Solving the Bedrock Edition Problem for MacOS

An open Mac laptop displays the game Minecraft on the screen.

It’s certainly been a little bit since I’ve written a how-to doc!

I had one of my Reddit kids from the /r/ARBTServer days wanting to visit the server, but they’re exclusively a Mac user. Bedrock Edition is not available for MacOS as of publish time, so I decided to see if I could figure out a way to get them connected while waiting for either Bedrock Edition to become available for MacOS or they get a different compatible system, neither of which is likely in the near future. After a day of playing, googling and tinkering, I think I’ve sorted a workable solution.

Note: The following was tested on a 2015 13″ MacBook Pro with the following specs:

  • MacOS Mojave 10.14.1
  • 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5
  • 8GB RAM

Naturally, your mileage may vary depending on your system specs.

Also – this is for people for whom bootcamping to Windows 10 or purchasing a different system isn’t an option. Just heading both of those solutions off at the pass.

You Will Need:

“But ARBT,” you may protest, “I’ve never used/don’t use Android!” Relax. This process is not exactly going to turn you into an Android devotee, please stop clutching your iOS devices like that before you break something. On the other of the coin, Android is not that difficult to use. Besides, I firmly believe that everyone needs to know how to use as many OSes as possible, so if this is your first exposure to Android, use the opportunity to learn! Everything you need to know/use when operating within BlueStacks to play Minecraft is in the My Apps tab.

Install and Configure BlueStacks

Download and install BlueStacks. MacOS may yell at you about Spooky Apps from the Internet and block the process, so make sure you have admin privileges. This will enable you to get into System Preferences and OK the install from there.

At this point, I’d recommend running BlueStacks once to test that the installation was successful. You may also log into Play Store via the provided app and purchase/download/install Minecraft for Android. Don’t try running it yet, however.

Screenshot of MacOS starting up Bluestacks in Windowed mode.
Starting Bluestacks…

Configuration tweak

When you install Bluestacks, it only allocates itself 1GB of RAM. Minecraft will run, but the frame rate will be awful nigh unto unplayable, even with all the fancy video settings disabled or scaled all the way back. Unless you’ve got the teensiest flimsiest MacBook Air on the market, I’m going to assume you have more than 1GB to play with, so we will need to tweak that particular setting.

Make sure you quit fully out of BlueStacks if you have it running. After that, go to Finder and hide/close the rest of your running applications.

While in Finder, click the Go menu, and then hold down the “option/alt” key. This will reveal a couple of hidden menu items. We want Library.

BlueStacks has its own folder in Library, so open it, then open the Android folder. From there either option-click or two-finger click Android.vbox, and then select “Open With”. I’d select TextEdit, but you can do this with any kind of code editor if you happen to have one.

MacOS screenshot displaying the configuration file to edit and the menu you want to display to select an editor.
Open with TextEdit if possible

Android.vbox is an xml document with a bunch of configuration settings and a friendly looking “DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE” warning at the top. (Obviously, we’re gonna ignore that.) Scroll down until you see a line that says <Memory RAMSize=&rquot;1024&lquot;$gt; Go ahead and change this to half your total RAM in MB. (So if you have 4GB total, you want to use 2GB, which is 2 x 1024 = 2048. I went up to 4GB, or 4096. You can certainly experiment with this number as needed, but half your total RAM is a good starting point.) Save the document, exit out of TextEdit or whatever you’re using, and close up any Finder windows you have open. This is also a good time to close any extraneous applications you have running as well, if you haven’t already.

Screenshot of an xml document with one line highlighted in purple.
The line of code you want to change

A hat tip to Youtuber Dubstep_FX for instructions on how to do this.

Run Minecraft!

Screenshot of BlueStacks running on MacOS, displaying the My Apps tab.
Windowed BlueStacks, displaying My Apps tab with Minecraft installed.

Start up BlueStacks again. If you haven’t previously, click on Play Store and download/install Minecraft. It should appear in the My Apps tab once it’s all done. (No, you can’t close the App Center tab. Just do your best to ignore it.) Fullscreen BlueStacks, click on Minecraft, log into XBox Live, and have fun!

An open Mac laptop displays the game Minecraft on the screen.
Behold, a MacBook Pro running Minecraft. (Pardon the mess…)

Notes

Screenshot of Minecraft (Bedrock Edition) video settings, with most advanced graphical settings turned off.
I’d recommend turning everything down that you can initially to reduce lag.

