domingo, 31 de julio de 2011

Upcoming changes to Minecraft mods

Ok people, here we are again. I was going to show you some "homemade" stuff, but I found something much more interesting, and that is what's going to fall in our lap in a few weeks or even less.

First, the great news, Minecraft Forge is a growing project that now has inside both Eloraam, Alblaka and SpaceToad among others, meaning we can expect much greater compatibility between their mods in the future, and the even greater news is that we can expect much less pixel-intensive version of Industrialcraft as a side effect.

Second, the upcoming new update to Eloraam's mods, aside from glowing blocks, is this:
Yeah, that is Eloraam's work: we can see both some lights and the option of putting the logic gates in walls or in the ceiling. Also, she has promised a screwdriver for some use with the plates (and that we will be ablo to put the plates by themselves, so covering logic gates will become possible).

Now for Industrialcraft, I'll advice you to go to Industrialcraft's blog and check. Can't say anymore here.

And finally for Buildcraft, the upcoming changes are avaiable as a beta in the mod's forum page, with the advice of only using them for testing without any other mods (because it might get unstable). SpaceToad made a video of the upcoming Buildcraft 2.0:

 In short: A new liquid (oil), a new tool (the wrench, which is used among other things to change the pipe's settings, like which exit the items can use in a steel pipe), and a new mechanic for all the actually redstone-powered pipes and machines: they will now require engines, that are activated by redstone and come in three speeds: wood, stone and iron (each one is quicker than the previous). While all engines require a redstone source to start working (and that can be a continuous source, like a lever or a redstone torch), stone engines also require something to burn (like coal), and iron engines require oil (and they need a lot of oil buckets to get filled). See the video for more info on that.

Stay tuned!

jueves, 28 de julio de 2011

Some circuitry, pistons and secret doors

Well, following with my ecclectic development of entries, today I offer you some videos from my Youtube channel that I uploaded between yesterday and today.

The first is just a new version of the already existing concept of blast doors using 20 sticky pistons to have a secret double door in a 6 blocks-wide wall, but this time using only the RedPower addon:

The second is just a "logical" evolution of the previous concept, that is, putting the "door" on the floor, so the secret passage can even be outdoors! The only change in the circuitry is that now all is in the same vertical height and into a side of the moving parts, instead of having part under the doors and part over them:

And the third is just another logical evolution of the previous idea: instead of a secret passage, it's now a trap you cannot get out from (unless you are carrying some extra blocks, that is XD) that can be turned with ease into a deadly, self resetting trap:

A small edit to this entry: an even more reduced version of the circuitry for the floor's trapdoor:

I hope you enjoy watching the videos as much as I enjoyed making the designs. Be warned, however: RedPower turns minecraft into something much, much more addictive than it was!

lunes, 25 de julio de 2011

A classic monster grinder using Buildcraft

Yes, I know I promised a video... but really, a 30 minutes long video of watching how things build themselves can be a little boring, so instead I took screenshots.

My build is 37x36, with a total height of 5, with the distribution directly taken from this video of Youtube, with some small changes.
In case you are wondering, I'm using a txture pack, Ruston RPG (it doesn't need anything, just drop it into the textures folder and select it ingame).

