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Tracking

Apr 28, 2018
Tracking
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    Video Tutorial

    A video tutorial covering all the basics of obsidian and iron trackers made by Speedcell can be found here.
    Another video tutorial covering tracking on a step by step basis by Speedcell can be found here.


    The Basics

    Tracking is the process of finding the location of another player on the map. Trackers are multi-block structures made from regular blocks in a particular formation. The image below is an example of an Emerald Tracker. It has a center block (Emerald), arms (Iron), and arm ends (Gold).
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    An Emerald Tracker


    Trackers can have 4 arms - Each one for the 4 directions (North, East, South, West). Trackers do not always have 4 arms, and not all arms are always the same length. In an Emerald tracker, each block from centre represents 50 blocks in that direction. This means that if a 20 block arm is built South, the tracker can track players who are within 1000 blocks in that direction from the centre block. (If this seems confusing, don't worry - The next bit aims to explain it in much more detail)

    There are 2 different commands for tracking - /track all, and /track [player]. The /track all command shows every player within the range of the tracker, while the /track [player] command targets a single player and only shows them.

    Trackers can track X and Z coordinates (not Y). In order to gain a players full location, you need both coordinates. S (South) and N (North) positions are located with Z coordinates, while E (East) and W (West) are with X coordinates. Be careful not to get the 2 confused, or you could end up hundreds of blocks away from your intended location!
    The below diagram is an example of a small Emerald tracker.
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    Example Tracker Diagram


    Red represents the area covered by the N arm
    Yellow represents the area covered by the E arm
    Blue represents the area covered by the W arm
    No color represents the S arm as there is no arm in that direction.

    (The blocks shaded do not actually represent the number of blocks the tracker would track - Refer to the numbers)

    If a player is located where 2 colors overlap, a ZX coordinate will be shown when using /track (SW, SE, NW, NE).

    If a player is located where there is one color and no overlapping, an X or Z coordinate will be shown when using /track (N, E, S, W).

    Remember - Both X and Z are needed to pinpoint a players location.

    On the diagram there are a number of squares with letters A-H. These represent players in those locations. Try to figure out what results the tracker would give if you did /track on it for each player, then check your answers by clicking the Results spoiler.

    A: N
    B: No Result
    C: E
    D: NE
    E: N
    F: E
    G: W
    H: No Result
    I: NW

    Types of Tracker

    There are 3 different types of tracker - Each with their positives and negatives:

    Diamond Tracker
    Middle -> Diamond Block
    Arms -> Obsidian Block
    End -> Gold Block
    Tracking Distance -> 25 + (25 * Arm Length)
    This tracker will take a long time to create (the End is a good place to obtain obsidian) and the arms will have to be quite long to track long distances. However, if a diamond tracker were to be raided, it would be a very time consuming process for the raider to mine all the obsidian.

    Emerald Tracker
    Middle -> Emerald Block
    Arms -> Iron Block
    End -> Gold Block
    Tracking Distance -> 50 + (50 * Arm Length)
    This is a high risk - high reward tracker. It is very expensive to create this type of tracker, but tracking people will be faster with one. However, hide your Emerald tracker well, because if someone finds it's location, stealing it would be very easy. This is because the tracker's arms don't need to be as big and it isn't made out of obsidian.

    Temporary Tracker
    Middle -> Obsidian Block
    Arms -> Cobblestone Block
    End -> Stone Block
    Tracking Distance -> 25 + (25 * Arm Length)
    This tracker will delete itself after 1 use. This tracker is very cheap to create and great for quickly building near the location of a player's base. It is recommended that a permanent tracker (Diamond or Emerald) be used to track the rough area of someone, then temporary trackers be used once the player's base is near to help pinpoint it's location.

    How to Track

    The way tracking works is by seeing a player on a tracker. You then shorten the length of the tracker arm to help pinpoint the position of the player. These are the main steps:
    • Build/Have access to a tracker.
    • Select who you want to track (/track all).
    • Once you have chosen, select which coordinate to track (X or Z).
    • Shorten the length of the arm you've chosen by mining the centre block, and moving it up the arm you're tracking. This shortens the distance it can track (Don't run, and move the end block of the tracker, this is time consuming and good tracking is about speed).
    • Shorten the arm until the target player disappears - This can mean two different things. Firstly, you could have shortened the arm enough that the tracker is not long enough to be in range of the player. The alternative is that the player has warped, is travelling or has logged off. Keep extending/shortening the arm until you have the block where you see the player, and if you shorten the arm 1 more block, they disappear.
    • Now for the maths. The information displayed by /track is very important.
      - Take the block from Step 5 (where you saw the player).
      - Take the X or Z 'Location' (depending on which direction you're tracking) of the block (Not the centre of the tracker itself, but the block you are tracking from).
      - If the direction of the 'Results' is S or E, then add the 'Range' number to the 'Location' since both these directions are positives.
      - If the direction of the 'Results' is N or W, then subtract the 'Range' number from the 'Location' since both these directions are negatives.
      - For the above 2, press F3 and in the top left there is a line called 'Facing' which can help if you're confused)
    • Repeat all step 6 except for the block where they disappear off the tracker. This can be done simply by subtracting 50 (or 25 - depends on the tracker type being used) from the 'Range' number then add/subtract to/from the 'Location'.
    • The result from Step 6, and 7 should give the coordinates that the target player is in.
    • Repeat again for the other coordinate (X or Z).
    If this is all still confusing, don't worry - There is a worked example next.

