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Water Escalator How-To


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#1

Janne
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Posted 12 December 2010 - 05:50 AM

I got inspired by an earlier thread that showed how to create endless running water by repeating water source blocks and using signs to prevent  backflow (can't seem to find the thread again - anybody know?).

A flowing canal is fun and all, of course, and I'm making a long one to loop around my place, as a sort of moving sightseeing walkway, but I'd really want to be able to move up and down as well, not just level. Down is no problem of course, but up is. So I've created a simple water escalator: just step in it and you'll go all the way to the top without so much as a keypress (you'll still have to hum some breezy Muzak by yourself; sorry about that).

The basic idea is to place a source water block one level above the previous water level. Prevent the water from flowing backwards by using a sign behind it; and prevent it from flowing down and back by placing a stone half-block below (the canal design above used a sign there as well). Then place the next block one step up, so it creates a stair with the half-block. You'll flow into and up on the half-block, get grabbed by the new water source block and flow up to the next block. Repeat until you're at the top.

Here's the prototype escalator, seen from the bottom. Notice the earthy, homespun feeling of old-timey quality, so far from modern cookie-cutter escalator designs.

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The escalator from below. An open, airy design means less material to waste! The discerning builder might want to replace the earthern floor and sides with double marble-tiles and glass, or perhaps blocks of diamond for that "I have more stuff than good sense"-design sensibility that is a perennial favorite among a certain type of well-to-do people.

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Two units as a cut-out. You'll need front-facing blocks to mirror the ones at the back, or your water will spill out. You place water source blocks where I have put torches, to the right of each sign. Just repeat this pattern to go as high up as you want.

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I'm testing the prototype escalator (and looking deservedly smug about it, if I may say so). You get the same rise as normal half-step stairs, but without the drudgery of having to press the "w" key all the time. Or better, use it as a part of a neverending loop or long transport section - hop in, and you will gently flow to your destination while you can go for a refreshing drink or bathroom break (don't try for both at the same time; nothing good will come of it). You can also just about see the end: place a half-block like this and you'll stop right on that block.

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#2

thatrandomguy8

Posted 12 December 2010 - 06:21 AM

This is really cool. People could incorporate this into many designs.

#3

GingerStepChild

Posted 12 December 2010 - 06:49 AM

Whipped together a quick double wide version on my test world, it works great for boats.  Could be useful with a flat version of this I saw earlier to make a fast transportation system that doesn't rely on iron like minecarts do.
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Edit:  Flat canal version: Water Bending 101:Self Powered Canal

#4

Visaoni
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Posted 12 December 2010 - 07:07 AM

I wonder if it's possible to use currents to reliably push boats into a boat elevator (using the southwest rule, as seen at http://www.minecraft...hp?f=35&t=95282).

#5

uecasm
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Posted 12 December 2010 - 10:49 AM

It's a shame these things won't work on items.

#6

ouyin2000

Posted 19 December 2010 - 08:32 PM

Have you tried making corners?

#7

Eldes
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Posted 19 December 2010 - 09:02 PM

Oh, I will definitely find a use for this. Brilliant work.

Reignleif said:

Since the map can be up to 8 times the size of earth horizontally, it should do so vertically as well. We'll be rearranging cubes inside of a giant cube.

#8

Janne
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Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:50 AM

ouyin2000 said:

Have you tried making corners?

Haven't tried it. It should work, though; straight-ahead canals can be bent. I guess you mostly need to be careful so that the signs don't block the wrong patches.

Hm, I have to try making a spiral staircase... And if the rumors about musical blocks is true, definitely some elevator music to play while you ascend!

#9

makersmark

Posted 20 December 2010 - 05:33 AM

haha thats awesome!  works like a charm!

#10

availn
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Posted 20 December 2010 - 05:54 AM

You can make a dry escalator. Just have the water off to the side, either west or south. Then, just press against the wall, and it will take you up the steps.

#11

Janne
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Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:10 AM

availn said:

You can make a dry escalator. Just have the water off to the side, either west or south. Then, just press against the wall, and it will take you up the steps.

I have to admit that I don't really like the SW-corner behavior and don't like to make use of it.

Basically, the water behavior - like what i use for the escalator - is weird but a predictable effect of the physics model. It may be strange and unrealistic but it's intentional.

