INTRODUCTION: FOR THE ETERNAL GLORY OF SIR CLIVE!
Rejectland was - and still is, actually - a world I'm very proud of. But, as I've said on its own pages, round about the time of Postcards parts IV and V being finished in October 2014, some serious trouble at t' mill kicked off at Formula One Rejects. Soon after Jules Bianchi's horrific accident at Suzuka and its devastating knock-on effect to the Marussia F1 team that had us all talking, the forum was blocked by Google as it was suddenly filled with viruses and trojans (and no, not the F1 Reject team called Trojan); no sooner had it been restored than the main site was taken offline, and something happened behind the scenes that has resulted in Senior Grand Prix Analyst and all-round diamond geezer Enoch Law leaving the site completely in early December, with a complete silence from Webmaster Jamie McGregor. Before his departure Enoch made some very cryptic posts asking for no speculation as to what had happened, although some of us put the pieces of the jigsaw together and came up with the dreaded correct answer that we'd all suspected - and no, Jamie and Enoch hadn't fallen out. The thought that fifteen years of hard work by the two Australians, with the fervent support of those of us who also like to view life from the back of the grid, had gone down the swanee was too horrible to comtemplate, though two of the forum's most knowledgeable computer programmers rescued the content, launched Grand Prix Rejects with the forum well and truly up and running again, and maybe one day the driver and team profiles from the old site will rise again.
Postcards From Rejectland parts IV and V were originally posted when Minecraft 1.8 was about to drop, with all its new and shiny features. So, when it did, of course the first things I did with it were build the projects I wanted with all the new gubbins that I'd had the chances to test in cheat-mode Creative worlds over the course of the snapshots. The twin capital cities of Rejectland, you may recall, are McGregor and Fort Law; it seemed somehow inappropriate to keep on building in Rejectland while the website it took its name and concepts from lay derelict.
However, all was certainly not lost. Because, just like my internet hero - another Australian, Mr Dataless822 - I started a new world. I'd been intending to do this since 1.6 - indeed, while 1.5 was still the current version I sniffed around for some good seeds - i.e. generally flat land around the spawn point, with maybe one mountain to carve a base into. But it never happened then, and even with 1.7 and the change in the world generation it still never happened, usually because the new launcher for 1.6 meant that the 1.7 snapshots were much more easily accessible and I was more likely to be testing those instead. However, the gap between 1.7 and 1.8 was so long I promised myself I'd do it when 1.8 dropped - and after a bit of attention given to Rejectland before it headed south, I kept my promise.
Rejectland was always supposed to be strictly organic, without intricate machines, automated farms and the like. I built the odd small machine - a chicken spawner or two, a melon and pumpkin farm with Data's double-pulse BUD switches, that sort of thing, but little else. Well, in the new world, automated farms and machines are not only allowed, they are encouraged; if it's possible to generate anything automatically, that is what I aim to do here. I did start building a combined iron and gold farm in a test world as far back as the 1.5.2, with the two occupying the same space and feeding into the same hut. With the combined generation of two metals, I called that test world The Foundry. I used the Zipkrowd's iron farm, apparently conceived by JL2579 and taught by docm77 (i.e. he made the official tutorial starting, as ever, with "aaaaaaaaaaaall right, guys!" in his heffy Churman excent) - then the original portal gold farm which was developed when zombie pigmen first spawned from portals (again, I think it was the Zipkrowd who first built them, but I've shown you Data's "Build Big Or Go Home" version).
And then... Tango Tek, one of the most innovative Minecrafters out there who understands the game code and can make the most ridiculously complex machinery that could ever be thought to exist, brought us the Iron Trench, with a brilliant redstone mechanism that would automatically set up 32 nested villages in the same space, and with the mod he used to show where all the villages were, it looked like a giant knitting machine in action. It's one of those builds that requires utterly meticulous planning to do yourself (especially in Survival!) and, realistically, has to be done in one sitting. This was soon superseded by the Iron Foundry, which is even more precarious as it must be built in the spawn chunks - I always intended to do that anyway - but all the doors, and there are very many of them, have to be placed in exactly the right order (I think there may be over a thousand!) or it's curtains for that and you'll have to start again from square one. Hmmm. Tricky, tedious and susceptible to breakage afterwards if door-battering zombies have anything to do with it. And then, Mojang caught wind of Tango's genius and attempted to stifle it. It seems they don't like these automated farms and they decided that iron golems should no longer drop iron when they die (I mean, the very idea!), just flowers, unless the player kills the golem manually - and this was implemented in one of the 1.8 snapshots. The Zipkrowd worked out an acceptable compromise using an obsidian pit and a block of TNT, but such was the negative reaction that Mojang reversed their decision in the next snapshot - but still changed the village mechanics so that Tango's machines would still be broken, or would function only as a single village (i.e. would be reduced to 1/32 of their production rate). But this is Tango we're talking about... he was undeterred, looked into the game mechanics in the 1.8 snapshot and developed the Iron Titan! Unfortunately it uses the same finnicky and tedious manual village chaining methods of the Iron Foundry, and who knows what tricks Mojang might continue to pull to make this one break?
