Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Race Track Map - 1.6 In Da House!

I figured it was about time to get working on that race track some more now that 1.6.2 is in full swing. Forge and Optifine both look stable, and considering other mods aren't a necessity, I should have no trouble.

As you might know, I'm a huge fan of MultiMC, which currently doesn't work with 1.6. I was worried that if I upgraded to the new launcher for my default .minecraft folder, MultiMC would be broken. However, as long as you have some saved instances already on MultiMC and do NOT attempt to force update anything running under MultiMC, it remains untouched! Today I am having my cake and eating it too!

So, what have I done to the race track map, right? Nothing major yet - I had to make some minor redstone fixes, as something was apparently changed ever so slightly that temporarily borked the slot machine. It's fixed now - I just had to shuffle around some blocks and redstone dust to get it back on track.

Anyway, on to the screenshots! I added some hay bales along the gravel path leading to the pond. I purposely placed the bales in different directions so the red bands didn't look like one big stripe, but I'm not sure I like them as they are either.

The mall got some new flooring, thanks to the spiffy new stained clay blocks. These are yellow stained - not to be confused with painted (which isn't a thing in vanilla Minecraft) - thus yellow stain comes out more of a marigold color.

Overall, I'm happy with the stained clay blocks, except for the black one. It's a dark brown color, and I was dearly hoping for an "almost black" to replace the wool in the diner. The new coal blocks have a rough texture to them, making them look like obsidian's kid brother. Is it so much to ask for a black, barely-patterned vanilla block?

On the subject of new blocks, here's a look at a stable stall now with hay bales and black carpeting (it's supposed to resemble a rubber mat to alleviate the horses from walking/sleeping on stone, use your imagination). I did try some different clay blocks instead of carpet floors, but the carpet is slightly raised (like a layer of snow) and looks neat so I went with that.


Finally, the mall is truly finished (at least on the inside, I may decorate the outside some) as I was able to add the remaining items to the shops. Horse armor, name tags, leads, and horse spawn eggs are all available, for a price!

The new lapis block texture is also pretty nice. It has edging now, similar to gold and diamond blocks. I rather liked the unedged version as it had a more seamless look when placed next to each other, even if the pattern itself wasn't the greatest. I may redo the ticket booth (again) with clay blocks, maybe.

I really need to get the hotel and job areas started before worrying about the look of the ticket booth. The Twilight Forest (in my 1.5.2 SSP) beckons me to go adventuring though, so I'll have to learn to do a bit of both if I want to progress in either setting!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Arkenor's Magical Misadventures

A helpful friend from the Minecraft forums, Arkenor Oakshadow, has a wonderful "let's play" series featuring a slew of mods, mostly with a fantasy/magic theme. Check out his magical misadventures - I've only seen a handful of them so far, but they are quite enjoyable!

Minecraft Mob Rap III

I logged into YouTube about 30 minutes ago and was shocked to see a third installment of the best Minecraft music videos ever! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Current Spawn Configs and Mod List!

Today I was asked to share my spawn configurations on the Minecraft forums, so I posted them! The setup is for Minecraft 1.5.2 using Just Another Spawner (JAS) v0.9.4.

In addition to the spawn configs posted on the forums, here's my entire mod list I'm currently using, with links to their pages!

Running Minecraft using MultiMC, I've divided the mods according to how they are listed there.

If you want to run this mod list, you must make sure to download the correct versions!

Jar Mods

Forge
LiteLoader (to run macro/keybind mod)
OptiFine

Coremods

CodeChickenCore (for NEI)
GuiAPI (for Mo'Creatures)
NotEnoughItems

Mods Folder

Atum
Backpacks
Bibliocraft
Biomes O' Plenty
Chainz
Craft and Enchant
Custom Mob Spawner (for Mo'Creatures)
DungeonPack
EnhancedCore
EnhancedPortals 2
Gravestone
Grimoire of Gaia 2
Household Gods
Infernal Mobs
Inventory Tweaks
JustAnotherSpawner
Macro/Keybind Mod
Metallurgy 3
Mo' Creatures
Mutant Creatures
Parachute Mod
Primitive Mobs
Project Zulu
Rei's Minimap
Rivvest's Villager/Mob Performance Revamp
Ropes+
RPG Inventory
Twilight Forest
Vanity Blocks

It's just shy of 50 mods, and with a little work they're all compatible. The focus is on fighting and exploration. You can't go far without finding some kind of dark dungeon full of things that want to eat you! Thankfully, you have a few tricks handy and epic monsters often have epic loot!

