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    posted a message on What have you done recently?

    Today, I got some more heavy work done on Starlight Compressor - a redstone machine that will act as a modifier for the MISC (a generator recently built that lets you link two components of the base together such that they can control each other). I wanted some options for 'compressing' links that I make throughout the base. For example, I might want to make two separate links and then combine them. I'll give you an example:




    Say we want to link the furnace room to all the base's farms and the transport pods, such that it will automate both when activated. Currently, with just the MISC, we can only choose one link and compose it. The editor does not yet allow saving of current links; it will reset them once a new link is started. This is a feature I have yet to add.


    Here is the new furnace room:



    The furnace room is part of the Compressor, and it does a lot of automated stuff on its own. A minecart rides straight here and automatically sorts out all items that can be smelted, smelts them, and then moves the rest to a storage unit.



    ^ Plug the Starlight Compressor into the MISC with the modular mixer, and a whole host of new things becomes possible:




    The Compressor is two machines built into one: (1) an item sorter/automatic smelter, and (2) a powerful modifier that compresses generator outputs based on item input. Today, I completed the first machine; there is still a lot of work to do on the second.


    Those six switches? Well, I've wired up several options for this one, only three of which have been fully completed. Here is a brief description of the options (yes, it's brief; there is a lot more going on under-the-hood):


    CLOCKWISE from top left lever:


    1. Threshold – Sets the quantity of items necessary to begin link compression. If the lever is off, then you need at least a full stack of items. If the lever is on, then you need at least ten stacks of items. Otherwise, if you input fewer items, there will be no compression input to the modular system. Note that this option refers to items detected on immediate input – so, you have to input the required amount of items right away, not over several trips, because the threshold is determined by a timer set to the amount of time necessary for a stack (or ten) to funnel through the hoppers. This is useful if you want to use the Compressor as an item sorter/smelter and not as a modifier; you would set the threshold to ten and input fewer than that. Likewise, if you have a full inventory of items, but don’t want compression to start immediately (giving yourself time to get to the MISC and decide which links you want to make), you will equally find this useful.
    2. Amplitude (not done) – turns the Compressor output wire into an analog wire which will decide how much the Compressor will modify its target generator. For our purposes, this effectively means that a comparator will be used to determine how full the minecart at the bottom is (dependent on how many items we throw in to be sorted), and that output signal strength will impart different effects on the generator.
    3. Target destination – the hoppers will funnel items into a minecart, which will transport them to one of two locations. Keep the lever off to send them straight to a storage collection unit. Turn the lever on to send them to the automatic furnace room - this is about 100 blocks away. Items that don’t need to be smelted will be automatically left out and sent to storage.
    4. Balancer – built-in system balancer which performs the same function as the Starlight Balancer. While the Compressor works, other modules in the base can be turned off temporarily until compression concludes (i.e. sugar cane farm, Night Lights, tree farm) to reduce lag.
    5. Automate generator input (not done) – the Compressor will have the ability to automatically create specific links that relate to the items being sorted. This way, the Compressor is able to automate several base operations at once by modifying the MISC - you won't even have to compose the links yourself. As we build more generators, we can give the Compressor more functions with this feature, as it is generator-dependent.
    6. Type (not done) – type of compression performed. If you leave this off, it will compress normally (hard). Turning this option on will allow soft compression – that is, items will be processed in batches rather than sorting. Useful if you have several types of items to smelt, such as ores, clay, and netherrack, and you don’t want to separate them. You would use hard compression to keep the clay and netherrack from smelting (because they won’t sort out on soft). This will also affect the other features, since everything is based on item input.

    Yes... lots of references to music compressors in there. There is plenty of work to do yet, but I'm having much fun with this project so far. It's a key player in automating the modular base!

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on What have you done recently?

    So I've been working on Nephuku Estate, my base in Brujuku-ku, the Brooklyn-Harajuku mash up parody city-island on my server The Oddverse (link in sig) which will be home to a large, advanced technological server infrastructure, farms, machines, mass storage / sorting systems, etc. My address is 1 Neapolitan Ave, Brujuku-ku. :)




    Good stuff there! Makes me think of some mashup between Japanese and modern suburban architecture. Would be interested to see the redstone side of things.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [SSP journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Age of Ender (Season 3)

    Howdy folks.


    We're doing a big blend today: building, technical, and story. We complete some main functions of the Compressor, renovate the entire SRF control floor, and then learn more about what's really going on with Violet... oh how the mystery deepens.


    Session 242 - "The Mystery Deepens"




    Bleh.






    I couldn’t resist. It was happening sooner or later.





    Let’s also cover this up. We don’t need this area anymore, and it looks rather ugly.






    Much better; we’ll add a new entrance later. After all, this now means our only access points to the control floor are from one side of the SRF (Tetraquin Station) and the tangent floor. We’ll need another access point.



    We’re going to finally build that furnace room I’ve been just dying to see. It will be on the SRF control floor, next to the transport pods.



    A total of eight furnaces, there is a series of functions that needs to take place in order for the Compressor to work as intended. First, the minecart needs to enter the area and disperse only smeltable items across the furnaces. It must remain here until it has been emptied, only at which point will it return to the Compressor to collect a new batch.



    To start, we need a layer of hoppers to do the sorting of items. This is designed akin to other item sorters.




    We also need an output wire to send feedback into the MISC. Recall that we’ll be linking the furnace room to the modular system so that it can automate other components within the base. To activate, we’ll have the bottom layer of hoppers send output to a single line, which will head back to the MISC.




    Though, I realize this is unnecessary. We can actually install repeaters off the back of the comparators above, which will power upon receiving input from more than 22 items (i.e. new items from the Compressor). This is how the item 'sorter' functions anyway.



    The minecart will run back and forth across the tops of the hoppers. But we need to first get it here.




    Moving about the SRF is a challenging task, because everything is so tightly fit. Even here, the sugar cane farm access room has now become an access room for the rail track (and effectively the furnace room + compressor) as well. You’ll also notice that I’m trying not to place tracks above existing blocks, instead placing them on stone bricks. This is for safety – if we break blocks from inside the SRF or decide to change blocks down the road, I don’t want to be destroying important (and difficult to access/replace) redstone devices.



    In several instances, I’ve had to move the location of levers that I use to power the rails, because they inadvertently are powering other mechanisms in the SRF!



    Back at the Compressor, we install a mechanic which will keep the track unpowered until the hoppers have finished inputting the current batch of items. We accomplish this by installing two comparators on the last hopper. By default, we need the rail unpowered until the last hopper is empty. But if it’s sitting idle, then it is always empty! How do we keep it unpowered? We utilize a locked repeater, which has a three-tick delay. In this way, once the hopper is powered, it will then have two ticks to power the rail after it is emptied.



    Upon getting it here, we now need to install a mechanism that keeps it running back and forth atop the hoppers until it is emptied. How do we accomplish this? We apply the same mechanism that we used to build the STAS stations, albeit with some slight changes.



    Here, the minecart will send input to an RS (NOR) latch upon passing the detector rail. This will pull the rail back, push the block down, and power the powered rail in front:




    The minecart will then move back and forth and disperse all the items across the furnaces.



    To get it out, we need to utilize a lesser-known mechanic: when a chest minecart rolls across a detector rail, it can then be detected by a comparator (otherwise it cannot).



    Each time it rolls over, the comparator will power, keeping the RS (NOR) latch from resetting. This is because we have two inputs from the detector rail – both power an AND gate. The latch will only reset once the minecart is emptied.



    Once it does, I put this much delay on it so that the latch will not reset when the minecart passes over the rail again. If you have power going into the output side of the latch, then it will not change state.




    After some trial and error, notably on the timing of the repeaters and such, I have found the setup to work beautifully. But now, we need to sort the items.




    I’ll need to find some gold ore for this.



    At first, I though I could have multiple items per hopper (iron, gold, netherrack, sand) to increase the speed of the system. But this won’t work because hoppers will take the first item in its slot upon receiving more than 22 items. So, we have to sort them individually. I’ll be interested to see if this affects the efficiency when I’m bringing back five stacks of iron ore to smelt. Currently, I have two furnaces for iron, two for gold, three for sand, and one that will take anything.




    Here, we have the storage drop-off area for items from the Compressor. Think of this as the essentials room for the SRF.





    We’ll set up a track-switcher which will move two tracks and allow the minecart to take two separate destinations. I’ve hooked this up to the ‘Target destination’ switch in the Compressor, this time going over top the SRF rather than around.



    To have the minecart automatically sent back, we install a simple unit which immediately depowers the rail upon detection and powers it upon emptying.




    I mean, we might as well complete the entire control floor aesthetics while we’re at it. We have the blocks to do it now.


    BEFORE:




    AFTER:






    I don’t like the empty feel of the main transport area. Let’s fix it up a bit.




    I never thought that the combination of quartz, stone, and concrete would work here, but I’d say it does fairly well!




    The rest of the halls are a bit challenging, and I want the roofs high enough such that I can jump down the stairs without bumping my head.



    ^ Modular farms will be going back there soon.


    BEFORE:



    AFTER:



    Beautiful, and coupled with the tangent floor, we’ve got a wondrous canvas to continue expansion of the modular system. Both floors will be working together to accomplish this. And yes, everything is lit well enough. Next thing we need to do is compose a few additional links in the MISC with our new furnace room.



    I am composing two new links denoted as 5A and 6A: furnace room > SRF farms and furnace room > transport pods, respectively.




    Thinking ahead, I’ll install an array of new lines here, two of which will function as our furnace room links.




    Additionally, I’m now considering having every tangent line input in the 1s place, rather than being all over, since that will reduce the likelihood of conflicts and simplify the linking process. I’ll think on that by installing the furnace room line here. I moved the fourth ‘output’ line to the 64s place value.



    Slime frenzy!



    I’ll go ahead and tear down the tree farm for testing purposes; I need more wood anyway.



    There is still a lot of work to do on the Compressor. One main feature we need to install is its actual modifying feature, which is that when items are being sorted, the Compressor will ‘compress’ links by combining two or more links together. This is not one of the six switches we have been working on; this is an actual function, the principal one at that.



