I propose the addition of satellites. Satellites are cool.
What would they do?
Satellites would functionally be invisible machines that are "launched" into the "atmosphere" of minecraft. Once in the atmosphere they would be activated with special handheld device items. What a satellite would do when activated would depend on its type:
Teleporter Satellite - Activating the linked handheld device will transport you to a previously designated location. Being underground might cause interferance and unintended side effects (like teleporting into solid rock). The satellite is built with solar arrays which provide it with a steady source of power. Even so, activating it drains it completely and takes a while to recharge.
Bombardment Satellite - Activating the linked handheld device will cause an effect to occur on the highest solid block on the X, Y coordinate targeted by the cursor. This satellite comes with solar panels but must also be fitted with an attachment:
- Lightning beam: Current X,Y coordinate targeted is struck by lightning. Drains considerable power.
- Mining beam: Current X,Y coordinate targeted is destroyed as if by a mining pick. Very little power required.
- Medic beam: Anyone standing at the current X,Y coordinate targeted is healed. Medium power consumption.
Capsule Satellite - This satellite is special in that it serves as a large, portable, one-way, inventory. It can be filled with several chests worth of items and then launched into "space." Once the linked handheld device in activated the satellite drops out of orbit and crashes at the targeted X, Y coordinate. The satellite is obliterated by the landing but the items stored inside are safe, if a bit disorganized. This is perfect for the lazy frontiersman looking to setup a distance base and who doesn't want to make multiple trips.
How the hell do they get up there?
To launch a satellite you need a rocket and a approximately 5.6 craptons of fuel. Rockets are expensive, one-use items whose only purpose is to get your even more expensive satellites into "space." Once built the rocket must be "charged" with the required amount of fuel and loaded with a satellite. But how do you launch it? For that you need:
Control tower - This machine is required for all satellite activities. It costs an arm and a leg and sucks power like it's going out of style but it provides the support that keeps your satellites from falling out of the sky. Every satellite you build must be linked to its own control tower. If at any point the control tower loses power or is destroyed it causes its linked satellite to drop to the ground in a random chunk (will only pick chunks that are relatively close by to the control tower).
Control towers also are used to charge and launch rockets. First load an empty rocket into the bay. Then start feeding the control tower fuel. Lots of it. It only accepts biofuel and coalfuel. Once the rocket is full to the brim you can then load the control tower with a satellite. All that's left to do is count down to 10 and watch as your rocket flies up into space. Now you can link a handheld device to the control tower and journey into the unknown with the security of a satellite at your command.
What do you guys think? It's a rough idea that could use a programmers insight. I know very little of java but I imagine this could all function with mostly existing code. I might require a bit of work on the part of an artist to get the rocket, beam, and crashing effects.