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    posted a message on [Survival journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Mystery of the Endermen (Season 3)

    A baffling mystery that has been my underlying motivation for building Starlight Outback comes on the forefront today as “Chambers” is completed and my full plans are revealed in this game-changing session.


    Session 220 – “Mystery of the Endermen




    Busting open this giant hole, this area will comprise the second section of the “Chambers” parkour course. To reiterate, the first puzzle consisted of a grid of locks and doors, representative of my theory about the endermen existing as a hive mind. When one door opens, another door closes. Such is the same with the endermen. Their intelligence moves from place to place; they are not everywhere at once. But, before I continue with the course, I need to confront this theory head-on. Otherwise, this project serves no purpose.



    Locking up Starlight HQ, I’m curious what I will find as I head out towards an old relic I discovered years ago. Do you recall what I found on my North Shore Adventure back in session 182?





    Welcome back to Megapolis Canals.



    Chronos, my trusted horse whom I’d lost for the better part of season two, will be staying here at the Quinone base as I descend into anguish.



    Now if I can just remember how to get back to that relic…



    Does this ring a bell? This is where my North Shore Adventure concluded.




    Today, we’re going to finish that adventure and find out just what secrets lay inside this ancient structure. What can it tell us about the mystery of the endermen?




    Whoa. I knew mineshafts were a common remnant of history but this? This is something much more prehistoric.




    It’s like… pieces of an ancient city, rotting away as the earth around them erodes and reforms.




    What’s this? A chest!





    A myriad of unique rooms compose this stronghold, but I’m still left wondering what used to exist here! Does this relic feature anything worthwhile? So far, the answer is no.




    An ancient library… now this is a bit more interesting!




    And oh look – what are the conveniences that an enderman happens to show up? Back off, buddy!



    I’ve blocked the enderman in. If my theory is true, and he knew that I was here… well, let’s just back off on those theories for now. Things are starting to get tense.



    Strange… a door left wide open. But to what? I have more questions than answers.



    What seems to be the final sector of this stronghold is upon me.



    The hell is in my scope of vision??




    Holy sh--. There is some truth to my theory!



    What is this?! An eye of the endermen?! And those pesky gray bugs? The world has never greeted me with those before! Does death await me? Is that why the endermen have arrived??




    I killed those endermen, left Chronos behind at Megapolis, and ran from this godforsaken ancient hell.



    That was a gate! Is this not what I’ve been searching for this whole time? I have so many questions…



    So, if that was a gate, which it looked very much to be, then there must be some way to unlock it. Now, I saw that an eye was wedged into one of the pockets. Is that from an enderman? I must presume so! Multiple endermen showed up as I approached it. The tension far exceeded another ordinary night on the surface… no, this was different. This was more akin to otherworldly danger. It was scary.


    It will take some time to process everything that I saw today.



    Let’s breathe and illustrate what I’ve just learned by completing “Chambers,” back at the safety of my home in Starlight HQ.



    The idea of this range chamber echoes what I am currently theorizing about the gate. There must be a series of things that must be done in order to open the gate, similar to the Tetraquin Project. Here, you’ll have to use bow and arrow skills to linearly open the gate to the exit chamber.



    First button, on the opposite wall of the cave, opens the gate to this chamber. This nifty puzzle requires you to hold down every single button/pressure plate at the same time. You can do this with a smart approach, taking into account how long arrows take to despawn.




    Wiring this puzzle, considering the small space, is a challenge.



    I start on the roof, wherein all buttons deactivate torches that lock/unlock repeaters. One torch acts as the master input which must push through all the other locks.



    This concept, with some tweaking, required multiple inputs to work. Some of the buttons act as redstone inputs, while others act as redstone locks.






    Tight redstone fitting is easier done here because all buttons are essentially connected to the same circuit. The goal is to deactivate that circuit, which means you have to activate all the buttons. Simple!



    Here, you can see a bug. Sometimes, depending on the pattern in which the buttons are triggered, the lock inputs will retrigger before the master power input does, leaving some buttons like the ones pictured above to be irrelevant to the system.




    To fix this, I install a power line above the center circle of torches. This will ensure that the power lines activate before the locks do. In this way, all buttons now become master input switches. Such a system is now foolproof.



    ^ This RS (NOR) latch ensures that the gray buttons are the last buttons to deactivate the signal.



    Challenging? Certainly, but a fun challenge nonetheless. It is also an important metaphor about the current predicament that we’re in. Sometimes, you have to exercise all options before the right answer reveals itself. That seems to be exactly how this puzzle is playing out.





    The chamber just behind here is a vertical chamber. This challenge requires accuracy and precision, as you must shoot an arrow up and at a slight angle to project it down into the 1x1 chamber in the room’s center.




    The top of this vertical chamber ascends above the surface.




    A pretty nod to the course’s existence, isn’t it?




    With some handy aesthetics, shooting the button on the surface hub unlocks the next gate, which is out in the cave.



    I think that part of the importance of illustrating the mystery of the endermen is the variety of puzzles I’ve had to encounter to date regarding how to solve it. Such is what I showcase here, using water as a natural obstacle to your success.





    Next puzzle of the chamber is a timing challenge, similar but simpler than the all-in-one puzzle we built earlier.




    You have to toggle all five buttons at once, but you’re obstructed by a row of pistons operating on a clock. You not only have to beat them, but you have to toggle all five buttons before they close permanently. Otherwise, you’re back shooting underwater.



    Final gate is a very tight precision shot. That’s how I predict this mythological conundrum will conclude.





    There are some details about “Chambers” that I spared because I don’t want to spoil some parts of the course that require the element of surprise. You’ll notice that the locations of the puzzles built in this course are not obviously defined. That’s because finding them is part of the challenge – again, metaphorical of the larger puzzle at play.





