Minecraft: Laying a Foundation

May 03 2011

After last time, I’d figured out where I wanted to build a house: now, it’s time to start building. But first, some pictures from last time. (I did a lousy job of taking pictures this time as well, unfortunately.)

In the first one, you can (barely) see the outlines of the area where I want to build. It’s the back right side of that picture: there are hills to the left of and behind that area, with a pool and some greenery in front, and more greenery off to the right. The second picture is taken from fairly close to the sand hill in the back, looking in the other direction towards the green area in the front.

I'm planning to build on the back right side of this picture

A closer view of green area, looking back

I walked around that area a lot, trying to figure out where a house should be. Eventually, I homed in on the hill to the left: it’s next to a green area, with a cute little pond close to it. And that wall is uncomfortably steep; maybe if I build a house there, it can provide an intermediate step between the two, increasing their relation? (Levels of Scale) Also, there’s a bit jutting out of the hill, which you can imagine is a ruined wall to a house.

Hillside with a spur jutting out of it

So I decided to build there; and, taking that jutting out bit as a cue, I actually decided to build right next to the hill. Which goes a little against my plan of having an outdoor house, but only a little: think of it instead as being a transitional phase between my earlier cave-dwelling habits and my new desire to be out in the open. Also, if I built away from the hill, then I’d want to build pretty far away, otherwise any windows would be looking straight at a bunch of rock, which is no fun. And, finally, I’m planning to build a train station just on the other side of that hill, and perhaps also connect to some caves on the other side as well: so actually the new house can be the other side of the train station, part of an entrance gateway into a town I’ll build!

With that in mind, I needed to clear out space for the foundation. I decided to work with the dominant ground level; but of course I had to clear out some irregularities coming out of the wall.

Clearing out space for the foundation

A tentative foundation is in place

Like I said above: I spent a lot of time walking around. Was the foundation the correct shape? If not, which side should be longer? Eventually I decided that the shape I had was more or less correct, and that I’d have the main entrance be on the long side, parallel to the side of the hill. (Or you can think of that as the main exit, if this ends up boring through the hill and connecting to a train station on the other side.) If you’re facing the hill, a pond is on the left; I’ll put a second exit there, perhaps leading to a fenced off area between the house and the pond? I’m not completely sure. At any rate, I put a porch with some steps in the front, though I ran into a strange graphics glitch while doing so.

Front steps, with strange graphics glitch

I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do next with the house—I don’t even know what building material I want to use for the walls! (Hopefully Miranda will give me some suggestions once she reads this.) So I spent more time pacing around the area, thinking about the rest of the surroundings instead. Look at that second picture at the top of the post: the foundation would be on its right side, did I like the rest of that area?

My answer was: not really. The mixture of sand and grass is inelegant; also, there’s a grassy circular depression further back that is a center but not a very strong one. Here’s a closer picture of that:

A circular area providing a weak center

So I replaced some of the sand with dirt (which should be colonized by grass soon): my guess is that I’ll eventually replace more of the sand, but I was sure that I didn’t want any sand on the lower level there. And I planted a single tree in the middle of the circular area: my hope is that, once the tree grows, that will turn the circular area into a Strong Center.

The lower sand has been replaced with dirt

I've planted a tree in the circular area

With that, the area near the house is starting to take shape. First, a view of the front of the house (with smooth lighting turned on, which cures the graphics glitch).

The front of the house

Then, over on the left, will be a patio and a pool.

The patio and pool will go over here

A closer view of the pool

And I’m fairly sure that I’ll put more buildings to the right, though I haven’t worked out the details.

More buildings will go back here

Finally, here’s the view out the front of the house. I imagine I’ll take out more of the sand, probably removing all the sand on the level right in front of the house.

The view out the front of the house

That seems like a plausible story. What about the areas further from the house? There are trees there now; do I want to leave the trees in place, do I want to build more houses, do I want to make a farm? I’m not sure; I wandered over and looked around a bit, and I didn’t find any answers, though I did find a couple of small caves.

I'm not sure how to use this area with trees

A tiny cave beneath the grass

Another nearby cave

I’m pretty excited about this: it’s nice to have a new project to work on, and I feel good about how it’s gone so far. I’m definitely looking forward to next weekend: I’ll want to build the house up, though I do need to decide first what to make the walls out of…


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  1. […] couple of weeks ago, I’d laid a foundation for a new house, and thought a bit about how I wanted it to look; now it’s time to build! Of […]