    We cannot install this until we install both the multi-link and the ‘save/reset’ features in the MISC, but we can get an idea of how to do both. We need a second set of registers down below. Currently plugged into the Compressor, this set will hold all current links whilst new ones are made. Now, we just need a way to hold the new links and get them through the register without resetting the old ones. This is the basis for multi-link, but it’s more work than we can do today.


    I’m happy with where we’re at. Though the Compressor’s current functionality as a modifier is limited, its function as an item sorter/smelter is effectively complete and working great. For reference, here’s a list of things we need to complete on both projects:


    • MISC multi-link – ability to link two inputs to one output, such as having the furnace room automate both the SRF farms and transport pods
    • MISC save/reset links – a new set of registers or another way of toggling them that lets us choose whether we want to save the current links (add onto them) or reset them. Currently, the MISC only resets links.
    • Compressor link compression – taking current links and combining them together, effectively making one large link. You can see why we need both MISC features to build this. If you make two links and want to combine them, activate the Compressor, then build the links while it is compressing. The result will be one large link. You’ll be able to link everything together this way.
    • Compressor timers – still need to finish the hopper timers and get them to reset upon the minecart returning.
    • Compressor ‘amplitude’ – an analog wire which will determine the strength of the Compressor’s actions. Not sure how to implement just yet.
    • Compressor ‘type’ – still need to figure out how to separate smeltable from non-smeltable items in a toggleable fashion. Currently, the furnaces only accept iron, gold, sand, and netherrack, with everything else going into the eight furnace. We need to get them back to the storage drop-off.
    • Compressor ‘automate generator input’ – basically doing the work for us, creating temporary links in the MISC, compressing them, then resetting upon completion. Simply to install actually, but we need the other stuff first.

    So yeah, I wasn’t exaggerating when I said the Compressor would be a powerful modifier. It’s going to be what lets us combine everything in the base if we want. But for now, let’s enjoy what we have done, and take a damn break.


    I think it’s time we bring Violet into the base. She’s been hiding out at the Tropic Fortress for quite some time.



    “Hello, Violet, how are you doing?”



    “It’s quiet and cold,” she states.


    “Not back at Starlight HQ.”


    “What? You want to bring me back to that place? Where the prophecy is fulfilled?” my eyebrows raise just slightly.



    “What do you mean?”


    “The vision… I see a treehouse… and then it explodes.”


    “Oh? That’s not in the books, rest assured,” though for me, I am just a slight bit concerned. There is no way that she could know about Starlight Treehouse, for I only just built it.


    “What is the truth behind what you see? You are keeping something from me,” I demand to know.



    “You are unfit. The gods tell me you are unfit for your goal,” she suspects.


    “The gods talk to you?” Violet is beginning to raise my suspicions. She is no ordinary villager. She is a messenger. And I must know what she is to say.


    “Perhaps you don’t understand,” I suggest. “Maybe there is a treehouse. And maybe I have something that can blow it up…”




    I motion to reveal my friend, Sparky, which I recently captured just north of here, near Emerald Hills. I have my cat well trained to keep him off me, but not her.



    “Oh no! Get it away from me!” Violet is afraid. She has clearly seen Sparky before.



    “Tell me the whole truth or I will put you in the treehouse with Sparky and blow the hell out of it. Maybe your vision includes that part.” If her vision is true, then she does not tell me the truth, which means I will keep my word. But I have a safe feeling she will concede.



    “Okay, okay…” I was right. “The gods don’t speak to me, not directly. Something was given to me.”



    Violet presents a sparkling ender chest, which I have never before seen. I motion to peek inside, but she does not allow me that luxury.


    “You must not,” she says.


    “Who gave you this? How did you acquire such a forbidden object??” I have only read about ender chests.


    “It was given to me by Enderquin, god of the sky. But he is no angel. He promises a day of reckoning upon Quintropolis, upon you.” I would be lying if I said I didn’t shiver just slightly at her comment. The prospect of Enderquin following me, knowing my every move, anticipating my responses – it’s a bit frightening.



    “Grant me access. I told you that I can defeat him. I have already solved the mystery of the endermen.” Violet’s eyes light up. She has read the mystery before.


    “You have visited the portal,” she concludes. Deductively, then, I conclude she also knows where it lies.


    “I did not understand for what purpose it exists. But now, it is clear. Shall I take you to it?”


    “No,” she hastily responds. “I cannot know where it lies. Your knowledge of it may very well be your downfall,” she assumes. “But, you are a strange, foolish, brave warrior. If Enderquin is to be defeated, perhaps you are the only one who can do it,” and I was beginning to think Violet was on Enderquin’s side. She is more terrified than I am, which is likely because she knows more than me. She still hasn’t shown me the truth.



    “Help me defeat him, Violet, and prevent his siege upon Quintropolis. You think you have a vision, but it may very well be a threat. Like the threat I just made to you.”


    Violet contemplates. She wants to help, but maybe she is afraid that Enderquin is watching. But I know that Enderquin can only see through the eyes of the endermen, and there are none here now. I won’t tell her that, because her fear is getting me answers. I’ll selfishly capitalize on that.


    “Prove that you can connect heaven and hell, and I’ll give you the chest,” she finally responds.



    Well that’s remarkably convenient timing. I’m about out of gold anyway.


    Let's get to it, then!


    Next up... Session 243 - "Platform Party"

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [SSP journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Age of Ender (Season 3)

    I am on a roll, and happy to be, as my excitement for this world and journal peaks with today's update! Things are not slowing down as we approach the mid-season finale... finally... lol.


    Session 241 - "Modifier Madness"






    Okay, so we need to definitely install a railway to the new mesa biome. It’s not too far from HQ, and I have enough blocks to do it. Only problem is…





    Yeah, ghasts definitely tried to pick fights with me. However, I am no stranger to such fights, having been through a similar conundrum whilst building terminal zero. Here, we’ll begin terminal one, or expressway Q1. While Q0 travels southeast, Q1 will travel straight south.






    I’m working on my curves here.




    This is how far I made it before I ran out of blocks. I guess I didn’t have enough. Oh well, horse travel will be fine for now until we complete the tunnel.



    So, there are two trips we need to take here. The first is to collect a lot of sand.



    The second is to collect a lot of clay.



    We’ll be using both, though largely sand to make concrete. That’s because we need to complete the tangent floor today.



    First, we need more diorite. I'll take it from the SRF entrance stairwell and replace it with black concrete.




    It's much sleeker that way.



    At first, I started with black concrete for the roof. However, I find that it doesn’t match the intended aesthetic, which is an underground tunnel. This looks too tacky, and far too “futuristic.”





    Sometimes, simpler is better. Stone slabs work much better, and the colors are much more fitting. I’ll keep the roof lined with glowstone lamps every six blocks.




    So, we’ve got the look figured out, but you may have noticed that we have several unfinished segments of this floor! What are they all for? Today, we’re going to address that.



    The introduction of generators beckons the need for another type of redstone machine within the modular system – that of modifiers. The behavior of modifiers is similar to generators, except that rather than generating power, they modify the inputs in some way. Think of modifiers as filters – if we choose to plug one in, we can add a modification to the generator’s input and further customize the way the base behaves.



    I’ve constructed a diagram to help you visualize exactly what is happening, and what Starlight HQ can do with this new system.



    We’ve already done the bulk of the work in the last couple sessions, completing the principal link editor and computer system. Today, we’re going to build a few small modifiers that can be optionally “plugged” into the computer, if you catch my drift.


    The tangent floor is going to be home for all of these – after all, you didn’t think that long tunnel was for nothing, did you?



    Two of the first modifiers we build have purely technical functions that regulate the modular system: Starlight Balancer and Starlight Inverter. Notice that each modifier has an ‘AUX in’ switch. This is the equivalent to plugging the modifier into the computer. These are plugins, after all. The reason we have the modifiers as separate entities is because we want the ability to use them on any generator, not just the MISC. Yes, there will be more generators coming.


    These first two modifiers are very simple machines with just one feature each – an on/off switch. That’s because their functions are technical. The Starlight Balancer will regulate inputs/outputs that cause lots of lag in the base. Starlight Inverter is a simple redstone wire that will invert the output signal of whatever it is modifying – useful for essentially doubling the customizable options for the MISC (and future generators).


    Let’s look at each in a bit more depth.



    Starlight Balancer is essentially a very specific type of lock. For slower computers, you probably wouldn’t want to use some features like the Night Lights at all. Even good computers like mine can suffer from lag spikes when the Night Lights are animated, or when anything animates. Pistons also cause a lot of lag, such as the sugar cane farm. So, when you enable Starlight Balancer, you lock all of these things from being used. Links involving the Night Lights will not work, the sugar cane and tree farms will turn off (meaning anything linking them won’t work), the chicken farm will turn off, and Landing Pad will lock.


    The balancer will also focus on redstone, keeping certain operations in the link editor from happening. You won’t be able to perform multi-link operations, which aren’t yet installed into the MISC. These will require additional memory registers, which will effectively be turned off by the balancer. Significantly reducing redstone usage in the base is the goal of this modifier – if you have a slower computer, or you simply want to keep the base quiet, you will turn this on.



    Starlight Inverter is simpler to build; it’s a single redstone wire that essentially just inverts the signal. You can send that to the MISC to invert the state of output links.



    We will build a third modifier today, Starlight Compressor, which will be quite a bit more involved as it will perform a number of functions.



    The Compressor will modify signals based on item input. As such, it actually doubles as an item sorter, which is precisely why I’ve placed it here. It’s next to the MISC to shorten the redstone wires, and next to STAS to make it centrally accessible from anywhere in the base.


    When the Compressor detects input, it will regulate certain activities in the base that relate to the items being processed. For example, if you are tossing in unmined ores to be smelted, the Compressor will override MISC links to perform actions that expedite this process (‘compressing’ the links and behaviors), such as moving them into a transport pod to have them automatically smelted. This means we’ll need to build a new furnace room which is automatic – something already overdue.



    Note that in order for the Compressor to have any function, you’ll need to plug it in by enabling the ‘AUX in’ option. This will be the case for every modifier we add to the base, since they are not generating their own outputs but are instead processing input from generators. However, the Compressor is slightly different, because it’s actually two different machines built into one. Independently, it can just be an item sorter/smelter without being plugged in. It becomes a rather powerful modifier when you do plug it in.



