Ahhh Minecraft…what a wondrous time sucker. I would say that the majority of readers here know what Minecraft is. If you don’t, hop over to the Website or the wiki and take a quick look. I’m not going to go into details if you don’t already know what it is by now :P. Also, yes, I realize I’m terribly behind with this post. Not like you guys care though…you’d actually have to read it to care!
I bought Minecraft almost on a whim back when it was still in alpha. There were a few guys from Skulltag and ZDoom who were talking about the game and posting screenshots, and that piqued my interest. So I played the Classic version first, which is built into the Minecraft website…and was mostly unimpressed. Classic mode was basically just a lego-mode; all you did was place blocks and build things. If was a nice distraction for a couple of hours, but after I built a house, I got bored of it. A few days later though, I saw some screenshots with monsters and weapons in it. It made me scratch my head because classic mode didn’t have any of that stuff. After a bit of digging around, I found out why; survival mode, which was only available if you bought the game. I did a bit of research and bought the game while it was pretty cheap. Best couple of bucks I’ve spent on a game in years.
Although calling it a “game” at this point is a little sketchy. There aren’t any set goals in Minecraft survival mode except for the ones you set yourself. You can’t “win” the game in the traditional way. For people who have lots of imagination though, this is not a reason to ignore the game. Survival mode is amazing. Your thrown out in the randomly generated world with nothing but the shirt on your back, and you must collect resources and build shelters to survive. Once night rolls around, the bad guys start to come out. If your not prepared, you’ll find yourself quickly overwhelmed. But survival mode gives you plenty to prepare yourself with as long as your up to the challenge of working for it. As the name suggests, you can go underground and find resources which will help you in building your shelter, making tools, crafting items, etc. The upper world also has lots to offer; trees to be chopped down for lumber, dirt where you can grow crops, cows and pigs and sheep and chickens which can be killed for resources ( ). The list goes on. Once you get into it, especially the building aspect, it’s incredibly addictive. If you happen to find a decent multiplayer server where griefing is at a minimum, the fun increases exponentially.
As a mapper at heart, my draw to the game immediately shifted towards building crazy shelters. And since I purchased alpha way back when, that’s all I’ve done. I’ve made 4 complete houses/castles/whatever, all fairly large and crazy. And so I’d like to plaster some screenshots of all these things I’ve built!
The first real shelter I built was a cobblestone castle, nestled comfortably under a massive land bridge. Initially it started off as a small cobblestone hollow cube, just enough protection to be called a “shelter”. As my pile of resources grew though, I decided to make some additions. And so I went up and up and up…until I hit the bottom of the land bridge. From there I just built around the open air space until I completely filled up the negative space underneath of the bridge. My castle effectively became part of the mountain, with paths and mines winding all through it. I never really got around to decorating the castle with different materials…it’s very rough with a mixture of cobblestone/stone and dirt making up most of the inside. The whole structure was very honeycomb like and many rooms didn’t have a purpose. But it looked pretty cool on the outside!
