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tutorial:blockentity

Adding a BlockEntity

Introduction

A BlockEntity is primarily used to store data within blocks. Before creating one, you will need a Block. This tutorial will cover the creation of your BlockEntity class, and it's registration.

Creating a BlockEntity

The simplest Block Entity simply extends BlockEntity, and uses the default constructor. This is perfectly valid, but will not grant any special functionality to your block.

public class DemoBlockEntity extends BlockEntity {
   public DemoBlockEntity() {
      super(ExampleMod.DEMO_BLOCK_ENTITY);
   }
}

Bellow will show you how to create the ExampleMod.DEMO_BLOCK_ENTITY field.

You can simply add variables to this barebone class or implement interfaces such as Tickable and Inventory to add more functionality. Tickable provides a single tick() method, which is called once per tick for every loaded instance of your Block in the world., while Inventory allows your BlockEntity to interact with automation such as hoppers - there will likely be a separate tutorial dedicated entirely to this interface later.

Registring your BlockEntity

Once you have created the BlockEntity class, you will need to register it for it to function. The first step of this process is to create a BlockEntityType, which links your Block and BlockEntity together. Assuming your Block has been created and saved to a local variable DEMO_BLOCK, you would create the matching BlockEntityType with the line below. modid:demo should be replaced by your Mod ID and the name you want your BlockEntity to be registered under.

The BlockEntityType should be registered in your onInitialize method, this is to ensure it gets registered at the correct time.

public static BlockEntityType<DemoBlockEntity> DEMO_BLOCK_ENTITY;
 
@Override
public void onInitialize() {
   DEMO_BLOCK_ENTITY = Registry.register(Registry.BLOCK_ENTITY, "modid:demo", BlockEntityType.Builder.create(DemoBlockEntity::new, DEMO_BLOCK).build(null));
}

Once your BlockEntityType has been created and registered as seen above, you can simply implement BlockEntityProvider in your Block class:

@Override
public BlockEntity createBlockEntity(BlockView blockView) {
   return new DemoBlockEntity();
}

Serializing Data

If you want to store any data in your BlockEntity, you will need to save and load it, or it will only be held while the BlockEntity is loaded, and the data will reset whenever you come back to it. Luckily, saving and loading is quite simple - you only need to override toTag() and fromTag().

toTag() returns a CompoundTag, which should contain all of the data in your BlockEntity. This data is saved to the disk and also send through packets if you need to sync your BlockEntity data with clients. It is very important to call the default implementation of toTag, as it saves “Identifying Data” (position and ID) to the tag. Without this, any further data you try and save will be lost as it is not associated with a position and BlockEntityType. Knowing this, the example below demonstrates saving an integer from your BlockEntity to the tag. In the example, the integer is saved under the key “number” - you can replace this with any string, but you can only have one entry for each key in your tag, and you will need to remember the key in order to retrieve the data later.

public class DemoBlockEntity extends BlockEntity {
 
   // Store the current value of the number
   private int number = 7;
 
   public DemoBlockEntity() {
      super(ExampleMod.DEMO_BLOCK_ENTITY);
   }
 
   // Serialize the BlockEntity
   public CompoundTag toTag(CompoundTag tag) {
      super.toTag(tag);
 
      // Save the current value of the number to the tag
      tag.putInt("number", number);
 
      return tag;
   }
}

In order to retrieve the data later, you will also need to override fromTag. This method is the opposite of toTag - instead of saving your data to a CompoundTag, you are given the tag which you saved earlier, enabling you to retrieve any data that you need. As with toTag, it is essential that you call super.fromTag, and you will need to use the same keys to retrieve data that you saved. To retrieve, the number we saved earlier, see the example below.

// Deserialize the BlockEntity
public void fromTag(CompoundTag tag) {
   super.fromTag(tag);
   number = tag.getInt("number");
}

Once you have implemented the toTag and fromTag methods, you simply need to ensure that they are called at the right time. Whenever your BlockEntity data changes and needs to be saved, call markDirty(). This will force the toTag method to be called when the world is next saved by marking the chunk which your block is in as dirty. As a general rule of thumb, simply call markDirty() whenever you change any custom variable in your BlockEntity class.

If you need to sync some of your BlockEntity data to the client, for purposes such as rendering, you should implement BlockEntityClientSerializable from the Fabric API. This class provides the fromClientTag and toClientTag methods, which work much the same as the previously discussed fromTag and toTag methods, except that they are used specifically for sending to and receiving data on the client.

Overview

You should now have your very own BlockEntity, which you can expand in various ways to suit your needs. You registered a BlockEntityType, and used it to connect your Block and BlockEntity classes together. Then, you implemented BlockEntityProvider in your Block class, and used the interface to provide an instance of your new BlockEntity. Finally, you learned how to save data to your BlockEntity, and how to retrieve for use later.

tutorial/blockentity.txt · Last modified: 2019/07/22 17:38 by fudge