    To start on the wiring, I’ll first give you an overview of the six switches, so that you understand exactly what options you get with this machine. It’s going to be quite a flexible addition to the base with everything it can do, but that also means the wiring will get a little messy.


    CLOCKWISE from top left lever:


    1. Threshold – Sets the quantity of items necessary to begin compression. If the lever is off, then you need at least a full stack of items. If the lever is on, then you need at least ten stacks of items. Otherwise, if you input fewer items, there will be no compression input to the modular system. Note that this option refers to items detected on immediate input – so, you have to input the required amount of items right away, not over several trips, because the threshold is determined by a timer set to the amount of time necessary for a stack (or ten) to funnel through the hoppers. This is useful if you want to use the Compressor as an item sorter without taking advantage of any other features; you would set the threshold to ten and input fewer than that. Likewise, if you have a full inventory of items, but don’t want compression to start immediately, you will equally find this useful.
    2. Amplitude – turns the Compressor output wire into an analog wire which will decide how much the Compressor will modify its target generator. For our purposes, this effectively means that a comparator will be used to determine how full the minecart is (dependent on how many items we throw in to be sorted), and that output signal strength will impart different effects on the generator.
    3. Target destination – the hoppers will funnel items into a minecart, which will transport them to one of two locations. Keep the lever off to send them straight to a storage collection unit (this will need to be installed in the SRF control floor). Turn the lever on to send them to the automatic furnace room which we need to build. Items that don’t need to be smelted will be automatically left out and sent to storage.
    4. Balancer – built-in balancer which performs the same function as the Starlight Balancer. While the Compressor works, other machines in the base can be turned off temporarily until compression concludes (i.e. sugar cane farm, Night Lights, tree farm).
    5. Automate generator input – you can channel the output from the Compressor back into a generator of choice by enabling this feature, which will automatically activate the generator you wish to affect. For the MISC, this means that the Compressor will have the ability to automatically create specific links that relate to the items being sorted. We still have to build the furnace room, but when we do, we’ll give the Compressor the ability to automatically build the following temporary links: furnace room > transport pods, transport pods > SRF farms. This way, the Compressor is able to automate several base operations at once by modifying the MISC. As we build more generators, we can give the Compressor more functions with this feature, as it is generator-dependent.
    6. Type – type of compression performed. If you leave this off, it will compress normally (hard). Turning this option on will allow soft compression – that is, items will be processed in batches rather than sorting. Useful if you have several types of items to smelt, such as ores, clay, and netherrack, and you don’t want to separate them. You would use hard compression to keep the clay and netherrack from smelting (because they won’t sort out on soft). This will also affect the other features, since everything is based on item input.

    Notice also that you can plug modifiers into the Compressor. Not only can modifiers filter input from generators, but they can also filter outputs from other modifiers. So you could hook up the Balancer and Inverter to the Compressor to create even more interesting behaviors (though, this might not be practical since the Compressor already has a balancer built-in, and an Inverter would not have much effect as of now). Not all modifiers will allow this ability since it isn’t always useful, but some will.



    Right then, let’s get to the wiring! We can’t do everything today, but we can at least get the principal functions working.



    First thing’s first, the question: How do we choose which modifiers to plug into the generators? If they are essentially plug-ins, then we need the ability to decide which ones go where. This will be especially important once we start building more generators, so that we can choose what generators are to be modified.




    For this, we need a separate component, which I’ll build right off the wall here.



    This room will function as the modular mixer, where we decide what modifiers to add. This mixer also functions to connect all the machines together, as every component of the modular system will essentially be connected here in some capacity. For each generator we build, we’ll need a completely separate unit with gates for every modifier. This means that for every new generator, we multiply the number of new gates by the number of modifiers. Redstone fun, am I right?





    We’ll be using a number of AND gates in order to allow the modifiers access to their respective generators. Simply, we’ll have an AND gate between the mixer and the ‘AUX in’ toggles (which plug it in), and then another AND gate between the ‘AUX in’ and ‘on/off’ toggles (which activate it). Now, again, we’ll need a separate set of AND gates for every generator. So, when we go to build a second one, guess what? Two more gates multiplied by however many modifiers we have. Right now, that will be three.



    Above, you’ll see the third set of AND gates. These both collect the input from the generator (left side) and dispense the modifier’s output back into the generator. The top gate is for the Inverter; the bottom is for the Balancer.



    ^ The MISC feeds input into the modifiers through the locked repeater, which will keep the active state while it is generating power.



    The Balancer will restrict access to the Night Lights for modular linking. Any links composed involving the lights will not work.




    For now, that’s all we can do, since we don’t yet have multi-link setup on the MISC (wherein, you guess it, you’ll be able to compose 2:1 links). Let’s move onto the Inverter.



    This is a simple wire, but it took me a hot minute to decide exactly what I wanted to invert, since any major inversions within the MISC will cause the generator to behave strangely.




    ^ That’s when I remembered this output line we installed a year ago, which uses comparators to detect exactly which line is receiving input. We’ll use the inverter then to invert this output signal, which has yet to be utilized. How do we accomplish this?



    A XOR gate, which says that when both inputs are on/off, the output is off. The output is only on when either the MISC or the Inverter is toggling input, which allows us to invert the output signal.


    My plan is to use this output signal to feed the MISC into other generators and other potential components throughout the base. This means that the Inverter does not yet do anything tangible in the base. But, we’ve set it up such that it will have some functionality later. Ideally, then, this will be useful when we build the furnace room, modular farms, finish STAS, and finish the transport pods – all things that need to be completed so we can hook them up to the MISC.


    The Compressor will be a much more practical modifier, so let’s get to the wiring.





    First we’re building the two hopper timers, which will send output to the rest of the modifier to begin compression after enough items are received. For the first timer, you need to throw in a stack of items (which is 32 items in the timer).



    Likewise, the second timer requires ten stacks (or half the amount in the timer, all five stacks).



    ^ This timer is for the piston visuals, which we’ll work on next. This is essentially an array of nine pistons that move akin to a sine wave, acting as a visual aid to tell you that the compression process is taking place. I think the visual is quite fitting for this build, which is why I’ve chosen it.





    It’s a simple timer that requires each piston to be one-tick off to create the ‘wave’ effect.




    Here, you can somewhat see it in action now. It will activate when the timers receive enough input, because this is also a visual cue that the modifier’s other features are working (all options funnel through the torch that starts the timer, i.e. the on switch).



    For the options, we start with the threshold, which just chooses between the timers. Whilst one is locked, the other is unlocked. Just don't toggle it after you throw items in, or you'll mess everything up.


    Amplitude will need to be installed later when we get the minecart setup. For target destination, well, that’s an easy switch of tracks that must be completed later when we build the rail.



    For the built-in balancer, I’ll hook it up to the Starlight Balancer to achieve the same effect – in this case, it is only temporary while the Compressor works. Easy enough with another AND gate.




    Again, we need a total of two ‘AUX in’ gates, which serve the sole purpose of plugging the Compressor into MISC.



    Above is the AND gate for the built-in balancer. To achieve output and activate the balancer, you need all three inputs: (1) the ‘AUX in’ from the MISC, (2) toggling the balancer feature in the Compressor, and then (3) comparator output from the Compressor itself when it is on. As such, the balancer works while the Compressor is on, and then automatically shuts off afterwards.


    Other than that, the Compressor will perform functions of its own – it does not need a generator to do this. Generator input will feed into the Compressor and use its functions to modify its output.


    The item sorting system is important, but it won’t matter until the minecart gets to where the furnace room will be. As such, the ‘Type’ option cannot be added until we build the rail. And we aren’t doing that today, because we need the furnace room first.



    Finally, the ‘automate generator input’ feature, which will be a fun one to install. Basically, I have to figure out how to sneak several more wires into the MISC adder in order to unlock the machine, install several links temporarily, lock the machine, and then reset the links upon the completion of compression. Basically we’re building an AI.



    So far so good, though I will say that the redstone wiring is indeed a mess, bordering several other builds like Landing Pad (which figures). Thankfully, we have enough room to build the remaining features; I’ve made sure of that. I like the challenge of building compact, though, because I am constantly thinking about how to preserve space for future developments. In this case, the Compressor is one such future development.



    I’ve built another segment here to house three more modifiers: Starlight Limiter, Corkscrew, and Angler. We won’t build these today as we have other priorities, but I’ll give you a brief overview for what I intend each to do:


    • Starlight Limiter: Same idea as the balancer, except this modifier will strictly limit how many generators are used at once. Obviously, this won’t be useful until later when we build more generators. While normally, you’ll be able to use as many generators and modifiers as possible, this modifier will only let you use one generator at a time.
    • Starlight Corkscrew: Practical modifier which will allow you to create timers that control when things activate. With it, you can set delays on anything. Useful for if you’d like the farms to activate, say, twenty seconds after you return from the Nether, as opposed to immediately (twenty seconds is about how long it takes to get from the Nether Temple to the SRF using STAS).
    • Starlight Angler: Proof-of-concept modifier which will let you create a chain reaction effect between two or more generators (one generator becomes a modifier for another generator, basically). Again, we won’t need this until we build more generators, but it should allow some cool behaviors.


    You can see that modifiers are going to add explosive flavor to the modular system, which is the next step now that we have built the base system. I’m happy to have introduced several today, and to begin brainstorming more things we can have them do. Now that you have a comprehensive idea of how they work, and how the modular system works, I would invite you to brainstorm with me! What other ways can we manipulate the base behavior? I’m always looking for new ideas, because now the modular system gives me lots to work with.




    From here on out, nothing related to the modular system will be simple, but that's good. It means we're making significant progress with Starlight HQ's massive transformation. But with all the redstone fun we've been having, maybe it's time to reflect. After all, Violet is still locked up in the Tropic Fortress...


    Next up... Session 242 - "The Mystery Deepens"

    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 1

    posted a message on What have you done recently?

    I've just achieved a significant milestone in my world, though not one that may seem conventional by any means.


