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The Minecraft Diaries: Exploring and Surviving [Part 5]

MinecraftDiaries[The Minecraft Diaries is an on going editorial that focuses around living through the highs and lows of the Minecraft world. Follow Geoff as he begins the game as a newbie to discover, create, and ultimately tame this incredibly deep game. New entries are posted every week.]

Welcome back to our fifth and possibly final issue of “The Minecraft Diaries.” For the last couple of weeks we’ve successfully mined and survived our first night, we walled off our mine, we built a real home (not just a cave), and then we prepared, planted and harvested our own crops for food. All of these things were integral steps to being able to do what we are going to do today: explore and survive.

Minecraft, as I’m sure you know by now, is a game that’s about crafting items and mining materials. However, surviving is an equally large portion of this game. There are many monsters that come out at night or inhabit caves and, unfortunately, if you want to get decent materials (gold/diamonds) you’ll need to explore beyond your own little safe haven.

So let’s begin!

Exploring the cave

Okay, do you remember this area from our earlier entries? This is that portion of our cave that just keeps going and going. Seeing as how we’ve already built around this cave, this will be where we go exploring today. I can guarantee two things out of this: first, that we’ll find some monsters back there and second, that there’s gonna be some sort of rare material hidden in the depths.

But before we go we need to prepare.


Now, being that we are going to go exploring, we’ll need some weapons an armor which means we’ll need iron to make it. Armor will help us survive longer should we encounter any monsters and weapons will help us kill them faster.


Now, like we did before with the buckets, we’ll need to smelt the iron ore to make iron ingots which can then be used on the workbench to make various armors and weapons.


First we’ll make a sword. As I said earlier, weapons will help us kill anything we find down there.




Chest piece.




And boots.


Once complete, simply drag and drop them into the appropriate place next to your avatar in the inventory screen. You’ll also notice that, as you equip the items little armor icons will appear next to your health indicator. Once you equip armor, any damage you take will now be divided amongst your armor and health instead of everything going straight to your health.


Next we are going to take all the bread we can find/make. Bread heals 2.5 hearts per loaf eaten. Despite having armor and weapons there’s still a very real danger going into caves to explore. Having bread will make it so that, if the worst should happen, we have something we can fall back on.


And, finally, here is what we are bringing. As you can see I’ve added a bunch of torches. It’s going to be dark down there, after all. Also, I’ve made myself a couple iron pickaxes and an iron shovel. Iron is simply a better material than stone and it will help me break things apart faster, especially if I come across gold or diamond.

Also, be sure to leave plenty of open space in your inventory. We are going down there to not only explore, but to collect as well. Who knows what we’ll find down there so it’s better to have lots of space to carry it all back.

So, now that we’re prepared, let’s head into the cave.


Now, there’s no telling what’s in this cave or if we’ll make it back. So let’s just take a moment and ponder that scenario for a second. If we die down there, we lose not only all materials we’ve collected but also all our armor, bread, and items.


Now, as you go through the cave, you’re going to notice that it’s not a straight line. These caves are long, lengthy, and completely randomized. So be prepared for that.


And here we have our first example of that. As I was heading down that tunnel from before the floor just kind of disappeared. This isn’t a rare occurrence so be sure to place torches ahead of you instead of behind you.


Deeper and deeper we go. You know, I’m actually surprised we haven’t found any zombies or creepers yet. Don’t let your guard down though because they’re definitely in here somewhere.


Wow! See? This is what I was talking about earlier when I said this caves are completely randomized. Here we are, no place left to go but down this huge pit. Now, being the miners and crafters we are, we’ll approach this more creatively than simply jumping down. Instead we’ll build our way down.


As you can see we’ve built crude stairs/steps all the way down. If you need materials to do this remember, just start digging.


Great. Dead end. This happens sometimes, although it’s pretty rare, where a cave will just end with no monsters or rare materials. Bummer.


But wait! What’s this? Half way up the stairs we just climbed down I noticed this small hole in the wall. This is another reason to bring tools. Sometimes the apparent cave may end but really there’s another part of it hiding somewhere behind the walls. We were lucky enough that we built our stairs down in such a way so that we didn’t miss it going back up.


Well this is funny. Just the other day we traveled how far to get some water? And here we have an underwater spring sitting right beneath our home. Hilarious.


