Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29th, 2012

Well, I haven't updated in a while. For that, I'm quite sorry. I was quite sick of creating posts showing me digging out the base. Well, I can happily say that I am finally done with the digging and we can finally move onto more aesthetically-oriented work. 

Watching grass grow

The two circular walls on the interior of my base are identical in height. I'm not quite sure if that is a good thing, because the depth looks wrong from a distance. It is still subject to change, but I doubt it will, if only because I am lazy.

I also happen to be running out of chest space. I'm running on twenty double chests now, granted thirteen of them are filled with dirt and cobblestone. The next order of ideals to help me move in is to create a storage room. For awhile I was not quite sure what I wanted to do there, but I think I finally have somewhat of a plan.

The Overlook

With this base being as large as it is, I disliked the idea of it being symmetrical. True symmetry becomes very difficult to maintain after awhile, and I've been looking into ways of completely breaking away from that mentality. Having an overlook on the top level is a good way to do that, I feel.

With the overlook taking up space on the second tier, I didn't want to have a break in being able to move around the level without going up or down, so I added a room underneath the overlook. I feel that this would become a good location to have my storage room (or my control room, either or).

Unfortunately, there will never be enough space to have both in one location (which is a bit of a pity, because it makes it so easy to collect items and store them without much hassle). If I have a room below the overlook, I can't have anything above it, because I wouldn't be able to hide any redstone wiring. 

The next thing on the list of priorities is to create proper stairs going down to the third tier. I've been experimenting, but I can't come to a decision about what I want to do. The basic requirement is that it must make use of half slabs and not stairs, because I don't like to break my sprinting when moving up and down stairs. The other style that I used doesn't really look the greatest, so I'm basically just experimenting with bending staircases for now. Circles and arcs are rather difficult to work with in such a small-scale, blocky environment.

Anyways, that's all that's new. Signing out!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

1.2.4 - The Surprise Update

With practically no hints of this update coming at all, I was fairly surprised by what it contained. The old Bukkit devs are already hard at work for Mojang, it would seem. Several of these bugs have existed for quite some time, and I'm glad that they are finally patched.

However, that is not the point of this blog post. Despite being a fairly small version change, we still get two main feature updates: the mob behavior update to cats and the new decorative blocks (it seems cats have now had more work put into them than wolves T.T). I specifically wanted to discuss the new decorative blocks because that will directly affect my world (though it can't until the texture pack is updated, which d3fin3d has stated will be very soon).

There is a new sandstone texture created by placing normal sandstone blocks in a 2x2 pattern in the crafting grid. This sandstone texture is even more plain on the side of the block, which will look much better for the bottom border of my wall (which is fairly large, so a larger block texture looks better). That is a surefire change that I will be making as soon as I can update.

Sadly, those sandstone blocks do not look good when stacked on top of each other, so that limits their use somewhat.

Also, there appears to be no half slabs for the new wood planks yet. I'm sure that this is something that will happen in the future, but for now, I can't really change out the first tier of my base, which makes use of half slabs for the flooring (to help with lighting, as I've said before). Even if I could change them out, I don't know if I would, as I do plan on adding fences to the inner border, and the colors of the *new half slabs* and the fences would conflict.

There is a possibility that I could go with a fence style similar to how Docm77 has in his new world tour, which he uses to nice effect on bridges that are half slabs. That would allow me to make use of *new wooden half slabs* on the first tier of my base. Of course, this change hasn't happened yet, so until then, I won't be changing anything on the first tier.

Anyways, that's what I'm thinking in my mind right now. Gotta go study for a test now.

Signing out!

EDIT: The 1.2.4 version of the Defscape texture pack is now available, but my university blocks mediafire downloading, so I have to wait until the weekend to get the update.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20th, 2012

I do believe that the second tier is basically finished (aside from the final details and lighting). I did a lot of experimenting with the pattern I was using on the walls, and this is what I arrived at. Mainly, Iwanted to use wood blocks to create the "fence" on the inner side of the first tier, so I had to build around that. While fairly plain, stone bricks ended up looking the best, in my opinion. I also have a sandstone stripe at the base of the wall, just to help transition from grass and wood to stone brick.