    For years, I had been considering the concept of a modular survival base - that is, a base in which everything can be controlled by everything else, set and customized by the user. For instance, maybe you want your farms to automatically harvest upon walking through a piston door on the other side of the base. Or maybe you want the night lights to flash upon receiving input from a mob farm. Or maybe you want to lock down the entire base when you enter/exit the Nether. Maybe you also want your last haul of items to be automatically sorted and stored, then have a minecart greet you back at the Nether portal when you return from the Nether. And then, you may want to reset all these links and change the base's behavior. Now you want the iron farm to automatically harvest all your resource farms, and a random piston door to lock down the base, and then brew you a fresh batch of potions. The possibilities are endless, you see.


    Well, I'm happy to say that after working on-and-off over the past year on a redstone machine that makes this possible, it is now a reality. My survival base has become completely modular, with updates and features being the next component.




    Called the Modular Interface Specifications Center (MISC), the machine expertly utilizes binary addition to function, wherein each number represents a specific link throughout the base. The book and quill on the left provides a link map to help you compose the links you want to make. Select the glowstone to begin the linking process (by default, the machine is locked). Then, you'll first select one of eight inputs on the right. Afterwards, these will all lock with registers to save that data, then you'll select one of four outputs. Once done, the machine will automatically lock, and the link will be created. Two buttons grant you immense control over the base, and that power cannot be understated so slightly.


    I imagine the astute among you would like a peek at the redstone. Well, just for you, I've gone into detail about every aspect of this build. It's in my survival journal here, specifically Sessions 231-233, and 239-240.


    I think I'll make a video showing the machine in action, but not until I finalize a few more features (such as multi-link and save/reset links). Now, I am off to build several modifiers for the machine.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [SSP journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Age of Ender (Season 3)

    Today is the day, folks. The modular system receives an overhaul, the tangent floor is significantly renovated, several new things are wired up to the base, we go on a fairly large adventure, and the MISC finally comes online. All in one session.


    Session 240 - "The First Generator"





    All power needs a source. Sometimes, that is an electrical power grid. Sometimes it is solar power. For Starlight HQ, we will be composing a very unique system of power sources which do not come universally from any existing power grid. There simply isn’t enough room under the base for that. That requires us to get creative with the question: How do we provide power to the modular system?


    I have come up with a unique system which can allow us expressive control over how power is given to the system. If we were to keep the interface running all the time, then the entire base would be lagged down indefinitely. This is why I will be introducing generators to Starlight HQ – redstone machines with the specific purpose of independently providing power to the interface, whilst not receiving input from the interface.


    Think about generators as such: Right now, we have STAS and the Night Lights connected to the interface. Therefore, they are receiving inputs and providing outputs. They are not generating their own power but are instead governed by the input power. However, a generator produces only output power to the interface. Each generator we build can have different rules about how power cycles through the system, giving me complete creative control over, well, everything. Power is power, after all.



    Today, the goal is to start things up with the first generator of the base, the Modular Interface Specifications Center (MISC), which will also be the face of the modular computer. Its power will be to generate links throughout the base, as we have been working on. A second generator may choose to generate power to a specific area of HQ (say, shutting on/off the beacon and locking down the base, or automating STAS based on a timed system, or perhaps turning Starlight HQ into a scavenger hunt). Making sense? The more generators we make, the more creative we get, the more powerful the base becomes. And this is obviously the idea.




    First, I’m going to add some additional sources to the modular system. I would like to connect all my SRF farms together into one line (cactus farm, nether wart farm, pumpkin/melon farms) as a separate output, and then the Nether Temple door as one line (for when we enter/exit the Nether).




    These lines are easier said than done to make; recall there is already a lot of wiring taking place under the base. So I’m having to be quite careful.



    I will have to make some significant renovations to the SRF farms in order to make them fully lossless (so that they will collect all drops when they are harvested automatically), but for now, we’ll just focus on the wiring. After all, those changes won’t be necessary until the MISC is working.



    Indeed, in order for me to automate the production of wheat, carrots, potatoes, and nether wart, I’ll need to make entirely new farms. This is because the current farms are designed for player interaction. You visit the farms and produce quickly. However, with modular farms, we need to be able to produce without player intervention. This will require new designs, and I already have some in mind. We’ll work on these later, building them all together here above the Redstone Room.





    I’ve also hooked up the tree farm to this wire. Whenever it’s activated, all trees in the farm will grow, saving us at least a step later. When I go to test, I’ll see if this feature is necessary.


    One final output wire we want right now is the transport pods. I’d like the option to link anything to these, so that I can automate the movement of items around the base. For example, I’d like it such that when I enter the Nether, the transport pods will automatically dispatch so that when I return from the Nether, the minecart is already here, ready for items to be dropped off. Likewise, maybe I’ll want the transport pods to dispatch when the tree farm is activated, since I may be harvesting to move wood items elsewhere. So you see, having the Nether Temple hooked up will allow some creative linking options.



    Speaking of the Nether, maybe it’s time for a little adventure. We haven’t gone on one in a while, and I need to replenish my glowstone and quartz collections.



    I’ll head south, because I haven’t done much exploring south as of yet.




    Now aren’t these some uncanny sights?




    The terrain here is so beautiful; I don’t really want to touch it!





    I love when glowstone just sits here, waiting to be snatched up, easy to access. I think of it like free money.



    Well, my inventory is full now, so I guess we’ll make a portal and see where we end up on the other side.




    Whoa! Another mesa biome?? On the corner of a savanna and a desert?? Yes, please! I guess I’ll be building a railway here. The portal is barely 800 blocks from the Nether Hub – the length of Quintropolis Island. This mesa is apparently just 6,000 blocks south of the island, which is far closer than Candyland.





    Beautiful terrain! This place is incredible. I am reminded of the joy about exploring which I have not felt in a while, because I haven’t gone on an adventure in quite some time.



    Check this out – a desert temple completely submerged underneath the sand. It’s the second of two that I’ve found so far.



    And, I suppose that I’ll grab as much quartz as I can.





    Is that enough? I guess it will do for now.



    As I haphazardly made all these redstone lamps, I realized something that I never thought would be the case in this world: I am running out of redstone. Granted, “running out” for me means I still have about nine stacks of redstone blocks, but given how much I use the stuff, those nine stacks will deplete quickly.


    So, I’ll head over to The Bottom and mine a bit.




    A decent two hauls for mining, plus I’ve lit up plenty of caves underneath the witch farm. A win-win!




    I’ve been working on repairing many of the tools in my Adventure Arsenal, and I think I’ve done a good job. The first two rows are all Efficiency V tools, whilst the third and fourth rows are Efficiency IV. The goal is max out the entire chest, because obviously we need that many.


    Alright, we’ve had our fun. Let’s get back to business.



    One principal component that has been missing from the MISC is a register. Without registers, we cannot actually save any of the links we are creating. This means that, well, no links can be made.



    In order to build registers, though, we’ll need to redo this entire mechanism. I have a much better idea for how this should work.



    With pistons, the buttons essentially act as levers. I don’t want that, because that means you aren’t really saving information at all. And, I have to deal with BUD switches which can mess up the composition. That’s great for the Sandbox, not for this.



    I’ve come up with a much simpler, sleeker design using observers. It’s also quieter, faster, smoother, etc. The joys of trial and error, right?




    Observers will simply send a pulse which will be saved by the register. This way, each new link starts with a blank canvas rather than having redstone blocks all over the place.






    I have to do a lot of testing here, because timing is key to making sure that the pulse gets through before the register locks again. The two registers (one for the input lines and one for the output lines) essentially replace the pistons that lock the system. So, they are activated by the same redstone lines. Choose one input, and they lock. Choose one output, and they lock. Easy peasy.




    After some testing, I’ve managed to get every button synchronized such that it activates one line and one line only (a problem I had with the piston setup was that, due to BUD switches, some buttons would inadvertently activate two lines at once, which messes things up).



    Currently, you’re able to make one link which is saved, but only until you go to make a new link. At that point, your saved link resets, and you start over. You may have noticed that the MISC will have a feature to either save or reset links, but this will require additional memory systems we have not yet created.



    Right now, we need to actually compose the links – the one thing I have yet to actually do! Right now, the MISC is just an adder; it doesn’t do anything. But we have the numbers done, we have the tangent lines constructed, we have wires running all over the base, we have the registers built, and we have the link operations working. Connecting these together is the final step.




    Binary addition is key here because each number can be represented with a combination of AND/OR gates, which is exactly how we will specify which links do what. The new observer-based system also trashes the old link map, in which we could only have eight inputs and four outputs. Those are just numbers now. We can have as many inputs and as many outputs as we want, up to 256.




    This also means the four output lines must add onto the 8-bit adder rather than having their own. Again, the actual tangent lines mean nothing now. All that matters are the output numbers, which I can assign to anything I want.



    Here is what the new link map will look like:



    See what I mean when I say that each combination is a binary number, and that said number is not defined by any single mechanism wired up to the MISC? I can have it do anything with logic gates.



    So, let’s wire the first few links. By default, linking has no effect, as I mentioned in the last session. A saved link is represented as a number which adds onto the input from whatever system we are linking (i.e. the iron farm input always adds 128). To link the iron farm to the Night Lights, I’ll create an AND gate which requires 128+128+8.



    To link the multi-purpose mob farm, that’s 64+64+8, or 136. This is also the number that results when you link the iron farm and Night Lights, minus the iron farm input (performing 1A, which is 128+8).



    To combat this, I’ll add another inverted input from the 64s place that blocks an idle output. This way, only when the mob farm adds onto this place value will the 128 take effect.



    The Nether Temple and SRF farms are linked with an AND gate to require 32+16+4, or 52, to take effect.



    Likewise, the Nether Temple and transport pods use the same place values, minus 16. So, you need 32+4 or 36 to link those up. I’ll use an inverted torch off the 16s place, which basically says that you must have both 32 and 4, but not 16, in order to activate the top wire.



    Those are the four links we have prepared so far, but many more are coming! I’m just immensely thrilled to have this system working.




    Yes, I did say it works. The work was not futile – we have a fully functioning modular survival base, with the system’s first generator now fully operational! A few more features need to be added yet, but this is incredible progress so far. I have gone ahead and linked up the Nether Temple to the SRF farms, because that’s a very useful automation.




