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I've just decided to finally bite the bullet and learn redstone circuitry in minecraft. I'm already familiar with logical circuitry, and the minecraftwiki page about redstone circuits is certainly a good reference. But I need some goals. I can build all the flip-flops and xor gates I want, but I don't really know what to do with them.

So, I'm looking for some ideas that:

  • Require theoretical knowledge about logical circuit components
  • Are not intimidatingly enormous (or time consuming)
  • Have a practical application in the game (i.e. not just art)
  • Are fun!

Any thoughts?

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Welcome to the site @Carson! Unfortunately, I'm voting to close your question as per the FAQ. "List of X/recommend me this" questions don't fit well in the Q&A engine because all answers are equally valid. This creates problems with inaccurate voting (people upvoting what they like rather than what constitutes a quality answer) and subjectivity (no one answer can be accepted when asking for a list). If you can find a way to phrase the question so that you are asking a practical, answerable question based on actual problems that you face, it can remain open. –  FAE Dec 17 '11 at 0:36
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@FallenAngelEyes Yeah, I know. I've been struggling to think of something, so I figured I may as well ask and get it closed, and be happier for having some ideas. –  Carson Myers Dec 17 '11 at 0:46
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While I like this question, I think it may be too subjective/open-ended for this site. That said, some projects I'd suggest are: Making the main gate to your base a hidden door with a lever to open/close it on both sides; Making an elevator from bedrock to the surface; Building a railroad in the nether that uses pistons and detector rails to clear the track of mobs as you approach (bonus difficulty: make it two-way with only one track); Build traps everywhere. –  Fambida Dec 17 '11 at 0:47
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closed as not constructive by alexanderpas, FAE, Wipqozn, Kevin Y, Arda Xi Dec 17 '11 at 9:35

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

4 Answers

There are a lot of possibilities, so I'll just list my favourite 2 done on our server.

The easier one is a set of cannons. We built a ship approximately 100 meters long. Along one side of the hull, I placed 4 hidden dispensers. Flipping a switch would uncover holes in the hull. Pressing a button would then launch a salvo of arrows from the ship.
Having the dispensers hidden had a nice property - as long as the shafts were closed, the cannons were completely invisible from the outside.

Probably the largest and most complex building we built was a stadium with a mob grinder.

We started by building a standard grinder - many levels of dark rooms with water and a hole in the middle. Mobs are spawned and then fall down to be killed at the lowest level by lava. Water then moved all the dropped items to a single place to be picked up.

Then a friend added some control mechanisms for the grinder (continuing in the nice tradition I started). Should a need for maintenance arise, the grinder could be turned off. The flow of lava was stopped. Using pistons, the (quite wide) vertical shaft the mobs were falling through was closed off before the bottom. Then that barrier was flooded by water, so the mobs falling in wouldn't get hurt while the grinder was turned off.

Reaching 110 meters in height, and sporting a big control room, this already was the tallest and most complex structure in our world. But then a friend had an idea.

A stadium built from obsidian was built on top of the grinder. A redirect switch was added, so instead of falling into lava, the mobs at the bottom fell into a watery elevator. The elevator brought them to the top and lunged them into the obsidian stadium, where they could be killed for fun and profit. (Their flow was, of course, controlled by doors.)

And should they get out of hand or should we become tired, the solution was also simple: with a flick of a switch, the roof of the stadium opened, allowing the sunshine to burn 'em to death. (I also remember having a building with rows of armed dispensers to shoot the remaining creepers; that might have been a different building though, I'm not sure.)

All this may seem complex, but remember - there are many parts which could be built separately. The mob redirection/control, the grinder control, the automated stadium or shooting ranges could all very well stand on their own. And they wouldn't be doable without a lot of redstone, pistons, repeaters and thinking.

Oh, and last but not least; my personal favourites are hidden doors and mob player traps. I once built a network of tunnels that connected all of the buildings and spots in our valley, but were quite intricate, contained dead ends, pitfalls, lava traps and the like. And since the entry/exit points were also hidden from view, it sometimes looked like you were just walking along a hill, suddenly sunk into the terrain and reappeared atop a giant tree on the other side of the valley. (I liked leading people through them safely. :) Also, I had some hidden plantages right under everyone's noses and it took a week until they found them by randomly digging - pneumatic stone doors FTW.

