Guides

Here you will find various guides on things that go on with the server. These can range anywhere from what to do as a new player, to commands, and how to build a river properly. This page is always being updated, along with new guides being added. If you would like to add a guide, or see something that should be on this page, please post on the forums.


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As a new player, you should first install the Modpack. Once that is installed and you have successfully joined the server, you should make a forums account. You can ask questions, apply for builder, and join the discussion. You should also check our dynamic map for a overhead view of the whole map.

In game: Once you're in game and on the server there are a few things you should know. Your rank will be guest, that means you cannot build, though you can fly, warp and teleport to other players. As a guest you can look around and explore the world, if you decide you want to build, you should take a look at the different building styles and create your own build in the plot world. Some good commands and hotkeys to know are as follows:

The F9 Key gives you options for the fly mod. You can enable the fly mod with F (for fast flight) and R (for fast run/jump)

The F8 key gives you options for the Better Foliage mod. Many of these optionals are already changed if you joined via the launcher, but if you did not use the launcher, we reccomend you turn 'Rising souls' off.

Pressing C will allow you to noclip around the map. This means you can fly through blocks, if you fly under the map, you will die, so try not to do that.

Management

The project is managed and overseen by a small group who effectively have the same day-to-day duties as normal builders. Their only extra role is to approve builder applications and project applications (see below), and to make sure things are running smoothly. The foremost amongst these is Fornad (the overall project leader), but Overseers have similar duties.

Whitelist and Builder Applications

The project does not have a whitelist, so that anyone can join and look around as a guest (though unable to break blocks). For those who wish to help with building, a system is obviously required for determining a player's building skill.

If a player wants to join ArdaCraft’s team of builders, he or she has to make an application in this forum , in which they answer questions about themselves and the project, as well as providing an Imgur album of screenshots of previous builds. As well as builds from other servers and maps, we expect to see Lord of the Rings–related builds created using our mod blocks and resource pack in this album (if these are not included, the application will not be accepted). These builds should be created in our plotworld (running in a separate world on the server), in which any applicant can claim plots to build on. If an application isn't deemed to be good enough to meet ArdaCraft’s high standards, then the reviewer may set an alternative build to build to see how the applicant copes. If the application is still well below standards, it will be rejected.

Build Process

Given the relatively small number of builders, individual areas are focused on rather than spreading our resources thin. Here is how we go about building:

Style conceptualisation: Firstly, styles (such as the Shire/Bree-land, Arnor, Lindon and so on), are given an inspiration and concepts thread, where they can be developed and figured out. These threads can be found in the Builds category of the forums.

Area planning: First phase: A small group of dedicated people are commissioned make a document summarizing the details related to a specific project. Every project is approached through lore-oriented, historical, architectural, economical and political angles, as well as providing evidence of historical analogies that can be found out in our world’s history. That way, we have a document that to provide us with enough information to start an educated debate on the way our projects should be tackled.

Second phase: After this, areas (such as the Shire, Harlindon, or the Trollshaws) are planned out through community collaboration on the forums with guidance from their respective research documents, with projects (such as cities, towns and villages) marked out within them. These projects are then be made open for application in batches in this thread.

Project applications: In a WesterosCraft-inspired system, an individual builder will then be able to select a project from that thread, come up with concepts for it, and then post a project application thread in this forum in order to lead it on the server.

For example, you might apply to lead a village in the Shire. After researching the relevant lore, you would make an overhead plan of the village using a shot of the dynmap, making sure that individual houses/holes/other buildings have specific purposes (whether it be house, food storage, leather tanner, rope-maker or whatever). You would then come up with a few concepts for it, and post the application. A minimum of 24 hours must pass before any project is accepted, to allow time for comments. Once accepted, the project application thread then becomes the discussion thread for that project.

Something to note here: The project leader has complete authority and creative control over his or her project during its construction (excluding anything insisted upon by Fornad, who retains complete creative control over the whole project – though an insistence of that sort is uncommon, and usually only relates to lore inaccuracies). As a result, those helping out should not be offended if the project leader decides to edit or delete whatever they have built, though they can of course raise their concerns either with the project leader directly or in the discussion thread.

When a project is declared finished by the project leader, it undergoes a review process. This consists of members of the community posting any final thoughts or suggestions for the project before it is declared completed entirely by either Fornad or one of the Overseers.

The general intention of this system is to:

a) Focus on building, and reduce admin/bureaucracy to a minimum

b) Allow as much innovation and creativity as possible to be expressed in the builds, so that quality, detail and individuality remain ArdaCraft's hallmarks.

