Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 26th, 2012

It's finally done. I was really not satisfied with how the stone brick looked and how unsupported the spawning towers felt. It seems that you can only use 2-3 types of blocks effectively before other things start to look tacky, so I resorted to using sandstone and wood to complete the columns and the new lava blade setup.

First of all, I had to design the pillar that supported the spawning towers. I wanted to keep it mainly as sandstone, and took inspiration from the design style of the ancient Romans. That said, just plain sandstone wouldn't look much better, so I began changing the shape, making use of half slabs, and also accenting the sandstone with different colors to make it more vibrant (and I finally found a good use for lapis blocks). This is the result of that effort, though it was not the final result.

Night shot of the four finished pillars

Day, aerial shot of the four finished pillars

In the middle of the second image, you can see the next part of the refurbishing project: the lava blades. Now, there actually had to be some function to this part, so the shape was sort of out of my control, though the style was not. The style actually changed quite a bit from first conception all the way through me finishing off the redstone for the lighting system.

Yes, you heard right. I finally got the redstone wiring for the lighting system all the way underground. Aside from the siding and the top of the lava blades, there is no redstone showing (and you can't see the redstone on the lava blades from anywhere in my base). The wiring was actually challenging to do, and I'm glad I thought of a few of these things in advance. For instance, the spawning towers actually sit one block lower now than they did before. I added an additional layer to prevent the water from dripping, but it also served to house the redstone without any bulges sticking out on the bottom of the towers.

The wiring wasn't initially below the spawner, where it would creep to the sides and move upwards from there. When I first tried wiring the rest of it, I had it on the side, but I didn't like the additional ring it made around the side. It made the towers feel like they are too close together, and it looked a little tacky.

Day shot of the finished base for the mob grinder

Top-down view of the lava blade section

What the pillar looks like after I installed the lighting system into it

When all is said and done, this project went extremely well. I'm happy with the design, and think they add a lot to my base, which was previously very open. A lot of lines of sight were blocked, and a lot of space was taken up and is well lit from the pillars. This will make it immensely easy to light up the whole base with redstone lamps, which is an upcoming project for me.

Funnily enough, I discovered that I actually spaced out the spawning towers incorrectly. The north and west spawning towers are one block closer to the center of my base than the south and east spawning towers. I randomly discovered this problem when I was just looking up at them, but I still did my best to mask that mistake by making the sides of the lava blade rather plain. You can see the mistake most clearly in my top down view, where two sides of the redstone are three blocks long and two are four blocks long.

That's all for now. Signing out!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Public World Download - July 12th, 2012

I'll keep this short since I just posted an update to my blog.

This is the third month that I've released a download link for my world. Every time, there are more and more changes to the world. This time, I've finally put a roof over Steve's head and began construction on the entrance to my base. More terra-forming has been done on the north side of the base, pushing the hill even further back. My storage room is even more full of goodies than last time, enough to start any project I want. The desert is getting flatter, the minecart track got cleaned up a lot, and I've finally started a cow farm. This time I don't even really need to include signs, as every part of my base is now connected via rail. So enjoy the new additions.

Download here

July 12th, 2012

Last time I posted an update, I had just finished building the giant half sphere surrounding my base. With that mega project out of the way, I was finally allowed to focus on more fun things to do in Minecraft. That said, I haven't abandoned the idea of finishing the doorways to my base, but I didn't focus my entire attention on it either.

So for the entrances to my base, I completely abandoned the idea of using a piston door to get in or out. Instead, I chose to just have no door at all, and rely on lighting up the area around my base sufficiently that I won't be bothered by mobs. I'm not satisfied with this arch yet however, as the sandstone seems rather bland when looking from the inside of the base.

There is also the small problem of trying to transition from the archway's solid blocks to the glass dome surrounding it. I figured I would add supports to the dome all the way down to the tip of the arch, where it would split and follow the side down to the ground. I wanted to be sure of the material I was using for the arch first though, and after sleeping on it for several days, the sandstone hasn't grown on me. Something has to change, but I have yet to figure out what.

