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Maker Faire Bay Area 2015 Event

I finally got to go to the  10th annual Maker Faire in the Bay Area, and it was great. The Maker Faire is a where tons of "makers" (people who make really cool tech futuristic things) come and set up exhibits where they show off all of their cool tech. It is a giant event, and about 30,000 came. I got to see a ton of famous developers, including some of the head Microsoft directors, Eben Upton, the creator of the Raspberry Pi, Autodesk directors, and even the developers of the 3D printer I have now (Printrbot). In some areas, I got access to online tools and beta apps that you could only get if you go to the Maker Faire. I saw drones battling each other, life size R2D2 units from StarWars, and at least 50 different 3D printers. 

The first thing I saw was a "hovering" seat, which acted similar to how air hockey works. The small platform-seat had a black air bag on the bottom, with small holes. The air back is constantly being filled with air, which is exiting through the small holes at the bottom, giving it a slight hovering effect. Then inside a building (the whole Faire was held both inside and outside) I saw ton of different printers. I saw a Dremel printer, which did pretty much the opposite of a 3D printer. If you put a block of wood on the printer bed, it would carve things if given a 3D file. I passed a lot of different 3D printers and their developers, and even a 2D printer. This printer acted similar to a 3D printer, but you gave it a pencil instead of filament and only "printed" on one layer. 

Then, probably my favorite part, I saw a newish app called Imaginary Spaces. It lets you build a house in 3D, then simulate it in first person view (and at the same time building it). Then, you can actually export it into both Minecraft and as an STL file for 3D printing. I got a "business card" in the form of a 3D printed castle (made in the app) with the words ImgSpc at the bottom. I also got access to an early beta version of the app for iPad/iPhone. Then, in the next building, I saw an example of using servo motors and an iPad to move things. There was a lot of iPads in the booth, which, when you moved the little cursor, it would move a balloon tied to one of the motors. Next to that booth, I saw a fighting robot, which would be able to deflect and know when the best time to attack was. In this case, though, it had a balloon instead of a stick. I also saw an example of sensors, combined with the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino, including color sensors, motion sensors, pressure sensors, and depth sensors. Then, I saw some 3D scanners, by Apple, which was basically a pad which you placed an object on and it would get scanned. After that, I saw a Kinect 3D scanning station for scanning people. It was a rotating platform and a robot that moved the Kinect up and down slowly. You just stand on the platform, and it would scan you and export to a 3D model.

I also saw tutorials on how to solder, which I probably should have taken (seeing as I had short circuited two Raspberry Pi's as a result of a failed soldering). Then I saw a popular game called Roblox, which had been out for a while. Roblox was very similar to Minecraft (but existed way longer) which basically was a game engine built for making your own worlds, then sharing them for multiplayer battles. In this booth, you could use a special game engine which allows you to code your own logic into worlds that you built. Only people who went to the Maker Faire could use this engine. Then, I saw a freaky humanoid robot (only the upper half). The fingers were especially creepy, as well as the (probably prosthetic) teeth. It had a very monsterish deep voice, too. I saw a thermal camera, which could detect heat. If you rubbed your hands a lot, then it would see the heat resulting from the friction. Then I saw a thing called Game of Drones, where people used custom built (and even bulletproof) cases for their drones, then battled them. It was a large area, with a net around it. If a drone got too near the net, it would get tangled. It was very crowded around there. 

Raspberry Pi SmartPhone

While browsing Instructables, I found a tutorial on how to build your own smartphone using Raspberry Pi and some other fairly cheap components on Adafruit. It looked fairly simple. The author had made his own operating system called Tyfone, and it could receive and send texts, call, and do most things a normal phone could do. It was a modification of the Raspbian operating system, and didn't look too hard to make. You can't download apps, you make your own, which I thought sounds pretty awesome. Plus, you can make both apps and OS using Python, which is my favorite programming language! 

I actually already have a lot of the requirements for building a smartphone. Over the years (or months), I have bought small things for the Raspberry Pi like a camera, USB hub, adapters, things like that. The two big things I need now, is a portable power supply and a small touchscreen. Thankfully, you can get both of these things for about $40 each. 

