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Liam's Minecraft Journal

Page history last edited by liamodonnell 10 years, 9 months ago

Liam's Minecraft Journal


We're always adding new content to this site, but most of my GBL blogging happens now over at my main site: feedingchange.


You can reach me at gamingedus@gmail.com or @liamodonnell in twitter


Latest News





Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Teacher’s Guide: Organizing student accounts on a school Minecraft server

Originally posted on feedingchange on April 8,2012.


Students playing in Minecraft One of the questions I get asked a lot is how do you organize your students' accounts for your school's Minecraft server. There are many ways to do this, but this is the way I organized my students' Minecraft accounts. I'm sure there are more efficient and secure ways to do it. If you have any suggestions or alternatives, please feel free to add them in the comments below. I'd love to hear them. Educators still thinking about setting up a Minecraft server at their school, might benefit from my earlier Teacher's Guide: Setting up a Minecraft at your school. If you're still not sold on using Minecraft in schools, check out some of my earlier Minecraft posts:

Minecraft Student Accounts Basics As more teacher mods are released (like the one being developed by Minecraftedu.com), I think handling student accounts will become a lot easier. In the meantime, here's how I do it:


Read the rest of this post on my blog feeding change.


Sunday Mar 31, 2012


Minecraft and Bukkit have gone through a bunch of updates recently and now I feel I'm getting the hang of keeping everything stable at the latest build. I do wish there was a way to avoid the whole "Don't Update!" panic for all the gamingedus and multi-school players. For now, it seems emails and this wiki are working in getting that message out.


It also seems that this is the month many teachers are getting curious about Minecraft - which is fantastic! I've had several requests for info on how to start a server at school. To answer those questions, I put together a blog post: Teachers Guide to setting up a Minecraft server at your school. I barely scratch the surface of getting things going, so I'm thinking I'll do more "Teachers Guide" posts in the coming days.


In the meantime, I'd like to hear what readers think of the post. If you'd like to know more, please leave any questions in the comments at the end of the post.


Saturday, Feb 6, 2012


As you can read from the front page, the Multi-School Server is up and running. We're just waiting on the TDSB IT Dept to approve our Open Port requests and then we should be able to connect from school. Right now, the server is plug in free, running vanilla. While that's not the ideal situation, I think it will work for our initial purposes. I'd rather have stuff open and breakable by all from the start and only add LWC protections if necessary. I'd rather cultivate an intrinsically motivated sharing society, than a top-down world policed by plug ins. We'll see how well that works. I've blogged about launching the server over at Feeding Change


In other news, on the GamingEdus server, I built my first Nether Portal, opening a whole new world for our intrepid explorers. I can't wait to see how the Grims fare in the world of ghasts, pigmen and lava waterfalls! Photos to follow.


Saturday Jan 20, 2012


Just when I thought the server was stable and settled, it started wonking out all over again. Java stack overflows (or some error like that - can't be bothered to check the logs.) But the reason was clear. With me adding new plugins (more on that later) and us GamingEdus building more stuff, the server was using more memory (RAM) to keep the world ticking over. However, the default server install only allocates 274 mb of memory to the server (according to Craftbukkit). When the server blasted through all that memory, stuff started to overflow and bad things happened. With some google-fu, I learned how to create a .bat file that would up that alloted RAM to 1GB (1024 mb) to give us all more room to breathe and build. So, that's where we're at now: 1GB of RAM on the GamingEdus server. I need to figure out how to increase that. I know how, but apparently 32bit machines (the kind I have) can only run a maximum of 1GB RAM on an MC server regardless of how much RAM the system actually has. That could be a problem. I have 32bit system. But there are options and I'll cross that bridge when it crashes down around me.


In other news, I installed a group of plugins called Essentials which has made life on the server a little bit easier (while increasing the RAM load). It's a group of enhancements to the server that allow us to teleport home, send private messages and protect our builds. I'm tinkering with it to see which of these will be useful to us on the Multi-School server. We've agreed that ideally students should not be able to destroy the builds made by students of another school. I'm working on the different ways that could be possible (in theory), such as: assigning each school a zone where players from another school cannot destroy the builds (outside these zones would be free-for-all areas), using another plugin that create clans, affecting what each group can do (could work but might be messy to achieve our goals), somehow creating *nodes in the permissions plugin that creates builder groups for each school that will block them from breaking each others stuff (might be possible).


Will investigate these, talk to our Minecraft hacker at EDGELab and see which of these options will work best.


Friday Jan 6, 2012


Now that the server seems to be back up and stable, I've been having a lot of fun playing with redstone and switches (levers, buttons, pressure plates) to create a varied of "electrical" devices. My first project was a music box using a note block and circuits and now I've progressed onto creating switches to change the direction of my rail tracks. It's been a lot fun and frustrating at times to get things to work. As I've played, I've been mindful of the strategic thinking, experimentation, and research involved in figuring out how to get the circuits to work. A combination of guesswork, trial and error and online research has resulted in set ups that work for me. They might not be the most efficient or elegant, but my goal was simply to get them to work. Playing with these elements not only builds a healthy academic mind and process but it also has the opportunity to touch on the actual curriculum in  science, which is handy. 


