VGHVI Minecraft: June 28, 2018

Jul 08 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

In the June Minecraft session, I wanted to continue building floors up above the train station, continuing the work from May.

A light in the forest that I saw when traveling back.

A side exit from the third floor.

Looking out the third floor window.

Where exactly do I want the next floors to be?

Looking around the top of the mountain.

Before, I’d built a second floor (basically looking out through the top of the train station) and a third floor (the window visible in the fourth picture above). The third floor has a side exit which, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to connect anywhere particularly productive: there’s really not a way to make a path going up the mountain from it, and there’s what looks like it could be a mountain entrance behind it, but it ends almost immediately.

Going up the mountain is more promising, though: near the top, there’s an existing opening into the mountain. So I should try to add more floors going up such that one of them naturally comes out into that area; and also maybe I can make a path from there to the building that’s already on the top of the mountain?


So I decided to start by building a fourth floor that’s the same height up from the third as the third is from the second, and see where that leaves me.

Digging out the fourth floor.

Fourth floor window from the outside.

Putting some glass in place.

Looking at the outside view, it starts to become clearer. There’s a lump of mountain blocks on the right side (looking from the outside) that make a bit of a mess, so I’ll want to clean that out to have an even wall. And the fourth floor is a little uncomfortably far from the hole at the top, so I need to figure out what to do about that.


I decided to embrace the extra space between the fourth floor and the hole at the top: that hole actually sticks out a bit, so I can think of it as a balcony, and so having a couple of blocks of floor sticking out beneath it makes sense, which will take up some of the space. But even so the amount of space is a little large, and actually there’s a little more space between the third and fourth floors than I’d like: so I think a three-high window would provide more balance than the two-high windows I’d been using.

Here’s the view with the front leveled out and with a three-high third-floor window, that does look better.

What the three-high window looks like from the inside. (I think this is the fourth floor?)

Outside view with the third and fourth floor windows and surroundings in a good state.

A strange strip of light at the top of the train station; apparently light can shine through half-height blocks?

After that, the spacing looked good: two spaces above the fourth floor and then two spaces of balcony floor left a good balance.


Digging out the fifth floor, reaching the balcony.

Making the balcony width match the other floors.

The balcony sides are asymmetric, I’ll need to clean that up.

Cutting back the right side and adding in a railing.

Let’s use stone brick for the floor here instead of wood.

So now I’m almost done with the area above the train station. I’ll need to clean up the balcony level a little more, probably; I’ll probably want to provide access from it somehow to the building at the top; I might want to something out of that little green exterior area on the third floor; and I might add some interior furnishings. But basically that phase of the construction is done, I’ll want to figure out which part of the mountain to build out next.


No pictures this time of other people’s work: there wasn’t as much other building going on as normal. (Pat in particular couldn’t be there.)

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VGHVI Minecraft: May 31, 2018

Jun 24 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

For the May Minecraft session, I continued the work of vertically extending the train station that I’d started in April.

Looking up in the middle of the train station; the wood is the side where I’ve built a second floor.

The second floor now has a window into the body of the station.

Looking up and back into the second floor.

Looking across the second floor; I’m really not sure what to do with the dirt area on the end.

Digging up so I can put in a third floor.


Once the second floor was done, I needed to figure out the third floor (and potentially higher floors) – how high up can I go, anything I need to worry about on the sides, anything I can actively connect with on the sides?

I’ve cleaned off the front, so I can potentially go up for a while.

There’s this blobby shape on the right side, though; not sure if I want to put a room in there or just get rid of it…

Reminding myself how the stairs worked on the first floor.

The third floor, dark and empty right now.

Let’s get some light in here.

That’s a nice view.

Here’s what it looks like from the outside.

Filled in with glass. (And one stone block on the side.)

The view out the window at dusk.

Adding a side exit: on the side away from the weird blob, there’s a green bit of mountain that seems worth connecting to?

I guess the next questions (in no particular order) are:

  • What will come out of that connection to the outside in the last picture?
  • What about the blob on the other side?
  • How far up can I go, and what happens when I reach the top?