PrintrBot Simple Metal 3D Printer

I would have written a blog post about it sooner, but my younger brother and I got a 3D printer that came in yesterday. This is the PrintrBot Simple Metal, which is a really nice printer for a cheaper price (about $600 for the assembled, $529 for the un-assembled). I immediately tried it out a bit, mostly moving the nozzle around, then tried for some printing. I ordered 24 feet of filament for $20 on Amazon (white), and I tried it now. After a few hours, I FINALLY got it to print a bit, but it was extremely messy and didn't come out right. I had to do a lot of calibrating around on the Z axis (up and down), and finally got the right distance above the bed. Even now, it has to "warm up", I need to start it printing, wait for the filament to actually start coming out, then quickly cancel the print, move the nozzle away, take away the filament mess that it left, and try over again. Then, when it still didn't work, I searched online and found that hairspray actually helps to make the filament stick when it first comes out. Sure enough, it did the trick. The first successful print was of a friend who had visited that day. My older brother quickly scanned him, sent me the model, about an inch big, and I printed it. It took only about half an hour! I don't have any images of the print, though. My older brother did take a timelapse, which I will upload once/if he sends it to me. 

The next successful print was a fan shroud. The printer has a fan next to the extruder which dries the plastic when it is put on the print model. The shroud is something that PrintrBot left off, so that you could print it. It mostly just directs the air onto the plastic that is being laid down. I actually had problems with warping, where one corner would lift up a bit, then another. Then, it would come off the bed and get picked up by the extruder, ending in a mess which would have to be cleaned off of the extruder. However, in Cura (the 3D printing program) I found an option that prevents warping. It makes a "raft" underneath the model, in plastic, and you can easily take it off of the main model. It really helps, though it used up a bit more plastic and took about 10 minutes longer for larger prints.

Then, I decided to see how I could print a few Lego pieces. My older brother found a 3D model of a 4x2 Lego brick which he sent to me and I printed it. It had some small problems, but it actually fit onto normal Legos. Then, we printed a clone helmet. This one was very difficult, as we had to get the right size. We did three prints, the first too small, the second too big, and the last was about the right size for Lego minifigures. After cleaning it out a bit, we were able to fit it onto a Lego clone. After we added a bit of black using a permanent marker, it looked very similar to the normal Lego clone trooper helmets.

After that, I printed what I really wanted to print. The SD Card Filing Cabinet. The drawer wasn't very good, it didn't have a bottom and parts that were supposed to be filled weren't. Later, I figured out the problem and fixed it. However, an SD Card did fit into it. I then printed the rest of the filing cabinet, which took a while. It didn't have any problems, but when I tried fitting the drawer into it, it was really tight. In fact, the back part on the drawer snapped off. Right now, I am printing the cabinet, a bit smaller. I am pretty certain that the SD cards will still fit in, though. 

One of the features on the Printer, is that you can put a micro SD card into it. Then, from Cura, you can tell it to print from the SD card. After that, I can just unplug the computer from the printer. If I need to stop it, I can plug the computer in again, and enter in the command to stop it. 

SD Card Miniature Filing Cabinet

I was thinking of things I could model and 3D print, and for some reason, a miniature filing cabinet for SD cards popped into my head. It would act as a normal filing cabinet (miniature, of course. About 8 inches high at the most), with drawers, but each drawer would have five slots to insert SD cards. The advantage to having this over a little case, is that each drawer could hold different things. For example, one drawer would be marked with Family Photos, another Business Files, and another Raspberry Pi (totally!). The downside, is that people use USB flash drives for files more then SD cards. I would create this for USB drives, but they can come in all kinds of sizes with their cases. Now that I think about it, there isn't any downside to using SD cards over USB flash drives. 

