ScratchMC – make the drone visible

This post is a follow up of the post about Using Scratch with Minecraft.

Playing with Scratch commands to build various things in Minecraft, I “lost” the drone many times when going from one function to another, making it difficult to know the exact position of where the new building will start. I also wanted to be able to follow the progress of each building in Minecraft client without being forced to move the mouse to the expected position of the drone.

To follow the drone I created the turn function (based on teleport) that makes the player look to the desired direction – either to a specific point or to  the drone. I also wanted to make the drone visible. First try was done in Scratch.

The Show drone function makes the block at drone’s position flash 3 times by replacing it with a skeleton skull that has the same orientation as the drone.

The visual effect is quite nice, but it can make undesired changes. In the video you can see how temporarily replacing a dirt block removes the grass on it. The result will be worse when changing a chest: its contents would be lost. The effect is also visible only when the block at the drone position is visible itself to the player.

So I decided to create an entity at drone’s position that can be seen thru opaque blocks. The easiest way was to apply glowing potion effect to this “ghost” (which in fact is an armor stand). The potion effect has the advantage to disappear after the specified amount of time, so there is no need to remove it explicitly in code after a while.

To show how it works I created a Scratch project with a basic pixel editor for 8×8 or 16×16 images that can be then created in Minecraft using one of the colored materials (wool, glass or hardened clay).

The drone movement is easy to follow and usually is synced with building operations for small cuboids, although in this video the server lags at the beginning (because I have on the same machine the MC server + client, Scratch and QTime for video capture). When using instructions to build bigger cuboids or more complex structure it would be a good idea to insert delays between them (using Scratch wait block).

The next step would be to make the ghost change the orientation when using drone turn command, but I wasn’t yet able to set the rotation of the armor stand, so I’m still searching for a solution.

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Using Scratch with Minecraft & Scriptcraft – step by step instructions

As described in my previous posts, I found  Scriptcraft, the Minecraft plugin created by Walter Higgins, to be a very powerful tool for Minecraft modding and also for learning Javascript. I use it myself to learn and also for teaching kids to code as they can see immediately the result of the issued commands. One of the features I love is that it implements a drone, described as “an (invisible) object you create every time you execute any of the building or movement functions”, that is very similar to the turtle from other languages.

While kids aged 10 or more can understand how it works and can learn how to create their own functions, younger ones can be overwhelmed by the syntax rules and the need to create the files or to link additional modules.

I’m teaching coding to some 8 years old kids who are pretty good with Scratch and love playing Minecraft so I searched for a solution to make these apps work together. The first configuration, described in Using Scratch & Scriptcraft (& more) to teach kids programming in Minecraft was very complex, using Scratch offline with experimental extensions, Node RED, mosquitto mqtt broker and Spigot Minecraft server with Scriptcraft with mqtt plugin. It was based  on Dave Locke’s idea for sending commands from Scratch as MQTT messages, presented in  Visual programming and integration with Scratch, Node-Red and MQTT.

Recently I found a simple solution to receive http commands and to pass them to Minecraft server, based on Node.js,  presented by Kevin Whinnery   in Child Processes, Streams, and Minecraft Server Management via Text Message using Node.js. This configuration only needs Node.js to link Scratch with Minecraft, where the commands are interpreted and executed by Scriptcraft.

I will try to present here more in detail all what is needed (you can skip any of the sections below if you already installed the related application):

On the server side:

Spigot MC server

You have to download BuildTools.jar from https://hub.spigotmc.org/jenkins/job/BuildTools/ and the to follow the instructions from https://www.spigotmc.org/wiki/buildtools/. Basically you have to run this command (not to double click on the downloaded file)

java -jar BuildTools.jar

and after a while you will find in the same folder craftbukkit-1.xx.jar and spigot-1.xx.jar. When writing this, latest version is 1.10, so I used the file spigot-1.10.jar.

The next steps are described at https://www.spigotmc.org/wiki/spigot-installation/. Follow them and make sure the server works.

Scriptcraft

Download scriptcraft.jar from http://scriptcraftjs.org/download/latest/ and copy it in the Minecraft server \plugins subfolder.
Restart the server and you will see something similiar to this in the output console:
[14:04:25 INFO]: [scriptcraft] Enabling scriptcraft v3.2.0-2016-03-19

Scriptcraft will create its own folder structure under the Minecraft server main folder.