    Now, let’s finish the look of this lobby!



    I love black and white concrete blocks because they actually look black and white, whereas their terracotta counterparts don’t. Though speaking of terracotta, I’ll be using a light gray variant for the floor of the lobby. Lots of stone slabs, too.





    I’m adapting a style similar to the SRF control floor here, using black concrete powder behind stone slab walls. White concrete lines the floor.




    The wiring for this STAS station needs to be hidden, so I’ll work on terraforming this area to get a shape I am happy with.



    Yep, I am using the MISC as a concrete generator, too.



    The glazed terracotta is for the ground floor.



    I like this pattern because it’s somewhat mechanical, which is the appropriate vibe for this room, being the center of HQ’s redstone engineering as of now.



    However, this arrangement looks better lined with stone slabs.





    White concrete walls line the inside while black concrete walls go outside.




    I had to move these tangent wires of course, which gives me the opportunity to share a pro tip with you: have redstone repeaters power blocks first – this way, you actually get 16 blocks of power rather than 15.



    Coming together beautifully, and I’ll use stone slabs to encircle this wiring. You’ll notice I’ve rearranged it a bit.



    I’ve fitted it with iron blocks, mostly because I think that makes it look more mechanical, like a control box if you will. I’m going for that.



    Looking beautiful, I’d say! Let’s finish it off with some glass paneling.






    Voila, the completed MISC lobby to celebrate the completion of the base’s first generator! I can’t wait to see what we do with it from here.




    It feels pretty good to see my vision come to fruition, and to see Starlight HQ being automated however I so choose. But this is just the start of the modular transformation - there are many more things coming.


    Next up... Session 241 - "Modifier Madness"

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on What have you done recently?

    Don't let it die!!


    I was in the Nether for a bit... and did a little mining...



    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [SSP journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Age of Ender (Season 3)

    Today, we're getting back to an old project whilst starting on another! Along the way, we make some significant breakthroughs. :)


    Revisit Sessions 231-232 if you are unfamiliar with binary addition, as it plays a role today.


    Session 239 - "Redstone Pinball"





    Starlight Arcade was never intended to be so small. That’s not an arcade. That’s barely a room. Let’s expand.



    For the record, there are about ten total games that I’d like to build in here. Of course, this is not an expansion to take place overnight, but it gives you a slight idea regarding the intended scope of the arcade and its role in the base. When you want to retreat and have some fun, the idea is that you come here. So we need to make it more fun.




    Location is a slight issue with the intended scope, though, because when I built the arcade originally, I didn’t plan on constructing STAS. The central station for STAS is located just below this new addendum – literally, exactly. This means we cannot have much vertical variation in the arcade, because directly above it is the plaza. I didn’t think much about this when first building the arcade, because I didn’t plan on adding eight more games later.



    We do have options though, and we will make this work. For now, I’ll start with a small expansion, and then we’ll continue to build out as we add more games in the future.



    The next two games on the list are ‘The Sandbox’ and ‘Time Tables.’ Today? We’ll be working on The Sandbox.





    I’ve had this idea for a while, and to be fair, it is less of an arcade game and more of a puzzle. But hey – the arcade can be versatile. Sometimes, you want something that challenges your mind more than your wits. The Sandbox shall do exactly that.



    OBJECTIVE: Using only the provided levers/pistons, your goal is to move the red sand to the green wool to escape the sandbox (using a redstone block in place for the time being).




    Building this game is not very complicated from a redstone perspective. But this is a much more difficult game to construct from the others because it requires a lot of trial and error. I am not building a machine; I am trying to make a puzzle. It’s a lot harder than you may think, much like how Chambers required a lot of initial drafting prior to the build itself.



    ^ Some aspects of the puzzle are going to be tricky to compose, such as moving the block from one face to the next.




    In order to fight this, as you cannot manually toggle those pistons in the back, I’ll install observers to automate them. This provides the opportunity for additional puzzle options!




    This redstone puzzle will be prime to the game, as BUD switches make a common appearance. You’ll need to understand how they work and utilize them to win!



    ^ Additionally, some quick wits will be required to move blocks around certain tight spaces such as this, because I’ve wired it such that the pistons will move together, albeit with some tick-based delays.



    Oh, and something I learned above: that stone block will not be moved by the bottom piston! That's unfortunate for this game.




    A combination of skills will make The Sandbox a fun addition to the arcade, and to the world itself. A game that isn’t parkour, I’m excited to share the final product with you.



    …but I need to be more careful for creepers!



    I’ve sealed it all in, now, which will give me a visual cue of what space I have to work with.



    That’s all for now; I’ve already spent hours on this game, and we have a long way to go. We’ll work on it in bits and pieces, but now you have a good idea how it shall be played! Alas, it will certainly be completed in time for the world download.


    For now, it’s time to move on to our next project.



    We’ve been sitting on the modular interface project for a while now, and it’s time we get back. After all, arguably the biggest upgrade to Starlight HQ this season will be this transformation into a modular survival base – likely the first of its kind ever. As a modular base, everything within the base will be influenced or controlled in some capacity by everything else. And it will be 100% customizable. How?



    Well, that’s what we’ll work on today.



    When we last touched on the ALU in Sessions 231-232, we spent a lot of time thinking through the mental obstacles of how exactly we would be able to create links between two machines within HQ. If you’re unfamiliar with this project, visit those sessions to see a clearer picture of what we are trying to accomplish.



    Today, I have cracked the code. Every link will be represented as a binary number. All that discussion of adders will finally be put to some use!




    I’ve referred to our system as a computer, which in some capacity it is, but it will not be a conventional redstone computer because we simply won’t have the space to build that. What we have currently is an 8-bit ALU, which would result in a computer so large it would not fit inside HQ. We’re not interested in that exactly.



    What we achieve with an 8-bit adder is the ability to compose 256 individual settings, or in this case, links. By representing each link as a number, we simplify the process of building links, and we simultaneously gain the ability to create multiple links. How is this possible?



    ^ All of this is unnecessary, because I wasn’t thinking about the outputs correctly before. I’ll destroy all these now. We’ll make registers later.





    These are the same adders that I showed you in the testing world over in Session 231. Notice that each of the eight adders features two inputs each. One is from the MISC to create the link; one is from the source machine to activate the link.



    Above, I have computed 128 into the editor. This is the default number that results when you just activate the top-left button in the MISC (1). In order for any output to result, we’ll need to wait for the iron farm to send a second input to this adder. This will result in the addition of 128+128, giving us 256. We’ll wire that configuration to result in the activation of, for instance, the Night Lights. Make sense?



    In total, only eight numbers will have no effect on the editor, and those are the binary base numbers used only to make addition: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128. This is because we want those numbers reserved for the MISC buttons – this way, we can create links without disrupting base operations. Nothing will actually activate until the base itself behaves (such as when the iron farm receives input, at that point will its input affect the editor).




    We’ll have two additional adders specifically for the output lines. Recall however that these ‘output’ lines are currently just wires running from the MISC. They don’t actually connect to their output sources (i.e. Night Lights). Remember, links will be created via a number. So, the link ‘Iron farm—Night Lights’ would be represented as 260 (256 + 4 from the output adders). Likewise, ‘Mob farm—Night Lights’ would be represented as 132 (128 + 4). And so forth.


    Currently, here are the fundamental link options I want to have in HQ:




    You haven’t heard of some of these yet, but basically these are things we do or will be using most of the time. However, this form of identification will actually be obsolete with the current way of doing things.



    If we build links represented as numbers, then we may need to change how the MISC operates. Currently, you only select one input and one output. But that limits how many links we can make! We want to have the ability to take full advantage of the 260 link options, even if we don’t fill them all.



    You know, since we’re fueling the base with redstone at the moment, I think it’s appropriate to revisit an old construction…




    Now, the Redstone Observatory is actually a fitting title! And now with a ring of glowstone lamps on top. I like it.



    We’re so close to the first functioning generator in the base. Welcome to the modular world!




    We've done a rich assortment of projects today! One of the heaviest redstone sessions to date, things are coming full circle with our modular interface. I'd reckon we are only one session away from seeing Starlight HQ transform into a modular survival base - all our hard work coming to fruition.


    Next up... Session 240 - "The First Generator"

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [SSP journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Age of Ender (Season 3)

    I've been quite motivated lately, and with my move to China being delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak, I seem to be blessed with more free time nowadays. :)


    So let's make good use of it!


    Session 238 - "Red Light, Green Light"





    I’ll go ahead and build the Redstone Station, since it’s right around the corner from Tetraquin.






    Extending these tunnels all the way up to Starlight Treehouse will require some careful planning, largely because I must remember that I have several tangent redstone wires running all the way up to the Night Lights from the modular computer. My goal is to get STAS tunnels running directly adjacent to those wires – it will keep things more compact as we continue building underneath the outback.






    This process was not so bad, and I have brought the north and south lines together into one tunnel. I did find those tangent lines, by the way. Next, we’ll focus on the station itself.



    When I said that it would take us to Starlight Treehouse, I literally meant exactly that. Not the Starlight Outback which would then require you to walk to the treehouse. Nope, I want the station at the top of the mountain.



    Surely, the height differences make this a tricky station to compose, but I think I’ve done okay. It’s a good thing we have an iron farm now, for all the rails we will need. But something tells me iron will not be enough for this.




    The final station we need is, in fact, the Outback Station – the one I just previously made fun about. This will be the end of the blue line, coming directly up from Redstone Station. Having a station here on the ground will be just as helpful as having one at the treehouse, because the two can still feel so far apart.





    This tunnel is much easier to build, mostly because there really isn’t much underneath the ground here. And, like Starlight Station, the outback is right above the Redstone Room.



    You may observe that some of these railway lines are quite long – indeed, Starlight Treehouse is especially a considerable distance from the rest of the base. In order to maximize speed, I want the majority of rails to be powered rails. And for that, I need a lot of gold, which I don’t have.



    ^ Well, I thought I didn’t have any, but then I remembered exactly where it all went.



    Some colorful adjustments made for now. And while I’m at it…





    Got to put those diamonds to use somehow! I really don’t use them anymore.


