An Hour on the Road in Minecraft

Having finished the road, it was time to ride the road from end to end.

I had horse travel in mind when I was building the road, and it offers clearance at least 3 blocks high and 3 blocks wide its entire length.  While there is variability in the speed of horses in Minecraft, most are as fast or faster than a mine cart, with the fastest horses going almost 60% faster than the 8 blocks a second that a cart travels.

As I built the road I had with me a fairly fast horse, the one that kept trying to escape from me.  My plan, once the road was complete, was to ride him back north the whole length of the road.

Attempting to escape me by jumping down a well

Unfortunately he was the victim of one of those Minecraft accidents before I got around to the ride back north and all that was left was his saddle and diamond armor.  That left me sitting at the Ankh/Desert Temple station on the great rail loop, which also marks the southern end of the road, without a horse.

As it was, I knew I had horses at the other end of the road.  So I took the rail line to the next station, which was the Mesa Biome station, where there was a portal that linked up to the nether transit system.  From there I was able to take a ride through the nether to arrive at the portal I built at the mansion.

There I picked up one of the horses I had stabled in order to start my ride.

On my horse in front of the forest mansion

At that point I hit the ESC key and went to statistics to note the number for distance ridden on a horse.  I then returned to the game and started on down the road.  The time had just changed to 7:52pm local on the Windows task bar.

One of the purposes of the ride was to figure out just how long the road really was.  I already knew that it was at least 20km by just checking the coordinates at the start and finish points.

More than 20km between the two points

However, that was the direct route.  When building the road I often went around obstacles in the terrain or avoided building long bridges over water preferring, at least in the beginning, a more scenic land route.  At the end I was more inclined to bridge the last ocean gap, if only because the way around the ocean would have sent me a long ways off course.

Bridging the last gap

The horse seemed a bit slower than my old mount.  I will have to build one of those red stone devices to measure the speed of your horse at some point to quantify my mounts.  Maybe I can put it on the road as a speed trap.  Anyway, I kept on with the horse since even early into the ride I didn’t want to start over.

It was sunset when set out, which quickly turned to night as I road through the early portions of the road.  A lot of that went through forests and jungle biomes, areas that I often cleared by fire, an act that often leaves behind an eerie light.

The glow remaining from burned trees… also, spiders!

One of the things I noticed on the ride, which I have probably mentioned already, is the abundance of horses on the plains I passed through while making the road.  I believe they upped the spawn rate for horses, as I have never seen so many hanging about in the fields of our original core territory.

Wild horses along the way

I passed into daylight and through again into night as I rode on down the road, passing various camps and bases I made while building the road.  I tried not to spend a lot of time building structures as I worked on the road, and so there are a lot of simple doors stuck in the sides of hills or cliffs, each a simple rectangular room with a chest or two, a crafting table, and a bed.

In order to avoid spending time building, I attempted to use villages and other spawned structures along the route as bases.  Of course, that occasionally led me to route the road in specific directions to hit a village rather than taking the absolute shortest route forward.

And, of course, I couldn’t help but try to “fix” villages that were spawned awkwardly and often found myself spending quite a bit of time improving and building.

A fixed up village with a non-essential lava trimmed tower because I got carried away

Villages were far and away my favorite stopping points and I must have fixed up at least a dozen, including a couple that were not strictly on the path south.

As the road moved south, jungle and forest biomes gave way to savanna and desert variations, which let me use desert temples as way points and bases.  There were a few of those along the way.

A desert temple with corral, anvil, and jungle trees planted in the background

There was also a point along the way where I rather insisted on building wooden bridges across gaps of water rather than bland cobblestone causeways.  Of course, the proximity of a lot of wood helped out on that front.

Crossing a wooden causeway, village ahead on the right

Once the terrain was mostly desert water crossings went back to all cobblestone affairs.  I might go back and spruce some of them up later, but for now they are all simple 3 block wide paths with a 1 block lip on either side.

The day/night cycle is 20 minutes long in Minecraft, and I was passing through the third night as I started getting into some of my more recent locations.

The desert hill village at dawn

Then it was through the desert, across the last, long causeway (and the ocean monument that is currently being cleared) across a bit more desert, some savanna, and back into desert and the end of the road at the desert temple where the rail line passes.

The station at the end of the ride, horse in the corral

Upon reaching the end of the road I hit the ESC key again, went to statistics, and grabbed the current reading for distance ridden on a horse.  I subtracted the first number from the second and ended up with 25.82km.

That is almost 6km of zig-zagging as the road proceeded south.  The time was 8:50pm, so the trip took just shy of an hour.  That also makes the speed of my horse just about 26km per hour, a bit short of the 28.8km per hour that a mine cart travels when boosted to full speed.

Then again, riding is a bit of a manual process, steering isn’t perfect, and along the way I places nearly two stacks of torches to further light the road in spots where it was dark.  But I did try to stick diligently to the cobblestone path, which is unbroken the full length of the road save for a few points where I was putting sea lanterns into the center line in order to light the way.  (I ran out of sea lanterns long before I ran out of road, so it is mostly lit by torches.)  All of which may have added a bit of time to the journey.  Still, I want a faster horse.

Now that I have been down the road I built, the inevitable “what next?” question arises.  There are still some villages along the way that I could spruce up.  I might want to improve some of the bridges, or at least make them look like they obey physics in some way.  I have a few very long unsupported cobblestone causeways out there.  I also want to collect up some saddles, tame some horses, and stock some of the corrals along the way.  But maybe I will work on that horsey speed trap first.

Then again, I might eschew horse travel altogether and run rails down the whole thing.

While I consider that, here is the tale of the mansion and the road it spawned:

4 thoughts on “An Hour on the Road in Minecraft

  1. TheGreatYak

    Depending what your aesthetic is for the bridges, (as well as time constraints), a stack of gravel or sand can be used to quickly drop a column to the bottom of any deep ocean your fast and dirty bridgework has gone over, if you want things to look like they obey something resembling normal physics.

    Given the productivity of the iron and gold farms, put a powered rail line down, you can still use the line for horse travel.


  2. Pingback: Restarting an Abandoned Project | To Game For Life

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