Navarre: Barn

The first real build that’s part of Navarre is the barn, the center of the agricultural district. It is a good example of the build style for the town and allowed me to start moving my temporary pens and crop farms from the vanilla village I started with. Now that it’s built, I love how it fits into the surrounding terrain.

Roof

As mentioned earlier, I started by throwing it together in creative. Building it again in survival required some changes, the most obvious one being the roof, which allowed for monster spawning on top. As you can see in the picture, I solved that by using stone buttons.

I wanted something that would be as unobtrusive as possible (if string could still prevent spawning, I would have used that), but once I put the buttons on, I had to admit that I loved the way it made the roof look.

Sheep Pens

The inside of the barn is divided into four areas. On one side of main level are four sheep pens that open up into a fenced sheep field south of the barn.  The pens have hay for food, and gates that can be closed to keep the sheep in the barn when shearing.

Chicken Coop

The opposite side of the main level is divided in two, and one half houses the chicken coop. It has an enclosed area where the chicken can keep and lay eggs, as well as an open area, with a gate to a smalled fenced pen outside that allows the chickens to wander a bit.

Pig Pen

The pig pen in the other half is a muddy pit where the pigs feel right at home. They also have a small outside area where they can bask in the sun.

Wheat storage

The second floor of the barn, accessible via ladders, is divided in two and provides long term wheat and hay bale storage, out of the rain. As befits a barn, there are no glass windows, but there are openings to allow a breeze to blow through.

Decorations

Finally, I’ve slowly been improving the decorations. I’m really happy with the floor of the barn, which is a mix of course dirt, jungle planks, and granite (I think of it as reddish gravel). After finishing the whole barn, I realized that a few well placed cobwebs would also improve the feel.

Navarre: Village Planning

The longer I spend in my little village on the lake, the more I realize I love the location. It’s beautiful, quaint, and natural. While I enjoy some of the crazier biomes in BiomeBundle, I still feel like making my home somewhere that isn’t too otherworldly. If there is one thing I would change, it would be access to water transportation, either a good river network, or being on the coast of an ocean. That said, I’m comfortable with that limitation, especially since I’m modeling Navarre on a mountain village in Spain.

Before discussing city planning, let me give a survival report. MCImmersion is an ultra hard core server, with a 30 minute ban on death. In my first attempt at getting blaze rods, I ran off the edge of a fortress path and fell to my first death. My second attempt was much more successful, and I now have potions, which makes a huge difference. I’ve been caving quite a bit to collect resources and hope to get a decent set of armor and tools so I can focus on Navarre and not surviving. I may set up a horse shop, and breed horses, which should be straightforward, now that I have two saddled horses.

Village Buildings and Districts

I started a list in my last post of buildings and other structures to build in my village. That initial list was based on the trading professions for villagers in Minecraft. Here is a more complete list that I’ve developed, which also tries to include intermediate products that make sense to flesh out a proper village economy. There is still more that could be added, but I wanted something that felt complete and at the same time not too over the top. It’s always possible to add more if I finish this and want to add on. But if I go too far, then I could get overwhelmed and give up. Not a good recipe for a village. Here’s the list:

  • a wheat farm
  • a carrot farm
  • a potato farm
  • a bakery
  • a lakeside fish market
  • an archery range
  • a fletcher shop
  • sheep fields
  • a dye shop
  • an armory
  • a tool shop
  • a weapon shop
  • a fighting/training arena
  • a mine entrance
  • a quarry
  • an iron foundry
  • a gemcutter’s workshop
  • a tannery
  • a cattle field
  • a pig pen
  • a chicken coop
  • a butcher shop
  • a restaurant
  • an inn
  • a sugar cane farm
  • a bookbinder
  • a library
  • a map room
  • a chapel
  • a nether portal

As I looked at this rather long list, I realized that a lot of these different builds could be grouped into districts. After a few different attempts to group them I came up with the following grouping which divides my little village into four districts:

  • Industrial District
    • a mine entrance
    • a quarry
    • an iron foundry
    • a gemcutter’s workshop
    • an ironsmith (weapons/tools/armor)
  • Agricultural District
    • a wheat farm
    • a carrot farm
    • a potato farm
    • sheep fields
    • a tannery
    • a cattle field
    • a pig pen
    • a chicken coop
    • a sugar cane farm
  • University District
    • an archery range
    • a fighting/training arena
    • a bookbinder
    • a library
    • a map room
    • a chapel
    • a nether portal
  • Market District
    • a bakery
    • a lakeside fish market
    • a fletcher shop
    • a dye shop
    • an armory
    • a butcher shop
    • a restaurant
    • an inn

There are some natural connections between these districts where this is overlap. For example, the ironsmith should be near the armory. The wheat farm near the bakery, the sheep fields near the dye shop, the tannery near the cattle field, the sugar cane farm near the bookbinder near the library, the archery range near the fletcher shop, and so on.

