I mentioned in my previous post about the rail project that I had hit a point where I had to make a choice when it came to the route forward. Would I cut across and go for a long water crossing or would I keep going north and take a shorter crossing (or potentially find another route).
I opted to go north. Scouting ahead showed that the purple route was going to be the shortest crossing, so I ran the rail line up there and right out to the little island and then started setting up a supply base.
A supply base means a place to sleep, a mine, an auto furnace (powered by a nearby pool of lava), a nether portal, a rail connection from the nether transit hub, a farm for food, and lots of storage.
Base creation is a happy sub task. I enjoy making them and I tend to over build them as though I was going to stay there for a long time. The last couple I built along the route were in villages, and that always turns into a big project as I level out the place, wall it off to protect the villagers, and generally improve the area.
This base, however, was just going to be for the purpose of collecting up supplies to build the bridge, so I tried to keep things under control. I needed to mine some for cobble to refine into stone for the base of the bridge. But I had decided that, for its primary look, I would go with prismarine and prismarine bricks. That meant heading off to Aaron’s guardian farm again to hang out while it generated what I needed.
Once I got my fill of prismarine and had smelted enough stone to make a stone brick road bed, I started on construction across the straights to the desert biome island where the bridge would terminate. The construction went quickly enough and soon the first gap had been crossed and the decorative bits of the bridge finished.
You can see that I did end up doing a bit more than the minimum at the base. I ended up building a two story tower to house the nether portal. The rail stop is right at the door to that. And a farm sprang up and I built a dock for my boat based scouting.
The dock is because I always find getting out of a boat to be awkward. You get out, then hit the boat with your axe to get it back in your inventory. But if the water is deep you have to swim, the boat can wander off if you bump it, and when you whack it the boat sinks to the bottom as well. So I build a one deep water area with walls to contain the boat and keep it from sinking. Then, I dig out a row on the landward side, which isn’t wide enough to become part of the water area, so water flows into it, so when you dismount the boat it gets held there by the flow and there is none of this mucking about trying to swim, chase the boat, and what not.
Also, one of the side benefits of all that prismarine was a pile of sea lanterns, which I used to light the bridge, so it glows at night.
The night picture is from Minecraft Overviewer (which I wrote about here) using “smooth_night” rendering, an option which has some benefits which I will get to in another post. There is your NBI tip of the day: Always setup your next post if you have a chance.
After pushing across the water, I laid rail across the island, which is actually not as small as it might seem on that map screen shot, to the next crossing. There I decided to go under water rather than doing yet another bridge. But under water with a view.
With plenty of sand on the island, I stared piling that into the auto furnace to create glass blocks, so that the end product looked like this.
To make the tunnel I figured out how deep it would have to run, then made the road bed the old fashioned way, by holding my breath and building some, then coming back up to the surface for air. Once I had the four-wide road bed laid (with some left over sea lanterns along the sides for lighting), I went and dug out even more sand, and dropped sand on it to form the interior dimensions of the tunnel, displacing the water. Sand, like gravel, won’t sit unsupported (mostly) so you can sit on the surface and drop blocks of it to fill out the design.
Then I took a lot of glass blocks and built around the sand form.
And, finally, I dug the sand out of the glass, leaving me with a nice, dry underwater tunnel.
I actually looked up how to do this online, and there were a number of ways to go about it, including using doors or signs, which will block water, and sand or sponges or whatever, but I decided on the simplest method for what I had to hand, and I had a lot of sand readily available.
So when you get to that part of the rail line, it dives down under water, then pops up again at the other end.
So I have that going for me.
I pushed the rail line forward a bit further from there. At some point I will have to setup another supply base to continue the push into the Mesa biome to hook up the rail loop. However I have stalled a bit because I am not quite done with the previous base.
Despite my attempts to keep it modest, it has taken over my focus. There isn’t much to it on the outside, though I had to harden the front courtyard with stone because on three occasions waved of suicide creepers came at it and blew it to hell… along with my auto furnace, which left several inventories worth of stuff strewn about. Again, Minecraft 1.9 has a serious love for creepers. Eventually I built a wall around the place and made the creepers pay for it.
No, it was what ended up being under the base that kept me there. Early on, when I bored down to level 12 to start mining, I ran into an abandoned mine. I love these. Lots of wood to harvest, rails to pick up… and I am always short of rails… and other goodies.
There is also a good deal of exposed ore and gems in the walls, which keeps me from having to tunnel everywhere just to find some.
That has found me a lot of iron and gold and diamonds and coal… and I need the coal to keep making torches to light things.
So I tend to make it my business to clear out completely any such area I find. I strip them bare.
Which is why I am still mucking about under my base, because this has turned out to be the mega abandoned mine. I keep filling up my inventory with stuff, returning to the surface to unload, and when I get back down into the mine, I find even more stuff. I suspect that, as noted in the article about these mines, that I have hit a point where several of them have been generated, one on top of another, with a dungeon or two thrown in for good measure. There are times when I will mine some ore in a wall and break through into a whole new section of a mine.
The monster spawner count is what makes me think I am at a series of overlapping zones. Generally I find one, maybe two, spawners when I am in a mine. At last count I had hit nine spawners. For example, I hit this zombie spawner, which is a dungeon feature.
You see that zombie in the background, on the far side of the wall? Cave spiders kept spilling over that wall. So I broke through it to find… hey, a cave spider spawner on the other side.
So my push forward on the rail front has been delayed while the completionist in my tries to find out exactly how far this abandoned mine complex goes. I have been going far enough into it that soon I am going to have to start putting up signs to guide myself out as I have gotten lost down there a few times already.