Eventually I got bored of the cobblestone honeycomb, so I went looking for some new real estate. The map Minecraft generates has the potential to become absolutely gargantuan, so there is a very distinct and dreadful ability to get yourself very, very lost. I wanted my new house to exist within the same world file so I could make use of all the resources I obtained while working on my first house, but still have it be far enough away that it would feel like I’m starting anew. I eventually settled on a new plot of land after treaking in random directions for a couple of hours (and I didn’t realize it at first, but it really wasn’t that far away from my old cobblestone castle…just a testament to how easy it is to get yourself lost). This time around I decided to make something a little fancier and “homier” than the cobblestone behemoth. I used lots of woods and stone and also made use of fences, doors, switches, and other materials. Eventually I had a nice shelter, which looked very much like a normal house. Complete with a resource vault, basement, disposal system, furnace system, bedroom, a whole new building for the nether gate, and look-out areas. But I was having a problem with mobs sneaking around the outside of my house. So, naturally, I built a massive lava moat around my house! And it works amazingly well as long as you keep the areas inside of the moat well lit enough so bad mobs won’t spawn. But then the inevitable happened…a tree close to my house, which I didn’t bother to chop down, caught fire from being too close to the lava. I caught it before it totally engulfed my house, but I wasn’t able to stop it. While freaking out, I paused the game and looked for a way to save my many hours of work. I stumbled across MCEdit, a mapper for Minecraft, the answer to my catastrophe. With a selection and few quick clicks, I deleted the fire. I was able to fix the damage back in-game…and I made sure to never, EVER plant any trees anywhere new my house. But at this point in the game, I was getting a little board. So I cheated a little…and if you’ll notice in a couple of the shots, you’ll see giant cubes of obsidian and diamond sitting out in a pasture
My final attempt at a new house on this particular world file ended in utter failure. It was to be another cobblestone castle, but ornately decorated on the inside and on a massive scale. Just a few clicks from my previous house was this absolutely gorgeous valley lake surrounded by two steep mountains and a gigantic land bridge to one side which was filled with porous caverns. I thought “hey, wouldn’t it be cool to built a floating house in the middle of this valley?”. And so I set out on a quest to built an insanely gigantic new castle…a futile quest, I was to find out. It took me close to 24 hours (not all at once) to just fill in the top portion of the castle, easily taking up tens of thousand so cobblestone. I did manage to finish the big ceiling, which covered up the entire valley between the three mountain points. I then proceeded to build a circular staircase leading from the ceiling to beneath it, roughly in the center. It was to be my branching point for the various areas I would built to fill in this massive area. I managed to start a large chunk of the first level, roughly the middle level…but after that, I didn’t get much farther. It was taking entirely to long to do the work, and I was nowhere close to being finished. So I abandoned it, and I took a very long break from Minecraft. Maybe I’ll come back and finish it one day…but probably not :P. Unfortunately I had to light the living crap out of the area underneath my big cobblestone ceiling because huge flocks of mobs would spawn underneath it. And it totally destroyed the cool looking valley/lake/landbridge scenery
Somewhere between my second house and the failed third, I joined the #skullrant SMP server. Survival multiplayer is so much more engaging than single player. At the time I was playing, SMP was reeaaaally buggy, but you could still build to your hearts content. All of the other shelters and the entire community that was built around it really inspired me. I built what was probably the largest cobblestone castle I’ve ever made in that server. It was a little nicer than my first, but it was still plain. If I had more time, I would have decorated it from top to bottom. Unfortunately I don’t have the worldfile that castle was on…so no screenshots
And this is my latest house, built on a completely new world file. Really proud of this one! Though still a work-in-progress, it’s very close to being done. I started a new world file after coming back to Minecraft because there were a lot of new updates I wanted to take advantage of that weren’t available in my old world file. When I started this house, I decided that I wanted it to be partially underwater. A really neat idea, but it takes a lot of work. You have to frame out your foundation and outer layout, and then fill the entire area with gravel or sand to get rid of the water. Then you dig it out and level out to your lowest point. From there it was just a matter of building the house. This house has it all; a multi-tiered look-out tower with a glass dome at the top complete with powered railcart access, an enormous crafting and storage vault with tons of storage space and a disposal and retrieval system and huge furnace system, a basement area to house my pack of friendly wolves, an above-water garden area with area to grow both trees/reeds and wheat, quick access to the main mine system and nether gate, a covered walkway leading to a boat dock area and an additional exit tower, a foyer with lots of books and paintings with an additional underwater view, lots and lots of underwater views, bedroom complete with working bed, exits and entrances in various places, almost completely spider-proofed, and lots of different ways to access areas. I made sure to use lots of different materials and decor items so it’s interesting to look at while I pass back and forth my mining, gardening, or scavenging. Currently I’m still adding bits of detail here and there. More than likely once I finish it, I’ll take another break (at least until 1.8 update arrives).
Minecraft is easily the most addicting game I’ve played in the last 5 years. I do recommend it, but keep in mind that it’s not going to appeal to everyone. I think I was just predisposed to liking it because I could built stuff in it…and many other people like it just for the reason. You have to make your own goals and not wait for the game to give them to you. But the Minecraft 1.8 Adventure Update should remedy anyone who has problems with the goal-less aspect of the game. And it’s going to be totally amazing (hopefully :wink: ). Don’t let the deceptively simple nature of the game fool you, it’s incredibly deep and satisfying, especially if you use your imagination. You can make all sorts of crazy things