View Full Version : To all the Cartographers, who are gamers!

09-07-2010, 04:52 PM
I've been away from the forums for a while :( I was over seas for the summer, now I'm back. I've found a great game, that can also be used for mapping! Now, the game is called Minecraft. It's currently in Alpha development but it has a huge community with over 100 thousand copies sold already.

The game is about two obvious things: Mining and Crafting.
Essentially you mine blocks, and then use those blocks to either build structures or craft items (sword, axe, pickaxe, etc.). In single player there are mobs (or bad guys) that come out at night, ie. Zombies, Skeletons. This can be turned off if you use the Peaceful game setting.

You have five save slots (You can delete saves of course), in single player and every single time each world is generated randomly, so no two single player files will be the same.

Here is an image of a castle built in minecraft (Not mine, image taken from google):

Now, there is a program written by a community member that will render out your world, into a map layout.

Last night I started work on a castle and here are two renders of it from the Cartography program the community member has written.


As you can see, adding more and more detail will make the maps look much better.

I should note, that building large cities in single player will take you a long time, however is there is multiplayer servers! And you can collaborate with anyone to build vast cities!

Currently the game is 50% off while in alpha, but there is no telling when alpha will be over. The game has progressed fairly far already.

If you have Minecraft the Cartography program can be downloaded here http://www.minecraftforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=13134

If you'd like to know more, post away and I'll answer as best I can.
Also, if this is the wrong forum I apologize.

09-07-2010, 06:14 PM
Cool. Some Q's...

Is the background randomly generated and you get to build your man made stuff ?
Do the creatures at night destroy your castles or build their own forts etc ?
Does the system build anything or does someone have to be on the end of the internet building stuff on a server that your connected to in order for stuff to get built automatically (i.e. you dont do it) ?

100,000 copies sold ? How much is the app then ? and do you have a link to it for ease of clicky fingers.

09-07-2010, 06:28 PM
1. When you start a new game save, a world will be generated at random. It's usually very big. There will be caves, waterfalls, and even lava. Everything is is random (after you make the first world, then everything is consistent). The whole level is generated, anything afterward like forts or roads or castles you build yourself. To do this you must mine, so say you dig one dirt block. Then you get one dirt block into your inventory that you can place anywhere.

2. There is one type of creature, that if it gets close to you, it will blow up and if it's near your fort it will get destroyed or at least part of it will. The creatures do not build any forts of there own, and they are only out at night. They catch fire when the sun comes up.

3. Not sure what you mean, but mulitplayer is the same as single player for the most part. The only difference is there isn't any creatures that will attack you, and most servers give you whatever, resource wise, so you can build what you want. Nothing is built automatically, everything is done by you, or someone else on the server.

4. The game currently costs 9.99 pounds, which is around 12 dollars US while it is the Alpha stage of development. After that, the price will double.


There is FREE version called Classic if you'd like to build. Classic is different than the full Alpha game. Classic will be faded out some point.

The whole game was developed by one guy until recently. He is now in the process of hiring people.

09-07-2010, 06:32 PM

09-07-2010, 06:58 PM
Wow, a 1.2 million bucks ! And it sounds like an awfully simple concept. I was asking about the auto generation because I am writing something along vaguely the same lines only this is a tool to make maps instead of play games in. All the people doing the building would be AI drones instead of people on the other end of the internet. I was wondering if someone had wrote something just like what I am trying to do because that seems to be the story of my life to date. I guess I will need to sink a lot more time and effort into mine and be nearly finished before someone posts that link to some pre-existing well known version.

09-07-2010, 07:08 PM
100k copies *sold* in alpha...or downloaded? Sorry, just want to clarify.

09-07-2010, 07:12 PM
Sold, while you download the game, you still pay for it.


"2119 players online, in 772 servers.
568694 registered users, of which 122603 (21.55%) have bought the game.

In the last 24 hours, 13569 people registered, and 3774 people bought the game."

09-07-2010, 07:23 PM
Wow. Selling 100k copies in alpha is quite a feat!