Shrinking Ambitions

If you’re anything like me, you looked at that list of districts and buildings and immediately felt overwhelmed. That’s a lot to build! So, my next step is to figure out what to combine or cut out completely for my first pass. As I said earlier, I can always come back and add more later. But I do want a vision that is achievable. So, here’s my pass at combining things, and cutting them out:

  • Industrial District
    • a mine entrance (https://imgur.com/a/0epxp)
    • an iron foundry and smithy
  • Agricultural District
    • a wheat and carrot farm
    • sheep fields
    • a tannery and cattle field
    • a pig pen
    • a chicken coop
    • a sugar cane farm
  • University District
    • a library (with bookbinding room)
    • a fighting/training arena with an archery range
    • a map room
    • a chapel with a nether portal
  • Market District
    • a bakery
    • a lakeside fish and meat market
    • a dye shop
    • an armory (selling armor, weapons, bows, and arrows)
    • a restaurant with inn above it

District and Building Placement

I want the districts to be expandable, so each one needs to have at least one side bordering on the edge of the village, so I can expand the village as I go. I also want certain districts close to each other. The most important pairing will be having the agricultural district border on the market district. The second is having the agricultural district border on the university district. And finally, having the market district border the university district. The industrial district can be more separated from the others, but there are still some connections, as it will be providing ore for the armory and the training arena.

So, the final district placement will have the industrial district at the top of the lake, bordering on the mountain that rises to the north. The farming district will be to the east, where there are some large openish fields. The market district will be south of that, wrapping around to the bottom side of the lake. And the university district will border the market district on the east side and the farming district on the south side. It won’t have direct lake access, but will be higher up, on a small plateau.

More design ideas

Agricultural district will be centered on a barn and fenced farmyard, something that feels like this:

In creative mode, I’ve put together designs for a few of the more interesting buildings I hope to create.

Barn interior

Barn exterior

Tannery from the side

Cattle pen next to tannery

Inn and restaurant facade

Bakery

Mine entrance and foundry

Horse stables

Minecraft Hobbyist, Factorio Gamer

I’m a Factorio Gamer.

I just want to beat the game. It’s hard. It takes a long time. I’m not using mods to make my life easier, or cheat, but I am learning what I can as I go, and just trying to win, no self imposed challenges, no attempts at any of the unique achievements. Later I may try some of those unique achievements, but I’ll still just be playing a game.

I’m a Minecraft Hobbyist

Beating the game is just the beginning of any new adventure. Or beating the game is irrelevant. Or beating the game is a fun challenge because of self imposed handicaps.

Right now, these are the only two games I play.

Have a Plan, Break it Down

One big difference between a Minecraft gamer and Minecraft hobbyist is that the gamer lets the game define his objectives, while the hobbyist defines his own goals. In Minecraft, the gamer defeats the Ender Dragon, and later takes down a Wither, and then, bored, moves on to another game.

The Minecraft hobbyist, however, has his own goals. They may be as simple as creating a cute little farm, or as grand as building an entire empire. They may be focused on redstone automation, or capturing and displaying mobs, or creative builds. The hobbyist may even dive in and change the game to better suit their style using mods, texture packs, or command blocks.

As with anything in life, having your own goals is never quite enough. I had the vision to create a pigman empire for over a year before finally tackling it head on with New Lusitania. It wasn’t until I had clarified that vision into something exciting that I felt like I could really make it happen.

But even an exciting vision isn’t enough. I also needed to break it down. It was humbling after a month of smaller projects on the ChickenPieCraft server when I realized I needed to spend some time scouting out locations. I had this grand vision for New Lusitania, but I had to get down to actionable steps that could be done one at a time. If I didn’t scout out locations, I would never get to the point where I could build a palace, or populate the empire, or start a mine, or any of the things I wanted the pigmen to do.