After that, I went to look at Pat’s swimming pool, it really looked quite stunning:

Pat’s swimming pool; I like how the green and the reddish-brown work together.

A view at a bit of an angle.

Looking down from the top of one of the light fixtures.

An outside view at night.

Here’s the floating town during the day.

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VGHVI Minecraft: April 26, 2018

May 19 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

I started off the April Minecraft session by working a bit on the station near the city.

A random jungle and water picture when traveling back to the city

Tracks over the water

The initial state of the station; it’s a bit of a mess

Now the body is cleaned out

The door is asymmetric

That’s better

Here’s a top view; how do I want this to fit into the surrounding areas?

Adding some stairs leading to the portal

Here’s the top part of that path

The view towards the water

Adding in a gap in the wall

I didn’t have any great ideas about what to do with the back, so I left that part alone

After that, I flew back towards the mountain to figure out what to do there.

The view from the beach

Looking down into the middle of the mountain

Some curiously triangular water

The front view of the mountain

An oblique view

Nearby lands

The wall above the station

After looking around, extending vertically from the back of the station seemed like the next step; there was already the beginnings of a space on the inside, and there’s a natural hollow if I head far enough.

Looking up from the back of the inside of the station

Cleaning up the back a bit

Looking down from where a second floor might be

Starting to put a floor in place

The view from the second floor

Maybe the floor should be one block lower?

Another view of the lower version

The lower version, from upstairs

Putting in some stairs on the back wall

At this point, I ran out of time, so I went to take pictures of Dan’s latest building.

A tower with lava floors

The tower with two of its neighbors

The view towards the city

There’s a black box on top

Closeup of the bottom layer

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VGHVI Minecraft: March 29, 2018

Apr 21 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

For the March Minecraft session, my main goal was to finish the train tracks that I’d begun in February. I’d made it to where I started to hit water, so I needed to go from there to close to the city.

My first tracks across water

What comes next

Looking slightly further ahead

Building the next set of tracks

Some land to make my way across

A surprising location for a cow

Tracks snaking through the snow

After that, I’d reached the edge of the large body of water that the city borders on. I had to figure out how much I wanted to cross: did I want to just go straight across (to the left of a tower in the water), or cross less water (to the right of that tower)?

The watery side of the tower

The less watery side of the tower

This looks like a good place for the tracks to land

Maybe put the station in the area on the right side of this picture?

A moonlit window in the ground

Looking towards the city from the portal

I think that door leads to the first place we ever built in this world?

A closeup of the strange half door glitch

After looking around, the shore wasn’t super conducive to train tracks, so I decided to cut across the water on the wider side instead of going on the narrow side and trying to snake across the shore. And, looking for a location for the station, I decided not to go all the way to the city; there was an area not too far away from the portal a little way away from the shore that was already dug out in an appropriately rectangular shape. So I decided not to go along the shore at all: instead, just dig a trench straight in once I hit land.

The tracks have crossed the water

Starting to cut through the hillside

Looking back towards the water

And, with that done, it was time to go back and add power, and then take it for a spin. (Fortunately I didn’t run into any animals when riding it.)

Powering the rails

Everything’s all set now

The glow of powered rails at night

More of the nighttime tracks

With that finished, I decided to wander back to the city and then towards Dan’s most recent tower.

Some pink and teal buildings in the city

Cats live inside the pink building, it turns out

There’s one in the teal building, too

Dan’s tower is nicely lit up

He built a flower field next to the tower

A closeup on the flower field

There’s a space underneath the field

A slightly different angle on that space

Another view of the field and the tower

Next, I visited Pat’s latest addition to his floating city, a swimming pool. When I got there, he was leveling out the water by covering it with ice and then melting the ice.

Working on a swimming pool

I’m actually not sure what building this is – based on a later picture, I don’t think it’s the swimming pool? I could be wrong, though…

Maybe this is the view of the street when you exit the swimming pool?