 First I made a small setup. Here you can see the space determined, one platform made and several Buildcraft's fillers connected to wireless receivers (for no other reason than to have them all run at once XD).
Here I start the powering and the fillers fill the area.
Now finishing the basic layout. Since I don't fully trust Buildcraft's builder for anything but building with a single kind of block (you can use several, but it takes a lot of counting and calculation to arrange the blocks in the appropiate order inside the builder, so I prefer to do everything else by hand), this layout will be the one I will take into a blueprint.
There you can see the template maker making the template. I will leave it there just in case getting out and coming back into the server resets the templates (there was a problem in the SSP version when the builder first appeared, and since I don't know if it has been fixed, well, it's not like anyone will steal it XD).
You just put a blank template and the maker does all the job, it doesn't even need redstone! (But you can use a redstone torch to make a negative of the template).
In the video the player uses signs but I find very annoying the signs cannot be stacked (unless you use a mod), so I use slabs instead, which are the cheaper option. Since the slabs take a space, you could make the grinder bigger by adding one to the X and Z measures per water source needed (here you could enlarge the trap to be 41x40 or so).
I made the "mouth" a little too small, I had to remove the top layer of blocks to allow for zombies and skeletons to die there, but it's just a classic lava trap (between the lava and the water there are three ladders, and a water current under the ladders).
An aerial view of the "finished" product (save the roof XD).
Now I put a builder over the trap, and started building an upper level. The easiest way to do the upper level is to change the direction of the central water current, letting the mobs drop in the fartest (to the lava) position of the grinder.
The builder, feeded by a chest to represent the porssibility of using storaged materials from the quarrys, or having one or two quarrys feeding the builder thanks to pipes. The chests in the ground are to storage the drops from the mobs, using insertion pipes (but there is no real reason not to use simple stone pipes, really).

Here I just realized the builder is putting things in a rotated fashion... oh well XD.

So why this? Well, in the video we see the player needs a lot of time, effort and a couple of diamond pickaxes. Now, we can just make a template of an above the ground version of that trap, and then make the builder excavate it in the innards of the earth (so you wouldn't even need to feed the builder, you would need a clock, the builder and the template!). The only drawback would be the need of running and planting torches to avoid the spawning of mobs during the construction once there is a 2 blocks of height at enough distance from you.

This grinder has the following pros and cons:
+ Only 5 of height counting the roof (6 with the floor, 7 with the water channel to collect stuff).
+ Easy to made and modify.
+ Hard to spot. Glitches would show very little.
+ With Buildcraft, now you can make this trap with ease in the air, allowing for a position where the mobs can only spawn inside the grinder.
- Items get stuck if for some reason a mob dies away from the lava (the slabs or anything you put to stop the water currents from merging will also stop items). This can be a minus if you make the upper level with dirt to use it as a regular animal farm.
- You don't see the monsters dying.
- If you play with Mo's Creatures (like I do), Ogres cannot spawn in this trap. However, this also could be considered a plus, since the ogres would break the trap even if you use obsidian instead of stone: the ladders preventing the merge of water and lava would break. As of today, the only way of avoiding this is to reduce the strenght of the ogres so they don't destroy any block (or using other mods to damage the mobs, like Industrialcraft's Tesla Coils).

jueves, 21 de julio de 2011

Farms video

So here it is the video I promised. You can see here how I make my automated farms to get wheat, cacti, mushrooms, and sugar cane (well, and wood when I set up a tree plantation in the roof or floor of a base).

About farming the flower farming: you cannot plant flowers and expect them to expand, you need to use bonemeal on grass to get more, so set up a water collector for that is quite an overkill ^^.

I expect to make a new video before next week about making a monster grinder that also doubles as a critter grinder during the day, using Buildcraft.

As for Industrialcraft, I'm currently not using the mod, because it takes so many terrain sprites, I would be limited to Eloraam's RedPower and Alblaka's Buildcraft, and I'm currently making some traps and contraptions that take much more advantage from the Better than Wolves and Portal Gun mods (see them in the links section to the right of the page).

Stay tuned!

martes, 19 de julio de 2011

Farming 101: what and how much

So we are all impressed by the big an amazing farming contraptions out there that allow, with a simple click of a button or turn of a lever, to get a lot of wheat to make bread, or get tons of sugar cane, or an endless stream of cacti... Now I wonder: is it really necessary?

Let's take a look at all the resources that grow on Minecraft:

1. Mushrooms. Used to make stew, they expand by themselves, so you can make a self-harvesting machine with some pistons and water, which is quite the good part, and they heal a lot. The bad parts are that, first, you need two different mushroom types to make the stew, and that Mushrooms tolerate levels of light that are dangerous: sunlight is light level 15, but mushrooms will "die" (in the game, they will pop out, like a destroyed block) when the light surpasses level 7... which is the limit at which monsters spawn. Lastly, you need three wooden planks per mushroom stew to make the bowl (well, to make 4 bowls), which is not consumed (unless you use the canning machine from Industrialcraft). While I think this all balances the mushrooms in the good side, if you want to carry the raw materials you need to leave 4 spaces at least (crafting table, 2 mushrooms and the bowls), and they take a lot of time to expand, but you can make a safe automatic harvesting machine (I'll get to it on thursday, I promise).

