Coordinates Game in MakeCode for Minecraft

 

begin game

Early in the game, most of the spaces on the grid are white. The green blocks indicate that the player got the coordinates of that position correct while the red blocks were incorrect. The center cyan block is the origin (center) of the grid, which is coordinate { 0  0 }.

finish green

At the end of a game, all blocks are green except those that were missed by the player. The percentage score is shown above the grid.

Coordinates Game is a companion to Coordinates Tutor, which is described in Coordinates Tutor in MakeCode for Minecraft. Coordinates Game enables a player to demonstrate their knowledge of coordinates.

How to Play

To play Coordinates Game, type “run” in the command window. The program will display one of the windows below. It will oscillate between the two windows reminding the player that X and Z correspond to east and south, respectively.

The game will then display { X Z } coordinates, such as {  1  -1 } on the left below. The player’s challenge is to break the white block in the grid corresponding to the displayed coordinates. If the player gets it right, a green block will replace the broken white block at the coordinate {  1  -1 }. If the player gets it wrong, a red block will replace the broken one. The program then displays the next set of coordinates for the player until all positions  in the grid have been used. At this time, the score is displayed as a percentage of correct answers (see above).

The game loop, simply put is:

  • the program displays a position as a set of coordinates,
  • the player breaks the white glass block at that position in the grid,
  • the program replaces the broken white block with either green or red blocks corresponding to right or wrong, respectively, and
  • the program displays the next position coordinates, and so on until all positions have been used.

Code Design

The big-picture design of the program is depicted below. The program first initializes, which includes building the grid and compass as well as creating a list of all positions on the grid. At first, all these positions are available to be displayed to a player. As each position is used, it is removed from the list. When there are no positions remaining, the game is over.

drawing

In operation,  after the program posts position coordinates,  nothing happens until the player breaks a block, which generates an on-broken event. The position of the broken block is compared against the displayed position using a sneaky method that I will describe later. If correct, the broken block and the block under it are replaced by green ones. If wrong, a red block is placed at the correct position with a red block under it, which indicates that the player got that one wrong. The broken block is repaired by replacing the white glass.

The Code

The first version of Coordinates Game code was completed in July. I didn’t like it because on rare occasions weird things occurred that I didn’t understand. For example,

  1. Sometimes. towards the end of the game the on-white-glass event stopped firing and would not restart. No matter how much glass I broke, no event. I put many say-blocks in the program so that I was absolutely sure there was no explainable reason for this to occur. I still don’t know why this happened and I could not reproduce the problem outside my program.
  2. My original program did repairs asynchronously in a forever loop. On rare occasions, this interfered with game play. I eventually understood how this rare thing happened. To fix it,  I had to give up asynchronous repairs. This turned out wonderfully, as the resulting code is totally reliable and much faster. How great is that?

I changed and changed and changed the design as well as then code to make it more understandable and reliable. I did thought experiments, had nightmares and awakened with new ideas that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. I trashed large sections of the code and started over again and again. My 6-weeks on-and-off effort was rewarded. Now the program has no anomalies, at least none that I have found after playing the game many times.

The figure below shows all the code for the Coordinates Game. Starting on the left is the initialization code. Towards the middle is the code that posts coordinates. Moving right is the on-broken events that triggers processing of a player’s answer. To the right is the code that makes repairs.

all code with labels

run on-chat command

This on-chat command is how the player starts the program. It does the following:

  1. Moves the player to a new, pristine location and sets the origin variable.
  2. Calculates the opposing corners of the grid as { -5 -5 } to { +5 +5 } that will be used for building the grid.
  3. Sets the print position where the coordinates and score sill be displayed.
  4. Launches the on-chat command brackets to print the brackets within which coordinates will be displayed. Because it launches an on-chat command instead of using a function, the program continues while the brackets are being drawn.
  5. Launches the on-chat command compass to draw a simple compass while the program continues to run.
  6. Calls the function canvas to build a grid.
  7. Initializes the counts of right and wrong answer to zero.
  8. Calls a function to flash between { X Z } and { E S } to remind the player that X is East and Z is South.
  9. Calls a function to initialize the available-positions-list.
  10. Launches an on-chat command to post the first position coordinates. Because of using the on-chat command instead of a function, after launching the on-chat, the program continues and exits.
  11. At this point nothing happens until the player breaks a block, hopefully, corresponding to the correct answer.

run code

Display  New Position Coordinates

This on-chat command run asynchronously and performs the following functions:

  1. Calls a function to get a random grid position from those that have not been used; that is, is available.
  2. If all position have been used, the on-chat command end is launched to post the score and end the game.
  3. If an unused position was found, the answer position is calculated as origin, which is  the position at the center of the grid, plus the available position, which is a position of the form { X 0 Z }, where X and Z are each a  value between -5 and +5. This is more fully explained in the section following this one. The variables answer_X and answer_Z are the X and Z coordinates or the answer position, respectively.
  4. Prepares the coordinates for printing in the correct location by putting a space in front positive coordinates. The space occupies the space that is occupied by a minus sign in negative coordinates.
  5. Increments nPrints, which is used to select the color of block used to print the next coordinates. The color oscillates so that there is no confusion during the time when one coordinate is being replaced with a new one.
  6. Launches the two on-chat commands that prints the two coordinates at the same time. If this were done with a single print, it would be irritatingly slow.

postNewCoordinate

Available-Positions List

The list of available positions is key for keeping track of which grid positions have not yet been used. There were other more convoluted ways of doing this, but using a position list — an undocumented feature in MakeCode for Minecraft —  is neat. Usually, a coder should not use undocumented features of a language, but at 76 years of age, I can do anything I want. Since in JavaScript, lists of positions is allowed, I trust the makers of MakeCode will not eliminate the feature.

The function has an outer loop corresponding to the X coordinate of a position and an inner loop corresponding to Z. Each position { X 0 Z } is added to the list. { X 0 Z } is a world position; that is, each coordinate is just a number that can be added to origin to get a world position of a block on the grid. Each position added to the list is of the form { X 0 Z }, where X and Z are each a  value between -5 and +5.

init array code

The get available position function does the following:

  1. Checks the length of the available positions list. If the length is 0, meaning there are no positions available, it sets the Boolean variable availableFound to false and exists; otherwise, it continues at the next step.
  2. Picks a random position from the list as the variable availablePosition and removes it from the list.
  3. Sets availableFound to true and exits.

get available code

Process on-broken events

When a player breaks a white or cyan block on the grid, events are triggered that call the breakCommon function, which does the following:

  1. If the variable answerPosition has not yet been set, the function repairs the broken block and exits.
  2. If the block at the answer position is air, the answer is correct; otherwise not. I think this is sneaky or perhaps I mean clever, but I wouldn’t want to brag.
  3. For correct answers, the block at the answer position as well as the one below it are replaced with green blocks.
  4. For incorrect answers, the block at the answer position as well as the one under it, are replaced with red blocks. But before that, the block above the answer position flashes green a few times to indicate where the correct answer is. The wrong white block broken by the user, is left as air until repairs are done in the last step of this function.
  5. Before the on-chat command is launched to post coordinates of a new position on the grid, the function pauses one second to give the player a chance to view the current position coordinates at the same time as the corresponding block turns green or red.
  6. Finally, a function is called to do repairs, which replaces the air block, which was  left by a wrong answer, with a white block.

break code

Repairs

The do_repairs function runs every time a white or cyan block is broken; that is, an answer is given to the displayed position question. Repairs are needed when the player breaks a block that is not the correct answer. The first replace block  in the function fixes that. Also, on rare occasions, the flashing green block above the correct answer is left as a green block, not air as it should have been. The second replace assures that all blocks above the grid are air. The last step is to set the origin block, which might have been changed by mistake or broken as a correct answer to grid position { 0 0 }.

do repairs

Besides wrong answers, players make other mistakes when breaking things; for example, a player might break a grass block next to the grid. Or, a player might just be plain ornery, breaking things to see what happens. The remaining repair routines run in response to events when something is broken by a player that should not have been either by mistake or orneriness. The following should not be broken:

  • green blocks
  • red blocks
  • axis market blocks (white carpet)
  • grass blocks

When these blocks break, the associated on-broken event makes the needed repairs. How cool is that?

fix red and green

axes markers

repair grass

Code Requires a Flat World

This code assumes a flat world such as that described in MakeCode for Minecraft Sandbox World: Make It Flat and Simple.

Get the Code

Coordinates Game code is shared on Code Connection at this URL

https://makecode.com/_8vKbsj7diit1

To get and use the code, follow these steps.

Click the Import button import button , which is upper right in the Code Connection window just below the banner. This will open the window shown below.
Import choices

Click the Import URL button Import URL, which is on the right, to open the window shown below.