A top-down view of the pool

Icing over all of the pool

Laying down a heat source to melt the pool

More glowstone

The ice is melting

Pat had to leave before the ice finished melting, unfortunately. And, finally, Miranda finished off the floating glass building from last time:

A bottom view of the floating building

And a top view, with the forest beneath

A nice space inside

And a view of the forest below

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VGHVI Minecraft: February 22, 2018

Mar 18 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

For the February Minecraft session I decided to build the train tracks from the station I’d completed in January. There were actually three tracks coming out of the station, which raised the possibility of having multiple tracks going from the station to the city, but I decided to just build one. Which sounds simple enough, I just had to figure out the exact path.

A random pretty picture I took while flying back to the station.

A nighttime view of the back entrance to the guardhouse on top of the mountain.

Where exactly should the track go here?

That last picture raised the first real question about the track. The desert isn’t very high quality terrain, so I’d been thinking I’d run the track through that. But the track would naturally enter on the bottom right, and there’s water there with a tree nearby, making a rather nice oasis. So, after thinking about it more, I decided that I didn’t want to run it through the desert, and I also didn’t want to run it between the trees and the desert: I instead took inspiration from the terraces on the right and put the track on one of them.

The track winding around to the right of the desert.

A closer view of the terrace.

After that, I followed that level of the terrace for a while; not too long later, it opened up into a wider grass area, near Roger’s unfinished cathedral. And I decided to scout ahead a bit; after that grass area, there’s a water / shore section, with a big tower that Pat built as the major landmark.

Near the unfinished cathedral.

A view of the city across the water.

A closer view of the base of the tower.

I’d been thinking I’d run the tracks along the shore, but the woods there are really thick, I’d have to cut trees down. And, if you look at that first water picture, there’s a nice gap in the trees on the land between the two water sections; if I run the track through there, then I can skirt the water on the left shore in the first section, and cut across the ice to the left of the tower in the second section.

That seemed straightforward enough; back to track laying.

Some interesting caves I noticed when passing by them; I can imagine eventually building stuff around there…

The windy parts of the track, near the station.

It got a lot more boring once I moved away from the mountain.

Approaching the water.

My first track over water; turns out I can’t build track straight on ice, I have to replace the ice with something else.


That’s what I was working on; yes, I spent more than an hour mostly thinking about where to put a bit of rail, and didn’t even reach the city. Dan was the other person building stuff; he built a tower near the art installations he’d been working on earlier, nicely placed to link his recent buildings with buildings extending out from the city.

A glowing tower.

A view from farther back: you can see how it’s near one of Pat’s towers (not the same one earlier in the post!), and you can also see one of the existing train loops attached to the city (the one that goes through the underwater tunnel).

Just the tower and the rain.

Two towers and the city.

The view from the tower to the art gallery.

A view down from high up.

This tower is quite tall; and, in keeping with Dan’s recent aesthetic, there’s a deep hole at its base (though I don’t think he went down to bedrock this time).

Looking down the middle of the tower.

Where the tower enters the water.

The bottom of the pit.

Looking up from the bottom.

The view from the art gallery area.

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VGHVI Minecraft: January 25, 2018

Feb 10 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

For the first Minecraft session of 2018, I worked on the train station that I’d started in December.

Here’s where I’d left off; I’m going to build a train station over where I have the tracks, and then probably fill in the indentation above with two more floors of buildings.

Here’s a higher angle; the walls look like they should go where the grass currently is, just past the stone.

One more row of stone. (Not that anybody will be able to see it once I’ve built the walls…)

The right side wall, with a larger door that will connect to the rest of the complex.

The left side wall, with a smaller, outside door.

The view between the walls, where the tracks will extend.

Putting a front facade in place.

The side view after adding the facade.

That gave me the basic outline for the train station. I was planning to extend the sloped part of the roof most of the way back, stopping where I reached the depth of the non-indented part of the mountain walls. And I didn’t have it slope all the way to the middle of the roof, because I wanted to do something a little different in the middle, working in glass somehow.


Looking at those doors, though, the light wood above them didn’t seem quite right. So I decided to look at the doors on the building on top of the mountain, for comparison.