    With all the stations built, the question is now geared towards the stop/go mechanics that will make STAS a subway. Each time you press the button to ‘GO’, the idea is that every station will go – a minecart shall be seated at every station, rounding about the closed circuit. In this way, you will never have to wait for a minecart, make a new one, or call one. You just hop on and go.




    The key mechanic that will make this work is the fact that rail tracks can be moved by pistons. We will take great advantage of this by constructing a complex machine that will stop incoming minecarts and start outgoing minecarts. The subway will be a fully automated stop/go system.





    Each minecart will stop on a center unpowered rail. When a button is pressed, a specific sequence of things needs to happen:


    • First, the next powered rail needs to be pushed forward for the minecart to go.
    • Second, the back slabs need to be retracted so that third, the regular rail can be pushed on top to complete the circuit. This is for the oncoming minecart.
    • Then, the regular rail needs to be retracted before the slabs are then pushed back up. Otherwise, the rail just breaks if the slabs are pushed too early.


    In order to have the slabs pulled down first but pushed up last, I install two inputs to that piston. Notice the right-side repeater at one tick above. This occurs first, albeit after the powered rails are activated.



    ^ Then, set at four ticks, the piston above pushes the rail forward onto the track. Once the oncoming minecart passes it and onto the center powered rail, this piston then pulls the rail back.



    ^ Looking back here, on the left-side, the repeaters amount to six ticks. The slabs will then be pushed back up, so that this new minecart can propel forward again.



    After some tests, I found this setup to work beautifully. I have to play with the aesthetics quite a bit to make everything fit evenly and look good, but essentially this exact same design needs to be replicated across every subway station. A total of ten terminals need to be built.



    Let’s now look at the oncoming minecart. We need a detector rail for it to activate this same mechanism – to lower the slabs so that it can pass onto the center powered rail. This is relatively easy to install – we’ll just send a wire with a repeater (if necessary) to the terminal.




    We do not want the rails to be powered as the oncoming minecart approaches, so we’ll send an additional signal to turn these off.




    One thing I notice upon testing, however, is that simply having the powered rail pulled back does not stop a fast approaching minecart from jutting way too far forward! We need to install another piston to push up the slabs in front of the center resting rail.




    We therefore will not need to de-power the rails. Instead, I simply have to make sure that the detector rail does not move the powered rail in front. I accomplish this by having the redstone wire long enough such that it powers everything else except that piston (because it’s under 15-blocks long, meaning it is too short).



    Yes! The oncoming minecart stops perfectly on that center rail, regardless of its oncoming speed. Note that the ‘go’ button will of course not activate the new piston we’ve just installed – that’s only necessary to stop the incoming minecart.



    Okay, now I just have to replicate this… nine times.



    Here is under the hood on the blue line, which will be mirrored.




    Here, I am completing the railways to and from the outback station.



    One feature that we won’t work on today, but that will be added as we complete STAS, is the addition of express lines. Once we connect all the stations together, we will then be able to choose which station we stop at. This feature is just for convenience – like how the express trains in New York skip stations to get you right at the one you want. It will be the same way here.



    I am making the toggles now to give myself an idea about how many will need to be crafted. I also want all these to be togglable from within the minecart.



    Here is the Outback Station, terminal-ready! I’ve used the exact same design.



    Redstone Station will require a slightly different setup, only because the northbound and southbound trains are too close together. We will need to install a redstone torch tower first, and then we’ll wire everything together under the terminals.




    I like maintaining a window to see both sides of the terminal, which is particularly why I enjoy building with slabs.




    The entire system is delayed just a few ticks at Redstone Station, since the wire is a lot longer (it has to go over top and down the sides of the station before finally getting underneath). But it works just as well!



    Redstone Station is looking good, and in fact I’ll go ahead and complete the aesthetics.




    I like this, with an express line option straight to Starlight Station, skipping Tetraquin Station if you so desire.



    Now that I have built the same terminal several times, I can knock it out in five to ten minutes – that is, when I’m not constantly running out of materials.




    Tangent Station is a pain in the ass, however, largely because of the lack of space. So I’m doing something unconventional, letting the minecart ride ‘off the cliff’ so to speak. The reason why is because I need a couple powered rails in front so that their power source (a lever) does not mess with the pistons. Plus, the piston in front would otherwise break the sloped powered rail.



    The southbound train is equally odd, with the wiring sitting out.




    ^ I want this room to remain relatively open, so we’ll work on covering this up later.





    Tetraquin Station looks cool now, with these being among the easiest terminals to compose.



    And finally, we’re out at Starlight Treehouse. This station has not received much attention, mostly because I have spent a good chunk of time just digging out the tunnel to get here. We’ll deal with the aesthetics later. Let’s just install the terminal.



    Done! I’m keeping the mountainside open right now, as I’m thinking about ways to connect this station to the ground as well. It would then act as a shortcut to Starlight Treehouse from this side of the outback, which will be very convenient.


    We’re still not in a stage where we can test the subway, because one integral component is still missing: the closed connected circuit. I’m going to save that for later, because that’s going to be another round of extensive wiring underground, and I’ll be honest – I’m a bit exhausted with all this. Nonetheless, once we have it such that every ‘go’ button activates every other ‘go’ button at every other station, then we will be able to use STAS. We still need a lot more gold, though.



    Let’s complete Starlight Station and call it a day.



    Day called.



    Huge progress on STAS today, with the only remaining mechanic being the wires that shall connect all the subway stations together. Alas, it's time to take a break. We have many more projects to complete...


    Next up... Session 239 - "Redstone Pinball"

    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 1

    posted a message on [SSP journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Age of Ender (Season 3)

    And six months later...


    ...we get to see what happens next.


    Session 237 - "STAS"




    It’s official; we need to get Violet safe inside Starlight Treehouse. That’s the only way I can be rest assured that nothing will get to her, which is especially crucial now that I know what she knows – the end of all things and what not.



    The Starlight Transit Authority System (STAS) becomes a major player here, because Violet isn’t exactly one to move on her own. I’ll need to get her moved to Starlight Treehouse. I can get her to HQ via the railway into Starlight Station, but from there I’ll need a way to get her all the way upstairs. Having our subway system installed is the key to completing this task. It was next on the list, anyway.



    When STAS was first conceptualized, I thought of it largely as an interconnected rail network in which the route could change on command depending on where you want to go (i.e. an open circuit with several fork-in-the-road options). And although this may certainly be possible, I think that STAS will function much more effectively as a proper subway system. And this requires some planning.




    Thinking about some of the areas in Starlight HQ that are the most popular, I am immediately drawn to the tangent floor, considering especially that most of the new developments this season are so far taking place here. We definitely need a station here.




    At first, I thought that STAS could operate as a one-size-fits-all open circuit. But this is not true, the more I planned things out. We need two distinct railway lines, operating two individual closed circuits, in order for this to work. This is because the main purpose of STAS is to better connect the above-ground to the underground. Well, if I just have one railway line jumping all over the place, then it’s not really creating shortcuts between the popular destinations. Having two lines will allow me to be more creative.




    The old horse stables will now serve as the central station for STAS – fittingly, Starlight Station. I’ll be carving out a full new addendum to the build.




    We’ll try and reduce the cramping by installing a proper staircase that makes transportation easier between the floors. This will open things up nicely anyway.






    I am happy to have an Efficiency V pickaxe under the Haste aura – this allows me to break through stone like popping bubbles. And we’re carving a lot of stone under here.




    So, let’s go through the two railway lines.



    Both lines will only intersect here are Starlight Station – the starting point. I initially thought about having them both meet at the tangent floor as well, but I dismissed that because of the fact that getting from the Starlight Treehouse to the Redstone Room quickly is going to be important. I’d rather have a direct line there. The Red Line will take you from Starlight Station to Tangent Station, at which point you can continue all the way to Starlight Treehouse (this station will actually be at the basin of the treehouse).



    The Blue Line will be the connection points further underground. You’ll go from Starlight Station straight to Tetraquin Station – this will be the SRF control floor. Then you can ride straight to the other side of the facility to the Redstone Room. The last stop will be straight up to Starlight Outback. The red line will go straight to the treehouse, but the blue line will take you to the outback plaza. The faction is way too big for just one station.





    Now, I will work on the other stations. Tetraquin Station will nest directly underneath the transport pods. This is a prime location and having this connection will be incredibly convenient (the x-z coordinates of this station is actually the same as Starlight Station – the entire ride is vertical).




    Stone themes will be fine for the stations, and I’ll specifically use stone slabs to indicate where the tracks will go.




    Remember that this is a closed circuit, which means that the minecarts will be running in a continuous loop. So, I need both a northbound and southbound track for each line.




    For most of this, they will share the same tunnel. But in some cases, I’ll need to separate the north and south tracks.



    ^ Here, for example, is the tunnel that will run to and from Starlight Treehouse. This is an awkward spot, being positioned right next to the big computer we have started building for Starlight HQ’s modular interface. So, I am juxtaposing the tracks differently to fit them snugly around the mess of redstone wires.




    Otherwise, designing the tunnels is fairly simple. I’ll need to go through and add redstone lamps to all the tunnels or something, but we’ll get there.



    This is the current design of Tetraquin Station.




    I have signs and wool identifying each line and station throughout HQ. And I’ll reiterate that I love this location for Tetraquin Station.



    Beautiful sunrise.



    Okay, so I am realizing that I don’t actually have that many tracks… nor do I have enough gold to make that many tracks. So that’s a new problem.



    This will need to be moved.




    Easy enough, I’ve tucked this rail line behind the subway.


    One reason I love having the station so open is because that’s how real subways are designed – open with lots of room to see ahead. I like that, and it’s why I didn’t just want STAS to feel like a boring railway line. That’s okay for the lines currently running across Quintropolis Island, but not for what we’re wanting.



    We’ll work on the other stations later – we have three to build – but first I’ll need to experiment with ways of automating the principal stop/go system that characterizes a subway. And this will require some extensive wiring.


    I hope Violet is occupied.




    We've got a good start, but now, we really need to touch on the mechanics. All while trying to break into Violet's head, even more. Time is of the essence!