Ah-hah! Right next to the spring, we’ve successfully discovered gold! This is a very rare material that will help us create even better tools, weapons, and armor. The only thing better than gold are diamonds. Hopefully we can find some of those as well. Correction: gold tools are not stronger than iron, in fact they are about equal to wood. Gold is best used as a decorative device.


Well that certainly took a while. Shortly after finding gold, I managed to stumble upon our first unwelcome visitor. Well we didn’t prepare for nothing, let’s take out our sword and deal with this once-scary abomination.


Now, once you get down deep enough, you’ll hit lava. Lava, at first, doesn’t seem like it could be very useful. However, there are plenty of things you can do with lava so we’ll just keep a mental note of it’s existence down here.


Hey! I forgot about this stuff. This is redstone. Redstone acts as a sort of “wire” that allows you to connect a redstone torch with a lever and other types of items to enable a reaction. For example, if you want a lever to open a door you’d need to connect them with redstone. It’s a fascinating concept in Minecraft and one that I have yet to fully explore.


Now, whatever you do, you do not want to come in contact with lava. No way, no how. You will die instantly. That said, however, if you do come in contact with a lake of lava and need to get across, you can use regular stone to build a bridge. Unrealistic? Sure, but it works!


Well that way turned out to be bust. Regardless, we’ve been down here for a while and should probably take our considerable haul back home before we die and lose it all.

Now, when you’re heading back, be sure to not get lost. Caves can be very confusing even if you’re lighting your way. Take this as an example. I can go left or right. Both ways are lit up because I’ve explored both previously. This kind of scenario is not uncommon and I’ve heard stories of people having to kill themselves (in game) simply because they couldn’t find their way out.


Home sweet home.


And here was our final haul. We managed to get 12 iron ore, 16 gold ore, and 27 redstone dust. Not bad at all. I’d have liked to have found diamonds, but, realistically, this cave was pretty easy to begin with. I’ve been in some caves where creepers will just drop down and you and explode.

So yeah, that’s it. We’ve done most basic things in Minecraft at this point. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series for what it is, a lengthy step-by-step tutorial on all the nooks and crannies of starting out in Minecraft.

I mentioned earlier this being the final entry in “The Minecraft Diaries,” but if you have any ideas or would like me to explore some other  part of the game and do an entry on it, I’d be more than happy to.

Until then, be sure to check out our Minecraft server!

[Try/Buy, The Minecraft Diaries]

Read: The Minecraft Diaries: The Harvest [Part 4]


The Minecraft Diaries: The Harvest [Part 4]

MinecraftDiaries[The Minecraft Diaries is an on going editorial that focuses around living through the highs and lows of the Minecraft world. Follow Geoff as he begins the game as a newbie to discover, create, and ultimately tame this incredibly deep game. New entries are posted every week.]

So last week, we built a real home. It wasn’t pretty, but it was functional, it was something that we created ourselves, and, overall, it worked out pretty well. Obviously, as you explore your own single player game you’ll probably have bigger and bolder ambitions for your home, but for the purposes of this series, what we’ve created looks pretty good.

Today, we’re gonna focus on something that most people probably don’t ever really think about, but it’s honestly one of the integral parts of the game if you plan on doing any open exploration at night. I mean, if you go out at night you’re gonna get hurt and the only thing that will heal you is food. So let’s get to farmin’!


Alright, so here we have our future farmland. It’s right next to our current walls in that sand area that we didn’t quite cover up the last time when we were extending our walls and building our home.

I chose this area primarily because it’s already sunken in a level which means I won’t have to dig anything up, I can just fill the area. The process is much faster this way.

Anyway before I start this I’m going to need water. Water is required to do any sort of farming. In order to get water, since I don’t have a water source nearby, I’m going to need to make a bucket.

Smelting Iron

The first thing we need to do to make a bucket is find and smelt some iron ore. This will turn the iron ore into iron ingots which can then be used to make items.


As you can see, arranging the ingots in a sort of bowl shape will make us a bucket which can then carry water. The picture is slightly misleading. The above ingots will actually make two buckets, not one. We’ll need two buckets of water to save on time.

Alright, now that we’ve got our buckets, let’s go find some water!

