Categories: fun

RSS - Atom - Subscribe via email

MineClone 2 so far: new worlds

| mineclone, fun, gaming

It turns out that A+ has a license for Minecraft Education using her school account. We installed it on W-'s old laptop since it still had a Windows partition, and she went through some tutorials. She likes to switch between survival mode and adventure mode, and she enjoys experimenting with some of the features that haven't made their way into MineClone 2 yet. We haven't decided to buy enough Minecraft Education or Minecraft Bedrock accounts for all of us to play together, though, since MineClone 2 has been enough for W- and me, and we like being able to fly in survival mode. A+ sometimes explores Minecraft independently, but she's more likely to join our MineClone world when we play together in the evenings. I like the way MineClone lets you fly around while still being in survival mode, and my damage prevention mod has been holding up well.

After flying around in our original world, I noticed there was very little water. It turns out that the tutorial set the water level to -31000 in the server configuration, so I stopped the server, deleted that line, and started a new world. That one looked more realistic, with rivers and lakes. A+ picked a spot near the water for us to settle down in and we made a pretty good base, but it was a little annoying to deal with slimes at surface level all the time. So we started yet another new world, and this time I challenged myself to do the starting segment as regular MineClone, no flying around to find a good spot. One of the tunnels I dug ended up close to a village, and we moved our base there.

I set up underground farms for wood, wheat, potatoes, and sugarcane, and an automated furnace and a composter to get through the excess stacks of cobblestone and wheat seeds. The MCL Quick Harvest & Replant mod with cora's fix_seed_dupe patch is handy for farming quickly, since I can hold down the right mouse button and just move around to harvest and replant. Since the villagers kept getting lost and killed, I gave in and created a trading hall, spawning the villagers into their stalls. A+ thought that was a great idea and made herself a stall. She's our village witch and she sells potions for emeralds. She likes going into creative mode to get the ingredients and then brewing the potions herself.

We decided flying around was pretty fun, so we usually keep that turned on. Teleporting saves a lot of time, too. Travelnet boxes make it easy for A+ to go to different places independently. When we come across something interesting, like diamonds or another village, A+ asks us to teleport her to our position so that she can join in. I'm thinking about adding custom commands like /mom or /dad so that she can teleport herself automatically. The Home Point mod lets us go back home easily or bookmark places for later exploration, and I granted everyone the home_point_unlimited privilege so that we can teleport quickly.

I've been really liking the ability to go into MineClone's source code and see if something's been implemented and how. I haven't needed to dig into Minetest yet, but it's nice that it's there in case I want to go deeper into the engine. A+ likes exploring villages, so I tweaked them to generate slightly more often (going from 1/77 to 1/40 probability per chunk, before the height difference check). I also use /findbiome to jump around. The maps from minetest-mapserver were helpful for noticing structures, since I sometimes missed them when just looking around. About the only thing I couldn't find normally was some sugarcane, so I looked in the source code for the item string and used the /giveme command to give myself one piece of sugarcane so that I could start our farm.

Today A+ was curious about the Ender dragon and the wither. She fetched some ender pearls from creative mode and we followed them to the stronghold, where she filled in the portal. We went through it and fought the Ender dragon, which was easy because we had my damage-negating chicken feet on and we could fly around. When we killed the Ender dragon, we went back to the overworld. A+ used creative mode to build a box out of bedrock some distance from our base. She put together the blocks needed to summon the wither, which we then defeated (yay chicken feet). Now that she's tried out both, she's back to figuring out interesting crafts and potions.

I'm glad we're all getting into it together, and that we have this digital sandbox where A+ can try out ideas in a way that's easy to clean up. In a recent session, W- teleported back into the house and was surprised to find water flowing everywhere. A+ yelled, "Everybody, get to higher ground!" Apparently she had been trying to figure out how to make mud, and the water got a bit away from her. After we helped her clean up, I looked in the source code to find out how to make mud (use a water bottle on dirt, I think). Me, I'm continuing to learn more about saying yes. ("Yes, you can go ahead and use the iron to make golems." "Yes, I'll enchant some pickaxes for you. Please give the pickaxes to Daddy so that he can wear them down before you combine them in the anvil.")

Next, I'd like to learn more about redstone contraptions, since MineClone 2 has some support for them and A+ likes playing with them in Minecraft. The NOR latch we tried for the front door was fun to make, and it seems to be working. Many of the automated farm ideas from Minecraft don't work because water doesn't move dropped objects in MineClone (because of the Minetest engine it's built on), but maybe there are other forms of semi-automation that might do. We'll see!

Minetest and MineClone 2

| fun, geek, play

A number of A+'s friends play Minecraft, so she got curious about it and started reading lots of e-books. We figured it might be time to let the video game genie out of the bottle since she tends to dive deeply into new interests and learn a lot. I wanted to get her started on Minetest, though, instead of buying one of the Minecraft editions. (Yay free and open source software!)

I installed MineTest, then used the Content tab to install MineClone 2 and the tutorial. I updated the other X220 so that I could run it there too, and we eventually turned it into a server. I went through the tutorial and then I showed it to her. We drew up an agreement to treat it the same as video time (20-minute timers for eye breaks, daily limits, need to be in the green zone). W- connected the other X220 to the TV with a VGA cable, and I used a USB hub to connect two keyboards and two mice to the laptop. A+ completed part of the tutorial. She found it hard to work the keyboard and the mouse while looking at the screen. She liked giving me directions to follow, taking over clicking or crafting whenever she felt comfortable.

