Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fighter Carrier Details

OK I'm seriously considering adding a fighter carrier to the list of things I want to do in Minecraft. Here's some official sounding details.

The Shadow of Israphel class fighter carrier is an experimental type of aircraft designed to bring the striking power of a fighter battalion to the front lines, areas which normally could not be reached by fighters due to their distance from static ground stations. It is designed to be capable of traveling long distances without refueling. It holds a complement of 40 Skeleton class fighters which shoot arrows from their forward launcher and 15 Creeper class bombers that drop TNT charges from their aft chamber. It has a crew of over 300, mostly fighter pilots. Although designed for long range it is also meant to be minimalistic due to the cost and maintenance requirements of its balloons thus it doesn't have much more amenities as other, smaller types of aircraft and occasionally needs time to restock food and water. Fortunately, given the abundance of edible animals this is only a minor downtime.

Although the fighter craft on the ship are well armed, the ship itself is equipped with only a few types of weaponry which are effective only in short range. Given the large size of the carrier and the massive balloons used to keep it afloat, landing the ship is no small feat and has required new methods and techniques be devised to get the ship up and down. The fighter carrier also introduces a new type of power reactor, one which uses the unique properties of lava to give a consistent flow of power. There are two reactor cores on the ship. One is always generating power for ship usage or charging the backup batteries. The other is either providing energy to the propulsion system, inflating/deflating balloons, or providing more power. In times of need both can be diverted to energy, to propulsion, or other needs.

Even the richest of nations would require billions of dollars of money to fund and operate these craft. Yet Yusaria, with the assistance of most nations of the Christus Kingdom, have agreed to construct one ship, the Shadow of Israphel and see how it operates. If found satisfactory there is enough support to construct two more with 20-year commissions: Xephos and Honeydew.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rave Room Go Boom

One of the project I've been working on is a rave room made of black wool with flashing redstone lights and circuits. I designed it to be big enough that I could gleefully jump around dancing to whatever music I was playing. The problem is, if you get enough redstone running in one area then lag sets in. Now, the base of the rave room was pretty big and there was lots of redstone at the bottom. And it was lagging something fierce. It was also fairly big. I had redstone torches along the walls and if I walked more than 16 blocks away from them they would stop flickering until I came back in range.

The lag was making my eyes tired and causing just a faint hint of nausea. Despite how much redstone wires and torches I removed to make the place smaller and less laggy I still could not fix it. So I decided to scrap the idea altogether and began destroying the structure. I use the SSP Commands mod so I have it set so blocks are destroyed with one hit but that was taking a long time to do.

Then I remembered a block I noticed in my inventory... TNT. I finally found a good use for it! I began laying it down in a 4x4 pattern on the glass floor and when enough was placed, I tried to set off the initial block. I flew back to escape the explosions. Nothing. Then I recalled my instant mine meant the TNT block I hit was destroyed, not set off! I turned off the instant mine and placed another block. I hit it again.

Now the place began to crumble. I had the render set to tiny (and was still lagging) so I didn't see the first blasts but when I fixed the render I saw that there was a crater in the ground caused by blocks falling through the space once occupied by the rave room. Where there was some leftover wool floating I eliminated with a couple more pieces of TNT and it was basically done.

I looked at the coordinates of the former rave room and went on Google Earth to see what area that would be on the real Earth. The equivalent location is roughly 33.7 N by 97.77 W, just northwest of Montague, TX. The town is about 3 miles from the site of detonation but its location on the Earth map has been blown up by the TNT. Sorry, Montague. :(

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Notch's Monster Army

I just realized that the various hostile mobs of the Minecraft world all actually fit a pretty specific role that would be found in a real-world military.
  • Zombies: they are the infantry units. They walk up to you and do close combat battle. Alone they are easy to take down but in groups they pose a challenge.
  • Skeletons: these make for good artillery units. As archers they are ranged attackers however they also do well in close range battle. The only way you can really deal with them is get close up and hit them while strafing and striking between arrow launches.
  • Spiders: special operations and assassins. Compared to the other mobs they are quite powerful. Their dark color means that in darkness the only thing that you can see are their eyes. Spiders are the fastest mobs which makes them hard to outrun. They are only one block high meaning that they can fit where the other hostile mobs cannot. They can also climb walls and jump pretty high. It's possible they will one day be able to shoot webs to slow down the player. They will climb on your roof and wait for you to come out. If there is a group of them, you can expect to be in lots of trouble.
  • Creepers: suicide bombers. They are stealthy and more intelligent than the others. However I find their usefulness to be quite limited. Creepers are only good for one usage so it needs to be a lucky shot. Their utility is doubled when they are charged by lightning. In groups they will set up ambush formations.
  • Ghasts: aerial assault units. A large group of them all firing at you can do some major pummeling and their ability to fly gives them the advantage of greater area coverage.
  • Zombie Pigman: a better type of infantry. They have a mob mentality so they will all come at you at once, arguably making them more potent than zombies.
  • Wolves: support forces. They are most effective when tamed as their HP and attack strength both increase. In a totally AI army of mobs they would be of no use unless you attack them first. However one or two of these as sidekicks of a user would be good.
  • Spider Jockey:  I almost want to dub these as cavalry. I find Spiders and Skeletons to be the two most dangerous mobs to meet up with in the Overworld and Notch decided to combine their powers. There are two main weaknesses: the jump of the spider is limited, and if the spider climbs a wall too close to the ceiling the skeleton will suffocate. Otherwise these are a powerful mob. 
So if I assembled an army of mobs I would want zombies and zombie pigman squads in the front rows with skeletons supporting them. Spider jockies would be behind them and used for quick, deadly assaults. Spiders would be used to get at harder to reach or more valuable targets while Creeper groups would be delegated to ambushes. I would have Ghast squads raining down fire from the sky.