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Minecraft Wisdom

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Minecraft has been sucking up a lot of my time lately.  Since there are plenty of people talking about it, I won’t go into details on what type of game it is.  Watch a few YouTube videos and pay the ten euros it currently costs if you like it.

Here are some tips and lessons learned playing the current version of Minecraft on survival mode.  They are guaranteed until the upcoming Halloween update.

1.  Mark your spawn point

Order number one is to mark your spawn point.  Since you always seem to spawn on sand, it’s normally no problem to dig out a box around the spawn point.  I dig a trench with 5×5 dimensions around a 3×3 spawn point pad.

2.  Harden your spawn point

Nothing stinks like getting caught by a creeper and getting a one-way ticket to your spawn point only to have more dangerous baddies waiting for your now-naked avatar.  Once you’ve acquired some cobblestone you can part with (i.e. not needed for tools), build a rudimentary hut around your  spawn point with cobblestone.  Cobblestone is more resistant to creeper explosions than dirt or sand.  Don’t forget to dig down below your spawn point and reinforce with cobblestone.

3.  Gravel is great for cofferdams and scaffolding

I love gravel:  it yields flint for arrows, can be rapidly dug with a shovel, and obeys gravity.  Gravel appears to yield either flint or a gravel block when dug up, never both.  So, if you reuse gravel a lot, you’ll slowly convert it into a nice supply of flint.  Because of these properties, I love to use it for temporary structures.

Why not sand?  Sand is fairly plentiful on most maps and I do use it when I don’t have enough gravel handy.  On the other hand, since  sand can be made into glass and glass is not recoverable, I prefer to save sand for glass making.

4.  Cobblestone is a great marker.

Aside from the rare dungeon spaces, cobblestone doesn’t occur naturally on the map.  While I normally like to plug up caverns with dirt when saving them for later, I use cobblestone when I really want to discourage myself from taking down the barrier later.

5.  Losing is Fun

These days, I don’t worry about entombing myself those first few nights on a new world.  I stay close to the spawn point and alert, taking care to die at a nice distance.  I only get annoyed if a creeper gets a jump on me where the explosion damages my infrastructure.  As the game develops, building a hardened spawn point and connecting tunnels takes the sting out of most deaths that don’t involve a drop into a lava pool.

6.  Armor is for dungeons

Crafting armor consumes a lot of resources and time, so I only use it for special circumstances like rushing a mob spawner.  Bows and large stockpiles of food could also fall in this category, depending on your style.

7.  Build in odd-increment dimensions

Building a box?  Make sure the horizontal dimensions are odd-numbered lengths.  Circles and spheres?  Make sure the diameter is odd.  Doing these two things gives you a definable center point for a structure, which is helpful for making measurements and keeping things symmetric.

8.  Use MS Paint for plotting out curved structures

This simple drawing program that has been around since at least Windows 3.1 can help you deal with curved walls.  Suppose you need a plan for an oval that is 75×100 on its two axes.  Resize your space to the desired dimensions, use the circle shape tool to make the largest oval you can in the space, and you have your plan.

9.  Don’t hoard your diamonds

Some diamond tools are quite handy.  Once I’m able, I make a diamond pick to replace the steel pick I’ve been using for harder minerals.  Second, I add a diamond sword to the arsenal.  If I’m especially flush with diamonds, I add an armor set third.

10.  Make plans for your harvested resources

I always try to keep a balance between building and collecting resources/exploring.  The idea is to prevent myself from having to discard common resources and to vary the game experience.

Written by Bill

October 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Posted in PC Gaming

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