Clarifying the Vision

I’m going to go through this process of clarifying a vision and figuring out the next step(s) for my involvement in MCImmersion out loud here on my blog. It might get a little messy. First, I want to consider factors that will affect the vision I have.

BiomeBundle: Because this world has terrain from BiomeBundle, it has a different feel than vanilla. There are a ton of structures built into the terrain, and I don’t want what I build to feel out of place.

UHC: Because this world is hardcore, with a thirty minute death ban, I’ll be playing safer than I would in vanilla Minecraft. That’s cool, I like the challenge. But because that’s part of the challenge, my vision needs to account for that, and be scaled back accordingly. It may also make sense to have a vision that integrates the UHC component – like using each life in the world to tackle a different project.

Smaller projects: Because I’m doing this as a break from New Lusitania, it’s going to be smaller in scale. I don’t want to give up on New Lusitania, so I need to come back in a reasonable amount of time.

No Dynmap: In ChickenPieCraft, we have an overview map that makes it easier to plan out large scale projects and get a feel for where everyone on the server is and how to find them. Without that, some new project possibilities open up. Becoming the cartographer for the server is one of those, where I would map things out, and help people find each other and build paths between others’ bases.

Village/Lake/Nearby Priest/Snowy Mountains: I’ve since left my first temporary base, explored a bunch more, and resettled in a small village on a lake near some snowy mountains. It’s pretty, and there are certainly some natural projects that offer themselves up: protect and remodel the village, setup villager trading in a market, etc.

Self imposed challenges (http://gibraltar.rockhymas.com/iberia-self-imposed-challenges-through-death-with-consequences). I’ve used self imposed challenges in the past to give myself a progression to work through. I may revisit my simple, “one chest in my base, all other chests have custom structures built around what they store” challenge. It forces me to build more and flesh out a realistic community just so I can keep all of the interesting materials available.

Past ideas for bases: Island/Underwater/Nordic shipping village/Western outpost (mesa)/Modern industrial/Space outpost (the end)/Nether base/Flying ship/Ice palace/Desert oasis/Jungle treehouse/Taiga treehouse/Mushroom fairyland/Haunted swampland. I haven’t explored any of these as much as I’d like to, at some point.

Narrowing it Down

As I wrote the last few paragraphs up, the process of looking at things that will constrain my vision naturally got my brain thinking about some ideas that appealed to me.

One was the idea of creating a small Bavarian style village on the lake. I could use my self imposed challenge to make sure the village is teeming with life and activity.

I also like the idea of becoming an itinerant cartographer on the server. I would still need a base of operations, but my lake village doesn’t make sense for that. It would be something more hermit-esque, focused on providing the needed mapmaking materials (paper, iron, redstone, horses, boats) and possibly have a very academic/philosopher vibe to it.

A third idea would be to focus on villager trading. In all my Minecraft play I’ve never built a proper villager trading area. I could focus on making this town on the lake into a mercantile outpost where travelers come from far and wide to ply their wares and purchase what they need.

That’s all the ideas I’ll need. After writing them up, I spent some time looking into inspiration for each one. What do Bavarian forest villages look like? Google image search! What famous mapmakers could I model my Minecraft life after? Marco Polo! Ferdinand Magellan! Lewis and Clark! How would I go about setting up villager trading? Youtube Minecraft videos to the rescue! Don’t forget to check the trading page on the Minecraft wiki!

Making a Choice, Fleshing it Out

Ok, after doing my investigation and thinking through the options, I like the idea of creating a village on the lake that is focused on villager trading. So I’ll need to make a villager breeder, and set up locations for villagers to trade. Rather than just build a big hall for trading, which seems to be a common solution, I want to instead flesh out a real village with separate structures built around each villager profession. That’s twelve separate areas to build, which will take some time in a UHC world:

  • a farm and bakery
  • a lakeside fish market
  • an archery range and fletcher shop
  • shepherds fields and a dye shop (colored wool!)
  • an armory
  • a tool shop near a quarry
  • a weapon shop near a practice arena
  • a tannery near a cow farm
  • a butcher and chef’s restaurant
  • a library
  • a map room
  • a church building or cathedral

It’s clear that some supporting buildings could be created as well. Besides those listed above, it makes sense to build an iron foundry and a diamond cutter near the armory, tool shop, and weapon shop. Also, some of these could be combined into larger builds. Placing the church, library, and map room into a larger religious university area or castle would be really cool.

