Last night I bought my son a planet.
How cool is that? I bought a planet for my son.
I shopped online, got a really good deal on a planet, brand new, nice solar system, fresh unexplored territory for he and his friends to play around on.
Even better, in this brave new world, I am God.
My son loves Minecraft, as do many of his classmates. If anyone knows this it’s you folks, single player can be cool but sharing what you’ve done with your friends online? Force multiplier of sheer awesome.
Some of the kids don’t play the same version of Minecraft the Cub does. Some are on the tablet version (PE) and others are on a trial version instead of the full thing. Still, four or five of them are on the PC and could join in on multiplayer if their parents permitted.
Before unleashing my infinite power and creating a new planet, I had to consider what my goal as a parent was in this.
What I came up with was;
1) A single place for them to play together.
2) Easy to setup/access for the computer illiterate parents.
3) A gated community for our children – no strangers AT ALL.
4) Controlled environment – game rules set to limit abusive behaviors.
5) Security – hardware and software protected from external hacking.
6) Persistent and independant – the game world exists 24/7, independant of my computer hardware or internet connection.
I started messing around with creating my own server world on my computer, biggest benefit being it’s free (assuming you own a licensed account for Minecraft) but I quickly ran afoul of points 5 and 6. If I’m running it on my computer, it’s always got to be on in the background. Also, ports need to be opened, forwarded, protected, etc. IP needs to be permanent instead of dynamic, all that stuff.
I set it up anyway, checked and it worked GREAT for the Cub and I to play within our home network. If it was just going to be a server for us to do multiplayer on it was perfect. To stabilize and secure it so others could log in? A bit more than I wanted to get into.
So instead of creating a world, let’s sub-contract. I went looking to buy a planet.
I checked a few server providers, and found MCProHosting. For about $2.50 a month, I could buy my own planet. Well, rent. But that included mineral rights, so it’s all good. We’ll strip mine that sucker and never look back.
Real estate has never been cheaper!
So yeah, I did that. I bought a planet for mah boy for his birthday. What did you get YOUR kid for their birthday, a PONY? Ah hah hah hah hah haaaaa. Losers.
What I found after dropping some dough on a discworld was that even for someone like me that has no clue whatsoever about setting up a Minecraft server, they make it pretty easy to take over possession of a pristine planet.
I looked at the options, and chose the $6 a month plan. The $2.50 limited you in three ways; overall Mb, only 5 simultaneous players online and vanilla Minecraft 1.7.4, no mods allowed.
For $6 a month, I get to have up to 18 players on the world at a time, more than enough to cover the Cub and his friends. Also, while it’s set up as a vanilla Minecraft 1.7.4 world right now, I have the option of either having MCPro install some mod packs for me, or I can select and upload my own .jar files and plugins.
Best of all, the world is a true gated community. You can set up your whitelist so only the player names you specify are allowed to log in. The Cub can give his classmates the IP address, but unless they give us their player names and we include them on the whitelist, they cannot come in.
This isn’t like a ventrilo or mumble server on your local realm, where if you give out the info for pugs in a raid you’ve got to change the password or wonder who the heck these strange people are. Set it up with a whitelist and everyone is forbidden access unless specifically invited in.
I like that.
Access is denied! Papers please? Papers? You got badges? You DO need to show me your stinking badges!
The last thing I did was go through the world configuration settings with the Cub before he went to bed. I ran down every option to ask him how he wanted it set up.
He got to choose that it be set to creative mode, that flying be allowed, that monsters CAN spawn but it’s set to easy difficulty so there will be SOMETHING to fight but not too hard.
And, at my very strenuous suggestion, there is NO PVP allowed. in the immortal words of Barney Fife, NIP IT IN THE BUD.
We both logged into the world before and after our changes. It was good, spawn point next to a lake, I got blown up by a creeper or two before we changed it to creative and the Cub laughed at me, but all in all a lovely little world.
Now comes the God part.
Before we changed the settings and made it a creative world, we were poking around on survival going “gee, it worked!”
I saw that while I was logged into the server admin panel, I could click on active players. I selected my son, and it gave me a range of options, including giving him any items in any quantity I wanted. I could also teleport him around or summon things to him. Basically, I had unlimited power over him without the itty bitty living space normally associated with it.
I tested it, selected a standard bed, quantity one, and ‘gifted’ it to him. Poof, it was in his inventory.
Suddenly, I can understand why some of these videos the Cub watches have interesting sub plots of the server admin whispering players on open multiplayer worlds and messing with them.
I’m very glad I am the admin. Not that my son would necessarily abuse the power when playing with his friends… but then again, I certainly would have when I was his age.
Are you kidding me?
If I could have summoned an Ender Dragon and dropped it on my friends’ heads when we were ten, you can damn well bet I would have.
The only difference between then and now is if I were to do it now, I’d FRAPS the results and post it to YouTube.
Cassie made very nice printed out cards with the server IP address on it, our phone number and email address, and put a note on them asking parents to call or email us for details so I can explain what it is we’re doing, and what the situation would be for their children while playing.
I hope we get some responses. It would be very cool for even one or two of the kids to begin playing with the Cub after school.
Especially since I’d be able to see what kinds of things they create when they put their minds together.
I am almost as excited as he is to see how it all turns out!