One of the doors on the top of the mountain; I like this red brick as an accent.

The other door up top.

Red brick looks better here.

But lighting is important, otherwise the brick won’t have the proper glow.

The current state of the structure.

After fixing that, I started work on the roof.

Extending the roof out from the facade.

A close up view of the roof.

The view on the inside, leaving room for something else in the middle.

The front is pretty plain, hopefully it’ll look better once I’ve aded something else in the middle?

Here it is with glass at the top.


This idea I had of glass at the top didn’t magically fix anything; the front, in particular, looked pretty boring. So I decided to spend some time trying to improve that.

First I tried banners; I didn’t really like either the shape of the banners or the shade of the red ones, though.

Next was pairing the red brick from above the doors with some of the grey wool that I’d also used as an accent up top; but that grey stripe didn’t work for me.

Removing the grey stripe wasn’t any better, though: balance was missing.

This is starting to get somewhere: use the grey as an accent, and have a bit more space above the red?

Two strips of grey works well, too. But do I really only want one row of glass?

Filling in the gaps between the grey with glass.

That seemed at least potentially workable, so I went to cap it off to see how it would work as part of a complete roof.

Capping off the glass with a stone top.

The view from the inside; I like how the glass band works along the sides.

A bit of light always helps, though.

That seemed good enough; now to put in the finishing touches. First, filling in the gap in the mountain wall so I’d have a place for the second story.

Building up the mountain exterior straight up from where I’d ended the roof.

Here’s the inside view; pretty narrow, my guess is that I’ll want to dig into the mountain some?

Adding a little more definition to the entrance.

So that’s the train station; I’m not completely in love with it, but I think it’s okay? The next steps, in whatever order, are:

  • Installing the train tracks to connect the station with the main city.
  • Putting rooms above the train station in the side of the mountain.
  • Creating some buildings that connect the train station to the exit of the passage through the mountain.


Next I went to check on other people. Pat didn’t have anything that he wanted to show, but Dan and Miranda had both made some progress.

Roger’s cathedral is along the planned path for the train tracks back from my mountain to the main city; sadly, I don’t think it will ever get finished…

Dan’s art gallery area.

His area is actually pretty close to the city; now that I know where it is, I can just travel there instead of teleporting.

This flower thing is new; it’s built on top of where he was excavating with TNT last month.

A top down view of the flower.

The stem goes down quite far; he’d excavated a lot!

The base of the flower.

Looking up from the base.

A closer look at the terrain nearby.

Zooming back out a bit.

And Miranda had built a lovely little floating island:

Miranda with her parrots.

A floating island with a bottom of colored glass.

A top-down view of the floating building.

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VGHVI Minecraft: December 21, 2017

Jan 14 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The November Minecraft session didn’t work out because of computer problems; here are pictures for the December session.


At the end of October, I’d finished the path down the mountain that I’d been working on. The end of that path is at a passage through the mountain; I had a vague idea that there would be some sort of commercial space around there and/or the exit, with a train station somewhere near the outside exit of the passage. So I wandered around for a while trying to figure out the details: what did I expect the passage to look like, and where exactly would the train go?

Here’s the view approaching the mountain; the passage exit is the hole that’s behind a tree in the middle.

Here’s the lowest ledge on the path down the valley in the middle of the mountain, above the final descent into the passage through the mountain. It’s more plain than I’d like, but I decided not to decorate it right now.

Here’s the inside end of the passage, leading to the path.

Here’s the view further down, this is pretty much the whole length of the passage.

The view to the outside from the end of the passage.

Trying to figure out where the train station should go; I’m thinking I’ll put it on one of the three areas where the stone is visible.

Kind of thinking this is the right place.

I eventually decided I thought that the leftmost of the spaces with visible stone was best: it’s a little far away from the entrance, but that will give me an excuse to build a path and/or building connecting the two. Also, there’s quite a bit of space in the mountain above it, and the hollow there doesn’t look all that great; so I can use the train station to fill in the bottom half and I can build something else above the station for the top half.


