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Programming Games Technology

Minecraft Enterprise and 16-Bit ALU 151

tekgoblin writes "Joshua Walker spent the last few months creating a masterpiece. He created the Starship Enterprise 1701-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation in Minecraft using just blocks. He recorded a short video of him explaining how he did it and even gave us a sneak peek at the partially completed ship." He also posted on the Penny-Arcade forums about how he did it. If you aren't impressed by that, perhaps you should check out a 16-Bit ALU also implemented in Minecraft which totally reminded me of one of my favorite XKCD comics.
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Minecraft Enterprise and 16-Bit ALU

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  • by Peach Rings ( 1782482 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:16PM (#33728482) Homepage

    First minecraft was plugged from the teamfortress.com blog, then 2 days of penny arcade were devoted to it, and since then it's been coming up every few days on slashdot and Boing Boing. The servers have been wrecked like 40% of the time from the constant barrage. If you like minecraft stop telling people about it!

    • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <<megazzt> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:22PM (#33728522) Homepage
      You sound stressed. You should try playing this game I found [minecraft.net]. It's very relaxing.
    • by ThatMegathronDude ( 1189203 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:24PM (#33728546)
      I wish I could, but I'm posting from a 386 I made in my minecraft world 1. I think I'm stuck here.
      • by Xoltri ( 1052470 )
        Just hope a creeper doesn't come and blow up your 386, then who knows where you'll end up!
      • I wish I could, but I'm posting from a 386 I made in my minecraft world 1. I think I'm stuck here.

        In an Inception-like twist, your computer is so slow because the game of minecraft you made the 386 in is actually running ... IN ANOTHER COPY OF MINECRAFT!

        Move over M. Night Shyamalan...

      • Funny but the possible circuitry is pretty amazing. This guy made a binary clock in mine craft: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REdmbx22VrU [youtube.com]

      • me2, although I'm in a 386 I made in my pentium6 that i made in my minecraft word that i made in minecraft world that i made on a pentium6.

        or is it a minecraft world that i made in a pentium6 first?

        oh boy, where am I? thank god i also made this spinning top...
    • If you like minecraft stop telling people about it!

      We don't do security-through-obscurity here. Toughen up the IT infrastructure.

      • Just because your thousand-dollar front door deadbolt has perfect security doesn't mean you want 90,000 people milling around on your front lawn trying it all day long.

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:22PM (#33728526)

    It is true. Massive block constructions and fluid flow logic were there first.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by yincrash ( 854885 )
      minecraft allows for unlimited power for the circuits using redstone wires. [minecraftwiki.net] there was flow logic before redstone using falling sand, however, these types of circuits require you to refill the source of the flow (sand), every time you wanted a new computation done.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Aladrin ( 926209 )

        Power may be unlimited, but scale isn't. Apparently there's a certain distance that Minecraft makes active, so he can't expand the system beyond that distance.

        • Based on player position or owner position?

          I mean, it's multiplayer. So if you get 4 friends to stand equidistant from each other will the mechanics still work or do they shutdown based on owner/builder position?

        • If he's running the server can't he just tweak a configuration value or something.
          If it's not in the server configs after stuff like this I'm sure the developer would be happy to put one in.
        • by Sark666 ( 756464 )

          Please explain this to me, I'm not too familiar with minecraft. I thought it was just for creating 3d worlds/objects. How is it actually running code?

          • There's a tool that you can produce in the game called redstone dust that you can use to make what's basically wires, and it's the way it works makes it possible to create logic gates and such, which are the building blocks of computing. It's not a particularly efficient way of computing, but it can certainly be functional.

      • So, wait. The game includes features that were created expressly to make it easier to do this sort of thing? That kind of removes a big chunk of the "cool" factor, at least for me.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Smidge204 ( 605297 )

          The purpose of the electrical stuff was obstinately for much simpler reasons: Control of in-game elements. Doors open/close when powered, power can set off explosives and alter the direction of mine cart tracks. You have buttons and levers and pressure plates to provide temporary power and the red torches provide constant power unless powered themselves.

          Boolean logic is just so simple that it doesn't take much more to implement a whole computer based on it.

          • Sadly, a computer requires something other than simple boolean logic, predictable timing.

            I spent 30 minutes building a simple 2 bit alu but I gave up building it in minecraft after 3 hours. The main issue is that everything runs in this global clock cycle. Evey torch you have in a path acts as a "tick" You also have to have a torch evey 15 spaces for a "refresher" so your putting down an inverter Evey 15 spots. Even those this 16-bit alu is impressive I bet the reason his data bus is so long is to equal

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Smidge204 ( 605297 )

              Even those this 16-bit alu is impressive I bet the reason his data bus is so long is to equalize all the bits so they come out at the same time.

              They DON'T come out at the same time. That's plainly evident in the video. It's not clear if the thing even has a clock generator.

              I was thinking about the difficulties regarding timing as well - especially important if he plans to add memory cells or anything with a shared bus. Some kind of buffer + "operation done" signal would be needed, since even careful plannin

      • there was flow logic before redstone using falling sand, however, these types of circuits require you to refill the source of the flow (sand), every time you wanted a new computation done.

