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Old 05-17-2013, 10:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Silly Daddy! Minecraft's for kids! (Advice needed)

My son is 8 and it seems he and his friends are enthralled by Minecraft. My son just plays on his iPod, but I know his friends have the full version and play on their computers I guess.
Now, as much as my wife and I loathe the fact that our kids (my daughter plays too, but she is nowhere near as engrossed) spend so much time playing with these infernal machines (ipods and computers) I must admit we think Minecraft has been a great creative outlet for them. I have been especially impressed with the things my son has built (ships at sea. Airports with planes, Movie theatres,houses, etc.)

My son has been bugging me for the full PC (Mac) version and wants to play multiplayer with his friends. Now I am concerned with him going on to public servers and such, but a quick youtube search seems to show that it wouldn't be too difficult to set up a whitelisted server on our home machine that he and a couple of friends could play on (if my machine tolerates it.) It looks to me like the game costs about $27 and you can download the server too.

So, I have never set up any kind of server before. Is there anything I should be aware of about setting this up and having it be a fairly safe environment for my son and his friends to play together? Any pitfalls or shortcomings I should watch out for?

Any experience or advice would be appreciated.
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Old 05-17-2013, 11:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Send a message to Looper, he runs the MCB Minecraft server and has been doing a fantastic job for like 2 years.

I'm fairly sure if you keep it to only your son's friends then you won't have any trouble. As long as they behave then you should be fine, I think there are censor options for profanity that you can set up. I know when I played with close friends we would skype or Xbox live chat to communicate faster.

Man the game is $27?? I think I payed like $6.50 for it 2 years ago in Alpha 1.017.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm 15 and I bought the pc version when I was 12 or 13. In my experience most of the multiplayer servers you go on will have varying degrees of profanity. Some will ban you for the slightest amount of cursing, ect., some have swear filters implemented, and other servers have simply no restrictions on cursing and hostile behaviour. If you buy your son this, he wil most likely start playing multiplayer and he might discover servers that can prove to be a bad influence.... My friends little brother was allowed to play call of duty, ect. when he was in kindergarten, and he's in grade 2 and already knows MANY profanities.

Tl;Dr Yes minecraft is a great outlet but some of the online community may swear, use racism and be hostile towards him which would obviously be a bad influence. I'm guessing if he starts playing with his friends he'll eventually move onto other servers. Overall minecraft is a great outlet and I've had many positive experiences from it.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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We keep our PC's in the family room and generally monitor the kids time using them. I like to think we can spot if he is on an open server fairly quickly, but it could happen. I am still more interested in trying to set up a whitelist server for him and his friends and I'm wondering if it is not as easy as it looks, or if there are any pitfalls like opening myself up for some pretty severe hacking?

I have seen that we would need to keep his friends posted with our up to date public IP unless we yse a DNS server, but I'm not sure how secure a free DNS server is and I really don't want to pay for one. Maybe having an IP chance once in a while isn't a bad thing.

I have no idea what creating a server on our machine might open us up to.

Thanks for the words of caution though.

Bow, I'll shoot Looper a message. Thanks!
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It's well worth the money. Don't think of it as a computer game think of it like a virtual lego set since that's basically what it is. If anything else I'd say it's probably the best computer game for kids to play together as it encourages not only teamwork in survival mode but also true creativity when you play in creative mode with unlimited resources.

As for for hosting a server a buddy of mine hosts our minecraft server and uses FreeDNS to make it so that his IP always redirects to the server. His server is a dual opteron machine I believe which was built cheaply since all it hosts is minecraft and a web page. Best advice is pick up a cheap used workstation from one of those places that deals in off lease business machines. Run that as a server and you're golden.

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Old 05-17-2013, 04:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That's an idea! I might have one of those lying around!
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you for this question. My 10 year old has been enthralled with this game for the last 4 months and would live on the machine if we let him. He has been begging for the full version and we have been resisting, but this makes it sound like it wouldn't be such a bad deal if we could find some acceptable friends for him to work with.
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Finnigan View Post

Any experience or advice would be appreciated.
looper runs the mcb minecraft server.

and i wouldn't worry about it. if the server has bad people, chances are his buildings would get griefed and he would voluntarily find a better server. i also find it hard to imagine playing on any other servers if you've already got your own.
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I actually just setup a another server for my two kids, ages 8 & 6, and their school friends.

I am using Bukkit with Mods and setup a whitelist so we can limit access to the server. Due to the age of the players I have disabled PVP, Monsters and made the server creative mode. I also turned off the Nether and End worlds to save on resources. I downloaded a pre built world so the kids could have fun exploring a world with existing structures and then start building their own.

here is the file that has the above mentioned settings.

#Minecraft server properties
motd=[Enter Message Of The Day here]
server-name=[Enter server name here]
Add yourself to the Ops.txt file so you have rights on the server
add other users to the white-list.txt file so they have access to the server

There are a fair amount of "How to's" out there on setting up a bukkit minecraft server.

Most of the mods I use on the MCB server are not really needed on the "Kids" server.
Some of the plugins I do use on this server is
Dynmap (web browser view of the world and active player)
SWatchdog (for logging of who did what if there is an issue)
WorldBorder (to set a border on the world)

being creative mode there are not many needs to be too restrictive on the game play. See my Minecraft thread for a link to download the needed files above. with Bukkit you do not need to download the minecraft server file as it is part of bukkit file.

I assume you are a cable modem users and have a Linksys "router/firewall" or similar device to block inbound access. As far as getting others to connect to the server you will need to open port 25565 on your "router/firewall" and setup a NAT on the "Router/firewall" to redirect the 25565 internet traffic to your PC's IP address that is running the "Server". Once you have that you just need to tell others what your external IP address is so they can connect. It's not really that hard but the first time is the worst because of the learning curve.

If you have any other questions I'll do my best to answer them.

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