Node.js

Download the pre-built installer for your OS from https://nodejs.org/en/download/, launch it and follow the on-screen instructions.

On the client side

Scratch 2.0 offline

Download it from https://scratch.mit.edu/scratch2download/  (start by installing Adobe Air if it isn’t already installed on your computer)

Minecraft client

Install the PC/Mac version from https://minecraft.net/en/download/. You must have a paid account in order to use it.

Making it all work together

Update: you can find the most recent version of the files below (mc.js, scratch.js and MCextension.json) at https://github.com/mpatrascu/ScratchMC/

Following the installation instructions for MC server you should have created a script or a batch file (depending on the OS) containing a line similar to this (I didn’t use the other parameters):

java -Xms512M -Xmx1G -jar spigot.jar

Instead of using this script to launch the server, you must create a mc.js file in the same folder, where you copy the following text (taking care to keep your previous parameters for spawning the new java process):

 

// Require Node.js standard library function to spawn a child process
var spawn = require('child_process').spawn;

// Create a child process for the Minecraft server using the same java process
// invocation we used manually before
var minecraftServerProcess = spawn('java', [
    '-Xmx1G',
    '-Xms512M',
    '-jar',
    'spigot.jar'] );

// Listen for events coming from the minecraft server process - in this case,
// just log out messages coming from the server
function log(data) {
    process.stdout.write(data.toString());
}
minecraftServerProcess.stdout.on('data', log);
minecraftServerProcess.stderr.on('data', log);


var http = require("http");

scratchResponse=[];  //stores the IP and current block values in MC for each Scratch client: 

http.createServer(function(request, response) { //communicates with Scratch extension on port 8088
var ip = request.connection.remoteAddress.slice(7);

if (request.url!="/poll"){ //commands from Scratch - URL format is /command/first_param/second_param/../last_param/
    
    var command=request.url.toString().slice(1);
    minecraftServerProcess.stdin.write('js scratch("' + command + '","' + ip + '")' + '\n');
    response.end();
    
    if (request.url=="/reset_all"){ //end of Scratch session        
        position=-1;
        for(i=0;i<scratchResponse.length; i++){             if (scratchResponse[i].ip==ip){                 position=i;                                 }             }         if (position>-1) scratchResponse.splice(position,1);
        console.log('Scratch client on IP: ' + ip + ' disconnected. Remaining ' + scratchResponse.length + ' connections.');
        }    
  }
else{ //polling by Scratch
    bltype = -1;
    bldata = -1;
    result = -1;
    
    for(i=0;i<scratchResponse.length; i++){
        if (scratchResponse[i].ip==ip){
            bltype=scratchResponse[i].bltype;
            bldata=scratchResponse[i].bldata;
            result=scratchResponse[i].result;
        }
    }

    response.write("blockType " + bltype + "\nblockData "+bldata + "\nresult " + result);
    response.end();

    }
}).listen(8088);

http.createServer(function(request, response) {  //receives updates from Minecraft server on port 8089 - URL format is /blockType/blockData/IP/
params=request.url.toString().slice(1).split("/");
console.log("update information received: " + request.url.toString().slice(1));
ip=params[3];

found=0;
for (i=0; i < scratchResponse.length;i++){
    if(scratchResponse[i].ip==ip){
        scratchResponse[i].bltype=params[0];
        scratchResponse[i].bldata=params[1];
        scratchResponse[i].result=params[2];
        found=1;
    }
}
if (!found)
    scratchResponse.push({bltype:params[0], bldata: params[1], result: params[2], ip:params[3]});

response.write('ip'+(found?' found':' added to list'));
response.end();