I drew up some plans for this (I never knew a ruler could come in so much use), with the exact inch sizes. Then, I gave this to my brother who uses SolidWorks, a program for modeling but especially for things such as 3D printing and working with physics. You can see his blog post about SolidWorks on his blog here. Here is just a single paper that I worked on:

This paper shows different sizes of the SD card, and the drawer. Here is a GIF I made in Blender of the drawer (haven't yet created the full cabinet):

Culture/Economy in Minecraft

I love reading about how economy works, and different cultures, and I had the idea of simulating a culture in Minecraft. Basically, if I could ever get a large amount of players on (about 10 or 15), I could make a government that would be built up by players. There would be a senate, made of 5 players, and they could vote for different things. They would also form the government, and sell plots out to people. Everything would start out with one building on and island with a lot of plots, and it would built up from there. In fact, that is why I used WorldPainter to make the island shown here. There would be some trees, some mountains for mining and hills for landscape. How getting ores would work, is a player would build a mine into a mountain, and I would come and place special ores like iron in the mine, which once chopped would come back an hour later. I may even give the government power to do that. The server would only be online once a week, where everyone would come on at once. I was even thinking of having a separate set of players on at a different day of every week, in the same map but on a different island. It could get quite interesting if they came in contact sometime. 

Every four weeks, 5 new senators would be chosen. Meanwhile, however, senators can vote out another senator to be replaced. If the senators were abusing their power by things like extorting resources from the citizens, then they would be banned or never be allowed to be a senator again.

Minecraft WorldPainter

You may sometimes see giant, beautiful Minecraft worlds that other people have created. Maybe you have seen or even played the world map that somebody made, and wondered how somebody could build all that. Block by block?? That would take years. Using WorldEdit, a plugin/mod that helps for building areas? Even with that would take a long time, and wouldn't look nearly as good. There is another program for shaping land called WorldPainter. If you haven't ever seen one of those giant worlds, this is what it might look like:

That does look amazing. And even better, it is actually not too hard to make. Maybe only half an hour of work, sometimes an hour. In fact, that giant world map probably only took about a week of work! WorldPainter is a really easy to use program. It is a separate program from Minecraft, so it is not a mod or plugin. In fact, you don't even need a Minecraft account or Minecraft at all to make that. Here is what the main screen of WorldPainter looks like, when you first open it:

It can be both simple and advanced, depending on what you are using it for. There are a ton of great features, but one of my favorites is being able to create custom trees that you built in Minecraft, and spreading them where you like in the world. Lentebriesj created an awesome zip file full of custom, awesome trees that you can use in WorldPainter. Some of these trees were used by the creator the Earth Minecraft map. 

Here is what I am making with WorldPainter:

HID Macros

I recently saw a tutorial on how to make an easy programmable keypad. In this tutorial, the author was using it as an easy way to access PhotoShop shortcuts easily. Using a program called HID Macros, you can just make a key on the keyboard input different keys. You can just buy an external USB number pad, and change the keys to do different shortcuts, like pressing 6 on the pad will do Ctrl + Z. Another great feature of HID Macros is that it doesn't just check when you press a number, it also checks what device you are pressing it on. So pressing 't' on your laptop keyboard and 't' on a USB keyboard will be seen as two totally different keys.

Then, you can paste icons onto an external number pad, so it is easier to see. Here is what that would look like for PhotoShop shortcuts:

Then, I had the idea to use this for Minecraft, and put the controls there. I ordered an external number pad similar to the one above (without those icons, of course), which is going to come in tomorrow. Meanwhile, I tried doing simple test on an external USB keyboard that I wasn't using, and it works pretty well. Here is what that looks like (ignore my horrible drawing skills and low quality):

Minecraft Mod: McHeli

One of my favorite mods is the Helicopters and Planes mod, called McHeli. This is a very remarkable mod, one reason being that it can use 3D models for the planes! This is a Japanese mod, which means that it will be quite crazy. It adds a whole lot of planes and helicopters, and a few other features. Most planes and helicopters have following missiles, bombs, and guns. There are even anti-aircraft guns in the mod! While this is mostly battle-orientated, it does add some passenger planes.

