Minecraft and the Great Northern Road

As I mentioned in a previous post, we all seem to have different things we like to do in Minecraft.  It is the nature of a sandbox game which allows us to focus on projects we enjoy.

Exploring is one of the things I like, and I have wandered quite a ways, leaving a trail of little bases, flaming netherrack, and the occasional burning forest behind me. (Don’t put the flaming netherrack too close to the trees.)  Between all of us, we have expanded our borders and filled in a lot of the empty bits on our map, which now runs about 14km north-south and about 8km east-west.

Our world on October 20, 2015

Our world on October 20, 2015

You can compare that with the state of the world back in early September.

But I also like to build infrastructure.  When I go to a place I have the urge to build a road there so that I can get back easily.  I actually like to lay down minecart track too, but that requires such a large investment in iron that I put down track sparingly these days.  So I tend to focus on roads.

I did, however, get it into my head that I wanted to build a nice bridge.  I just needed to figure out where I ought to build one.

Eventually, looking around the map I decided that I should connect the mesa biome in the north with the landmass to the south of it.  There was no real good reason other than it looked like a decent stretch of water, about a half a km across in an area where we had a portal hooked up to our nether roof transport system, so I could get there easily.

Well, sort of easily.

It is still quite a haul through the nether, even on a mine cart.  And then the point from where I wanted to build the bridge to the portal was a bit of a stretch over rough terrain as well, so before I built my bridge, I had to build a road to the bridge.

Then I had to build a little construction office where I could hunker down at night and store supplies.  Once I had that, I started hauling materials, including stacks and stacks of stone brick and polished granite blocks.

Finally, I could set in and start building.

My building technique is a bit haphazard.  I tend to eye something, figure things look about right, and start laying down blocks.  If the preferred method is “measure twice, cut once,” in Minecraft I am more “start cutting, size things up a bit, finish cutting, see what happens, then claim that was what you wanted all along.”

Still, I am not unhappy with how my bridge ended up.

Mesa Biome Channel Bridge

Mesa Biome Channel Bridge

It has a bit of Golden Gate Bridge to it, thanks to the use of polished granite for the structure.  It is well lit, just about symmetrical, and connects things nicely. (Though looking at the picture, I see I left a block out and now it is going to drive me crazy until I fix it)  I used some excess material to build a diorite tower at the southern end of the bridge.

I also put up a nether portal at the south end of the bridge.  I dug out the location in the nether and built a portal there.  On stepping through I was surprised by my luck, as the over-world side of the portal was up on the surface and not deep down in some cave.  No need to dig myself back to sunlight this time.

All of which took me considerably less time than I thought it would, and also left me with a bridge to no place in particular.  Time to expand the project!  So I bit the bullet and decided that this bridge would be the end of the Great Northern Road, which would run north from the spawn point and the would be navigable on horse back the entire way, which meant any tunnels needed to be three blocks high and two blocks wide.  That is about six km in a straight line, but likely more if I wanted to route things along easier terrain.  I didn’t want to have to tunnel through yet another mountain range.

I quickly ran out of material from my initial batch of supplies and, as I started getting further and further from the portal at the south end of the bridge.  When I hit another water crossing, I settled down and dug another construction base, then proceeded to mine there to build up supplies of cobblestone to build the next stretch of the road.  It wasn’t as nice as the bridge, but it gets the job done.

The long crossing...

The long crossing…

Now that I have crossed that I am edging closer to a small base, complete with a portal, that I set up on a previous expedition.  Just another forest, grassland, swamp, and a mountain range to cross to get there… about a km from the end of the causeway.  Then from there it will be a drive to spawn point.  We’ll see how long it takes to get there and what I will see along the way.



4 thoughts on “Minecraft and the Great Northern Road

  1. Fenjay

    I absolutely love the sign on that second bridge. And unless someone mentions The Name, it won’t show up in a google search.

    In our own world, we have been expanding far and wide but public works (i.e. roads) are falling behind. I need to take inspiration from your world and get going on that. We have a rudimentary portal network and roads between our main bases, but far flung outposts can only be reached cross-country.


  2. anon

    “(..) and also left me with a bridge to no place in particular.”

    Just saying, you are now more or less required to build a panoramic summer house in the mesa, somewhere close to the bridge.


  3. Talarian

    I have to admit to being a bit of an infrastructure nut myself. On my server anytime someone makes a base, the first thing I do is roll out the welcome wagon and connect their base to the primary minecart rail system. Thankfully you can get thousands of minecart rails by digging them up from abandoned mining shafts. Saved me a tonne of iron, up until I said screw it and built an iron golem farm so I could have unlimited iron.


  4. Knug

    I have setup my world based on exploration and movement by boat. Its very fast, very flexible, and safe to travel at night without bazillions of torches. However, in the last snapshot, Mojang have (intentionally) destroyed the viability for boat travel for long distances and at the same time (unintentionally) removed the ability of ridden horses to actually move.

    So until the latest snapshots fix the horse issue, exploration is foot based (meaning its not happening). I am very unhappy with the conversion of boats to rowboats, as it makes 3 and 4 kilometer water crossings (which are common on my world) impossible.

    If I am stuck with movement using horses (if boats are permanently ruined), then I will have to resort to bridge building as well. I do not look forward to the tedium of that effort, despite being a civil engineer in RL.


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