}).listen(8089);
You invoke this file by typing
>node mc.js
It will launch Minecraft server as a child process and will listen to ports 8088 and 8089. On port 8088 it receives commands and poll requests from Scratch and on port 8089 it receives information from MC server – current block values and result of some operations. You can leave the ports unchanged, or you can choose other values, but you will need to also update the following two files.
In the Scriptcraft plugins folder you have to copy the file scratch.js which interprets commands passed by the Node.js script.
var Drone = require('/drone/drone').Drone
var foreach = require('utils').foreach

var JavaString = java.lang.String;
var http = require('http');
var utils = require('utils');

var scratchReturnAddress = 'http://127.0.0.1:8089/';
    
scratchClients=[]

function scratch(command,ip){
    var players = utils.players();    
    var cmd=command.split("/");
    var index=-1;    
    var drona='';

    for(i=0;i<scratchClients.length;i++){
        if (scratchClients[i].ip==ip){
            console.log("target player: "+scratchClients[i].playerName);
            index=i;
            drona=scratchClients[i].drone;
            targetPlayer=scratchClients[i].targetPlayer;
            }
        }
    
    if(cmd[0]=='connect'){
            console.log('trying to connect to player ' + cmd[1]);
            playerName=cmd[1];
            for (pl in players){  //use server.getPlayer(playerName)
                if (players[pl].name.toLowerCase()==playerName.toLowerCase()){
                    targetPlayer=players[pl];
                    drona=new Drone (targetPlayer.location);
                    if (index==-1){ //new player
                        scratchClients.push({playerName:playerName, targetPlayer:targetPlayer,drone:drona, ip:ip});
                        index=scratchClients.length-1;
                        echo(targetPlayer, "Connected to Scratch client on IP "+ip);
                        }
                    else { //update existing player
                        scratchClients[index].playerName=playerName;
                        scratchClients[index].targetPlayer=targetPlayer;
                        scratchClients[index].drone=drona;
                        }
                    }
                }   
            if (index==-1) { //use of other command before connecting to any player
                console.log('Player not found');
                scratchReturn(-1, -1, 'player_not_found', ip); 
                return
                }    
            else { //return to Scratch current block
                bl=drona.getBlock();
                scratchReturn(bl.typeId, bl.data, 'connected', ip); //updates values for current block to be read by Scratch     
                }
            }                
        
    if (index==-1) { //use of other command before connecting to any player
        console.log('No target player defined');
        scratchReturn(-1, -1, 'no_target_player', ip); 
        return
        }
    console.log("command received -" + cmd[0]+";");
    switch(cmd[0]){        
         case 'boxCommand':   
         case 'box':    
                 if(cmd[1]==64){
                    drona.door(cmd[1]);
                        }
                else
                    drona.box(''+cmd[1]+':'+parseInt(cmd[2]),parseInt(cmd[3]),parseInt(cmd[4]),parseInt(cmd[5]));                
            break;
        case 'box0':
        case 'box0Command':               
                drona.box0(''+cmd[1]+':'+parseInt(cmd[2]),parseInt(cmd[3]),parseInt(cmd[4]),parseInt(cmd[5]));              
            break;
            
        case 'cylinder':
                drona.cylinder(''+cmd[1]+':'+parseInt(cmd[2]),parseInt(cmd[3]),parseInt(cmd[4]));              
            break;    
        case 'cylinder0':
                drona.cylinder0(''+cmd[1]+':'+parseInt(cmd[2]),parseInt(cmd[3]),parseInt(cmd[4]));              
            break;                
            
        case 'prism':
                drona.prism(''+cmd[1]+':'+parseInt(cmd[2]),parseInt(cmd[3]),parseInt(cmd[4]));              
            break;    
        case 'prism':
                drona.prism(''+cmd[1]+':'+parseInt(cmd[2]),parseInt(cmd[3]),parseInt(cmd[4]));              
            break;            
                    
        case 'rainbow':
                drona.rainbow(parseInt(cmd[1]));              
            break;    
            
        case 'bed':
                drona.bed();              
            break;
        
        case 'torch':
                drona.hangtorch();              
            break;

        case 'stairs':
                drona.stairs(''+cmd[1]+':'+parseInt(cmd[2]),parseInt(cmd[3]),parseInt(cmd[4]));              
            break;            

        case 'wallsign':
            textArray=[];
            for (i=1; i<5; i++)
                textArray.push(cmd[i]);
            drona.wallsign(textArray);              
            break;    
            
        case 'summon':   //summons mobs using Scriptcraft predefined drone's summon method
            console.log("summon "+cmd[1]);
            drona.spawn(cmd[1]) ;           
            break ;
            
