So, it’s been awhile since I wrote my Beginner’s Guide to Minecraft, the current indie-darling of the Internet. Apparently, it was pretty popular. Since then, a whole lot of patches were released for the game, upgrading it from Alpha to Beta and then some, including raising the price by about $5 US*. Last time I talked about it was right before the Halloween update, which was a while ago. That added a whole new Dimension to the game, literally. Also, bamboo became sugar cane so that cake could be added. But that’s neither here nor there.
While my first article was designed to help you start out in the world of Minecraft, by now you’ve done all that stuff. It’s finally time to optimize, build some cool stuff, and generally have a bad-ass time playing the game. Let’s jump right into it!
Work It, Make It, Do It, Makes Us…
We’ll assume you already have a standard hiding-hole/house so you can survive the night. Great! Now you can survive the undead hordes while being bored doing nothing at night! The next step to take is gathering a ton of resources for whatever you want to build. First, you need coal or charcoal. What’s the difference? Well, coal is a natural resource which you can find above ground in mountain sides. Charcoal you can make by burning wood in a furnace. Other than that, they have the exact same functions, most importantly you can make torches. So, time to start digging down and mining. What you’re hoping to find is a natural cave for you to explore, so alternatively, if you found an entrance to such a cave from above ground, just start exploring that. Be careful about leaving at night though, or the skeletons and creepers will make sure everything you found is lost in a matter of minutes.
After you’ve found such a cave, fought off monsters guarding any rich goodies such as iron, and collected as much as possible, what do you do now? Well, you probably have a ton of cobblestone just from digging around so much, among other things. You can start to use these resources to build better tools and better ways of digging, as well as begin to build structures for other important aspects of any self-respecting Minecraft player’s base. These include things like a storage facility, a greenhouse, and a bedroom. I’ll go into what basics you need for these rooms. Keep in mind that it’s probably safer overall if you connect everything into one big well-lit complex, but if you don’t want to and you feel alright braving the open air and possible creeper explosions to get to each room, by all means be my guest. Just don’t blame me when you’re dead.
More Than, Hour, Our, Never…
The storage facility is pretty self explanatory. You’re going to need space and chests to keep all the stuff that you’ll need for building later. These things include wool, sand for making glass, cobblestone, etc. To keep things nice and organized, keep the chests which hold these things separate and labeled so there’s little confusion. You can build this structure however you want, above ground or below, just so long as it’s spacious enough for your needs and everything is organized.
A bedroom had very little raison d’être before, and was just to look nice.** Now that you can actually make a bed, though, a bedroom has a functional purpose. Basically, if you have a bed in a place where spawns can’t reach you, you can turn night into day instantly. This is extremely useful if you hate waiting for night to end and have no busy work that can be done while waiting for the sun to come up. It’ll allow you to build outdoors more safely without losing momentum. You still have to watch out for spiders and creepers though, as monsters still spawn.
As evidenced to the right.
You might be wondering why you may need a greenhouse though, if you mostly want to be exploring and building badass buildings. Well, a greenhouse allows you to easily farm wheat, which can be used to make 2 very good food items, bread and cake. Why would you need these when you can go hunting for pork? † For one, it’s more reliable, and for dos, bread and cake are more efficient at healing you. How would you go about building a greenhouse? Well, it wouldn’t be a greenhouse without the sun, so it obviously needs to be above ground, and you’ll need a lot of glass. It’s best to get enough sand to have about 6 furnaces lit at the same time to cut down on just how long smelting takes in Minecraft. Then, build it like any small/medium structure, just with glass. Then you need to craft a hoe, and till the soil. Remember to hold shift down so you don’t mess up the soil. Throw in some water so that each tilled soil tile is as most 3 squares from some water, and you’re all set. You want to make sure there’s no grass inside so that no animals can spawn and ruin your crops. Just throw down some seeds (which you obtain from tilling grassy soil) and wait for the sun to do its thing! You can even set up some low-hanging torches in the center if you want the crops to keep growing at night.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
So, now you have all of these nice luxuries which will make playing the game that much nicer. What to do now? Well, time to dig deep, for treasure! Specifically, things like gold, diamond, and redstone. Now, you could expand your original mines to go deeper, or you could start a whole new shaft. If you do start a new shaft, consider digging like this: Build a ton of ladders, and dig down in an organized fashion, 4×4 or something. As soon as you’re a few layers down, build an alternate exit off to the side and cover the top hole with glass so that sunlight lights the mineshaft, then continue mining down. This serves a few purposes. First, you won’t need as many torches while you’re just digging down, as long as it’s daylight out at least. Also, if you do hit a cavern, you can lead enemies into the light where they will burn up, giving you another weapon against the undead.
Now, when you do strike riches after digging deep, you will need to use them. Redstone has a ton of uses, and that can span an entire article. Mostly you can use it to modernize your structures by giving them electricity. Power doors, alarm systems, etc. I won’t go into detail here, but there are a ton of resources at the Minecraft Wiki or YouTube. Redstone is also used in making compasses and watches. Gold’s main uses are to look pretty or build a watch. Watches are very useful if you plan to be underground a lot without many windows to the outside world, as they would tell you what time of day it is. Diamond is the most durable material used for crafting tools, and making a Diamond pickaxe is the only way you can mine obsidian, which is the hardest building material in the game and the only block which can be used to reach the Nether.
Next time I talk about Minecraft (in Win Conditioning Cubed: Super Minecraft Turbo HD Remix), I will talk about the Nether and what goodies/horrors you can find there that add to the Minecraft experience. Now I must go and lament the fact that I sold my DS Lite today.††
*A stupid tax for everyone dumb enough to wait to buy this amazing game.
**Just like my own bed room IRL. ~WiNG
† Like any good Minecraft carnivore. We’re not vegetarians, man!
†† 3DS in less than 2 weeks! WOO! You’ll get Day 1 Impressions right here at Top Tier Tactics from me, and I’ll also let you know what 3D will do to improve your gaming tactics.