This setup clearly isn’t perfect or ideal, but thankfully Minecraft has some native settings within it that make configuring the mobile app into something useable with a keyboard/mouse or controller. Also even with quadrupling the allocated RAM there is still some perceivable lag, especially when connecting to an outside server/friend’s game as opposed to playing a local world. (it’s most noticeable in that there’s a delay in action triggering sound effects. Not too much of an issue for me since I generally play with sound off, but it would probably bother others.) Definitely tinker with your video settings to alleviate this, and if need be, close out of everything and repeat the instructions above to bump up your RAM allocation. Obviously, if you’re a Mac user, the ideal situation would be for Mojang/Microsoft to release Bedrock for Mac, so go to the feedback site, login with your XBox Live credentials and upvote/comment in the Bedrock engine on Mac & Linux thread. However in the meantime, I hope this post provides an acceptable stopgap measure.

Stuff and Things and My Gods That Build is Huge and double servers and Hi everyone!

Screenshot from Minecraft, showing a large gray stone tower complex.

yeah, we’ll just ignore the fact that it’s been like… six months since I posted last in here. 2018 has been made of fail and large life crises.

I do have much to catch up on, such as the construction of The Behemoth in the picture, some additions to the V4 server and What Else I’ve Been Doing all this time, but I want to make an announcement, namely that I now have the classic creative map (ARBTServer V1) running on Bedrock Dedicated Server as well as the regular game in Minecraft proper. Same address (play777.arbtserver.net) but port 19137 instead of 19132.

Apologies to console players, since you have to enter it as a server rather than joining a friend’s pre-existing game, you will not be able to access this. I have been known to switch stuff around on occasion, so definitely pay attention to the Discord for news on that front.

I hope to have more catch-up type news in the near future. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving in the meantime.

Brave New World Order

Screenshot from the game Minecraft, depicting a mostly empty landscape with a few buildings here and there.

I’ve been playing quite a bit since server reboot. Happily, I’ve had a few guests and a couple of brand new folks pop on and carve themselves a little piece of the server as well, which makes me happy. I’ve missed my server babies. <3

The server is mostly survival. I say mostly because I’ve been happily tooling about in creative mode building stuff. It is still surreal flying around the map and thinking to myself “ah yes, here is about where the Crystal Palace is” or “this is where the Four Guardians would be” and so on and so forth as I traverse the bare ground. Ghosts of Minecraft builds past. But I’m excited for what sort of structures may appear in Minecraftverse 2.0.

Screenshot from the game Minecraft showing a forested mountainous landscape with the top of a build visible in the distance.
View of a lake to the west of Center. In the distance the top of a build is visible. This is about where the Crystal Palace would be on the other map.

Spawn House and World Center

Obligatory first builds being obligatory, I built a nice little public house near spawn with some starter crops growing by the door and supplies in chests nearby. Due west of this at 0,0 is the first Tower. I like marking the center of my maps for some reason. Plus it’s a good landmark for folks to navigate by, depending on how far their render distance is. (Mine is cranked out to 64 chunks for the pictures, though I tend to play at maybe a quarter of that.)

Screenshot from the game Minecraft, depticing a large tower with a door at the bottom.
The eastern side of the Tower, viewed from ground level.
a view of the West Side of the Tower.

Subway 2.0

Because of COURSE I’m going to have one. Not really much to say about this, as it’s built in the same style as the old one, though between fill commands, setblock commands and a little typing/repeating help from autohotkey scripts, building them out takes a fraction of the time it used to. So far there’s only one length of track completed stretching from 0,0 to -1024,0) with a station at the midway point; hopefully soon I will have a bisected square of subway line built with a corresponding express track in the Nether.

Screenshot from the game Minecraft, depicting an unbuilt subway station space
An unfinished station shell at -1024, 0.
Screenshot of the game Minecraft, depicting a train station at track leve.
Station at -512, 0 at track level
Screenshot from the game Minecraft, showing the interior of a stone structure. at left, a staircase descends.
Station at ~ -512,0 at entrance level, interior
Screenshot from the game Minecraft, showing a stone structure with a doorway.
Station at ~ -512,0 at entrance level

There isn’t a station built out at -1024,0 yet because I haven’t quite worked out how it’s gonna work with the build I’ve started directly above it.

