Season 1, Challenge 1 • October, 2012

A few words about "cheats" and modsEdit

There is no way we, at server central, can prevent all possible cheats in the game world. This is obviously true of client-side cheats, that is, cheats you can use with your launcher that don't rely on server mods.

For instance, if you use light enhancement to locate ore or tracks, well, you will definitely have an advantage over folks who don't. Thing is, you'll be doing a different challenge than they are. Your challenge is more like, given that I can find stuff really easily, how fast can I get this done. It doesn't require strategic thinking; it doesn't require teamwork; it doesn't even require creativity. Since you're not really doing the same task, it doesn't seem fair to pit you against each other.

If you don't like running old school, where you have to do Minecraft-y work for your results, that's perfectly fine. It's not "wrong." However, you might want to remove yourself from the school team since the whole team thing is about doing it by the rules and figuring out how to work with the constraints. In fact, in this first challenge, the challenging element is the constraints. Once the constraints are removed, there's not much point.

So maybe, you might be happier playing on a fully bling'd out modded server where you can fly wherever, blow up whatever, take whatever from wherever, or reach into your inventory and pull out what you need. That's okay too. Let your teacher know if you want to give up your slot for someone else. That would be galant of you. Meanwhile, we'll try to keep the playing field level and devise more interesting challenges that are less vulnerable to cheats. Profpolin (talk) 03:38, October 10, 2012 (UTC)

Underwater Mine Rescue

Greedy miners were working an underwater mine when the inevitable happened. Reaching for that elusive block of ore, they punched a hole in the roof of a shaft on the top level of the mine and flooded the area. Forced to flee quickly, leaving a lot of their best tools behind, they quickly retreated to a shelter below as water poured in around the mine. They did not make it out. But their situation remains a favorite puzzle past time of skilled miners who believe, if they had been there, they could have made it out alive.

The Challenge

Use the designated Commons teleport to jump with your team to a location somewhere in the abandoned mine, which is now partially flooded with water from above and around it. Salvage what you can from the abandonned mine operation to create a rail-based escape route that can carry a disaster survivor to safety.

Teams are scored on three criteria:

· Speed of final route;

· Quantity of salvaged material; and

· Improvement in cart run time from first to final constructed solution.

Rules and Information

Your team begins with nothing and must scavenge resources from the mine area.

Your solution must include a minecart and rail system, but you may push the cart. No redstone is required and you will not find any in the mine.

A challenge team can have 4-5 middle school student members. You may enter more than one team, but each team must be unique. Teams must register, through their teacher, by October 19th, 5 pm Pacific time.

Your school team will be allowed to practice, develop strategies, make plans, work on team communication, and so on, using a simulation of the mineshaft scenario. It can be reset and retried as often as you like. It will be very much like the actual mineshaft area you will encounter during challenge week. It will be accessible right away from a school-specific teleporter located within your school region. Whenever you enter this teleporter you will be stripped of items in your inventory. Better leave things at home or you’ll lose them.

During Challenge week, the last week of October, teams will run the real challenge problem space. Teams may reset and rerun as often as they wish during that week, but must pick a final run to serve as the challenge entry by Friday, 5 pm Pacific, November 2nd. A single teleporter will be turned on in the Commons village, in a special building dedicated to current and future challenges. This teleporter will take the team to the start of the Underwater Rescue mission scenario. Whenever you enter this teleporter you will be stripped of items in your inventory. Better leave things at home or you’ll lose them.

Your Pepperdine team has several members who live in a variety of time zones around the U.S. During Challenge week, use the Redstone Labs forums to coordinate times to do an official timed mine cart run with one of them. It needn’t always be the same person from the team. Remember though, while you will likely do practice runs with team members, official timed runs must have a Pepperdine team member as your rescued miner, in the mine cart. Only Pepperdine team members can record and post an official time for your team.

The end point of the challenge is through a metal door to a Teleporter Exit room, which will allow your team and your rescued miner to escape to the surface.

Death and Serendipity

Underground mines are dangerous places. Things can go… wrong. Team members that die will respawn at their home spawn point and must make their way back to the Commons and to the Challenge teleporter. From there they will be ported back to the start area of the mine.

Remember, every time you move through the Challenge teleporter your inventory is stripped clean. There is no way to bring items in to the mine from outside. It is possible to find chests in the mine that might have a useful object or two still left in them from the original miners.

Teams are scored in three separate categories:

1. Master builders create the most efficient route from start to finish, based on the length of time it takes a minecart with a rescued miner in it to travel the route, from start to finish. The cart must start at the starting room and end at the door to the Teleporter Exit room. One of the Pepperdine team members assigned to your school will play the part of the miner. That person’s avatar must ride the cart out, and that person will time the route. Timing begins when the cart first moves and ends when the miner opens the metal door to the exit room.

2. Master salvagers move the greatest number of resources from around the mine to a chest located in the Teleporter Exit room. Resources might include wood, ore, fencing, tracks, and such, salvaged from the shaft areas. (Rumor has it that there are mushrooms somewhere.) Dirt, stone, gravel, and sand do not count as salvaged resources.

3. Master strategists show the greatest improvement over the course of the iterations they run in the final week. While it’s not mandatory, your team should try to run and record your data for the mine cart escape route at least twice and see if you can shave time off the first constructed solution with a second, more efficient construction of the route.