            
        case 'moveDrone':
            console.log("before moveDrone: " + parseInt(10*drona.x)/10 + ":" + parseInt(10*drona.y)/10 + ":" + parseInt(10*drona.z)/10);
            switch(cmd[1]){    
                case 'reset':
                    drona=new Drone (targetPlayer.location);
                    scratchClients[index].drone=drona;               
                    break;
                case 'up':
                    drona.up(parseInt(cmd[2]));                    
                    break;
                case 'down':
                    drona.down(parseInt(cmd[2])); 
                    break;
                case 'left':
                    drona.left(parseInt(cmd[2])); 
                    break;
                case 'right':
                    drona.right(parseInt(cmd[2])); 
                    break;
                case 'fwd':
                    drona.fwd(parseInt(cmd[2])); 
                    break;
                case 'back':
                    drona.back(parseInt(cmd[2])); 
                    break;
                case 'turn':
                    drona.turn(parseInt(cmd[2])); 
                    break;
                case 'save_chkpt':
                    drona.chkpt(parseInt(cmd[2])); 
                    break;
                case 'goto_chkpt':
                    drona.move(parseInt(cmd[2])); 
                    break;
                }
            //console.log("after moveDrone: " + parseInt(100*drona.x)/100 + ":" + parseInt(100*drona.y)/100 + ":" + parseInt(100*drona.z)/100);            
        bl=drona.getBlock();
        scratchReturn(bl.typeId, bl.data, 'ok', ip); //updates values for current block to be read by Scratch
        break;
    }   
};



function scratchReturn(bltype, bldata, result, ip){ //updates values for current block to be read by Scratch
    var http = require('http');
    http.request( scratchReturnAddress + bltype + '/' + bldata + '/' + result + '/' +ip,function(responseCode, responseBody){console.log(  responseBody );});
}

exports.scratch=scratch
It keeps track of IPs for each client so you can have multiple connections from different computers. You can leave 127.0.0.1 for scratchReturnAddress as the processes run on the same machine, and the port must be the same as the second one from mc.js (8089).
On the client you will have to use MCextension.json file for Scratch. The port must be the same as the first port defined in mc.js (8088), but you need to update the IP address to match the server’s address if you are using a separate computer. You should also update the default player, replacing playerName with the one you will use most frequently.
{
   "extensionName": "Minecraft",
   "extensionPort": 8088,
   "host":"127.0.0.1",
   "useHTTP": true, 
   "blockSpecs": [
     [" ", "Connect User %s", "connect","playerName"],
     [" ", "box blType:%n blData:%n width:%n height:%n depth:%n", "boxCommand", 1, 0, 1, 1, 1],
     [" ", "box0 blType:%n blData:%n width:%n height:%n depth:%n", "box0Command", 1, 0, 1, 1, 1],
     [" ", "prism blType:%n blData:%n width:%n depth:%n", "prism", 1, 0, 3, 1],
     [" ", "prism0 blType:%n blData:%n width:%n depth:%n", "prism0", 1, 0, 3, 1],
     [" ", "cylinder blType:%n blData:%n radius:%n height:%n", "cylinder", 1, 0, 5, 1],
     [" ", "cylinder0 blType:%n blData:%n radius:%n height:%n", "cylinder0", 1, 0, 5, 1],    
     [" ", "stairs blType:%n blData:%n width:%n height:%n", "stairs", 1, 0, 1, 1],    
     [" ", "rainbow radius:%n", "rainbow", 12],     
     [" ", "place bed", "bed"],
     [" ", "hang torch", "torch"],
     [" ", "wallsign message :%s :%s :%s :%s", "wallsign", "", "", "", ""],
     [" ", "move drone %m.commands %n", "moveDrone", "fwd", 1],
     [" ", "summon %m.entities", "summon", "Chicken"],
     ["r", "blockType", "blockType"],
     ["r", "blockData", "blockData"],
     ["r", "result", "result"]
   ],
   
   "menus":{
        "commands": ["fwd", "back", "left", "right", "up", "down", "turn", "reset", "save_chkpt", "goto_chkpt"],
        "entities": ["Chicken", "Cow", "Wolf", "Pig", "Sheep", "Rabbit", "Horse", "Ocelot", "Villager", "Zombie", "Skeleton", "Creeper", "Spider"]
   }
 
