Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Minecraft 2 --The Plugins Episode

You have a functioning server!  Ain't life grand?  But what about all the fiddly details that will make your server YOURS?  You want PLUGINS, my friend!

As my teens start logging in, I'm sure my needs will change, but I started with a few basics.  Start here to see what's available, http://plugins.bukkit.org/  These are what I'm playing around with now:

Anticheat: http://dev.bukkit.org/server-mods/anticheat/
Essentials: http://dev.bukkit.org/server-mods/essentials/
WorldEdit: http://dev.bukkit.org/server-mods/worldedit/
GroupManager: http://wiki.ess3.net/wiki/Group_Manager
ChestRestock: http://dev.bukkit.org/server-mods/chestrestock/

To add a plugin, you just download what you want, unzip it if necessary, and put the files into your plugins folder.  Personally, I put the download into my plugin folder and THEN unzip it, but my computer programmer boyfriend had a heart attack when I did that---though he couldn't give me a good reason why NOT to, so nyah nyah.

Here's my plugin folder after adding Essentials and Anticheat

Easy!  Try logging in now and then to make sure nothing has gone wonky.  There's nothing worse than having something go wonky and not knowing WHICH of the many things you just did has caused the problem!

Another important thing:  Make sure you have given yourself permission to use the things you're installing.  In the main folder, you'll see a file called "ops".  When you open it, it shows a blank notepad document.  Just type your name, and the names of any other admins in there.  Just make a list, no need for punctuation.  That should make everything work.  To check, get the server running and sign in.  Then try a command.  Wait, you don't know any?  Well then, try this:


/time set night

Did you go from something like this:
 to something like this:

If so, you're golden.

You can read about what those plugins all do at their sites, but here's a rundown:

AntiCheat: keeps teens from being able to use cheats in your server.  Seems like a good idea.

Essentials: gives you lots of handy tools.  I'm still learning to use them, the loooong list of commands is here:http://wiki.ess3.net/wiki/Command_Reference/Perm 

WorldEdit:  Does what it says on the box!  You can get really creative with this, but I've mostly used it to fiddle with the landscape a little to make room for my town. You can easily flatten land, dig big holes, drain ponds, etc.  It takes some time to figure out, and it is possible to make a very wonky world, so PRACTICE this one!

GroupManager: This was the easiest permissions thing I have found.  It allows you to decide who can do what. In my world right now there are two groups: admins (me and my intern) and the default group that all the teens fall into.  GroupManager had things pretty nicely set up already-if the teens decide they need more permissions I think I'll be able to add them, but it gave them reasonable stuff.  They can build and fight, but don't have access to TNT, and only I can change the game mode.

ChestRestock:  This allows you to put items in a chest, and the chest restocks itself through magic.  I like the idea of being able to hide things for the teens to find--this way everyone who finds it gets the prize, and I don't have to worry about restocking it myself. 

That's all I'm using, currently!  I'd love to know if you discover/have heard of interesting plugins.  I saw one that generates a TARDIS, and one that gives you the arena from The Hunger Games!  Lots of cool stuff available!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Minecraft Minecraft Minecraft.  It's all the rage these days...by which I mean for the past three years or so.  It's starting to become a THING for libraries though, so of course I'M ON IT.

There are a bunch of blog posts and articles out there about how fun and valuable it is to host your own minecraft server, but it turns out there aren't a lot of articles about how to set up the dang thing.  I am by no means an expert, but here's how things shook out for me.

Step 1) buy a Minecraft account and figure out the basics of the game.  This is going to mean putting in some hard work playing video games, but I know you'll get through it!  Having an understanding of the game is pretty important for the rest of it.  There are plenty of tutorials and things available on the minecraft wiki, as well as recipes for crafting. The most important thing to know up front:  you move with the letters WASD and space bar (a teen walking by had to explain it to me my first time, that's the level of experience i'm starting with).

