Sunday, June 9, 2013

Minecraft is Engineering

The more you get into your Minecraft world and the more you try to make the more you’ll find that engineering plays a large role in making it all work. Whether you’re working with water, or lava, or redstone, or even a mix of them all, you’ll need to design the system, test it, redesign it, test it again, and finally when you’re satisfied with how it works and looks implement it in your world (this is why I highly recommend having a test world).

What Needs Engineering?
my test world so far
As you attempt to build mob spawners, efficient mines, item conveyances, and a host of other systems you’ll quickly find that engineering plays a large role. This is especially true for more complex systems. For instance I’m currently trying to build a mining system to make mining more convenient and allow me to continue mining for longer. This requires a system that automatically unloads a storage minecart and returns it when it’s empty, which then connects to a vertical item elevator (preferably quiet and compact if possible) that will transport items up to a silent fully automatic item sorter and then transport the sorted items to multiple locations with an even distribution until all designated locations are full at which point it will send the rest to a mass storage system until it’s full, at which point the items would be diverted to an incinerator. Now obviously that sounds immensely complex, but if you break it down into its component parts (item elevator, item sorter, storage system, etc.) it becomes simpler. Seeing the whole and being able to take it down to its component parts or seeing the parts and imagining what the whole might look like is the nature of the engineering (you know, besides all the math that goes with it).

Why Engineer?
Based on the example above, the answer should be obvious; you do some engineering to take cool systems and combine them into something incredible. For the more adventurous player the above system could be set up to include auto-smelting systems so all your iron, gold, and even cobblestone are automatically smelted for you, and even indicator lights to let you know when certain resources are running low. Add to this several other types of farms and pretty soon the large majority of your normal daily work will be done for you requiring little more than occasionally chopping down a tree, swinging a pickaxe, and planting some seeds. It’s easy to see that there’s a lot to do in Minecraft so wouldn’t it be wonderful to have just a little bit less to have to worry about. Of course I know building the system and getting it to work is half the fun, but once it’s done you’ll have more time to pursue other projects and really deck out your world.

Conclusion

While it’s one of the more complex and resource intensive things to do in Minecraft engineering is also one of the most enjoyable. As such, if you’d like to make your Minecraft life a lot easier later by putting in the effort now, I’d highly recommend doing some engineering in your N3rd C0rn3r.