Sometimes it’s the little touches and details that make a project. That’s certainly the case with [Franklinstein]’s Super Nintendo (SNES) Cartridge Hard Drive. It might only be an enclosure for a solid-state hard drive with a USB interface, but the attention to detail is what really makes it worth checking out.
A SNES cartridge has a pretty standard clamshell-ish construction, but fitting the solid-state drive plus cable adapter turned out to be a bit of a challenge.
Since [Franklinstein] wanted the cartridge to look as original as possible, careful measuring and cutting was needed to securely fit the drive and provide an unobtrusive USB-C port tucked discreetly into the cartridge’s opening. We like the technique of using a 3D printed fixture to take up the slack on the cable by exactly the right amount, resulting in a 100% rattle-free end product. A custom Minecraft sticker label provides the finishing touch.
Being able to plug it into a computer and actually play Minecraft is a neat gimmick, but it really shows that some careful construction and assembly can be what makes something look like a clean build instead of a hack job. Take a look at additional build detail and pictures, and check out the video of the build, embedded below.
Hey, if sneaky cartridge mod tricks intrigue you, then you’ll absolutely want to check out how it was possible to play DOOM on a NES from a cartridge. Maybe that’s the next evolution for a cartridge with a Minecraft label on it?
Continue reading “Super NES Cartridge Pulls A Sneaky, Plays Minecraft“
Where this gets ugly is in how much damage that one infection caused. The virus, now named fractureiser, installs itself into every other Minecraft-related .jar on the compromised system. It also grabs credentials, cookies, cryptocurrency addresses, and the clipboard contents. Once that information was exfiltrated from the LPS developer, the attacker seems to have taken manual actions, using the purloined permissions to upload similarly infected mod files, and then marking them archived. This managed to hide the trapped files from view on the web interface, while still leaving them exposed when grabbed by the API. Once the malware hit a popular developer, it began to really take off.
It looks like the first of the malicious .jar files actually goes all the way back to mid-April, so it may take a while to discover all the places this malware has spread. It was first noticed on June 1, and investigation was started, but the story didn’t become public until the 7th. Things have developed rapidly, and the malware fingerprints has been added to Windows Defender among other scanners. This helps tremendously, but the safe move is to avoid downloading anything Minecraft related for a couple days, while the whole toolchain is inspected. If it’s too late and you’ve recently scratched that voxel itch, it might be worth it to take a quick look for Indicators of Compromise (IoCs).
Continue reading “This Week In Security: Minecraft Fractureiser, MOVEit, And Triangulation”
Minecraft is a simple video game. Well, it’s a simple video game that also has within it the ability to create all of the logic components that you’d need to build a computer. And building CPUs in Minecraft is by now a long-standing tradition.
Enter CHUNGUS II. The Computational Humongous Unconventional Number and Graphics Unit by [Sammyuri] is the biggest and baddest Minecraft computer that we’ve ever seen. So big, in fact, that it was finally reasonable to think about porting a stripped-down version of Minecraft to the computer itself. Yes, that’s right, Minecraft running in Minecraft. (Video embedded below.) Writing the compiler and programming the game brought two more hackers to the party, [Uwerta] and [StackDoubleFlow], and quite honestly, we’re amazed that a team as small as three people pulled this off.
Anyway, once you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, also check out [Sammyuri]’s video on just the CHUNGUS II computer itself. (Also embedded below.) Seeing the architecture is interesting, even if you don’t speak Redstone as fluently as our heroes here. We love that the assembler creates a block of ROM – out of Minecraft blocks – that you can then cut/paste into the game’s reality.
For a “simple” game about breaking blocks and punching trees, Minecraft has inspired hackers to make the game better both inside and outside of the real world. For instance, for the latest in performant open-source Minecraft servers, check out Folia. Maybe, one day, they’ll build CHUNGUS II in the real world. It could happen.
Thanks [dbcdr] for the tip!
Continue reading “Minecraft In Minecraft On The CHUNGUS II”
Minecraft servers are famously single-threaded and those who host servers for large player bases often pay handsomely for a server that has gobs of memory and ripping fast single-core performance. Previous attempts to break Minecraft into separate threads haven’t ended successfully, but it seems like the folks over at [PaperMC] have finally cracked it with Folia.
Minecraft is one of (if not the most) hacked and modded games in history. Mods have been around since the early days, made possible by a dedicated group who painstakingly decompiled the Java bytecode and reverse-engineered it. Bukkit was a server mod back in the Alpha days that tried to support plugins and extend the default Minecraft. From Bukkit, Spitgot was forked. From Spitgot, Paper was forked, which focused on performance and gameplay mechanics. And now from Paper, Folia is a new fork focused on multi-threading.
