Minecraft, Bases, and the Urge to Explore

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.

A nascent base in the mesa biome

A nascent base in our mesa biome

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.

I have yet to get to the point of being this organized

I have yet to get to the point of being this organized

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.

Xydd's castle and the tower from a map render

Some of my marks on the world are bigger than others…

(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.

Xyd's castle has ample parking...

Xyd’s castle has ample villager parking…

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.

The castle in Firenze

The castle in Firenze

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.

Cats and shops off the piazza

Cats and golems and shops off the piazza

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.

A corner in the map room

A corner in the map room

Anyway, I will return to Firenze at another time, though I do have a decent overview of it from the latest map render.

Firenze in Minecraft

Firenze in Minecraft… the map does not show NPCs… or banners…

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.

Desert village...

Desert village…

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.

11 thoughts on “Minecraft, Bases, and the Urge to Explore

  1. treemonster

    What does having no interest in playing minecraft whatsoever say about one’s personality? Maybe if I had a kid who played it I’d want to see what they were up to, but otherwise no interest whatsoever.


  2. hirvox

    I once tried to build an underground village (think Ironforge), but it turned out to be a massive pain to keep lit up, especially market squares and other open areas. There are some mods out there with high-power lights, but even those provide too stark atmosphere; The cone itself was very bright, but the shadows were very sharp and corners would have needed torches/glowstone lamps anyway.


  3. Fenjay

    My kids and I have noticed this personality test aspect as well. I’m the explorer, who goes off and finds biomes we are looking for and guides everyone to my new discovery. I also do what could be called mundane mining, getting stone, iron and coal. My older son builds detailed bases and mines diamonds (then usually makes ridiculous things, like diamond hoes, and loses them in a lava pool eventually). My younger son spends hours tinkering with redstone contraptions and puttering around his area of our bases, decorating and adjusting things.

    Between the three of us, we have a lot covered. It is really interesting how that seems to happen.


  4. zaphod6502

    I am a miner. I don’t spend a huge amount of time above ground. I often build complexes inside hollowed out mines. My above ground facilities generally resemble bunkers and I have the obligatory crop farms to supply food. My activities all revolve around mining and goods production.

    My friend likes to spend her time mainly building ornate and beautiful above ground residences. She also spends a lot of time on jewelcrafting and the goods produced from that.


  5. Xyd

    Ha! So you found my parking lot. :-) I created the parki spaces of redstone dust just for you. The vast expanse of cobble there will eventually be the base for the minecart rail for the item collector minecart and will have a series of farms above. This assumes I can find time to return to the game.

    Skronk & Enaldi create some beautiful buildings. I may have to hire them to decorate my entryway that could best be described as overwhelmingly “cobble”.

    I suspect the villager population in these villages your’re invading are more stable because of their population. Once above a certain population a village is a candidate to be hit by a zombie siege, which is what hit Aaron first. I’ve been hit at least once that I know of. Aaron, in typical Aaron style, has secured the future fate of his colony by isolating an “Adam and Eve” pair of villagers. And, well, yeah.


  6. p0tsh0t

    Interesting. I haven’t really considered sequestering an omega-person pair. A bit of a thematic challenge unless I want to create a prison or dungeon which of course is possible. I was fortunate enough to be able to lure another 4 villagers into my “Zombie Re-Education Center” in short order. Out on the plains, zombie villagers seem to be fairly plentiful in these parts.

    I’m usually the unbridled explorer, but in a sandbox with a goal or at least a theme, its tended to fuel many many small progress-making diversions. Theme requires project, project presents challenges to be solved, experimentation ensues then execution, repeat.

    In Eve, whenever I had a definitive goal, I was engaged. As soon as that was achieved or abandoned, well… Eve is not really the kind of place to go see what’s over the next hill.


  7. Knug

    Definitely personality displays in Minecraft. Oldest son is about mining/building/combat. Youngest son is redstone/creative mode/ those computer-type blocks etc. I am the explorer, but also the guy who builds different kinds of outposts, castles, warrens, Bondian-style complexes etc.

    BTW, the upcoming (depending on your settings) changes to boats seriously piss me off. My world is on hard, with large biomes, so everything is big and dangerous. Travelling by boat through the oceans is how I explore (I have often travelled for several kilometers in a straight line from a shore line to another shorline. The record was 9 000 meters due east before striking another island). With the new changes, travelling by boat is ridiculously tedious, meaning I will have to change to travelling by horse. Fortunately, I’ve managed to domesticate a pair of skeletal horses that run like the wind and jump quite far. Sadly, the most recent build broke horse travel when the ruined boats, so I’m frustrated atm.

    BTW, I consider building an Ice castle on hard, without a silk touch pick axe, to be the pinnacle of the builder’s skill tree. Creating removable formwork, and waiting for each layer of ice to freeze, while dealing with critters and falling from the mountain top to be a proper challenge.


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