This is also what I believe the stairs will stay like for the second tier. They are unobtrusive, allow the circular patterns to continue existing, and are half slabs (which is important so that I can sprint up them). I also went with the wood block fence look for the stairs, but I ended up making those protruding segments entirely wood because I felt it looked bad if it wasn't a solid block. At most, I may add a sandstone stripe to the bottom layer of those segments as well.

Aside from that design philosophy, I've just been continuing to work around the area. I'm in the process of leveling the bottom left area of the picture (which used to be just a solid wall of stone, but you guys never really saw that angle well).

I also went caving again. Originally, it was a branch mine at y=12, but it turned into a huge cave that was constantly around the lava layer, so I went with it and doubled my diamond count in the process. I'll probably use low-level enchanted diamond pickaxes to clear out the third tier of my base, just because I'm getting sick of how long this is taking. I also doubled my iron supply, which wasn't very high because of all the iron tools I had already used.

I know I've been terraforming for awhile now, but it's almost over with and then we can get to some real building.

That's all for now. Signing out!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 14th, 2012

Well, the base is getting deeper every day. I've now reached what I'm going to consider to be the second tier of my base. It is 5 and a half blocks deeper than the first tier, and will NOT be using half slabs. While the final walls of my base (almost entirely glass) make the first tier difficult to light properly, I will not have problems at all with the second tier, allowing me to use grass (I love grass).

I decided on 5 and a half blocks deep because this allows me to put rooms underneath the first tier (or the top tier). I normally like rooms to be 4 blocks high. It doesn't feel uncomfortable or cramped, and the fifth block will allow me to create separate ceilings in the rooms. Or maybe that's an excuse, and I'm really just tired of digging out each layer that has a diameter of 82 blocks.

Originally, I wanted to stairs to be on one of the diagonals of the circle (since everything in Minecraft is a square, there ARE diagonals to a circle). In reality, when I tested it out, it looked awful. Maybe I'll change it later, but for now, this stair-style is what I'm going with.

The stairs and the half slabs I use for the first tier are still subject to change though! Stone slabs are nice and all, but I REALLY don't feel that they fit in here. Still, I would hate to use wood. It's a dilemma for another day.

As a fun side note: You guys should try and find my chests, then compare them to previous overview pictures and watch them grow from the overwhelming amount of dirt and cobblestone.

Signing off.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Digging Dirt Quickly with Minimal Delay
No mods, no enchantments, and using iron tools

As you progress through your "lifetime" of Minecraft, you'll undoubtedly begin doing bigger and bigger projects. Some of these projects may even involve a major reshaping of the land. It can be a huge pain to terra-form a large chunk of land that may even be around 1,000 blocks in area! Luckily, I have a few tips and tricks to speed this process so you can get back to caving and building, like you should be!

Time delay between destroyed blocks
When you destroy a block and turn your pick/shovel/axe towards the next block, there is a short delay between when you destroy the block and when you actually start breaking the next one. This delay is fixed for every block type and tool type in the game (though it is not fixed for the different efficiency enchantments). This delay can also be minimized if you are willing to strain your hand a little bit more (I'm being serious). By letting go of the left click button on your mouse and pressing it again immediately after a block is destroyed, you remove the delay and immediately start breaking the next block.

This trick is best used sparingly, as it will strain your hand or wrist if you use it for extended periods of time (more so if you aren't using an ergonomic grip mouse). I recommend combining it with my next trick to speed the process between row transitions. You have been warned!

The magic hitbox
I've known for awhile now that if you destroy a block and continue to hold down the left mouse button but are out of range to destroy the next block for a split second (while getting in range by walking forward), you will break the block faster. Until very recently, I had no way of doing this reliably and in a manner that didn't require you to focus your entire attention on it. What I've discovered is that it works on dirt very well, with what I consider to be cheap and expendable tools.