A Specific, Visual Vision

Finally, you should make your vision something you can see. For me, that means picking a visual theme for your builds. Will you go with a classic medieval european style? If so, more Germanic, more English, or more Italian? Maybe you want to do a Chinese or Japanese themed build? For my trading village on the lake, I decided to go with a brick and cement building style reminiscent of small Spanish villages. I spent a few minutes in creative mode mocking up a facade to flesh out what materials I want to use (concrete, concrete powder, bricks, dark oak wood). It didn’t take much, but it gives me a palette for my builds to start from.

To make it more specific, and to emotionally connect with the vision, I’m going to name the village. The pictures that inspired my building style all came from small Spanish villages in the Navarre province. So I’m going to name my village Navarre. It also fits with my theme of taking names from the Iberian peninsula (Iberia, Lusitania, Gibraltar).

What’s the Next Step?

The catchphrase for the MCImmersion server is “Survive. Thrive. UltraHardCore.” In terms of next steps, I first have to survive, before I can worry about thriving.

Survive

Since I keep getting hurt I will need a steady supply of healing potions or golden apples. So my next steps for survival is to get to the nether so that I can get basic potion making supplies. To do that, I really need to stock up on arrows and do some enchanting of my armor and weapons. I have some experience, and a bunch of lapis already, but only enough diamonds to get the enchanting table. So I’ll likely go into the nether in iron armor. That gives me my marching orders for the next few Minecraft days of play.

Thrive

To truly thrive and make progress towards my vision, there are other next steps I can take beyond just making sure I stay alive. I can explore and map out the area around my lakeside village (see map picture above). I have a lot to build, and it won’t happen unless I plot out a city with zones for the different buildings. I’ll also want to protect the larger area by lighting it up and putting up a city wall that can be upgraded as I become more wealthy.

So, here’s the deal. When I started writing this blog post, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. Now, I have a plan, I have a vision, and I know what comes next. Life is good.

BiomeBundle + UHC = MCImmersion

So, as an initial break from New Lusitania, I decided to see if I could find a Biome Bundle server to play on. The first one I came across had terrain from Biome Bundle, but is also set to be UHC (Ultra Hardcore), which means that it’s hard mode, plus health regen is turned off. That means no health regeneration unless you use potions or golden apples. Since that is also up my alley, I jumped at the chance to check it out.

After applying, I got whitelisted, and spent my first few Minecraft days on the server. So far, no deaths, but I did lose three and a half hearts, thanks to a skeleton who shot me in a cave entrance. Mostly, I’ve been exploring, trying to find a nice spot to settle down. As expected, the Biome Bundle terrain is beautiful. While I’ve followed BB for a while now, I haven’t actually played in a world, so it was fun to encounter new biomes that I’ve never seen on the BB website. It continues to amaze me how much depth there is.

Although the latest BiomeBundle now has vanilla ore generation, earlier versions, including the one used in MCImmersion, don’t. In these, ores generate in a more spread out distribution, which means you can find all of the good stuff on the surface, or anywhere between it and bedrock. I personally don’t like this as much. Though I do think it makes caving and exploring more interesting, it also makes any type of systematic mining less interesting. There is no real strategy to mining. We’ll see how I feel about it after playing in the world for a while.

I have chosen an initial base of operations, in an abandoned watchtower, a structure that’s part of BiomeBundle. It’s quite far from spawn, though I know some areas near it have been explored by other players. I doubt it will become a permanent home, but it’s as fine a place as any to build up some materials and from which to explore the surrounding areas.

I’ve now played a couple times and had the chance to chat with both of the server owners/admins. They seem like great people and players, and I like the vision they have for the server, slowly building up a cadre of players who like to take Minecraft seriously, and like the challenge of ultra hardcore.

With both of them, I’ve mentioned Iberia, my own take on making Minecraft harder. One thing I’ve found, even in just a couple hours of play, is that BiomeBundle changes the challenge of hardcore. I’ve found enough gold on the surface and in the various structures I’ve encountered to craft three golden apples, which is great, as I’ve needed that many to fully heal from damage I’ve taken early game. As such, I’m not sure I’d want the sleep to heal benefit in Iberia if it were combined with BiomeBundle in a modpack. The server admins mentioned that they encourage new players to spread out by traveling a ways from spawn before settling down. That can be difficult when you start the game with the pressure of ultra hardcore looming over you, so I could see some real value in the natural dispersion that occurs for players in Iberia. Add to that the further dispersion that will happen as they die and respawn anew somewhere else, and the whole dynamic of play changes radically. I haven’t had a chance to test that with enough players to really know what the experience is like, but my hope would be that the work to build up individual bases and then slowly expand and explore to find other players would be a really cool way to build a community.

