My country, your country – Week 4

Just like last week and every other week before that, students were supposed to simply tap the server inside the Minecraft PE app and enter their world. Only this time the app returned an error saying that the server is down and must be updated to the game’s latest version in order to work. We were all caught by surprise and nearly panicked because first, we did not know how to actually update the server and second, there was no guarantee that the world would remain intact after the update.

At some point during the past week Minecraft PE received an update from the App Store. These updates are quite often (every two to four weeks) and usually aim at fixing in-game bugs and introducing new tools to the game experience. From the time when we were setting up the server by following the instructions available at the PocketMine forums, not once did we encounter any info concerning the server update or how do game updates can alter the save files. One big disadvantage of PocketMine being an open-source software is the fact that instructions and solutions to problems are scattered all over the forums, in the form of questions or comments, and can be quite difficult to find what you are looking for, especially when looking for specific files. Fortunately, by doing a simple search in Google, we were able to find a Youtube video explaining how to upgrade PocketMine to the latest version, which included clear instructions as well as the installation files themselves in the description. In less than thirty minutes we had the newest version installed and the server up and running, but not before backing up the previous server version just in case things went wrong.

Finally, the students were able to join the server again without any problems and resume their work. Unfortunately, because of the update some minor visual bugs appeared inside the game, mainly in the texture and skins of some block types. That being said, it was not anything serious and could be easily fixed by replacing the broken blocks with new ones.

Lesson learned. Always keep the server updated to the same version as Minecraft PE.

As for work, up north a group of students went back to building the waterfall situated in the Geres National Park. Mountains and waterfalls are some of the most challenging projects a user can undertake, because they have to be made of gradually smaller layers of randomly placed blocks, or else they end up looking like pyramids. Nevertheless, our mountainous waterfall was starting to look more and more like a real one and less like a waterpark slide. In addition, traditional stone granaries, typical of the area, started appearing close to the bank of the Douro River.

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Before and after.
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A traditional granary for storing corn, usually found in the north of Portugal.

The Alentejo area was expanded even more and new structures were added to it.

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A small chapel in the middle of the village’s square.

One student decided to add a new area to the world, a small city situated in the center of Portugal called Évora.

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The Templo de Diana, also known as the Roman Temple of Évora.

Castles are quite the usual site in Portugal. They come in various sizes and can be found in almost every city (and almost every village too). One small group of students decided to build a standard castle in a small village situated between Porto and Lisbon, so that they can understand what goes behind the construction process and eventually try and build one of the more famous, real-life castles.

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Minecraft is described as a “sandbox” game, and  building castles fit this description perfectly.

Back in the capital things were looking very promising. The “Fado” traditional restaurant together with “Mine” Hotel were completed, and a boat was added in Tagus River. On the other side of the river one group began building one of the most recognizable monuments of Lisbon, the Cristo Rei Sanctuary.

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Restaurant and hotel are both open for business.
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The Cristo Rei Sanctuary overlooking the city of Lisbon.

Even though the students had less time to work because of the server issues in the beginning, they still managed to conclude some of their unfinished projects and initiate new ones.

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My country, your country – Week 4

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