Don'tGet Lost

Now, when you start your journey to find water it’s extremely important you do one of these things:

1. If you fancy yourself good at directions, leave and head in a strait line away from your home. No not deviate from your line.

2. Use torches or some other obvious item that can be used as a breadcrumbs trail to get you back home.

Minecraft is huge, it’s beyond huge in fact. Getting lost is not difficult to do and if that does happen, in some cases, you’re better off just starting all over from scratch.

Anyway, continuing on.


After a short distance walking in any direction you should come across some sort of body of water, be it the ocean or a small lake/pond. Either way, it’s more than we need.


Actually getting the water is a simple process, just take your bucket and right click on the body of water and now you’ve got a filled bucket. Easy-peasy.

Now that both are full we’ll return home.


Okay so we’re back home and we’re just about ready to start on our farm but, unfortunately, it seems to be getting dark. It probably wouldn’t be the wisest thing for us to begin building our farm when monsters are on the precipice of spawning all over the place.

This is fine though, we’re gonna need more resources to build our farm anyway. Let’s use this opportunity to stock up.


Okay, it’s morning again, we have plenty of stone and dirt for today’s main event. Just to give you guys some further perspective this is where our farm is going to be.

Now, again, before we can actually start building our farm we are going to need yet another integral item: seeds.


So let’s head back inside and make ourselves a hoe. A hoe is not typically an item you’ll use very often, but it’s required to farm and get seeds.


Now that we have our hoe — which actually looks more like a sickle — we can begin tilling the fields to get seeds. This is a fairly simple process. Just find any grassy area and start clicking away. This does two things for you:

1. Every so often a seed will pop out. These seeds allow you to grow and harvest wheat.

2. You can only plant seeds on tilled land.


Okay, so you can see that we’ve kind of ravaged all the grass out here looking for seeds. It looks bad for now, but it’ll grow back and we’ve gained quite a few seeds because of it.

Now, seeing as our farm is going to be out here, and we’ll definitely want to be in there at night, we’ve got to extend our wall, yet again. You’ll be doing a lot of this in your game.


Wah-la. There’s our walled farmland. It’s not particularly pretty, but, then again, we’re not going for aesthetics in this series. This is functional, and it’ll work to keep the baddies out. Plus we can begin farming and tilling at night now.


Now that we’ve got our farmland, we need to make sure that the water has someplace to flow. That means irrigation canals. As you can see, the design I used was fairly simple. We don’t have much water, so we needed something small. This design will work perfectly and allow us to plant the most crops with the least amount of water.


Actually filling the channels is an important task. We need to make sure that the water flows as much as possible throughout the entire irrigation canal, but, as you can see, our current water only makes it so far before drying up.

Also take note, water never just goes away. We don’t have to worry about this water drying up. The only thing that can happen is if we take it away ourselves.


Be sure to also take a look at your soil as you’re doing this. Make sure all of your irrigated land is actually wet. Plants won’t grow in dry soil. Luckily the differences are fairly obvious.


Alright, so now our channels are filled! We’re ready to actually begin farming!


Notice how the area I’m standing on is different from the area the seeds are planted on. That’s the slight difference between normal dirt and tilled soil.

Also, and this is going to sound completely bizarre, those torches aren’t just there to supply me with light while I farm. Believe it or not, but plants can grow at night, you just need to make sure torches are close enough to give them what I call “firelight UV.” That said, I believe the plants still grow faster during the day.


And we’re done! Everything is planted and we have a nice little farmland going… but crap! I completely forgot to place more torches along the walls. We can do this but it’s just going to be slower. Make sure when you walk over your plants that you hold the “Shift” key to sneak. If you run over your plants you can destroy them.


And now we wait… Plants can take upwards of two full Minecraft days to be ready to harvest.


Keep waiting.


Still waiting. You can see some small growth in some of the plants.


Slowly, but surely.


We’ve had some serious growth in the last day or so, but they aren’t done yet so let’s keep waiting.


As you can see the plant nearest me on the left is brownish. This means it’s ripe and ready for harvest. But before we do that let’s give the others just a few more minutes.


Couple… more… minutes.


Okay well this is close enough, let’s just begin harvesting what we can.