}
Pressing Shift and clicking File in Scratch will provide access to Import experimental HTTP extension (the last option in the list) for opening the MCextension.json file.
By doing this, in the More blocks category you will have access to new blocks and variables. Before issuing any other command you should use Connect User and the name of a player with an open MC session on the server as a parameter. When connected, it will put a message in Minecraft chat and will automatically create a drone at player’s position, which will execute all the commands.
The new blocks defined in MCextension.json file try to replicate some of the functions that Walter Higgins defined in the drone plugin. For short descriptions of those functions and needed parameters please check https://github.com/walterhiggins/ScriptCraft/blob/master/docs/API-Reference.md#drone-plugin.
The box, prism, cylinder and rainbow are used to create solid structures, while box0, prism0 and  cylinder0  are for hollow structures – just walls without ceiling and floor.You can specify the material – block type and block data – and the dimensions.
Stairs, bed, torch and wallsign are used to place specific elements which must take into account player’s orientation.
The move drone function tells the drone where to move. The last drone position will be remembered so if you want to start again from the player’s position, you have to use move drone reset or Connect user again.
Summon is used to spawn the mobs from the predefined list. You can update this list for new mobs.
At the end of the file there are some variables updated by the Minecraft server:  blockType and blockData contain information about the block where the drone is, while result contains the result of last executed command.
If you want to check the values for blockType and blockData, you should insert a delay  of at least 0.2 secs (using standard Scratch block) after the last move drone instruction before using them.

Known issues

Sometimes commands are not executed in order, especially when the server is busy. It’s better to avoid launching command sequences from more than one computer at the same time, although it could work.
move drone save_chkpt and move drone goto_chkpt don’t work yet.

Future developments

Hunting for bugs, adding new functions, showing the equivalent Javascript commands on screen.

 

Using Scratch & Scriptcraft (& more) to teach kids programming in Minecraft – updated configuration

Scratch-logo-outline

&

9ccf0-minecraftlogo

The first solution that I found to make Scratch work together with Minecraft & Scriptcraft, described here, used Node RED to transform http commands sent by Scratch into mqtt packets, brokered by a mosquitto server and finally received by Scriptcraft MQTT extension.

Reading the awsome post Child Processes, Streams, and Minecraft Server Management via Text Message using Node.js by Kevin Whinnery, I discovered a much easier way to send commands from Scratch to Scriptcraft.

The Node.js script below launches Minecraft server and also creates a very simple http server process that will transfer commands directly to Scriptcraft:

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-20-33-04

The servers listens to port 8088, the same used by the Scratch extension:

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-20-48-23

As with the previous setup, the most important part is done using Scriptcraft, the mod created by Walter Higgins that lets you write Minecraft plugins using Javascript.

9xth1ei

The /js scratch() call in Node.js script invokes the Javascript function scratch that will interpret the commands received from Scratch. For now it buffers the command until a build instruction is received, then proceeds to execute them in order, inserting also delays based on the complexity of the building instructions (i.e. dimension of impacted areas).

Below is a very basic form of scratch() function working with only one client, that you can paste into a .js file saved in \Scriptcraft\plugins folder.

 var Drone = require('/drone/drone').Drone;
 var foreach = require('utils').foreach;
 var utils = require('utils');
 var connected = false;
 var drona = '';
 var targetPlayer = '';
 var playerName = '';

 function scratch(command,ip){ //ip not used in this version
 var players = utils.players();
 var cmd=command.split("/");