So I made my decision. If I was going to base my new world around the automatic production of iron, mainly to make all the hoppers that I would inevitably have to churn out by their hundreds, I would stick with the design that never broke even during these updates, the one that Tango Tek said would be "crushed" by his Iron Trench before Mojang attempted to crush him. I would build the old-school Zipkrowd iron farm - the optimised version with two spawning floors, a square sink bowl, and a villager container on each wall, the design that was ancient but flawlessly reliable. And besides, Tango's machines were really designed for survival servers, where they could be built by a team and would provide enough free iron for everyone. How much do I need? Well... I knew I'd need a lot, so I didn't just stick with one iron farm.
And there's a further rule that derives from these developments. Whereas Rejectland was supposed to be a world free from elaborate redstone mechanisms and complicated automatic farms, the new world would be the exact opposite but still with the essential rule that there were to be no glitches. So, machines that are efficient but rely on glitches such as glass block lifts or block duplication sand generators or anything built above the roof of the Nether are banned. Besides, as is the case with this sand generator, Mojang tend to fix these glitches as soon as the videos are posted showing how to exploit them; this world was to be future-proof as much as possible, and sometimes old-school designs are the best.
As I mentioned above, I first built the prototype of the central Foundry as far back as 1.5.2, having just found an excellent seed - I vaguely remember it was a text seed that had something to do with iron, but the numerical value is -774040969. It spawned in a Plains biome and provided plenty of flat land in the spawn chunks for building more automated machines in. There were some Extreme Hills nearby, which I intended to hollow out and convert into a silo for all the various bits and pieces I could produce automatically in this world, fed by a network of minecarts ferrying the goods from the farms to the central storage. And there was also a very conveniently-placed village to provide the unwitting workforce.
THE FOUNDRY PROTOTYPE - VERSION 1.5.2
As I said in there, though, 1.6 also came and went without me starting this new world, and with the arrival of 1.7 and its new world generation algorithm to allow for all the new biomes, I went off in search of a seed that resembled this one as closely as possible, rather than generating the new world in 1.6 and then immediately updating once all the terrain around the spawn chunks had filled in - because I knew exactly from updating Rejectland into 1.7 what would happen, and I had no intention of this map being just as disjointed at the edges. So I went on a seed hunt, and must have gone through about 50 or so before deciding on the winner. These were the shortlist of candidates.
All that remained was to decide on a theme for the new world, and looked into another of my long-term interests. I've set out in great detail on a separate part of this website how long my interest has been in Sinclair computers; to cut a long story short, I started my computing history on a ZX81 as a four-year-old in 1983, upgraded to a Spectrum +2 in 1987 and retain my interest to this day - even though that's mostly limited to emulation. And then there's the figurehead of Sir Clive Sinclair himself; he was always more of a visionary than an engineer. Usually, against all advice thrown his way, he led himself down blind alley after blind alley - sticking rigidly to LED displays and a cathode ray tube instead of embracing LCD, choosing his own microdrive ahead of floppy disks, and trying to launch an electric "car" 30 years too early. His home computers are the most revered of his creations, cheap and unreliable though many of the early models were - but, crucially, they were accessible to the average Joe rather than the very expensive business models of the day (which would now be crushed into the dust by even the cheapest smartphone). Sinclair computers gained a huge following in the UK, later on in Spain, and then shuffled off to a quiet retirement amongst enthusiasts and the people of Eastern Europe after the commercial end of days in 1993 - which continues even now. So I decided, in my new Minecraft world, to honour the life and works of Sir Clive Sinclair; that so many of his creations that weren't calculators or computers were such a catastrophic commercial failure mean that he is (mostly) fondly remembered as a lovable British eccentric, in contrast to the cold-hearted, ruthless money-making corporations of the United States and Japan, the likes of Microsoft and Sony, which he had to compete against.
I had my Foundry prototype. I had my seed. And I had my theme. It was time to get building.
For the eternal glory of Sir Clive!