        Phew - that sentence was clearly typed by someone on too much caffeine and itching to return to minecraft...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Sulphur ( 1548251 )

      He chipped away everything that wasn't a 16 bit alu.

    • Does it matter? People have been building computers and Turing machines in sim games pretty much forever.

    • Just as a shameless karma whore - here's a link to one of the (several) water-powered computers made in Dwarf Fortress:

      http://mkv25.net/dfma/map-8269 [mkv25.net]

      There's also a whole buncha interesting stuff in the links on the left. As another poster points out, people have been inventing things like this in freeform sandboxes since things like freeform sandboxes were invented, but IMHO it doesn't make any of these less impressive. Personally I was just happy with trapping invaders in an automated obsidian-encasing mac

  • ... it was fascinating, but frankly the commentary was too sketchy for someone like me to understand how it was functioning. I;d be very grateful for any clues.

  • What I'm gathering about Minecraft [wikipedia.org], this guy is creating the Enterprise so that he can fight stuff on board?

    Would it be possible to create a version of Nemesis that doesn't suck?

  • Source for TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by AltairDusk ( 1757788 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:31PM (#33728604)
    TFA is sourced from this article at Ars [arstechnica.com] which should (in theory) stay up so I recommend reading it there.
  • by mandark1967 ( 630856 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:35PM (#33728636) Homepage Journal

    I made Devil's Butte from mashed potatoes, and you can EAT it afterwards...you can E-A-T it afterwards...


    Richard Dreyfuss

    P.S. I also made a 1840's era bacon fort, but I ate the westward facing wall and all my soldiers died at the hands of the Hamokee Indians.

  • Discovered this game a few days ago. Have amassed a few items in survival mode, and have found a good hiding place, and buried them. This morning I snuck into someones home and stole a chest of items. Sitting at work now, I feel like I've actually stolen something from a local shop(not that I ever have). And thats the point, the game offers something so fresh. Tonight I could find my items raided.

    This is survival multiplayer, not the free-build mode, which does not appeal to me at all.
  • Minecraft Tux (Score:3, Informative)

    by ryanisflyboy ( 202507 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:51PM (#33728778) Homepage Journal

    Some of our local LUG people have gotten bit by the minecraft bug. We've built a massive multiplayer island. Some of the locations include Lua Beach, Torvalds Torrent, FreeBSD falls, and Xen caverns. We also have logic gate fields, where members are working on a binary adder. Working already are various logic gates. One of our members built tux out of blocks (who also doubles as a water slide!).

    http://plug.org/mc_tux.png [plug.org]

    This game is soooo addicting. Don't get sucked in. The best phrase I've heard describe minecraft went something like this... This game is crap. It is full of bugs and nothing works. I hate it, hate it, hate it! I'm logging in right now.

  • by corbettw ( 214229 ) <corbettw&yahoo,com> on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:56PM (#33728828) Journal

    There's a glaring mistake under the diagrams where he talks about not naming this ship the Enterprise and giving it a different Naval Construction Contract (NCC) number. The USS Galaxy's NCC number was not 1700, that belonged to the USS Constitution in the 23rd century. The Galaxy's was 70637.

    If he can't get this minor detail right, what was did he screw up?

  • Awww (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:57PM (#33728830)

    ... which totally reminded me of one of my favorite XKCD comics.

    It wasn't very nice of the story submitter to prevent 6 people in the thread from earning a +3 Funny.

  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:15PM (#33728956) Homepage Journal

    Just be careful with fire or else: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnjSWPxJxNs [youtube.com] from http://videosift.com/video/How-not-to-make-a-fireplace-in-Minecraft [videosift.com] ... :D

    • That is highly amusing. The panicked "quick grab water block, throw water block" was funny. The even more panicked attempt to destroy everything that's on fire with the tool was funnier.

      (Not quite enough to make me want to play it, although it's slightly intriguing.)
    • Man that was the funniest clip since Roger Simmons was on Who's Line Is It Anyway. And the comment "great tutorial on how to burn your house down."


  • wut? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:27PM (#33729046) Homepage Journal

    I understand the draw of sandboxing, but is there a reason why this game looks like it's running the ID Tech-1 engine? (ie, doom)

    • Because guy that made the game is a programmer, not a graphic designer.
    • Voxels are, well, 3D pixels, pixels with volume. There's some good reasons to want to use them and a few games were big on the idea. However GPUs don't handle them, and thus their use has mostly died. However I think that's how this game builds things. That means they have to be pretty large, to function at a reasonable speed. If all the voxels got real tiny your CPU would die under the weight of all the calculations.

      Personally I'm still trying to get what the big deal is, I've tried the Java version of the

      • by Raenex ( 947668 )

        Personally I'm still trying to get what the big deal is

        I was the same, but then I figured out it was the same crowd that gets excited about Legos. I don't get that either, but to each their own.