A great feature is the ability to put any mobs you like, modded or otherwise, into a plane. This is why I added it into our modded Earth server, because I can transport the villagers around easily. Planes are really hard to control, and Helicopters even harder. That is why I chose the job of pilot, because I am almost the only one who can fly them. Here are some pictures of what they look like in action:

Earth Minecraft Survival

I was looking for something interesting to do in Minecraft survival, when I remembered that someone had made the Earth in Minecraft. I thought it would be very interesting to try playing Minecraft on that world, and I was glad when I found they had a version for survival mode. This version had ores (the creative one didn't), less trees, and used blocks that were more normal. For example, some places consisted of "mushroom blocks", but in the survival version they were changed to dirt or sand. I invited my siblings to play, and we got up a nice way of playing. I added Archimedes' Ships mod, Minecraft Comes Alive, and the Helicopters and Planes mod.. Then we went and claimed countries for ourselves, and this is what that looks like:

I then decided that different countries would get different bonuses depending on what it produced, and how much. For example, in California and South America , you could build a gold mine, and every real life day you would get six gold ore without having to do anything. Most countries would get a wood bonus, where if you make a house not very near the rest of your village, every real life day you would get 16 wood logs. I then claimed South Africa, because that place has diamonds. Then, we decided on what jobs we would have. I am the pilot, as crossing places, even in a ship, would take a while. I am almost the only one who can really fly a plane well. I expect to get quite a lot of money from that, as people will be trading and I will have to fly produce around. My sister Noelle will most likely be a farmer in food and animals, and my younger brother Simeon was lucky, and one of the countries he claimed, Afghanistan, was the only place that produced very much marble, or in this case quartz. He has a monopoly on that, as he is the only person who has that. After all that, we set up deals with each other. For example, my brother Simeon owns Canada and gets a wood bonus. I live in Egypt, and my brother Gideon lives in Australia. We didn't notice very much, but there isn't any wood in those countries. So I have a deal with my brother Simeon, where I will clear out an area in Canada for his builds, and I split the wood I collect. My brother Gideon made a deal with my youngest brother Ezra (yeah, we all have accounts :D), where he can make as many logging houses as he likes and Ezra gets a quarter of the wood that is produced.

We have an interactive map of our server here, and the full map of the world (that we used when claiming countries) here.

Maker Faire And Pi Day

Two events are coming up, one is Pi(e!) day, and the other is the 2015 Maker Faire. Pi day is on March 14th, because March is the 3rd month and the first three numbers of Pi are 3.14. It is the day that everybody celebrates (why, I have no idea) the entirely infinite number Pi. Instructables is hosting a contest, where you have to make a tutorial on either how to bake a Pie, or on how to do something Raspberry Pi related. There are two grand prizes, one for the winner that entered tech stuff, and the other for the winner who entered stuff related to baking. I will probably enter with a tutorial for my passcode program that I made a while ago, but in text. 

Also, the Maker Faire 2015 is coming soon, in May. It is held only a few hours drive from where I am. This is the 17th annual Maker Faire for the Bay Area. I hope to meet some new people, there, too!

Minecraft 1.8 Features

Minecrat 1.8 was finally released a month ago after a full year of being developed, and is currently the biggest and longest waited for update for Minecraft. It has a ton of new features, and a few rewrites of some parts of Minecraft, especially the inventory. Most new features are, however, are used by map makers. Map makers are usually people who make things like adventure worlds, or maps, or they make role-playing worlds. They distribute these for other players to use. Mods can usually do more, but the nice thing about these features being implemented into Minecraft is that it is now completely vanilla, so you don't even have to explain to a person how to install mods! Most of these features are used in command blocks, blocks which can run some new commands automatically when powered by redstone. It is very similar to programming. One such map that is quite impressive and uses a huge amount of the new 1.8 map making features is Planetary Confinement (I may do a blog post about it later, once I get around to playing it) by Samasaurus6. It is very similar to the Crash Landing modpack, except completely vanilla! 

Some things you can do, and what this is mostly used for, are minigames. My favorite that I will probably try making it a lava rising game. You are in an undergound Dwarven City, and lava has started to rise from the void below. The object is to get as high as possible before the lava kills you. This will probably be multiplayer, if I ever finish/release it. How I make the lava rise is actually pretty simple. One popular 1.8 feature is the new /fill command. You can use that in command blocks to fill a large area. I have used it before for a lava rising parkour, but I had a problem with it then. The fill command can fill a pretty large area with lava (for example), and replace certain blocks only, but I did not want the lava to suddenly appear and fill the whole parkour room immediately. I wanted it to rise, and if the player wasn't fast enough he would get caught up in the lava. The problem was, for every block that went up, I needed another command block. A parkour room that went up 64 blocks would need 64 command blocks, which was a lot of copy and pasting. Only recently, I found a way that only needed a few command blocks. 