2. Wheat. You need three to make bread, which heals for 2.5 hearts or so. Unlike the mushrooms, it requires light, at least a torch in the next 3-4 spaces (I usually put one every 2 blocks one block above the one with the wheat) when you make an underground farm. The good points are that you only need wheat to make the bread and that you only "sacrifice" two slots to carry the materials (that is, wheat and a crafting table). The bad points are that farming wheat requires water, a hoe, dirt, and manually replanting (unless you use some mods). This last point is what makes the big farms a little like a waste: you can set up a small "farm" you can manually harvest quickly, and you are setting up a smal farm you can replant quickly. I takes more time for me to harvest and plant a big auto-harvesting farm that to harvest and plant two small manual farms...

3. Cacti. While these are not edible, they can be farmed for different uses, among them for furnace use as burning material, or to be burned to get green dye (or the more extended "defense wall"). While cacti have no problem with diagonally-placed blocks, they will drop if a block is north, east, west or south of them, and won't grow if there is a block over them; not to mention you can plant cacti only on sand (which obeys gravity), making the cacti automated farms a little too big in the vertical axis. Their best point, however, is that once you have set up the farm, you only need to collect the items (and a well-placed obsidian pipe with some chests does a great job for that).

4. Flowers. Used for dye crafting (and in some mods for other recipes), this will expand like mushrooms over grass, and they would be better suited to be used in great farming projects thanks to that (and because they take much more time to expand to the same surface).

5. Sugar cane. The best suited for farming, you can use it to craft sugar (needed to make cake) or paper (needed to make maps and books; paper is needed also in some mods). You only need to set up water, with dirt adyacent to it, and plant the sugar cane on top of the dirt. Since you can harvest the second or third part of the plant without removing the base, pistons (and a wall to stop the dropped items from flying all across the world XD) can be used with a water current for quick farming. Also, with Eloraam's Integrated Redstone you can set up a clock to activate the pistons once every 5 minutes or so (300 seconds) and use an obsidian pipe to gather the materials after a water current has put them all in a block, making them fully automated (meaning that you will usually need small farms since they are harvesting all the time, unless you need a lot of paper/sugar). The only bad thing about sugar cane is that is hard to find unless you are lucky with the starting position.

6. Wood. The most important resource is also the only one you can't set up in an automated harvesting farm. The best you can do is to plant trees with two blocks between them and three blocks from any other high obstruction, and try to keep homogeneous farms (I have noticed that when two trees of different kind get their leaves mixed, they drop less saplings), aside from that there is nothing to do there.

I expect to provide you all with some videos and images from some examples on thursday for different farms and contraptions, so stay tuned!

lunes, 18 de julio de 2011

Eloraam's Redpower

Hi people, don't mind it's monday and let's talk about Minecraft ^^

First of all, actualizations: Industrialcraft is now on version 8.5, and Eloraam's Integrated Redstone is on 1.5.1. Actualizations are always good. But there is something even better: new stuff!

So yes, today we look at a new mod, Redpower by Eloraam. She is becoming quite the electronic goddess in the game, and I sure do hope Notch will notice her work!

Also, please notice you now need to download one extra item (redpower Core) for Eloraam's two redstone mods to work. It's a zip file inside the same threat both mods are.

This is some of the looks of her new mod. You can see some coloured cables, bundled cables, some logic gates, and a covering plate made of cobblestone near the middle of the screen.

You can get the mod from the same link of Eloraam's Integrated Redstone, in the right part of the page, by the way ^^.

