VSTE 2016: Minecraft World Building

I am a huge fan of Minecraft. I originally started playing it in 2014 the summer before I had the last 4th grade class I’d teach at JJC. I knew that so many of them were into it, and I wanted another way to connect and build relationships with them. Fast forward to 2016 and I still play from time to time when I can. I’ve gone from enjoying survival to creative. I have hosted one workshop on building theory, and my current club, Fluco Game Designers is getting ready to tackle modding in Minecraft, a topic with which I am most unfamiliar, (right now!) but am learning about.

I chose to attend the session on World Building in Minecraft by John Painter (@zwaaa) for my own personal learning originally. When I do play creative, I love to explore designing and ways to make the task easier. I also build strange and random objects at times, like a giant pyramid…with one flipped on top of that, just because. I knew that John was presenting on some tools I’d heard about, but never really used before and I figured an introduction to them would be handy for when I was ready to explore them.

Without further ado, here are the tools that were discussed in the session:

World Painter – This tool makes it easy to paint in biomes for use in the game. It doesn’t provide a detailed look at the biomes, at least with what we were shown. It does make it easy to add in different biomes or blocks. There are different types of paint tools that can be used. This tool makes it easy to build up or depress land or to flood the area with water. The finished map can then be exported into Minecraft.

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terrain.party- This is a handy tool to use to get real world height maps that can be used in Minecraft. This is super useful to those trying to build a map based on real world locations, or creating a location based on the real world. One can use the site to get map data for any location and then save that file. Using another program, World Painter, import the map and make any changes. One that we were told to make was to set the water level to 10. Make any final changes and then export to Minecraft. Our presenter said that this was really handy when he needed to create a location based on Jamestown for a social studies unit that he was creating. Using this site, he didn’t have to worry about the land shape being accurate, and could focus on other parts of his build instead.

MCEdit Unified- There are different versions of MCEdit out there, but the reason this one was selected was because it also worked with Minecraft PE. For my own purposes, it wouldn’t really matter, but I’ll most likely end up using this one. This tool lets one edit a particular world map to suit their needs. It’s useful to bring in schematics and to build the world up or down. It’s a tool I need to learn to use so I can easily copy buildings as needed, too.

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Planet Minecraft- This particular site is great for inspiration, which is how I’ve used it in the past. However, it has tons of schematics that can be downloaded and brought into Minecraft using a tool such as MCEdit Unified. This is how our presenter brought the boats from Jamestown into his build without having to recreate them himself. During the session, we brought a schematic of the White House into the test edit.

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Spritecraft- This recommendation was more of something fun to do. Basically it’s a way to bring images of people into Minecraft, having them reconstructed as Minecraft blocks. Take a picture of someone and edit it in GIMP or any other photo editing software. Then use a program called Spritecraft to create the image in Minecraft blocks. Export it to MCEdit and put into the world.

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Needcoolshoes.com- This website is a website to find and edit your own skins for Minecraft. There are many sites out there that can also do this, so it’s really up to personal preference.

While I do want to use these personally, I’m going to attempt using Spritecraft, MCEdit Unified, World Painter, and terrain.party in my Fluco Game Designers club. I don’t want them to think modding is only about coding of course, and I want them to be able to create an inviting environment for their mods as well. I will introduce these tools after they’ve had some time to learn about the code side of modding though.

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