Our Automated Farms in Minecraft

This is one of those posts I have been meaning to get around to for a while now.  I have written about this sort of thing in our Minecraft world before.  In fact, I actually built one of the automated resource generating machines in our world, the sugar cane harvester I put together quite a while back.

Automated Sugar Cane farm

Automated Sugar Cane farm

However, automation and redstone devices haven’t really been my thing.  In our world I tend to be the civil engineer, a builder of roads and bridges and stables and sundry roadside attractions.

When Xyd joined us he brought with him his own expertise and built his castle with automated resource hauling and sorting.

But it wasn’t until Aaron came along that the automation of resource production really became a thing in our world.  He was especially busy over the holidays and I have kept saying, “Oh, I should do a post about that latest thing he built!” over and over until I was far enough behind that now I am going to just try to summarize them in a brief tour.  I think I remember them all.

In His Base

Aaron has a few resource farming devices around his home.  Next to his livestock and collection of flora, he has an iron golem farm and a charged creeper farm.

Iron golem and charged creeper farm

Iron golem and charged creeper farm

The iron golem farm is the smaller pool in the middle of what is essentially a village.  It is arranged such that golem spawns in the water and gets washed down to a place where you can harvest him for iron.  That has been around for a while.

A more recent addition was the charged creeper farm, which is the large cobblestone platform with the red squares.  The red squares are netherrack, and in the middle of each of those is an empty square which contains a glassed in chamber.  At night, when things are spawning on the platform, Aaron lured creepers down each of those holes, then put a name tag on them so they would not despawn when he left the area.

Then, once all the holes had a creeper, he hung around the area waiting for a lightning storm to pass by and strike some of the creepers.  The lightning would also light the netherrack, so it was easy to tell which creeper had been charged.

Of course, the question is, why would he want a charged creeper?

When a charged creeper blows up… with much greater force than a normal creeper… and kills another creature, that other creature leaves behind a head.  So down below that platform his an area where he brings mobs and charged creepers together to collect heads.

Also, down in his mine Aaron has built a zombie farm where, at the flick of a switch, you can stand in a single spot and have zombies delivered to you to slay if you need to level up or require some zombie flesh, though the latter now has a more efficient option.

Guardian Farm

I have already written about the Guardian Farm, but since I am making a list I thought I have better at least mention it.

Guardian farm complete

Guardian farm complete

The String Farm

As with the zombie farm in his own base, this was built around a monster spawner.  In this case, it was a spider spawner.  As with the zombie farm, a flick of a switch turns out the lights, starts up the flow of water, and washes spawned spiders towards you.  However, in this case some cactus does the killing and you simply collect the resulting string drops.

String farm

String farm

String has its uses, but four can be combined to create wool.  This was his method of automated wool creation.

Blaze Farm

This is another experience generator built around a Blaze spawner in one of the Nether Fortresses we have discovered.  This uses mine carts to shove Blazes down a passage where they can be collected and slain for experience and a bit of loot.

The top of the Blaze farm

The top of the Blaze farm

This is, however, more sophisticated than the zombie or string farm.  There is a dial to select how many Blazes you wish to collect up to slay.



You then idle while they are collected, being alerted to the requested number being reached by a light being lit.  You can then press a button to crush them, reducing their hit points, and which point you can wade in and finished them off, collecting the resulting experience.

Zombie Pigman Farm

This was the one that needed some help from me.  The ideal way… or perhaps the only way… to do this is to poke a hole through the bedrock in the roof of the nether and build up there.  Aaron tried a couple of the hacks to break through, then asked me to look into it.

I spent a couple weeks looking up ways to do this, many of which were convoluted and required changing server jars or using buggy world editors, all of which was generally impractical.  After quite a bit of time passed Aaron finally suggested that I might just turn on creative mode and punch through.  He just assumed I knew about that option but that it wouldn’t work for some reason, grossly overestimating my Minecraft knowledge.

So I logged in, switched myself to creative mode, poked a sizable hole in the roof of the nether above our nether roof transportation hub, and that was that.  It took all of 30 seconds.  Then he took over and built a giant tower farm.

Looking up from the nether roof

Looking up from the nether roof

Up at the top there is series of mine carts that pick up spawning zombie pigmen, dropping them to their death.  The resulting gold nuggets and zombie flesh are collected and sorted and deposited in a series of chests on the lowest platform.  All of this can be observed from the safety of an observation tower where the player may safely idle while it continues to rain pigmen.

looking down at the zombie pigman farm

looking down at the zombie pigman farm

This, along with the iron golem farm, unleashed our ability to build long distance rail projects.  Aaron used this to build rail lines throughout the nether transportation system while I have used it back in the world.

Witch Farm

If I recall right, this was one Aaron did just because he could.  I am not even sure exactly how it works, having only visited it once.

Witch farm on the map

Witch farm on the map

But we now have a way to farm redstone, sticks, and the other items that witches drop when they die.

Enderman Farm

After Aaron and I defeated the End Dragon, we had also opened up free access to The End, the main population of which is Endermen.  So it was time to build a farm for them as well.

It is dark in The End

It is dark in The End

Another “falling to a collection floor” sort of farm which yields enough ender pearls that Aaron now gets around by throwing them freely.

Endless Production?

I think that is all of them.