    Tracking - Worked Example

    Below is a worked example of tracking a player - The position of the tracker (the center block) and the results when doing /track are displayed.

    Step 1 - See who is in range
    A simple /track all on the tracker brings up every player in range.

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    Step 2 - Select who to track
    Melvin seems to be a good target and both his X and Z are in range of the tracker (/track Melvin).

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    Step 3 - Narrowing Melvin's Z coordinate (North)
    Narrowing block by block can be easier when starting out, but when tracker on very long arms, going half way to see which side of the half the target player (Melvin in this case) is on can speed things up. After shorting the N arm by half (by moving the center block up the arm), Melvin has disappeared so is out of range.
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    Step 4 - Continue narrowing
    Melvin wasn't shown on the last step so we make the tracker arm longer by moving the Emerald block back down the arm. He appears in the results again so we know he is within 250-400 blocks North.
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    Step 5 - Continue narrowing
    Since we have Melvin to such a short range now, tracking block by block is a good idea. We moved 1 block up the arm and find Melvin isn't in the results.
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    Step 6 - Finished Narrowing
    To double check that Melvin disappeared at North 350 was not caused by him warping to a different location, we go back 1 block just to check if he is still there, which he is. This means that Melvin is within 350-400 blocks North of the tracker location.
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    Step 7 - Back to centre
    We have Melvin's Z, now we need his X - This step isn't 100% necessary but helps to make things simpler.
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    Step 8 - Narrowing Melvin's X coordinate (East)
    Again, we go half way up the East arm and find that Melvin is still on it.
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    Step 9 - Continue narrowing
    We go up another half (half way between the last /track and the tracker end), and Melvin disappears off the tracker meaning we have gone too far.
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    Step 10 - Continue narrowing
    We go back a 2 blocks, but Melvin still isn't appearing in the results.
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    Step 11 - Continue narrowing
    We go back another block, but Melvin still isn't there.
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    Step 12 - Back one more block (The original block we went to from step 7) and find Melvin on it.
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    Step 13 - Continue narrowing
    To check that steps 8-10 where Melvin didn't appear on the tracker wasn't caused by him warping to another location in between, we move the centre block forward one to check if he appears, which he doesn't meaning we know Melvin is 450-500 blocks East of the tracker location.

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    Maths

    X: Tracker location for X on the block where we last saw Melvin (Step 11) is X:3817. We take the range of the arm (500) and since the direction is East (positive direction) we add this to the 3817.

    3817+500 = 4317

    We do the same calculation with -50 off the range (or 25 if you're using Diamond/Temporary trackers)

    3817+450 = 4267

    Therefore we know Melvin was between X:4317 and X:4267

    Z: Tracker location for Z on the block where we last saw Melvin (Step 6) is Z:-8232. We take the range of the arm (350) and since the direction is North (negative direction) we subtract this from the -8232.

    -8232-400 = -8532

    Again, we do the same calculation with -50 off the range

    -8232-350 = -8582

    Therefore we know Melvin was between Z:-8532 and Z:-8582

    We now know where Melvin is to a 50x50 area - From there we travel to the location, and try find the base. It can be anywhere within that area, in the sky, underground or on the surface so finding it may take some time.

    Testing out Trackers

    With the recent addition of the tracking plugin to our Build servers, you may now learn the ropes through hands-on experience and without wasting building materials on Raid! Please read this thread for more information regarding the addition.

    How to Avoid Being Tracked

    There are a few simple things every player can do to make being tracked harder. The main thing is to avoid AFKing or spending too much time in a base. The longer you spend there, the higher chance someone is tracking you, and the easier it is for them to do so. Remember: Tracking is time consuming so the less time you spend in one location, the harder it is for someone to pinpoint you.

    Try storing your precious loot in lots of different bases - This means if one gets tracked and raided, you haven't lost everything. Also, try to keep highly valuable items (armor, swords, etc.) in a base you rarely visit. Losing a surface farm is far less painful than losing a chest full of P4.

    Tracking - Troubleshooting

    A player doesn't appear on my tracker - If your tracker(s) don't cover the full size of the map, then the player is in a section that your tracker doesn't cover. To ensure you can track all players, make sure your tracker(s) cover the full 12k x 12k map - Players can't go past the border so they must be in that area somewhere.

    I went to the location but couldn't find the base - There are multiple reasons why this may have occurred.
    - The player was travelling when you tracked them and there isn't actually a base there.
    - The base could be in the Nether or Overworld.
    - Trackers only track X and Z coordinates, not Y - A players base could be anywhere between Y: 0-255, so make sure to check the sky, and check below ground. Bases, especially vaults can be very small so finding them can be very difficult (Teammates come in handy when trying to find a base).

    My tracker isn't tracking the range it should be - Check that you haven't accidentally mined a block while tracking previously, and forgot to replace it - If an arm has a break in it, the tracker (for that arm) won't work.

    Other Trackers

    Stacked Trackers
    On a stacked tracker, there are multiple trackers with different ranges above each other. This can be useful to figure out what the coordinate of a player is, because a player can stand on the middle block, track, mine one block down, stand on the next tracker, track again, and so on narrowing the range in seconds. Stacked trackers can also be horizontal with arms of different ranges next to each other.

    Stacked trackers use a lot more resources to make but are very efficient and quick if used correctly. If starting out using trackers, use simple trackers until you have a firm grasp on how they work.