Friday, July 19, 2013

BucketPlanks on YouTube

I know it's been a little while without an update - I took a break from the map to actually play some Minecraft. I'm trying some new things out, but more on that later. For now, enjoy some entertaining Minecraft animations from BucketPlanks on YouTube! Here's one of his latest videos to get you started!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Race Track Map - Rail System Up

I've done a lot of work, but I have a surprisingly small amount to show today. The rail system is fully operational, which is what I've been busy with the last couple of days. There's not a whole lot to show because each station is pretty much like the other.

Anyway, here's what the entry to a station looks like. I'm not sure if I'll do any work on changing their looks. They're working as intended, and mucking around with the design is only going to cause trouble.

This is a screenshot of the big map view of Rei's Minimap. I'm standing roughly in the center of the map and you'll notice it doesn't totally fit now! About half the mall isn't even pictured, and I still have more to add to the map.

I might take a small break before tackling the next part of the build because I know it's going to be a real challenge. On the west side of the map, across from the ticket booth, I'll be putting in a hotel.

The lobby will likely be the spawn point for players when they join a server hosting the map. As you'd expect, I want the hotel to have rooms for players to "rent", though I'm not exactly sure how I want to accomplish that in-game. I could set up a daily rental by using daylight sensors, but once a player sleeps in a bed, it's considered their spawn point as long as the bed isn't moved... hmm... moved...

Drats. I looked up the interaction between beds and pistons, and pistons simply break the bed back into an item. I was hoping it would delete the "spawn save" info, thus resetting the bed via sticky pistons... but nope!

Perhaps I'll make the rooms a one-time investment. That would remove the majority of the problems with renting. I'm thinking of having a bed and at least a single chest in each room, with a lamp and maybe some other decor. I guess I could also do more expensive rooms with more amenities, allowing players to have a suite instead of a basic room. That could work...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hopper Minecart Dispenser

Looking at YouTube, the majority of players tend to make the "pez" minecart dispensers. They're tall and only look cool the first time you see them. You quickly realize that each cart is an entity, which in turn will cause lag on servers. Did I mention they're tall? Yeah, basically a bunch of carts stacked on each other in a column, yuck.

You can imagine my surprise when I found a video showing how to shoot a cart out via a dispenser, then get it to turn back into an item... which is then sent back to the dispenser it came from via hoppers! What kind of black magic is required to do such a thing, you ask? Oddly enough, it uses one of the more obscure and shunned blocks in the game now - that of the lowly cactus. Take a look.




I was skeptical too, but after trying it out I'm pretty happy with the results. I haven't lost a cart to the cactus yet - what's more common actually (and still very rare) is the cart getting stuck between the glass before it hits the cactus, possibly causing a backup of carts if not removed. That can be taken care of easily with a detector rail attached to a lamp to notify you though.

Race Track Map - Mall (Mostly) DONE!

Great news - the mall is finished! OK, well I still have to add the new items for sale once I actually update to 1.6, but that's the easy part.

Anyway, here's a glimpse at one of the main hallways inside. The majority of the ceiling is glass because skylights are nice. A friend suggested I go with yellow wool for the edges once I added in the quartz pattern blocks to the floor. I thought it would be really ugly at first, but I was surprised. It actually looks really nice at the doorways to the shops!

This image here shows off the record store. It's in the basement, like most indie music stores are in real life. As you can tell, the shop has a very stronghold/dungeon feel to it, taking the term "underground music" literally!




This relatively simple-looking image is much more than it appears. If you can read the signs, you'll notice that the machines on either side convert a diamond to nine gold blocks and back again. Turning one diamond into 9 blocks is easy - I can build the device in my sleep now. The other conversion however is a bit trickier.

What you don't see is the redstone required to make it all happen. I had to account for players tossing in any amount of blocks - either one at a time or in a stack of any number. In addition to the item shop build I needed a toggleable redstone clock that would tick precisely in time with the hoppers. I found some builds and tinkered with them until I found the one that suited my needs... then had to manually fiddle with delay settings until it synced up. It took most of yesterday to accomplish that.