 if(cmd[0] == 'connect'){
   console.log('trying to connect to player ' + cmd[1]);
   playerName=cmd[1];
   for (pl in players){
     if (players[pl].name.toLowerCase()== playerName.toLowerCase()){
       targetPlayer = players[pl];
       echo(targetPlayer, 'Connected to Scratch client');
       drona = new Drone (targetPlayer.location);
       connected = true;
       }
     }
   }
 if (!connected) { //use of other command before connecting to any player
   console.log('Not connected to any player');
   return
   }
 console.log("command received -" + cmd[0] + ";");
 switch(cmd[0]){
   case 'boxCommand':
   case 'box':
     drona.box('' + cmd[1] + ':' + parseInt(cmd[2]), parseInt(cmd[3]), parseInt(cmd[4]), parseInt(cmd[5]));
   break;
   case 'box0':
   case 'box0Command':
     drona.box0('' + cmd[1] + ':' + parseInt(cmd[2]) ,parseInt(cmd[3]), parseInt(cmd[4]), parseInt(cmd[5]));
   break;
   case 'moveDrone':
     switch(cmd[1]){
       case 'reset':      
         drona=new Drone (targetPlayer.location);
       break;
       case 'up':
         drona.up(parseInt(cmd[2]));
       break;
       case 'down':
         drona.down(parseInt(cmd[2]));
       break;
       case 'left':
         drona.left(parseInt(cmd[2]));
       break;
       case 'right':
         drona.right(parseInt(cmd[2]));
       break;
       case 'fwd':
         drona.fwd(parseInt(cmd[2]));
       break;
       case 'back':
         drona.back(parseInt(cmd[2]));
       break;
       case 'turn':
         drona.turn(parseInt(cmd[2]));
       break;
     }
     break;
   }
 };
 exports.scratch=scratch;

This is an example of some functions created in Scratch screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-21-18-27

And this is how it looks:

I’m still looking for a solution to access in Scratch values from Minecraft world. It will make more sense if commands are no more buffered until the build instruction is received, but executed instantly.

Using Scratch & Scriptcraft (& more) to teach kids programming in Minecraft

Scriptcraft is a fantastic tool for learning JavaScript using Minecraft and also for creating mods. It is very easy to use yet very powerful, giving access to all the functions of the API of your Minecraft server – CanaryMod or Spigot (CraftBukkit).

Kids who are 10 years old or more can use the book A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Minecraft Plugins in JavaScript (written by Walter Higgins, the creator of Scriptcraft plugin) to learn JavaScript, with or without an adult’s guidance.

For younger ones it may be better to start by using a visual tool like Scratch to understand how to use the drone, described as “an (invisible) object you create every time you execute any of the building or movement functions”.

Scratch-logo-outline

Scriptcraft doesn’t include an http server to listen for commands from an external source, but there is an external module, created also by W Higgins, that can be added to support MQTT protocol  – scriptcraft-extras-mqtt. An MQTT broker is also needed, so  I used  Mosquitto,  which is  open-source  and available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

In order to send commands from Scratch as MQTT messages, I used the solution described by Dave Locke on Visual programming and integration with Scratch, Node-Red and MQTT: Scratch 2.0 offline with experimental extensions (based on http communication) which allow it to talk to external world + Node-RED, a tool based on Node.js which is used to “wire” all the above components together.

To enable the use of a Scriptcraft drone, I created a Scratch extension with a few new blocks:

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 23.46.33connect – tells the MC server which player will be followed by the drone (the drone is usually created at a player’s location)

drone –  controls drone movement

box, box0 – for creating cuboids solid or empty

blockType and blockData are report blocks that return the block at the current drone’s positions

The code for building a pyramid looks like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 23.35.22

The configuration for Node-RED is not very complex, but I included some extra variables to be able to manage multiple connections. Node-RED adds the IP of the sender to the commands it transmits thru MQTT to MC and the JavaScript functions that process the message use an array of connections, identified by the IP address.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 00.10.54

Each user can connect to his MC player on the server and has its own drone to control. He can see the result of drone actions in the MC client window. On users’ computers the only needed components are MC client, Scratch offline and the extension file.


For reading the values of a block type and data Scratch polls the server 30 times per second, while Scriptcraft posts the values (using http) after each build command. Values are also kept in an array, serving correct data based on the IP of the client.

Currently I’m struggling with the out of order execution of drone commands even if they are buffered on the MC server before receiving the “build” command. The same problems occur when reading data. To avoid this I use delays in Scratch programmes but I hope to find a smarter and more reliable solution.

An obvious and quick improvement will be to create blocks that allow choosing the material for a building command from a list, using names instead of numbers for block types, making it easier to use.

