1.7.2. Release and Making qCraft Open Source

Back in October, Dan200 and some friends from Google, MinecraftEdu, E-Line Media, and CalTech came together to build qCraft to see if we could bring quantum mechanical principles into Minecraft. Seven months and hundreds of thousands of downloads later, we’ve been thrilled to see what players have done with it, and even more excited by their ideas for how to expand the mod.

Since launching, we’ve added some new features like server-to-server teleportation and advanced redstone interactions, and built a whole curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom. But we know there’s so much more qCraft can do, so today we’re taking the mod open source, available for anyone to contribute to or fork.

Developers can help our team improve the current quantum features, like allowing mobs and players to be teleported using quantum computers. Or they can add totally new features, like quantum levitation (maglev minecarts!). Or they can fork the mod and do whatever they want with it, whether it’s quantum or not: maybe houses that disappear with the flick or a switch, or doors that only open with the placement of the correct series of blocks.

The possibilities are endless, and that’s part of the reason why we’re going open source.

Fork the source on Google Code and start experimenting.

Happy hacking!

qCraft Team

Introducing Server-to-Server Quantum Portals and qCraft 1.1

Today, we’re pleased to release a significant update to qCraft, qCraft version 1.1. This version contains a few new quantum items, some fixes and improvements plus a brand new quantum mechanic (pun intended): quantum portals. From the Wiki:

Quantum portals use Quantum Computers to establish a link through which players can instantaneously travel between two points in the same Minecraft world (intra-server portals) or between a specific point in the world on one Minecraft server and a specific point in the world on a different Minecraft server (inter-server or server-to-server portals). Players can travel through a portal, come out the other side at a pre-set destination and, if they like, take their inventory with them.

Server to server portal

Note also that you can combine quantum portals and the quantizing ability of quantum teleporters to move entire structures from one place to another.

In addition to thinking that the possibility of jumping instantly from one Minecraft world to another was just plain cool, we also drew some inspiration from the concept of the multiverse in quantum mechanics: where a hypothetical set of infinite or finite possible universes together comprise everything that exists and can exist. In our interpretation, different Minecraft servers felt a little like that – the same experience, but different, existing simultaneously.

You’ll find documentation of how to set up portals here in the wiki. We’d also encourage those interested in setting up server-to-server portals to check out the configuration settings here for information on how to set things up securely. Briefly: players can’t use server-to-server portals to gain access to a server they ordinarily wouldn’t be able to access and by default the mod requires that server admins validate links to external servers.

If you’d like to test out portals, you can do so in singleplayer mode by creating intra-server portals within a single Minecraft map. If you’d like to test server-to-server portals and don’t have access to multiplayer servers running the mod, you can set up a server (or pair of servers) to run locally on your computer. You can find instructions in this document.

Schrödinger’s cat becoming alive

Quantum physics is weird – at least for our classically trained minds. It allows particles to be here and there at the same time. Or Schrödinger’s cat, which is alive and dead at the same time.

But Nature seems to behave according to the weird laws of quantum physics. It describes phenomena in our world from the very microscopic like the physics of elementary particles and nuclear physics, to atoms and molecules, chemistry and material science, all the way way to cosmology, where we see quantum fluctuations left over from the big bang in the cosmic background radiation. But quantum physics also leads to important applications, e.g. the computers we build today rely on quantum physics, or the lasers in DVD players, or the Global Positioning Systems. Sometimes this is called the first quantum revolution.

But there is another vision – and a challenge. It is the vision of a second quantum revolution, as originally formulated by Richard Feynman, where we want to unleash the power of quantum physics in an unprecedented way. The challenge is to be able to control quantum particles — photons, atoms, electrons etc. — down to the level of single quanta. This will allow us to build new quantum devices: new computing machines such as quantum computers and new quantum algorithms, which we can run on these quantum machines to solve problems a classical computer, we believe, cannot.

What is remarkable is that this second quantum revolution is happening right now. We now have in our laboratories small scale quantum computers. Of course, they still have to grow up to become useful, but they are part of a coming quantum technology which may well be the disruptive technology of the 21st Century.

But how do we learn to think “quantum”: to program our new quantum machines – even if you are not a trained quantum physicist. The answer is to play qCraft. Actually, qCraft goes beyond a game to provide you with a new kind of intuition of the quantum world, where quantum physics is no longer weird, but has its own intuitive reality. A good investment into your and our future.

Peter Zoller is Professor of Physics at the University of Innsbruck, and Director at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Innsbruck, Austria.

qCraft at Minecon

Institute for Quantum Ocelots and Matter

We’re here at Minecon 2013 and excited to share some cool stuff with folks here in Orlando and at home.

If you’re at Minecon, stop by our booth to play with the mod, meet the team, learn some quantum physics from our friends at Caltech and hit us up on Twitter with hashtag #qCraft. We’ve also got a panel on qCraft happening at 1:40PM on Saturday. And be sure to check your goody bags for qCraft stickers and a chance to score a sweet qCraft t-shirt with our entangled scavenger hunt.

If you’re at home, you can download and play the quantum map we’re debuting in our booth for either Minecraft or MinecraftEdu. You’ll also need to the mod itself, available on our downloads page.