Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Minecraft - Redstone is FUN!

Ok so an odd thing happened on my way to making a LP series, I started playing MC with my son on his build world. So now instead of looking to play the hardcore adventure that I was originally going to play, I find myself working hard to make cool stuff to show off to him and my brother on the build server. A sugar farm? Sure why not, a cobblestone generator, yes, a castle that has extensive use of redstone in it, HELL YES!

Up until this past week I have never really played with redstone that much, but now I find myself actually jumping in my strip mine digging for it instead of diamonds. What's more I get really excited to find gold, so that I can make powered rails. Who is this guy?

So it's not like I'm going to go off and build myself a MC RS computer, but my castle is becoming lots of fun. Originally I was just going to make some random castle out in the middle of no where so that I could show it off to my son and my brother, but then things got weird. Instead of torches I thought that I'd use glowstone but I didn't want to make the glowstone super visible, so I tucked it away into the wall so that it gives off indirect light, I think that it looks great. What is the next thing that a castle needs, a moat. So I got to thinking about how I was going to dig the thing out and then looking at the my castle wall with the openings that I used for light, I thought that maybe I could use those openings as flood gates. I had wanted to do something with pistons, but I just couldn't figure out a good enough idea for them, this was that idea.

So tinkering with some regular pistons I set it up so that hidden in the walls were source blocks of water that were blocked by gravel. Originally I was going to put the source block on the piston itself but I was getting strange issues with that so I decided that I wouldn't move the water, just what was in front of it. Using some redstone under the ground and hiding the pistons and water under a set of stairs, a hidden flood gate was created. Now knowing that I could do the flood gate I went around to the rest of the wall and set up flood gates all around the castle wall so that at the flip of a switch my castle was surrounded by a moat, or I could turn it off as so desired. It's pretty damn cool looking, I'll get a picture, or a video up from it.

The only problem that I was having with a working moat was that I needed to get across it. I thought about placing and off switch on the outside, but I'd still need a way to get over the castle wall, hence a drawbridge was needed. The problem with a drawbridge and no sticky pistons was how to make it, but keep it hidden. Sure I could have a drawbridge that would be created with a switch, but the problem was that if you could see the pistons, what is the point, just make a bridge. It was about this time that I thought ok maybe I don't make a bridge that goes over the wall, I just make it go to the wall and I'll place a door in the wall. It wasn't a very good idea because I wanted the entrance to be hidden, but it would work. So digging out under the surface of the moat I placed some pistons with gravel on top of them, just like the flood gates and made it so that when they triggered they would rise up from the water creating a walkway. It worked like a charm, as was so cool looking, but I had a problem with the block closest to the wall, when I triggered it, it wasn't high enough to block the water so it remained under water. Thankfully the solution to that problem also solved my getting into the castle problem as well.

Where the water poured out from the walls, there was a water block a little higher than the rest of the water moat along the wall, I realized that if I placed a gravel block under it, I could use that block with a piston to block off the water when I raised the bridge, thus giving me a dry bridge. The bonus to creating a dry bridge was that the gravel that would block the water opening would be one block below the top wall block when it was raised, thus giving me a makeshift stairway over the castle wall when the bridge was raised. I now had my hidden bridge and my hidden entry into the castle, but what to do about the bridge switch...

For the bridge switch I thought that I'd make a gate house to keep the switch protected for obvious view. Not sure who was going to break in and use it, but I was using my RPG imagination so I just rolled with it. My thought was that if someone came to the castle they shouldn't know how to get into the castle, yes they could cheat and use blocks, but I was in the RPG zone. So for the gatehouse I decided that I needed a secret entrance. My problem with making a secret entrance was not knowing how I was going to do it without sticky pistons, with them it would have been cake, but having to use the basic pistons, that was going to be tricky. What I came up with was a pushing system using 4 pistons, 2 on one side and 2 on the other side with 2 blocks between them. The button triggers activate two of the pistons and move the blocks revealing the opening to the house. Then when I want to close it, the other two pistons move the blocks back into place hiding the entry way. The neat side benefit that I created was a locking mechanism on the inside so that the blocks could not be opened if the lock was set on the inside. Again, nothing a pick axe couldn't take care of, but that's not the point.

So there it is, with some redstone I made a retractable moat, a retractable bridge, and a secret entrance. I'm not sure what I'll make next but I'm thinking of making an hidden underground passageway that when triggered reveals a hidden staircase. Not sure what other fun things I might do, but it's a heck of a lot of fun to play with the redstone and pistons. Eventually I'll get back to adventuring, but for right now I'm trying to make my son's world interesting and exciting for him. Once finished I'll show off my castle to him and I hope that he'll be impressed, he'll either just build blocks to get around it all or he'll want me to build him one. Either way it's a lot of fun, there really is this cool factor in making this stuff, I'm going to need a lot more redstone, who knew?!

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