Sunday, May 22, 2011

Minecraft stuff

This post has two distinct subjects, both related to Minecraft.

Building Project

I'm constructing a massive beach house to be built on the multiplayer server I'm hosting at some point.  This thing is so massive that there's simply no way I would even bother to get the materials legitimately.  The total footprint is 65 blocks wide, 53 blocks deep, and not counting the ground layer that has blocks in it, 24 blocks tall at the peak of the roof.  I can try to describe it further through text, but fortunately I've already made some screenshots, so I'll just post those.

You can tell how massive it is here, given how far I had to back up to make the screenshot.  Also, I forgot to turn on smooth lighting, so the lighting on the stairs is a bit glitchy.  Hopefully Notch fixes that in 1.6, which he's previously stated to be a massive bugfix update, as well as enabling the Nether in multiplayer.

With a structure this size, lighting is a challenge.  Especially for the main hall, which is opened up to the floor above it and has a balcony.  Fortunately, my creative senses came alive and I built a chandelier to provide light.

Also, here's a view of the chandelier from up on the railing on the balcony.

The house is called the Birch House, primarily because I'm using the birch wood texture as a theme to accentuate things, but also because I can make a really bad pun about the house being on the beach.  The reason I made it so large is because I was trying to go with a roomy feel that would generate a casual and fun atmosphere among the structure's inhabitants and make it a great vacation destination.

Because I can, I'm going to talk a little about how I created this.  As I previously stated, it's so big that getting the materials to build it legitimately would take a prohibitively long amount of time and storage space.  I designed the exterior and floors in Minecraft Structure Planner.  I quickly discovered and came to not like some of the things it lacks, most notably such important things as stairs, doors, and torches.  I also quickly discovered that it would be terrible for doing the interior design, so I stopped at the exterior and just added the floors.

The next program I used was MCEdit.  It's a very powerful world editor with a rather steep learning curve.  Minecraft Structure Planner has its own format to save in, but it can export to the schematic format that MCEdit can load.  So I generated a world in Minecraft, thankfully got spawned on a large sandy beach (actually a desert biome bordering a large body of water), then saved, opened the world in MCEdit, and plunked down the house.

The next step was to build the interior, and to facilitate that, I used INVedit to put various materials and tools into my inventory.  The best way to build the interior was spawning into the world and walking around the structure.  Looking at it top-down in Minecraft Structure Planner just doesn't trigger the same creative impulse as actually walking around the shell of a structure in three dimensions.  I went in with a vague idea of what I wanted the top two floors to look like, and I think I've gotten pretty good results.  The structure is nowhere near done yet, as I still have to work out a couple rooms on the top floor where the bedrooms are (which will likely become bathrooms), figure out where to build the kitchen, dining room, entertainment center, etc., and then figure out what the hell I want to do with the basement.  The structure is truly massive, but once you add walls to the interior it feels a lot smaller.

Once I'm suitably satisfied with the interior, I'm going to use MCEdit once again to save the entire completed structure as a schematic file, so I can load up the server world and plop it down somewhere.  It needs a massive beach area just for the sand beneath it, and having the stairs dump you straight into the water would be lame, so I'll have to hunt around for a good spot to drop it.

Playing Around with Mods

For the past while now, I've been playing around with a few client mods for Minecraft.  I've been mostly steering away from the ones that massively change the game, add new monsters/animals, etc.  The ones I'm using for the most part just add graphical variety.  The first one I installed was actually Single Player Commands, though.  It's basically a massive infrastructure for cheating in single player, as it enables you to fly, become invulnerable, spawn creatures, give yourself items, and adds the server mod WorldEdit to single player, letting you change blocks and make giant structures with ease.  Along with that is WorldEditCUI, a client user interface that shows you your current selection area for WorldEdit, which is massively helpful.

The first graphical variety mod I added was FlowerCraft.  It adds six new colors of flowers, each craftable into its respective color of dye.  Rather than the vastly inferior MoreFlowers, it focuses on giving you easier access to the dyes that you have to craft from other dyes.  Anything that's obtainable directly elsewhere you still have to obtain from its original source.

The next one, which I've seen in Season 2 of ArchmageMelek's Let's Play, is the Coral Reef mod.  It adds, as one might infer, large underwater coral reefs.  Some species of plants that grow on the coral do different things.  The green ones will replenish your oxygen when you swim through them.  The brown ones are spiky and actually hurt you if you touch them.  The blue ones provide light, which lets you see the reef glowing when you look down at it from the surface, and especially so at night.  There are six different plants that grow on the reefs, as well as the reef blocks themselves.  All the plants are craftable into dyes, or can be replanted on coral underwater.  You can use this to pick up a few blue coral plants and redistribute them underwater so that you can see stuff.

The final one, by the same author as the Coral Reef mod, is the Scuba Gear mod.  I installed it because Minecraft desperately needs some method of increasing breathing time underwater.  It's fairly balanced, actually.  It adds three crafting recipies.  One for a scuba helmet, one for the tank, and one for an air compressor.  Crafted scuba tanks are empty by default, and must be filled in the air compressor, which operates similarly to a furnace except that it requires redstone dust for fuel.  One redstone dust will fill two tanks.  In order to use the tank, you have to have both it and the helmet equipped in your armor slots.  It's important to note that the tank will deplete even if you're not in the water, so long as you have the helmet equipped.  When a tank empties, you can refill it with the air compressor, and annoyingly enough you can't refill a partially depleted tank.

One massive oversight/bug that I've found with it is that when a tank runs out, you get zero warning before you start drowning.  Your air bar depletes immediately when the tank empties.  If you're quick, you can swap out for a second tank without taking any damage, but there's only a very tiny time window to do so.  Another, less annoying bug is that the air compressor doesn't face you when you place it.  It always faces east.

I was thinking of installing More Trees, by the same author as Coral Reef/Scuba Gear, but it requires a mod to modify the tool usage tables that causes incompatibilities with all other mods that don't use it.  Which is a shame, because I really wanted to explore and find apple trees, cherry blossom trees, and the elusive hollow sequoia tree.  All the trees added by it, with the exception of the sequoia, drop their own individual saplings that can be used to regrow that specific tree.  It would add a lot more graphical variety, but I can't have it breaking tool usage with other mods.  That won't do.  Which is a shame, because I totally wanted to build a tree house in a sequoia tree.  I mean, I can construct one with wood blocks and hacked in leaf blocks, but it just wouldn't be the same.


  1. Hey now, don't be hating on the Minecraft Structure Planner. I'm working on the stair and door models, you know ;-)

    Love the design!


  2. I like Minecraft Structure Planner. I just really wish it had the rest of the blocks. That's all.

    As for the interior design bit, it'd probably be fine for smaller structures, but for something as huge as this, I really needed to walk around inside it to get inspiration.


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