Tag Archives: Aaron

Minecraft, Llamas, and a Mansion

I mentioned in passing last week that the previous Monday saw the release of Minecraft 1.11, the Exploration Update.

Minecraft 1.11

Minecraft 1.11

Two of the new items that came in with this update were woodland mansions and llamas.

I was, of course, keen to find me some llamas.  You can tame them and then dress them up to give them a festive look.

Aaron, keen for a new challenge, was more interested in the woodland mansions.  Finding one, however, was the thing.  They are rare, they are reported to spawn at least 10K blocks away from the spawn point, and you need to find them in territory that has not been generated yet.

Fortunately, the 1.11 update also includes a new village NPC called the cartographer.  They wear the same white coat as the librarian in villages.  Once properly primed, they will sell you exploration maps.  There are two flavors of such maps, one that will guide you to an ocean monument (boring, I know where several of those are, not including the one Aaron took over and turned into a guardian farm), and the other will direct you to a woodland mansion.

Aaron got right on that, breeding a cartographer in his villager mall, though the first I heard of it was in an email from him to the group announcing that he had found a woodland mansion.  Since he was already there, I downloaded a copy of our world and rendered and updated map to see where it was.  Sure enough, I found his mansion.

Woodland Mansion on the map

Woodland Mansion on the map

That is the mansion, with a little dirt structure Aaron build outside the front door to act as his camp.  The mansions are pretty bit structures.

Of course, the other thing the newly rendered map showed was how far from our core explored area he had to venture to find this new structure.

Straight line to the Mansion

Straight line to the Mansion

That long, straight explored part jutting out from the west of the main map, that was path to the mansion.  It is admirably straight.  Of course, I wanted to go see the new thing in the world.  Getting there though…

Aaron reported that the mansion was at about the coordinates x -21,000 z -6,000.  The nearest easily traveled to spot in the explored world was the prismarine bridge on the great rail loop.  It stood at about x -1,000 z -6,300.  So just 20km to travel.  For perspective, the great rail loop is about 22.5 km, full round trip, and it takes a few day/night cycles while moving at minecart speeds.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to walk/row my way out to the new mansion.

So I started checking out our nether roof transportation network.  Traveling in the nether gets you 8 blocks forward on the surface for every block you move there.  I thought that the nether rail line to the prismarine bridge might be a good place to start down there.  But then I discovered a rail line Aaron had dug out to where he planned to create a wither farm at some point.  That line ended at x -754 z -710, which put it well on its way to the nether coordinates of x -2,650 z -750 where a nether portal would put any traveler close to the mansion.

I was there, had my diamond pick with the mend enchant, so started digging through the netherrack towards those coordinates.  I didn’t want to walk, but if I can build infrastructure, I guess that is a different story.  From where I was it was just about 2,000 blocks to go, digging a tunnel 2 blocks wide and 3 blocks high.

Actually, clearing the ~12,000 blocks to get there was less of a chore than doing something with those blocks once they had been dug.  The pile up in stacks of 64 in your inventory and, not liking to leave things cluttering the tunnel, I ended up having to run back to the start point of the dig, where there were a couple of chests, to dump the netherrack as it filled up my inventory.

I dug for quite a while, ending up close to the -1,600 line on the x axis, though I did have to travel back to the zombie pigmen harvesting farm to let experience repair my pick.  That is the joy of the mend enchant.  I also laid some track I found down there to start the line to the mansion and to make traveling back and forth to the dig easier.

At some point I called it a night, but Aaron had gotten back to out nether travel nexus and picked up where I left off, pushing the bore the rest of the way.  He also put up a portal about 250 blocks down the new line, with a stop, so that it came up where he had seen llamas during his trip to the mansion.

A family of llamas

A family of wild llamas in the high peaks

I caught him online the next day when he was just about done with the work.  I rolled down the line to its end point, found it empty, then started to roll back the other way when I ran into Aaron.  The problem with single track rail systems.  He was coming back with some obsidian blocks in order to make the portal.  So we rolled on back to the end again and he put together the blocks.

Aaron building the portal in the nether

Aaron building the portal in the nether

Once together he sparked it up and let me go through.  Of course it was night time, raining, and the portal was in a tree, out of which I promptly fell, leaving us to fight zombies, spiders, and skeletons.  The raid killed off the fire enchant on my bow making killing stuff all the more annoying.

The new portal in its tree

The new portal in its tree

But it was at the right location and on the surface rather than way down in some deep cavern.

during a lull in the fighting I built some steps up to the portal and went back into the nether while Aaron used the bed in his mud hut to advance the world to morning.  Then the sun came up… but since we were in a forest, there were still a few more things to kill.  But after that I was able to actually turn towards the mansion itself.

The entry

The entry

I have to say, that as an auto-generated structure in Minecraft, the woodland mansion is pretty impressive.  Aaron had already cleared out the resident bad guys, so I was able to explore the place relatively safely… there was a creeper hanging out, because there is always a creeper hidden somewhere.

Mansions have a variety of possible rooms according to the wiki, ranging from functional to silly.

The giant chicken room

The giant chicken room

There is even lighting and carpeting throughout, though there isn’t quite enough light by default to keep mobs from spawning.  As a structure it would be a fine place to make your base, especially now that it has rail access to our central hub. (Though even rail travel, moving 8x surface speed, it takes a good seven minutes to get out to the portal.)

Then the question was where to find the next one for those of us who wanted to try our hand with the new illager NPCs.  As it turns out, any given cartographer villager will only give out a map to a single woodland mansion.  In order to find another one, you need to buy it from a different villager.  Time to expand the villager population in hopes of getting another map… and go check out the llamas.

