minecraft server hosting

Minecraft Success!

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Beyond the barrage of hyperdoc resources that I’ve been sharing recently, I’ve been finding more success in using Minecraft with my students in Fluco Game Designers. Even though there were many failures at first, I’ve finally gotten it off the ground and moving right along.

I solved the LAN issue that we were having with students. This involved me researching server space rentals and talking to some folks more knowledgeable than I. I learned a few things along the way. The biggest though was that cheapest isn’t always the best. Thanks to some smart feedback, I learned that cheaper sites tend to oversell their space, and cannot always provide the features they promise. I went with MCProHosting for this reason. They were a mid-range option, but I had good found good feedback and reviews on their service. I would be able to get up to 25 students on the server at a time for $10 a month.

We have now used this service for nearly a month, and it has been fantastic! I have not had any issues with MCProHosting, and would recommend it to any colleagues who are unable to buy the Education Edition through Microsoft, but do have access to the regular PC version. The students have all been on at once, typically around 20 on our busiest days, and there has been very little lag. I do make sure the students stay close together in a decent radius in the world so that also helps.

Their first task was to build a Minecraft base or home. I did not give them any requirements as to looks or materials, except that of redstone. I do feel that I would modify this task in the future because the redstone component didn’t get completed with some of the students, and others really rocked it. The designs that were created were rather varied, and added a lot of intrigue to the world. I’ve added some pictures below of their designs.

Our next task is a collaborative project. I believe I have decided on a collaborative village/city build. I am going to go into the server and create fenced off areas. The idea is to have students in groups of 4 that must develop their design within the space allotted. I believe that if I gave them an open space, they would end up running into each other’s builds and trying to build more than they can handle. I did the fenced space for my Minecraft Makershop last summer, and it definitely was a positive when it came to building plans. The students didn’t bite off more than they could chew.

For this project, I don’t believe the hardest part is going to be the building. I have a gut feeling that the hardest part for these students will be the collaborative piece and learning how to design together. I will probably use some ideas from Hyperdoc 6 of my Makershop unit and redesign it for these students, just in case some do decide to take Makershop in the summer during Kids College.

Until next time, happy building!

Minecraft Fail. Again. Abort?

So yesterday Group 2 met for Fluco Game Designers. Once again, we tackled Minecraft, as it was the first time for this group to log into the world. Since we could only get so many people on the LAN, the others were tasked to create a world and build on their own, especially with redstone. They have access to YouTube, so they were able to find any videos they needed to use. We had some students sharing accounts as well. We had gone over the rules for the LAN world, and I reminded them that they were also posted in the base camp cabin as well.

While I was assisting students with logging in, the first disaster struck. A student went to the computer where the LAN game was hosted, and changed it from peaceful to survival. He then proceeded to go back to his computer and summon a wither. Those of you who play Minecraft know that this is one of the most destructive mobs you can summon in the game. Players quickly alerted me, but not before the thing had destroyed a player’s watch tower and my giant pink arrow. I was able to make the switch back to peaceful and then was ready to kick the offending player in the behind. I took him off the game and had him sit out for a bit. Thankfully, some of the other kids worked to rebuild the things that had been destroyed.

Problem 1 solved.

Later on, I keep discovering the same group of 4 boys not following the instructions to build and explore redstone (wither boy included). They were more concerned with creating their own LAN and interfering with whatever the others were doing. Sure, they had some things with redstone, but they were constantly distracted. They were the only ones in the group not able to follow given directions.

Problem 2 was not solved before the end of the meeting. However, I did tell them we wouldn’t be doing LAN networks outside of the world I had designed. I also told them to begin thinking about their next challege- building a home that incorporates redstone into multiple aspects, minus things that are destructive, like TNT cannons.

I went home last night and thought about what had happened. I knew I could come up with something that would allow me to avoid some of these issues and my boys who wanted to circumvent everything. My first goal was to figure out a way to solve my LAN woes. Research told me that getting a Realm through Minecraft would not solve my problem, as it limited users to 10 at a time. That left only one option – get a server.

So far this morning, I’ve done research on the server websites that I can access here at school. Researching things related to Minecraft at school is tricky since most of the stuff is blocked because it’s marked as gaming by our cyber security. It seems I can find a server to meet my needs for under $10, but I still need to do some research on the server sites that I cannot access here at school, as well as see if I can find any reviews. By next week though, I hope to have a server in place and hopefully avert the LAN issue. I think things will go more smoothly if all of the students can be in the world at the same time.

The next two club meetings (1 per group) will also bring some more structure with the redstone challenge. I am hoping that the boys will stay focused on the challenge, and since being in the world I have created means following the rules for that world, they wouldn’t be able to kill or destroy each other. We will see how it goes though and I’ll adjust as needed.

Oh and that blog title? Yeah, I had no plans of aborting Minecraft. When technology plans don’t go as one wishes, it’s time to reflect and figure out why. I’m not one to give up easily and I know there’s going to be many bumps along the way. This was to be expected, and I can’t blame the students for all of the issues either. I am to blame as well. That’s why I work to figure out what I can do the next time to avoid them. Hopefully, next week will be smoother!