I hope you'll find some inspiration here. :)

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Cannons are certainly fun. I built a few of those for a CTF arena, but it was just a single button. When you pressed it, it would uncover three dispensers, fire a burst of three arrows each, then cover them back up. –  SaintWacko Dec 17 '11 at 10:25
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Redstone in a wonderful art, and it can take time to master, but once you get it, it's extremely fun. Here's a small list of things you can do to try and learn more about it. You may want to try most of these in a creative world before doing it in survival, since you'll have unlimited resources.

Basic

The first things you should do are basic connectivity experiments. Put some redstone wire on the ground and see how it connects to blocks. Note how redstone torches power up and out, and how torches on the side of blocks can be turned off by power. Note how pressure plates power down as well. Understanding how redstone connects is important, since there is little consistency, and it can easily leave you confused.

Exclusive Doors

Make a set of two doors connected to a lever. Make it so that when one is off, the other is on and vice-versa. This will teach you how to use redstone torches to invert a signal.

Redstone Clock

Learn how to make a redstone clock, especially repeater clocks. Make a set of flashing redstone torches that alternate down the line.

Warning Light I

Use some pressure plates connected to various torches around your house to warn you when mobs are nearby. Make the warning light turn on when mobs are near, off when they are not.

Intro to Logic

Learn how to use an AND gate to combine two signals. Make a door that only open when two levers are both turned on.

Final Exam: Warning Light II

Use a clock, pressure plates, and an AND gate to make a warning light that is off when no mobs are nearby and flashes on and off when they are.

Intermediate

At this point, you should be fairly exposed to redstone and able to follow most tutorials. However, you've only scratched the surface of this iceberg! These devices will be more involved than the Basic ones, but still quite easy.

Piston Door

Create a 1x2 door that is triggered via pressure plates on either side that is moved via sticky pistons. Make sure that all redstone wiring is hidden, and place the pistons inside a wall. Make it look simply like the wall retracts, with no visible mechanics.

Intro to Latches

Learn how to make an RS NOR Latch to hold data as on or off. Create a door with an on button and an off button that will keep it open or closed, no levers used.

Lake Secret

Create an artifical pond with a hole in the bottom that goes into a secret room. Make water flow into it out of a wall. Add a sticky piston that will block/unblock the water flow. Using a latch, create a set of buttons outside the lake that will turn it on/off and a set of buttons in the secret room to turn it on/off.
Optional: Use lava instead of water.

That's all for now, I may add some more at a later date.

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Build some hidden doorways/staircases/bridges. Those can be tough, because you have to get creative to hide all the redstone. Multi-component doors and whatnot are good too, because the ordering can get tricky. Lightswitches are nice. A self-constructing building is very satisfying, because after all the work laying the foundation, you get to watch the thing build itself. What I usually do is just start building and see what happens :)

And believe me, the logic circuit knowledge is incredibly useful.

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I like all of these ideas. The bridge and stairs seem especially cool while not being too hard -- although I'll have to find slimes for the pistons first :) –  Carson Myers Dec 17 '11 at 0:39
    
@CarsonMyers They are so much fun. On one of the servers I was on there was a sandy cliff facing the water, and I had a section of it that slid down, and part of the sea-floor that rose up to form a bridge. It used around 80 pistons, and was completely invisible when closed. –  SaintWacko Dec 17 '11 at 0:44
    
I had a lot of fun building my hidden door not with levers, but with buttons. Finding room for state storage along with the rest of the circuitry and other stuff that goes into a hidden door was interesting. –  Matthew Scharley Dec 17 '11 at 1:04
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You might try some simple digital logic - what about a 1 or 2 bit adder to start with?

Once you've built the basic building blocks of gates, that's kind of the next logical step. You don't have to go crazy and build a full-on CPU, but experimenting with some simple arithmetic operations would likely teach you a decent amount about the way redstone works, and give you a chance to build something somewhat more complex than a simple gate.

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I built a full adder a while back. It's an interesting exercise, but I couldn't find much practical use. –  SaintWacko Dec 17 '11 at 0:35
    
I suppose an adder would be a good exercise although I wouldn't really enjoy having it around once it was finished –  Carson Myers Dec 17 '11 at 0:45
    
@CarsonMyers Yeah, I used MCEdit to construct a world specifically for that kind of thing. It was just a big adminium platform, and I kept a backup copy of the empty original, so I could just create a new copy of that when I Wanted to build something. –  SaintWacko Dec 17 '11 at 10:22
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