09-07-2010, 08:00 PM
Indeed it is. I though I should post the game here, because there is a lot of creative freedom in what people can build. From temples to ships (not working, but still great looking), to traps (I'm not great at making traps) but it is possible. And with servers, and collaboration you really can make some cool structures and cities.

The game is a first person game. I recommend watching some videos on Youtube.

09-08-2010, 03:44 AM
sounds really cool ... and Redrobes .. you should sell your program too (that BUSINESS advice costs 50% of your earnings *lol*)

Steel General
09-08-2010, 08:07 AM
Sounds interesting...

11-09-2010, 01:47 PM
This game is an indie game success story. It's definitely the exception, not the rule though. Thousands copies sold even in alpha!?

11-18-2010, 10:30 PM
Yah, i play this game, its quite fun when their is nothing to do. the thing is, i have never thought of using this game for some of my maps!

04-05-2011, 04:36 PM
Resurrecting a slightly old thread here, but it is Minecraft city design that has brought me to your lovely forums.

My plan find ideas for city layouts here and import plans into minecraft as a flat 2d image for the foundations, then build from there. This will be done using a neat little community java application called "Minecraft Structure Planner" (http://minecraftstructureplanner.com) which can convert 2d image files into minecraft pixel art, which, if you think about it, on a larger scale can be city plans.

04-05-2011, 05:13 PM
Absolutely wonderful idea Wooraah, I love minecraft and I have never even considered taking a map here and building it in-game. I also need to catch-up on all the 3rd party applications associated with minecraft, like the "structure planner". Great stuff!

Oh, and welcome to the Cartography Guild!

04-05-2011, 08:42 PM
Thanks Wannabe, nice community you've got going here.

I was partly inspired by some of the amazing builds and cartography work that's been going on with some of the minecraft servers, the best I've seen so far being Voxelbox, I'm sure the majority of people on the forum would appreciate the effort that has gone into their map here: http://www.voxelwiki.com/minecraft/index.php/Pangea - and to top it off, after admiring that, you can go in and explore the world yourself as a guest.

In terms of what can be done on the grandest scale in the game with the correct tools and a lot of persistence I'd highly recommend viewing these videos:

Underwater City ~ Lumina Nocturnale ~

Tsuchi-Iwa Minecraft City

Anyone here also interested in 3D imagery, should check out both mcschematics.com and the Binvox tools detailed in http://www.minecraftforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=75844 that allow you to import certain 3d file types directly into the game with impressive results.

I've done some preliminary testing after wrangling a bit with tools and techie stuff, and sucessfully imported a couple of map plans using the structure planner and MCEDit with varying results.

Some initial conclusions:

1) The simpler the map image for the minecraft structure planner tool, the better. As attempting to use the tools auto convert tool to convert highly stylised or colored images result in a mixed bag image, with all types of wool, brick, obsidian and everything else thrown into the schematic. So simple, or at the least cleaning the image and recolouring it with a graphics program is highly recommended.
2) It is good and bad that the Structure planner is 2d. This is great for making plans on totally flat areas, but I had originally conceived to import plans for Himeji Castle in Japan for an Asian inspired city (http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Himeji_Castle.html), and this is of course over main different levels, so I'd then have to also terraform around it. However, for something like the Forbidden City in Beijing, which is on flat land, with the correct plans, this could work extremely well.

04-06-2011, 06:44 PM
If you're building on a server, with the bukkit mod installed, you can install the worldbuilder plugin (hope I have those names right). It allows you to, in game, cut/copy/paste areas as well as build basic shapes (solids and 'walls') by defining two corners in 3d space, or center points and radius. If you're able to build the first row of blocks for your building frame, you can copy it up to increase the height of the walls wihtout having to relay every block by hand. It's a great time-saver for minecraft builders.

04-07-2011, 03:52 PM
Yup, I'm building a map at the moment with MC Edit, which offers the same sort of import for single player as world builder. I wish I also had access to voxel sniper. Seen here:


Great world editing and terraforming tool.