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Tutorials/Colonizing

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Note: This tutorial assumes that you are playing in survival mode and above peaceful difficulty.

You could also use this tutorial as an inspiration for future projects. It's fun to play barbarian!

This tutorial is for players who have used other tutorials and are now at the stage where they meet these requirements or, as stated above, can be used for projects; who doesn't want to be all barbarian and destroy every village? Anyways, moving on, one shall have beforehand:

If you have met the requirements above and have a thirst for a change, then read on!

Location[edit | edit source]

This tutorial is no good without a spot to use and this part will help you find the best one.

Distance[edit | edit source]

When scouting for a possible colony location, the first thing to think about is the distance. If it is too close to your home base, it isn't worth the trouble. If the place is too far, you'll have a heck of a hard time setting up the communications line mentioned later. Somewhere in the middle is great if you can find it. However, for some players, (Especially if you gathered a lot of rails or ice for boats), a large distance is really not that big of an issue. Find a spot that is comfortable to you. If you have developed sufficiently to obtain 20 obsidian, a nether transport system (if properly secured, to prevent destruction by ghasts) can compensate for long distances rather effectively, since 1 block travelled in the nether is 8 blocks (3 in Xbox edition) travelled in the overworld. Alternately to a nether transport system if you're willing to use cheat codes you can use Command Blocks to create a teleport grid. By pressing F3 you can pull up the debug screen to find your coordinates. Make a note of them for programming the command block. Otherwise, you'll have to teleport blind which risks either a) appearing entombed in the ground or b) appearing a painful distance above the ground. Using 80 as the Y value (height) will dramatically cut the risk of the former (entombed) while increasing the risk and damage of the latter (painful fall). Boots enchanted with Feather Falling IV are useful in this situation, or just use creative mode for the initial arrival and immediately switch back to survival. You'll need creative mode to program the command blocks anyway. If you aren't using the nether or teleport options be careful about going a long distance, because the reason that the massive Minecraft world doesn't normally slow down your computer or create massive save files is that it hasn't all been generated when you start, and it won't delete and respawn chunks you've already seen!

This is not a problem in the XBox edition because the world is much smaller.

Construction Details[edit | edit source]

The second point to consider when choosing a spot for your colony is ease of building. If you don't have a lot of room (e.g. Extreme Hills Biome), you had better be ready to spend a lot of time carving space for your colony into the side of a mountain. Also, don't choose a spot that is underwater or inside lava, unless you are willing to spend the time to clear out the water or lava that would intrude on your base.

Resources Available[edit | edit source]

Lastly, in your considerations should be the resources available. The main purpose of a colony is to gather resources, especially if that particular resource is lacking in the vicinity of your home base. For example, if your home base is in a large plains or desert biome, a colony near an expansive forest would make up for the lack of wood in the area around your home base. If you have found a spot that satisfies the above two parameters, but does not have a large enough payload, it isn't worth it.

Preparation[edit | edit source]

So you found your location to build on, now you have to prepare to establish yourself.

Route[edit | edit source]

Once you have the place to colonize, you need to get there with all the materials. Choose a route that causes the least difficulty possible for your journey. Also to remember, if it is productive enough to keep going, you will want to build a rail from the colony to the mother base. If you have more than one colony, it would be a good idea to build a train station at your home base. There is a tutorial for a train station located here, but you might want to adapt the design for the reception of minecarts with chests, as the design is really for a SMP rail. The best way to find this route without a lot of energy is to follow the path of least resistance back from your chosen location to your home base, planting markers such as wool or pillars (ideally signs) along the way.

Colony Kits[edit | edit source]

You have the spot, you know the way, but you still need materials. These kits can, to some extent, be changed for distance of travel and the location you are building at, but this is a basic kit.