    Next up... Session 238 - "Red Light, Green Light"
    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 1

    posted a message on Updates of a [9 year old] Survival World

    A tunnel with biome themes could be interesting - reminds me a bit of the tunnels between the terminals at the Atlanta airport, if you've been through there.


    But yes, I understand the lack of motivation, and especially the yearn to build for purpose. Perhaps you are in a phase of writer's block; maybe it will end and you will have an AHA moment for lots of new builds. Or, maybe not. As you say, never say never. Congrats on the [upcoming] milestone nonetheless.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 0

    posted a message on Updates of a [9 year old] Survival World

    Hey leangreen,


    Been reading through a bit to catch up as I have gotten back into the game recently. I must say that the church is an exquisite architectural art! Would love to see what you continue doing with that design. Do you have plans to continue building such articulate structures? And I must inquire, because I also do this with specific builds - do you often use reference photos of real buildings to fixate on a particular style? I have been really interested in Gothic architecture lately, and would like to adapt some of that in Minecraft. However, I feel like reference photos are a must with any type of build in which you aim for a specific architectural style. But perhaps it is not so.


    Curiosity prevails.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 0

    posted a message on [SSP journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Age of Ender (Season 3)

    Apologies for the crunched formatting this time... I have struggled to fix it through several lengthy edits, but the forum does not want to cooperate so... can't do much about it at this point.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 0

    posted a message on [SSP journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Age of Ender (Season 3)

    It's story time.


    Assume that every session from here on out is a SPOILER for the previous, because it is from this point that the story takes center stage through our builds.


    Session 236 - "The Survivors"




    “It was so cold that day… I think the weather patterns shifted dramatically before it happened. A guard was screaming from across the clearing. He told everyone to get inside where it was warm. There wasn’t much time before the snow started.”


    “Everything froze, for an instant. Some of us stuffed ourselves in the temple, others in the castle. There might have been 150 or so of us. Two guards escorted me to the beacon in the center of the castle, where many of us stood, waiting anxiously to see if the prophecy had come true – the one that the Secret of Stonewall foretold.”

    “A scream broke the silence. It came from a councilmember in a back room – he had found a body. A body of the councilman who audited the premises. The one you murdered in cold blood.”

    “Things got rampant; nobody was safe. The snow turned to a thunderstorm, which bore heavy lightning. The other councilman advised that we take cover as far beneath the ground as possible.”

    “We found the underground facility and figured it would house everyone. But we needed to safely get the folks who were in the temple moved to the castle. I volunteered to help.”

    “Nobody dared enter beyond the strange portal. We didn’t even know what it was, other than that it must be some type of black magic. The thunder grew louder; the skies became darker.”

    “I never wanted to be here. I only wanted the madness to end. I pushed through the torrential rain to get the other villagers to safety. Monsters began to chase us around the premises, but thankfully the castle had sufficient shielding.”

    “After escorting the last group down, I told the councilman that I would scout out the area to make sure nobody was left. He disliked that idea, of course, and he urged me to fall back. I should have listened.”

    “I was the last villager outside when a bright light rose over the beacon. It was so bright – it nearly blinded me.


    Emerging from the light was a thick shadow that began covering the sky – like a cloak hiding this section of the world.”

    “Eventually, the entire island was covered in this cloak. I could do nothing but stand there and watch in shock as the forces of nature overtook my instinctual judgment. And then it happened…”

    “What happened?” I ask, anxiously awaiting to hear the news myself, after having spent so much time in the shadows.

    But she shut down and wouldn’t let me hear it. I could see the look on her face – it was sheer terror. Whatever she knows is eating away at her very existence and being here with me certainly is not helping. Clearly, she knows something about the questions that I have been asking, and though I am so adamant on prying that information, it might not be the best route.

    “Stay here and rest,” I respond to her. The fortress is rather safe after all – more so than the jungle. How she survived out there all that time, I don’t know. But for now, I’ll give her a break and take a run back to HQ.

    Today, we are working on the Night Lights because production on the modular system needs to continue if I want to get any closer towards upgrading Starlight HQ. So far, if you recall, we have built the principal linking mechanism and adder, but we have yet to install an actual processing unit. This will take place later. There are still two more modules that need to be linked to the system: Night Lights, and of course, STAS.

    Recall from Session 223 that we built a total of six glowstone lights surrounding Starlight Treehouse, all of which are connected here at a central unit underneath the treehouse.

    Inside the treehouse is the control panel which will allow us to toggle different modes for the lights. Their behavior can be completely changed by the press of one (or several) among the seven buttons. That’s the idea, anyway. Let’s see if we can make that happen.

    This small wooden room is the only space we have to work with, and it’s small. I know what seven features need to go inside, though, which means that we’ll need to engage some creative mind games to fit everything inside.

    First is the invert button, which basically means that it’s the master ‘on’ and ‘off’ switch. The wooden button will allow us to toggle the lights, while the bottom right-most button will lock whichever state we choose. That’s the only way to replicate a T-flip-flop in this small of a space.

    The next feature that must be added is the daylight sensor. They’re called Night Lights after all, because ideally they will be active at night. There is only one spot wherein we can manage to fit a daylight sensor and get redstone wire back into the control box, and that one spot happens to work out.

    To toggle this mode, I install a piston that will either block or enable the wire to pass through to the master circuit (which descends underground to the lights). Simple enough.

    Here, I’m installing two clocks that will create animation for the lights. It’s not recommended that slower systems use this feature, because it will lag like hell. The piston (middle-top lever) changes which clock is used. One clock is already installed right here (fast), but the second clock will be much more involved.

    I will be utilizing observers throughout the next few feature implementations, which means that I’ll need to brush up on my quartz content.

    Observers are useful for many things – that I am finding. Today, for instance, they allow me to quickly transport a signal downward.

    I used the iron door trick when I built the elevator, and I’m using it again here because it’s incredible fast and efficient, not to mention compact. The only downside is that it isn’t cheap, but that’s not really an issue here in HQ.

    In order to turn that button into a lever, I have to channel that redstone pulse from the observers into a T flip-flop. I am using a new design – one that filters an item through three droppers and a hopper. The comparator acts as the output, which changes states per pulse received.

    Now that we have finally gotten the redstone signal underground, we can begin crafting this next feature. Basically, I want to give the Night Lights an animated ability similar to the tunnel we built in the Blaze Blaster and Starlight Arcade.

    An interesting property of fire is that it will randomly transmit updates, meaning that an observer will receive and output a pulse on completely randomized intervals. This creates a sense of spontaneity – the lights will animate on their own accord.

    A dispenser will light the block in front until the fire burns out, at which point it will repeat so long as the dispenser is allowed to continue firing. That’s what our button controls – whether the redstone output can reach the dispenser again to continue the clock.

    Some beautiful animations, but they certainly induce a bit of lag even on the strongest machines. Maybe lower-end systems should stay away from this feature.

    I also need to install a mode for when the lights are off by default – the behavior will be inversed. To do this, I’ll engage a piston that both blocks and powers the master circuit, so that both modes can be executed at once. The output behavior will therefore depend on whether the circuit is already powered (or, whether the lights are on or off).

    Back in the treehouse, I can cover up the tower with wood but leave a small window for aesthetic purposes.

    The next feature I want to add is similar, but different. It requires another T flip-flop, of course, but this time I choose a different method of getting the signal to the ground. Rather than build a tower of observers and iron doors, I have the master switch toggle a dropper which drops an item to the ground. A hopper receives the item, toggling the T flip-flop and activating this mode.

    So what’s this mode?

    Well, it will involve rewiring the lights, actually. I’d like a mode in which the odd/even lights alternate states. That is to say, I’ll separate the master wire into two wires that control three lights each.

    This mode will toggle a hopper timer that animates three lights before swapping to the other three. Like so:

    In order to toggle this mode, I’ll install a master wire which keeps both pistons extended. This way, all lights remain active otherwise.

    The seventh and final feature is an oddball – one that I had some trouble configuring. Basically, I wanted a mode in which I could simultaneously switch the animation states dependent on the daylight sensor (as a way to automate those modes if I so desire). Limited space (and you can see just how limited) requires me to think outside the box about how to achieve this.

    Two more pistons are installed here, because I’ll need this most to both connect the master wire to the iron door and allow/block the wire coming from the daylight sensor. Configuring the redstone this way is the only thing that will work, but it introduces some undesirable behavior.

    Having a repeater here means that the doors are actually toggled twice when the button is pressed. Since observers take input based on block state, that means two pulses are being received per button press (one when the repeater is active, and one when it’s not). The result is a mode that doesn’t reset (or activate). I can change the button to a lever, however, and that eliminates this issue. Not ideal, but it works.

    A compact assemblage of redstone wizardry completes this project, finally. Let’s take a recap of what we have built.


    Night Lights – Control Panel - CLOCKWISE from top-left lever:

    A) Master state animator – animates/de-animates lights based on current behavior. If night vision mode is enabled, then lights will animate upon automated activation. If manual mode is enabled, then lights will animate indefinitely.

    B) Clock selector – selects between the animator clock (F) or the high-wire clock (not recommended for slower systems). If selecting the animator clock, it will remain inactive until F is pressed.

    C) Night vision mode – Night Lights will activate upon nightfall and turn off in the morning.

    D) Master invert switch – manually force inverts the signal of the lights. Must be powered with E to take effect.

    E) Invert lock state – press before D to lock lights in the ‘on’ state. Press after D to lock lights in the ‘off’ state.

    F) Animator clock – randomized clock that animates the Night Lights. Can be used together with G, A, and/or D to create new patterns.

    G) Swap mode – animation mode that swaps between even and odd lights. Can be combined with G, A, and/or D to create new patterns.

    H) Night Lights user guide – a guide to using the Night Lights.

    Thoughts? I’m very thrilled to introduce the Night Lights into Starlight HQ. They really do transform how the base looks at night…

    Now to check back in on our friend…

    “How are you feeling? Don’t feel obliged to talk,” I offer. “I understand that you’ve been through- “

    “I don’t even know how to describe it,” she interrupts. “A creature of some sort… it spawned in thin air above the beacon. It had huge horrific wings and a terrible cry and blistering pink eyes. I felt my heart sink into my stomach as I stood in shock, unable to move.”

