Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Plimoth Plantation Takes Shape: Terraforming Minecraft

My Minecraft gurus and I started our work on this project by creating a brand new world. We debated picking a specific biome such as a plains or forest biome, but in the end chose to let random chance and happenstance lead the way. We did, however, elect to use Creative Mode with cheats turned on so that we could focus on the build knowing that it would take a number of hours to complete.

My sons started flying over the new Minecraft world looking for an area near an ocean with a forest biome, a spot with hills rather than plains. It took a while but one of them finally found an area with a large bay that looked like a good start. We teleported to him and began surveying the land.

As we compared our research to the landscape before us we realized that the terrain in Minecraft would still need significant terraforming before it could be used to more accurately depict the Plantation site. The pitch of the mountains was far too steep and the valleys too narrow. Since everything in Minecraft is measured in blocks, we planned on a gradual pitch of 1:10, or 1 block up for every 10 blocks in depth to replicate the long slope leading to the fort sitting atop the hill overlooking the village.

The three of us started to work manually until we realized that this would be a long and laborious process. My youngest crafter mentioned that we ought to try using MCedit to do the large scale work and save the manual labor for the fine tuning. Now MCedit is not for the faint of heart, it is a powerful tool for enhancing what you can do with Minecraft worlds, so if you love the world you are working in and wish to ensure that if you make a mistake that you can recreate that world, it is best to make a backup copy of it. That can be done manually or you can have this happen automatically using a tool like MineBack. In a classroom setting, the automatic option may save you a lot of class time and heartbreak!

Other biome resources: How To Geek Guide To Minecraft