I think there might be some value in using Minecraft as something of a personality test, watching how people who play the game behave over time and seeing what patterns emerge. Certainly a pattern seems to have emerged for me, and it is that I don’t like to sit still for too long.
I go explore for a bit, find a stretch of land that appeals to me, then start building a base. It starts with a shelter with some supplies. Then I will work on a nether portal. Then, in order to keep myself supplied without running back and forth, a mine starts.
Then once I start mining I need other bits of infrastructure like an auto-furnace and storage and so on, and then suddenly I find myself with another base with a lot of redundant items.
So I went from the little shelter my daughter built, to the house she built, to the castle I built, to the first big base I built, to the second big base I built, to various other little outposts I have been building up, one of which I am sure will end up being yet another base.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In a sandbox like Minecraft, you do what you enjoy, and so the landscape is dotted with little outposts and rest stops and such that mark my passage through the world.
There is also clearly a bit of Kilroy in me, as I do feel the need to let people know where I have been in the world, so there are marks and torches and bits of blazing netherrack around so when I render the map of the world I can see where I have been.
(Oddly though, I STILL cannot find that little outpost I built up when I was lost way back when, or the little wooden house in the forest where I left my dog.)
But that doing that does leave me out of some activities. Aaron, Xyd, and Skronk have all managed to convert zombie villagers and subsequently built up populations of villagers within their bases. This has been interesting to watch. Aaron, in his style, has an ultra efficient villager pen that is all doors and little shelter. Xyd has a village more akin to what the game generates by itself… and a parking lot.
And then there is Firenze, the little slice of Italy that Skronk and Enaldi have been working on, where their villagers live, work, and interact in the shops and the piazza before the castle.
As with stereotypical Italy, the place does seem to have a few more clerics than one would suppose it would need, but it is still one of the most amazing locations I have visited so far in Minecraft. It feels alive because the villages move through the scene on their own business.
At some point I am going to have to figure out how to give a wider impression of Firenze in screen shots, once it is done. Or more done. Or something. What is ever “done” in Minecraft? Every time I visit there is something new there. Last night I got to see the map room in the castle, where Skonk displays the in-game maps he has created of various areas.
Anyway, I will return to Firenze at another time, though I do have a decent overview of it from the latest map render.
There was already something new going up after I did that render. The world is a work in progress. I made my daughter walk through it and that inspired her to come back to Minecraft and start working on a new base of her own… at least for a few minutes. Then she got distracted by something else, but she was duly impressed.
My own reaction to villagers has been to go to them rather than try to bring them to me so far. That has led, in due course, to the creation of more bases. Because me.
I find a village, setup a little residence in one of the houses… thus violating that whole quartering of troops part of the constitution I am sure… build a wall around to keep out some of the monsters, and light the place up to reduce the ones that spawn inside. Then, of course, I built a portal, and a mine, and one of my new standard buildings, a stable so I can use these outposts as bases for exploration on horseback.
I borrowed the basic stable design from Skonk and Enaldi, who have been on a bit of a horse taming binge.
The one advantage to my method, aside from feeding my inner explorer, is that the villages out in the world… once protected… seem to be a bit more stable in population. We had a great villager plague of some sort a week back that wiped out all of Aaron’s villagers and reduced the populations for both Xyd and Skonk. The populations have since rebounded
Of course, more exploration has an additional cost. The more we explore, the more of the map is revealed and written to disk, and the longer it takes to render the whole thing into the Google map format that gives me a satellite view of what is going on. Back when I started using the Overviewer utility for this, it took about 10 minutes to generate a map. Now it takes closer to 35 minutes to render the world for me to see, with nothing else running on my machine and all four cores in the processor running at 100%.
Anyway, our world continues to grow, both in area explored and in what has been created by the players.