The end of the road is in sight, and I mean that literally rather than in some sort of gloomy metaphorical sense. My long term project to build an overland route between the Forest Mansion I found last November and our central surface world rail network is about 90% complete.
In December I started on the road project to cover the 20km gap between the mansion and the nearest mine cart rail stop.
As of this week only about a 2km gap remains between my current forward location on the road and the nearest base and rail stop.
The road has taken a while largely due to logistics. Given an infinite supply of cobblestone in my bag, I could have completed the road in a few sittings. Having to manage a limited inventory, finding or creating resupply points as the road moves forward, and having to deal with the day/night cycle and the hostiles that spawn after dark make for the challenge of the project.
Also, it allows me to indulge in one of my favorite tasks, which is base building. In order to not totally bog down the road building effort I have tried to limit my major bases to NPC villages, desert temples, and the like so that I have some structures available to set up in.
Desert temples make good bases, so long as I have some wood on hand to make a few doors. I go in and loot the treasure in the basement, then set off the explosive trap down there, running away before it blows. That opens things up so I can mine cobblestone easily.
Villages however tend to tie me down for a while. While showing up at one gives me shelter, the Minecraft algorithm for placing them seems to just drop them on the terrain rather haphazardly.
This leads to me spending time “fixing” villages. After I have picked a house to setup in, placed a bed and some chests for storage and built a corral for horses, I can’t bring myself to move on until I level out the paths and make sure all the buildings are accessible. Placement often leaves a few buried up past the doors so you cannot get in or out.
And once I am doing that I also light up the village with lots of torches, straighten up the pathways, and add a bunch of doors to get an iron golem to spawn to defend the villagers. If the village is far enough from the previous portal, I put up another nether portal to connect to the nether transit hub and maybe build a tower to make the village more visible from a distance.
So every village becomes a new side project. I suppose I have a vision of them being used as bases by other people, though at the moment there is scant activity on our server aside from my own work.
I did try to expand my working hours by keeping more tamed wolves around me in order to fight off hostile spawns at night, to the point of breeding a pack.
Wolves can be fragile however. You have to keep them healed up by feeding them, and securing a supply of meat to feed them led to breeding a flock of sheep. And still I was losing them pretty regularly.
That was all becoming a more effort than it was worth, so I gave up on any illusions about working through the night in order to keep pushing ahead rather than wasting time traveling back and forth from the nearest camp to sleep.
So progress has been made and the end is in sight. At this point I think it might work best for me to head back to our core territory and build the road northward to link up with what I have build already. That will give me the advantage of drawing from already established supplies.