Interiors are what make up any good build, without them we relinquish all exterior detail that we originally added as it simply doesn’t have any purpose. For example, someone could create a beautiful looking exterior, but when the player attempts to enter the structure, there's no interior to be found. While we do not struggle in this aspect on Ardacraft, the quality of which we build our interiors could be improved in one or more ways.

Purpose

When creating an interior the first and most important factor is purpose. It makes the world seem more alive and gives off the illusion that it would be able to function if it weren't made out of blocks. Adding purpose to your interior can either make or break it, depending on what your building. If you're building something such as a watermill, take into factor the amount of room required to successfully power the mill in real life. I also strongly encourage that researching the profession of whoever lives in your house, not only does it give you a better idea of what rooms to designate to what, but it also provides you with inspiration for what to build. Here's a great example of purpose in the watermill in Hobbiton.

Detail

Perhaps the second most important factor when developing your interior is detail. Without detailing your interior it begins to become bland and mundane. Here are a few scenarios where detailing your interior has a large impact.

Appeal And Time Period

While this category connects to purpose in some ways, there are certain aspects in an interior that keep the server define what time period that we're set in. In terms of Earth history we're in a medieval-esque era, which means that most houses would not own too many books as most of the population would be illiterate, and would not have any expensive colored fabric, (such as purple carpet.) The example's below show the difference between appealing and not appealing, along with what time period the build is set in.

Geomorphology is the scientific study of the origin and evolution of topographic and bathymetric features created by physical or chemical processes operating at or near Earth's surface. Geomorphologists seek to understand why landscapes look the way they do and to understand land-form history and dynamics.

Why do rivers look the way they do?

There’s lots of reasons! Fortunately this isn’t rocket science and a lot of the processes that form and define rivers are basic concepts just applies on a large scale.

Let’s start with some concepts to build on.

Thalweg (German for “valley path”) - is the line of lowest continuous elevation within a river or flow.

To understand why a river is broken into zones of gravel, sand, etc you pretty much just need to know what the thalweg is, why it exists, and how to figure out where it goes.

Think of the Thalweg as a “racing line” drawn in a river. It will almost always overshoot corners and turn to the opposite side of the next corner before banking in on it. Here take a look:


Sediments build up on the opposite side of where the Thalweg is, so finer sediments exist further away from the Thalweg.

Quick discussion about sediment classification and what’s considered fine vs coarse. There is a famous table in geology that classifies what something is called based on the size of the grains of sediment, you don’t need to know the actual numbers but you should forever memorize this order from small to large even if you don’t plan on doing any sort of geology, it’s really good just for common sense:

As you can see it goes roughly: Clay finer than Silt is finer than Sand is finer than Pebbles is finer than Cobbles is finer than Boulders. Learn this!

So because of the properties of water (i.e. that it always finds the lowest point and continues along that trajectory (which incidentally applies ALSO with water in water not just water on land)) the highest water velocity is obtained inside the thalweg.

IMPORTANT - This has some interesting properties. Since the highest velocity exists along that “racing line” it causes two things:
The thalweg is always the deepest part of the river because it has a higher capacity to scour
The thalweg is the part of the river that can carry the largest clasts, it has absolutely no problem carrying clay and sand and thus those will not deposit easily in the thalweg.

Due to balance of flow properties in simple physics an increased speed in one part of the river means a decreased speed in another, so, especially in curves, the side opposite the thalweg is extremely still which means it doesn’t have enough velocity to carry even silt or sand which rapidly fall out and begin forming a bank. THIS IS WHY RIVERS MEANDER, THE THALWEG CONTINUES TO CUT INTO THE BANK ON ITS SIDE WHILE NEW SEDIMENT CONTINUALLY GETS ADDED TO THE OPPOSITE SIDE so the curve wanders until it gets a chance to cut itself off and start a new course for the river.

Here’s a cross section of what I’m talking about:

You can see another interesting feature pertaining to botany here. Since the thalweg is cutting into essentially “host sediment” (sediment that was there before the river) trees and vegetation tend to be right up against the river on that side whereas the newly laid down sand bar on the opposite side is more likely to be lightly covered with grasses, moss, and lichens.