Before working on that, though, I wanted to clean out the passage: I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted to build in there, but it didn’t feel like part of a livable complex.

Here’s the outside end; a little narrow, also not sure what I think about the change in level.

Here’s the view from the outside; too steep a climb.

Starting to attack the raised entrance by leveling the floor out.

Now it’s wider with more regular walls.

This niche is still a little messy, not sure what I want to do with that.

Here’s the in the other direction, from the stairs.

Still too tall; I need to figure out what I’ll do about that.

The problem with leveling out the floor is that the water is at floor level; adding a fence to create a boundary.

Another angle on that scene.


After that was a little under control, I decided to work on the train station. Specifically, I wanted to get the floor plan in place: that would fix the stone gap in the ground, and that would tell me where the walls go.

Here’s a random picture of the sky that I took around the point.

I want to put a train station in here; two tracks? Three tracks? How much space between them?

Let’s go with three tracks; one side is wrong, though, and the switches are too clumped.

This looks better.


That’s what I did; Miranda was mostly gathering a flock of parrots.

Giving orders to her parrot followers.

Flying along with the parrots.

Playing music for her parrots.


Dan built some more buildings near a gallery he’d built a few months back:

Floating structures with horizontal bands of color.

Here’s the view over the structures to the art gallery.

The view in the other direction.

Then Dan decided that the next step was going to involve digging down instead of up. Which takes a while, so he decided to help things along with TNT.

Setting up the TNT.

It’s about to go off.


The view after the dust settles.

Preparing to go down another layer.

Looking at the bottom after the next explosion.

Too much water, let’s dam it off.

After the dam is in place.


Finally, pictures from Pat. First, the last building he finished:

Tables, chairs, and windows.

The view at the back of the room.

Bookshelves and armor.

The garden behind the building.

The view from above.

And then some work on platforms that turn into little gardens:

Working on a new platform.

A pool with a tree, chairs, and flowers.

A garden with chairs behind a building.

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VGHVI Minecraft: October 26, 2017

Nov 24 2017 Published by under Uncategorized

At the start of the October Minecraft session I took pictures of what Miranda and Pat had been working on in September, because I ran out of time for pictures that month.

Miranda had built a cute little house in the middle of a forest:

The door to the house, with a helpful purple sign

Inside the house

Closer view of the work / sitting area

The sleeping nook

Some storage

Without that purple arrow it actually really would be hard to see


And Pat was finishing off his Roman villa:

The courtyard of the villa

One of the side halls

The dining room, with a window on the outside

The other side of the dining room faces the courtyard

A purple bedroom

A red bedroom

Another hallway


After that, I went back to my construction project. I’d built a path partway down the wall, and I knew I wanted it to end up at the cave at the bottom, but I hadn’t yet figured out the details: should I try to go straight down, should I build a walkway around the side, or what? Here are some pictures of the situation:

The top of the wall, where I’d already built the path

The middle section, with a tree and the top of the waterfall

The bottom: this whole wall is pretty tall!


After wandering around a bit, I realized that there was actually space for a natural path between the waterfall and the tree; that worked much better than trying to hug the wall on the other side of the tree. So I could continue my existing path to a stone landing, then go down next to the waterfall, and then I’d reach a second landing, this one of grass. That wouldn’t get me all the way down to the cave, but it seemed like a good next step.

A potential path next to the top half of the waterfall

The bottom view of that path

Extending the stairs down to the landing, and clearing it out

Safety is important

People are going to want to rest, let’s add in some furniture?

A table with a flower

Here’s what the waterfall looks like after the stone landing has had its initial finishing

The landing at the bottom is definitely going to need some work

Putting in the stairs

Evening out the landing


Both landings could still use some work; the grass one in particular is too plain, I think I leveled it out too much. The basic structure looks right, though, so I needed to figure out next how to get from the grass landing all the way to the bottom of the cave. And, actually, it turns out that I could use the same trick: there’s room for another path down on the other side of the water.