    After testing the course, and ensuring especially that it resets itself fully (reset buttons are always a pain in the ass; nothing compares to “Landing Pad’s” reset wire), I can assure that this is one of the most fun substantial additions to the base in recent years! Have you forgotten that this is located within Starlight HQ? Yeah, so did I. Starlight Outback still hasn’t settled naturally with me, yet.




    Please welcome our new puzzle parkour, “Chambers,” as the fourth parkour course in Quintropolis.



    Now, back to how we’re going to tackle this stronghold situation…




    I had some time to think about this, and I believe we’ve exercised all our options. The right answer has become clear.



    Megapolis is such a beautiful terrain. It’s a shame that I have to tear a hole right through it.



    You know I wouldn’t do this if I had any other choice. I don’t.




    I didn’t mention this, but while in the stronghold library, I did uncover an ancient book that spoke some truth to my theories. Let me read it to you and open it up to interpretation. An ominous piece of poetry, it beckons an underlying clue about my own existence.



    .- .-.. .-.. / - .... . /
    -.-. --- -- ..-. --- .-. - ... /
    --- ..-. / .... . .- ...- . -. /
    -.. .. . --..-- / -.-- . /
    .-- .... --- / . -. - . .-. /
    .... . .-. . .-.-.-

    Hither close and careful,
    Ye who enter here.
    Betwixt the moon and stars,
    Patience, thou shalt fear.


    For a journey abroad the seven seas,
    Thou comest close to free.
    But tread in Moirai’s den beneath,
    Death shall creep upon thee.


    Tender love hath fragile bonds,
    Frailty in the flesh.
    But ye who desire divinity’s winds,
    Thine actions doth bring maveth.


    Light shall reap thy spirit’s soul,
    But the dark doeth mine.
    For eyes of thee are not whole,
    And thou art not divine.


    If thou thinkest that thee hast won,
    Then thou wilt not survive.
    Though fighting sprites from dusk to dawn,
    Thou touchest not the hive.


    Memories await, dreams dissipate.
    The fire of earth’s demise
    Fills the blanks of Pandora’s fate
    Until new life doth rise.


    Thou findest a key to forbidden fruit
    But a key nonetheless.
    Thy will beseecheth a world to confute
    But thou claimest no sin to confess.


    Blessed is ye who blink verily,
    Believe in that which you see.
    Righteously bleed, all creatures who lead
    An unearthed mystery.

    The unraveling and subsequent destruction of the ancient city underneath Megapolis provides the first concrete clue towards unlocking the mystery of the endermen. With the world’s fourth parkour course completed to illustrate this mystery, join me as we embark on a new chapter of Quintropolis adventures in solving this mythological puzzle!


    Next up… Session 221 – “Red Rocks”

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on best guardian farm design
    Quote from ChewsGrind»

    So, for those of you that have built one of these, preferably in survival, what's the project time required to make one of these nicer ones I've seen in this post?


    Expect to spend a very long time on it. Mine took six months and it was the only project I worked on at the time. Granted, I don't play that often; but even still this is not something that can be done overnight. Aesthetics alone were an additional month.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on What do I do now?

    One approach that has kept my motivation withstanding is to think of your world as the setting for a story that you write. Use your adventuring, building, exploring, and discovering as catalysts in a narrative tailored to your interests and curiosity. In a game that has a marketed linear approach, Minecraft is far from linear. It can offer you creative ideas and a platform for storytelling! I can say with certainty that I probably would not have kept the same world for five years had I not chosen to write a story around it. Today, the story is half the experience for me, whereas the actual playtime comprises only a small percentage of my time devoted to this game.


    Don't get me wrong, this approach may not work for you. But it may give you a fresh perspective and allow you to discover new ideas both within the game and about yourself. I can attest to that.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [Survival journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Mystery of the Endermen (Season 3)

    I’m back with a bang, and ready for a new challenge. Last time I checked in, we’d just begun development of the Starlight Outback. But before tackling the outback’s primary features, I’d first like to explore a puzzle that has intrigued me since the inception of this world – one that has a history dating all the way back to Emerald Hills.


    Session 219 – “Chambers




    How do you determine mystery? Does it relate to your lack of preconceived cognition about a particular topic or understanding? Is it relative to your belief in the power of faith? Perhaps it is an evolutionary response to existence and survival – the dos and don’ts of how to live and why we make the decisions we do.



    In today’s session, I need to exhort a puzzle that has eluded me since the conception of this world. Prior to Stonewall, I had no reason to believe that such a puzzle necessitated context beyond the physical observation. However, Stonewall opened my mind, which is why I think it’s time to confront the realities of Quintropolis instead of run from them.



    When I sought out to construct Starlight Outback, my goal was quite simple; I needed a larger haven. But the space itself was not erected in vain, for I could only do so much with the limitations I imposed upon myself. Very simply, I needed a sector for study.





    On the back side of the mountain that sits in the center of the outback faction, I carve out a cave that descends to a chamber.



    My goal today is to construct a puzzle that mirrors the very puzzle I intend to solve in Quintropolis. By recreating the puzzle in a tangible sense, I’ll be able to tackle the mystery more sensibly. What is this mystery, you ask?



    Long ago, back in Emerald Hills (2013), I laid eyes upon a slender shadowy figure of unequal proportions. From afar, this figure dashed towards me with rage, furious that I would even conjure the consideration of peeking at its features! I tried to escape this figure, but it was much faster than I. It chased me into a cave and I fought for my life as the figure intensified. I did not kill this figure; it fell into an underground spring of water and disappeared forever.



    Upon returning to Starlight Castle, I met another figure of exactly the same species. I was more prepared this time when the beckoning of its voice greeted me from afar. I killed the shadowy figure inside Starlight Castle, feeling as though my nightmare had ended.