Now, to harvest, just use any tool and take a swing at any ripe plant. As you can see, when we hit this one not only did we get some wheat, but some seeds also popped out. This ensures it so that we can always replant when we need to and we won’t have to go searching through grass again to do it.


Now that we’ve got wheat, we can make that into bread. One row of three pieces of wheat will make a single loaf. A single loaf of bread will cure two hearts in your health bar. This means we now have food to survive during the night should we decide to go out.


And, finally, just for some perspective. Here’s an overall view of the farm we’ve created. Not too bad eh?

So, now that we have our home, we have our mine, and we have our farm, we’re ready to explore the final frontier, so to say. Next time on “The Minecraft Diaries” we’re taking ourselves beyond the wall. We’re gonna go spelunking, and we’re gonna fight some zombies, spiders, and everything else that prowls the night. Which means we’re gonna need more food, armor, and weapons.

It’s gonna be fun episode. Stay tuned.

[Try/Buy, The Minecraft Diaries]

Read: The Minecraft Diaries: Building a Real Home [Part 3]

The Minecraft Diaries: Exploring and Surviving [Part 5]


The Minecraft Diaries: Building a Real Home [Part 3]

MinecraftDiaries[The Minecraft Diaries is an on going editorial that focuses around living through the highs and lows of the Minecraft world. Follow Geoff as he begins the game as a newbie to discover, create, and ultimately tame this incredibly deep game. New entries are posted every week.]

Over the last couple entries in this series we’ve done a couple really important things in securing our foothold on this world:

1. We started our mining operation and created a safe environment from which would be safe from any baddies at night.


2. We secured the outside of that safe environment so that we could actually be outside during the night.

Both of these steps are vitally important to surviving and enjoying Minecraft.

Now though, we need a real home and I’m not talking about the hole in the wall hovel that we made our first night here. I mean something that we built from the ground up. Let’s get started.


If you remember correctly, we left our last adventure at the crest of night. This means that we have plenty of time to gather resources and further expand our mining operations before actually building a home. I know digging for an entire night might seem like overkill, but it’s not. Even after all this I doubt we’ll have enough to finish even a modest home.

We’ll just fast forward a bit to daytime though, I think you’ve probably seen enough of me digging…


Okay, so it’s daytime, we have plenty of resources, and a nice area out in front of our cave where we’ll spawn should we die. Naturally this area should be the spot for our new home.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I absolutely don’t want to build on sand. It makes for a weak foundation and, all in all, just kind of looks bad. I’d much rather lay down some dirt so that our area can be grassy. And, with that said, we’ll need to go dig up massive amounts of dirt.


Our best plan here is to just make tons of shovels since they plow through dirt much faster than our bare hands. Once we have those we can begin digging away.

Getting Dirt

Here I’m simply strip mining the side of a hill to get dirt. It’s not the prettiest method but it’s absolutely the fastest and we’re battling time at this point.


Here’s the end result. My apologies to the hill Gods.

Anyway, now that we have enough dirt we can fill in that sand, or at least a large chunk of it from which we can build on.

Filling in the sand

Tah-da! We’ve now leveled out the terrain and got covered up the sand. This is looking like a great place to build, which means it’s time for walls.

Now, since you’ve seen me do this piece by piece and we still have lots of groundwork to cover, I’ll just skip to the end result:


Walls! As you can see we’ve made them high enough so that we don’t even have to look at any zombies if we don’t want to. And, as you’re probably noticing at this point, we’ve completed just in the nick of time before sunset.

But we’re not finished yet.


Do you recall seeing this in the background of one of our former pictures? This is a cave entry that we’ll need to seal up as all sorts of baddies could spawn down there and then invade our little slice of paradise.


Ah, there we go. We’ll open it up again at a later date to explore it in more detail, but for now we’ve got to make sure our new home is safe. Which also means one more thing is needed:


Lights! Remember, monsters spawn in the dark. If you don’t brighten up your new areas something will spawn there.

Alright so we’ve got our walls, our lights and generally just made sure our new area was secure. Now, it’s time to begin actually building our home.


As with any structure you build, you’ll have to begin by establishing the foundation and shape of the building. I’ve chosen a large rectangle because it’s easiest to build, but, really, you can build anything in any shape you want.