  • 1 set of tools (sword, pickaxe, axe, shovel, optionally a hoe) and armor (iron or better)
  • 1 bow
  • A shield
  • At least a half stack of arrows (unless your bow has infinity on it)
  • Several shulker boxes
  • Tamed llamas
  • At least one lead
  • A stack of wood logs
  • A stack of Iron Ingots (if you want to bring more, carry iron blocks instead)
  • A stack of Coal (Again, switch to blocks if you want more)
  • A solid supply of food (a stack of potatoes/bread/chicken, or at least half a stack of beef/pork)
  • 2 buckets (Enough for an infinite water source and one lava if needed)
  • Some wool (or just one or more beds. Note that the beds will not stack.)
  • 1-2 stacks of Cobblestone
  • 1 stack each of gravel and sand
  • 2 stacks of dirt (good for putting up small walls and fortifications)
  • 1 stack of torches
  • A partial stack of saplings (oak, birch, spruce, jungle, acacia or dark oak in order of preference)
  • A stack of wheat seeds
  • If available, a quarter-stack or so of pumpkins (or just the seeds)
  • A stack of sugar cane
  • 2 stacks of eggs
  • A partial stack of bones
  • If available, an ender chest, which you can store even more items in.
  • Optionally, some redstone (dust or blocks)
  • Optionally, a quarter-stack or so of melon slices or seeds, and/or cocoa beans.

If you use the minimum required for this kit, you should have several free inventory spaces. You can add optional items, such as compass, clock, and map, flint-and-steel, filling the buckets with water (they will no longer stack, but you can make an infinite water source), perhaps some diamonds/gold/redstone, carrots, extra stacks of supplies, cactus, and so on. If you've already explored your target location, you might skip one or two things that are there in quantity, such as pumpkin seeds if you know there's a patch. Likewise, there's no need to bring cocoa beans to a jungle, or sand to a desert.

Whatever you do, don't be a 'hero' and think you'll sustain yourself with local items, because that defeats the point. If you did that, the point would be to survive and not to gather materials. You already had to do that in the beginning. Use what you worked for.

Other[edit | edit source]

These are misc. preparations such as laying out your colony design on paper or setting up waypoints for long distances. (This should be done while backtracking to home base.) Basically anything not necessary, but helpful in whatever way.

Building[edit | edit source]

Once you've scouted the location, prepared the materials, and traveled to the spot, you have to build the colony. A good idea is to have several sections, including a train station in the middle, and things like a living quarters, a farm, and a base of operations to organize everything you collect or produce at the colony.

Space[edit | edit source]

Make sure you clear enough space for each project you undertake before you start building. A good idea is to clear a set amount of space, such as 30×30. It might be better to clear out a larger area, just in case you decide to expand later (be warned though, if "clearing" means leveling everything by several blocks, it could be very time-consuming). Then wall it off using dirt and sand (for now) and light up the area with torches. This should give you a perfectly flat building space that is secured (depending on the amount of light) against mobs.

Optimal Kit Usages[edit | edit source]

You have brought the kit with you to use for construction, but if you overdo it, you will find yourself either scrambling to gather more, tearing down your structures, or destitute for materials. For the optimal usage, take from your supplies only when you actually need to. This means if your tools break or you have to build or repair an important structure. Don't think because you have space that you have to build on it.

To Do List[edit | edit source]

The things you should focus on first are on this list in order of importance.

  • Build a small house/hut.
  • Level out enough space!
  • Farms (wheat, chicken, pumpkin/melon, wood).
  • Mines.
  • Wall/fencing, to keep mobs out.
  • Watchtowers (put as many of these up as possible, and put snow golems in them if you can).
  • More animal and plant farms! You will need as much as you can get.
  • Misc. expansions.
  • Build away.

If you level a space and build a strong wall with towers first, you will probably find yourself out of materials and hungry. Set your priorities, and stick to them.

Ideas for Key Sections of the Colony[edit | edit source]

This is the blueprint gallery for a basic colony.

House[edit | edit source]

This basic house is 5×5×3 (not including floor) with roof access, also a basement is advised for storage. Over time, the player can add floors.

Farms[edit | edit source]

See the farming tutorials or suggestions—wheat for animal breeding/food, chicken for more food and feathers for arrows (your gravel supplies flint), pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns and pies, melons or cocoa for small-change food, wood for tools.

Mine[edit | edit source]

This mine is supposed to extend down from your basement. It makes it easier to carry the items up to storage. If you're in a desert, instead put it anywhere stone appears at the surface.

Storage[edit | edit source]

This is a large room filled with chests. It will be a 5×6×4 of any material, (preferably stronger than wood). Chests can open with any transparent block above them, allowing a player to have chests stacked on top of one another. Signs for labeling can be helpful in organization, making it easier and faster to find useful items. Since this room will hold almost all your stuff, put it in the middle of your colony in a well lit area, it might be helpful to re-locate your towers to surround this area.

