Further Exploration in Minecraft

After the Father’s Day round of Minecraft my daughter seemed to think we were done with it.  Or that I was done with it.  So she was surprised to find that I launched the server again over the next few days and was interested in further exploration.

Despite the fact that she likes to play on servers with mods, she agreed to come play with me some more, picking up where she left off on building us a what she considered a proper house.

A house on the hill

A house on the hill

My job was to gather sand and melt it into blocks of glass in the furnace so that we would have lots of windows.  It is two stories with a room for each of us.  Each room also featured a skylight… more glass blocks… which was neat when it started to rain.

Rain at the house

Rain at the house

She built the house on a hill not too far from our farm, so the beacon she built to help us navigate the area would still be useful for getting home.

The farm, lit up at night

The farm, lit up at night

I eventually built a raised road between the house and the farm just to make it easier to travel between the two.  That is one thing about Minecraft is that you can sit around and make minor updates and adjustments and additions all you want.  I eventually built that road, expanded the lot around the house, built a wall with several gates to keep the monsters out, and planted a pumpkin patch around back just because.

All of that happened later though, because my daughter was insisting on something of a whirlwind tour of the game, which started out with horses.

She spotted some horses not too far from our home so we headed out there to tame a couple which involves getting on the horse until it gives up and stops knocking you off.

Mounted on horses

Mounted on horses

She had also found a village near by and was able to trade for saddles, which are apparently also part of the whole horse thing.  This went by pretty quickly so I wasn’t sure how she even got the saddles and was mildly surprised that villages of NPCs were actually a thing.  But there they were.

The village

The village

When we got back to the house with the horses it was already night fall, so we boarded them downstairs and went to bed.

Horse in the living room, not recommended

Horse in the living room, not recommended

The next morning we build a stable adjacent to the house for the horses.

Then my daughter wanted to go mining.  We needed iron for some of the things she wanted to do, so it was down and down underground until we picked up enough of that to build a set of armor for each of us.  That probably explains why I haven’t died yet.

We also came across some diamonds as well, so were able to craft some high quality weapons and tools.

Armored up with a diamond shovel

Armored up with a diamond shovel

We needed the diamond tools… or at least the diamond pick… in order to harvest some special materials for her next item on the list, a portal to the nether.

The portal looms

The portal looms

That built, we jumped in and took a quick visit to the nether, though we had to stop for a minute and watch the video Screw the Nether on YouTube which, up to that point, constituted my total knowledge of the nether.

In the nether for a bit

In the nether for a bit

Our trip there was short.  We took a quick look around, harvested something, and then headed back to the portal.  The portal in the nether somehow ended up surrounded in flames and I caught fire and nearly died getting back.  After that she walled up the portal lest anything venture from it.  We still have it close by should we need it.

And that was it for the whirlwind tour.  She went back to other servers and I was left to potter about.

As noted, I spent some time improving the house.  I also delved into the mines below us, harvesting materials, boring out new galleries to work, and occasionally falling into a deep hole which then necessitated digging myself back to the surface again.  The land around our house started to look like it had been set upon by a pack of rather large gophers.  There were holes all over.  So I spent some time marking those, putting up walls and torches to keep myself from falling in.

That lasted for a while, but eventually I got the urge to explore.  I decided to keep it simple and just headed south in a straight line in hopes of not getting lost.  That worked for a while.  There were, of course, things in the way.  I bored out a tunnel at one point and had to pave over yet another hole in the ground to keep the path straight.  And I would drop a cobblestone block and put a torch on top of it every so often in order to mark my way.

Exploring turns out to be pretty neat.  There is definitely a hard limit on how far one can travel in a day and terrain can limit your progress drastically.  I decided to bore through a hill and ended up breaking out at the top of a sheer cliff at one point, so had to go back a stair step my way down.

And then night falls and you have to hole up and make a shelter.  I was smart enough to pack supplies, the key item being a bed.  You dig yourself a shelter, secure it, put down your bed and sleep through the night.  Then, when you wake it is day time again and you can pick up the bed and move on.

I kept on heading south for a few days, then ran into a wide body of water.  It was getting on in the day so I built a more elaborate shelter than normal, lit it up, and even put a door on it.  Then I built something like a dock on the water and called it a night.  The next day I built a boat, my first, and sailed off to explore the lake.

And promptly got lost.

Then started my adventures in the wilderness.  I never got back to my dock or shelter on the boat.  I ended up way off in a jungle area and tried to make my way back in the direction of home.  I remembered to pack some wool, so I could make another bed, but otherwise had to find materials along the way to replace my tools as they wore out.