The SW effect, though, is different. It's a bug (smells like an off-by-one index bug), and making use of it is really taking advantage of a glitch. Also, I don't really like an effect that's dependent on the physical direction, just like I never cared for the 0,0 tile spawn rate or any effect that depends on straddling a tile boundary. It breaks out of the internal model of the game, and I'd like to stay within that model if I can.

#12

wyldstallyns

Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:55 AM

GingerStepChild said:

Whipped together a quick double wide version on my test world, it works great for boats.  Could be useful with a flat version of this I saw earlier to make a fast transportation system that doesn't rely on iron like minecarts do.

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Edit:  Flat canal version: Water Bending 101:Self Powered Canal

I did that tutorial, and this is exactly the technique I promised in the next tutorial.

As pointed out upthread, a double wide version works for boats.

In fact, signs don't need to be stuck on walls, they can be stuck on the floor or on to the side wall signs, so this lift can be made as wide as you want it. I'll have to work that and more into Water Bending 102 now that Janne has "leaked" my spotlight design.

103 is about how all this is possible with no supporting blocks, just water...

#13

Janne
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Posted 20 December 2010 - 09:31 AM

wyldstallyns said:

I did that tutorial, and this is exactly the technique I promised in the next tutorial.

Sorry - didn't mean to scoop anyone. Your tutorial is exactly what inspired me to try this.

One thing you might want to add: using a half-block instead of a lower sign in the straight canal design makes for a less "splashy" ride. The upward bounce right when you hit the crest of the next segment means you spend almost no time under water. Also, you can add more half-blocks along the way and extend the length of each segment to twice the previous length.

#14

Janne
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Posted 20 December 2010 - 01:23 PM

I just tried making a spiral staircase, and it works just fine. Inspired by a comment above, I tried making it a very light one, using just fences on the sides and as the center pillar. Looks pretty good.

For a more generally useful escalator I would probably build it with a wider radius, then interleave a down-flowing escalator in the same spiral.

Make the center pillar first (it needs to be made from above). Each fence starts at the same level as the end of the previous fence, one block over the corner half-block. Could connect the fence bits, but that takes more fences and makes for a less light design.

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#15

wyldstallyns

Posted 22 December 2010 - 10:21 PM

I got this thread moved to Beta so we could follow up.

That spiral design is awesome! I started one but yours is tight. People keep asking me to invent a way to move items uphill; the best I can do is point them at these canals to push the monsters uphill before killing them. At 30 blocks high just the drop will finish them off.

#16

Janne
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Posted 23 December 2010 - 08:46 AM

It would be nice if we had upper half-blocks as well as lower; and wooden half-blocks as well as stone. As it is, I'm not happy with those full blocks. It makes the design look heavier than it needs to.

#17

McEscher
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Posted 23 December 2010 - 12:22 PM

Janne said:

I have to admit that I don't really like the SW-corner behavior and don't like to make use of it.

Basically, the water behavior - like what i use for the escalator - is weird but a predictable effect of the physics model. It may be strange and unrealistic but it's intentional.

The SW effect, though, is different. It's a bug (smells like an off-by-one index bug), and making use of it is really taking advantage of a glitch. Also, I don't really like an effect that's dependent on the physical direction, just like I never cared for the 0,0 tile spawn rate or any effect that depends on straddling a tile boundary. It breaks out of the internal model of the game, and I'd like to stay within that model if I can.

For the record, I tend to agree with you that the SW effect with water is an exploit.  I rationalize the effect differently though.  I think the design choice of how 4 way intersections of mine track operate has spilled over into other areas. I'd much rather see the removal of the SW rule entirely and proper mine track intersections.

On topic, this water escalator is pretty damn cool.  I'm gonna try it out now.  Thank you!

#18

singapore123
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Posted 23 December 2010 - 12:54 PM

GingerStepChild said:

Whipped together a quick double wide version on my test world, it works great for boats.  Could be useful with a flat version of this I saw earlier to make a fast transportation system that doesn't rely on iron like minecarts do.

And the one you made:
http://www.minecraft...p?f=35&t=106009

Thought I would just link.

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#19

fear technition

Posted 03 January 2011 - 11:32 AM

you just made my day with this. Now i can make my mob traps flow into my house. also was it ethos thread http://www.youtube.c.../14/4Vr7D4Pgois

#20

Spookyhappyfun
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Posted 26 January 2011 - 06:18 PM

Thanks for the info! This is all really helpful!

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