Sunday, December 26, 2010

Free Time, Gravel, and a Portal

Today, there wasn't much for me to do. I went to church but it was shorter than usual because there weren't as many people there as usual. This meant more time for me to play Minecraft! I really didn't do much, since I was watching some people on LiveStream again. However, here is a recollection of what was done:

I decided to go into the massive tunnel complex and raid it for the flint. I absentmindedly got on a boat and traveled to where my mob trap was, then went down through the sand pathway I broke open a few days ago. While collecting flint I failed to keep track of where I was going, and got lost again. After spending lots of time trying to find a way out I finally decided to just dig vertically upward. I was confident I wouldn't dig into a body of water and eventually made it to a different, smaller sand patch. Luckily it was near my mob trap and I rode my boat home, with a nice amount of flint. I also put a sign in the huge chamber where all the caves met up, calling it the Cave of Eternity.

Much later on I returned to my mob trap to collect the lava and water inside it and plug it up. It had done no good in getting mobs to fall in it and burn. If I make another one, it'll be much closer to my house.

In the evening, after having watched several hours worth of LiveStream, I decided to build a portal. I made a basement for my home base and discovered that there is an underground lake under my house. I plugged up the parts that were expelling water. Then it was time to turn lava into obsidian. The first lava used was the material collected from the mob trap, then what was inside a "warp core" imitator outside my house. These didn't net enough for me though, so I went to some lava pools I found early in my exploration, converted one to lava, and grabbed about 6 units of obsidian. Since I already had used the obsidian from earlier to construct a half-way done portal, I stopped with six and returned home.

I completed the ring, lit the obsidian and... nothing. Upon checking the wiki I discovered I made it too wide. I thinned it by one block and lit it again. Instead of a dramatic coming to life, the portal simply activated. I turned on game sounds so I could hear what it was like and as I teleported I decided the noises weren't worth having to hear, and subsequently turned them off. I jumped between worlds a few times to collect some Netherrack and put a sign on the Netherside portal.

The Nether opens up plenty of possiblities. It effectively doubles the amount of space I can explore, although it's not very appealing to me right now. Perhaps the best thing about the Nether is that, relatively speaking, it provides near instant teleportation and makes it even easier to go long distances on the overworld. Inside the Nether, there is no day/night cycle. Time effectively stops. If you arrive in the Nether when it's noon in the regular world, then no matter how long you stay in the Nether, when you come back up it's still going to be noon. Also, the amount of distance you travel in the Nether is multiplied by 8 compared to the overworld. This means that if both worlds were completely flat surfaces, then if I build a portal on the overworld, step out of the Nether portal, and build a portal in the Nether 10 blocks away from the other, then when I stepped through that new portal I will be 80 blocks away from the original overworld portal. Since I've only explored a roughly 4 kilometer squared area of my world, I would only need to walk for about 125-150 blocks in the Nether and build a portal, and I would end up in unexplored land.

The main problem with trying to use the Nether for exploration is the fact that I'm not very directionally inclined in the game. My compass doesn't normally point in a true direction, since I'm typically east of my spawn point. Inside the Nether, there is no north or south or west or east. The compass needle spins around randomly. I'm sure there is a rule to how I'm facing when I spawn in the Nether but it would still be very easy for me to get hopelessly lost unless I used some sort of markers.