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[1.14.4] Some questions regarding storing arbitrary data in TileEntities


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I'm having a bit of trouble wrapping my head around the serialization process for more arbitrary data storage. I think I have at least a workable understanding of the Capability system and was able to implement some basic ItemHandlerCapabilities to have persistant inventories across chunk saves/loads.


As I'm still in the playing around and learning phase, I'm trying to understand how this process generalizes to the sort of data that isn't nice and already provided by forge. In particular, say I have an arbitrary ArrayList of some sort of data (for example, a list of floats) that is generated when the block housing the TileEntity is first placed down.


What are the recommended ways to serialize this thing so that it remains with the TileEntity when the chunk unloads? The documentation seems to imply that I'll need to override the

public CompoundNBT write(CompoundNBT)




public void read(CompoundNBT)


functions to convert my ArrayList<float> into some sort of NBT data. So I guess my main questions here are:


  1. How is this conversion to NBT done in general (is there some sample code I can look at somewhere?)
  2. Is there a better alternative approach that I'm missing?
  3. The capability system seems to be designed primarily for types of data that are often shared between mods and blocks (e.g. passing items or energy and stuff like that) but less useful / more tedious to adapt to more arbitrary data (for instance an array list of floats that only this one tile entity needs). Is this a reasonable conclusion or am I mistaking the point of this concept? More concretely, should I be taking a further look at the Capability system to solve this issue?


I don't know how useful including the code I have so far would be: it's just your standard tickable TileEntity with a setup() function called when it's first created to generate the ArrayList data, and then a tick() function that will look at the data every X ticks and do something with it. It's very much a toy example just to learn the techniques but I think it encapsulates some design ideas that I would like to use in more useful mods.


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Upon some further forum diving and looking at some source code provided in the MDK, a lot of signs seem to be pointing towards using Capabilities. I found this thread in particular: https://www.minecraftforge.net/forum/topic/78283-1144-data-stored-with-my-custom-capability-attached-to-player-doesnt-seem-to-save-data-into-nbt/ to be a decent starting place and I will try and see if I can understand what they did.


I think I've figured out question (1) from the OP on my own [looking at the CompoundNBT class shows that it has some .put functions for various data types], but I guess the overall confusion still exists. Just looking at the Custom Capability class in the above link seems to be ridiculously over engineered at least for my more simple self-contained application. I'm still wondering if there's a way to get away with just the overrides in the original post (i.e write/read nbt) and avoid capabilities all together to try and keep the complexity down and manageable. That's something I'll have to keep playing with on my own unless anyone has some specific experience / knowledge on the topic.

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Apparently I'm a complete and utter jerk and come to this forum just like to make fun of people, be confrontational, and make your personal life miserable.  If you think this is the case, JUST REPORT ME.  Otherwise you're just going to get reported when you reply to my posts and point it out, because odds are, I was trying to be nice.


Exception: If you do not understand Java, I WILL NOT HELP YOU and your thread will get locked.


DO NOT PM ME WITH PROBLEMS. No help will be given.

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12 minutes ago, Draco18s said:

That seems exactly like the kind of sample code I need, thank you. I will go and try and implement something like this for my TileEntity right now. With an overridden read/write like the above (and making sure to markDirty where appropriate, like in my setup call when the list is first generated), is there anything else I would need? Will I have to subscribe to any events or anything like that or should I expect it to just work?

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It seems to be working and the game will seem to remember the arraylist data on reload / not crash. I do have one additional question: I put a System.out.println debug statement in my read call and I see that both the client and the server threads are reading the NBT I wrote. Is this okay or should this be something that should be server side only (e.g. the client would get the updates from some other forge packet type mechanism and not directly read the NBT on its own)?


For anybody interested on how I handled the dynamically sized ArrayList, I just wrote a tag for the length of the list, and then wrote each element one by one with a tag with the name like "Element"+index with index going from 0 to that length. It's quick and dirty and may not be the most elegant solution but it works fine as far as I can tell.

Edited by ojb
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