Meanwhile, as an update to the previous Minecraft post about map art, Aaron took what he learned and put together another piece.  Here it is when viewed from ground level.

Some colors in a field

Some colors in a field

Given that, can you guess what the end product looks like when on a map?

(Result here)

Map Art in Minecraft

It is one of those weeks where I already know what I will be writing about for four out of the five days.  Expansions or new titles with four games I cover regularly pretty much sets the tone here through Friday.  But today, today I can take a few minutes to return to Minecraft.

Actually, when it comes down to it, I could do five out of five posts this week about new updates, as the Minecraft 1.11 update, called the Exploration Update, is supposed to land today and, since we’re on Minecraft Realms, it will be part of our world as soon as it is ready.  There is a pile of stuff slated for the update… it is a big deal… but the only thing I can recall off-hand is the introduction of llamas.  (Which, true to life, spit.) So an actual post about that update will probably come next week unless I have a bunch of unexpected free time before the weekend.

Anyway, back to today’s post.

Our Minecraft server is still up and running.  I have a couple of projects on it that I have been pursuing in an extremely desultory fashion, and for a stretch I was the only one logging on.

Then Aaron started on his new project.

While there are paintings you can hang on the walls of your home in Minecraft, they are random, changing every time you put one up.  Something else you can hang on your walls are maps.

A corner in the map room

A corner Skronk’s map room

As I previously noted, Aaron took this to something of an extreme with his giant map room.

This time he decided to combine the ability to map and the desire to have art of his own making on his walls, the first step of which was to clear out a map-sized area of the world.

The empty map

The empty map

That is a cleared out area of the world exactly the size of an in-game map (8 x 8 in chunks or 128 x 128 in blocks) which now serves as the canvass on which he can work.

Our world, as a reminder, is set to survival mode, so there are no quick short cuts to obtaining materials for such projects.  You have to go out and collect them and transport them to where you want to use them.  And store them.  And manipulate them on the ground without the ability to fly.

So Aaron had to build up some infrastructure around his cleared area, including lighting, storage, and a platform from which he could see his work.  Then, when that was in place, he began work on his first piece, something of great cultural significance to us all.

A portrait of the artist as cubist dream

A portrait of the artist as cubist dream

When he sent us this screen shot of his first work in progress, I had to grab a current copy of the world and render a new map so I could see just how big this area was in our world.  Once rendered, I zoomed in and saw his work pretty quickly.

Homer on the map

Homer on the map

While that bit isn’t very big relative to the area of the world we have explored, it is easily the most noticeable of our artifacts on the ground.  While we have some large buildings, if you look at the maps in the first screen shot at the top of the post, you can see that even some of our larger compounds take up just fractions of a map grid.

The only thing that compares for visibility is the 22km rail loop I completed back in June.  And even that blends into the map pretty well, looking like a few gray lines unless I change to a night render of the map, in which case the fact that it is fairly well lit causes those lines to stand out against the darkness.

Unfortunately, the map rendering in Minecraft appears to have a color palette that is somewhat limited compared to what the open world offers.  While Homer and his donut look clear and colorful in the world or my external map render, in the game he is less than magnificent.

Homer as Art

Homer as Art

Well, he still pretty good, but his dark muzzle, carefully colored by Aaron with yellow stained clay, got averaged out to be the same yellow as the rest of Homer.

As a proof of concept though, it seemed to go okay.  The next task for his is to setup a series of color swatches with different materials to see how they actually render on the map.  Then it will be on to the next masterpiece.

Minecraft and the Map Room

l have gone on a bit about how much I like having access to rendered maps of our Minecraft world.

The current-ish map of our world

The current-ish map of our world

Having that available really helps me with the big scope road and rail projects I have been working on this year in addition to just helping me find things in the world.

But there are also maps within the game.  I have tinkered with them before, but they can be a bit quirky and I haven’t really found a lot of use for them, aside from being decorations.  I have maps of the local area hung up in a few of my bases.

On the decorative front, Skronk’s map room in Firenze is probably the high point of their use in the world.  Skronk went out and put together maps of various locations in our world and hung them up with labels in the map room.

Looking at the map room in Firenze

Looking at the map room in Firenze

Recently, Aaron went on a tour of our world, riding the rail loop I had built.  He too was impressed with the map room he saw.  He was so impressed that he decided to make his own map room, in a very Aaron sort of way.  He is the guy whose base has samples of all of the flora and fauna in the world in neat little areas.  And now he has a map room with the biggest map collection in our world.  Behold the map wall.

Aaron's map wall

Aaron’s map wall

That is 224 map segments affixed to the wall with frames.  The just visible red square in the middle of the map is part of Aaron’s base.  The map itself is backlit using sea lanterns at several points.

A closer look at the map gives a better feel for the level of detail that the in-game maps can achieve.

Standing closer to the map

Standing closer to the map

There you can see the red square is actually a grid of red netherrack from Aaron’s charged creeper farm, detailed in a past post.  This also shows Xydd’s castle in the upper left corner and one of my bases to the right of Aaron’s  Also visible is some of the road and rail network.

It is pretty cool.  It won’t replace my rendered maps, which show more detail, but it is still something great to have within the confines of our world.

The same area in a rendered map

Approximately the same area in a rendered map

And, being another Aaron epic project, you can see that his map room has two more walls ready for map segments so that the room will eventually give a panoramic view of a segment of the world.

Ready for more maps

Ready for more maps

I do like the idea of having the maps backlit.  I may go do that to some of the base area maps I have hung up around the world.