiatus would offset that loss
          1. Joe states it would not as he can’t guarantee the same amount of tips as he gets during HermitCraft streams.
        2. Joe writes down the goal of $5500 a month to not have to do freelance work.
      3. Maahes suggests asking Gem about how her other SMP series goes
        1. Joe is wary about asking about financial information across cultures

Kindalas suggests splitting monthly petitions by purpose

  1. Joe states that serious inquiries for accessibility issues should not be brought up at petitions and we need to handle them seriously going forward
    1. Giljaxon agrees that having issues brought up in the accessibility channels would be good as it creates transparency and accountability
    2. Meep agrees but also mentions bring the issues up at petitions brought attention to them
    3. Phali says that quality of life and bugs should not be at petitions
      1. Joe agrees and that those kind of issues should be brought up in the op channel
    4. Seanard suggests using modmail for those reports
      1. Joe clarifies no, modmail is to be used for reports on members that would warrant a ban
    1. #feedback-accessibility is for accessibility concerns and #ds9-ops is for server performance concerns
      1. Kindalas asks if there is a space for discussion on understanding server performance
        1. Joe specifies that #minecraft-java is the appropriate channe
    2. Joe returns to quality of life discussion and states that it would be a petitions issue
      1. Joe says the Vanillish server would be launched soon and quality of life aspects would be on the Vanillish server
        1. QueenDarkLady states the issue with the QoL items was that they were monkey pawed
          1. Joe states that QoL items were monkey pawed, such as the elytra villager, to encourage excitement about future updates like the world border expanding.
    3. Joe specifies that accessibility and performance issues would be addressed any day of the month but quality of life needed to be reserved for petitions
    4. Joe suggests for items that are needed for a specific cause, such as minigames, then Joe would add that item to the B’hala loot tables and people could put up bounties for that item to be retrieved
      1. Tommy agrees that this gives good incentive for players to return to the ancient city
      2. Sami suggests having a channel for listing bounties
        1. Joe agrees to make the channel if we can get a fitting name
        2. Giljaxon suggests ds9-acquisitions
          1. Joe approves and creates the channel
    5. Joe will start streaming petitions again to return some of the Wizard of Oz charm and make them fun again.

Weekly project management calls no longer public

  1. The calls worked well as a public meeting at the beginning of lockdown as there was no private information to avoid sharing
    1. With the creation of the quarterly meetings and the newsletter the information on updates are now available elsewhere publically.
    2. There is no practical way to split the project management calls into public and private sections.
      1. Joe asks what part of those calls would be missed by the community that could be addressed somewhere else
      2. NJ reminds folks that there would still be on stream quarterly project management calls
      3. Sami says that the newsletter does cover things folks want updates on
        1. Joe mentions that the newsletter doesn’t yet commit to a stream schedule as his schedule is too hectic, but the goal with the project management calls would allow a stream schedule in the future
          1. Joe mentions that he will be canceling Wednesday night streams as he does not have the energy to maintain them.

Until Next Time, Y’all…

This is Joe Hills from Nashville, Tennessee. Thanks so much to ThatTommyBoii for all the help this week!

Due to the American holiday Independence Day falling on the 4th of July this year, Tommy and I will be taking next week off newsletter publishing.

Our next issue will be published on July 11th, and since I’ll be away at PlayOnCon, Tommy will be stepping up and writing that issue. I’m certain it’ll be great!

Keep adventuring!