Here’s where the second path will go

Looking down into the cave after building the stairs

The place where the stairs meet the pool is a little rough, I’ll want to improve that

Looks nicer after I filled in that indentation with grass

I’m really happy how that path worked out: now there’s a path all the way from the building on top of the cliff down to the cave at the bottom, it makes sense in context, and I left the scenery almost entirely alone while doing that.

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do next; I might work on the grass landing a bit, I might work on the cave interior, or I might jump straight to building a train station to connect it to the spawn point? Dunno.


While I was doing that, of course, Miranda and Pat were at work. Here’s what Miranda was building:

A big glass window on a wall

I guess there’s a villager inside??

Looking through a window next to a tree

Inside the building

I have no idea if this is the same area or somewhere different that I just thought looked scenic

To be honest, I can’t remember how those pictures fit together: are they all the same area, are they two areas, or three areas?


And Pat had added another building onto his floating city:

Looking through the brown middle floor of the new building to the Roman villa

There’s a grass roof on top

The bottom floor is a featureless grey

Here’s a corner view

Inside the bottom floor

A bed on the other side of the floor

A closer view of the basin

There’s a swimming pool outside

Water flows down through a hole in the pool

The other side of the building

A bottom view


Shadows of the buildings on the water


That waterfall was the first thing connecting the floating islands to the ground, so Miranda decided she’d try to swim up it:

Partway up the climb

Breaking through the cloud layer

The end is in sight!

She made it! Or did she?

It turned out, though, that the hole there wasn’t big enough to swim through! Whoops; though that’s probably better from the point of view of the safety of the people using the pool…

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VGHVI Minecraft: September 28, 2017

Oct 21 2017 Published by under Uncategorized

In the September Minecraft session I got too distracted figuring out what to do next on my building to take pictures of what other people were doing; sorry about that! But at any rate here’s pictures of what I was looking at; at the end of August my question was what to do with the chasm that my building was over. So I started out spending lots of time looking at that.

The door over the chasm in question

The view across the chasm

Further down the wall of the chasm – it’s pretty tall!

There’s water at the bottom

And a cave behind the water

I hadn’t actually realized how interesting that part of the mountain was: the top part of the chasm is just stone, but when I got to the bottom, there was a rather lovely tree, waterfall, and cave. So that made me think that the bottom of the chasm was a strong center of its own, and whatever I did had to acknowledge that.

But first: explore the cave.

There’s light at the other end of the cave, it’s actually a tunnel

The view when I exit the tunnel

The mountain near the exit

So that’s not just a cave, there’s something really interesting going on there. I think that, ultimately, I probably want to build out the interior of the tunnel, with small buildings of some sort near there, and then have more buildings by the exit? Probably a train station, too: the tunnel exit is on the side of the mountain towards the spawn point, and it’s not that far away from the spawn point, so if I built a train between the two, it would help bring the world together.


Which just makes the problem bigger, it doesn’t actually answer the question of what to do with that exit over the top of the chasm. I wandered around a while thinking about that:

The building at moonrise

The sun is going down on the other side

If you wander further down the chasm, the top slopes down and there’s a notch

This is the water off the end of the green area behind the building

There’s a cave here too! (But it’s not as interesting.)

I can’t remember where this water is

Looking around near the tunnel exit, this is probably the best place for a train station

The water inside the tunnel

A few torches so you can see the inside of the tunnel better

Returning to the doorway


After all that wandering around, I basically had two options. One is go straight down the chasm from the doorway; the other is to go along the edge on the right side of that last picture, until you get to a gradual slope. I might actually ultimately end up doing both of those; for now, I’m going to concentrate on the former, but I am also going to establish the area on the right as worthy of its own, in a nod towards the latter.

