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Access 2020 Minetest - Workshop

Theme: The theme of this event is "Minetest as Virtual Maker Space." Just as one can develop an understanding of electronics and programming through working with breadboards and controllers in a physical makerspace, one can learn at least some of the same things working their equivalents in a virtual makerspace.

When and Where: This Access Workshop event will be held in Minetest and Zoom on the morning of Wednesday, October 21st, starting at 9:00AM PDT. I will do some demos from 9:00am - 10:00am, and then open things up so attendees can try things out for themselves. I and some assistants will be on hand after the demos in case anyone has questions. The server will run for the whole conference and a few days more for those wanting more time to complete their projects.

Really important: If you are registered for the Workshop, you should recieve instructions from me on how to connect to the server the week of October 11th. If at all possible, please install the Minetest client program and be sure you can connect to the server before the day of the event! If you run into problems, it will be much easier to troubleshoot in advance. You don't want to spend the whole day getting connected ...

You should receive coordinates for the Zoom meeting prior to the Workshop. If you have not received them, please let me know (jdurno@uvic.ca).

Also, if you want to get started on your project (or just try building things) before the Workshop starts, please do! I would love to see folks building things beforehand.

The first time you enter the game you appear on a wooden jetty near a train station. Board a train by right-clicking it. (Trains come every 15 seconds, so if you miss one, you won't have long to wait). Get off at the first station, called "Hackfest Station." (or just walk or fly to the building area, it's hard to miss, being a fairly large area surrounded by orange lightstone. Aim for the multicoloured beacons of Midpoint Centre).

Mod Packs

The basic Minetest inventory has been expanded through the installation of several mod packs. These include:

The Workshop session will focus on Mesecons, Digilines, and maybe a bit of Basic Robot.

The Workshop will begin with a few simple demonstrations to introduce participants to the basic concepts of building simple circuits and using logic gates. However there are limits to how much one can impart in a short tutorial. It is necessary to read the documentation (linked above) and try things out to really develop a solid understanding of how they work.

8-bit Adding Machine

There will also be a demonstration of an 8 bit adding machine built with logic gates. The project was based on a reading of chapter 12 of Charles Petzold's book, "Code."

Primitive adding machine with lights and switches

In-game programming

Some objects in the game are programmable, such as LuaControllers and Basic Robots. As you might surmise from the name "LuaController", programming in Minetest relies on the Lua programming language. Some documentation is freely available for a slightly earlier version of Lua, if you really want to dig into it. Or you can do what the rest of us do, and copy and paste stuff you find on the web, such as these examples from Basic Robot.

More Mod Packs

The following Mod packs are not covered in the Workshop, but are also available in the game:

  • Basic Machines: in-game automation
  • Laptops: A number of different computers. Send email and play tetris in game
  • Advanced Trains: build elaborate railways

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