Wheather it's a giant building or an enclosed underground city, it was probably planned. Sure, you may have used MineDraft or probably just your paper and pen. But let me tell you folks, it just got a whole lot easier. LankyBrit from reddit has released what he calls the Minecraft structure planner! It's primarily focused on Minecraft and has many new features thanks to the latest update. You can plot your blocks on the grid and see how they turn out in 3D. Now, you may be thinking.. can't I just do this in Minecraft? Sure. If you want to deal with Creepers, Night/Day, falling off cliffs, starting over, and sheeps. The list goes on. LankyBrit just wants to bring you the easiest way to plan your Minecraft projects. Just look below and you'll see all the neat little features this program has.
As I'm a fan of building underwater domes and complexes in Minecraft I decided to create myself a little Java tool to help design them (plus it let me have a little fun learning Java 3D!) I've had a couple of people comment that they've found it useful, so I've decided to share it with the community.
Things you'll need:
Java - I figure you have this already. Either that or you're running Minecraft using Voodoo magic.
Java 3D - You can download the latest 1.5.1 library fromhere
MinecraftStructurePlanner.jar - This is the main application, and can bedownloaded from here. I have it hosted on mediafire.com right now, mainly because I didn't know of anywhere better. If there's a better location to host the jar file, just let me know.
So, what does this thing do? For each structure you want to design, you'll be offered three different views; a 3D display of how the structure currently looks, a plan showing the number of blocks needed for each column of the structure, and a per-layer diagram showing how to build it one layer at a time. The 3D view can be scaled, rotated and translated as you would expect. The plan view lets you click on columns to turn them green/mark them as completed, so that you can keep track of how far your construction efforts have progressed.
Right now, you can design and create 3D displays of these different structures:
Hemispherical Dome - Your standard bio-dome. You can control the radius, the dome rise height, and the height of the dome base (if any.) You can see an example dome planhere and the 3D projection of the domehere. As you can see, this is a pretty big dome, having a radius of 30, a dome rise height of 15, and a base height of 2. If you check the summary panel at the bottom of the display you can see that this dome is 4,737 blocks if hollow, and 32,160 blocks if solid!
Sphere - Giant balls! Specify the radius and off you go.
Domed Roof - This is what I use for connecting corridors, or for rectangular/square buildings with dome style roofs. You can specify the width/depth of the dome building, the dome height, the base height, and whether the dome curve is applied to the x axis, the y axis, or both. You can also choose whether the base is completely square/rectangular, or whether it follows the contours of the dome roof more closely. You can see an example of the planhere, and a 3D representation tastefully constructed out of dirthere.
Bridge - I had a couple of valley's I wanted to span, so I included a bridge designer. You can specify the distance of the span, the width of the bridge, the height of the bridge arch, and the height of the walls on either side of the bridge (if any.) You can also specify whether you want the bridge fully supported or not (no 'diagonal only' step connections allowed.) You can see an example of a bridge planhere, and the 3D projection rendered in a delightful cobblestonehere.
Things to remember: The 3D display was basically an excuse for me to learn the Java 3D API, so there are still a few oddities that I need to sort out there. On opening a view for the first time you'll find yourself zoomed WAY in on the object you're building. Use the mouse wheel to zoom out to a less insane distance. While you have the 3D display selected you can use the arrow keys to rotate around your object, and shift-arrow keys to translate it. As a final note, the code will probably do weird things if you enter weird values into the fields. I haven't implemented any input validation yet.
Things for the future: Next up is a window display that will allow you to overlay a grid onto an image of your choosing. You'll then be able to select various Minecraft materials to create a pixel-art version of the image. I used a hacked together version of the code I'm going to re-write to generatethis pixel art Minecraft creation for my son :)
I hope you enjoy this program/find it useful.
Edit 1: Looks like you're better off goinghere for the Java 3D download. Oracle is behind the times on released versions of this extension library.
Edit 2: Fixed picture cropping issue.
Edit 3: Fixed crappy height-map code. Added per-layer planner. Added sphere.
Edit 4: Added free-form designing. Select the texture you want to use, move the slider to the layer you wish to draw on, and paint away. The 3D Projection tab will show you your design as you progress. Left button will paint the selected texture. Right button will erase. It's still rudimentary, but it works for more complex structures that you wish to try out. I'll also be converting this tab shortly to be the pixel-art editor.Here is an example of a free-form design - layer 4 to be precise. Here is the 3D projection of the full design. Yeah, I never claimed to be an architect :)
and to keep you up-to-date, he posted a release a few hours ago saying:
I've updated the application to include a 'free-form' design tab. You specify how large an area you would like to design in, and how many layers you wish to use.The plan tab is your primary editing window. Just select which texture you wish to use, paint on the grid with the left mouse button, and erase from the grid with the right mouse button. Grid cells filled in the layer below the one you're editing appear light grey just like in the other structure tabs, allowing you to more easily align your layers. Once you're done, pop across to the3D Projection tab to see your design in all its glory. Hey, I never claimed I was an architect!
It's still a little rudimentary - I want to add save/load/print functionality along with importing from the other designer tabs, but it's still fun to play around with!
You can find all the details about downloading and running the application inthis post.
So, what are you waiting for? You know have a program to plan your Minecraft projects and a place to manage them!