New Lusitania: The Pigman Empire

New Lusitania is something I’ve been trying to build since first setting up a family server for me and my sons to play Minecraft. But the seeds go back to my first ever Minecraft world. I spawned on an island with no food. Not understanding boats, I dug down till I found an abandoned mineshaft (lucky!), got some string, and started fishing. Once I felt I had enough food, I set forth in a boat, went straight north and ran into a savanna. So my first real base was in a savanna biome.

Anyway, months later, I set up the family server. I helped my boys get a spawn city going, and then we each ventured forth to create our own bases. After a bit of exploration I settled on a savanna island northeast of spawn.

The island was initially populated by a whole herd of pigs. My daughter loves pigs and so I decided to make the island a haven for pigs. Of course, in Minecraft that means it should also be a haven for zombie pigmen. So I began to build my base, thinking it would eventually become an island with a proper palace for the pigmen to live in, and pigs themselves would be protected pets, possibly worshiped by the inhabitants.

I even named a few pigmen that spawned from my nether portal and set them aside to populate the island as I built things up. Unfortunately, my kids lost interest in the family server before I got very far, and I burned out on Minecraft for a couple months.

When I came back, it was to play hardcore solo games.

After a couple failed attempts at hardcore, I tried one with large biomes. I slowly built up a small home in the large savanna biome where I spawned. It ultimately became the first hardcore world in which I beat the Ender Dragon, and later defeated a Wither as well. Before eventually losing interest in hardcore I had built myself a gold farm in the overworld, and once again had zombie pigmen spawning in my savanna build.

Later, while playing with Iberia, I respawned once in a savanna with a village next to the ocean. Over time, I started building it into a beautiful little town, by limiting myself and slowly fleshing out all of the buildings a proper town would need. Though I didn’t think to resurrect my idea of a pigman village at the time, I once again found I enjoyed building in the open landscape a savanna provides. Eventually I died, and in Iberia that means losing my build until I could stock back up and do some serious exploring. So a third attempt at savanna building was abandoned.

Full Album

But by this time, the idea of a Pigman Empire sprawling across a large savanna biome had captured my fancy. It lets me tell a story about why villagers are trapped and kept as bait for iron golems that are instantly killed. You see, the zombie pigman empire is a martial one, built on the oppression of villagers, who are kept as slaves. Some are forced to trade, others are used in iron farms, still others are forced to breed more villagers.

I wanted to do it right, and I wanted to share it with others who could appreciate it properly (sorry, kids). So when an SMP server I had played on a while back decided to reset (Hi ChickenPieCraft friends!), I knew that it was time for the Pigman Empire to be born. I also knew it needed a name, so I adopted the name “Lusitania” from Speaker for the Dead (a book about an alien race of pig-like creatures who live in a world that is essentially a large savanna).

I didn’t want the idea to fizzle out, or for me to get burned out, so I knew I needed to approach it differently. Documenting the progress in the blog is part of that. Playing on an SMP server is part of that, both so that I have a small audience, and also so that I can take advantage of the farms that others build to not have to grind as much. Fleshing out a bunch of different ideas up front was part of that. But also taking breaks as needed. Breaks like building the witch farm. There will be others as I go, which is another benefit of playing multiplayer.

New Lusitania is still a small empire. It has a protected iron farm, a stone quarry, a sugar cane farm, a nether hallway branch, an almost complete automatic tree farm, a wheat farm, and the outer structure of a palace. There is still a ton to build: the main village, two+ more iron farms, a port on the south side of the island, barracks, fleshing out the palace inside and out, gardens, a dense savanna forest, a proper mine, a cow farm, and much more. It will also have an embassy building at the server city.

Stay tuned and I’ll work to give more regular updates on the progress.

New Lusitania: Nether Hallway Branch

New Lusitania has a branch of the north nether hallway that leads to it’s own nether hub. While the hub itself is a work in progress, the nether hallway has been completed and decorated. As with other nether transport there is a rail line, as well as a covered ice runway.

The hallway is decorated using materials from New Lusitania: acacia wood, stone, leaves and grass.

The trees along both sides are randomly spaced, and the ground is leaves along the track and covered with grass, ferns, and acacia saplings on the edges.

Pigmen technically can spawn along the edge of the hallway, but the adults are trapped.

