Thursday, May 17, 2012

Roller Coasters!

Two things have worked really well so far in Minecraft: survival mode and the students' free build area.  They are coming up with pretty neat things in both places.  But I have yet to accomplish much in the way of a designed build or project.  They like to do their own things; getting them to work together on something I have in mind has proved challenging. 

So this week I decided to try something new: minecart roller coaster.  I went into the map ahead of time and set up a series of colored pillars, each one being only just in vision range of the next.  Each student was to build one section of the roller coaster.  Their only requirement was to build a track connecting one pillar to the next.  It didn't matter how they did it, as long as it was connected.  It was a little difficult at first because none of them had ever worked with minecart rails before and needed a quick tutorial of how it all worked, but after that they were off and running.  Most of the students finished or almost finished their section of the track by the end of the session, but we didn't have any time to do any testing.  I'm thinking that next week will involve a good amount of trial and error, as we try to get everything connected and then figuring out where we need to put in powered rails to get the cart from start to finish.  I don't have a way to capture video of the coaster, but I will try to post some pictures of the finished product (and maybe I can get a few work-in-progress shots as well).

The only hiccup this week came from one of the laptops we are using to run the program.  It's odd, because this laptop is newer than all the others and should be doing better.  I assume that it has something to do with the fact that it is running Vista -- all the other laptops are on XP and are doing fine.  Anybody know why I might be having problems with what should be a strong machine?

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