Friday, February 20, 2015


For quite some time, now, I've been working on a Python library called NBTParse.  It's designed to manipulate Minecraft worlds.  It's been languishing in a not-ready-for-prime-time state for the longest time, but I've finally decided to start working towards a 1.0 release.  As a motivator for that, I've begun rapid releases of 0.x.0 versions.

Each new 0.x.0 release will happen on the first Thursday of the month.  0.2.0 dropped on the 5th, but I didn't think to blog about it until now.  It can be had from PyPI under the name nbtparse (that is, you can run pip install nbtparse as usual).  If you don't have a C compiler, you may have difficulty with this.

Let's talk about the current status of the library.  It's currently very rough, with a number of serious shortcomings.  The biggest is the lack of a lighting engine.  In short, it doesn't adjust lighting information after altering the terrain.  Because of this, terrain manipulation is highly risky at the moment, with great potential to corrupt saves.  In other words, back up your saves before playing with this.  But you knew that already; it's listed as pre-alpha in PyPI, after all.  Work on the lighting engine has not seriously begun yet, so this will likely remain the case for a long time.  On the other hand, I hope to at least have heightmap updating in time for 0.3.0 (this will hopefully prevent any corruption from actually crashing Minecraft, though you'll still experience lighting errors).

Another issue is Minecraft 1.8 compatibility.  In short, there is none.  While 1.8-isms are nominally accessible, they're not particularly fun to work with right now.  Fortunately, this is mostly a matter of sitting down and writing declarative code to describe the new features.  It should be fairly straightforward once I get around to actually doing it.  I hope to have this in 0.3.0.

Finally, the API is not yet stable.  Some aspects of the library may change as we move closer to 1.0, without backwards compatibility.