With the mall pretty much complete, I considered what was left: exit doors for leaving the races, the rail system, the hotel, and the job areas. I figured that instead of having even more pathways for players leaving the races that I'd keep it simple. It's just 2 one-way doors with a command block buried that removes the players' digital "tickets". After the headache of figuring out the change machine I was happy to see such an elegant solution!

With the exits taken care of, I now turn my attention to the rail system. In addition to getting players from A to B, it also needs to accept payments, have two-way traffic, dispense an unlimited/recurring supply of minecarts, remove those minecarts from players after the ride, and look nice to boot! A bit of a tall order, but I like challenges (or I'm a glutton for punishment)!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Race Track Map - Mall WIP and 1.6 Talk

Progress continues on the mall. It looks like it'll have 4 shops and the diner, with two(ish) stories. It took a while just to get the layout configured, as that nefarious redstone demands a certain amount of space. Likewise, I have to take command blocks into consideration so I don't accidentally give a purchased item to a random passerby (who might be technically closer to the block than the buyer).

I know there's other tricks I can use with command blocks to pinpoint its search radius, but that requires entering map coordinates. The problem with using those extensively is the editing headache caused by anyone that decides to import this map into their game world because the coordinates won't match. I'd rather make the map as user-friendly as possible, even if it's a bit of a building challenge on my end.

Enough with the details, you're probably here to see pictures!

Here's a peek at the jockey outfitter shop. It sells leather armor (because it's the only armor that can be dyed) and the dyes most needed for the race. Jockeys already begin with a full set of armor and some dyes virtually for free, but in the event they need more it's available.


This shop, affectionately named "Trolls R Us", sells a variety of fun items. You can buy eggs and snowballs to throw at people, masks, a book & quill (to keep notes, write jokes, record accomplishments, etc.), and a potion of invisibility for hijinks.

I almost had to take snowballs off the list because any player (even in adventure mode) can turn 4 snowballs into a snow block, which they can then place. That's not the intended use of the snowballs for this map! I figured out a fix - I have a redstone clock running that removes snow blocks from player inventories. Once I realized how effective that is, I did the same with melon blocks so I could add melon slices to the food menu. That will work fine for a standalone map, but changes will need to be made for those importing to their world. Looks like I'll have to add some documentation so people know how to change settings.

Finally here's a look at the unfinished mall. Yes, it's very sparse on color at the moment. I tend to build out of quartz blocks now to get the general shape I want, then change it up as needed.

I'm really eager to try out the new blocks in 1.6. Optifine is currently in a "preview" release, as it's not fully complete but still mostly functional. Maybe I'm a chicken, but I'd rather wait until I know it's more stable. Also, MultiMC won't work for 1.6 right now either, as the new Minecraft launcher pretty much breaks how MultiMC loads. Supposedly, Magic Launcher is already 1.6 compatible which is better than nothing.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Race Track Map - Diner Finished!

I just finished the working restaurant and added villager employees!

This first image shows off part of the counter and the kitchen where the employees work. The kitchen has all the amenities - cupboards, spice rack, shelves, countertops, refrigerator/freezer, grill and oven, microwaves, sink, and dishwasher.


On each side of the restaurant is a maitre d' to greet you. Here you can see just one of the planters added for atmosphere. If you look closely, I added in a little joke.






This final picture shows you some of the dining area, with the large window overlooking the racetrack. I went with the customary black-and-white checkerboard diner floor and some simple furnishings. There's 2 wraparound booths and of course some decorations.

Next is to get my other shops built and decorate the mall. The maker of Optifine is working hard to get it 1.6 compatible, and as soon as it's up I'll convert the map over to 1.6, allowing me to work with carpet, stained clay blocks and horses!

Race Track Map - Item Shops With Alternate Prices

I've been busy adding even more to the map, in the form of vending machines! I was just about to start work on my mall with restaurant when I decided there should be more by the spectator stands. I figured it would make sense to have vending machines nearby so players can have something to eat while enjoying the races.

There's 3 machines here with 7 different food options total.

This contraption here is the vending system for the restaurant, located underneath the order and dining area. The reason I wanted to show this off is because it's a 2:1 ratio item shop that is only 1 square wide and tileable! It uses command blocks to give players the items purchased, otherwise it would be an even more complex machine.

It's a modified version of the 1:1 tileable item shop from Minecraftwithdummies, which I posted previously and have used for the majority of my payment systems. If you look closely, you do have to alternate between 2 different patterns to keep the redstone from cross-talking, which would ruin the entire system. I'm really thinking of doing a youtube video (probably as a response to the original build video) to show off how I modified it to accept higher amounts of currency correctly.