Huge Unnamed Build #1

So last week poking around Tumblr I ran across the below image. Further poking on the internet led me to more illustrations from a 1929 architecture book called The Metropolis of Tomorrow and an artist named Hugh Ferriss and oh my, talk about jabbing me directly in the Art Deco totalitarian dystopia feels.

a dark black and white drawing depicting an art Deco style towering edifice moodily lit from below
A drawing from Hugh Ferriss’ The Metropolis of Tomorrow

I feel like it would be hard to grow up in New York with an interest in architecture without loving some Art Deco style; goodness knows I did. Anyway I kept circling back to this particular image and thinking “I’m gonna Minecraft that building.” Started to do that yesterday.

Screenshot from the game Minecraft showing the top floors of a new building floating far above the ground.
A view of the floating top floors of Ferris tower from about -512, 0
Screenshot from the game Minecraft showing the beginnings of a building floating far above the ground.
The top four stories and the roof of Ferriss Tower take shape.

It made sense to me to start from the top and build it out from there, after a couple of hours with graph paper planning out the number of stories between building transitions. I’m excited as it’s going to be my first build that will cap out at the 255 block building limit, even if I’m vastly annoyed that Mojang still hasn’t raised the cloud level accordingly. I’ve tentatively named it Ferriss Tower after the artist, we’ll see if that name sticks.

Nether House

Not too much to say about this, as it’s just a tiny house in the Nether at the 0,0 mark. Mostly built it as a safe haven from the passing mobs and so that the nether portal in the Center Tower had a safe destination.

Screenshot from the game Minecraft showing the front of a small brick house.
Front of the Nether House at Nether 0,0. Pretty much a standard ARBT house in red brick
Screenshot from the game MInecraft showing the same brick house on an island in the middle of a lake of lava. Two bridges lead to it.
An aerial shot of Nether House, with the two bridges leading to it from two of the netherrack masses around it.

It feels good to be playing and building again, even if I’m neglecting some necessary life things to do so. >.> Hell, maybe I’ll start streaming myself again, considering this build is gonna take me a while to finish.

Starting all over

screenshot from the game Minecraft, depicting forested terrain with a house and a tower in the distance.

Typical Andee syndrome – I have so many things going on and projects in the fire that often things get neglected. Like my games for one thing. I’ve barely had time to deal with real life let alone play games!

A friend of mine was raving about the Minecraft Update Aquatic this week (it’s been out for at least three weeks now, shows you how out of the loop I’ve been) and so I decided to check it out, and oh my, is it pretty. This got me back into wanting to build things and tinker around with the new stuff I hadn’t really played around with, and I got to thinking about the main ARBTServer map and how I’ve exposed so much of it in the last few years that I’d have to hike quite a ways through the Nether to find any new ground to generate new stuff on. That and we have only occasional outside traffic these days… So I made the difficult decision to archive it. That map, which I’ll probably forever think of as the Main Map, I’m renaming V.2. The old survival map will be version 3, and the newly rebooted map, which is now live, is v.4.

Speaking of which, yes, the server’s back up, and I’ve completely rebooted the map. I played around with Mineatlas for a little while after deciding I wanted to start fresh, looking at other seeds to try, and after awhile I was just like… you know what… same seed. Just start from scratch. What with all the new stuff since the last time I’ve generated a new map with this seed I figured there’d be a few slight differences in the terrain, and there are, but it still looks familiar, if not quite the same. I’ve already put in a new Spawn House, and there’s a beacon tower already at World Center (0,0) that will eventually become the center of a new rail system, because you can take the woman out of the subway but you can’t take the subway out of the woman apparently.

I’ll miss the old map, but the beauty of archives is that there isn’t anything preventing me from bringing it back one day.

In other game news, I am not sure when I’ll be back to Twitch or just regular game playing, as again… too many irons in the fire. Hopefully sometime soon.

Baby’s First Twitch Stream!

screenshot from Minecraft with overlay at top for twitch streaming

So as a procrastination project from what I’m supposed to be doing until next weekend (I know) I’ve been working on this blog and also slowly setting up my Twitch channel for For Realsies streaming. I finally got all my ducks in a row and went live last night. As a test run, I noodled around ARBTServer and toured a few of the builds.

