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DYN Minecraft Research Project

Exploring the feasibility of Minecraft as a platform for computational learning
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summer opportunities and the updated website

By: Dom Amato

This summer has been pretty crazy with the lab moving to Northwestern University and because of that updates have been few and far between. Unfortunately any moterated summer camp activities have been canceled though for those interested a pilot program for free play and access to our server is underway. Check it out here: Minecraft Free Play Summer Session.

Anyone interested in joining the server should reach out to me and I will set them up with everything they need to play!

Note this requires a computer with internet connection to play. Some of the setup is outlined below.

dominic

gaining access to the dyn Minecraft city server, things we learned.

By: Dom Amato

One of the goals of the Minecraft City Server project has been identifying ways to make installing and keeping upto date with the Minecraft project as easy as possible. Installing Minecraft is about as straightforward as many other software installs, especially since the microsoft purchase, but some of the barriers we found was a lack of local admin access, difficulty with installing the modding framework, and keeping the mods updated to the proper versions. The approach we took was similar to Minecraft's though it also installs the modding framework and checks to make sure every mod is synced with the ones installed on the server. The one hitch is that this method requires Java 8 which is not always installed on the machines we encounter. A future version might employ an installer that can download the necessary JRE but for now the current launcher seems to perform suitable to our needs.

While the launcher handles the client side installation there is still the matter of creating temporary accounts for users. Users who already own Minecraft and have been whitelisted on the server can log in easily enough but those who don't need to become part of our license share. This system relies on Chicago City of Learning to create rosters of youth and generate temporary credentials to access the server.

The temporary accounts created with the application are linked to a CCOL id so when anyone returns to the server their previous activity history is also retrieved. This application was moved to a web application as the original was a java applet similar to the launcher. This allowed for practitioners to see their roster and confirm that everyone was credentialed.