I also spent a good deal of time building the visible portion of the restaurant, but wanted to get everything finished before showing it off. From there, I have a few more shops to build and then aesthetics to make the mall look nice.

I'm also considering 2 new features to the map, both of which would be very nice. First off, when a new player joins the map, they are given some starting money. However, it is possible for a player to go broke pretty quickly with bad luck. I definitely don't want everyone to become beggars, so one idea I had was to actually add in jobs. I'm thinking that around the map I could have job areas (tree farm/orchard, fishing pond, wheat farm). Players could choose to work in the job areas then pass through a room that takes their items harvested and gives back money. This would give someone who is truly broke a way to earn something and get back to living the high life at the track!

The other idea I have in mind is a transportation system via rails. Considering most of the below ground area is hidden redstone, I can't make a subway. I could either put the rail system on the outer edges or elevate it (which I think would be cooler). Of course, it would cost players to use the rail system, but it's a convenience rather than a necessity. I just realized the map is getting quite large and could use some faster travel than beating feet.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Race Track Map - Dice Game, Redstone Fixes, Mall Plans

The map is shaping up nicely! I'll start off with a minor cosmetic change I made to the big signs. I figured since some of the games are available to anyone and others are VIP-only, I'd color code the signs. It also breaks up all the gold blocks with some pretty emeralds!




Here's a look at the outside of the dice game. It began as just smooth sandstone, which is clean but not visually exciting. After some thought, I decided on making big dice on the side of the building - it's just quartz blocks with item frames for the pips - but it works!




This is the current inside room of the dice game. Behind me are some paintings on the bare walls, but otherwise the room looks really bland. I'm still deciding on how to spruce it up - feel free to leave some suggestions in the comments!

Today I noticed some unusual results from the lottery that continually runs every 5 minutes. It was spitting out several numbers at a time, but the way it's setup only the first number would actually "count" for betting (thankfully). Still, this was really annoying so I went down and looked at the redstone again. For starters, I was missing a critical torch that differentiated a '5' from a '7', so I fixed that... still, the game would spit out a few numbers in rapid succession. Looking online, I found that the RNG I was using was outdated and sort of broken in 1.5 and needed a new one. I switched over to the one from HiFolksImAdam on YouTube and it worked! No more glitches, yay!

Tomorrow I plan on breaking ground for the shopping area. I'm thinking of decking it out like a mall or something. I want it to look good, you know? I have the design I'll be using for the actual purchase points, and they're compact so I have more room for aesthetics. We'll see how it goes! For now, take a look at some of the items and services that will be available!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Race Track Map - Betting House

I've finished up the betting house so players can wager on their favorite jockeys/horses. The majority of the work was cosmetic (thankfully) with most of the redstone work done already.

Here's a look at the entry to "Honest Bob's" Betting House. I got tired of quartz for all the buildings and decided to try birch walls instead.

This is a "merged" area, meaning there's a security checkpoint for the VIP set of doors. The ones pictured here are the spectator entrance, thus wood (and no real need for a checkpoint).


Inside, we have a setup similar to the lottery booth. Simply toss a gold nugget into the hopper of your choice to bet for the color you think will win. At the options/announcer booth, I placed a command block informing players that a new race is starting and the betting can begin!

Note that all the currency (I chose gold, with nuggets being the base denomination) could be changed if you so desired. All it would take is changing the command blocks to give something else, except for the slot machine. That's easy too, just change the contents of the droppers and the signs reflecting the prizes.

On the other side of the room, you can read the rules of play, payouts, and course see the bookie! He's purely cosmetic, but it adds a nice touch to have an actual bookie area.

I wanted to start work on the "mini mall", but alas I decided upon one more gambling game to build. After some research, I settled upon a version of 21 using the roll of a die. It sort of fills the void of both craps and blackjack, which technically could be done in Minecraft, but take a ton of redstone to work properly. I simply don't have the patience, and this in my opinion will be "good enough". The focus is the race track - everything else is just icing on the cake.



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Minecraft Mob Rap I and II

Just thought I'd share this playlist as well - it's the Minecraft Mob Rap parts I and II by JT Machinima. These are still my favorite Minecraft-related music videos. Enjoy!

Minecraft MOB BATTLES!