So, this is my first new adventure while taking a break from New Lusitania.

New Lusitania: State of the Empire

As I approach the anniversary of the ChickenPieCraft server reset, it is time to take stock of the progress made in building New Lusitania: The Pigman Empire. I’ve spent more time in this world and on this project than I have in any other Minecraft world I’ve played. And it shows, as I’ve been able to create some pretty large builds, some big automation projects, and flesh out a history and mythology for New Lusitania that exceeds anything I’ve done in past worlds. It’s been really fun and rewarding. So, without further ado, let’s start with completed projects.

Accomplishments

Founded the Empire

First up, New Lusitania was founded. After about a month of initial work on the server, I took some time to evaluate potential locations for New Lusitania. I had some specific ideas in mind – savanna biome, a couple hundred blocks square, clear boundaries between other landmasses, some nice plateaus, water access – and those were of course modified a bit as I looked at the reality of the landscape.

Iron Farms

One of my first projects, once I chose a location, was getting an iron farm going. Iron farms are vital for any large redstone builds, for setting up beacons, for rail systems, and for some types of decoration, like iron bars. Over time, I built out two more iron farms. Each of these is built as a villager prison, with pigmen gaurds on four towers surrounding the farm. They each also have space underneath for other builds.

Quarry

On that first iron farm I built, I used the space beneath it to carve out a stone quarry. At this point, I still didn’t have a proper mine built, but needed large amounts of stone for the first big build of New Lusitania. So a stone quarry was a necessity.

Stranglespire Exterior

My largest build up to that point, I based the Pigman Palace on Noodlor’s Stranglespire design. Building the exterior took quite a while. On the interior, I made some changes to how to get around (stairs and ladders), but otherwise haven’t fleshed it out much yet.

Wheat Farm

Under the second iron farm, the pigmen trapped a farmer villager and force him to farm wheat. This wheat farm has a rail system beneath with a hopper minecart to pick up and collect all of the wheat that is dropped.

Nether Hallway

Our nether hallway is a branch off of the main north nether hall that goes from spawn to the edge of the map. This was a fun decoration project that captures the design themes of New Lusitania in a way that makes a long hallway interesting, rather than boring.

History and Mythology

Along the way, I began to flesh out the history and mythology of New Lusitania. This is mostly recorded in a few blog posts here, but I hope to document it in the empire in a library at some point. Also, the history and mythology informs the projects being built in the Pigman empire.

Operating Pigman and Gold Farm

The first big project that is directly tied to New Lusitania’s mythology is the pigman and gold farm. New Lusitania needs a population of pigmen, which means it needs an easy way to spawn pigmen that won’t despawn. To do that, New Lusitania has a pigman farm based on the mythology of creation. This farm spawn pigmen, and those that are considered worthy (i.e. won’t despawn) can be saved for assignment around the empire. Those who aren’t worthy are sacrificed to provide gold for the empire.

Embassy

The server has a common city east of spawn where all the players can create common builds and contribute to a larger, communal metropolis. At this city, New Lusitania has erected an embassy, with a map of it’s empire, an ambassador, two guards, an administrator, a small library, a balcony for pigmen worship, and rooftop gardens.

Witch Farm

The witch farm was actually built before New Lusitania was founded, and it is the one other contribution I’ve made to the server. Though not optimally efficient, it is a good source of glowstone, redstone, sugar and gunpowder.

Automatic Tree Farm (with containing warehouse)

The pigmen of New Lusitania love to build with acacia wood. Unfortunately, acacia trees are the most annoying trees to harvest. So, because the pigmen are an enterprising and engineering culture, they built an automatic tree farm that can handle acacia trees, as well as the other farmable tree types. This was a huge project that took a long time, with regular breaks to work on other things. It’s wonderful when it’s working, but when something goes wrong, however, it’s a pain to fix it. I broke it while working on this blog post by AFKing at it through a server restart. So it’s currently not operational.

Mine

The latest project has been to build a late game mine, with proper collection of mineable materials, a nice design, and beacons to speed things along quickly.

