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Learning Minecraft #3

Minecraft

With each new life, I’d gather a few more resources and work out how to construct a new item, but my utter vulnerability took its toll on my psyche. I’d fortify myself into a hideout, hidden from the night-monsters, but soon end up starving and venturing out into the open where I was a rabbit among hellhounds. I’d then have the choice to either roam the world attempting to find my last position and build from there, or start from scratch. I’d perceived this hardcore method of learning, through Survival Mode and with no help from the internet, as something pure, even noble. It was a doomed pursuit. I needed time. Time to learn, learn how to mine, how to craft – Minecraft if you will, but only without being constantly assailed. I needed to try Creative Mode.

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In Creative Mode, you begin with every resource and item already constructed, are not attacked by packs of prowling death-bringers and you can fly. It’s wonderful. I started anew in this superlative safe haven, the terrifying nights of Survival Mode fading to memory, and was placed within a beautiful new world. After a short exploration I found many different environments, from dense jungle, cacti-rich desert to snow-capped hills. It was like a miniature New Zealand, or Skyrim. I set to work on constructing an adequate abode: a sandstone structure out in the desert. Basic building blocks consist of slabs and panels, with one slab amounting to half a panel. I set out a large area of floor slabs, the front of the area in a rectangular shape whilst the rear followed the contours of the desert floor. Night started to descend so I finished the build post-haste. My quickened pace was needless though – the zombies, skeleton-archers and creepers gathered nearby, but were blind to my presence. I didn’t need to, but for the sake of catharsis, I shot them all dead with arrows.

The next day, I finished the desert outpost’s walls, windows, doors and constructed an internal staircase leading to the roof. After placing an anvil, crafting table and furnace, I built a parapet wall around the roof’s perimeter as a defensive measure for my future archery practice. As night fell I lit up both the internal space and the exposed roof with flaming lamps – an item (constructed from sticks and coal) I’d desperately needed in Survival Mode. Along with a diamond-headed shovel and pickaxe, having this infinite light source at my disposal allowed me to do something integral to the Minecraft experience: mine.

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Down I dug, burrowing into the earth like Dune‘s Shai Hulud. I soon heard the boiling bubbling of lava nearby and broke through to it, exposing a small and brightly lit cave. I smashed a few blocks around the lava and watched as it poured into the spaces left by their destruction. In order to further understand Minecraft‘s blocks, I set about building a bridge through the lava that would go on for many metres. After the bridge was completed I then began to tunnel upward. I craved the daylight’s reassuring radiance but it was not to be; I broke through directly under a lake and an unstoppable torrent of water rushed in, knocking me back like an aquatic battering ram…

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in November 2009. Get in touch on Twitter @p_etew.

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