    Little did I know, this figure was just one of an entire species of creatures. They are called endermen.


    Endermen are not like the other creatures. They’re curious. They have intelligence. They carry purpose. But what are they all about? What is the purpose that they carry? I find it difficult to accept that these shadowy creatures are just figments of a coincidental creation. There is a deeper story behind them.


    Every time I kill an enderman, I collect a set of pearls that give my superhuman abilities of teleportation. I never thought much of it before, but only now do I acknowledge that this behavior is inhuman. Thus, I conjured a brilliant theory about the existence of these creatures – that they are not of this world.


    But if endermen are not of this world, then how could I go about determining where they came from? That’s the puzzle I am currently trying to solve. It’s one of those dire curiosities that have set in the back of my mind for years while I had other things going on. Only now do I acknowledge the significance of this mystery, what with the Secret of Stonewall having been fulfilled. There is something deeper going on.




    To illustrate my theory about the endermen, I’ll craft a puzzle designed as a parkour course to illuminate what I know so far.




    The puzzle represents a type of maze. Each button performs some different function, but the goal is to find your way through the maze of doors to escape the chambers. In this metaphorical game, the buttons represent theories, while the maze represents the unknown. More specifically, some theories are accurate and some are not; the accurate theories unlock new knowledge about the universe, while the inaccurate theories limit progressive progress.




    Such is the case in this maze. I’ve designed some buttons to act as bogus buttons, while others inflect curious changes in the maze’s architecture. Think of this course as a mirror maze, without the mirrors.




    What better way to show off my nearly-depleted iron supply by using it for the doors? In either case, it’s fitting for the theme of this build.



    For the technically inclined, this course is nothing new as far as redstone concepts are concerned, compared to other projects I’ve engaged throughout this journal. The course runs entirely on RS (NOR) latches, which open/close doors throughout different sections of the maze.




    Above you can see interaction among two buttons and one gate. One button opens the gate, whilst the other closes the gate.





    Some parts of the underground wiring get very complicated very fast. In the future, I could likely benefit from color-coding the redstone lines that I compose.



    Speaking of which, I’d only just realized at the end that I have to make a reset button – that is, a button that resets all of the latches for the next game.




    You can imagine the frustration involved in trying to locate every RS (NOR) latch I’d set up. Not to mention, I have to run a separate redstone line to each one.



    Thankfully, I managed to find all the latches, but certainly this is a learning experience for the future. I need to organize my redstone!



    You see the game and I’m hopeful you understand its simplicity. But maybe you don’t know how it connects to the mythological puzzle I am currently studying.



    Since the dawn of Quintropolis, there existed a small fraction of the human population who carried a dormant gene given by the gods. When unlocked, this gene causes a transformation that elevates one’s humanity to something much more divine. Sounds awesome, right? But it’s not that simple. The gods played with us, testing out the gene on huge proportions of the population to see who was evolutionarily fit to receive this “gift.” Of course, the days of civilization have long passed, but that’s not to say that the “gift” ceases to exist.



    The Secret of Stonewall revealed the first clue that signals the active existence of this gift. When I transcended the limitations of this world and unlocked the four supernatural demons, my mind was opened to the possibility that this gene is far from fantasy. The fact that Starlight HQ now operates with supernatural auras provided by the beacons supports its unequivocally progressive purpose in bending the laws of nature.



    However, the events at Stonewall ignited a second clue. Somehow, the tiny village of Techtown knew about my battle several thousand blocks away. The last time I connected with that measly village was near the beginning of 2014 – four distant years ago. Why all of a sudden are they interested? I have a theory: the endermen.



    I have always been skeptical of their seemingly dormant perpetuations on this world. Perhaps they are not as dormant as I initially expected. What do they want? My theory is illustrated in the maze of chambers.



    I believe that the endermen operate as a sort of hive mind. With each new pair of eyes that connects to the hive, a new door of knowledge is opened. When the full world is within their scope of vision (the world represented by the maze), then they have already conquered the peace that has disguised my lonely existence.



    But, there is a catch. Some of the buttons in the maze close other doors. This is because of how I think the hive mind works. If the hive theory is accurate, then it is not absolute. In other words, the intelligence must be concentrated in a dynamic radius – when one door opens, another door closes. This would explain why it took several years for the village of Techtown to find me.



    Still, so many gaps exist in my theory. For example, if the hive mind were accurate, then why didn’t the gods interfere with my fulfilling of the Secret of Stonewall? On the other hand, only after my Wither battle did endermen begin appearing in the Nether. Certainly those appearances were not random.






    The second part of this puzzle course will illustrate a different aspect of my theory: a setting.






    Can you guess the inspiration after which I am styling this course? I think it may be the final clue of this ancient mythical puzzle.




    With the reveal of why I built the Starlight Outback, the world’s fourth parkour course serves as the final cog in the system that will unfold a mystery that I’ve spent years trying to crack. Now that I’ve illustrated the final clue, I believe we are closer than ever to solving one of the oldest mythological puzzles that has existed in Quintropolis.


    Next up… Session 220 – “Mystery of the Endermen”

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on Updates of a [7 year] old Surival World

    A great entry on delayed satisfaction. I recall the first time I handled a Wither; it was a night of tension! But that's what made it so much fun. Three years I waited in my world for that fight - nothing compared to seven, but still long enough to hold anticipation. It sounds like you enjoyed the event - hopefully you can efficiently reap the benefits of your new superhuman powers!

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [Survival journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Mystery of the Endermen (Season 3)

    The Starlight’s third faction commences development today as we shape the foundations of the outback and discuss its purpose within the base’s current operations.


    Session 218 – “Trailblazer




    The Starlight Outback is the first foundational piece of an evolving puzzle I’ve created that has so far been dubbed as the Tetraquin Project. More specifically, the outback is going to be composed of features that contribute to the development of this project as we progress further throughout this season.




