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The ramblings of Minecraft addict VladTubaka

Mod Spotlight: Personal Cars

A new way to transport your pigs!

Personal Cars by Ktos94852 is another relatively new small mod that adds cars to Minecraft. Now, adding vehicles to Minecraft is not a new idea, but Personal Cars does it pretty well. Moreover, the mod implements the idea in an imaginative way that I suspect, under the hood, aids the mod’s stability (which has always been a problem for vehicles in Minecraft).

Before getting started, let me clarify that I am reviewing Personal Cars v. 1.2.2 for MC 1.11.2. The mod was recently ported over to 1.12 in version 1.3, but the changelog doesn’t mention that there were any bugfixes or additions other than the change of MC version.

Overview

So what is Personal Cars? Bottom line, Personal Cars adds automobiles – five different automobiles, in fact, in four different colors.

All five models in the blue and the green varieties.

The automobiles include:

  • The compact car
    • the basic vehicle
    • carries two players
    • is average in its speed and health
  • The SUV
    • carries two players
    • is a little slower and sturdier than the compact car
  • The race car
    • carries one player
    • faster on land
    • deals with water less well than the SUV
  • The transporter
    • a very large vehicle
    • carries one player
    • designed to carry a bunch of mobs from one place to another – extremely useful!
    • seems to have a few minor bugs to work out
  • The truck
    • carries two players
    • has a nice BIG inventory – 36 slots
    • looks like a delivery truck, not a pickup truck (the transporter looks like a pickup truck)

Before version 1.2.2, there was a bug where when you left the area or restarted your game, all your vehicles changed to look blue (though they were still the other colors in data values). This bug has been fixed.

Crafting

Crafting these things is relatively simple, but it will take some iron. All cars are made up of tires (made from iron and black dye), an engine (pistons, iron, redstone), an iron block, dye (red, blue, green, or gray), and one variable material that determines which model the recipe produces. BTW, this mod does not add any world gen nor does it add its own crafting bench. I appreciate Personal Cars’ both for its crafting simplicity and its (in my opinion) well balanced recipe costs. All the recipes and instructions for using the vehicles is easily found at the mod’s thread on minecraftforum.net, so I won’t be showing or describing everything here. But just so you can see the kind of recipe balancing and simplicity I’m talking about:

Crafting recipes for tires and engines

Personal Cars adds three other kinds of items that are not part of the recipe for any automobile: the key, the whip, and the key modifier (a block).

Crafting recipes for keys and whips.

Each vehicle must be assigned a key (you can make duplicates). Right clicking the key locks or unlocks the vehicle. Vehicles are entered and exited the same way you mount and dismount a horse (right click and left shift). Without the key to unlock a vehicle, the vehicle cannot be used. Whips are used to load and unload mobs onto and off of the transporter. They are also used just to whip mobs and players, which is hilarious. The key modifier takes an already existing key and either unpairs it or assigned its pairing to another key, making a duplicate (for significantly less money than the $300 Ford wants to make me a second key for my Focus).

Handling

How do they drive? Well, once you figure out that you have hit ‘R’ to turn the ignition before you can move them, actually, the cars all drive kind of like horses. I suspect that’s because, under the hood, they are, basically, horses. Whereas earlier mods that added cars tended to make vehicles behave more like boats or minecarts (or even a mass of moving blocks – usually VERY unstable), Ktos94852 appears to have patterned the mechanics of the cars in this mod after Minecraft’s ridable mobs, and I think that is brilliant. It solves the problem of stability of the vehicles, not only in regards to their movement on land but also in regards to their persistence in the world. See, in mods where vehicle behavior is based on a minecart or (especially) a boat, the vehicles sometimes have a tendency to break if they come across a kind of terrain that it just can’t figure out. So in order to use vehicles from many (if not most) earlier mods, you needed a big stretch of flat, featureless land. The problem is that Minecraft isn’t usually too terribly flat. Even its plains and desert biomes are pretty bumpy and unpredictable.

The vehicles in Personal Cars, on the other hand, handle almost all terrain like champ (a champion racing stallion, that is). Their turning radius is a lot bigger than that of horses, so they feel a little clumsy compared to horses – as they should! Horses remain superior in handling on very difficult terrain (steep hillsides, thick forests) and are better for exploring because you can always dismount a horse and guide them with a lead (when fording a river, for example). But the vehicles from Personal Cars can handle most terrain just fine.

One other thing that might be a little weird about these vehicles is that they don’t use fuel (again, like horses). They just run indefinitely. That might change in the future, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s not a big deal. Another reason I think they might be disguised horses is that they don’t act like minecarts or boats in Creative mode. You have to essentially “kill” the car with a tool or sword – and you can see red hearts flying out when you strike it (I haven’t yet checked to see if cars regain their “health” over time, like horses).

I have one minor concern with the behavior of the transporter. Mobs can be manually unloaded from the transporter one-by-one, but if you accidentally lock the transporter (i.e., right click with its key) while it is loaded with animals, all the animals are instantly ejected from the transporter. Moreover, when I did this, it caused my transporter to drive away a few dozen blocks. I, personally, would like to see this changed so that mobs stay attached to the transporter even if you turn it off, and you would have to manually unload each mob. Also, there appears to be a graphical glitch with the transporter where it randomly changes direction when it is loaded with animals. Neither of these things would deter me from using the transporter in game. It’s an extremely useful vehicle, and its behavior is otherwise perfectly stable.

