Daily Archives: March 31, 2012

Texture packs

To create a texture pack you first have to install a graphics program that supports alpha channel (i.e. transparency).  I think the one which is built into Windows 7 (Paint) does not support it – but I may be wrong.

If you’re on Windows, I think your best option is Paint.NET – a cute, free little program that is very good. Incidentally, this is what Notch used to create original Minecraft graphics, so you can’t really go wrong here.

If you want something more powerful, get GIMP. But if you haven’t done much graphics before it will probably take you some weeks to grok :-)

Important things:

  • Texture is divided into 16 by 16 slots
  • File format must be png, and it must be 32 bits per pixel (otherwise you lose alpha channel).
  • Each slot contains image for a certain type of block. Sometimes multiple slots can be used for a single block if it looks different on some sides (e.g. chest or crafting table)
  • Alpha channel is used to create transparent blocks, such as glass, doors, leaves.
  • Alpha must be either 0 or 255, that is fully transparent or fully opaque. Partial transparency is not supported by the game engine
  • You can resize the texture to get better resolution, but it must always be divisible into equal blocks, and there must be 16 by 16 of them
  • If a slot does not have any transparent pixels, making it transparent will cause glitches. Only certain blocks support transparency, not all of them. For example you cannot make dirt or granite transparent.
  • If there is something wrong with your texture pack, the game will revert to the default one.




Dropbox does not share automatically

When you upload a file from your phone to Dropbox, it isn’t automatically visible to other people. It just sits there in your private Dropbox folder. For other people to be able to download it to their phones, they first have to copy it to their Dropbox folder. This cannot and does not happen automatically.

So how do they copy your files to their Dropbox folder?

First of all, once the file is in your Dropbox, you can access it from your PC/Mac/Phone/Tablet/Browser and do whatever you like with it. There are many ways you can send a file to someone else on the internet, for example you can post it on the forums.

Dropbox itself offers 2 ways to share files:

1. By creating a public folder. Each file that you put in a public folder (again, you have to copy them there first) gets a public link through which anyone can download it. You can post these links on the forums, send them via email etc.

2. By creating a shared folder. All files in your shared folder are visible to other people you invited. You have to manually invite specific people though, so this may be less convenient.

Y u no Skydrive Kaalus?

I’ve had a lot of people ask why not use Skydrive instead of Dropbox.

Look there: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/live/hh561489.aspx#guidelines.

As you see, Microsoft states that Skydrive is not designed to be used for storage of proprietary application files that only one specific application can use. Instead, they have a list of files they “support”. Images, videos, audio and documents (Office+PDFs). The Skydrive API will not let you upload any other type of file without some tricks.

I know I could have cheated the system by using fake .doc or .pdf file extensions. This could work. But I don’t feel comfortable doing that. Microsoft can screw up any such attempts at any time by looking inside of a file instead of just relying on file extensions. Or they can start failing applications that do it.

Skydrive sometimes meddles with the files you upload. For example if you upload an image larger than 2048×2048, they will downscale it whether you want it or not. I am not sure about that, but they may also recompress all uploaded images to JPG – as if all the images you ever wanted to use were photos! That would definitely screw the texture packs, which need lossless compression and alpha channel, none of which is provided by jpgs.

Personally I think Microsoft are shooting themselves in the foot trying to exert too much control here, and thus limiting the use of the service in a lot of legitimate cases. They believe that average Joe only cares about pictures, videos and mp3’s, and has absolutely no use for anything else. That’s probably true in 90% of cases, but why throw away more hardcore users? They are who makes the platform fly by creating apps that hook more users in.