I’m pleased with how it came out. Aside from hating how my voice sounds outside of my head, lol, I think I did reasonably well for my first time, and I learned some things, like how there’s a 30ish second delay between capture and view, and that I need to really start paying attention to the chat channel so I can respond to people. And maybe need to slow down a bit instead of babble nervously. But despite the nerves and the “oh god I’m talking into the void” bit, I had a ton of fun and will definitely be streaming again. I will post ahead of time when I do!

A big hat tip to the folks at Black Gamers Revolution for their help, advice and support in getting this done!

One more quick map post

I hit a little bit of a snag with regard to maybe bringing the browser interactive tool to the site – namely that the javascript is still looking for huge files instead of the reasonably sized cropped one. Stay tuned for alternate ideas.

Anyway, one more map, this time an enlargement of our densely packed spawn area:

Home Sweet (272, 65, 12)
Home Sweet (272, 65, 12)

Since on the previous two maps it was near impossible to label everything in the spawn area, I decided to crop it down just to Spawn and the area around it. There is… a lot here, some of which I didn’t recognize/remember, and even at double the size I still had a couple of places where I had trouble fitting in labels.

I mostly wanted to have a spawn map so I could visualize the border of the building/modification ban, and the good news is I’m taking it from 200 blocks back down to 100, which is more than reasonable. Possible exception being that area in the lower right corner, as that space is empty – the other 3/4s of the square is quite full. So yeah, outside the red box please.

Stay tuned.

More Maps

When we last left your fearless leader, I was gleefully sorting through oodles of generated maps of ARBTServer and squeeing about finally having a world map after waiting a year and a half. I haven’t budged much from there, really. The interactive tools are really informative, since you can browse the maps by dimension, depth, etc once MCPE Viz crunches out all the pictures it’s capable of making. I really want to share ours, but unfortunately this means I’ve been spending large portions of the last couple of days cropping the generated overworld graphics down to a manageable size, because as generated they were well over 10000 pixels to a side and also well over 10MB a pop. Not exactly feasible – hell my husband’s brand new computer could barely handle browsing through these giant images and they were local to his machine. So I’ve been cropping them. The maps I’ve been showing around/ uploading skirt the dimensions of the known world; I figure when the builds edge farther than those boundaries we’ll start cutting it wider.

The other thing I’ve been doing is rotating the images 90 degrees clockwise, because according to how they come out, the sun rises in the north in Minecraft. (Come to think of it, that does explain why coordinates nver did quite make sense to me.) I’ve gotten used to orienting myself according to how the sun behaves on Earth, so I’ve been flipping the images on their “sides”. Cheating perhaps, but my world my rules, and if I want North to point upwards, by the Pants of the Server Mama it will.

The cropping and flipping process is tedious and slow because of the sheer whopping size of these pictures though – as it is I’ve only gotten from bedrock to “sea level” (lvl 62), though that may have been due to me looking at the level 62 map and thinking “ooh, continents.” Or at least very large islands separated by rivers?

Anyway long story short, there was a complete gear shift in what I was doing, and after tweaking colors, labels, edges, typefaces and various Photoshop effects, I came out with this.

Yar yar fiddle dee dee.
Yar yar fiddle dee dee.

When I was in middle school (back in the stone ages, practically) projects for history class often involved making maps or old fashioned letters by “aging” whatever paper we’d written or drawn on by first soaking it in old coffee, crumpling and smoothing it like 20 times, and then for that extra old document look, burning the edges with a match. That’s what I sorta wanted to evoke with this as well as it being a way to cover up the areas of missing/unexposed chunks. It didn’t quite mask it entirely, but it did work enough to get the suggestion across… and it looks awesome. BRB, changing my Facebook cover photo awesome, which says something considering the last time I changed it was when I finished Grand Central. But seriously though… I kinda want to get this printed and framed.

More map stuff later in the week!

A map! Finally!

Hey ARBiTors!

The blog’s been kinda neglected lately, I apologize. Too many irons in the fire lately, and too intimidating of a backlog of server pictures and posts to do. A quick update before I get to the big news.

We’ve been 24 hours for a little less than a month! Well, I say 24 hours, lol. I will admit the time has certainly had its share of wonkyness between my internet doing its best impression of a yo-yo and the occasional crash. For the most part though, the happy little tablet has played happy host to the world and seems to be working out well aside from a few hiccups.