Step 2) talk to your IT department.  If you're going to want to open your server to the outside world, they're going to need to be involved because firewalls and ports and other IT mumbo jumbo.  Right now my server is hosted on a computer in my boyfriend's basement, but it will migrate to one of our servers once ::insert IT mumbo jumbo:: is moved/upgraded/something something.

Step 3) set up your server!  You'll need a computer that isn't doing much of anything else, or for your IT department to do some wizardry and then give you access to that wizardry.

-Pick your server.  I chose to go with the Bukkit server because it seemed like the most user-friendly and has a lot of great plugins to make my life easier.  MAKE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD THE MOST RECENT VERSION.  At the time of this posting, that is version 1.5.1-RO2  (http://forums.bukkit.org/threads/craftbukkit-1-5-1-r0-2-is-now-available.141097/)

There are lots of tutorials available, but I found that they assumed a certain amount of previous knowledge, even the ones that are aimed at total noobs.  Here's one of the most valuable things I learned:


There it is!  Rename it craftbukkit (it'll automatically add the .jar, in my experience. When I named it "craftbukkit.jar" it turned out to actually name it "craftbukkit.jar.jar" which took a while to figure out.), and then make a new folder (name it something fancy like "server" or "bukkit" or "minecraft" or "francis" and put it inside! DO THAT BEFORE YOU OPEN IT! LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!

Double click it! It should generate a bunch of files:

In your fancy folder, right click and open a new text document. Paste this in it:

java -Xms1024M -Xmx1024M -jar craftbukkit.jar -o true

Save it as       run.bat

Double click our fancy new "run" thingydo.THINGS WILL START TO HAPPEN:

Mine is telling me there might already be a server running on that port.  I am able to login to it though, so I'm going to assume that's something to do with the fact that I can't actually run this on my computer (IT stuff blah blah computers ports blah blah)  for now though, I am able to log in and I am able to install sweet plugins.  It's pretty easy to move all of your hard work to a place where it WILL be functional to the outside world, so if you're working on it while IT figures out their end, it's all good.

 Even though I've done this a few times now,  I did it from scratch as I was creating this tutorial, and goodness did I mess it up a lot.  Hopefully if you walk through these steps you won't need as many stiff drinks as I did after my first couple of tries.

Next post: PLUGINS!

 (here's where I got my info when setting it up.  The link does NOT go to the most recent version, use my link above.  This article had all the info, but I found it hard to follow--it took me many tries to get it right!  http://wiki.bukkit.org/Setting_up_a_server)

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's business as usual these days at the library.  I try to give myself a month here or there without too much to worry about, and April is one of them as I gear up for summer reading.

Winter Reading is finally over, and was a pretty decent success!  I had about 50 teens turn in about 350 entries.  Since I re-vamped the whole thing this year, I can't really compare to last year's stats, but I was definitely excited to see a lot of unfamiliar names on many of the entries--which means it's not just the kids I see all the time participating.  My favorite bingo square was the one where I had them email me a joke--it meant I got random emails with terrible jokes in them!  Highly recommended.

I had another Trivia night and it went well.  I pretty much get the exact same teens each time, which is fine so long as they remain into it!  I wish we could get a few more though, because it is SERIOUSLY fun.

There was one pretty big flop this week-- due to lack of interest by the youth librarians, I put together our first Battle of the Books.  I kept it pretty low key, since we really had no idea what sort of interest there would be.  It turns out not much!  If we (and by "we" I mean "not me, but someone") do it next year there are plenty of things that we could do to ensure more participation.  Because I'm the Teen Librarian with plenty of my own work to do, I didn't do those things.  We'll see how next year goes, if it goes at all.

Right now I'm focused on my upcoming trip to C2E2 and getting my Donna Noble costume together in time!   I'm also using all of my free time at work to start assembling grab bags for summer reading prizes.  Last year I went through about 1500, and I hope I need many more this year!  I've got about 200 made, so if I keep going I should be in good shape when the SRP starts.