How to level a rectangular area with a ComputerCraft Mining Turtle

Last night I played around with Tekkit and the Mining Turtle which comes with it. The Turtle is part of the ComputerCraft mod and can be programmed using Lua and the Turtle API.

For fun I wanted to level an area, and I specifically wanted to fill in annoying holes and messy open caves. I decided to divide this into separate problems. First is having the turtle cover a rectangular area. Second is to fill in the holes below each block in the area.

I decided to create a function which takes a Lua table like the following:

{
  size = {X=x, Y=y},
  forward = function,
  left = function,
  right = function,
  callback = function,
}

The size is the width and length of the area. Forward, left and right are for moving the turtle and callback is the function to call for each point in the rectangle. This way the function is decoupled from turtle specifics and what I actually want to do.

Move in a rectangle

Struggled embarrassingly long with this (so seems this was a useful exercise for my programming brain), but figured it out in the end :P

-- Helper function for looping over a range
function range(limit)
    local function seq(state, x)
        if (x >= limit) then
            return nil
        else
            return x + 1
        end
    end
    return seq, nil, 0
end
-- The magic function
function moveSpiral(w)
    local X,Y = w.size.x,w.size.y

    -- Prepare for first row
    w.forward()
    w.right()

    -- Loop over each row
    for y in range(Y) do
        -- Loop over each column
        for x in range(X) do
            -- Do the callback for each point
            w.callback()

            -- Unless we have completed the row
            if x ~= X then
                -- Move forward
                w.forward()
            end
        end
       
        -- Unless we have completed all rows
        if y ~= Y then
            -- Move to next row
            if y%2 == 1 then
                w.left()
                w.forward()
                w.left()
            else
                w.right()
                w.forward()
                w.right()
            end
        end
    end

    -- Move back to starting point
    if Y%2 == 1 then
        w.left()
        w.left()
        for x in range(X-1) do w.forward() end
    end
    w.left()
    for y in range(Y) do w.forward() end
    w.right()
    w.right()
end

Please let me know if you have a better way to do it. Either way, now the callbacks handed to this function.

Moving the turtle

As you saw, the function requires three callbacks for moving. For turning left and right we can just use the turtle API directly. However, since I wanted to level an area, we need to do some digging if we hit any obstructions.

function forward()
    while not turtle.forward() do
        sleep(0.5)
        turtle.dig()
    end
end

This function will keep trying to move forward and whenever it fails it will wait for a short while and then try to dig in front of itself. This will usually only run once, but if you’re standing in its way it will keep trying until you move. This way you being in the way won’t mess it up :)

Filling the hole

First of all I wanted to fill up whatever hole is below me. I also wanted to replace dirt with stone and have a single layer of dirt on top. This is what I ended up with.

-- Fill hole
function fill()
    -- How far down we have gone
    local depth = 0

    -- Make sure we have an empty slot for picking up junk
    -- This is an attempt to not mess up the convention by
    -- the blocks we dig that are picked up. Not 100%
    -- reliable still...
    turtle.select(9)
    turtle.drop()

    -- Move down to first block we can find
    while not turtle.detectDown() and turtle.down() do
        depth = depth + 1
    end

    -- Remove top block
    turtle.digDown()
    turtle.down()
    depth = depth + 1

    -- Dig down to first non-dirt block we can find
    turtle.select(1)
    while (turtle.compareDown() and turtle.digDown() and turtle.down()) or turtle.down() do
        depth = depth + 1
    end

    -- Start filling
    while depth > 0 do
        -- Until we move up 1 successfully
        while not turtle.up() do
            -- Try dig upwards and wait a bit
            turtle.digUp()
            sleep(0.5)
        end
        depth = depth - 1
       
        -- As long as we have something to place
        if selectSource(depth) > 0 then
            -- Place it below us
            turtle.placeDown()
        end
    end
end

-- Returns the count of an appropriate slot
function selectSource(depth)
    -- If we're at the top
    if depth==1 then
        -- Select slot 1 and return its count
        turtle.select(1)
        return turtle.getItemCount(1)
    -- Otherwise
    else
        -- Move through the rest of the slots
        for i=2,9 do
            turtle.select(i)
            local count = turtle.getItemCount(i)
            -- Until we find one with something in it
            if count > 0 then
                return count
            end
        end
    end
    return 0
end

Works pretty well, but any advice on improvements are more than welcome :)

Running it

Create a file on a Mining Turtle called for example “fill” and add the above functions together with the following snippet of code:

local arg = {...}
if #arg == 2 then
    moveSpiral({
        size = {
            x = tonumber(arg[1]),
            y = tonumber(arg[2]),
            },
        forward = forward,
        left = turtle.turnLeft,
        right = turtle.turnRight,
        callback = fill,
    })
else
    print("Usage: fill x y")
end

You should now be able to level an area by running the program on the Mining Turtle like this:

> fill 10 15

It should then go ahead and level a 10 x 15 block area :)

  • Bob

    Can you put this on pastebin?

    • http://www.geekality.net/ Torleif Berger

      …why? It’s right there :p But if you you really want it on pastebin, you’re free to do that yourself. I don’t claim any ownership over this short thing :p