    “It grabbed me and soared through the troubling wind far beyond the surface of the earth.”

    “Then it showed me something terrible – a vision of what will happen in the future.”

    “How can you be so sure?” I ask concerned, for such realities must always be taken with a grain of salt.

    “Because I felt it. Every part of my slow death.”

    “Death?” Something does not sound right.

    “None of it does. But when I returned to reality, to this island, everything was normal, but everyone was gone. The beacon had closed. No survivors.”

    “How did you survive this long?”

    “I took shelter in the stone fortress you build out in the jungle – the one you found me near. It seems that you don’t visit it much.”

    “You got that right.” At that moment, I realized that Violet knows my island better than I do. I needed more from her.

    “Please, Violet, tell me what will happen.”

    “But if I tell you what will happen, then you will attempt to change that undesirable fate which will only yield destruction.”

    “You say time is a fixed reality. What you call a vision might just be a warning – a warning that I might need to heed. Now tell me – what should I expect?”

    “Death, everywhere.”

    “The demons of Stonewall will rise against you, and the only thing you’ll be able to do is watch as they burn everyone and everything sent to hell.”

    “That’s… not possible. How can that happen?”

    "I see... a portal..."

    “Somewhere on the face of the earth is a portal to the mysterious land which you seek – a portal once closed before by the creature. I can’t tell you where it is, because I don’t know. But I know that it’s a death trap, because it’s the last thing I saw before the destruction. You will not escape the gauntlet once you enter.”

    “The gauntlet? What do you mean? Why not?”

    “There is no way out. The only thing that awaits us both is death.”

    “How do you know? Why do I even enter the gauntlet?”

    “You don’t, not by choice. You avoid it… because you’ll remember this conversation. That’s how you end up there – by accident.”

    “Warning heeded. I won’t allow Enderquin to win this war.”

    “You’re confused,” she clarified. “I said that I would show you what will happen.”



    Next up... Session 237 - "STAS"

    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 1

    posted a message on [SSP journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Age of Ender (Season 3)

    The end of one story is the beginning of another.


    Quintropolis celebrated its six-year anniversary on June 12th! With the forum archival canceled, I spent a little extra time on this session. It's worth it - you'll see why...


    SPOILER ALERT: This session is a spoiler for what has so far happened story-wise in Season 3. Unless you don't care, better catch up first.


    Session 235 - "This and That"





    There are officially too many projects in progress at this point within Starlight HQ. But can you blame me? Ever since returning to Starlight HQ and realizing the potential that the Secret of Stonewall could bring to the base, I couldn’t help myself. This base is rich with possibility, but that potential has brought about the current consequence that is unfinished business. We have a lot of things started, but very few things finished. Today, we’ll address some of this and that.



    Right now, Starlight Treehouse is my priority. Yes, we took some time off to build a computer, which is fine. But, the rest of the outback faction cannot develop until the centerpiece is completed, because the treehouse acts as our main hub for this side of the base. So I need to treat it as such.




    Overlooking what we have already built, I’ll reiterate what we have going on. The treehouse is built up of two floors, but there will be a third. That’s three rooms in the front and three rooms in the back. Protruding from the sides of the treehouse will be a total of six rooms (three on each side). You can see that two of these are already built (cat and dog houses).




    For the third room, I’ll prepare some items from the SRF, utilizing the new transport pod that we set up last session.




    The final room on the north side will extend from the second floor outwards, facing north.




    It’s a larger room, because…



    It’s going to be where I watch the sunrise and the sunset, when I wake up and when I go to bed, respectively.




    The new bedroom will have a comfortable leaf roofing, complete with togglable lights. As in, I’d like to have the ability to turn off the lights before going to bed, much like what you would traditionally do before going to bed. Monsters can’t spawn if I’m right here sleeping.



    Windows are installed to allow me the beautiful views of the sun.




    Other amenities to this bedroom include: a chest to store apples and bottled water. Often times, I’m thirsty when I wake up. A cauldron will support my thirst. Also, I don’t like going to bed with my armor – I’ll just hang that up.



    Here, I install a nightstand to act as the final light to turn off before bed. Maybe I’ll do some reading in one of my many tales before snagging the Z’s.



    Some flowers decorate the bedroom. After all, what’s a comfortable space without plenty of flora?



    Maybe this parrot can keep watch while I sleep. You never know if there might be a creeper on one of the branches.





    Lights on!



    Nighty night…




    And good morning!



    So because the entire room is actually well lit from the sky (thanks to the leaves), I can keep all the lights off during the day and save energy without worry of any mobs spawning. However, in the event that I’m not here by dusk, I need a way to automatically flip the lights on to prevent anything from spawning through the night. The solution is easy: a daylight sensor to trigger that safety switch. I just need to remember to turn it on whenever I wake up.



    The treehouse is still a bit disproportionate from the outside, but we haven’t gotten that far yet. When we do, the plan is to cover most of that with leaves and add more aesthetic branches.



    Moving on for now, I’ll go ahead and build the fourth room – the first which will protrude from the other side.




    Due to the spiral staircase we have here, the way in which we arrange the three rooms on this side will have to be different. For this first room, I’ll utilize the spiral staircase to get it down to y-level 109 – in line with the bottom-most room on the other side.



    The other reason I want this room to be so low is that I want that spiral staircase to be visible from the outside. If the room is too high, then the roof will cover it up.




    The shape and size are equivalent to the doghouse on the other side. But the aesthetic choices I am making are very different.



    Probably best to not look at it from the outside right now, because inevitably it won’t look very good. I guess I’m just trying to see how it will look against the other rooms.





    In the back of this room will be a large wall.



    What goes on the wall, you ask? Good thing you asked…




    Our new adventure map! Isn’t that what treehouses are for? The old map in Starlight Castle never gets used because I hardly ever visit the fourth floor of the castle (nothing I need is up there because it’s not a convenient place to put things). Now, we have a much larger space to work with, and some motivation to continue exploring Quintropolis beyond the currently mapped lands (which exist in the room beneath us).




    The number of times this has happened is not even funny.




    Building and housing the branch to get to this room involves more creative effort than building the room itself.





    I have hidden most of the glowstone lighting behind the leaves, which I will also have to do from the outside.



    And, we get a beautiful view of Starlight Castle and Co. from here.




    I think that’s enough work on Starlight Treehouse today. We have other things to do.



    Last session, I mentioned that one of the transport pods we could install would be a revised (shortened) track from here to the Mob Processing Hub. If you recall, we built one such railway a long time ago when the MPH was first built (Session 140?). But now the location of this railway makes no practical sense since we have the transport pod system.




    I’ll remove most of the railway up until the part where it crosses into Starlight Arcade (because I still love that aesthetic detail).



    Check out how perfectly this works out: the existing railway was that close to the transport pod stations. All I have to do now is connect it up.




    Easy, and now we’ve saved a lot of rails.



    Okay, finally, I want to complete a project that I started in Session 217 – the new skeleton farm storage room.


    Now, as you may recall, part of that build included an automated item sorter to carry the items into chests. What that build forgot was a way to automatically move everything that isn’t bones and arrows. When I’ve got 200+ skeletons in the kill chamber, I typically yield a lot of broken bows and armor pieces that I then have to manually sort out. That’s too much grunt work. Besides, we have a solution right in front of us:



    ^ That’s the storage room for those items. I just never got around to extending the item sorting unit to this room.



    This is currently the end of the line – a final hopper in which I have to take all the remaining bows and armor pieces and move them to the junk armory.





    Originally, I thought that I might have to move the items upward because the junk armory is a few blocks higher than the storage room. However, this need not be the case.



    There is no way to sort the bows from the armor pieces, because every single piece of junk is different and none of it stacks. Thankfully, I don’t need to worry about that – my goal is just to get all the junk automatically stored – not sorted. I can worry about that later if I wish, but honestly most of it really is just junk that might be used to repair something else down the line.



    That makes the rest of this process very straightforward – just hoppers, ice, and water currents to carry the items beyond all the way around the room.



    What happens when all the chests inevitably fill up with junk?





    Not more chests, that’s for sure. I’m not a hoarder.



    To test the system, I make a bold risk: throwing in my sword. If it works correctly, then I should find my sword stowed in the bottom-most hopper of the first column of chests. Let’s see…




    Needless to say, there were some issues elsewhere, and my sword never arrived. Also, I don’t know where it is. Maybe it de-spawned. Oh well – I’ll just get a new one from my amassed stash of thirty or so. Regarding the system, well, it works now.



    I must admit that having these junk items sorted at the skeleton farm proves useful, especially because I get so much stuff that I don’t need. Now that everything is automated, I won’t have to deal with sifting through all that nonsense. Building this today was most definitely the right thing to do.



    Now then, we shall head back to Starlight HQ to continue work on the treehouse. But it’s been a while since I’ve taken a stroll across the island. Maybe we’ll go the long way and observe how the base’s skyline is developing from afar.




    It feels like ages ago since I carved this hub into the jungle. But damn if that foliage isn’t thick!



    Wait… in the distance there… do you see it?



    I need to get a bit closer. It looks like some type of animal.



    Is that… a villager? But how? Ever since the day Techtropolis fell, there hasn’t been a single villager on this island that I could—


    …wait…


    I accepted that day was a dream conjured up in my own head. I accepted that I was crazy, and that Techtown’s council never existed, and that the gods were messing with my head. That’s the reality… right?



    “Are you lost? Where did you come from? How did you get here?” I ask.



    “Say something, damn it!”



    “Fine, die out here in the old jungle. I don’t give a—"



    “Violet,” she speaks.


    She speaks?


    “My name is Violet.”


    “Alright then, Violet, please tell me from what village you came, and I will escort you home,” I kindly respond, my chivalrous nature kicking in.


    “No.”

    “What do you mean, no?”


    “It’s time that you know the truth.”


    “The truth? To what truth are you referring?”


    “About the survivors.”




    Almost three years later, and this season's story is finally starting to unfold. Hopefully from here, my updates can start to speed up a little, because we've got a long way to go.


    Next up... Session 236 - "The Survivors"

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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