The Minecraft Logs #2: All mining, all the time

When I began playing Minecraft I thought my playthrough would be something like this: gather enough materials to get by comfortably, try to build something cool, fail miserably, get frustrated and then quit.

What I am finding out though is that the rabbit hole that is Minecraft is much, much deeper than I thought.

Let me explain: I always knew that Minecraft was an excellent game for creativity. I also knew there was a lot of interesting things that could be built in it. But I always thought all those cool projects were pure fluffy.

What I am discovering now is that there are a lot of stuff that can be built that isn’t just convenient but make survival relatively trivial.

What led me down this rabbit hole was the realization that the tiny farm of wheat I built on the back of my shelter just wasn’t producing fast enough or in a good quantity that I felt comfortable with.

I already knew about automatic farms that players create to generate stuff in bulk like iron ingots but haven’t really looked into other types of automation. So I wondered if there was some kind of way to automate a wheat farm and went searching for it on YouTube.

The first one I found was on this video by K1 Inc. It is pretty cool and relatively easy to build. My only concern was if I’d be willing to sacrifice the required iron ingots to build those pistons. At the time I was still struggling to get iron, making any expenditure of them not an easy decision.

Then I discovered this video by BlueNerd Minecraft that had a much simpler design that wouldn’t cost me any iron to fulfill its main purpose. I could even start without the hoppers and add it later, when I had more iron ingots to spare. I decided to tweak it a bit for my own purposes, created a creative world to test some ideas and came up with a slightly different version that I like.

Yes, I wrote instructions in the sign because I am sure I will forget it if I stop playing for a few months!

My version is a bit more wasteful in terms of redstone and space but I don’t mind it. I did realize later though that I should have made it facing in another direction as I intend to have four farms, each for a different produce. Making them facing each other in pairs would look way better. Oh, well, I will change it eventually, once it starts to bug me enough. :p

Continuing on my search for more efficient ways to mine iron I discovered branch mining through this video by KulpritGaming. His video is more of a rebuttal about all the gazillion “Most Efficient Mining Method!” videos that exist on YouTube than a proper explanation of his methods. But he explains enough about it that it is easy to get the why and how of it.

Again, I don’t know if this method is the most efficient of mining but it has been working well for me. I not only found a lot more iron than before, when I was just mining randomly, but also some gold, emeralds and even diamonds.

With all this bounty of ore I’ve been less stingy with my planned projects. The wheat farm I mentioned above? I already put some hoppers on them. Now I am considering building an item-sorter for my storage needs but that would require far, far more iron. I also need to do some more planning before I actually implement it.

A painful lesson I learned through all this mining is to always carry a bucket of water. During one of my mining sessions I accidentally fell on lava while trying to put a block on it and couldn’t get out. Fortunately the worst I lost was my iron armor set.

Now I just use the water to turn the lava into obsidian. It is a lot safer that way.

My precioussss…..

I also found out that exploring on a mountainous biome is very hard, to the surprise of no one. This difficulty to explore in the overworld is making it complicated for me to find a village. It has been one of the things on my to-do list because eventually I will need to kidnap recruit some villagers later on for one of my projects.

Because of that I decided to use a cheat code to discover the coordinates of a village. My plan is to build a tunnel to the village then build a railway linking my home base to it. I started on the tunnel already but it has been on hold as I decided to mine more ore.

Lastly, my decision to not use mods yet didn’t last for very long. I end up installing a resource pack from Vanilla Tweaks that puts arrows on hoppers that shows which direction they are facing. This should lower the chances of me putting them in the wrong direction in the future!

That is it for now. Back to mining for me as I need that iron to power my projects!

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