Pseudo Elephant Trials is a puzzle map designed specifically for two players. The puzzles in the map are crafted in such a way that teamwork with your partner becomes absolutely crucial! There are two main different types of puzzles in this map, the first type consist of spatial puzzles: in these you are given a specific tool with which you can navigate the environment, and then it is up to you and your friend to figure out how to do so. The second type of puzzle is more classical, here you are presented with a set of rules and a specific goal. You and your friend must use your critical thinking skills in order to solve it. Often in the map we tried combining these two different types of puzzles in order to create an engaging and interesting experience. Furthermore, we have hidden easter eggs throughout the map for you to find, these, as well as the main puzzles throughout the map, are accompanied by a set of 25 different custom advancements!
At first inspection it might seem like we already knew what we were doing even before starting the map, but in reality we had absolutely no idea on how minecraft commands worked, except of course some of the very basic ones like the /tp, /time, or /give. We actually began by creating the map as a joke project, we just wanted to make something cool and short that our friends on the server could play and enjoy, furthermore we were both really interested in the potential that minecraft commands could have, so with that inspiration we decided to begin what we believed was going to be a super short map titled “Puzzle”.
After a little bit of building and playtesting it ourselves, we realized that the map felt very stale and underwhelming, which is exactly what we didn’t want! We wanted our map to feel responsive and creative, we wanted it to have a more dynamic experience and this required us to step up our redstone, and command game, and so we did.
We started by learning the three different types of command blocks that existed and the features that made each of them unique and useful.
At first we only used the Impulse and Chain command blocks because we thought that the Repeat blocks would decrease the performance of the game drastically as the commands would be running in a loop with no stopping condition. Turns out that is not the case, you can use repeat blocks as much as you want, most likely they won’t lag your game unless you have A LOT of them or you are running performant heavy commands like spawning 10000 particles every tick, which we don’t recommend. These blocks were the foundation of our map, with them we were able to do some pretty cool things which otherwise would have been impossible to create, for example:
Eventually we realized that Repeat command blocks were super valuable and important, they allowed us to check for specific conditions at every tick of the game, and if the condition happened to be true, we could then execute a chain of commands. This method directly parallels an If Statement, which is an incredibly powerful tool. In order to create these conditions we had to learn what we think is one, if not the most, important piece of knowledge when it comes to complex minecraft commands. Selectors and NBTs (Named Binary Tags, formally known as Data Tags). An example of a basic command with an NBT goes as follow:
The command above would translate into english as the following: Give one apple to all the players that are in adventure mode and whose hunger level is exactly 10 (half the hunger bar). After a while of messing around with these new discoveries, and haven created about ⅜ of the map, we started noticing some drawbacks for the use of command blocks:
Little did we know at the time, but there was actually a “miracle” solution to all of our complaints, and that solution was a Datapack. Datapacks consist of many different things, you can add your own minecraft recipes, create custom advancements, even alter the trades that a villager can have. With all of this and more we were specifically interested in one particular aspect of the Datapack, the ability to create your own functions. Functions in minecraft basically consist of a lot of different individual minecraft commands, all being run consecutively, in order, and in the same game tick. An interesting way of thinking about them would be to imagine a list that contains all of the individual different Minecraft commands. So when you open the list and start reading it (you call/run the function) you are forced to read each of the elements contained by the list in consecutive order. This in term executes all of the commands in the list, allowing the user to create incredibly complex interactions!
With datapacks we were able to build our logic a lot faster, and also find and fix our mistakes in a more efficient manner. Moreover thanks to tools like the Vscode extensions Data Pack Helper Plus (MCF), as well as the lack of original limitations imposed by the command blocks, working on making our ideas a reality became easier than ever before. It is thanks to this new toolbox that we managed to create things like the ice sliding puzzle in our map.
Overall datapacks are, at least to our consideration, the most powerful and useful tool that a vanilla map creator can utilize in their favor. If there is anything you should take home from this post, it’s that. By the end of the Map we learned that scoreboards and armor stands are also insanely important and their aid in developing complex systems is sometimes underestimated. Scoreboards are basically Minecraft’s version of variables, as you can use them to store numeric information and also do simple mathematical operations with them. Armor stands on the other hand are entities that can be invisible and can also hold items, which gives them a lot of creative functionality. Using these two new pieces of knowledge we managed to implement a timer using the scoreboard system and a reset-spawn mechanic that would teleport the player to the last feasible location with the use of armor stands.
In general, the learning process throughout our time making the map was incredibly slow. It took close to 2 months of work to complete Pseudo Elephant Trals, and everyday we would learn something new. Our learning often had a very selective focus, which helped us progress much faster, as we would only learn the things that were immediately required for us to properly construct our idea. More frequently than not though, the knowledge learned was generic, which meant we could re-apply what we had learned into different areas of the map.
We hope that this post has inspired you, in some way or another, to give minecraft commands a shot! They are incredibly friendly, and there is absolutely no way with which you can permanently break the game with them, so don’t be scared! We want to invite you to play with them! See what you can create, and what you can not! What should you work on next in order to accomplish that harder goal? It’s a slow process, so don’t expect to be a command master overnight. With that said the following is a list of great resources that you can use to ease your learning as well as your creation experience. A bunch of these resources will generate very complex commands in a matter of seconds, so have fun!
The short answer is this: a lot of work and time. But the second short answer is: using World Edit. In case you are unfamiliar with World Edit, it is basically a plugin/mod that greatly enhances the creative mode experience that Vanilla Minecraft provides. It allows the user to select areas in game and then add thousands of blocks with a simple command. Furthermore it helps you create perfect shapes like spheres or giant rectangles, or even copy and paste things within a world! We mainly used World Edit to create the enclosures that made up the buildings, and to add some block randomness to the walls and floors. Once our basic structure was built we would add all the small details by hand. Although World Edit might seem intimidating at first sight, as it has a lot of options and definitely a large learning curve, getting something out of it is actually surprisingly simple. Truth be told we used a very limited selection of the commands that World Edit adds to the game. Out of the 50+ commands probably the ones we used the most were //fill, //replace, //copy and //paste. Only with these commands you can reduce your building time dramatically, and also easily increase the magnitude of your builds.
Still, there is plenty more that you can create using other cool World Edit commands. For example there is a brush tool that is used for terraforming or “painting” the world. Or the //generate command that lets you create amazing structures out of mathematical expressions. Overall this tool is a must and if you like creative mode you should totally check it out. If you are interested on trying out world edit for yourself the following resources should prove useful:
If you feel overwhelmed and maybe think that creating a map is borderline impossible or really hard. We recommend that you just jump into a creative world and start playing around. Challenge yourself and try to make your thoughts a reality! Learning the necessary things as you go will be a very fun and enriching experience, and you will probably end up with something amazing if you persevere. We wish you luck on your next adventures, and we hope that you decide to learn something that you didn’t know before! Have an excellent day/night/existence! If you would like us to make a tutorial on a specific subject related to minecraft commands, or if you feel stuck with something that you just can’t understand, don’t hesitate to contact us here or you can leave a comment on one of our youtube videos!