Picture 1

Now, to actually perform this timesaver of a trick, you will need to be digging out a row of dirt like I show in the picture. My character is oriented along the right side of the "wall" of dirt that you can see on the center of the screen. By pointing my reticle at the top right corner of the block and being as far as I can possibly be from the block while still being able to break it, I am able to hold my "W" and "A" key down and walk constantly destroying blocks with very little delay between each block.

This trick really excels when you need to remove a large layer of blocks like I am here (and still am, unfortunately). By having large rows like this, I can constantly move down the line of blocks without having to change positions very much. To switch to a new row once I reach the end, I use my first trick to destroy the first four blocks or so and proceed to move down the line again with this trick.

Using both of these tricks, I manage to break 7 iron shovels in a Minecraft day and still have enough time to craft new ones and store the blocks I've obtained away. 7 iron shovels will translate to roughly 1,750 blocks. Yes, I'm breaking 1,750 blocks in less than ten minutes. Don't you love game physics abuse?

That's all for now!

March 11th, 2012

Well, in order to go to the End, I would like to have a high-level enchanted bow. In order to get that, I need a basic mob trap to quickly gather the experience. When I went to the Nether, the first thing I saw was a Nether fortress. Just down the first hallway was a blaze spawner. Now, blaze spawners are probably one of the most annoying spawner traps, because you can't use water at all, and despite the fact that blazes don't drown in lava, they don't get pushed by the lava either. So, I'm basically forced into using pistons if I want an efficient trap.

For awhile now, the only thing holding me back has been getting slimeballs for the sticky pistons. I recently located two slime chunks that border each other and are relatively close to my cave (like 1-2 chunks away). So my first big project of the week has been converting the entire area into a slime farm. I chose to work in the high 38's for a level because if I wanted to automate it later, it would be better if it was closer to my cave. Unfortunately, the area was intersected by three different caves. A lot of cleanup work was done in order to allow me to add water canals later if I so desired. For now, I'm leaving the result as is because I only need about one stack of slimeballs.

As I've been expanding the cave out more and more, I've kind of been realizing how bad this cave actually is for a home. It seems that the generation is all messed up and everything looks awful (and not to mention there are a heck of a lot of caves). So, I've decided to go with plan B. Plan B involves an above ground structure. I've personally elected to go with something circular. Behold!

New beginnings

These plains are just slightly southeast of my cave. The circle is 100 blocks in diameter (including the edges). At the point of this picture, I have barely done any work in smoothing out the land. All I had done was defined the circle.

Basically, what I have in mind is to make a tiered, circular base. I could have made the tiers increase in height as you went towards the center or decrease in height. I believe that decreasing in height will be better because it gives me a line of sight all the way across my base, and it also allows me to use more space underground (making it easier to hide farms, redstone, pipes for mobs, etc.).

With a bit more work the same day...

To do my first tier (and highest tier), I wanted to use half slabs. The boundary is currently made of cobblestone, but I will most likely replace it with stone brick later. Having the first tier just half a block below the wall gives it more shape, I think. So basically what I focused on doing first was:
1. Getting rid of tall weeds, water, and trees in the area.
2. Focusing on leveling out the land so the entire thing is at least one block below the wall.

The next step will be to convert the crazy amount of cobblestone I'm getting from this into stone, and from there on to stone half slabs (half slab of choice for the top tier). I can then make a circle inside of the boundary of half slabs to define the top tier. I don't have an idea of dimensions yet, but I've been thinking somewhere between 8-10 blocks thick. That is the next base project for me because I am really tired of digging dirt (I have two double chests full of it, solely from this project, and this was just one day of work). My next project will likely be the blaze spawner.

Finally, the downsides of starting a new base are going to hurt a bit. The tree farm is a bit far away, so I'll probably remove it later when I have the base design finished (and don't need quite so much charcoal). The wheat farm was always going to be removed. I prefer melons to bread, and beef to melons. The slime farm will become useless (it's too far away to automate, which is the eventual goal). Likely I'll salvage the stone bricks and then just make pillars to prevent slimes from spawning. My Nether portal is also too far away. The whole thing will have to be moved, which is unfortunate because it was in a very nice location.

