Who are you and what do you do?
My name is John – also known as Easilyconfused on DTM and UKTrainSim. I am approaching 50 years old. I am a engineer by trade having done an apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce Aero Engines. I worked in an engineering lab doing destructive testing of engine parts but also spent a lot of my time working on the computers there which were mostly Commodore Pets and some HP 286 PCs. I moved into the Corporate IT department at Rolls-Royce in 1992 when engineering lab closed down.
At the beginning of 1996 Rolls-Royce out-sourced IT to an external company so I had a choice of what I worked on. I wanted to go on a project which would have got me a 3 month deployment on a Royal Navy ship but I was persuaded to go on the SAP project for 6 months instead. So I started as a SAP programmer. 20 years later I am still working in SAP. I moved into system admin area of SAP in 2004 and still do that now as my day job so I get to deal with things at OS level in Linux and Windows.
How did you get into computer gaming?
Like a lot of people my age I was there at the beginning of computer gaming with the Sinclair ZX81 where my favourite game was 3D monster maze. After that I had an Atari 400 with a large collection of cartridge and floppy disk based games (yes in those days games could fit on a floppy disk). My first PC was a 386DX 40 which ran Dos 3.1 and then later 6.20. It had a 40MB hard drive which at the time we thought was huge.
On the PC my favourite game in those days was Sid Meir’s Railroad Tycoon which used the Creative Soundblaster sound card for it’s music and sound effects. In those days that mean editing the autoexec.bat and config.sys files to make it work unlike the Windows era we are now in.
How did you get into Minecraft?
I had been aware of it for a while since I saw Matt’s children playing it on some of the Onehouse Model Railway running weekends. I was intrigued but never got what it was about. Last year in New York I visited a comic book store with my daughter (Bryn_Chan) and whilst she was looking for stuff I saw a book of Minecraft creations that really got me thinking. When we got back from the holiday Bryn introduced me to Minecraft on a realm owned by one of her friends. After blowing loads of things up I got hooked and then Matt invited me onto the DTM server.
What interests you most about Minecraft?
I am totally hooked on the minecarts. Building railways is my thing. I am learning the redstone stuff also since as an engineer it makes me think of possibilities for machines. As most of the DTM users know I also have a thing about blowing stuff up.
However, I am just as happy down a hole mining like crazy. Our new megafurnace takes a lot of stuff to get it full before we light it.
I am also learning to program in Java to produce some plugins. One of my first efforts (which was heavily influenced by a tutorial) was the lightning on demand shown on a recent DTM stream.
So what do you do on the DTM server?
Well, I am an OP so I can give you plots, help you out when you get stuck and a variety of other things including wielding the “Shovel of Doom”. I am also an admin so I can stop and start the server from the console and do various technical things. Haddock1000 is the other admin with Matt being the server owner.
I have taken on the role of chief surveyor working with Haddock1000 who is the Director of Rail Operations to make sure new plots are spaced out and between us we have a strategic plan for expanding most of the plots and connecting them to the DTM rail network
What do you want to see in future versions of Minecraft?
As a railway builder I would like to see tunnel boring machines (TBMs) made possible. Maybe not out of the box but able to be built and programmed to build a tunnel from a to b at a given y level in the world. Some sort of signalling system without using stupid amounts of redstone would be good.
From my explosive side – uranium or something similar so we can construct a weapon of mass destruction.
So what is your DTM character all about?
Easilyconfused is an interesting character (even if I say so myself).
At times he is a bumbling, accident-prone fool whose sole purpose in life seems to be to drive Haddock1000 nuts by falling off whatever structure they are building or getting too carried away with TNT. The previous news stories are full of tales of Easilyconfused being chased out of tunnels by flood water and removing rather more landscape than intended with TNT.
The rest of the time he is the efficient Chief Surveyor for DTM Rail and also oversees with Haddock1000 the allocation of plots and any alterations to them. He is not the greatest builder but given a task that he understands he will just plug away at it and is often found in the bakery making pumpkin pies from the supplies to keep the rest of the team fuelled up.
The episodes with the 19000 eggs and the conversion of the entire stock of potatoes to baked potatoes show that once he is engaged on a project he is single-minded to be point of obsession with completing the task.
What do you do when you are not playing Minecraft?
Well this little inconvenience called “Work” cuts into my Minecraft day. Aside from that eating & sleeping are important.
More seriously, I am a motor-sport fan and like to watch the F1 and British Touring Cars. I discovered the Australian V8 Supercars that we get on cable TV so I record that in the middle of the night and watch it the next day. I am also a model railway fan. Several times a year I visit the Onehouse Model Railway to play trains with Matt and his Dad. We also do some remote running sessions where Matt and Pete are in Onehouse and I am in Bristol either driving or acting as dispatcher (signalman).
What music are you into?
My tastes are wide ranging from 1950s rock to the current scene. Over the last 10 years I have tended towards bands like Within Temptation and Nightwish but still enjoy others like Bruce Springstein, Dire Straits & R.E.M. I also like country and western both the traditional variety like Dolly Parton and the newer artists that have crossed over into mainstream music such as Leann Rimes and Lee Ann Womack.
I would also say that the music that meant things to my daughters as they grew up is of interest to me so on my Youtube playlists you will find examples from The Spice Girls and others. I should probably stop there before “Anxious the elephant” is brought into the discussion.
One of the most enjoyable evenings of my life was on a visit to Germany for my last employer. One of my colleagues took me to Mainz Cathedral which is huge. The organ there is massive and a very accomplished organist was playing for visitors. We spent a couple of hours listening to it culminating in an absolutely ground moving rendition of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. The floor and the air were vibrating with the deep bass notes. It was a truly awesome experience feeling that power. The schnitzel and chips afterwards at the street cafe were a nice end to the evening.