Since my update last week I have managed to make some decent progress on the long road project, covering an additional 2km on the path south.
That puts me about 8km along the way to my goal. Given that I started about 20km from my destination, I am not even at the half way point yet. But I am getting there.
For this last burst of road building I have been trying to go straight south as much as possible so as to maximize my progress towards my eventual goal. For the first 6km of southward progress I estimate I built an additional 2-3km of road that moved along the east-west axis, and so brought me no closer to our core settlement. I did that in order to not spend time trying to fight the terrain. However, in hindsight, looking at the map as I have moved on, I ended up spotting paths that were slightly more difficult but which would have saved me a lot of bypassing to east or west. That has led me to try and scout more thoroughly, though I am not sure how I could do this scale of a project at all without being able to render out the map of our world so I can study it for paths south.
One thing I will go at least a bit out of my way for is villages. I like to put them on the route as they make natural way points for rest and supply. My recent 2km run was in part lined up to hit a village along the way, which I named Basin City as it was on a hill that ran down to the water in something of a semi-circle. Also, Frank Miller.
The down side of villages along the route is that I feel the need to stop and improve them. I have to level out the paths, fix the buildings, add new doors, light them up, add a horse corral, put up some signage, and work with some of the villagers if I can.
In the case of Basin City here, I also had to thin out the trees as it was in a roofed forest biome, which meant that skeletons and zombies were in the shade when day came, so the sun wouldn’t kill them off. I cut a fire break around the village, then burned some of the forest beyond the break just to open up some land.
And, since this was going to be a supply point… in order to keep going straight south I was going to need to build a few cobblestone bridges from there to carry on… I started in on a mine, which itself yielded a bunch of iron ore and coal, so I build an auto-furnace and so on. It is now a nice little place that you could base out of.
Villages have actually become a bit more interesting. The Minecraft 1.10 update made them a little more diverse, so that the building materials match the biome they show up in. So, for example, this village I came upon in a savanna biome is made of acacia wood, the local tree type.
That village was also interesting because it turned out to be a zombie village. Another change with 1.10 was that villages have a 2% chance of being zombie villages, which means that they have no torches placed, no doors, and are populated by zombie villagers. It took me a bit to figure out what was going on, but once I did I ran off to fetch some weakness potions and a few golden apples in order to convert some of the zombie villagers into normal villagers. I managed to convert three, one of whom was a nitwit, a green robed villager who has no profession, which is also a recent addition.
You can see by the render of the village above that I lit the place up with torches and supplied doors for the buildings. Those are birch wood doors, as I happened to have come through a birch forest on the way there, so had a lot on hand. I tend to prefer oak or jungle wood doors, as they have windows in them so you can see out, but when you just have a stack or two of birch, you use that.
That was sort of a mid-point village, so I didn’t go through the effort of converting it to a full on supply base, but I still had to straighten things out and build a corral.
As I drove the road further south I ended up scouting ahead and found that after I built a nice wooden bridge… I don’t want every water crossing to be a cobblestone causeway, though the continuous cobblestone strip that defined my road still runs up the middle… I was facing a series of hills. I could go over or through them to keep the the “go straight” plan, or I could veer east and go around, which would also let me pass through not one but two more villages.
That seemed like the obvious plan. More villages!
However, as I scouted that after starting off towards the second village, I saw that the far side to the south went straight into a jungle biome. And, honestly, I have had my fill of trying to build a road through a jungle biome. You can’t burn the trees down, the hanging vines suppress fire, so you have to get out the TNT and blast your way through.
So I stopped my effort in that direction, though I did put up some signs about the villages so people can visit if they want (I also “fixed” a good deal of the first village, because me), and checked what lay to the west from the bridge. I would have to go further to bypass the mountains… more road not getting me to my goal… but once there I seemed to hit plains. Plains and another village.
While I had to bore through a bit of the end of the mountain range in order to head south again as soon as I could, after that it was into a long stretch of fairly open terrain, so road building could go quickly.
Of course, then other issues started to crop up. By the time I hit that village I was already a day and a half ride on a horse from my last major base, “major” being defined as one where I put up a nether portal. That connection to the nether becomes important as my logistical tail stretches out behind me and I need to do things like repair tools or I find a need for supplies… like potions and golden apples… that I don’t necessarily keep on hand.
So, while I have pushed past the village a bit, I may need to go back and set that up as another stop on the long rail line connected to our nether transport network. But that is part of the challenge of doing a project like this, and the challenge is what makes it worthwhile. I still have another 12km to go and a couple of wide ocean stretches I will need to figure out.