So, what does this mod do? What do we get by downloading and installing it? Well, we get sixteen different cables that don't intermix redstone current, a red cable ("bare" wire, it could be called) that works the same way redstone dust does regarding redstone current, a "bundled cable" that allows running several cables in the same block regardless of their coloring without mixing the redstone charge, and covering plates of several materials, allowing you to cover the cables so they look like a normal block. And of course the better part of the mod: you can put the cables on the sides of the blocks... and under them, so you won't need to make those stairs of blocks with redstone torches or dust to take the current to different vertical levels!

Without much more talk, here is one of the videos (I didn't made it, it is on the download page of the mod) showing the stuff inside the mod:

miércoles, 13 de julio de 2011

Buildcraft 1.7.3 actualized

Yay, fans, be happy! Buildcraft has finally been actualized to 1.7.3. However, know that there are some bugs and problems, like the template drawing table crashing the game if placed without markers, so be careful.

Persnally, I will hold my 1.6.6 world and start a new one in 1.7.3, but I'm currently playing with some ideas regarding pistons and rails (now that I have pistons that move the rails), it's a little sad, however, that the pistons can't move the block a rail is placed on without dropping the rail like when it has been hit by the player.

Also, I will try to put some more updates, but I will be quite busy from today till sunday, so I can't promise new entries before monday. I expect to make an underground base this time, with wires and all, however, so expect some screenshots, and maybe a video about wiring the insides for Industrialcraft's machinery.

lunes, 11 de julio de 2011

Mod actualization 1.7.3

Ok, a small update today about the mods I use and their status regarding the patch 1.7.3 last week:

First, the mods already working with 1.7.3: Integrated Redstone, SinglePlayerCommands, Worldedit, Mo's Creatures and both modloader, audiomod, the pistons classic mod, and a small heads up about modloaderMP: SDK's has not been actualized on a regular basis, so some mods use Flan's version (refer to the first page of each individual mod for that). ToomanyItems also works.

Industrialcraft is making a good imitation of Schördinger's cat: the mod works and has been ported to 1.7.3, but some features are broken (like industrial TNT and nukes), some are being tweaked and fixed (like force fields, one of the new stuff) and the code is a little jinxed, so I'd suggest to wait before jumping into the new version.

Buildcraft is NOT actualized for 1.7.3, in fact the pipes are fully bugged.

My advice about what to do with minecraft: always have a "clean" copy of the full game, and the last working copy (with the maps in that development) saved into another folder in your HDD. And always have three minecraft.jar files: the playing one, the "clean" one (mostly so you won't need to look for that inside the backup folder), and one with the very basic mods that add no blocks at all to the game (like TooManyItems, Modloader, ModloaderMP, Audiomod, SinglePlayerCommands and Worldedit). Also, keep those two extra minecraft(something).jar files in a new folder you make in .minecraft\bin, because if you have to run the game from the command line (to get error logs, for example), you want the command to run the minecraft.jar with the stuff, not any of the others.

Stay tuned for more ^^

sábado, 9 de julio de 2011

Base 101: Underground base

 So here we are, with the underground base finally. I took my time there because since I started a new world with the Mo's Creatures mod, I've been busy farming a lot (and for once I had a lot of luck finding diamonds, so I was able to make four quarrys now).

Anyway, I just made a small underground base between layers 12 and 22 (aproximately) and decided to show it to you all.

As you can see, it's quite high so the trees can grow. I prefer the white bark ones because they always grow four to six logs, meaning their top height is about 7-8, and don't have extra logs hidden between the leaves.
I put three trees here, separated 3 blocks from all the walls and between each other (2 blocks of separation between the tress would have been enough, but then the leaves blocks tend to merge, and we will get less saplings after cutting the tree).

Finally I made a small recess of three high and one depth, then excavated a 2 high and one depth additional one, added a line of dirt , water, covered the water, added some torches, and used a hoe to plant some wheat, then added two chests, a crafting table and two furnaces (you can't see them in the photos, I'm afraid), plus a bed in case I want to sleep.
So there  we are, a fully functional base underground. It only lacks animals, but the pain of taking dirt with grass all the way to the underground, with all the time it takes for animals to spawn once you are down there makes it for me something not to worth the effort.