Now, I like the rooms of my buildings to be three blocks high. This allows for the perfect amount of area so that you aren’t feeling quite so claustrophobic.


Now we just apply the roof and, technically, we’re done. Our home is built! Hooray!

Of course, it might be “technically” finished, but really, who are we to just leave something so barren? We need to add a few things before our home is done done.


So, first things first, we need some way of getting in an out of the building. This means, entry ways and, eventually, doors.


Wah-la! Doors are essential to any building we make.

Now, we may have doors, which are nice and all, but our home is still feeling a little rustic…


… partly because our floor still consists of grass and mud. I don’t know how many homes you’ve lived in, but I’ve grown fairly accustom to not stepping on mud in my own house, so let’s fix that really quick.


Ah, there we go, wooden floors. Not only do they look great, but if you compare and contrast this picture and the last you’ll also notice how much brighter and warmer our home looks with wooden floors. Not too shabby.


Now we just need to add some amenities (furnace, chest, workbench) to make our home a little more functional.


And then some stairs for rooftop access!


Would ya look at that? We’ve got a nice little home on our hands. Of course, and I’m sure you’re probably getting sick of me saying this, we’re not done yet. Our rectangular home might be nice, but it’s missing some pizazz.


To cure that we’ll simply add a spiffy tower on the top of our home. This will allow us to look over our walls safely without having to worry about exploding creepers or arrow flinging skeletons.

Now, since you’ve seen me build before I think we can just skip to the end:


And done! Not too bad, but, to be honest, I’m not super thrilled with our tower here. It’s functional, and it worked perfectly, but it’s not symmetrical enough and my OCD is simply screaming at me to fix it right now. I think I’ll probably just fix it “off the record” later.

Anyway, now that we’ve got our tower, there’s just one more thing we need to make our home a true home…


… windows. Torchlight is great and all for the night, but, during the day, I think it would be much nicer to just have some natural light flowing into our home. It makes everything look larger and more spacious, really.

Of course, we aren’t barbarians. We may have holes in our walls, but we certainly don’t have true windows. To do that we’ll need to make some glass.


So, with that in mind, we’ll need to collect some sand which, as luck would have it, we built our entire home on.


Once we’ve got sand we’ll need to turn that into glass. To do that we’ll need the help of our furnace.

The process is fairly simple. We just place the glass in the slot above the flame icon. Then we take a piece of coal and put it in the bottom slot to start the flame. After a certain amount of time passes a single cube of sand will be turned into a glass block.

It’s important to note that each piece of coal will only keep the flame burning for 80 seconds. So, if you have lots of stuff to smelt make sure you throw in more than a single piece of coal. Also, you don’t actually have to sit here and wait for these things to finish, you can go about doing other tasks while your furnace is smelting away.


Anyway, now that we’ve got glass we can just slot them in and create some real windows. As you can see, the glass is transparent and continues to allow natural light in without the needing to have gaping holes in our walls.


And we’re done! We’ve put in nice flooring, windows, amenities and even built a tower so we could peer over our walls at night in relative safety.

Like I already said, I plan on fixing that tower “off the record” over the weekend as the OCD side of me is just kicking and screaming right now. Aside from that, however, I’m fairly impressed with our small, but cozy home.

Next week we’ll look into expanding our walls, again, and creating our own farmland where we can plant, grow, and harvest wheat which can then be made into bread. This will require finding a source of water and plenty of open space with which to expand. It should be a fun project so stay tuned!

Have any questions or comments? Leave ‘em below! I respond and converse with all commenters.

[Try/Buy, The Minecraft Diaries]

Read: The Minecraft Diaries: Securing the Homefront [Part 2],

The Minecraft Diaries: The Harvest [Part 4]


The Minecraft Diaries: Securing the Homefront [Part 2]

MinecraftDiaries[The Minecraft Diaries is an on going editorial that focuses around living through the highs and lows of the Minecraft world. Follow Geoff as he begins the game as a newbie to discover, create, and ultimately tame this incredibly deep game. New entries are posted every week.]

Last week we began our world. We stepped forth into a large, previously uninhabited world and took our first steps into colonizing and taming it. It was a tumultuous beginning, but one that ultimately ended in success as we had secured our home, and even made it into a nice little area to spend the night.