    As you can see from this handy book, the Tetraquin Project is a conglomeration of six distinct projects, but each project can only exist after the previous. Ergo, you could say that this project functions as a chain reaction, with each subsequent build being the next step towards the project's ultimate conclusion. With the villager purifier now built, we can move onto the second build in the Tetraquin Project. And that build will be based in the Starlight Outback.




    First I need to make a note here. I updated to Minecraft 1.12 with this session, and in the process noticed that my little vine trick I spent hours slaving over in the previous session no longer functioned. I was initially a bit frustrated by this (since, you know, I had just gone through hoops to redo all my farms one session ago), but then I thought I might try ladders. Sure enough, those worked.



    My first focus with the outback is the landscaping. After all, I can’t build anything without a proper foundation, so today I made it my goal to get the land looking close to what I envisioned in my head. I’ve brought a variety of items to aid me in this and decorating.



    This little pig is probably one of the only pigs left on Quintropolis Island. He’ll stay.





    Believe it or not, this hole descends to what I think was my third major caving adventure, back in sessions 20-22. I’ll make shrine out of it at some point.




    What you’re seeing above is a photo taken from the furthest boundary north of the outback faction. You can see just how far we are from the Starlight Castle, yet in the near future this entire landmass will be part of one connected base. Isn’t that somewhat crazy?




    I’ve altered some tree bases like this one to better match the scenery. I’m trying my best to keep the existing scenery as much as possible, as my goal is to work around the land and simply refine it. Yet, sometimes the trees still get in the way.





    I’ve used a variety of different trees in decorating the borders of the outback trail. If you recall from session 213, I noted that the trail would be the walkable perimeter of the outback. That’s why I’m paving that first; the foundation is the first step.



    My one annoyance here: birch trees! Those do not signify outback – no, those scream suburbs. Any and all birch trees will be ridden from Starlight HQ’s outback faction!




    Here is a big ass ravine that I fell into, hiding just underneath a piece of land at one corner of the outback. Merry Christmas to me.



    Pictured above is the hill that will house the outback’s main central build (which I’ve not yet revealed).




    The outback plaza will connect the back side of the trail to the mountainside. But I need to flatten the land a bit so I can form the base.




    I’ve started to clear this mountain a bit because it’s too steep. I’ll need to make its climb much more gradual.



    That’s a bit better, though I may refine it more yet.




    I’ve opted to leave the bonemeal and flowers to the edges of the outback trail boundaries, to further distinguish the actual trail from the rest of the outback. That will make it much easier to follow.



    The pathway from the Farmlands to the outback has been better landscaped.




    I hopped into a creative backup to give you a complete aerial view of the outback faction. This should help clarify exactly where it is and its layout. You can clearly the trail I’ve dug out, and how it wraps around the mountainside in the center of the outback. Also take note of its size – it nearly doubles the size of HQ!






    For tidying up, I’ve done my best to remove all instances of trees floating atop single dirt blocks and massive dirt walls. These are physics fails that do not look natural! All other inconsistent terrain was remedied to the best of my ability.




    This small mountain by the coast could use a lot of work.




    That’s a lot better, wouldn’t you say? Alternatively, I may consider obliterating it completely… What do you think of that idea?




    Alas, the final step of the trail is to pave it with podzol. Did you see that one coming? Neither did I actually; this was a last minute decision. Yet, I think it’s fitting and makes sense. Only obvious challenge was going back and forth to Stonewall several times to acquire enough podzol.


    Along the way, I acquired a few of these:







    A visit to Stonewall isn’t complete with a death message.




    Hey, this is a new fortress I haven’t yet discovered… and it yields to me a message from Stonewall it seems.



    This circular arena will be the basis for the outback plaza.



    Perhaps, I considered, the first course of action should be to complete the bridge between the outback faction and the Starlight Castle’s boardwalk. I have hated the way that this back area is designed since forever. That’s a long time!






    I kept things simple: a boardwalk across the top with an appropriate staircase down to the ground. And it’s lit up with sea lanterns.



    The outback plaza is made up of different clay colors and sea lanterns. I started with this design:



    But I didn’t like how incomplete it felt. So I refined the design to this:



    Provided are some aerial shots of the completed landscaping of the outback trail and outback faction up to this point:





    With most of the landscaping complete, we’re ready to commence development on the first major build of the outback. And this build alludes to a growing mystery within the world of Quintropolis – one that I’ve been trying to solve for years. Stay tuned…




    The outback trail has made way for the development of the outback’s primary builds. While many of these builds will provide a welcome change of scenery for Starlight HQ, our first focus is a build not so visible…


    Next up… Session 219 – “Chambers”

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on What are your current goals?

    My goal is broad but fairly straightforward: to create the world that I have imagined in my head. Sounds simple, but it's a testament of how we go about making our dreams a reality (a reference to real life goals as well). After four years running Quintropolis, I'm still committed to making it into what I imagine it could be. It may take four more years or more, but that's the joy of the game; you play at your own pace.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on OhFly's Survival World Diary

    Don't worry too much about posting; after all, you're providing us with entertainment so any update any time is appreciated. Just enjoy yourself. :)

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on Updates of a [7 year] old Surival World

    I want to say that I admire the thought of saving certain experiences like the Wither fight for such special occasions as your 7th anniversary. I myself am still holding out on traveling to the End after 4+ years; what seems like a mundane part of the game to so many is a special treat to others. It's what I like about this game; you get to play at your own pace.


    Agree with you about changes. Even the smallest changes can introduce such a beautiful new perspective and inspire new motivation.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [SSP Vanilla 1.12] - Shiva gives another shot at a world!

    Ocean monument is a worthwhile goal - I was too afraid to get near one of those until about day 2100 when I finally got over myself. Now I have raided three of them - each with slightly more confidence than the last.