Ongoing Work

Most of this ongoing work is pretty obvious from the discussion above, but it’s worth calling out some specifics.

Stranglespire Interior

The stranglespire pigman palace is a great anchor for the empire, but it really needs to have a purpose beyond just looking nice on the outside. More work can be done on the outside, but it’s the interior that really needs to be fleshed out. The main throne room needs to be properly luxurious for the pigman emporer. There are two floor below the throne room that should house equally extravagant meeting rooms and treasure troves of the empire. The levels above the throne room also need to have purposes and be decorated accordingly.

Pigman and Gold Farm Design

The pigman and gold farm is functional, but ugly. One plan I have is to make the rail passage that surviving pigmen travel down show the four stages of growth that a worthy pigman can go through (represented by leather, gold, iron, and diamond armors). But there is much more than that which should be done. Outfitting the whole thing in the engineering ethos of the pigmen is important, and providing a proper entrance, storage for collected gold, and connection to an empire wide rail network are all items on the todo list.

Cow Farm

I gathered some cows under my third iron farm, but haven’t yet built my standard cow farm there. It’s definitely something I want to do, as it’s nice to have a ton of leather for books and item frames.

Village Market

I know where I want the village market to be, surrounding my northernmost nether portal and next to the mine entrance, but I’ve played around with a couple different designs and nothing has stuck yet. That’s definitely something I want to flesh out.

Repair Tree Farm

As I mentioned earlier, the tree farm is currently broken. I AFK’d there through a server reset and a bunch of different things broke on it. I thought I had it fixed at one point, but that just led to larger problems. A good filler activity, when I don’t have other work to do, is to go through and repair it. It’s somewhat tedious, but using a schematic to make sure I get it right is helpful.

Future Work

History and Mythology

The initial recordings of New Lusitania’s history and mythology have been written. But there is more in store. Fleshing it out and then tying it to the current design and structure of the empire, it’s architecture, and it’s social classes will be an ongoing project.

Populate the Empire

Only small steps have been taken to populate the empire with pigmen, and the only villagers in place right now are at the iron farms. Long term, though, there will be pigmen and villagers throughout the kingdom: stone quarry, cow farm, mine and entrance, stranglespire, tree farm, gold/pigman farm. Generally, the pigmen will be in overseer roles, while the villagers are slaves used for grunt labor, farming, and trading.

The Palace Boulevard

A first pass has been done on the palace boulevard that leads from the palace district to the central district. But it’s far from a completed project, and will eventually be the start of a full transportation network within the empire.

Nether Hub

The nether hallway to New Lusitania is complete, but it currently leads to a barely functional nether hub. That hub needs to be fully designed and put in place. The design will be similar to the hallway, but will also hark back to the actual layout of the empire itself.

Terraforming

While the natural landscape of the New Lusitania empire is quite nice, there are a few terraforming projects that would really make it pop. Deepening the main lake is the big one. Additionally, cleaning up the naturally spawned village, filling in many of the smaller ponds, and deepening and widening the rivers are all possibilities.

Witch Farm Haunted House

While doing the initial work on the witch farm, I came up with some ideas for a final design. I want the witch farm itself to be fully enclosed within a haunted house. That haunted house will be in permanent darkness because it will be covered by a spooky floating island that will house the AFK location, as well as the collection area for the drops from the farm. It will be a very large project, but one that I believe will be very rewarding.

Taking a Break

I went through the current state of New Lusitania in part because I’m going to take a break. Hopefully not a long one. I still love the vision for New Lusitania, and feel that I’ve made a great start on it. And stuck with that start for a year now. There’s still plenty more I want to do, but I recognize that I need to take a break so that I can come back to it fresh and excited about the challenge. When I do come back, I’ll probably tackle the witch farm project first. It’ll be a nice change of pace, a big project, and really satisfying to complete. It’ll be good after spending some time doing shorter, exploratory play – maybe some UHC, maybe some Iberia, or Biome Bundle, or trying out some other mods. I’ll make sure to share my adventures here.

New Lusitania: A Proper Mine

I like to decorate my mineshafts. I have an album of mineshafts I’ve built in Minecraft in a variety of worlds I’ve played in. Over time, I’ve settled on some common patterns: three wide shaft, stairs down to level 11, a branch on either side every four blocks (so there are three between branches), place a torch every ten blocks within a branch, make a branch 100 blocks long (10 torches) before starting a new one, etc.

