One of my duties at Wavemaker is to look after our Minecraft server, keeping it up-to-date and making sure things run smoothly during our scheduled Minecraft events. It can be a daunting task when we have lots of youngsters in the same room and some of them think it would be fun to attach TNT to someone elses buildings.
One of the ways we can avoid this is by running a slightly older version of the server and adding a plug-in called ‘Grief Prevention’. We have to teach the youngsters about claiming land to build on which can be tricky at first but once they’ve got the hang of it, it makes it almost impossible for one person to turn the session into a negative experience for other players.The mod requires the use of the golden shovel to claim an area of land. Players right-click a block and then move to the diagonally-opposite corner and right-click again to define a rectangle in which they will build. The mod can be configured to give them a quota of blocks they can claim and for every hour they spend building, an additional number of reward blocks can be added to their quota.
Once players get to grips with using the mod, they can add other players to their individual land claims if required. This enables them to build together in pairs or small groups. Admins can also claim land and build common infrastructure such as roads and communal building areas. The mod worked well during our summer construction workshops last year, when we asked our youngsters to build our city of the future as a tie-in with our bid to become the UK city of culture in 2021.
As well as being a game in its own right, Minecraft can also be used as a development platform. For example, in this epic Youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l315VzDcLmI) we can see how it has been used to re-create an old Pokemon game. Other online servers such as ‘Hypixel’ also host competitive mini-games such as murder-mystery and build-battle which are highly popular with our visitors.
This year we want to explore the programming environment and maybe do something a bit more unusual; maybe some physical programming using IFTTT to control real-world objects from within Minecraft or maybe we’ll look at controlling Minecraft redstone circuits using real-world voice control via ‘Alexa’ skills. If you would like to see our ‘Future Stoke’ build from last year, our server has a 99% uptime and its address is wavemaker.nitrous.it. You will need to be running version 1.12 which we will cover in the next post.