Minecraft: Tectonicus

May 14 2011

I recently ran across a reference to a Minecraft mapping tool called Tectonicus. It sounded interesting, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Actually, to be honest, I was a little nervous about giving it a try: discovery is a huge part part of the fun in Minecraft, so maybe I’d be ruining that? As it turns out, I didn’t have to worry about that, though: the surface view of my map is remarkably bland. Here’s what the area around my spawn point looks like in my map, along with a zoomed in view of the house: both of them are very much missing the character of the world and its buildings.

My spawn point and surrounding areas

Zooming in near my house

Part of what is missing is, of course, the caves. Which you could see some of on the edge of the map that it generated: here’s a picture of one edge of the VGHVI map.

Caves on the side of the VGHVI map

That picture does a great job conveying the romance of Minecraft to me: huge networks waiting to be found underneath, complete with lava! So I poked around and discovered that Tectonicus has a view that only shows the caves. Here’s what it looks like on the same portion of my map as the first picture:

Caves near my spawn point

Which is interesting in its own way: you can see my branch mine, you can see some of the stairs I built (especially if you zoom in: the tool presents a great Google Maps interface), and you can see that there’s a huge clump of caverns there, some of which I’ve explored but some of which I almost certainly haven’t, and which seem to reach all the way down to where my second house will be.

Still, the excitement really isn’t there: I need to be able to look inside buildings and to view the scenery from different angles and perspectives. I guess what I really want is a flying mod of some sort; though how much I really want that is debatable, I like walking from place to place and I like discovering.

After playing around with my own map, I switched over to the VGHVI map. That turned out a good deal better: after the first session, we’ve been doing most of our building above ground. Here’s a view of all of our major structures: it turns out that my minecart tracks actually make a nice ring around that area. (And I’m glad to learn where the bathhouse is!) Below that is a more zoomed in view near the temple, including some of the ivory towers and the train station and underwater tunnel that we’re building.

The major structures in the VGHVI world

The area near the temple

And, finally, here’s a view of almost all of the VGHVI map. Which raises some interesting questions: what’s that strange bit off to the north? Who put a pool of lava on top of a mountain there? It looks like we’ll have to build our underwater tunnel quite a ways before it reaches land, but that will be a glorious accomplishment in its own way: that actually makes me rather excited about continuing it.

Almost all of the VGHVI map


2 responses so far

  1. It’s been a while since you posted this, but I recommend checking out Worldedit (http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic/13807-mcedit-minecraft-world-editor-updated-for-mc-beta-165/#entry265023). It’s a 3rd party program that lets you open up world files and view them. It’s meant to be used to actually edit the world, but you get a full 3D view of the world and you can fly around, which is what you were looking for. You don’t have to -actually- edit if you don’t want to. ;D

    Just point it to the level.dat file when it prompts you and you’re all set!

  2. Thanks for the pointer, I’ll give it a look!