Moving onto the next project, I've elected to connect things to my base more. For awhile now, I've tired of going through the stronghold to get up to my desert (which has seen quite a lot of use as of late). I've been sitting on the idea of making a minecart track move over there, when I remembered the design that I showed off in the teaser. Of course, that design wasn't sufficient for what I wanted to do, so I had to modify it slightly.

As you can see, I have two destinations on the right side of my control panel.

Really, the only modification that I needed to make was hooking the top right button up to the piston. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid completing the circuit, so I had to rely on another small trick, which was the redstone power length.

A view of the RS-NOR latch used to control the direction
you go from the station.

The redstone wiring might look ugly because it isn't very compact, but it comes with the benefit of no added delay to the circuit. I needed to avoid having both ends of the RS-NOR latch activate at the same time when I pressed either button. By having 4 redstone dust between the connection of both button circuits, I was able to move the RS-NOR latch away far enough so that one side was within range of the each button, but out of range on the other side.

With the three button selector working, I had to dig a new tunnel the the surface of the desert. Luckily, it was not a very long tunnel, as I built it by the corner of the old minecart track.

I'll probably add a small hut here, just to store some chests so that I can
stay in the desert for longer and make the whole operation look cleaner.

Now, the minecart actually does stop down at that midway station, so I needed something there as well. I elected to make another branch mine there, thus connecting a branch mine to my base.

The completed station

The tunnel down to the branch mine

Now, I have to be careful about where I dig. The old minecart track ran along y-level 12, so I raised it up six blocks so that the branch mine would not intercept the minecart track. Basically, there is only one orientation that I can't make branches in, so I'm quite happy with it.

This new mine also comes at a perfect time. I have two more redstone intensive projects that I need to finish: the lighting array in my base and the lighting system for the mob spawner. I can't start either project until I refinish the bottom part of the mob spawner and finalize the terrain in my base (I want to add some height difference to make it look natural, and I may even add a tiny waterfall to my base from the river). Therefore, finishing the mob spawner is the next thing on my list of priorities, and I actually have a plan on how I will do it, thanks to the advice I got from my sister when I talked to her about it.

That's all for now. Signing out!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Extending the Rail System - A Sneak Peak

So I've just finished figuring out the wiring for this crazy contraption. What once was Test3891's bi-directional rail station is now a tri-directional, midway rail station. I'm adding on two more destinations to my minecart track, but can you guess where I'm adding them or what purpose they will serve?

That's all for now. Signing out!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4th, 2012

Well I'm finally back. I was incredibly burnt out from this game for the longest time. It didn't help that I've been working on the most boring project in my entire world since I first hollowed out the base (and that one might have been easier to do than the glass dome, because I didn't have to focus much while doing it). I'm pleased to say that I've overcome that problem and I've finally finished the dome.

So this is what three and a half double chests of glass buys you. Granted, I'm not done with this dome yet because it is rather plain looking. I'll most likely add in some supports and make the dome a giant cap. And then of course, there are the doors to add yet (which will be very fancy, you have my word).

I'm thinking about using this for wall lighting instead of having the pistons. It helps add more shape and texture to the rather plain walls, and it doesn't cost so much! (Yes, the pistons are still there for now.)

With all of that glass needed for the dome, my desert is starting to look very much like a wasteland. Funnily enough, it's where I would probably expand next after I finish my base. Both of those events are very far away however, so I won't bother with details for now.

Next up on my list of things to do include:
- The doorway arches for my base
- The supporting rings and cap for the dome
- Finish the aesthetics for the base of the mob grinder and make the lighting system functional
- Gather more sand and glowstone

I'm sorry that this update doesn't have much, but I truly, truly didn't feel like playing for the longest time.

Signing out!