I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t get mods really working on it, as apparently blocklauncher doesn’t work on Intel tablets at all, so right now we’re strictly vanilla MCPE. I’m kinda of dimply amused that right now the best tool I’d found for running the game like a server was Plug for PE (once they’d bug fixed it anyway – and you still can’t TP grrr) for iThing, which considering the Android mod and customizability hype was a little disappointing, but live and learn.

We also have another world! (ohh, gotta add it to the world page…) well, sorta. I started Survival Sunday, where I rebooted the server from seed and build in survival move with no mode switch cheating. That seems to be working quite well also, and certainly gave me a chance to dig out another one of my famously labyrinthine underground bases. Pictures sometime! (Maybe…)

So the big news today:

Map of ARBTServer

This is a composite of three overhead views generated by MCPE Viz. I strongly suggest checking this out if you want a visualization tool for your world, it is pretty freaking awesome.

MCPE Viz also generates a browser visualization tool, and I may upload that to the site at some point (it also maps the Nether!) but first I have to go through and crop/rotate all the generated images because… um, they are huge. Like 18208px x 16208px, 10MB a pop huge. Yeah, you thought that map above was huge, yeah that’s the center section, lol. I apparently did a lot of flying around and exposing the map.

GTG, off to finally find me some strongholds. I’ll probably post a few more map shots and talk about them in the coming week. And yeah, I’m going to try to post more often.

Featured Build of the Month: A cottage near spawn

August is drawing to a close and comes with several new faces from WSE, a blip with the website domain, and many amazing builds being built or just getting started on. Today I would like to highlight, a cottage near spawn. The cottage was built by BatMan3054 and the farm was built by Swarmhut.

I like the use of bricks as part of the path material, because it really pops against the green of the surrounding grass. I admire how the windows of the building are irregular and somewhat mismatch. The windows of the house make it feel quirky.

wp_ss_20150824_0002
The inside of the cottage

Stepping outside to the garden area features your basic crop setup and a outdoor shed.  I like the use of the dark oak and the quartz as the retaining wall holding back the hill.

wp_ss_20150824_0003

The best part of the build in my opinion is the roof. The roof looks worn down and has a very natural slope to it.

rroof

Well that’s it for this FBoM, until then keep on building.

Update: Due to some miscommunication, I incorrectly identified Rudie as the builder. If the builder would get in contact with me, I will update it to the correct person who built this.

 

General server news

So things have been a little slow around ARBTland, mostly because I haven’t been online much in the past few weeks. (Stupid real life.) That said, over the past couple of weeks there have been a few changes of note.

First of all we got another visitor from WSE – Rudie! Always glad for the cross pollination between the two servers.

In terms of build news, the monument behind spawn keeps on expanding as new people come in. Rate we’re going that things going to extend into the sea. In addition to adding Rudie, FatalDeath and Billybob decided to silly up their statues by giving them tongues.

FatalDeath has been working on a wizard tower, and Rudie has also been building a very fairy-appropriate home in a large artificially created stump.

I’ve been busy too. Started working on a new skyscraper not far from Wacker Tower, loosely based on a building from SimCity BuildIt, which I’ve been also playing some on the side.

Lastly 5 has been working on a secret project under the Rainbow Balloon. Did I post pictures of that since I refinished it?

One thing I’ve been irked by since a few game updates ago – when they changed all the lighting, the ocean lost its translucency. It’s now REALLY hard to see underwater, which is a pain if you’re building something really deep under, and impossible if you’re trying to take pictures of said something, so the best I can do is sorta present a vague blob under the water taken from the surface.

In server improvement news, I’ve been waffling on transferring the game to an external server for a bit, weighing pros and cons of each platform. I’ve all but decided that I want to move the game to Pocketmine, as I have some experience with running it and it offers the most flexibility and customizability right now. But on the downside, it’s lagtastic, and mobs don’t work yet, which is a bummer; I like having random creatures roaming the world. It gives what can often be a lonely game a little bit of life. I supppose I could treat the missing mobs as a temporary problem, as the goal of PM will be to eventually replicate the full experience of the game, and its main programmer now works for Minecraft proper. The other major problem is that transferring/ MCPE worlds to PM is still an ordeal thanks to the leveldb storage format being a pain in the butt to work with/translate. I and others have put so much time and love and work into this world, so its pretty important that we continue to be able to play with it.

“And that’s Numberwang.”