      • The free version is basically just a demo of the engine. In the paid version it's called the creation mode. There are no gameplay elements in it. It's just a sandbox. There are other modes in the paid version like survival and multiplayer survival that add stuff like collecting resources, crafting items and fighting monsters among other things.

      • They're all in Java. The freely available version played in your web browser sucks and isn't at all representative of the fun you can have with the real game (though note that it's still in alpha and very buggy).

      • by khchung ( 462899 )

        There is nothing to actually "play" in free version, which is basically just a world builder. In the paid version, there is a "survival mode" that actually has stuff like hitpoints, crafting, reason for building your house/base, mining, farming (if you like to), exploring, etc.

        I highly recommend the YouTube series "X's Adventure in Minecraft" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bh4EexJO4I&sns=em [youtube.com] for a good idea why this game can be fun.

      • by FiloEleven ( 602040 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:04AM (#33730848)

        I have only played the single-player mode in Minecraft Alpha. It's hard to describe exactly what makes it so compelling. The best thing i can think of is its sense of adventure.

        You're dropped into a randomly generated world with nothing but your fist. The terrain generator makes these fantastic landscapes that, while not always entirely Earthly, are usually quite engaging and natural: forested rolling hills, rocky islets, mountains with waterfalls (which have effective and consistent physics)...and dark foreboding caves, sometimes a small hole in a hillside, other times a straight-down pit you almost have to fall into to see. You never know what you'll find just over the next rise.

        It's up to you to bootstrap your survival. You've probably seen the Penny Arcade comics, so you know the basics: punch a tree, get some wood, craft some tools. You'll want to find some coal for torches and make a safe house before it gets dark--that's when the monsters come out. And because the combat is so basic, the outcome of every mob encounter is always in question. Zombies aren't so bad, but skeletons, spiders, and the sneaky creepers can ruin your night pretty quickly.

        It's a sandbox game, but it's also a little like Sim City or even an RTS: if you want to build stuff, you first have to collect the resources to do so. Any block can be removed from the game world, provided you have the right tools, and any block you've gathered can be placed wherever you like. Iron ore can be smelted (after you've crafted a furnace) into better tools; there's also rarer stuff like gold ore and diamonds the further down into the earth you go.

        And that's where Minecraft really shines: down in the caves. You'll find mazes of twisty little passages, all alike. You'll find huge rooms with water- or maybe even lava-falls in them. You may come to a dead end with a dirt wall; dig your way through it and you might discover a whole new set of tunnels. Wherever you go down there, you'll need to light your way with torches. Not only do they let you see pitfalls and baddies, but their light keeps more monsters from spawning. I have never played a game where the darkness was so fear-inducing. It's surprising just how tense I get when I have a pocket full of ore, but I'm lost deep below the surface, running out of torches, and my last pickaxe and sword are almost busted. Conversely, the rush of happiness and sense of reward if I survive and find my way to daylight is just as magnified.

        So there's that sense of adventure, and there's also room for lots of individuality. There is no in-game map to hold your hand, and there are as many methods to (try and) keep yourself from getting lost as there are players. I play on a MacBook Pro, meaning my render distance is pretty short, so I tend to use trails of torches above-ground to lead me from my fort(s) to working caves. Inside the caves I'm working out a system of double and triple torches in various configurations to keep myself oriented. Other people build arrows out of cobblestone or dirt, or wall off certain branches for later, or heaven knows what else. You're forced to deal with the challenges the game world throws at you, but you can do it however you like. What's the point besides exploration? Well, you can build a minecart roller coaster or a giant Sphinx, or just a homey little cottage. Whatever you build is entirely individual, since as you say you're basically working with big-ass voxels. I like expanding my houses sometimes, but the real fun for me is in the exploration.

        Oh, one more thing. The game is currently in Alpha. It has no right being even mildly playable, and instead it's the most engaging game I've played in a long time--in fact I can't remember the last time I was up until 5:00 AM playing a game before this. When Survival MultiPlayer starts to come together (it's playable but players and mobs can't deal damage yet) it's going to be a big deal. I'm having so much fun in my own worlds, I can only imagine what it'll be like exploring with a group of friends.

    • Re:wut? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Megane ( 129182 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:40PM (#33729634) Homepage
      Because it's about gameplay, not graphics.
    • Probably pointless to post this this long after the original posting, but the developer explains that the reason the game is so low-tech is because he's a programmer, not a graphics artists, and he figured this was a good was to make the game more visual than Dwarf Fortress (one of the game's influences), but still within his capabilities.
      • Makes sense, but I would have expected something so popular to attract an artist or two. Even still, you don't have to be an artist to generate tiling textures large enough to not see the individual pixels /through/ the MIPing

  • Must be chipmunk-powered as there's no getting in to see the warcraft enterprise right now.
  • the hardhack tag! Which is the coolest tag on /., in my humble opinion.
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      It's only the coolest tag because pushing around virtual blocks in a computer game doesn't qualify for it.

  • Seriously, if it looks this good in Minecraft, imagine how much better it would look in SketchUp. Can we get a project going?

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.