We've been playing MineClone for almost a week, and it's starting to feel comfortable. We have a little base with a wheat/carrot farm, a well, and a fishing pond, and we're exploring the world. We might try creative mode in a while.

It looks like A+'s mostly curious about mobs, farming, ores, and flying around. She loves noticing things to explore and new recipes to craft. W- sometimes joins us, which is extra fun and helpful.

Minetest gives me opportunities to learn useful things, too. I'm getting better at saying yes to A+ when she wants to craft something, even if I wanted to save the materials for something else. (I should make a MineClone version of the reminder in our kitchen that says "Groceries are tuition for raising a cook.")

I'm still too impatient for the regular process of navigating around and bumping into resources, especially since we're working within 20-minute segments. I flew around with noclip/fast and set up some Travelnet boxes near interesting things, which A+ has liked a lot because now she can teleport independently.

I'm way too chicken to deal with damage, hostile mobs, or even night time at the moment. Since A+ would really like me to go fight the mobs she loves to read about, I'm thinking about how to gradually build up my courage with some kind of exposure therapy. =) I started learning how to modify armor so that I can keep myself mostly protected while leaving damage enabled for anyone who's braver (like W-). Maybe as I get the hang of it, I'll be able to dial down the protection or just let it keep a minimum HP level.

Lots of learning ahead!

Turns out the Rubik's cube is just right for this stage with A-

| parenting, fun, cubing

I spend a lot of time waiting for A-. Sometimes I'm waiting for her to finish reading a book or watching a video. Sometimes it takes her forever to get to bed. She can sometimes amuse herself independently, but she often still wants me around somewhere in the room. Someday she won't, so in the meantime, I wait. I can't be on my phone or laptop during times like that, because then she'll want screentime too. Sometimes I tidy, sometimes I read, sometimes I write.

It turns out that learning to solve the Rubik's cube is an interest that slots neatly into my life with A-. We picked it up recently because A- was interested in my old Pyraminx.

Our order from Cubing Out Loud turned out to be a pretty good introduction to the world of speedcubing:

  • a MoYu RS3 M 2020, a magnetized 3x3x3 cube for $10 CAD
  • a YuXin Little Magic 3x3x3 M, another magnetized 3x3x3 cube for $9 CAD
  • a YJ MGC 2x2x2 M, a magnetized 2x2x2 cube for $11 CAD
  • and some lubricant

The speed cubes were way smoother than the Rubik's cubes I remember from high school and university. The 2x2x2 cube was great for helping A- practise simple algorithms and get that feeling of success. She quickly graduated to the 3x3x3 cubes. She loves solving it from the fish position, so W- and I solve the first two layers, and then she solves it from there. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly she picked up the beginner algorithms that we showed her, and she took great delight in learning finger tricks and being able to do the Sune move in three seconds. I can do the Anti-Sune just about as fast as she can do the Sune, so we trade cubes back and forth. Sometimes I mix things up so that she has to permute the last layer, too. She's gradually branching out to more algorithms, and will sometimes even take on solving it from a full scramble.

Cubing seems to be a good way for her to practise distinguishing left from right, clockwise from counter-clockwise. We talk about averages, minimums, and moves per second. She likes taking apart our cubes, tweaked the tension, and lubing them. (Reassembling them is a job for grown-ups, apparently.) She likes playing around with different patterns. It spread into her pretend play too. She loves watching JPerm and parroting his lines.

For my part, I enjoy slowly learning different algorithms and feeling things start to click. I can usually solve the 3x3 in under two minutes now (nothing remarkable; most beginners get there), and have lately been averaging around 1:30. I'm getting the hang of solving colour-neutral crosses by moving edges around and ignoring centers, and of solving the first two layers together. I like practising algorithms while keeping an eye on her at the playground. I'm getting better at smiling even when A- snatches the partially-solved cube I was working on with the timer running. I'm not aiming for any records, anyway.

Since W- has gotten into cubing as well, we have determined that we need more cubes. Also, to save our phones from A-'s rather enthusiastic timer use, a StackMat timer and a mat are probably a good idea. Speed Cube Shop had a wider selection than Cubing Out Loud, so we ordered a few cubes and accessories from there. She insisted on getting a Gan cube with some of her savings. Hey, at least these highly-engineered bits of plastic generally stay in one piece, don't get scattered all over the floor, don't need to be sorted into various bins, and don't get stepped on. (I'm kidding, LEGO, we still like you.)

In terms of Android apps, I like Nano Timer. It's free and allows me to keep times in different categories, like a regular solve, A- starting from the fish, or co-op. There's even a multi-step timer for breaking down things like CFOP. A- likes Finger Timer because it looks like a StackMat timer.

Naturally, I'm getting the urge to do something about Rubik's cubes and Emacs. A timer that will let me quickly reassign my current time from "Regular 3x3 solve" to "Solved until A- grabbed the fish"? (It'll have to work on my phone - maybe Termux or SSH, or a web-based approach…) An Org Babel block type for visualizing cubes and moves so that I can make my own notes and blog posts? An SVG version of that text-based Rubik's cube that someone wrote for Emacs? A scramble generator that lets me pick the type of scramble I want and then uses the Kociemba algorithm to generate the steps for scrambling it? Anyway, it'll have to wait until I get a few things off my plate, like EmacsConf and the usual year-end paperwork.

In the meantime, I have things to learn while I wait. I think I'd like to get to the point of being able to do the cross blind. I'm also working on memorizing the rest of 4LLL, and then full OLL/PLL after that.. Anyway, so that's what we've been up to in the evenings while waiting for A- to go to bed.