Another popular 1.8 feature were armor stands. This may not seem like they could solve my problem in any way, but armor stands are used more in map making then they are used as a stand for armor. They have some unique tags you can put on them, to help with map making. You can make them so they have no gravity (they are entities, so they can fall normally). I can make a clock that keeps going around, and activating a command block that teleports the armor stand one block higher then whatever it is currently. Another great command that was added in 1.8 was the /execute command. You can use that on entities, to make them run commands as though the command block was there doing the command. This helps for setting blocks relative to an entities position. For example, if you wanted to make a cow spread ice wherever he walks, you now can. But what I use it for, is on an armor stand. Every time he goes up, I set a 100x100 block area in front of him into lava, replacing just air. This way, he keeps going up, and every time he goes up he sets an area to lava. 

I noticed that when I was working with command blocks and armor stands, it seemed very similar to when I was programming turtles. This is just one of the many, many 1.8 features. I talk about a few in this episode of my podcast. It was done a while ago, however, but most of the features I talked of are added in the complete 1.8 version.

Minecraft Modding

I have tried modding a few times before (blog posts here and here), but I tried again today. I am much better at it. I have noticed that that and plugin making are very similar, even in code. Here is what I would do to register a simple item, and mod:

First, I need to setup the programming file, called a "Java Class". In this file, I will need to type in the mod name, mod ID, and mod version. Then, I put in three events. When something happens, code inside an event is run. These three events are before the mod is loaded, when the mod is loaded, and after the mod is loaded. The last and first events aren't used very much, but the middle event is used for everything. Then, I need to create an item. I make a variable of the Item type, and call it what I like. Then, inside the "main event" (what I call the event where the mod is loaded), I give it a name and, if I want, a texture. To do that, though, I need to create a class for that item. In that class is where I can give it attributes. Items don't have very many, but blocks do. Back in the main event, I just have to register the item. Then I can launch Minecraft from the code editor, and get the item using some commands. It is pretty easy to program.

I am following tutorials by MrCrayfish. He is the creator of the famous furniture mod for Minecraft. Click here for the tutorials.

My Minecraft Modded World

You may have seen my earlier post about ComputerCraft, which is a mod that allows you to make programs in Minecraft. I put together a modpack including ComputerCraft (which is what I mostly used), Industrial Craft 2, RailCraft, BuildCraft, McHeli (Helicopters and planes), and Electrical Age (still unused).

This blog post will be about my world. This may be pretty long, I have taken a lot of screenshots.

Installing Shaders on Unsupported Intel Graphics driver/card

There is a Minecraft mod called "Shaders", that allows you to make Minecraft a lot nicer. It adds realistic water, shadows, and even waving leaves! It doesn't change your gameplay, it just changed what you see. Here is a screenshot of the most popular Shader Pack, called Sonic Ether's Unbelievable Shaders:

Shader packs are all created by different people, not the Shader mod creator. It works very similarly that resource packs work. 

Unfortunately, some people cannot use shaders. Those are the people with Intel graphics drivers. On your computer, you need a graphic driver to display things on the monitor. Unfortunately, the ones with Intel drivers normally don't work. The latest drivers do not support shaders, and those few computer that have an older version of Intel installed can only use some shaders made specifically for Intel. However, it is very possible to downgrade without altering your computer hardware. These instructions will only be for Windows 8 users, though it may be possible to do something similar to what you see here for older versions of Windows. 

First of all, you want to open the Device Manager. You can do this by clicking the Windows key and X together. Then, you want to click Device Manager. Now, you want to click the little arrow to the left of "Display Adapters". For me, there is only one item in the list. Mine is called "Intel(R) HD Graphics Family". If you have more than one item in your list, look for something similar to that. Now, you want to right click it > Properties. Click to the tab titled "Driver". Before you continue, you will want to download Intel driver that you need for shaders. Click here for the download page. There is a download button on the page.It may take up to five minutes. When it is done, extract it into it's own folder. I recommend putting it in it's own folder in the Documents folder. Now, you want to go back to the properties window of the Intel graphics driver. Then, click the "Roll back Driver". The screen WILL GO BLACK for a few seconds, this is normal. And now you click the update driver button. Select "Browse My Computer For Software", find the folder with the driver you downloaded and select that. Now, you want to click "Next". It should start installing the driver. Again, the screen will go black for a few seconds.