    I am liking the idea of building with the land; it accentuates the enamoring beauty of nature's non-disastrous wonders.

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

    In Minecraft 1.11.2 (haven't yet updated to 1.12), I redesigned all of my XP farms to bypass the mob cramming entity rule put in place such that I can now resume cramming unbounded quantities of mobs. This is possible due to a vine trick that is used in conjunction with slime blocks, completely vanilla without use of commands or other cheats.


    Old skeleton farm:





    New skeleton farm:







    Old Blaze Blaster:





    New Blaze Blaster:







    Cave spider farm proved unsuccessful with this trick, so I instead utilized their climbing behavior to collect them in two spots, potentially holding 50+ cave spiders with the cramming rule in place. The crusher extends all three blocks in the chamber.



    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on How to automate this farm ? :D

    Ingenious design! I have only recently began exploring observer blocks, and I'm learning that they can be used to automate more systems like sugar cane farms. I also quite like them because they reduce lag over traditional redstone due to utilizing block updates.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [Survival journal] Legends of Quintropolis: Mystery of the Endermen (Season 3)

    In one of this journal’s largest sessions yet, a massive three-part update is made to Starlight HQ’s major mob farms as we confront the rules presented to us by the Quintropolis gods. If we’re allowed to break them, should we? That’s the question we will attempt to answer in today’s eventful session


    Disclaimer: If you haven’t already, venture through Sessions 129, 131, 160, 161, and 197 to fully absorb the events of this session. Those sessions are the entire collective precursor to this session.


    Introducing Starlight HQ 2.1

    Session 217 – “Playing by the Rules




    I was thinking about the small carrot farm I built last session, and considered that perhaps I haven’t given cocoa beans enough love.






    Truly, they’re only workable in our multi-crop farm, but even that is slow because it doesn’t actually break the cocoa beans. Hence, I thought it best to dive in and build a new farm, specifically for our precious imported cocoa.




    Outside this miniature project, my focus today was on troubleshooting one of Starlight HQ’s last major impediments that has effectively rendered all of its XP farms useless. The Quintropolis gods have presumably gotten back at me for what I did at Stonewall, so now they have placed a new rule on my world that prevents me from clustering more than 24 mobs together in a single space! This means that while my farms still work, I cannot really farm them in the same manner as I did before. So we have two options.


    I know that I can technically break the rules, but doing so means that I will sacrifice all that I’ve worked hard to achieve in this world – a journey of discovery through the constructs put about me by the gods. They’ve designed Quintropolis such that I can break the rules of nature only that it comes with the consequence of being unable to go back. In other words, if I break the mob cramming rule by way of commands, then I prove that I am incapable of surviving in a world that doesn’t align with my convenient standards. You see, if I break the rules, then how am I truly achieving anything at all? Rules are put in place to challenge us, I think, and so I’d thank the gods for attempting to slow my momentum in Starlight HQ by breaking all of my farms.


    That leaves only one other option, which is to work around the laws of nature as have been bestowed upon us to fix our farms and make the most of this situation. That’s the kind of challenge that I admire, and in truth I find these challenges help us understand more about ourselves and the world in general. After all, without challenges, then we do not develop. Since my goal is ultimately to reach the gods, then I must do so humbly and with honor. To do so means to challenge myself – to subject myself to a world in which I am not the one in control, doing whatever I have to do within the constructs of that world to take control of it. That’s the true spirit of the challenge. What exactly would I gain by breaking the rules? Sure, I might gander at the convenience it would bring about Quintropolis’ mob farms, but that’s no different than altering the AI of the mobs with other commands such that they would never hurt me. It changes the laws of nature.


    In real life, if I can’t change the speed of sound and I know that, then why waste time pondering over what it would be like if I could? Why dream of not having to eat or drink when that is not the world we live in? These questions are equally applicable to the current predicament in front of us. In this world, we can no longer cram more than 24 mobs into one space. The difference between this world and the real world is that we do have the ability to change the speed of sound or perhaps make it so that we don’t have to eat and drink. The problem is that by choosing to enact these changes, we break the authenticity of the world. And we can no longer call it a survival world either. It’s especially when we don’t like the rules that we are challenged to step up and confront them. When we choose instead to break them, we express weak desires. We show that we are unwilling to accept the challenge because it conflicts with what we’ve adapted to. We pretend that the rules threaten our style of play when what they really do is challenge it. It all comes down to change – a basic natural rule that still scares so many. You cannot alter the essence of change. Because you know you can’t, you have two options. Hide from it, or embrace it. If you hide, then you’ve accepted your weaknesses more than your strengths. But if you embrace it, you use your strengths to battle the change and make it your own.


    So, let’s play by the rules.


    I’ll divide this process into three segments, because each was a unique session in and of itself:


    Skeleton farm



    Some of the less astute might be wondering why we are redoing these XP farms. Allow me to first demonstrate why they are broken, starting with the skeleton farm as that will probably be the easiest of the three renovations.



    In the game, you can now only cram a maximum of 24 mobs into a single air space before they start suffocating. What this means is that XP farms, while not necessarily broken functionally, lost their effectiveness since you can’t collect masses of mobs. Now, in a sense this is a good thing because it promotes more proactivity. And in many ways it already has, what with this limitation being the motivation for this session. But since I am looking to acquire resources on a large scale for the Tetraquin Project, I’ll locate any method I can within the constructs of the rules to reinvent my farms such that I can bypass the rule by means of other rules.



    In the game, there is a certain property of vines that prevents them from considering mobs as being crammed into a single space. I presume this must do with the fact that mobs on vines are technically suspended over an air block, not a solid block, and as such they are not counted. Whether this is a bug remains to be foreseen, but as for right now this property is absolutely what I’ve been looking for as it will allow me to cram mobs together once again.