Import Copy link

Paste the URL supplied for the program you want to use in the space under the text “Copy the URL …”
import url with url

Click the Go ahead! button go ahead button.

The next window you will see will be the MakeCode window with the code downloaded from the URL. At this point, you can treat it like any other code, e.g., run it, save it locally, modify it, publish your changes or whatever else your heat desires.

We have tested several other methods of downloading the code using the URL, for example, pasting the URL in a browser. No joy. For more detailed instruction see our post How to Use Shared MakeCode on Microsoft Code Connection for Minecraft.

More Grandma’s Chickens 2.0: A Makecode for Minecraft Game

 

Grandma’s Chickens is a game in which the player kills as many chickens as possible racing against the lightning strikes that may kill  chickens  and ocelots that may  eat them before the player can score a kill. Also, lightning might strike the fence making a hole through which chickens can escape.

A cowardly (or impatient) player will choose to use the sword, which is provided in the player inventory. In this case, chickens are killed with a single strike and the fence and ground will not be destroyed accidently. A more difficult version is to use the hand rather than the sword. In this case, it takes a few strikes to kill each chicken and it is frustratingly easy to accidently make holes in the fence or ground. During all this action, the score is updated in the sky. The game can be varied using the on-chat arguments for the size of the fence, the number of chickens and the number of ocelots.

Field GrandmasChickens

Strategy for the Design of the Grandma’s Chickens Game

The strategy for building Grandma’s Chickens was to spawn chickens and ocelots at random positions inside a wooden fence with the player at the center. The player can start killing chickens while they are being  spawned. The on-chicken-killed event keeps score and every few kills randomly spawns a lightning bolt at a random position inside and including the fence. If lightning strikes the fence, a hole is burned in the fence through which chickens can escape. When a chicken is killed, the score is updated by the on-chicken-killed event and printed in the sky.

The Code for Grandma’s Chickens

The key code is the on-chat command “run” and the on-chicken-killed event.

The steps for then on-chat command “run” and described in the following paragraphs.

Step 1: Set the global variable origin, which will be where the west-north corner of the fence is positioned.

Step 2: Store the arguments in global variables– nBLocksPerFenceSide, nChickens and nOcelots. Check the variables for allowed values, switching to defaults if needed. Say these values before and after the validity checks to be sure there is not a problem, like the one described in a MakeCode for Minecraft on Chat Command Arguments Problem (Bug?). Notice that if no arguments are given — “run” — the values are all zero and the defaults are used.

GrandmasChickes Code 1
Grandma’s Chickens Part 1 of 4

Step 3: Calculate fence parameters including the west-north corner (same as origin), the opposing east-south corner  and the center. If the argument for the number of blocks per side is even, increase it d by 1 so that it is odd. This enables an exact center block for the fence; that is, the center block has the exact same number of blocks on the left, right, in front and behind. Yes, I realize that this is being a bit too meticulous. It’s a programmer thing.

GrandmasChickes Code 2

Grandma’s Chickens Run —  Part 2 of 4

Step 4: Move the player to just outside the fence so she will not be in the way. Yes, I know that this is probably not necessary.

Step 5: Build the fence according to the previously calculated parameters.

Step 6: Call the function makeEastPointerFromOrigin, which helps the programmer visualize the fence construction.

Step 7: Give the player a sword to provide the option of striking chickens with a more powerful weapon than just the hand. Using a sword makes the game easier to play, but personally, I prefer the more difficult version using the hand.

Step 8: Initialize the score to zero and print it in the sky.

GrandmasChickes Code 3

Grandma’s Chickens Run —  Part 3 of 4

Step 9: Set the boundaries for spawning chickens and ocelots one block inside the fence. Spawn the number of chickens and ocelots specified by the global variables nChickens and nOcelots, which were set to the values passed in the on-chat arguments or to the default values if on-chat had no arguments or were invalid values.

GrandmasChickes Code 4

Grandma’s Chickens Run —  Part 4 of 4

Grandmas chickens on start On start initializes the values for the global variables. Here it was automatically generated by MakeCode as JavaScript statements. 

An essential part of the Grandma’s Chickens game is the on-animal-chicken-killed event, which  is run when a chicken is killed by the player. Each time the event is triggered, 1 is added to the score and the score is printed in the sky. A random number is picked from the sequence 0, 1, 2. If the random number is 1, a lightning -bolt projectile is spawned at or inside the fence. The number 1 is arbitrary and could have been any of the three number 0, 1 or 2. It simply enables a 1 in 3 chance of the lightning striking.  If the lightning hits the fence, it burns a hole in the fence through which chickens and ocelots can escape. The lightning also sets fire to the grass, which can be annoying when one is in a panic to kill chickens.