Ok, so now with the pros and cons of an underground base:
Self-sufficient: it's the only base with ready access to all the material needs you might have in Minecraft, given enough work to make room for the trees. Mi advise would be to chop the trees every time you go back to the base, and replant, no matter your needs of wood.
Mining-oriented: extremely easy access to mining.
Stealthy: it's underground, so it's unlikely other players will find it in SMP (saving glitchs).

Effort-intensive: unlike a surface base, you will have to clear room in all directions so the trees will grown up. Also, you need to provide light.
Stealthy: you might have trouble being able to reach your base back unless the path is marked... in which case the base turns into one more easy to find in SMP by other players.
No sun: again, you will need to provide lightning to your plants, and more importantly if you play using Industrialcraft, you won't have access to solar light unless you make a solar generator in the surface with HV cables taking the power down there... which again will make the house easy to spot in SMP.

In case you want to look into more detail this kind of base, Paulosoaresjr has two or three videos showing how to setup underground farms in his "how to survive and thrive" video list.

Have fun!

jueves, 7 de julio de 2011

Mob of the Week: Mo's Creatures' Ogre family

So I was planning on a new video... but for some reason Fraps refuse to record today XD. Let's hope I have it solved for the weekend, when I'll try to give some spotlight to an underground base and some wiring basics for Industrialcraft. In the meantime, I'm gonna share information with all of you regarding one of the most dangerous family of mobs from Dr Zhark's Mo's Creatures: the ogres.

First, their "measures": 3 blocks high and 2 blocks wide, and 1 block in the remaining coordinate. That means they don't fit into a door's space, but this is quite irrelevant unless your house is made of ores or obsidian (or if you use Industrialcraft, reinforced stone/glass/doors). The good news, however, is that by default they don't show on easy difficulty unless you choose to.

They attack in a wide area (about 3 blocks in all directions, sparing the ground), destroying (as in "first turning them into the dropped version you can loot, and then consuming the blocks like lava") all blocks but obsidian and ores, unless you tweak their strength level in the mod's ingame options, making them weaker. They will use that attack each time they are damaged (and they won't always make the attack animation of raising their arms), and the damage will affect other mobs.

As for their agresiveness, during the day they are passive until they despawn, and during the night you need to get fairly close to attract their attention, and you can outrun them easily (as long as you don't run into another mob, of course XD).

All this has some interesting implications to our usual gameplay:

First, your best defense at the start of the game is to keep your distance from them, since the walls that are effective against all other mobs are useless in this case.

Second, Cacti are useless: they will break them in less than three or four seconds.

Third, if you make a skeleton to hit an ogre, or an ogre makes his attack in the middle of a mob group, expect a massacre.

Fourth, the usual grinders are useless against ogres unless you adjust their strength to a weakened state. You might think "well, they will break cacti, but a lava trap in an obsidian room will work". False: the lava trap requires two ladders to keep both water and lava out of the collection pit, and the lava from consuming the drops aswell.

As for effective defenses, pits might work, water currents will work, and lava will work. Again, distance is the most effective protection against this mobs.

Now for the three types of ogres in the mod, we have the standard ogre (in the screen above), which is the most frequent and weaker of all, and drops obsidian blocks (from 0 to 3...); we also have the fire ogre, which is red, rarer and stronger and drops fire (so you can craft chainmail... personally, I tend to disable this one); and finally we have the cave ogre, a blue mob with a single eye that drops diamonds, and will spawn only under a certain layer (thing of a super slime, if you want). However, the cave ogre is so rare and requires a ceiling of 3 blocks high, meaning it's quite difficult to run into one (but not impossible).

The best tactic to kill one of these is to be out of their reach, so for example in a high position with a bow. They also seem to be quite blind, so they won't usually move if you attack them from out of their range of aggro.

So you see, these are quite dangerous. However, they are very straightforward. I hope the next spotlight will be the werewolf (again from Mo's Creatures), and then I'll go over some "vanilla" mobs like spiders and creepers.