However, being the Minecraft is, well, Minecraft there’s no way that we can do that every single night. We want to be able to work at night and to freely explore around our surroundings during those times, even if it’s in a relatively small space.

No walls!

The first thing you’ll notice about our little cave home is that we are wide open and exposed to anything that just wants to drop in and say hello, be it a friendly (yet annoying) sheep or vicious arrow flinging zombie. So, our first order of business is to secure this entire area by building a wall.

After gathering up materials from the night prior we are actually pretty set to put something up, maybe not necessarily finish it, but something is better than nothing, right?


As you can see, we’ve begun building our wall using all of that cobblestone we were mining throughout the night. Personally, I enjoy using cobblestone because, honestly, it looks like castle walls, but we could have used anything really: dirt, wood, gravel, sand. Walls are walls and there ain’t nothin’ getting through em.

Of course, putting a wall up like this puts us in a bit f a dilemma…


… we need stairs and some sort of entry way. While this area will be guarded off at night, we’ll still need to get to the outside world during the day. So let’s just hack a door through the cobblestone and create some crude stairs using dirt blocks.


And here’s the results. As you can see we’ve placed a number of dirt blocks leading up to the “doorway” which is also made of dirt for the time being.  Eventually we’ll place a door there, but for now it’s not too important and, really, we need to focus on getting the rest of this wall up before night falls.


Damn! We ran out of cobblestone before we could finish it. Ideally it should be a couple blocks higher too. I guess we’ll just have to go mining to get some more cobblestone. So let’s head back into the cave…


Do you remember this hole from last week? My original plan was to go to the end of this cave and plant some torches so that everything would be all lit up. However, this cave happens to be really, really large. I actually went quite a way in the dark looking for the end only to turn around once I began hearing disturbing noises. So, for now, we’ll just avoid this area entirely. Should make for a fun adventure later though.


Now this looks better. Here we have a new mine, away from our home, that we can begin harvesting for precious stones and metals. It’s not terribly deep yet, but at this point in our world we don’t really need it to be.


Now, since our walls aren’t quite finished, we have to remember to check for daylight. If it gets too dark outside, some monsters could spawn outside or even inside this cave which is neither sealed nor lit well enough right now. If it gets dark, we’ll have to run back home and hunker down for the night again.


Anyway, back to mining. It would definitely be beneficial for us to finish that wall tonight, but before we can do that we need to have an abundance of materials otherwise we’ll just have to come back down again.


Damn, our pickaxe broke. Now we’ll need to go all the way back home to craft some new ones.


Oh snaps! Looks like night came on us pretty fast while we were working away. I guess we won’t be finishing our wall tonight which means we’ll be spending another night in our little hovel of a home.


Now, as with the previous night, we aren’t just gonna sit around and twiddle our thumbs while night is upon us. Nope, we’re going to turn our temporary dwelling (more on that later) into a strip mining effort. See that relatively large hole in front of us? We’re gonna keep digging and digging in that exact area so as to create a large area of mine-able goods. This is the most effective way to find rare materials as well.


Whew! That’s a damn big hole in the ground. While it has made our home feel less like… well home, the important thing is that we’ve dug up some serious cobblestone which should supply us with more than enough resources to finish tomorrow’s wall.


I should also note though that, at this level of depth, I’m beginning to hear some seriously spooky noises. I can’t say for certain but my guess is that we’re actually digging into a dungeon area. While that will be fun for the future, right now we are in no way prepared to handle that kind of adventure, so, for now, we’ll just avoid digging here and wait for daylight to hit.


Ahh the morning air. So fresh, so crisp.


Alright, so now that we are fully stocked with cobblestone and supplies, let’s finish this wall! After going over the walls a few times, stacking more cobblestone we are officially…


… finished! With the wall part anyway.

Since this is the only viable means of entry into our cave dwelling we shouldn’t have to worry about the baddies breaking in at night anymore, which also means that we are no longer subjected to spending our nights inside.


Here’s a view from farther away so that you can get a little perspective on just what we’ve done. Not bad, if I do say so myself.


Now we just gotta attach a door so that we can freely enter and exit as we please and the wall will be officially complete. Hooray!

Oh but that reminds me… we still have quite a large opening that could bring monsters into our little slice of paradise.