Eventually, channeled off course by a series of steep valleys, I was way out in the boonies and had no idea which way home might lay.  I had passed through jungles and wooded areas and a high plateau with snow, and eventually down into some more wooded valleys.  That could have been close to home or it could have been further away.  I had no idea.

In going through the recipe list I saw that, among the things you would make, was a map.   So I set up a camp on a river and started farming some sugar can, which can be turned into paper, along with some watermelons for food.  I build a shelter, tended my farm, and then started mining for the necessary additional materials.

Days went by.  I built a spire on top of a nearby mountain and lit it with torches as a marker so I could find my way back as I explored around the area.  I eventually had paper, but was still missing other ingredients.

My daughter came in to see what I was up to and I told her I went exploring and she said, “Alone!?!?!” and told me I should only go exploring in a group.  I was totally lost but had no idea how far from home I was, so she logged in and made some fireworks to set off to see if I could see them

Eventually I gave her admin powers and she summoned me to the spawn point, which she moved near our home.  My first action was to make a compass, as I had the materials in a chest in our house.  That always points to the spawn point so now I at least know what direction home is going forward.

Then I kind of missed the little base I had built up while lost and tried to find it again.  I made it south and found my dock and the stuff I had left behind, but sailing out on a boat again I couldn’t find where I had eventually come ashore.  I am kind of sorry I let her summon me home, as I feel like I left something undone out there.  So I will carry on trying to find my old base, building new ones as I explore.

But I could see this as a potential group game, setting up a base and improving it while exploring and taming the world around it.

Anyway, our home abides and there is more to explore.

Home at sunset

Home at sunset

9 thoughts on “Further Exploration in Minecraft

  1. .xyd

    “The portal in the nether somehow ended up surrounded in flames and I caught fire and nearly died getting back.”
    I’m pretty sure this same thing happened to you and/or me back in 1995. :-)

    fn+F3 is your friend. So is using the nether to travel.

    *spoiler alert*
    Traveling 8 blocks in the nether is 1 block in the overworld. Great for moving long distances to explore.
    *end spoiler*

    We just moved and you’ve inspired me to find the box containing our Minecraft server. I could use a little a little R&R.



  2. Whorhay

    This is one of those reasons I love playing Minecraft for a few months here and there. There just aren’t that many games where you can actually go exploring uncharted territory and become essentially permanently lost.


  3. Jeromai

    I like the functional twist – often it’s the guy overwhelming his girlfriend with info about a game, most of it well meaning but often stifling, “play it the right/optimal way” sort of advice.

    There is no right way to play a sandbox game. Wanna wander around solo and get lost? Go nuts. Get lost. Some games/worlds in Minecraft, I do the nomadic thing and see just how far I get on basic bases, basic foraging, the point is to just travel. Some games I make a giant centralised base and never move far from it without running home to sleep.

    There are also mods you can choose to add later for more sophisticated maps – automapping, map tools that let you add landmarks or teleport to points, etc, which might help in whatever you’re trying to accomplish.


  4. Nathan Morton

    whenever I explore I place torches along the ground every 20 or so blocks, this way I don’t ever get lost (I’ve gone over 7000 blocks away from my home doing this) been streaming minecraft here recently it’s a great time getting back into the game and interacting with people while building stuff


  5. mrrx

    Sounds a lot like my adventures with my boy in Minecraft. He wants to build. I want to explore and hoard blocks in my treasure room.


  6. Jeni Morton

    A good way to keep from getting lost is to make yourself a compass. In the crafting table, a piece of iron in the top middle, right middle, bottom middle, and left middle (like a diamond shape) and a piece of redstone in the middle. It will always point toward where you slept last (or the spawn point if you have destroyed your bed)! I equip it in my toolbar, and it works in hand or just by looking at it in the toolbar.

    I am renting a server from Beastnode for 5 bucks a month, using my WoW gold to buy my sub there, so I net a 10 dollar savings a month.


  7. anon

    I’ve been wondering, since your daughter likes games with room for creativity and she had the tipical EA experience with the sims 4, maybe you could give her a copy of Terraria. They just released a new official patch and is currently quite cheap.


  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jeni – Indeed, as noted in the post, the first thing I did when I got myself un-lost was make a compass. Lost no more.

    I have been pondering the server idea. They can be cheap enough. If I could get the instance group interested it might be a good alternate should WoW wear thin again.

    @Anon – Alas, Terraria is available for damn near every platform except Mac OS, and my daughter has an iMac.


  9. Pingback: Blaugust Day 6: Mind the Gap (GW2 / MMOs in General) | Why I Game

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