Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Switches and ores

I was going to do a boring programing tutorial or possibly talk about skills in games but then I realized I had minecraft.

Recently my friends have started up a Survival multiplayer server on a friends machine. We have messed around a few times with it so far and finally starting to do a "proper" mine. By proper I mean it's half a days walking distance from the main base. We've had plans in the future to set up a rail system and various other thigns and I relized that only one of us has the basic track system knowledge and has trouble with redstone. So I've spent the past evening and this morning messing with tracks and rails.

First thing I learned is that like the Gel water physics redstone is weird. Very weird. I knew a few more things than the friend who practically went mad from trying to make a giant piston gate and it still gave me trouble. Second thing I learned is that cart piston physics are weird. Third thing I learned is that there was complete destruction of the old pez dispenser system for minecart storing stations.

In the past minecart had a weird quirk. If a minecart passed another minecart next to it both of them would go to top speed. It allowed for long distance transportation via booster stations where a single track was laid out with a minecart placed in it with hill climbing tracks on both ends but ultimately the cart would hit a block and come to rest in the middle. This allowed the real cart to come by get "boosted" by it and have the booster station cart go back and forth a few times until it came to rest roughly in the middle where it could assist in another minecart going in either direction.

In previous versions where this worked you could make something called a pez dispencer. Minecarts have some physics to them, they'll sit on top of each other, so naturally you make a tower holding a half dozen and the bottom one sits on a half block. when needed you'd press a button and do some magical track switching to send a cart that was in a perpetual motion boost loop to come by force the stacks bottom minecart off it's half block onto some track and sending it up to you.

The days of that are gone though. In one of the recent patch updates he added powered tracks which completely remove the need of such weird quirk booster physics. I didn't miss it as I had not do much beyond make a perpetual minecart mover. Though upon trying to do some tricky piston things as I realized pez dispensers didn't' work I noticed something. When a minecart is hit by a piston it loses all physics, all the rest of the minecarts collapse into it and lose physics too. So you have 6 minecarts occupying the same space and time on the track causing very strange things to happen including teleporting through walls and overshooting tracks. If you understand minecraft you can see I sort of fixed that. Though I don't quite like the way, it doesn't' seem as elegant as the old pez dispenser.

Another thing realized was that powered tracks work via increasing the direction of movement. Push or drop a cart on them and they do nothing. In fact even the direction of the push does nothing as the object does not gain a movement direction, the piston just constantly updates it's coordinates. Leaving level powered tracks kinda useless. In fact the only way I could reliably have powered tracks work as boarding stations is if they are on a hill, which is just odd. Either way it seems I have some solution to the problem at hand and am still working on it. At least unlike my piston staircase for minecarts a mine art station isn't going to be messing up anytime soon.


  1. I could never figure out how to make working tracks and minecarts, but I might get into it now.

  2. And this game is supposed to be fun somehow?

  3. Tracks seem so time heavy to do well. Unless you have help I guess.

  4. Looking good. Never had the patience for MC myself though.