Thursday, 31 May 2012

0.982 and Custom Textures.

Well it has been an awfully long time since I have posted on the happenings of MinecraftEdu in my life. Never fear, it has still been happening, a bit less (dang Diablo III taking a lot of time), but I have been doing some work towards completing my 3D cell tour map. It amazes me how quick time goes, originally I was going to use the cell tour at the start of the year, but decided I would hold off until later in the year and to be honest, prior to this week, I had done no work on completing it at all. Earlier this week I looked at my plan for my Biology class for the next few weeks and realised that now I really do need it. So after a little bit of a shock I have been working on making the map a more complete experience.

As well as completing the building I have been doing a bit of messing around with the new texture pack support, which for my purposes of making the kids think they are inside a cell is going to be awesome. Unfortunately I have hit 1 big snag with my idea, I wanted both the cell membrane and the nuclear membrane to look 'jellyish' when in the game, however there is a limitation, hard coded into Minecraft, that I have no way to work around. You can make any block see through, but only 1 block in the game (that I have found so far) can be made translucent, that is a tinted see through block, similar to stained glass. So this essentially means that only 1 membrane can be see through. I have decided that it should be the cell membrane as it provides a greater immersion in the environment. Below is a screenshot of what I have decided it should look like, I will probably tweak the colouring a bit more, but I am very impressed.

The one disadvantage is that the block in question is ice, so it melts if torches are placed too near it, so I am going to have to be very careful when it comes to lighting the interior of the cell. As far as progress goes, I have just completed around half of the upper membrane, which means for the whole membrane I am now about 3 quarters of the way done.

Then I would like to add some teleport blocks to various viewing platforms and also to 'zoom in' points where students can be placed inside a larger version of the organelle and have to complete a task and gather some information about the organelle as they do so. Basically make exploring the cell an adventure where the quest is knowledge (might sound really corny but I still think it is a great idea) and at the end of the quest they will have a very good knowledge of cells, organelles and their functions.

The other interesting thing that has happened this week is that MinecraftEdu has been officially updated to version 0.982 and the changes are enormous, I have been lucky enough to have access to the developer versions over the last couple of months, so I had forgotten how much has been added. Here is a very quick list of the major changes and below is a video showing what you can do with these changes.
  • Worldedit is now included
  • Custom server side textures
  • Massive performance enhancements
  • New skins for students to choose
  • 1.2.5 compatible
  • Custom key binding to certain commands
  • Much, much more

As always thanks for taking the time to read, I do plan on recording tutorials on customising texture packs and also worldedit basics. If there is anything else you would like a tutorial on, let me know in the comments, and please if you have anything to share about what you are doing feel free to add that in the comments below also.

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