Mineshaft from my Iberia world

This is all rather straightforward, and I’ll dive into some of these a little deeper in a minute. But first, this post is about a late game mineshaft. My early game mineshaft is all about getting those first diamonds, building up an initial supply of iron, and finding the necessary lapis for enchanting and redstone for automating.

But the late game mine is different.

I’ve been working on New Lusitania, on the ChickenPieCraft server, for almost a year now. I’ve built some big farms, explored the end, fully decked out my tools, weapons, and armor. I really don’t need much. There is a witch farm for redstone needs, I have three iron farms at my base, a tree farm provides all the wood (and therefore charcoal) I could possibly use, trading for lapis is easy, and my pigman farm gives me enough gold for powered rails, which is my main use for it.

Why mine in the late game?

For diamonds. But not for diamond armor, tools, or weapons. For diamond blocks.

Also for stone. Quarries work well too, and I have one, but a good mine gets the stone alongside diamonds.

Finally, to build a world. New Lusitania is a pigman empire. Of course they have a mine. Of course it is efficient. A proper mine is part of any Minecraft empire, so New Lusitania needs one.

Late Game vs Early Game

So, I designed and built a late game mineshaft for New Lusitania. What makes it late game, specifically?

  • Beacons. The branches where mining will take place are covered by beacons with Haste II, so mining is quick and easy.
  • Minecart dropoff locations. The main shafts of the mine have larger rooms with dropoff chests every hundred blocks, so there is no need to go back to the surface while mining.
  • A proper sorting system for all normally mined blocks and items. The dropoff locations route items to the mine entrance, where they are taken by hopper minecart up to the sorting area on the surface. This sorting area has space for all normally mined blocks, and a overflow area for rarer stuff that you might find while mining.
  • Larger rooms and shafts. Each main shaft of the mine is 5 block wide and is supported properly by logs and beams, decorated and nicely lit. Every 100 blocks, there is a larger room, the size of a chunk.
  • Bucketloads of diamonds. The goal here isn’t iron, gold, redstone, or lapis, though I do gather those. It’s diamonds. And it really doesn’t take much to load up on diamonds. I primarily mine the ores with silk touch, and then later go through all the ores with a Fortune 3 pick to get as much as possible.
  • Experience. With two picks (fortune III and silk touch) that both have mending enchantmets, I can continuously mine without stopping to run to an XP farm. Instead, when I need to stop, I start smelting all of the iron and gold, grab all of the silk touched ores and mine them with the fortune pick while holding the silk touch pick in my off hand. Finally, I pick up all the smelted ore. Doing that while not wearing armor makes it possible to get the most XP possible going to the two picks. Generally, proper mining at level 11 nets enough XP to fully mend both picks, as long as they are roughly balanced in their use.

Mining Mechanics

Ok, let’s look at the mechanics of mining:

  • I start a new branch every four blocks, 100 blocks long, place torch every ten blocks. I start each branch with ten torches in my offhand. At the end of each branch, I mine four blocks sideways to where the next branch will end. That provides a nice check when mining the next branch.
  • Use a silk touch pick and a fortune III pick. Balance them. Generally use the fortune pick for mining, but switch to silk touch when extracting any ores.
  • I want to build up to mining out a full square 200×200, then expand each edge by another 100, when needed.
  • I will build up to having multiple entrances, but only one sorting system. May need multiple XP farming areas, once I figure out an easy way to do that.
  • Aesthetics: I stick to the 5×5 grid, make sure the mine has support beams, fill in holes as desired, and I made the minecart system blend in, or be hidden.

Show Me The Mine!

So, what does this late game mine look like, you ask? Here are some pictures:

Future improvements

This is a work in progress. I’m still learning what works well and what doesn’t. I’ve already got ideas for the next time I build a late game mine, and I’m using this pass at it to try to answer some open questions I have. For example, next time, I hope to:

  • Figure out a good ratio of silk touch : fortune mining.
  • Keep raw ores that give XP below ground, use it to mend the picks. Find a good system for doing that.
  • Use beacons in the mining rooms to provide full haste coverage, consider how that changes the mining experience. Or place the beacons in the middle of a 100×100 square to be mined.
  • Adjust sorting system to improve ratios and properly store the most common blocks and items, like stone, cobble, coal, and redstone.
  • Figure out a good ratio of shaft length to branch length to beacon coverage: 23 tile shafts or 28 tile shafts or 18 tile shafts? I’ll spend more time designing my next one, now that I have some patterns I like.