Here’s another diagram to see if you understand the meandering process and why it makes rivers look the way they do:

Let’s take a look at something a little less idealistic and a bit more varied to see what other stuff can happen:


Occasionally, if the flood plain is in a depression between two cliffs/ hills/ faults/ scarps/ etc you can have a saturated flood plain in which a “yazoo stream” forms. A yazoo is essentially just a smaller stream that follows the course of the river in parallel. Because a river generally raises the groundwater level below it, places where the main river and the yazoo run near other produce backswamp which are essentially just grassy flood plains with standing water. I kind of equate them looking to what you probably think of the Dead Marshes as looking like. (Although they are NOT backswamps!)

You can also see that the entire floodplain + river system is set in material called alluvium. Alluvium is unconsolidated sediments like sand, gravel, clay, etc.

Water is extremely powerful so unless the river is in mountains or some weird quirk of geology (i.e. natural levees, also pictured) happens you rarely get rock outcrops in rivers or floodplains that are far along the meander path of the river. THE ENTIRE VALLEY SHOULD BE ALLUVIUM WITHOUT ROCK OUTCROPS UNLESS YOU HAVE REASON TO BELIEVE OTHERWISE.

So meanders will continue getting sharper and sharper until… when the levee breaks it cuts itself off and the bend that got screwed out of being a part of the river becomes an Oxbow Lake. You would only get Oxbow lakes in places where the river is clearly meanding pretty crazily.

Check out this animated gif of a river meandering and changing its course over some years. You can see lots of meanders form, die, and reform:

Pretty much everything I’ve described only occurs in the Depositional zone… what’s the depositional zone? Well, a rivers course is broken down in 3 parts which are essentially birth, middle age, and retirement. See below:

Stinging Nettles:

Urtica Dioica

Found with the dock-leaf plants (already provided within the randomization of the RP), it is only found in moist or disturbed soil (such as in the lower parts of hills or by rivers). The only exception to this rule is usually when there has been human or animal disturbance nearby, such as around villages, paths, smials, ruins etc. etc. It is usually an indicator of very long abandoned locations. Always clump together.

Soft/Hard Rush:

Juncus Effusus

Found in marshy, very moist and saturated areas. Never, I repeat, never by flowing water. It usually isn’t on areas past 1 block above the water source, and is found in thick clumps mixed in with its tall and yellow/dead variants. Usually enjoys very direct sunlight. Avoid putting it under trees.

Athelas:

A herb, often a weed found in barley fields or farmland, is usually found naturally in small clumps of 1-3 in dense woodland, often near Arnorian fortifications, as it was they who introduced it into Eriador.

Cross-Leaved Heath:

Erica Tetralix

Grows in full sun with acidic soil. Is often found in small clumps along rivers, but dominates wetter areas, such as boggy coniferous woodland, wetlands, and even small muddy depressions. Closely related to spring heather.

Common Cotton Sedge:

Eriophorum Angustifolium

Often found in peat bogs and acidic soils, it is common in moorland and wetland environments. This, I repeat, is NOT a flower, it is a type of grass. However the texture can represent a species of wild garlic. How this will be represented will be portrayed later.

Purple and White Wild Garlic Clumps (Indicates Old Woodland)

Types of wetland:

  • Swamp
  • Riparian Zone
  • Marsh
  • Mire
    • Fen
    • Bog
  • Carr

Marsh Plants:

Soft Rush (Juncus Effusus) - Found in very waterlogged areas, not really near rivers/streams. Clumped together. Generally 2 meters tall, though can be one meter tall in parts. Can be used to make Rushlights, a cheap alternative to candles, and mats. Moths (represented by orange butterfly) like to feed on this plant. Pretty invasive, can cover large areas pretty quickly. Generally cut back in pastures, since livestock can’t digest it. Usually grows in full sunlight, though sometimes light shade can be tolerated.

Bulrush (Typhus Latifolia) - Found on water’s edge or in exposed wet mud. Grows mostly in freshwater rivers but is sometimes found in brackish marshes, so it’s rather rare in wetlands. 2-3 meters high, rarely is 1 meter tall. In saltwater marshes it can easily become the dominant plant, i.e. invasive.

Common Reed (Phragmites Australis) - Forms extensive stands (known commonly as reed beds). Found mainly in alkaline habitats, but sometimes can tolerate slightly brackish habitats as well, so the upper parts of estuaries. Grazed by livestock, used to make arrows for hunting. Very useful in the construction of thatch roofs, but generally only for the wealthy as it is very hard to find quality material in these stands as to use for actual thatch. Used for baskets, mats as well. Doesn't grow in very acidic water (so cannot be found in bogs).