    There is a caveat to this property, however. It cannot work unless mobs are forced into the air space. In other words, by simply having mobs walk or drop into a space filled with vines, you’ll still have the problem of mob cramming. I tested this on cave spiders which, as you’ll later see, are far more exempt from this property.





    Using slime blocks, I can “pull” the mobs from one collecting chamber into the collecting chamber where the vines are. This forces them into the space which meets the criteria of bypassing mob cramming.




    There are several ways that we could accomplish this, but I quite like docm’s approach using observer blocks, for two reasons. 1) I’ve never used observer blocks before, so it would be an opportunity to try something a bit different, and 2) using observer blocks results in less lag, which as you may know is something I am very much in favor of.


    I learned a bit about observer blocks during this session, so I’d like to share that with you. For those of you unfamiliar with this unique block, it essentially acts as a BUD switch in the sense that it will send a redstone signal as an output if it detects a block update on its input. The block update must occur on the block adjacent to its input side, and the redstone signal will only be sent on its output side. Let me show you which side is which:



    Placing the block and breaking the block both count as block updates to the input side of the observer. Thus, a quick redstone pulse is sent through the block to the output. You’ll also notice that it’s a full 15-power signal.




    Utilizing this behavior, we’ll create a small clock that relies on block updates instead of redstone, which is where the reduced lag comes into play.





    Powering rails counts as a block update, much in the same way as a piece of sugar cane growing upwards counts as a block update (which is a behavior we utilize in our six-tier sugar cane farm). Anything you do to the block counts as a block update. Well, almost anything – I haven’t personally tested every possible mechanic, but rails are a good option.


    In the above setup, a set of two powered rails sends a pulse up the left side of observers to a repeater which powers the piston. Since I have the repeater set on two-ticks, the piston has just enough time to pull the slime blocks and subsequent mobs before extending outward again. Simultaneously, the redstone signal outputted by the left side of observers will activate a second powered rail atop the right side of observers. What does this do? The powering of the rail will send a pulse down the right side of observers. I’ll place a block at the bottom of this tower so that it will power our first set of rails pictured, restarting the clock.



    The clock runs all the time without having some way to counteract the block updates. So to do this, we’ll need to keep our first set of rails powered so that there is no block update while the system is inactive.



    Skeletons will first land on the pressure plate. This sends an input to the comparator, which will subsequently deactivate the rail (a block update) and power the clock. When the skeleton is pulled into the second collecting chamber with the vines, the pressure plate will be released and the system will restart.


    The astute among you might notice also that I have the comparator in subtract mode. What this means is that the comparator will only output signal strength equal to the difference of the side signal strength subtracted from the input signal strength. In this setup, I have a redstone block powering the comparator’s side input with strength of 14. Since the pressure plate will send full 15-block signal strength, the comparator will subtract the values, resulting in just one signal strength. This is ideal because we only have the comparator running into a single block, so to reduce lag we’ll keep from overpowering our comparator (this is also why I’ve chosen a comparator outside a repeater).



    For this next bit, we’re enabling our farm to have two functions: as an XP farm and as a drop collecting farm. This genius idea by docm enables us to actually utilize the mob cramming rule by literally cramming 24 entities (minecarts in this case, one of them being a hopper minecart to collect the drops) into one space. This will kill any skeletons that fall in, resulting in a farm that is completely automated. So we could say that by working within our new limitations, we’ve in fact improved this farm by expanding its functionality.




    A few more blocks including a trapdoor were added here for extra precautions.



    It’s working!




    To improve rates, I’m going to reduce the level of the farm by one block. Sometimes, skeletons will get stuck in the water on the actual spawner, so to combat that I am lowering the farm. Also I’m removing the windows; they affect the rates.



    A sign of relief fills me as I see that my hard work has paid off.



    And then this **** happens.



    How many can we cram??



    I miss these days. You know, I haven’t enchanted anything in a very long time. This is a nice prize to come back to. What’s missing? Oh yeah, Mending.




    We’ll have to redesign this part a bit. I’ve opted to swap the junk armory with the principal bones/arrows storage, which means that I have to move all the chests around.




    That’s a little more pleasing to the eye, wouldn’t you say?




    The next part of this farm was in creating what was just itching at me: an automatic sorting unit for the farm. Since I’ve swapped the storage units, the only next step here was to automate the sorting and storing. This proved to be a genuine pain in the ass.



    First was the clock. We needed to move the items upward since the storage cellar was too high, so we’d need a clock that would propel the items in. This first design was clunky, so I went with something far more compact and fast:




    ^ Oh yeah, I suppose I can remove all of this old clunky redstone. Remember the days when we all used repeater-based timers? I do. But now I can have all of the repeaters back.




    Packed ice is the basis for this sorter, since we need to move the items around quite a distance and I want to use as few hoppers as possible.



    Once the items have ascended the glass item elevator, they will traverse the packed ice pipe around the storage room.




    This next part took several attempts and I ended up redoing it many times. I needed the first hopper to be an item sorting hopper that would only allow certain blocks through, but I wasn’t high enough above the room to create the traditional design.




    Hoppers are added along the ice trail. I’ve structured the storage such that each column of chests is of alternating items. So, the first column is for bones, the second for arrows, the third for bones, and so on.



    ^ This was a new issue. Apparently the items were getting stuck in the hopper and couldn’t make it to the rest of the pipe. The pictured hopper is for bones only; all other items should be making their way around.



    I redid the pipe to feature the hoppers alongside the ice as opposed to in its way.



    This tower of hoppers was tricky, because it’s wedged in-between the two storage rooms. Some of the items therefore were going into the chests behind the hoppers.