Also, all of the caves that I have lit up are at the extreme edge of the spawning area of the new mob farm (likely to be in the middle of my new base). -_-

Well, sorry for the lack of updates but I hope this one was worth it. It certainly feels like I did a lot. The decision-making did take quite a bit of the time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6th, 2012

The overview again

Back at school, so my time on Minecraft is more limited. Still, I haven't been completely idle. There are so many small tasks that need to be done to start a world off properly. From the sand and sandstone gathering, I moved on to create a wheat farm and small tree farm (which I basically use solely for charcoal). By stocking up on the resources now, it means I can build freely without the worry of my resource supply.

The Nether has been handy as well. I cleared out the area surrounding the close blaze spawner, though I still need a slime farm before I am able to make a mob trap there. The blaze spawner is the main goal right now. I have plenty of opportunity to afk at a blaze spawner while at school, so I would like it finished soon.

That said, I still want to get a sense of direction around my cave, and my method of doing that is to basically spread grass to the area. I also need to light up as many caves as possible, for the eventual mob spawner that I will make around this location.

My supply is building up

Mind you, I haven't exactly been digging for diamonds here. Most of the caves I've lit up have been above diamond layer. I wouldn't even have any diamonds except for the time I ran into a ravine that uncovered 11 diamonds all by itself. The iron supply is getting more healthy (and that's not all of it, a few stacks are still smelting at this time). I hope that next time I'll have a slime farm to show you all, though it won't be a proper one until I pick where the central location of my cave is.

Anyways, that's all for now.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

March 3, 2012

Sandstone is my favorite block to build with, ever since it first came out in the Minecraft beta v1.2. I showed a map yesterday of the area surrounding my little cave base. Unfortunately, there was very little sand on it. I needed to rectify this problem fast, because I don't really want to attempt to tidy up the cave until I have a healthy supply of sandstone and glowstone. So I went back to exploring, starting in the northeast corner of the map because, hey, there's no jungle there (jungles are such a pain to get through). After finding the snow biome extended northeast and was surrounded by yet more jungle, I decided to turn south and try to walk along the eastern edge of the jungle there (you can see it on the eastern edge of the map). Lo and behold, there's a mini desert there.

Do deserts always have that much water?

The coordinates put me at some 700 blocks east of my cave base. On one hand, I probably won't be this far away from my base very often to mind the soon to be destroyed desert, but on the other, I have to trek through a jungle to get here every time.

Also, I found a "village" (as you can see). It's three buildings and a well (actually there are two wells, but one of them is the weird desert structure thing). Not much of a village and not that useful to me. I may end up just taking down the entire village, or I may relocate the villagers to a man-made village. I don't quite have enough iron yet for a railroad though.

In other news, I did have some diamonds sitting around from my first caving trip, so I got some obsidian and went to the Nether. My portal is literally right next to a Nether fortress, which has a blaze spawner about 100 blocks away. Not bad. My first few stacks of iron will probably go into converting the spawner into an experience farm, seeing as I haven't found any cave spider spawners yet and it's too early to go to the End.

It's my mom's birthday, so I'm off to celebrate.

Signing off for today!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Welcome to My World!

Well, with Minecraft 1.2 released, I can finally kick off this blog. I started a new world to get jungle biomes included in my world, and I've decided to make a cave base. Unfortunately, the interior of the cave still needs some work (after I figure out how to find my way around it), so no pictures of the inside, though you can see the the basic clean-up work I've done to the exterior so far. Nothing is permanent, but I do like to get rid of the jagged edges and random holes in the landscape (still an ongoing process).


After the first round of terra-forming
The map of the area
(no deserts or villages, unfortunately)
The eastern skyline

The western skyline

The northern skyline

The southern skyline

The texture pack I am using is the 64x64 resolution version of Defscape by d3fin3d.

That's all for today!