Water-Mint/Spear-Mint (Mentha Aquatica/Mentha Spicata) - common in streams, meadows, ditches, dykes, fens, and marshes. Can be brewed into herbal tea. Common in slightly acidic soil or in soft limestone soil. A component on the edges of reed-beds.

Commands

/alias <target> [-g] <alias>=<value> This command allows you to create aliases for brush parts and materials, these aliases are specific to you unless the -g flag is specified after which they will be available for everyone.

/brush <brush...> or /brush # (Alias: /b) By far the most common command that you'll be using. This command does double duty by allowing you to set your current brush or brush size. When specified with a number (which may have decimals) this command will set your brush size. Otherwise it will set your brush (see the later section on available brushes).

/voxelhelp <brush_part> (Alias: /vhelp) This command provides some helpful ingame information on a particular brush part. Most importantly this command will list the parameters that the brush part takes.

/material [material] (Alias: /v) This command sets your primary material. If you don't specify a material name then it will use the BlockState of your currently targeted block (which is currently the only way to select non-default block states).

/maskmaterial [material] (Alias: /vr) This command selects your secondary material, it functions the same as the material command.

/undo [n] (Alias /u) This command will undo one or more of your recent changes. If the n argument is specified then n changes are undone, otherwise a single change is undone. By default 30 recent changes are stored per user, although this is modifiable with configuration. All undo history will be lost on server restart.

/undoother <name> [n] (Alias: uu) This command undoes one or more changes from another player's undo queue. If the n argument is specified then n changes are undone, otherwise a single change is undone. This command will still function if the player is offline, but undo history will be lost if the server restarts.

/redo [n] and /redoother <name> [n] Work the same as undo but will redo a previously undone change.

/voxelsniper range # (Alias: /vs) This sets your maximum range. For example, if your range is set to 5 even if you are aiming at a target 15 blocks away your selected brush will still execute 5 blocks away from you.

Brushes

This is a quick overview of available brushes, and their parameters. Unless specified all actions listed are triggered with your primary tool (right click with an arrow by default), a secondary action is sometimes mentioned which is triggered with your secondary tool (right click with gunpowder by default). If no secondary action is specified then the action of using your secondary tool will cause the target block to be changed to one block before your usual target block.

How you select a brush is one of the main ways in which the new version of VoxelSniper differs from previous versions. No longer are you selecting just one brush. Your brush operation is now defined by chaining together multiple brush parts. The most common pattern is a shape followed by an effect, perhaps with a mask in the middle.

Some examples:
- /b ball material- a simple ball shape with a material applied.
- /b ball materialmask material- the same as above with with a mask applied to only affect certain materials.
- /b ellipsoid splatter material- An ellipsoid shape with a splatter mask applied and a material effect.
- /b disc random biome lightning - A disc with a random mask and a biome effect. This will set a few random positions within the disc to your selected biome. Oh and lightning will strike where you click.

You've probably noticed that there are no parameters in any of these examples. You are probably wondering how you will set the seed of your splatter mask or the biome of your biome effect. Parameters are now set with a secondary command, the /param command (or /p for the lazy).

Parameter examples:
- /p splatter seed = 0.05- Sets the seed percent of your splatter mask to 5%.
- /p biome biome = jungle- Sets the biome placed by your biome effect to jungle.
- /p ellipsoid rx = 30 - Sets the x-axis radius of your ellipsoid to 30.

This might seem like a lot of work, and we hear you, so we have plans for allowing specifying custom 'brush presets' which are similar to aliases but also include parameters so that you can set up common brushes for easier access.

2.1 Shape Brushes

This category of brushes includes brushes which defile a region of the world to be acted on by subsequent brushes.

basic shapes

Available shape brushes are:
- ball - A sphere with a radius defined by your brush size.
- voxel - A cube with a side length of twice your brush size plus one.
- disc - A cylinder with a radius defined by your brush size and a height of one.

  Parameters: face (boolean) - if the disc should align it self to your targeted face.
- snipe - A single block selection
- cylinder - A cylinder with a radius defined by your brush size and a height defined by a parameter.
  Parameters: face(boolean) - If the cylinder should align itself to your targeted face.
       height (number) - The height of the cylinder.
- ellipse - An elliptical cylinder with radius and height defined by parameters.
  Parameters: face(boolean) - If the ellipse should align itself to your targeted face.
       height (number) - The height of the cylinder.
         rx (number) - The radius of the x axis.
         ry (number) - The radius of the y axis.
- ellipsoid - A three-dimensional ellipsoid with radii definde by parameters.
  Parameters:  rx (number) - The radius of the x axis.
         ry (number) - The radius of the y axis.
         rz (number) - The radius of the z axis.
- voxeldisc - Similar to the disc but defined by a square with a side length of 2*size+1.