See ya, and please comment!

lunes, 4 de julio de 2011

New mod: Mo' Creatures

Well, I was planning on other entry in the blog, but the planned work got derailed because, first, I had literally no time to play on saturday or Friday, and second because my idea of using the Allocator to load a minecart with a chest didn't worked. And since none of the mods I use have been actualized to 1.7, I'm still playing on 1.6.6... Which leads to the next spotlight mod: Mo' Creatures.

First, this mod requires two other mods: the GUI API and Modloader with audiomod (remember if you are going to install this mod, to download 1.6.6 compatible versions of ModLoader, the API and Audiomod).

Second, Paulosoaresjr has a video on the mod in his channel.

So, what does Mo' Creatures add to Minecraft? More creatures. More than that, you can adjust the number of different creatures that will spawn of each type thanks to the API mod, and change the level of difficulty at which those creatures will spawn. Since I'm a kind of chicken, I set them all to show up on Easy difficulty XD.
While the mod is great and adds things like mounts, it also adds Ogres and Werewolves. Werewolves can only be killed permanently by using gold weapons (well, during daytime with a stone sword you can kill one in his human form if you are fast enough ^^). Ogres are... really dangerous. They are the first mob I've seen in Minecraft that can destroy blocks without inmolating himself (creeper!! XD), and thus far only obsidian and ores are safe materials to build houses (and if use Industrialcraft, they don't break reinforced stone, doors or glass). Also, Ogres are 3 blocks high, so consider making your grinders 4 or even 5 blocks high for them to spawn and die.

My quick and small advice about setting up defensive structures when playing with this mod would be to use water currents to protect your house (so the water will take the mobs away), use double or even triple block walls, or the most safe measure I can think of: make a floating base as soon as you can, but add more than one access to it so in case an ogre breaks one of the stairs you can still reach the base. And have more than a single safe spot, of course ^^.

The next update will be, if all goes ok, on thursday, unless a couple of my mods get actualized and I can start exploring them in 1.7.
Also, regarding Industrialcraft, his creator has said that he will update the mod to 1.7 and add some new stuff too.
Have fun!

viernes, 1 de julio de 2011

Base 101: The Floating Base

This one is my personal favourite for SSP, and consists into the making of a floating surface where you will live and have all your stuff, safe from mobs if rightly lighted (since there are no flying mobs outisde the Nether at the moment).

Pros: Easy to spot, you don't usually need to make a beacon to mark where is it; You don't need to level any ground, nor you need to worry about mobs reaching the ceiling; you will get very good views of all around, and when going out of the base you will have it easy to see if there are mobs around.

Cons: no access to any resource whatsoever, you will need to set up a farm if you want to have wood avaiable; you will need to descend a long stair to get to your mining operation. And if you are in a SMP server, your base is easy to spot (so if PvP is fair game, it will be easy to get to you. On the bright side, you will see them coming if you are looking).

Finally, there is a mixed pro & con with this base: because you make it over the ground, it will cast a shadow because it blocks sunlight, so if you make it big enough (60x60 for example) you will be making a spawning spot for the mobs (the passive mobs won't be spawning there, however). So you could make a mob grinder, and then cover the light above. If you have Buildcraft, with a pipe line you can get all to your base automatically. Or it can serve as a protection of sorts in SMP, since during the day the monsters might spawn only there...

Let's see now some images from this:

The shadow making a grinding trap:

Underside photo of my floating base (incidentally, under that base there is a forest I call "the thousand candles forest" because of all the torches I placed there XD):

From the top (using the Fly command of the Single Player Commands mod):

Incidentally, all this photos are "outdated": not only were they taken in 1.6.6, but also before the latest versions of Integrated Redstone and Buildcraft were out. While that map is saved (and more advanced, in the case of the floating base), I'm playing now in another installation of the game with the latest pre-1.7 versions of the mods I use, but I will be out of reach for the whole weekend (but I will play in my laptop... assuming minecraft works with it, of course XD), so the next update will be on Monday.

On an off-topic, Paulosoaresjr published a few more videos: two from a 1.7 test, one from Terraria, and the first video of the second season of Man Vs Minecraft. And he really proves he knows how to set the mood in that last one ^^