While building the hallway, the biggest threat nearby lava blocks starting the wood or leaves on fire. Rather than digging out a very large area around the hallway, leaves were placed along the route before actual construction began to detect the location of lava and take care of it before the full hallway was constructed and vulnerable.

Lighting is taken care of with end rods above the trees. It is almost invisible, and, though filtered through the leaves, it keeps the hallway well lit.

New Lusitania: Iron Farm and Stone Quarry

The pigmen have conquered the land and named it New Lusitania. They have enslaved the villagers and trapped them in a prison that they use to summon iron golems for all of their iron building needs.

Four pigman guards watch over the prison, which has guard towers at each of the corners.

Below the farm is an open area, with stairs that lead down to the stone quarry.

The stone quarry is the main source for the stone used to build the palace, and has a protected spiral stairway down to the lowest level quarried out.

Future plans

Eventually, there will be some toolsmith villagers in the stone quarry, guarded over by more pigmen, working to mine out the stone.

 

Iberia 2: Multiplayer

The first release of Iberia was not designed with the multiplayer experience in mind. Many of the original challenges just didn’t make sense when you tried to play multiplayer. Sleep to Heal is great in a single player world, but in multiplayer it can be difficult to get everyone to sleep so that you can heal. Find Your Way is a nice challenge, but really only worked because the world spawn was continuously moving, so compasses would point to your last respawn point. If that happened in a multiplayer world anybody could just go find the latest player to die by following their compasses and bring them back to civilization. So that wrecked Death With Consequences, which didn’t really extend to multiple players on it’s own anyway. At least hard stone and armor slowing crafting are fundamentally single player in a way that still works fine with multiplayer.

So, Iberia 2 is all about designing something that makes sense when you’re playing with friends. Except for hard stone, all of the challenges have been rethought.

Before I dig into the details, though, here’s an awesome mod review that JSQ made:

Armor

Let’s get armor out of the way first. Iberian armor is now more than just an annoyance when trying to craft or open chests. That drawback has been toned back to fit into a bigger story: armor has purposes in Iberia 2, which will give you a reason to wear types of armor other than just iron (early game) and diamond (late game).

Leather armor is a great all around armor without any drawbacks, except that it offers fairly light protection. On the opposite end of the spectrum is diamond armor. In addition to slowing crafting access (but not chest access), diamond armor will slow you down when using axes, pickaxes, and shovels, it will make you trample crops when walking on them, and prevent you from placing blocks when jumping or falling.

Iron only has some of these drawbacks, and chain has even less, giving you a reason beyond aesthetics to wear chain armor.

Finally, gold armor is ceremonial. As such, it slows you down. But it’s also necessary to unlock enchantment levels above 22. Each piece of golden armor you’re wearing will unlock 2 more enchantment levels, up to the max of 30.

None of that is specifically multiplayer, but armor needed a reworking from Iberia 1.

Spawn

So now, to the multiplayer aspects of Iberia 2. It’s impossible to talk seriously about sleep, healing, and navigation without first discussing spawn. In Iberia, everyone spawns separately. So, on a new server with Iberia, the first player to join will spawn one place, the next one 1000+ blocks away, the next one 1000+ blocks from there. Because the direction is always random, it’s very possible for two players to spawn near each other, but for the most part, when you join a server you won’t be near anyone. You’ll be alone.

This immediately adds a new objective to the game. Alongside building a base, enchanting your armor, defeating the Ender Dragon, and getting a beacon, you can now work to explore your world to find others. In single player Iberia, the only reason to do that was to find your old bases. And you’ll still respawn in a completely new place when you die, giving you a completely new start. But in multiplayer, you also explore to find other players. You have a reason to explore beyond just finding a few rare biomes or trying to find the perfect location for a base. Now you could stumble upon the amazing build of another player, or maybe just a small early game hut. The world now has variety that is only limited by how many players there are and what those players can build. And it’s all out there to find once you go exploring.

Navigation

Which brings us to the next challenge: navigation. In Iberia, the F3 debug screen doesn’t show your coordinates, so you cannot find your way using that. You’ll need to build waypoints, use compasses and maps, or have a really good spatial memory. Compasses in Iberia are special in that they point to the personal spawn point of the user who crafted them. So you can build compasses and share them with others and they’ll be able to find your place.

