Monday, March 21, 2011

Heartless_ Gamer's Minecraft Mondays 002: A concept minecart station using water

Didn't get enough Minecraft on my Minecraft Mondays 001?  Well here is 002!

In this episode I quickly cover the concept minecart station I am designing.  This is a tour of my mock up.  While the design appears simple, it took a lot of tweaks to get it right.  Secondly, I had to put a new spin on how to utilize a door booster.  Enjoy the video:

As noted in the video, I had a few goals in mind for this design:

1. Prevent "bumping" of a cart as a player enters or exits
2. Remove the need to "call a cart" by having one always waiting
3. Improve reliability and idiot proof the departure and arrival mechanisms

I solved the first issue by placing the departure cart within a confined 1 x 1 holding area which prevents the cart from being bumped off target.  This holding area is on top of what most Minecrafters may identify as a door booster.  This allows me to use the door booster differently.  In my reversed scheme, the player loads into the booster and is boosted by what would normally be the riding cart.

This is actually beneficial in many ways and helps with reliability.  The number one issue with door boosters is the fact that sometimes the booster cart on top just doesn't make it all the way to the end of the run and when activated it simply falls into the door breaking the entire system.  Since I am feeding the loading area with the flow of water, and flip-flopping which cart is being ridden, I can use a 100% reliable self-resetting booster on the lower track for the main boosting power of the system.

Secondly, the rider does not have to wait for a booster cart to be sent out to come and "pick up" the cart they are riding in.  Once the rider hits GO, they drop into the self-resetting booster which powers them along the track.

Another quick tip: carts can be dropped long distances vertically without the rider taking any damage. 

The arrival "splashdown" area also prevents the bumping of the cart upon exit and the water flow also carries the cart off to be reused in the system.  In my mock up, I did not connect the arrival and departure areas, but in my final build, they will be linked.  Again, there is no need for an additional booster to be called to retrieve the now vacated cart.  The water does all the work!

This design is very good at removing many of the moving parts from traditional minecart stations.  When idle, everything in the station is sitting static.  Nothing moves until a rider is present (and with a tweak, I hope to make it so that an empty cart can't be accidentally launched by using a stone pressure plate next to the loading zone).

The biggest draw back is the speed at which water pushes a minecart.  It can be slow waiting on a cart if they have just been dumped into the holding area.  Fortunately, the holding bay can be rack and stacked with carts and the water will neatly organize and feed them one by one.  However, currently there is no way to manually load a cart at the departure point and all carts must be loaded through the holding tank.

I hope you enjoyed and please feel free to ask questions.

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