I haven’t tried Personal Cars out on a multiplayer server, but because (I suspect) its vehicles are based on horses, I expect that it would work without a hitch in multiplayer.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics are meh, but it’s freaking Minecraft, so I’m not too terribly concerned about that. The models for the compact car and the SUV are extremely similar, and the truck is essentially the same, just wider and with a chest. In an ideal world, I would like to see some cooler models, but it’s a young mod developed by (I think) one person, so maybe better models are in the mod’s future. I do want to give the mod author credit for making the headlights and taillights turn on an off when they are locked and unlocked with the key.

HONK! “Get out of my way, swine!”

The sounds on the other hand are a delight. Locking and unlocking the vehicles with the key produces a distinctive chirping sound. Hitting ‘R’ when in the vehicles to start them produces a realistic ignition sound. There are at least three different model-dependent horn sounds that are activated using, by default, the ‘H’ key. The horn frightens animals, which is a really fun touch. Engine sounds are okay (not great), but they do change in pitch with the speed of the vehicle.

Conclusion

Personal Cars by Ktos94852 was a delightful discovery. It implements cars in Minecraft in a way I have not before seen and that makes them entirely stable and usable in a blocky world. The mod also exhibits some fun attention to detail without getting bloated. If you would like to have some mechanical alternatives to horses, donkeys, mules, and llamas, check out Personal Cars.

“I see you’re goin’ down the street in your big Cadillac, you got girls in the front, you got girls in the back …”

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Mod Spotlight: Simply Tea!

Tea trees, from which you get tea leaves, from which you get tea.

Browsing through the most recent mods for MC 1.11.2 on curse.com, I came across a fun little mod by elucent (who is involved in quite a number of mods). It’s called “Simply Tea!”, and an apt name that is, too. It adds … wait for it … tea to the game. Yes, it’s simple, hence the name of the mod. But what makes this mod interesting is the detail that goes into producing a cup of tea. Continue reading

Playing Elder Scrolls III on Linux

I’ve been a little tardy in posting anything this week on Minecraft. The reason is simple: I haven’t been playing much Minecraft recently. Don’t worry. I’ll get back to it, but I needed a little break.

At first that break took the form of a Civilization 5 marathon (Make India Great Again!), winning by a culture victory (first time for that, actually). But the thing about Civilization in any form is that once I finish a game I find myself unmotivated to play it again for a little while. I have Rimworld (which is an awesome game – you should definitely check it out), but I just didn’t feel like playing it. What I really wanted to play was an Elder Scrolls game, specifically Morrowind (the original, not not the TES Online expansion). Continue reading

Speeding Up Item Transfer in Vanilla Minecraft

How quickly can Minecraft move items from one chest to another? Faster than I realized.

Prior to Minecraft 1.5, item transfer was difficult and incomplete without using mods like BuildCraft, RedPower, or Thermal Expansion. You could use minecarts to get items from point A to point B, but you had no way to transfer items from one inventory to another, meaning items had to remain in the minecart until you moved them manually into a nearby chest (unless, again, you used a mod – specifically RailCraft). The same was true of water canals: you could move items from, say, a mob grinder to a place inside your base, but you couldn’t deposit said items within a chest. Continue reading

Simple Redstone Device: A Minecart-Powered Furnace Array

You know, I’ve never really spent a whole lot of time on Minecraft’s minecarts until pretty recently. It always seemed more effort than it was worth, particularly when I started using mods (which happened within a couple of months of my introduction to Minecraft). Classic Technic/Tekkit included Railcraft, but … I dunno … I just never really got the vision of the mod as a whole, even though I tended (early on) to include it in my own personal modpacks.

But recently (as you may have noticed), I’ve returned to the joy of just plain old vanilla Minecraft (albeit, the newest versions of it). And as I’ve explored the way the base game is constructed more thoroughly, particularly in the realm of automation and Redstone mechanics, what I’ve seen is that minecarts are actually a tremendously fun feature of the game with tremendous potential for automating processes other than “take-stuff-from-here-to-there-repeatedly”. Continue reading

Micromanaging Inventories With Redstone

The bottom light means there are less than 14 items in the lower chest, the middle light means there are exactly 14 items in the chest, and the top light means there is something in an overflow hopper.

Several months ago, I came across a thread on minecraftforum.net where a player was trying to design a system that would detect if there were 14 and exactly 14 items in an inventory. In other words, he wanted one output or signal if the inventory had less than 14, a different signal if it had exactly 14, and yet another signal if it had more than 14. It is this three signal aspect that made the problem a tricky one to solve. Continue reading

Simple Redstone Device: Advanced Minecart Loading

Today we look at a more advanced, versatile, and intelligent minecart loading system.

Last post I talked about two simple Redstone devices that you can use to automatically load and unload minecarts if you want to use minecarts as an item transferral system. I briefly mentioned some of the limitations of the falling edge circuit as a loading system. In short, a simple falling edge circuit just isn’t smart enough to provide the versatility you might need if, say, you want to just dump a whole bunch of stuff into a chest and let the minecart system figure out how to get all those items from point A to point B. Today, I want to show you a more advanced loading and transferral system that works really well, never gets clogged, and actually gets a little faster and more efficient the more items you load into it. Continue reading


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