March - This Month in Minetest (02)

By MisterE

This Month in Minetest

This month, there is big news regarding engine-related side projects. Shadows receive an update, and a couple games get major new features. Last but not least, the blog is becoming official!

Engine News

Where is Minetest lacking? You might be able to think of a few areas, but a big one is the available mapgens. Sure, we have stuff that is as good as Minecraft’s built-in maps: small scale mountains, repetitive landscapes. This is clearly an issue…

Jordach is making a more realistic C++ mapgen. Imagine deep, wide oceans spanning the map; getting lost at sea is a real danger. Small islands dot the expanse. Oceanic trenches yawn in the depths below. Long beaches snake the coastline. On the continents, crags kilometers high scrape the clouds, and the wide, low-lying plains are lightly crinkled by rolling hills, providing excellent building area.

In order to accomplish this, Jordach made a model of the entire map in blender, using the sampled noise sources encoded into images. He was then able to mix the noise sources in blender, designing them to produce the large-scale landscape in real-time. The mixing code was translated from blender to lua, and from lua to C++.

The mapgen is WIP, and will continue development until its ready for an engine PR.

Jordach's Mapgen
Jordach's Mapgen

Another area that we can agree needs improvement is Minetest’s main menu. Zughy and Giova are working on a detailed design for the menu. While they are not actually implementing it (just doing the planning and asset work); there are rumors that someone else is working on actual implementation. Stay tuned, this could go somewhere nice.

Concept art for the main menu redesign, singleplay screen
Concept art for the main menu redesign, singleplay screen

Paradust is trying to port minetest to run in a browser. The demo is playable (YMMV), though there are many bugs. Try seed 2222. Try it online here.

Minetest in Browser
Minetest in Browser

Minetest 5.6 development is underway. After the team re-enabled dynamic shadows, x2048 began improving them. Shadows are now rendered on entities, and and api has been added to allow games to control shadow intensity.

Game News

Earlier this month, AiTechEye added added a new realm to XAenvironment. It contains macroscopic fauna and flora. You can use the game’s unique parkour system to explore among the towering grass and mushrooms, while avoiding being eaten by giant bugs.

In Talas’ ColourHop, there’s a new end-game construction that allows for mass-production of complex structures. It takes much study to figure out, and even more to master. There’s no official release yet, but its “coming soon”.

Two Labs
Two Labs

Mantar is preparing for an Exile release which will add a dye system.

Mod News

Apercy has made an official release of his Ju52 airplane mod. Also, many of his vehicles now have inventories.

Ju52
Ju52

Elceejo is experimenting with new ways to use his Creatura API. The latest product is Spiradilus, a new Boss. It is heavily based on SCP-682. A public release is planned for early April.

wsor has been quietly working on mods in the mt-mods repo, making them game-agnostic. A few recently updated mods are: unified_dyes, basic_materials, steel, and pipeworks. That means that other mods that only depend on those can now be game agnostic as well.

BuckarooBanzai has developed a mod and server software called BlockExchange. It allows you to share and use your builds (schematics) across different worlds. (think: Thingiverse(tm) for Minetest builds) You can browse available builds here, and with the mod installed on singleplayer or on a server, you can download and place builds, or upload new builds.

Block Exchange
Block Exchange

Art and Builds

<img src="/static/blog/2022_March/ai_map.png?raw=true" alt="Lemente made this with imaging and an AI-generated picture.">
Lemente made this with imaging and an AI-generated picture.
<img src="/static/blog/2022_March/MSS_Faraday.png?raw=true" alt=""MSS Faraday: Boldly going above Y = 20000", by BuckarooBanzai You can get the schematic here. ">
"MSS Faraday: Boldly going above Y = 20000", by BuckarooBanzai You can get the schematic here.

In Other News

The Minetest blog is going to be made official! Plans are being worked on to move the blog repository to the Minetest github account and possibly embed the latest posts on the Minetest Website. Stay tuned for changes.