I'm learning that I'm a bit of a "gearbox" in that I like taking things apart to see how they work. Playing with the circuits is an excellent activity for learners who are technically minded and curious to build stuff that does stuff. I will continue to play and experiment with circuits and see where it takes me.


Sunday Dec 18, 2011


Server Woes Over?

I hope so! Craftbukkit has been updated for Minecraft 1.0.01 and I successfully updated the server. Diana and Denise were able to log in without Hamachi, which is great! Will now look at adding plugins to allow for greater security in game and flexibility with what we can do.


Also, showed Diana the powers of being "op". I plan to add a page on that to the wiki. The proposal is coming along. I'm hoping to have it done by this week and ready to submit at the start of the new term.


Tues, Dec 6, 2011


Server Woes

Logging into the server is proving to be a pain for some of us. Not sure why. I've reset our IP again. In order to not jam up the front page with useless IP addresses, I encourage to check out the Server Info page for the latest way to connect.   


I've decided to try out a permanent dns name for our server. Basically when your computer connects to the server it "dials" up an Internet Protocol number (IP). This number changes every few weeks. So that you don't have to keep updating the IP number your computer uses to contact the server, I've created a DNS server name that will represent the current number. The name is: gamingedus.servegame.com:25565 . As long as I keep the IP number updated with the DNS name, you should always be able to connect with that name. The 25565 at the end of the name is the port number. It tells your computer which of my server's ports (kinda like a plug) to use in order to play the game. Computers do the same thing when you're checking your email (port 255), but it just doesn't tell you because, well TMI.


I sure hope this solves our log in issues!


Saturday, Dec 3, 2011


GamingEdus Back Up! (sort of)
The new update of craftbukkit is still not out but I managed to hack the server into life to allow us to play again! Basically, the world and all our stuff is there, but many of the bells and whistles are not available. Not a big concern as most of the bells just allowed me to run the server more smoothly. The important thing is to TRY AND LOG IN again and see if it works. If it doesn't, let me know either here or via dm in twitter and i'll keep tinkering.

I'm so excited! I'll be on tonight for sure.




Sunday, Nov 27, 2011


Server Status Update and News


A lot has happened in the last week with Minecraft and my work that's caused bit of confusion. Hopefully this will help explain it all.


Minecraft Update and Server Update


The Minecraft update! Last week, Minecraft released their biggest update ever. After a year and a bit of being in Beta (testing mode), it is now "officially" released to the public. This means it's now $5 more expensive (but I hear teacher discounts are on the way.)  When MC updates, all the other independently created programs that run along side of the game (known as plugins) also need to update. But they can only *start* their updating after MC is released. I use a program called Bukkit to run our server. It's free and opensource and created by the generosity and passion of a few coders. These guys and girls are hard at work updating Bukkit. But it takes time.

Until the updated version of bukkit is released our server is running the old version of MC. If you have updated your game (as I did) to the new version of MC, you won't be able to get into our server. However, if you selected "not now" when asked to update in MC, you should be able to get into our server and I encourage you to try. If you did update can play in single player mode and create your own world (we won't be able to visit you, but you'll have some "alone time" :)

I'm working on getting the server updated and will let you know the moment it is done.


Next Steps


While we are in limbo and as the holiday madness is set to take over all our lives, here's what I think our focus should be. Please add your ideas too. I'm making all this up as I go!


1. Continue to upgrade your computers to see if they will run Minecraft.

2. Gather support for your club from teachers, admin and IT. 

3. Work together to find a suitable computer to run a shared server.

4. Arrange for us to meet either in person or via skype to talk this over and plan.




Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011


Learning to Run a Server and More


Following in the footsteps of Diana and Denise, I thought I'd create this journal to document my learning in Minecraft too. Although I've been playing mc for over a year now there is always more to learn about the game and within the game. The focus of my learning at the moment is learning how to run a server.


I've run a small one at home and another at school, so I know the tech stuff on how to get a server set up. Won't talk about that here, but I'm sure it'll be explored elsewhere in this wiki. Right now, the big thing I'm working with is Permissions.


With an eye to creating a multi-school server, I knew that having a permissions add-on would be important. Basically, it tells players what chests, etc they can open and what structures they can destroy/add to. Once it's set up, I it'll go a long way to prevent minecraft "griefing", where basically players destroy other players' builds. Not fun.


The challenge has been figuring out how the permissions work. Ideally teachers will have top level permissions and be able to access every chest, etc. Students will have a more limited set of permissions. Right now, in the test server, if you can't open something it means the permissions haven't been set correctly. You might get a "locked by a magical spell" message. That's the permissions at work. I'm trying to set all the chests in our test world as public, but I have to go one by one, so it could take a while. That goes for furnaces and workbenches too.


Other than that, I'm having a blast running this server and diving back into mc after a break.



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