Remember this? Yeah, monsters could definitely spawn down there and make their way up into our protected area. This would have been especially worrisome had we not remembered to seal it up. Imagine working all night when all of a sudden a creeper explodes behind you. Not pretty…


There we go. This should definitely be able to keep any zombie, creeper, or spider our of our domain.

Now that everything is sealed there’s just one last thing we can do before we are completely safe: we’ve got to light up every corner of this cave and our courtyard so that monsters can’t spawn there. In Minecraft, monsters can only spawn in the dark. Remember that.


Light, light, light!


Light, light, light!


And, this is entirely optional, but I always like to light up my entryways/doorways with torches. There’s no real purpose, I just think it looks nice.

So, we’ve got our wall up, we’ve sealed off the cave, and now everything is all lit up. We are completely safe at night and can be outside as much as we want within the confines of our wall.


Suck it, monsters.

Next time on “The Minecraft Diaries” we’ll look into building an actual home outside our little cave wall. Should we make a log cabin? A huge castle? Some other sort of odd structure? Let me know in the comments!

[Try/Buy, The Minecraft Diaries]


The Minecraft Diaries: The Beginning of Our World [Part 1], The Minecraft Diaries: Building a Real Home [Part 3]


The Minecraft Diaries: The Beginning of Our World [Part 1]

MinecraftDiaries[The Minecraft Diaries is an on going editorial that focuses around living through the highs and lows of the Minecraft world. Follow Geoff as he begins the game as a newbie to discover, create, and ultimately tame this incredibly deep game. New entries are posted every week.]

Ah, Minecraft. Over the last few weeks the media has exploded with stories and tales from this game. Hell, you can’t go even a couple days in the /r/Gaming sub-reddit without somebody mentioning how much it has taken over their life. Well, now it’s my turn to be consumed by the ever expanding, still-in-development world of Minecraft.

So, first things first, let’s see our world.


She a beauty isn’t she? Mountainous, yet colorful. I can see flowers and trees almost every which way from my starting point. Hey, we even have a cave located right next to us which should make for a fine home, wouldn’t you say?

Now, as I mentioned in the prologue, I’m generally a newbie at this game. I’ve only read a couple of basic tutorials to get me started which means, after this first day, we’re largely going to be on our own. But we’ll be fine for today… I think.

So, first things first, we are gonna need some wood, a supposedly integral ingredient in the Minecraft world.


As expected, we can find plenty of logs at the nearby trees and by simply punching them we can begin harvesting our first pieces of raw materials. So, now that we’ve got some logs, it’s time to start making something useful like wood which can then be used to make other items.


Ta-da! We’ve successfully crafted our first items. But we’re not done yet. Remember that cave we saw in the distance before we went to go harvest some logs? That’s right, it’s time to go exploring!


Now, instead of actually building an house or something, it would probably be easier and even more awesome to turn this cave into our house right? But there’s a problem, as you can see this place is pitch black… we can’t see a thing.


Nobody wants to live in a dark, presumably damp, cave, right? Plus there could be monsters down there! So before we can turn this thing into our home, we’re gonna need to build up a little infrastructure first, starting with acquiring additional tools.

First things first, we need a workbench. Workbenches are nice because they give us added space with which to craft items like a pickax or an axe. So let’s go ahead and craft one.


And then we’ll follow that up immediately by turning some of our wood into sticks. Sticks are an important material that’s used to help make the shafts of many tools.


So we’ve got out sticks and our wood. Now we can use the workbench to create a useful tool: the wooden pickaxe!


Using the wooden pickaxe we can now break up all this stone in the area and not only free up a bunch of space but also collect some very valuable raw material. Raw material that will hep us build even better tools as well as needed devices.


So, using the same formula as with the wooden pickaxe we can now create a stone pickaxe which not only breaks up stone faster, but will also last much longer. Hooray!

I’d also just like to point out that, while we’ve been slaving away making tools and getting prepared to create a home, we’ve had a friendly visitor come hopping into our little quarry.


I’m pretty sure, if we wanted to, we could probably kill the poor guy and get some sort of meat from him. However, being that I’m a vegetarian and I feel bad even hurting digital animals, I think we’ll avoid that fate for this poor guy. Instead we’ll just let him hop along on his merry way to do whatever it is that sheep do in this game.