Grandmas Chickens kill
grandmas chickens giveswords

The function giveMeSwords first clears the player’s inventory and then gives the player a sword that can be used to kill chickens more efficiently than just the hand. A function was chosen to implement this code rather than coding it inline, so that other items could be easily added to the player inventory to experiment with the game without cluttering the main code. For example, I have considered providing fence blocks so that the player can repair the fence.

Don’t Worry About the Chickens

I know you might be concerned about all those chickens being killed. Don’t be. They were born to be eaten by the hungry folks in the Minecraft world. On the humble farm where I grew up, chickens were feast food. I can still remember the anticipation of a festive meal when my mother was in the yard plucking the chicken feathers from a fine bird that my father had just killed.

Of course, We Are Working on Grandma’s Chickens 3.0

We have lots of ideas for making Grandma’s Chickens even more interesting and fun. We hope you have some, too. We would very much like for you to build on our code.

Get the Code

Grandma’s Chickens 2.0  code is shared on Code Connection at this URL

 https://makecode.com/_RFUKHraM7Tbp

To get and use the code, follow these steps.

Click the Import button import button , which is upper right in the Code Connection window just below the banner. This will open the window shown below.
Import choices

Click the Import URL button Import URL, which is on the right, to open the window shown below.

Import Copy link

Paste the URL supplied for the program you want to use in the space under the text “Copy the URL …”
import url with url

Click the Go ahead! button go ahead button.

The next window you will see will be the MakeCode window with the code downloaded from the URL. At this point, you can treat it like any other code, e.g., run it, save it locally, modify it, publish your changes or whatever else your heat desires.

We have tested several other methods of downloading the code using the URL, for example, pasting the URL in a browser. No joy. For more detailed instruction see our post How to Use Shared MakeCode on Microsoft Code Connection for Minecraft.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds in MakeCode for Minecraft

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was a popular 1960s Beatles tune.  Before you ask, yes, I am old enough to have been there. The screenshot below is from a little MakeCode chat command using a print block with text “Lucy” and diamonds to do the printing. 

lucy

lucy code 2There are a few things we can learn from this code about blocks, positions and directions.

Which blocks (e.g., diamonds, grass) can be used to write in the sky?. Change diamonds to sunflowers. What happens? Lava? Water?

The position  position  means 50 blocks east, 5 blocks high and 0 blocks south relative to the player; that is, from where the player is standing.

The phrase along gives the direction to print. I think of the player as facing east, so printing along South means printing left to right. What happens if the along phrase is changed to each of the following:

  •  along north ?
  • along west ?
  • along east ?

Keeping Score in the Sky

field scoreIn Grandma’s Chickens, I used a similar  function to keep score of how many chickens the player zapped.

run

The “run” chat command  is for testing the function printScore

The first say block signals that  the program is actually running. The last say block indicates when it is complete.  Why are these needed? Sometimes when “run” is typed into the command line, the program does not start. This may be because  start button , the start button, was not pressed. Other times are more mysterious, but I have found that when repeated attempts to start a program fail, restarting Minecraft and MakeCode solves the problem once again proving the old adage “When in doubt, reboot.”

In the chat command “run,” the original player world position is saved in the variable “center.”  This allows the player to move while the program is running. This is desirable because the view of the what’s happening in Minecraft is often better if the player is allowed to move to a different vantage point rather than being required to stay in one place because all positions are relative to the player and change as the player moves.

The repeat loop in “run” calls the printScore function 5 times to test randomly selected values for score..

printScore Func

The function printScore performs as its name indicates. It first converts the number variable score to text, which is required by the print block. The say block outputs the score to the log window.

In the print block, by joining txtScore with trailing  spaces, the digits of any longer number that had been previously printed to the same location are erased.

Pay particular attention to the manner in which position is specified by the at phrase. The position is not specified as relative to the current player world positon but, rather, as relative to the original player world position, which was saved in the variable  “center.” Notice that printScore coord is a world position, not relative. The print position is center X plus 40, center Y plus 5, center Z minus 5. The value of these coordinates were determined by trying various numbers to find a visually appealing  positon.

Demo of App and Code

Get the Code

The code for Print Score and Lucy is shared at https://makecode.com/_HpX7bY2ehM3H . It can be downloaded and run in MakeCode for Minecraft.