Two mobs enter, one mob leaves! Pat (aka PopularMMOs on YouTube) has an ever-expanding series where he pits Minecraft monsters against each other, and it is a real treat!

He typically starts off with a 1-on-1 confrontation and the battles get progressively larger until a full-scale war between the mobs takes place. The mobs commonly featured are from mods such as Mutant Creatures, Mo' Creatures, and Twilight Forest - but vanilla's Iron Golem is used as the mob by which all others are measured. You might be surprised at just how powerful iron golems really are!

The video below should include the entire playlist. Hit 'play' and enjoy the carnage! This is currently my favorite series to watch during breaks while building the Race Track Map.

Race Track Map - Winning and More Redstone

When this map is done, I wouldn't be surprised if there was an audible 'hum' coming from all the redstone running through it! It's getting to the point that almost every block under the grass or floor hides yet more circuitry. I spent the vast majority of the day's work on wiring logic circuits and writing commands. Honestly, I think that if I didn't have some background in computer programming I would be totally lost trying to figure it all out.

The real pain to doing redstone is twofold - not only do you have the programming aspect to deal with, but you also have to think spatially in three dimensions (well, four if you consider time a dimension and are dealing with signal delay). It's enough to make most people just shut down and go dig tunnels to forget.

That said, there's not much in the way of 'pretties' to show you today (unless of course you like seeing rows of wiring, repeaters, and command blocks).

I rewired the ticket booth when I came up with the idea of having "merged areas" where spectators and VIPs/jockeys could both visit. The problem I could foresee was people paying the cheaper "spectator price" for entry, then via the merged areas slip into the VIP sections.

I fixed that by tagging each person that pays to enter with a digital stamp so to speak (scoreboard for the win yet again). Iron doors are used  to keep people out of areas they shouldn't be, and only open if the person has the proper "clearance". Come to think of it, that would be a neat idea for a totally different type of adventure map - a spy thriller/espionage kind of thing... hmmm... well, that's a project for another time!

Anyway, the rewiring came with a remodeling job as well, so there's the new and improved ticket booth.

This image shows a bit of what little decor fun I got to have today. The gambling rooms both got big gold signs, and the lottery house received a facelift.

Around the top of the building there is now a marquee made of redstone lamps, and it has become the first "merged" area of the map. I figured with a new drawing held every 5 minutes, everyone would want to play sooner or later... might as well open it up for all players!

The really BIG thing I added today was an automatic payout system for the winners of the race. I had the foresight to code in a way to pay out people betting on the races as well, and have already laid the foundation for the betting house.

The next time I work on the project (it's Independence Day here in the States), I should have the betting house up and running. It's actually going to work quite similarly to the lottery booth, so I know the wiring for this pretty much by memory.

I keep talking about vending machines and have yet to actually show you what I'm going on about... so I checked youtube and found a couple of wonderful builds. I'll post my favorite below by none other than the wonderful Minecraftwithdummies, who has several ideas I've borrowed from so far (don't worry, full credit is always given!)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Race Track Map - Lottery w/Auto Payment

Welcome to the Lucky Seven Lottery! I tried kind of in vain to get a working roulette table, and after racking my brain for a solution, I decided a lottery system would do the same AND provide some other unique features.

For starters, any amount of people can play, and people can pick the same number with no issues. Using the scoreboard system and command blocks, payout is automatic, no matter where they are in the game!

I have it set to automatically pick a random number between 1 and 7 (thus the name 'Lucky Seven'), as well as a null value (which simply delays choosing a number until the next drawing but lets players keep their bets - that could be changed, though) every five minutes.

How did I do that? I took a random number generator (made by CodeCrafted and improved by emeraldFyr3 on YouTube) and hooked it up to a decoder (also by CodeCrafted). The decoder outputs are then wired to command blocks.

As for the 5-minute delay, I come up with something of my own (though I'm probably not the first to think of it). The device pictured here drops a piece of dirt onto a wooden pressure plate, which triggers the RNG to pick a number. It also snakes upwards turning OFF the redstone torch in the picture.

Exactly 5 minutes later, the dirt despawns and the pressure plate pops back up. This turns the torch back ON, telling the dropper to drop another piece of dirt... and the cycle begins anew!

I'll not explain the remaining pictures in detail as they are pretty much in-stage shots of the redstone nightmare required to make the magic happen. In order - a glimpse at the random number generator, a behind the scenes shot of the lotto selection room, and what the lotto room would look like if you cut away some of the decorations and the floor.