    I figured that I could use cobblestone walls to keep the items from getting stuck. Also I have the ice path running along the inside ring of the hopper (as opposed to outside them). This means that the momentum from the items will propel them towards the hoppers, not away from them.



    …But that didn’t work. The items didn’t enter the hoppers. For my third or fourth attempt, I was reminded of what I did at the guardian farm, and it was literally the same setup I had in my first design: having the hoppers run along the ice track.



    The momentum from the rest of the track will always keep the items on the sides of the hoppers, meaning that they won’t ever get stuck. But this first hopper needed some help, so I added another water channel to further push the items to the side.




    I moved the toggle for the lights down here to the new collecting area. It sits comfortably above the stairwell into the storage chamber, next to a button…





    A potion dispenser! This would hold potions of healing and could be used to damage the skeletons. I have to keep it powered by default, because it sits right underneath the pressure plate we’re using for the skeletons. If it were not powered, then the pressure plate would allow the dispenser to throw out potions every time a new skeleton landed in the system. To circumvent that, I’ll have one pulse from the button deactivate the dispenser, so that it will throw out a potion upon activating again. But I had to move the hoppers around since my redstone torch conflicted with them.



    Moving a few things around, I covered the back side nicely and added a chest for potions of healing. Perhaps in the future, we’ll automate this to connect back to our potion storage room here at the hub.




    And alas, our new skeleton XP farm is complete!



    Cave spider farm




    The next farm was very tricky, because now we’re dealing with a mob that fits in half a block of space.




    Clearing out the old redstone, I was determined to find a way to make our same vine/slime block mechanism work for this farm.




    Since our spiders were less than a block tall, we could only pull them from the bottom level of the collecting chamber, meaning that a pressure plate would not work.



    So I thought I might try using a tripwire.



    I’d like to also install a system for poisoning the spiders similar to what we did in the skeleton farm.



    This vine-infested block space is where the spiders will collect and hopefully bypass the mob cramming rule.



    A sign is added here to discourage the spiders from clogging the top of the chamber.


    Now for a test run!



    It looks to be working!




    I’ve cleared out an area here from the skeleton junk armory, so that we can access the spider farm more easily.



    Here is a bird’s eye view of what the initial collecting chamber looks like.



    Hmm, the spiders are clogging this system. What initially started looking like a success is now starting to downgrade in quality.



    And it’s looking worse. So I’ve added an iron gate here to at least access the spiders if need be. Clearly, as you can see by my health bar, that has had adverse effects.



    Ultimately, it didn’t work out. Apparently, the vine trick does not work on cave spiders, presumably because they can already climb blocks so vines do not introduce unique properties to them. What this meant was that my new farm here was less efficient than the old one, because at least the old one accounted for both the top and bottom blocks (meaning it could collect and hold potentially 50 cave spiders with the new game rule).


    Looks like the gods won this battle for now.




    I’ve returned the farm back to its original design, outside of the crusher which I’ve updated to a more modern hopper-based timer.


    We’ll return to this project at a later date.



    Blaze Blaster



    What was already a headache of a session didn’t even come close to what I experienced trying to redo the infamous Blaze Blaster which was up to this point the most efficient farm in Quintropolis and my primary means of attaining mass amounts of XP. Let’s see if we can keep that title with the game’s new limitations.



    Actually, the Blaze Blaster has two main problems. Not only are we limited to cramming 24 blaze in the collection chamber, but they will no longer be picked up by the minecart block brakes system! I would say this is related to the change in how mobs interact with each other in space, and unfortunately it means that our entire farm is broken.


    The solution? Well, initially I thought of simply adding another layer to our cone and copying the vine/slime block mechanism we added in the skeleton farm. But that’s not the spirit of the challenge! The challenge here is to maintain the Blaze Blaster as the most efficient farm in this world. I’ve put so much into it already across Season 2, but now it looks like we’ll need a completed remodel once more to bring it back up to speed.



    I love the way this farm is designed, what with the collecting chamber descending through the center of the room in front of the farm. I wanted to stick to that collecting chamber as much as possible.




    First, I deactivated the spawner… with some trial and error.




    I removed the entire cone system because it was no longer efficient for what we were trying to do. Since I needed to move the blaze up to the same spot we had them before (to keep our automatic crusher and collection chamber usable), I had to find a new way to move the blaze that was far more efficient than our old cone-collecting system.



    This also meant the entire block brakes system was obliterated. So much for all that work.



    Here’s a new design, which will be covered with minecarts. This design will be far more efficient because there will no longer be blaze waiting to be collected by minecart (which was the main efficiency problem with the old farm). This way, all blaze will fall directly onto minecart tracks.



    The farm was also expanded one block north and one block west, since apparently I wasn’t taking advantage of the full spawning spaces for blaze in the old farm.



    The principal design of this farm is a concept by Okta, so I won’t get too detailed as to how it works since you can research his design and find the same thing.



    Remnants of a broken system…



    These minecarts are sitting atop activator rails, which are special rails that today will serve the purpose of ejecting the blaze.



    Above, you can see what happens behind the rails. All the air blocks between the pistons are the activator rails from the spawning room. All air blocks in front of the pistons are the holding cells that the blaze are ejected into. It’s important to note that these blocks have to have sufficient air blocks above them or the blaze will not eject properly. I learned that the long way last year.



    The main minecart track will then pick up the blaze after activating the array of pistons (which will push the blaze out onto the track), taking them up to our collecting chamber.



    I’ve used a simple redstone line here to avoid problems with pistons not retracting.



    This exact same setup was installed on the opposite side as well. Both tracks lead to the same collecting chamber.



    Here’s a bird’s eye view of the collecting chamber. The block I’m standing on and all other adjacent blocks will be filled in, but the collection chamber needs sufficient air for blaze to eject properly.



    Meet our first test subject.