Putting a railing in towards the front of the mountain

A higher up view, so you can see the viewing area I’ve created

Starting to build a path down, but regular stairs are a little steep

Half blocks work better, though these ones are the wrong color

Let’s go with this

Done with one row

Almost done with a second row

Going back to the top, adding railing on the inside

Here’s the third row

I’m actually not sure what to do next

After three rows of steps, I was starting to reach trees. And I’m honestly not sure what to do next: I can build a fourth and fifth row, which should get me to the bottom, but I’m not sure it will gracefully merge into the bottom area with the tunnel entrance. Or I can start crawling around the back of the chasm; that will let me avoid the need to solve that problem directly, and will instead give me a point of entrance in a second place in the bottom of the chasm? I’m tentatively thinking the latter sounds better, because it seems easier and gives me a hint in how to turn the bottom of the chasm into a space of its own, but I’ll need to look harder at the details next time, I seem to recall something about the shape of the walls made that not entirely straightforward either.

While thinking about that, I decided to add a few more safety features to the path:

Let’s add a railing in front of the door, so people don’t step out and immediately plummet to their doom

Here’s the other side of that new railing

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VGHVI Minecraft: August 31, 2017

Sep 04 2017 Published by under Uncategorized

In the August Minecraft session, the next question was what to do with the surroundings of the building I’d been working on.

Approaching the mountain

Getting closer up

At the back of the building, looking towards it

There was a green area behind that I was thinking of a sort of garden; I had a vague idea that I might fence it in? But when I started wandering around, that didn’t work: it was too large, and it was also hilly enough that a fence didn’t feel like a natural boundary. So I looked around, trying to figure out what I could do.

Around one side of the building, I saw an area that just didn’t look good; when I cleaned it up a bit, though, it actually did turn into a nice coherent area. So I started out emphasizing that, which ended up turning it into a patio.

Uneven territory right next to one side window

There’s a pretty sharp edge right past that tree

Creating a fenced-in patio

Here’s the view past the tree

And here’s the view off the side next to the building

The view of the whole thing

Looking at it from inside the house

That was pretty successful: I’d started with something that looked actively bad (as opposed to the main part of the forest back there, which was fine on its own), cleaned it up, and turned it into a nice little area of focus. So maybe I could repeat that idea elsewhere? The next question, then, was how to connect it to the door out the back of the building: just being adjacent via a window seemed a little funny.

Looking along the back of the building towards the patio (which is around the corner)

Maybe a wood path would work?

Here’s what the end of the wood path would look like

Stepping stones are a better fit

The stepping stone version at the patio

Later I came back and made the border more uniform

At this point, I had a bit of a design language: I’d try to find spaces that particularly stood out (and I’d clean up spaces that look ugly), I’d use fences to enclose them as appropriate, and I’d have stone paths between them, with spaces between the stones reflecting that this is a loose federation of spaces rather than a tight and dense neighborhood. And I actually had another immediate place to put this into action: the area right outside the door was a bit of mess, so I cleaned it up too.

These lumps and holes don’t look good

We’ll start by leveling it out more

Next, fence it in

Looking straight out the back; and we don’t need fences everywhere, the dirt on the side is a good boundary once it’s been made a bit less lumpy

Wandering a bit further afield, I found a relatively empty flat area that was overlooking the chasm in the middle: it had a nice view, but needed a bit of punctuation. This time I decided it didn’t need a fence, but maybe a fountain in the middle would look good?

Here’s a potentially interesting spot with a good view

Starting to construct fountain walls, but this doesn’t really look right

I like it better built into the ground

Here’s the end of the path to the fountain; and stone stairs seemed like the best way to handle the change in level

Finally, I started going further back looking for one more spot to emphasize; I found one area with a steep drop over a nice view under a tree.

Looking back towards the house partway down the hill

I think we can do something with this view under this tree

Fencing it in and trimming away some dirt

Here’s the path leading back there; you can also see the branch off the left to the fountain

Let’s add in a wood floor

And a table and chair, to make it easier to enjoy the view

That was enough for the back of the building; my next question was what I should do with the door over the chasm. I’ll work on that in September!

What should I do with this doorway?

That’s what I was doing; Pat was finishing off the latest addition to his city, in the mean time.

A purple carpet

More purple upstairs

A tree and flowers in the middle of the courtyard

The vestibule behind the entrance

The street right outside

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