James Mead by James Mead

Show and Tell 20

With Chris & I having been abroad quite a bit, this was the first time we’d run a Show & Tell event since December last year. Since we no longer have the luxury of an office, I decided that I’d try my luck hosting the event in a pub. So on 11th May, a select group of four of us met up at The Peasant.


Nicky had been working her way through the tutorial for the Phaser HTML5 game framework. She explained a bit about the framework and showed us the game she’d built which was pretty cool.

It turns out that Nicky is a fan of Tower Defence games and her longer-term goal is to build one, but with aesthetics like (or as good as) those of Monument Valley. She had made a start but had got a bit stuck. We talked a bit about other approaches and frameworks, but I’m not sure we were much help!


Ben explained how the cool kids have moved on from modding Minecraft by patching the JAR file to modifying a vanilla version of Minecraft by entering commands into the multi-player chat window.


In his first demo, he entered a couple of commands so that every time the player jumped a block was summoned to appear immediately underneath its position. In this way he showed how a player could “build” impressive 3D structures simply by moving around and jumping.

Command block

In the next demo he showed how a single command can be associated with a command block. The command can then be activated by the player using Redstone power. He showed us how he’d created a set of command blocks to make some chickens follow the player around.

One command

A command block can only execute a single command, but clever people on the internet have come up with ways to translate a set of commands into a single (very long) command which, when executed, creates a structure including multiple command blocks thereby allowing execution of all the commands.

Ben suggested that this is analogous to macro expansion. These macro command blocks are commonly called “One Command” blocks and examples can be found all over the interwebs. You can see an example of such a block in action in this video.


Ben also told us that Microsoft are now offering Minecraft realms. This makes it easier to setup a multi-player version of the game to play with your friends.


Lastly Ben showed us a selection of games which he and his son had built using Scratch - fun and inventive!


I talked a bit about how I was gradually getting sucked into using Facebook, but that I found the closed nature of the system very depressing. I’d done a bit of investigation into ways I could publish content on my own site and have notifications show up in Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’d come across POSSE - “Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere”, which seemed to fit the bill for sending notifications.

However, I was also wondering whether anyone knew of an easy way to restrict access to the content on my site to specific users (e.g. my Facebook friends). We thought I might just be able to use Facebook Login. More investigation required!

Anyway, that’s all for now. For those who attended, please feel free to improve this write-up via a pull request. Apologies if I got anything wrong!

Until next time,

– James.

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