I still have the vending machines/store to build, and I haven't really put a lot of thought into how they will be achieved. I have a few ideas floating around, but I'll be sure to look online to see what others have already come up with.

I'd much rather give credit to someone that truly knows what they're doing than sit here for hours trying to get something to work in a compact and aesthetically-pleasing manner!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Race Track Map - Gold Fever!

I did some searching, and in addition to the roulette table I also found an amazing tutorial on a slot machine that is both compact and stylish! I rebuilt it with only some minor tweaks of my own added.

Here you can see the payout system - Simply get 3 of any to appear, and the game pays out accordingly! The cost to spin is one nugget, making the common/lowest payout a "free spin" of sorts... though even that doesn't happen all the time!

This shot is a game result showing Apple-Melon-Apple... thus a loss. These items stay on the slabs for a brief moment before disappearing via MAGIC... ok, more like hoppers and redstone, but it's technical wizardry to be sure.




This next shot is a what a winning spin looks like. The prizes literally spit out of the picture and onto the floor, much like a real slot machine jackpot! For safety of your winnings, players are advised to use the machine one at a time.




I liked the idea of using gold as a currency so much that I decided to change up the ticket booth a bit. The two entrances now feature a drop box to place the proper amount of gold in before the door will open. In an adventure map setting, new players can start the game with some gold (via more command block magic), which they can use either to get in the race, hang out in the VIP area, or kick back in the stands.


In case anyone was wondering, here's a look at the slot machine in action, courtesy of Minecraftwithdummies on YouTube. It's super awesome!

 I haven't officially added the roulette table yet, and I'm considering some other goodies as well such as a vending machine-based area to purchase items. I know 1.6 is officially out, but my computer is old and I'm kind of waiting on Optifine to update. Bear with me though, the races are almost ready!




Monday, July 1, 2013

Race Track Map - Stables, Farm and Orchard

Technically, there's not much left to add to the map. I've been working on aesthetics quite a bit, adding trapdoors as accent/decor for various features and putting in some flowers along pathways. I still have some chests to fill with fireworks and supplies for horses, but I'll do that prior to release because frankly it's kind of boring!

Anyway, here's some more WIP teaser screens!

This first image shows the sizable wheat farm now in place. Considering the amount of wheat horses will consume and the number of horses that could be seen on the map, even this may not be enough.

The wheat is planted behind the announcer booth/race options building.



Here you can see sugarcane and carrots growing in between the announcer booth and the stables. Both foods are horse-friendly (and carrots are essential for pigs, if you choose to use the map for pig races), but likely not quite as important as wheat. Carrots are also planted on the opposite end of the stables.



This pic gives you an idea of the apple orchard/park area, located next to the VIP booth. All the trees are oak, as they are the only kind that produce apples from their leaf blocks.





The image here is a look at the lane between the track and stables. I added arches (admittedly hard to see at night, my apologies) and some vines to pretty it up. It looks like a nice place to show off the horses while not on the track or in the winner's circle.




Finally, we have a shot of a stall in the stables. I know the angle is a bit awkward, but I wanted to get the overhead chest in the picture. The chest is intended to store food/armor/saddles and anything else the horse and rider may want to keep. There's ample room to hang signs designating horse/jockey names, accomplishments, etc.

I placed a filled cauldron in each stall to act as the horse's water supply. That's just for looks, as horses in the game don't actually need water. Next to the cauldron are 3 blocks of yellow wool, which will soon be replaced with wheat/hay bales. The floor for the stall will likely get carpeting, to represent the rubber mats used in real horse stalls.

While I'm nearly finished with the map, I know there's more I could add. I talked about minigames, and Sethbling recently uploaded a youtube video showing off a working roulette table. I'm really thinking about adding something similar to this, but with an actual automated payout system. I'm thinking a mix of hoppers, command blocks, and some other redstone shenanigans might just work!

That's when it really hit me - if I could find a way to award race winners with gold (automatically), they could use the gold to craft golden apples/carrots, buy horse armor, or a number of other neat things via a redstone vending machine. Likewise, gold could be used for currency on the map in general - at the roulette table, to buy VIP access, purchase other items, etc. which sounds like a lot of fun for server communities!

It's a big plan, but it really sounds worth doing. I'll see what I can figure out.