    Ah, this gate here is the next problem. Now that we have two lines running to the collection system, we have to install a mechanism that will only unlock the trapdoor when BOTH minecarts have passed through. In other words, if the trapdoor is open then the blaze will not eject into the collection chamber, which will clog up the minecart track. So we have to keep it closed until both carts have ejected their blaze.




    This involved a lot of trial and error, but I’ll skip most of that because this session is already a headache to write.



    First of all, I forgot that I need to shift the entire collection unit over one block. This is because we’ll also be installing the vine/slime block system that will pull the blaze over one block (centering them).




    Instead of moving all the redstone for our automatic crusher, I simply added an extension for the pistons.



    Additionally, I had to alter the timing such that it wouldn’t reduce the blaze to a one-hit kill. This is because the blaze will already take some damage ejecting from the minecarts and being pulled from the slime blocks. So, I removed one comparator to compensate and keep them from dying.



    Second task was the machine that aligned with our goal for the trapdoor. I installed two RS (NOR) latches, one on each of the two tracks, that only reset when both are activated. Simultaneously, each retracts a piston which will allow a redstone signal to pass through once both are retracted.



    The locked repeaters are in place to prevent unwanted triggering of the trapdoor multiple times.



    Here you can see what I meant earlier about shifting the collecting unit. Now we have to install the same vine/slime block mechanism that we used in the skeleton farm. I hope for my sanity’s sake that this works.




    The observer setup was built horizontally this time to preserve space.




    Oops…



    Final change was adding slabs around the backstage area to prevent pigmen from spawning and clogging the system.


    With the principal set up finished, it’s time to unlock the farm and give it a test run. This is going to be a hell of a party because I have no idea if anything we built will work in this version of the game.





    Oh shi- forgot to close that.




    Hell yeah!



    While I was checking in on the back area to see how everything was working, a blaze saw me and aggravated every other blaze in the farm. This presented a new problem, which was how we would combat the blaze effectively breaking the farm.


    The solution was a potion of invisibility. It’s not convenient but it’s practical.




    All hell broke loose in the back, but at least the invisibility worked in the spawning room.



    I died twice while working on this thing, and lost two sets of highly-enchanted tools and building blocks to lava. The whole invisibility thing isn’t something I want to rely on, so I’m going to be very careful as I complete this farm so as to not aggravate the blaze. The good news is that I won’t have to worry about that once the farm is complete because the only manual intervention required of me will be to kill the blaze with a potion.



    Aesthetics was the next thing, and this took a bit of time to sort out. A window was added on the low level here so that I could see the inside of the farm.




    I’ve reworked the roof and walls a bit here, making for a decent aesthetic makeover.



    One persistent bug of the farm was the trapdoor, which I anticipated. Every now and then, blaze would eject one side while the trapdoor was open from the other side, clogging up the track and requiring me to manually intervene. This will have to be patched later because I have no idea how to fix that.



    Aside from that, the Blaze Blaster surprised me by once again becoming the fastest and most efficient farm in Quintropolis. Is this what success feels like? I think it is!


    And so, the Quintropolis gods tried to slow me down by breaking all of my farms, but I’ve proven that even the new rules are not enough to inhibit my motivation. I have challenged myself to following the rules, and while the process was rocky, I take comfort in knowing that I have successfully solved a lingering puzzle in Starlight HQ, completely in concordance with the rules of the gods. They would be wise not to doubt my creativity! In awaiting their next move, I now have to think several moves ahead. Life after all is a chess game. You can lean on one option, but you must be able to see the potential consequences of all options. That’s what I’m trying to do now, as Starlight HQ becomes ready for the next stage of development: the outback faction.







    On another note, we reached (and far exceeded) day 4,000 in Quintropolis in this session!



    In this massive session, we tackled a huge puzzle successfully while engaging in a relevant discussion regarding the decision to play by the rules. I lost quite a lot in this process, however I have gained something in return that will benefit Quintropolis in the long run. In that, we’ve prepared Starlight HQ for further development by making necessary improvements to bring the base back up to speed, completing a development cycle that will be dubbed Starlight HQ 2.1 (there will be no download for this update at this time). With this accomplished, Starlight HQ is now up to date and therefore the outback faction is ready to come to life.


    Next up… Session 218 – “Trailblazer”

    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 1

    posted a message on What have you done recently?
    Quote from Sharpe103»

    Congratulations! Very cool! I wish I had kept track of my MC days. Didn't know about them until recently when Mr. N Derman told me where to check.

    I'm at 4,817 in my vanilla hard-mode SSP world began July 2, 2014. What's the date you began yours? If you're not sure, it's the "date modified" of your level.dat_mcr file in your MC directory in Windows.

    I've taken at least six months off every year. Last time was eight months. So, you either take more or longer breaks than I, or you don't play very much each day, which I'm sure is a good thing. ;)

    Is your world unmodified?

    Do you have a download link?

    Little bit of both, I'd say. For example, I only just got back into my world after a four-month hiatus - one of many. In my signature is my journal which answers all of your questions (paced slowly because it's true that I don't play often every day). It is vanilla survival, started just a year prior to yours, on June 12, 2013. There is a download featured in the first post on my journal page (choose Quintropolis v2.0.1 under "Season 2" heading for the latest version from November 2016).

    For a while, I tried to take screenshots every 100 MC days. But after day 3,300 I stopped keeping tabs after season 3 started. I like the concept though; it gives a sense of what my in-world age might be. :)
    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 1

    posted a message on What have you done recently?

    Yesterday, September 5, 2017, I reached a notable milestone in my survival world... MC day 4,000! That's across what is now 4+ years of survival (so I guess, 1,000 MC days per year). Day 3,000 was reached on May 28, 2016, so this is quite the leap in time. I look forward to another worthwhile 1,000 days in this world.


    Posted in: Survival Mode
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