So, with all that we have no resource constraints, right?

Well, no.  The thing about Minecraft is that you have to be logged in and close enough to the automated system for the game to load it up.  Nothing happens when nobody is logged in and when you get too far away, the game unloads things in order to manage memory and processor resources.  So to get these to run, you have to stand by and let them do their thing, which is why each has a safe room for you to idle, often positioned in an optimum location to encourage spawns just where you want them… or so I am told.

So, as long as we’re willing to log in and idle, we can collects some resources.  Our world still retains the friction of hostile mobs, the day/night cycle, and the fact that there are still many resources we simply have to collect ourselves.

7 thoughts on “Our Automated Farms in Minecraft

  1. Azuriel

    I’ve always wondered at what point these sort of things cross the line into “just /give me 1000 Iron Ore.” Using cheat codes is clearly cheating, and has psychological ramifications if you do it even once (because why stop at one thing?). But… building these automated farms are just creative use of game mechanics? They’re “legit.” Even though the practical differences would have to be discerned through an electron microscope.

    Not that I’m criticizing or anything. I just know that back when I played, the moment I started looking up monster farms and the like, I realized that I may as well just /give myself the goods, at which point I realized that I was done with the game.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Azuriel – If you’re going to say that simply generating, on demand, anything out of thin air in unlimited quantities is so close to constructing a device in-game that requires you to be logged in and in its vicinity so that you can harvest relatively limited amount of a single resource that you have trouble distinguishing the two without a figurative electron microscope, I would have to say that I would need a device of similar precision to distinguish your comment from actual criticism. Know what I mean?


  3. MaximGtB

    The act of designing and building the factories sounds like fun in itself. But after they are built? Logging in just to wait for resources to fall in your lap? Might as well cheat and save yourself the hassle. But as Azuriel said, once you start cheating is hard to stop there, so the game loses much of its appeal.


  4. halycon

    You’re missing part of why people build them. There’s a massive sense of accomplishment to one of those projects. Some people like to build the pretty castles, others like building things which do stuff. I’ve done both, the big machines that do stuff engage my brain in a way the other doesn’t.

    They really come into their own once you start getting into the high end tech mods. It becomes a game of building the machine to build the machine to build the machine. Resources never stop being a constraint exactly, but take something like Tinker’s Construct’s Smeltery. It’s multiblock structure that takes a couple hours to build and in mod games is usually the first big thing built. It makes smelting items return double and opens up a world of special tools, so at first blush it looks like cheating. But the reason it does that is because it opens up alloys used in other mods. Some of which are stupidly expensive. Iron stops being a major problem, but gold becomes a real bottleneck for awhile. You’ve moved upward on the resource ladder. As you move step by step up it into things the base game doesn’t even have, there’s a real sense of accomplishment at each step. The big machines or factories can take days to build, beyond rooms they sit in, and preplanning goes into overdrive. I’ve spent hours walking over a peace of ground in minecraft outlining things in torches and mentally filling in where pipes and power will run, building up a huge blueprint in my head before laying down a single block; finally I spent days building the thing. When the last block placed, and I turn the thing on and it works.. it’s a sense of accomplishment no other game offers. Not even close.


  5. Talarian

    In Minecraft, all resources are effectively infinite–it’s merely the amount of time you spend gathering them. Building a farm like these is often a massive investment. The guardian farm, for example? I built one on my server. It took nearly 2 weeks real time playing 20+ hours a week, all so I could generate infinite sea lanterns. I think that’s more than a fair trade, plus all of the materials I use to create the farm (the amount of glass in said farm is flabbergasting, thousands of sand blocks turned to glass blocks).

    Then once you have all these farms, you can continue to spend time on creative aspects in a survival world, and the materials you get from these farms allow you to build projects of much greater scale.

    So no, it’s not like just /give-ing resources at all. Some folks go to great amounts of work to build these farms, and the return on investment can often take many hours. They’re not strictly necessary, but they definitely are fun to create.


  6. Fenjay

    There is more than one measure of value of items. Scarcity is one, but time to acquire is another. With /give you can have any number of items at any time, removing both from the equation.

    With a farm, you put it a significant amount of (fun) gameplay to remove scarcity, but it still takes time to harvest them, and you have to make decisions on which machine to “turn on”. There is a satisfaction of having used the existing game rules to enact your will. We are tool-using species, so building tools is rewarding.

    On our home server, we’ve made some simpler versions of some of these. I created what I call a “bazaar” of various kinds of villagers, enough to spawn iron golems. We trade with the villagers in addition to spawning the golem, which we still have to manually push into the trap. The bazaar is also better than a natural village because it’s protected from all villager-threatening mobs by virtue of being too lit up for them to spawn inside at night.

    In order to convert enough zombie villagers to make this, I had to create a (fairly manual) zombie pigman trap consisting of a deep trench that angry pigs fall into, whereupon we use sticky pistons and attached blocks to suffocate them. One has to gather groups of pigs to slaughter and also endure the pigman aggro timer in order to use the trap, so there are tradeoffs.


  7. creeper0904

    I can not believe you are able to do thids stuff. I am a minecrafter/modder, and I love to mod Minecraft. I have a total of 36 mods and maybe you could help me make a quarry with the buildcraft mod. THank you and keep on BUILDING!!!


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