And now, you have a shader-compatible Intel driver! Now you want to install the shader mod. Click here for the mod page. Once you download the mod (make sure you have forge for 1.7.10 installed), put it in your mods folder in .minecraft, then start Minecraft with Minecraft Forge. It shouldn't take too long. Then, click Options, and (next to Language) click Shaders. Then, click "Open shaderpacks Folder". It will open the folder in another Window. Then download the shader pack here. Now, you want to extract it and copy the Ultra folder into the shaderpacks folder. Go back to Minecraft, and select the shaderpack from the list. 

And that's it, you now have shaders!

ComputerCraft Minecraft Mod

I found this really great mod called ComputerCraft, which lets you program in Minecraft. It adds computers into Minecraft, and you can program them using a programming language very similar to Ruby and Python. Not only that, but it also adds things called Turtles, which you can program to move around the Minecraft world doing tasks like farming or collecting wood. The programming language is called Lua, and is very easy to learn. I had never used Lua before, but in about fifteen minutes I could do as much in Lua as I could in Python! ComputerCraft is a very big mod, and you can get tons of addons made by other users, too. The mod has it's own operating system similar to Linux, called CraftOS. Also, another great thing about this mod is that it is designed to help in survival mode of Minecraft, which means that you have to supply it with resources. 

Here is an example program that would make a turtle go forward, break any block in front of it, turn around, and drop the block:

turtle.forward()
turtle.dig()
turtle.turnLeft()
turtle.turnLeft()
turtle.drop()

I have already used ComputerCraft quite a lot in my survival world. So far, I have a turtle that chops trees and places down saplings in a fenced off area, a turtle that goes along a strip of farmland gathering wheat and placing seeds, a turtle that shears sheep (I have two chests filled with - currently - 3,456 blocks of wool, which is 54 stacks), and a turtle that digs a large pit for the collection of ores. There are a lot of tutorials for ComputerCraft on Youtube, including some by the popular Youtuber Direwolf20 (kid-friendly). 

You can download it by clicking here.

Adventures In Minecraft by David Whale and Martin O'Hanlon

After a lot of work, Martin O'Hanlon released his book on programming with the Minecraft Pi API. The book is for people who have never used the API before, and is actually pretty long with tons of pictures. You can get it in paperback, too! 

He introduces a lot of concepts, including how to use the event when a block is right clicked with an iron sword, detecting when the player is in a certain region, and using time pauses to make minigames a bit more fun. He also tells people how to get setup on Mac, Windows, and Raspberry Pi, too. Not only that, but he has a section for the Raspberry Pi users that teaches them how to connect the LED lights and the Minecraft Pi world together in a program. 

At the very end of the book, he has a step by step guide on how to create an obstacle course, called "Crafty Crossing", to get to a block the player needs to collect, and back. It uses almost all of the methods he taught in the rest of the book.

You can buy the book for $12.50 Kindle edition, or $17.49 for the printed book:

Adventures in Minecraft
$17.49
By David Whale, Martin O'Hanlon

Minecraft: Crash Landing Survival Modpack

People call Minecraft a "survival" game. But really, there isn't much survival to it. Sure, you could spawn on an island, with little ways to get food, but just a single tree, and you will be boating out of there and to the mainland. Or you could stay, and just go mining and make your base there. It isn't really surviving. Even in "Hardcore" mode, where you cannnot respawn if you die and all mobs are a bit harder, it can get boring. You usually die because of an overwhelming about of mobs, or because you fell from a large hole you dug to the bottom and died (my older brother Jonathan). 

But now, with mods, you can make things funner, harder, and sometimes even harder to survive. There is a modpack (a bunch of mods that is put together) called Crash Landing Survival. This modpack also comes with a map. It has no specific story, but you have crashed, and it is your job to survive this barren, dusty, land. You cannot waste time. You have to watch your hunger and tempature, so staying out in the sun or near the fuel leaking from the right engine is not an option. You you won't start out with any water. You will die if you don't work straight away. First off, you get a book with a bunch of "quests", which give you goals and instructions to complete those goals. And when you complete a goal, you get a small reward. 