Sleep

Next up: sleep. Nobody likes sleep in multiplayer, because everyone currently playing has to sleep at the same time, which is a pain. So the first change to sleep in Iberia is to make it so that all players have to sleep, but not necessarily at the same time. So if Alice and Bob are playing and night comes, Alice can go to sleep, wait till she’s fully asleep, and then get out of bed. Later that night, when Bob decides to sleep, once he’s fully asleep he’ll wake up and the world time will switch to day. You’ll still have to wait for the other players to sleep for night to turn to day, but you don’t need to wait around in your bed till everyone sleeps at the same time.

But that’s not a challenge. The challenge is that you may have a sleepless night. If your bed is not protected, there is a good chance you’ll wake up in the middle of the night to the sounds of zombies. You can protect your bed by covering it and the surrounding blocks, so the sky isn’t visible, and then lighting up the surrounding area. In multiplayer, if anyone wakes in the middle of the night everyone does. Consider that even further incentive to protect your bed.

Healing

Finally, natural regeneration is turned off. As in Iberia 1, you can heal by sleeping. Due to the nature of multiplayer sleep, the healing will happen when you get out of bed, even if day doesn’t come immediately. The default amount you heal has also been balanced upwards a little bit.

That’s it for Iberia 2. I’m starting a server with my sons to playtest all the new multiplayer stuff, and make sure things feel balanced. In the meantime, feel free to check out the release, and let me know what works, what doesn’t, and what new challenges you’d like to see.

New Lusitania: Witch Farm Work In Progress

While assuming I would make Old Lusitania my home, I stopped working on it for about a month to build out a witch farm. I’d never done that, and still didn’t have all the end game stuff that might make doing it go super fast (beacons, full enchanted everything), but it was a fun project. I learned a lot, and it’s really satisfying to see the glowstone, redstone, and gunpowder roll in during a good AFK session.

What’s been done so far is the basic witch farm itself, a floating platform above to keep it dark, where you can AFK, and where the drops are brought to for storage. Additionally, I’ve created a decorated hallway in the nether from our main nether hallway that leads to the nether portal to the witch farm.

The surface area around the farm is lit up and some of it has been cleared away. Finally, most, but not all, of the caving has been done to ensure that only witches can spawn when you stand on the AFK platform.

Though the witch farm is still a work in progress, it is operational. There is still some caving that can be done to increase rates, but I think they’re decent at the moment. The bigger undone work is a bunch of decoration I’d like to do. I’d like to surround the farm itself in a large haunted house structure, primarily lit up with redstone torches, and properly decorated to be creepy. Additionally, the floating island where you AFK is just a simple platform right now. But eventually it will be a proper floating island, with vines growing down the sides, a potion brewing setup, a much larger storage area, etc.

New Lusitania: Out With the Old

For the last couple days I’ve been putting Old Lusitania into a good state for me to abandon it. That meant packing up all my gear – yay for shulker boxes! It also meant building a real house there for Snowball to live in. Snowball is the zombie pigman that will be the caretaker for Old Lusitania until another player decides to take ownership of the area.

As caretaker, Snowball is guarding his two prisoners, a couple villagers he has captured. He lives in a small house with a bed, and a vertical mineshaft down to a skeleton farm and an abandoned mineshaft. Down at the skeleton farm he’s also built a fishing farm and a small crop farm. Around the other side of the plateau is a tree farm, pumpkin farm, chicken farm, and a larger mineshaft.

On Snowball’s nightstand is a journal that he’s kept detailing the building progress he’s made and his current ennui in a boring life. It also contains an invitation for another to take ownership of the land and remake it as their own.

New Lusitania: Location Revealed

Old Lusitania

Before I say which of the prospective locations I’m settling on, there was more to my search than just looking at the four locations I documented. Before that, I carefully examined all of the savannas currently revealed on the chicken pie craft map. Back when the server first kicked off I had explored some of those and chose what will soon be Old Lusitania.

Then, after getting distracted by the witch farm and then returning to Old Lusitania, I decided it was time to move. The main concerns I have with Old Lusitania is that it is a bit too small, a bit too close to other players (I don’t want to crowd them or be crowded later in the game), and lacked some structure that I feel will help (i.e. just a single plateau, not much else going on). That said, there are some good things about it. I found a skeleton spawner and an abandoned mineshaft in my initial mining there. Until Old Lusitania is claimed by another player I may return occasionally to stock up on bonemeal.

