Aaron has been busy reworking some of the automated farms in our world. He worked out the Blaze farm in fairly short order, but the zombie pigmen turned out to be a bigger challenge.
With the 1.9 update mobs don’t seem to spawn on mine cart tracks anymore and seem reluctant to even stand on them (good news for rail travel!), so a system that was based on scooping them up in carts to dump them to their death… and the dumping bit broke as well… seemed problematic.
And then there was a lack of spawns as well.
So Aaron undertook a major redesign and construction effort.
First he needed to go higher, so the spire in the are above the nether roof grew taller.
Then he changed the harvest model, going from a passive method to one based on zombie pigman aggro. For this he constructed, at the top of the tower, a large multi-level platform on which pigmen could spawn, wide enough to allow for the full aggro radius range.
To start the harvesting, the player stands on a spot in the center of the platform and shoots an arrow at a nearby pigman, causing all of the pigmen in the area to go aggro. As they try to reach the player, they are channeled into a single file path that leads them to fall to the death, fooled by the presence of a trap door.
Upon seeing it for the first time, I was struck by the image of the pigmen queued up to be fed into the harvester. It was like a scene from the Minecraft version of The Wall.
As a further benefit of this new method, as the user stands there, experience globes from the slain pigmen float up the shaft and level you up.
As a method of farming gold, it was an astonishing upgrade from Aaron’s previous system. And when you are done you just head down the ladder and out of aggro range and soon the pigmen forget out you. Then you can pop up and collect the loot from Aaron’s sorting machine.
The whole thing works so well that… it crashed the server a couple of times.
It puts such a strain on MC Pro’s system that it falls behind, eventually exceeding the maximum tick count delay of 60,000ms.
We have been with MC Pro Hosting for about six months now and, while the customer service has been better than Netherbyte, the server performance has been much worse. Getting errors about falling behind when running a very active zombie pigman farm is one thing, but I see those sorts of errors in the log when simply riding a mine cart or when traveling on foot somewhere.
These problems are especially noticeable during prime time hours, leading me to believe that we are sharing a CPU with one or more rather active Minecraft servers.
So, as well as adapting to the 1.9, I have been looking into a new hosting solution. My initial plan was to go with the Mineserver hardware I backed as part of their Kickstarter, however they have been having technical issues, so it isn’t ready yet.
Barring that, I am looking into Mojang’s Minecraft Realms hosting service. Back when I was first looking for a host, they were noted for being safe and stable, but expensive. They have since gotten serious about being competitive, so their prices are way down from before.
So that is where we stand, rich in gold thanks to Aaron, but looking for a more stable host.