A Minecraft world is split up into worlds (such as the nether or the overworld) and chunks. Chunks are 16x16xZ vertical columns of blocks. Folia breaks up sections of chunks into regions that can be ticked independently. Of course, moving to a multi-threaded model will cause existing plugins to fail. Very little was made thread-safe and the idea is that data cannot move easily across ticking regions. Regions tick in parallel, not synchronously.
Naturally, the people benefiting from Folia the most are those running servers that support hundreds of players. On a server with a vanilla-like configuration only around a hundred or so players can be online. Increasing single-core performance isn’t usually an option past this point. By moving to other cores, suddenly you can scale out significantly without restoring to complex proxying. Previous attempts have had multiple Minecraft servers and then synced players and entities between them. Of course, this can cause its own share of issues.
It’s simply incredible to us what the modding community continues to develop and create. It takes deep patience to reverse-engineer the system and rearchitect it from the outside. The Folia codebase is available on GitHub under a GNU GPL 3.0 license if you’d like to look through it.
There is a select group of computer games whose in-game logic is enough for them to simulate computers in themselves. We’ve seen it in Minecraft and DOOM, and now there’s a new player in town from a surprising quarter: Tetris.
One might wonder how the Russian falling-blocks game could do this, as unlike the previous examples it has a very small playing field. And indeed it’s not quite the Tetris you’re used to playing, but a version played over an infinite board. Then viewed as a continuous progression of the game it can be viewed as somewhat similar to the tape in a Turing machine.
The various moves and outcomes are referred to through a Tetris scripting language, so states can be represented by different sets of blocks and holes while logic elements can be be built up using the various shapes and the game logic. From those a computer can be built, represented entirely in Tetris moves and shapes. It’s a little mind-bending and we’d be lying if we said we understood every nuance of it, but seemingly it works well enough to run the game from within itself.. If it had the catchy music from the NES version, we’d declare it perfect.
Hungry for more? Here’s DOOM doing some adding, and of course Minecraft has a rich computing history.
There’s a furnace in Minecraft that is used to power all kinds of things in the game. [Joel] of Joel Creates decided he wanted to build a real-world replica, and did exactly that.
The furnace consists of a 30 cm aluminium cube, inside which the coal is burned. Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are then placed on the sides of the furnace to turn the heat into useful electricity. The TEGs are installed in a sandwich of aluminium plates designed to maximize heat transfer through the TEGs themselves. They’re fitted with heatsinks to help create the maximum thermal gradient for greater power output. The entire setup is housed in a larger aluminium cube that’s finished to look like the Minecraft furnace — achieved by using a CNC machine to draw on the aluminium with high-temperature Sharpies.
With the coal a-burning inside, the furnace was able to generate enough power to run its own cooling and exhaust fans. It even had a little power left over to charge a phone. Overall though, [Joel] hopes that with some improvement, it can one day power his Minecraft car replica up to its top speed of 25 mph.
Continue reading “Real Minecraft Furnace Generates Electricity From Coal”
Let’s face it, we all need a little distraction sometimes, especially lately. And for our money, there’s no better way to put your brain in park than to start up a Minecraft world and get to digging. The simple graphics, the open world, and the lack of agenda other than to find resources and build things are all very soothing.
But play the game long enough and you’re bound to think about what it would be like if the game world crossed over into the real world. The ironically named [Michael Pick] did just that when he managed to craft a real Minecraft furnace that can actually power the game. Of course, there are some liberties taken with the in-game crafting recipe for a furnace, which is understandable for a game that allows you to punch trees with a bare fist to cut them down.
Rather than using eight blocks of cobblestone to build his furnace, [Michael] made a wooden shell for a commercial folding camp stove. Insulated from the shell by a little cement board, the furnace looks pretty true to the in-game item. To generate the electricity needed to run the game, he used a pair of thermoelectric camping generators. With the stove filled with wood — presumably un-punched — the generators put out enough juice to at least partially charge a battery bank, which was then used to power a Raspberry Pi and 7″ monitor. His goal was to get enough power from the furnace to do a speed run in the game and find three diamonds to build a diamond pickaxe. Honestly, we’re jealous — our first diamonds never come that easy.
We’ve seen other Minecraft-IRL crossovers before. Fancy a ride in a minecart? We’ve got that covered. Or maybe you’d rather control a desk lamp from within the game? That’s a thing, too.
Continue reading “Replica Minecraft Furnace Actually Powers The Game”