Before checking out the four prospective locations, I checked out new savannas that had been revealed by player exploration on the map, and did some exploring of my own. Besides the four I documented, there were two or three others that I looked at and took screenshots of, but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth writing up my thoughts about them. They were the wrong shape, size, or bordered biomes I didn’t want to deal with, or didn’t have good borders at all.

New Lusitania

All that said, I’ve settled on prospective location 1 as the site for New Lusitania. After choosing the sites to consider, but before exploring each one, I didn’t think site 1 was going to be the winner. It is close to Old Lusitania, and so I’d flown over it once or twice. Because of that familiarity, I assumed I knew what it would be like. And because I had no idea what the other locations were really like, my optimistic brain assumed they’d be awesome. And each one certainly had it’s strengths, but also weaknesses.

On exploring site 1 though, I took a closer look at the village, the lake, and the borders. All of those really stood out, as did the cool ravine on the north side. In the process of exploring all the sites, I was also reminded in my work life that I prefer taking existing systems and structures and improving them. Because of that, the village at site 1 became really important, as it will likely become the core of New Lusitania as I expand on it, remodel it, and use it as a foundation for all that will come later.

New Lusitania: Prospective Location 4

My fourth prospective location is intriguing, and different from the others in some important ways. Rather than north or south of spawn, it’s almost directly west. It’s not circular or triangular, but close to a rectangle that is taller than it is wide. As such, it’s narrower (east/west) than the other locations, but taller (north/south).

It also has 3 plateaus, rather than the two at each of the other locations.

Though I found no ravines in the area, the ground is pockmarked with cave openings. At first this seemed, pretty cool, as there would be a lot to explore, maybe a higher probability of dungeons. But it would also mean a lot of cleanup terraforming to make way for buildings.

There is a decent lake on the south side of the biome. There are also three rivers that all empty to the east. Two of those could be easily connected to form an inland harbor for New Lusitania, and the third provides a natural border with the deserts to the north.

The deserts to the west have no river border, but do back up to two of the plateaus, forming a kind of cliffside border.

To the south are some plains. This location has the best collection of horses and pigs of all the locations.

Overall, this location is more tempting than the third location. It may not beat out either of the first two, however, due to the large size, the overabundance of caves, and large distance to any villages. The surrounding areas have the same basic resources as the first location: deserts, plains, and further out a mega taiga and a mushroom island.

New Lusitania: Prospective Location 3

Ok, so I had high hopes for my third prospective location for New Lusitania. It’s a single island, completely savanna. In a lot of ways, that’s ideal. It appears there is only one within reasonable distance on the chicken pie craft server, so that’s a big plus for this location.

Like the other locations, it has a large plateau and a smaller one. It also has plenty of open flat areas for building the main parts of Lusitania. It’s definitely shaped differently than locations 1 and 2, which were both fairly circular. This location is more of an inverted triangle, with a nice bay or harbor on the north side.

The nearest land is more savanna and desert to the south, though in other directions there is a mesa and an ice spikes biome, so those are nice.

There are some things missing however. The only animal on the island is cows. There is no ravine, or village, or interesting lakes. No nearby guardian farms. I couldn’t quite get to the location in the nether, but I got close enough that I couldn’t see anything too special.

Finally, it’s fairly near the world border. I was also going to look at the savanna to the south as a fourth location, but the world border cuts through it, making it not even worth considering at this point. Besides the closeness, it also means it’s about as far as you can get from spawn, which means long trips to all of the community farms and locations, as well as very long hallways to decorate in the nether.

New Lusitania: Prospective Location 2

The search for New Lusitania continues!

So, I highlighted prospective location 1 yesterday, and location 2 is very, very similar. It’s roughly the same size, not quite as far north, but much closer to the north hallway that cuts through the nether.

It also has two plateaus, one large and one small.

Though there is no acacia village, there is a desert village just to the south.

This savanna has the perfect mix of animals, with pigs and horses, plus a few cows and sheep. For this one, there are natural borders on the north, a river dividing it from the desert, and the southwest, another river dividing it from the forest. To the east and west are oceans, and to the south east is the desert. There are some nice resources nearby, with a mushroom island just out of sight to the north, and a guardian temple a little further away.

Additionally, this one also has a ravine, but on the south side of the savanna. Overall, it might be a tough choice between this one and location 1, just because they are so similar.