 

Later edit: see this post for a simpler and more stable configuration (with all needed files): Using Scratch with Minecraft & Scriptcraft – step by step instructions

ScriptCraft – Javascript Programming in Minecraft

ScriptCraft is a plugin created by Walter Higgins for Minecraft servers, that lets you use Javascript within the game for creating mods, mini-games or automating building tasks. It is available for CanaryMod and CraftBukkit (now discontinued ) servers.

You can issue simple commands (precedeed by /js) like

/js echo(1+1)

or create complex functions, saved in scriptcraft\plugins folder, that can be invoked in the same manner:

/js myfunction()

ScriptCraft comes with some extra functions (not part of Javascript language) that can help you in building complex structures. The simplest is box(), used for creating cuboids.

For example,

/js box(blocks.sandstone,3,3,3) 

will create a 3x3x3 sandstone cube at the location of the cursor.

There are also functions for prisms, cylinders, spheres and others that you can combine to create your on functions for building complex structures.You are not forced to know the type IDs and data values for Minecraft blocks, as you can use the ScriptCraft predefined blocks object. In the previous example I used blocks.sandstone instead of searching for the numeric value(s) for the specific material.

Using ScriptCraft to teach kids programming 

ScriptCraft is a powerful tool for Minecraft modding, but is also very useful to teach kids programming as they can see immediately the result of the issued commands. They can build big structures in seconds (sometimes the server will be overwhelmed by requests to create a box of hundreds blocks on each direction but that’s part of the fun) and they can also easily create simple mods to impress their friends so they surely are motivated to learn.

ScriptCraft comes with an Arrows plugin that modifies arrows to launch fireworks, to explode or to attract a lightning strike on impact, which adds the wow factor. While helping you to keep kids interested, ScriptCraft provides also the opportunity to explain them other related topics. During the installation/configuration I discussed with my 9 years old son about servers, networks, folders structure and similar concepts that he found boring previously. He follows now the JavaScript course on codecademy.com to be able to better use ScriptCraft.

Read more

Walter Higgins posted a detailed introduction to ScriptCraft on Github – The Young Person’s Guide to Programming in Minecraft and also wrote a book that will be available soon (April 2015) – A Beginner’s Guide to writing Minecraft  Plugins in JavaScript 

For latest version download and complete reference go to:

http://scriptcraftjs.org/

https://github.com/walterhiggins/ScriptCraft

Piper – Play Minecraft. Build Electronics

Piper 

Piper is a complete computer based on Raspberry Pi and contains a customized version of Minecraft that can interact with a DYI controller and external  lights.

The Pi comes with a 7″ screen, power bank, mouse, memory card with all needed software and accessories to create your the hardware that interacts with Minecraft – wires, boards, switches, buttons, lights. The player receives in-game instructions for putting them in place and once done he will gain new power-ups.

Read more on http://www.withpiper.com/

Literacy Blocks – Using MinecraftEdu to Engage and Motivate Reluctant Writers

SimonBaddeley64

minecraft

Why Minecraft?

Photographs, video clips, poetry, personal experiences, objects, memories.  Not an exhaustive list but a sample of some of the things English teachers use every day to try and engage students and immerse them in writing tasks.  The problem we face is that, for many students, writing feels like work.  Not academic work (solving a maths problem or working out an engineering problem) but actual work more attuned with digging the garden or washing up.  My job as an English Teacher is to find a way to overcome this and motivate my learners so that they are willing to disregard the work feeling and actually want to write something.

My son is a typical 9 year old reluctant writer.  He struggles with his handwriting which makes him slower than his peers at producing written work.  He becomes frustrated that his writing doesn’t look like theirs and that he hasn’t…

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Which Programming Language Should I Learn First?


Carlcheo.com guide on choosing the programming language to learn

So you want to learn programming. Maybe you have asked your developer friends for recommendations and get different answers. They explained with terms that you don’t understand (what is object-oriented?!). To help you to pick your first programming language to learn, here is an easy-to-understand infographic that recommends the best option, depending on your purpose and interest. Details such as learning difficulty, popularity, and average salary for each computer programming language are provided too.

Infographic: Which Programming Language Should I Learn First

full guide plus a list of best programming tools and resources for each programming language on http://carlcheo.com/startcoding

How to Teach Computing