Now, this modpack is very sciency. You have to get dirt by growing a tree you got from the first quest. This seems impossible. But, actually, it isn't. You can convert saplings, and later, leaves (when you get your hands onto some iron) into dirt by fermenting it in a barrel! With the dirt, you can put that together with one of the empty water bottles left over from your small list of provisions, to get dirty water. This is undrinkable, so you have to clean it. You just smelt it using some of the items you got from the start. 

The whole modpack is planned out from beginning to end, with only a very small amount of bugs. You will eventually end up building machinery, and creating smelterys, infinite stone generators, and even a pressure chamber! And the best part is, you don't really have to know anything about the mods in this modpack. The questbook guide you all through it.

Of course, thirst and hunger aren't the only problems. At night, there will be creepers, spiders, and skeletons. But these vanilla mobs are almost not even there. There are going to be nearly fifty mobs outside your door every night, each a variation of a vanilla mob. It might actually take a while to get a sword, too. Another cool feature, is that you can sift the dust, to get some nice survival items. There is about a 15% chance you can get stones from a single block of dust, and you can use four of those stones to make one cobblestone. You use the cobblestone to make a furnace, in which you clean your dirty water, before you run out of the supply you already have. You can download it here.

Redstone - Minecraft

Minecraft can be measured into a quantity of aspects. For example, there is the "mining aspect", the survival aspect, and the building aspect. There are many more, some bigger, some smaller, but a big one that long-time players love is the "redstone aspect".  The actual redstone dust comes from mining redstone ore. Despite it being called redstone dust, its physics resemble nothing other than wiring. When connecting it with a lever, for instance, the redstone will become active. You can use pistons to make doors, too. It can get quite confusing, and I find the best way to learn is through experience. It is actually quite similar to the Minecraft Pi API. There is only so much you can do, but you can combine different methods to make some pretty cool things.

A pretty popular and confusing mechanism that only extreme pros do, is making virtual computers. And not only that, they can even do simple things like calculating, and it's even possible to play virtual games! Whoever thought that Minecraft was simply survival and blocks? Here is one that I found interesting, which uses command blocks to make it easier. Of course, it was possible to make computers before command blocks were in the game, and those are the most complex. Here is an example. It's GIGANTIC! Three million cubic blocks?? Do you know how long that would take to build, even if you didn't have to stop every now and then to think about how it would work? It can do basic drawing, too. Of course, I'm not that advanced, but I do have my own share of complex redstone mechanisms. Here is a gallery of them:

I built it all on a server. It's a great server, and griefing is strictly illegal. If you want to join, the IP is clownercraft.net.

Minecraft Pi: Making games inside a game

Without any warning, I'm almost done with my second eBook! It's almost twice as long as my first one, and it will be about how to make games inside Minecraft Pi. It comes with tutorials for two games, and one more game that you have to code yourself. Here is an excerpt from my eBook, explaining the contents:

Minigame One: Dissipating Arena

In this minigame, you will be able to make a game where the floor of the arena is slowly disappearing, block by block. The object of the game is to not fall, and last as long as possible. A simple yet addicting game. You will be able to have scores, too, meaning you can play and try to beat your friends at it. In these minigames, you will also learn some really cool concepts, including random numbers and using loops combined with time.sleep() pauses.

Minigame Two: Tetris Doom

In this minigame, the object of the game is to get to the top of the arena by climbing the falling blocks. But you can also get suffucated by the amount falling down, so try not to get trapped in a hole! It uses a lot of random numbers, and goes at a much faster pace then the Dissipating Arena. It uses the fact that in Minecraft, when you place sand and nothing is below it, it will fall down. You can try that yourself by placing a sand blocks against a pillar, and watch it fall.

Minigame Three: Grab That Gold

In this last minigame, the tutorial is a bit different. I will tell you how to what methods and information you use, but the actual coding is up to you. You will probably need to read the first to minigames to do this one. In the game, you have to run (or fly) around the arena, trying to destroy a gold block that is constantly moving around every tenth of a second. At the end, it will display how long (in seconds) it took you to destroy the block.

 

I hope to have it out this week!