  Parameters: face(boolean) - If the voxeldisc should align itself to your targeted face.
- set - Lets you select two positions and creates a cuboid shape covering the region between your two points.

2.2 Mask Brushes

This category of brushes includes brushes which modify the shape of the region you are selecting.

Available mask brushes are:
- materialmask - Removes all points in your selected shape where the material in the world at that point does not match your mask material (set with /vr)
- flatten - Flattens your shape into a 2d disc with each x,z position in the disc set only if there is a point set in the column for that position.
- splatter - This brush lets you create blocks in predictable shapes without outright geometric solids. If you've ever used something like photoshop, the idea is rather like turning down the density on a brush.
  Parameters:  seed (number) - Determines how likely it is for the brush to generate a new cluster (or "seed") within the shape. It must be between 0 and 1 (1 being a 100% chance).
         growth (number) - Determines how likely it is for new voxels to be spawned adjacent to each seed. It must be between 0 and 1 (1 being a 100% chance).
         recursions (integer) - Sets how many times the shape is passed over while applying growth, more recursions means more growth. Must be between 1 and 10.
- random - Removes blocks from your shape based on a random chance.
  Parameters:  rand (number) - Determines how likely it is for a point to be removed from your shape. Must be between 0 and 1 (1 being a 100% chance).

2.3 Effect Brushes

This category of brushes includes brushes which apply some effect to the region of the world defined by your shape.

Available effect brushes are:
- material - Sets each point of your shape to your selected material (specified with /v)
- biome - Sets the biome of each column covered by your shape to a specified biome.
  Parameters:  biome (number) - Specifies the biome to be placed down.
- blend - Looks at the neighboring blocks of each block in the brush's area of effect to determine which material is the most common neighbor. If the brush can find a most common neighboring material for a given voxel (this excludes ties), that voxel is changed to better match the blocks around it.
- linearblend- Similar to the blend brush but with an applied modifier when considering neighboring blocks so that blocks farther away have a lesser impact than those closer up.

2.4 Misc Brushes

This category of brushes includes brushes don't fit into any other category.

Available misc brushes are:
- lightning - Strikes lighting at your target location.

2.5 Planned Brushes

Here are some brushes that we currently have planned and should be available in due time.

Shape brushes:
- dome - Specifies a dome shape.
- line - Specifies a line between two points.
- spline - Specifies a curved like based on a variety of selected points.
- ring- Specifies a 2d ring shape with an inner and outer radius.
- torus - Specifies a 3d donut-like shape.
- custom - Allows you to define a shape by selecting a region and a material, your shape becomes every position in the region with a block of your selected material.
- 3-point circle - Specifies a region by selecting three points and creating a 2d disc that passes its edge through each point.
- triangle - Specifies a triangular region between three points.

Mask brushes:
- blob - Similar to the splatter brush but with a single central seed.
- checker - Creates an alternating checker pattern across your shape.
- shell - Removes all blocks from your shape which are not adjacent to a material (usually air, will probably use your mask material).
- fill-down- Expands your shape downwards until it reaches a block with a material which is not your replace material.
- overlay - Modifies your shape to include only the top-most blocks of the terrain within your shape.
- flood - Performs a flooding operation from your target block through all adjacent blocks of the same material within your shape.
- rotateshape - Rotates your shape by a given yaw, pitch, and roll. (rotates only the shape not any part of the world see the rotate effect for that)

Effect Brushes:
- erode - The old erosion brushes, cleaned up and expanded.
- heatray - Everyone's favorite method of build destruction.
- rotate - Rotates the region of the world within your shape by the given yaw, pitch, and roll.
- stencil - Copy/paste regions of the world, can also rotate/flip. Can also be used with the stencil list brush.

Misc brushes:
- entity - Lets your spawn entities.
- entityremoval - removes entities within your brush or within the chunks covered by your brush.
- tree - Places a tree down at your target block.
- oceanator - Inverts the terrain above y=64 to create oceans.
- jockey - ride on top of a targeted entity.
- stencillist- Lets you specify a set of stencils and chooses one randomly to place each time.