So What?

What do you do? Do you mine in the late game for any reason? How would you set up a late game mine?

I hope these ideas are useful. For me, at least, they give me a purpose to keep building towards and provide a fun way to get there. Mining itself can be mind numbing, but making it go quicker, with clear goals and a beautiful end results, really gives me a sense of satisfaction.

New Lusitania: Born of the Fire Within and Born of the Fire Beyond

Brand has the strength to work and farm, the will to fight and conquer, the knowledge to create and build, the wisdom to lead and judge. But he is alone, Aidan having returned to the Fire Within.

He returns to the Door between worlds that Aidan had created. He uses it to bring forth others Born of the Fire Within to the World Beyond. And then they are tested, to see if they will be Born of the Fire Beyond, the fire that brings light to their eyes, knowing to their minds, work to their hands, and wisdom to their tongues.

The test consists of this: He gives them a Gourd, grown from the original vine that grew the Gourd that brought him sight. If those pigs born of the Fire Within are able to pick up the Gourd and place it on their heads, they receive the second sight, and are born again, born of the Fire Beyond.

This Fire lets them see Beyond, beyond the world they know, to a world of possibility. A world with of new creations, a world with new empires. A world where war gives birth to peace, where work gives birth to rest, where poverty gives birth to plenty, where words give birth to nations.

All who are born of the Fire Beyond accept responsibility for their lives. They submit themselves to work, to poverty, to the hardships of the World Beyond. They give their lives to a greater cause, to the cause of all pigmen. They suffer in this world to build a better world. They know they will not achieve it while they live. But they know that it gives them a reason to live.

Not all who who are born of the Fire Beyond follow the same path. Some become farmers and workers. Those with more ambition become warriors. Still others aspire higher, to become builders and engineers. The greatest of those born of the Fire Beyond become leaders of the pigmen, the elite of the nation, and true representatives of Aidan, the Pig Who Returned From Beyond.

New Lusitania: The Embassy

The New Lusitania Embassy is the face of New Lusitania to the rest of the world. As such, it is at the capitol city for the ChickenPieCraft server.

While blending into the city well, it also has a distinctly Lusitanian style that alludes to the Palace that the pigmen have built in their home country.

The embassy is staffed by four pigmen: the ambassador, a clerk, and two guards. They are tasked with managing diplomatic relations with the other nations of ChickenPieCraft, processing and protecting pigmen asylum seekers who wish to find safety in New Lusitania, and sharing the best of Lusitanian culture with the wider world.

As with any embassy, the New Lusitania embassy has a protective fence to ensure the safety of the Lusitanian citizens as well as asylum seekers. Behind the fence, but outside the building itself, are decorative sculptures mixing glazed terracotta, stone, iron, and plant life.

Inside the main level of the embassy, visitors can see great art from the Lusitanian empire, as well as a full sized map of the empire on one wall.

On the second floor is the embassy library, the ambassador’s office, and a prayer porch, where Lusitanian worshipers can render their praises to the Fire.

On the top floor are the embassy gardens, a quiet place to enjoy the beauty of nature, and also to enjoy a view of the capitol city.

New Lusitania: Tree Farm

New Lusitania is an industrial empire. As such, there is an entire district devoted to large scale farming, production, and manufacturing. In addition to the iron factories, and the wheat and sugar cane farms, the pigmen of New Lusitania have built an automatic tree farm.

Construction of the farming factory began months ago, following a design created by ilmango. After weeks of work, initial testing on the farm began, but those tests showed that the farm had not been built to specifications. After a few attempts to understand what had gone wrong, work on the farm ceased as other priorities came up.

Once manpower became available, the pigmen returned to work on the farm, this time using a new tool, Schematica, to ensure that the farm matched the blueprints provided.

This allowed initial testing to pass, and also further construction on the farm’s blast chamber and collection mechanism

Although each of these failed initial testing as well, use of Schematica allowed the team to diagnose and fix the problems.

Although functional, work on the farm is not yet complete. At this point, while it is a great benefit to the empire as it produces wood at astounding rates, it remains and eyesore. Interior and exterior designers will be commissioned to properly house the factory in a way that will allow future factories (cobblestone and others) to use the existing blast chamber and collection area.