Alright, returning to the task at hand. So, we’ve made some tools, we have a workbench, and we’re well on our way to establishing a nice home somewhere in this quarry. But we still need to have light somehow. Again nobody likes a dark, damp home, right?

According to the crafting guide it looks like we’ll need some coal in order to make torches, which will then provide some much needed light. So let’s go find some coal!


Now, if you look really closely — you might need to maximize the picture — you can see that there is definitely some coal in those rocks up there. Unfortunately they’re gonna be a pain in the ass to get to. Well one of the reasons we made all these tools so we can just carve and build a path up to place like this.


Ta-da! We were down down there, but now, through the magic of Minecraft we’ve successfully scaled that seemingly shear cliff wall to make it all the way up to where the valuable coal is located. Now it’s just a matter of hacking some off and securing a nice clump of coal for our needs later on.


Okay, so, we have coal which can then be turned into torches with the help of an increasingly valuable stick.


Hooray! We’ve now made torches which is sure to light up any dark, damp cave we come across. We’re finally getting close to establishing our first home and the one place which will protect us from the night.

Speaking of the night, since we’ve been working so hard getting everything ready, we’ve barely noticed that it has slowly begun to get darker, which can’t be a good thing.


Remember that cave we visited earlier? Well, it’s time to get to work and turn it into a home.

Since it’s already so late outside we are going to have to skip doing a lot of the necessary preparation and simply seal the place up so nothing can get in. We can do this by making a door…


… and then placing that door at the entrance.


Ah, safety. Now nothing can get it and we have light, the two most important aspects of a well built home.

Of course, just because it’s night time doesn’t mean we go to bed. Nope, we’ve still got plenty of work ahead of us, all of which can be done from the safety of our own home, mostly because all that work is being done on our home.


As you can see, despite having light and a sealed entrance, our home still feels very much like a cave. This won’t do at all. It’s time to turn this cave into a true home complete with regularly shaped rooms.

Although, that said, I’ll also have to be careful where I’m digging in my home. Ever since I’ve been in here I’ve been hearing grunting and moaning noises coming from my rear wall…


… Because of this I’ll need to be extra careful and make sure not to dig too far into the walls for fear of opening up my new home to something that most definitely wants to get in.

Anyway, let’s get to work and start shaping this cave into a home.

After quite a bit of hacking, chopping, and smashing we’ve turned our once abstract cave into a very nice angular, square home.


Looks nice, right? Well, we’re not quite done yet. Currently in order to get to the entrance of our home, we have to jump up these blocks. While it works I think we’d rather have something that doesn’t quite take as much effort to climb, like stairs!

So, using our handy workbench and all those new materials we’ve been gathering, let’s create some stone staircases that will make walking in and out of our entrance a snap.


And then we place the stairs.


Now being that Minecraft is still in alpha, we’ll run into problems such as this from time to time. It’s not big deal though, we’ll simply hack the stairs apart and simply place it again in a slightly different location to make it work. No big deal!


And bam! Our home is done! Well, not really done. In fact, we still have a bunch of work to do to make it into something that resembles a real home, but at least it’s livable and presentable.

Seeing as how we’ve been working all night long it should probably be just about day time, which means it’s now safe to go out and explore once again…


… or maybe not quite. Despite it being day time, we still have to wait for all of the zombies to burn and die before heading out. After all, if you thought being eaten by a non-burning zombie was bad you don’t even want to know what a burning zombie feels like.

After a few moments of letting the zombie slowly cook under the hot sun it’s now safe to emerge.


Awesome! We’ve survived our first night, built up many tools to help us continue on, and successfully established a homebase with which to retreat at night. I’d say, all in all, our first day on planet Minecraft has been rather successful, wouldn’t you?

Next week we’ll tackle our second day. It should be much more interesting as we’ll attempt to make weapons and armor to brave the night. Until next week though, I encourage you to start up your own Minecraft journey and let me know how it goes in the comments. As you can see it’s a fascinating game and one that I can’t wait to continue.

So, until next time, happy spelunking!

[Try/Buy, The Minecraft Diaries]

Read: The Minecraft Diaries: Prologue [Part 0]; The Minecraft Diaries: Securing the Homefront [Part 2]