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My path to learning redstone

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avatar _Phrozenbit_
Level 20 : Expert Princess
66


´╗┐Hello everyone

I'd like to write a little about my journey to become a redstone engineer. I think that describing my path to learn redstone could help Minecraft players in their own path to become a redstone engineer. I'll briefly write about when I first discovered redstone, explaining what I did to learn the basic blocks and items. Then I'll write about how I got to implement the things I've learned to build contraptions that helped me play the game differently. Last but not least I'll write a bit about creating logic circuits and more complex redstone devices. Of course everyone learns differently so this method may not work for everyone. Ultimately you'd have to find something that works for you. Onward!

When I first started

I've been playing Minecraft for a very long time, I can remember first playing version 1.8 Beta. That was before the release of Minecraft 1.0! I found some redstone dust while playing in a single player world and thought "what can I do with this redstone dust". I knew that there were blocks like pistons, levers, buttons and that I could put down some redstone dust in a line, but that was about it. I really didn't know anything about redstone back then. So I went to the official minecraft wiki.

Once on the site, I learned the recipies to make pistons and learned how to power lines of redstone with a redstone torch and a lever. From here on I just started to create a lot of "useless" simple little redstone contraptions that didn't do anything useful. For example, I placed a lever on a grass block, attached a redstone wire, and at the end of that I placed that piston I just made. I remember flipping that lever countless times to just marvel at the piston extending and retracting. Glancing over the Minecraft wiki, I found more blocks and items related to redstone such as buttons, doors, trap doors and fence gates. I basically did the same thing as with my piston contraption but I started opening and closing doors many times.. and marveling at that as well of course :D

Good times! I felt as if I had accomplished something, learning a new aspect of Minecraft. Even though my redstone contraptions didn't do anything useful inside the game, I learned that they weren't "useless" after all, in fact they were very useful in teaching me the basic concepts of redstone! I also started thinking about redstone while doing other things such as going out for groceries or cleaning the dishes. Thoughts like "what would happen if I put a block in front of the extending bit of the piston" and "Can a block stick to the extending bit of the piston". These thoughts is what inspired me to start experimenting more and while experimenting I managed to create my first (not so well) hidden chest. This was actually my first redstone contraption. You'd had to place a lever on exactly the right block to get to a chest!

Building practical contraptions

After I learned a little more about how to power blocks with redstone torches and other redstone signal sources things really started to move. During survival gameplay I was figuring out how to keep away all the terrible creatures at night...creepers..mostly the creepers away from my base. I was fed up with them constantly blowing holes in my beautiful box shaped wooden plank bases. I started to design very basic traps just using a pressure plate and 4 doors placed strategically. At first the doors would be open, but when a zombie or a creeper would stand on that pressure plate the doors would slam shut effectively trapping the zombie or creeper. Such a simple redstone device that would trap creatures. When I saw it in action I felt so accomplished, my awesome trap worked! Well, it took a while for a creeper to stand at exactly that spot, but it worked :D

Another day, again while cleaning the dishes, I started thinking about lights. I recently discovered the nether and brought me back some glowstone dust to make glowstone blocks. The annoying thing about glowstone blocks is that the light is always on and were not really a good block to use as a lamp. Then I remembered the sticky piston. It could push and pull back a block. I tried to make something that would pull the block away from the glowstone block and change darkness into light but coulnd't make it work. When I pulled the lever, the piston would extend and make it dark instead of light. That's not how a lamp works! I started experimenting again with redstone torches. I place one redstone torch on top of a block, and a lever on its side. When I flipped the lever, the redstone turned off. I thought "this... this is important" so i continued experimenting. I ran a redstone wire into that same block and removed the lever that was on the side. I took that lever and placed it on another block at the other end of the redstone wire and flipped the lever. Again the torch turned off. And then it dawned on me, I'd created something that's now widely know as an inverter. Whenever the torch is on a unpowered block it remained on, but when the block was powered the torch would turn off. All of a sudden On meant Off! I implemented what I've learned and when I flipped the lever in my again beautiful box shaped wooden plank base, the piston over at my glowstone block would retract instead of extending. I made my first lamp!

More complex redstone devices

It didn't took very long until I noticed a youtube video uploaded by a person who had build something that could add binary numbers together. The idea was that you could input two 8 bit binary values and have the redstone contraption calculate the sum of those two 8 bit inputs. It was a very basic binary adding machine. My interest was peaked and my mind blown. I have a strong interest in computers and logic circuits and wanted to learn about that mind blowing binary adding machine. What?! making computers with redstone?!

I started te learn basic binary. I discovered that when you can turn a redstone torch off, and it's normal state is on you've essentially have a 'one bit binary number'. Because when a redstone torch is 'on' it's basically a '1' and when a redstone torch is 'off' it's basically a '0'. Put 8 of those torches in a row and you have a byte, because 8 bits is one byte. I also started to learn about logic gates built using redstone. I made my first AND logic gate using only three redstone torches and a couple of redstone dust. The idea is, that if you turn off two redstone torches that are connected to one wire, and then invert the signal that's on that wire you effectively create AND logic. Both the blocks which have the torches on top of them have to be powered before the last torch goes on and gives a signal. I know that this my be confusing but it's okay if you forget about my rambling about logic gates and binary.. don't worry

The point is, I started to combine binary with logic gates. And this is where my life changed for months with no end in sight. I started to research actual existing logical circuits and even parts of existing computer processors to figure out how I could build those with redstone in minecraft. It took me about two months and an annoyed girlfriend, but I finally managed to build my first processor (or CPU as it's also know) that could process real data! Inside of Minecraft! My mind was blown again when i figured out how to build actual computer memory with addressing capabilities!

How did I learn redstone

As you can see by now I learned redstone just by experimenting with it and just trying simple things. The Minecraft wiki page helped me out a lot, as well as YouTube videos. It took a long time to get where I am today when building redstone contraptions or devices, but it has been worth it.

I hope you liked reading my short story on how I learned redstone, and hope that this will inspire you to start experimenting yourself. Redstone isn't as difficult as you may think and there are a whole lot of awesome things you can do with it! Literally anything you build gets you further on your path to become a redstone engineer and not one contraption is useless!
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  • Acier
  • Level 40
  • Master Professor
  • December 17, 2018, 6:19 pm
Excellent read
  • _Phrozenbit_
  • Level 20
  • Expert Princess
  • December 18, 2018, 1:33 am
Thanks :)
Great job, writing this!!
  • _Phrozenbit_
  • Level 20
  • Expert Princess
  • December 16, 2018, 10:01 pm
Thanks! :-)

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