Useful Add-Ons[edit | edit source]

  • Processing Center (a room lined with furnaces).
  • Cactus farm.
  • The extra things listed in 3.3.
  • Any of the more basic items listed in the Wiki article Tutorial/List of things to do with your shelter.
  • A fishing harbour with 2+ boats, a chest to store all the things you have caught, and a furnace to cook fish.
  • If you have horses, a small stable.
  • A mob farm/grinder to gather other essential items and experience.

Future Thought[edit | edit source]

For the future of the colony.

Communication line[edit | edit source]

This is essentially laying rails over the route you took to get here. This allows the transportation of materials, mobs, and yourself from the colony to the home base. Only do this if the colony will be permanent. Light up the rails so ranged mobs don't spawn close enough to hit you. Do not worry about melee mobs since they cannot spawn on the rails.

Tunnel Line[edit | edit source]

An extremely tedious form of the communication line is, rather than using rails, using a tunnel that runs just beneath the surface, usually 2×1 in size. This may be preferred if there is a biome that you would like to quickly bypass or if you just want a direct and enemy free connection. Again however, these are extremely tedious unless you plan them in advance, becoming only more so as the distance increases.

Improvement[edit | edit source]

If your colony plays enough to keep active for a long period of time or permanently, it would be a good idea to upgrade enough to be considered a secondary base (See 6.2). Give it the comforts of home.

Other[edit | edit source]

Villages[edit | edit source]

If there is a NPC village in the vicinity of your colony, use it!

The best way to do this is to conquer the village (Vanilla Minecraft style).

  1. Capture all the inhabitants, take advantage of the trading feature introduced in the 1.3 update. Look into mass trading for emerald gathering.
  2. Pillage! If there is a blacksmith, the chest can contain valuable items. Also, cut down all the wheat.
  3. Destroy! Level all the wooden houses to the ground. This will provide a massive amount of wood resources. (Note: Don't break the church or the house foundations! That is what mining is for!)
  4. Occupy! Live in and expand the church of that village. If there are any other villages nearby, level the church also. Conquer those other villages the same way.
  5. Use all the resources to build a great colony!

An alternative to destroying a village is to use it as your new colony, most of the work is done for you.

  1. Place a bed in a large house and use it right at sunset every evening to keep creepers from spawning, until you…
  2. Build a fence or wall around the village and light it up with torches, the roofs too.
  3. Create a villager breeder by building a house with all doors, then build trading stalls and trap excess villagers there.
  4. Door in hand, drop to the bottom of a well, and place door and dig to the side. You now have a player only entrance (as NPCs float) to your new mine shaft.

Note:

Although pillaging a village can provide many resources, this is very time consuming, as breaking planks is four times less efficient than wood, and cobblestone takes longer to break than stone, so don't bother if you have a wood farm and a mine. Also, if you don't intend to occupy the village, killing villagers is rather pointless, as you will lose potential traders, and possibly anger an iron golem. When in doubt, leave the village intact.

If you want to leave the village intact but harvest what isn't needed your first stop for wood should be the log borders of the fields (obviously this doesn't work if it's a desert village). You will need to leave something to block the water from coming out, but rather than leave those 2 logs (1 on each end) you can always convert 1 log to 4 planks and use those, or even use spare dirt or cobblestone. Note that the spaces the wood was harvested from can be replaced with Jungle Wood logs if you have it, allowing cocoa beans to be planted (however this may be a waste if you're not going to be there long). Your second stop for wood should be the logs in the corners of some houses. The corners of the exterior of houses aren't technically needed at all (good tip for when you're building an emergency house). Be warned though, if you put your bed in the corner of a house with missing exterior corners you might appear outside the next morning, due to that missing corner being within 1 block of your bed. Your third stop for wood should be the ceiling blocks inside the houses with stair based roofs. Stair based roofs always have 1 block of wooden plank below each stair due to stairs counting as non-opaque and villagers needing roofs to be opaque so they can understand which side of the wooden door is the inside of the house. To keep from screwing this up and making a house "invalid" to the villagers you need to leave 1 or more of the roof planks that are above the spaces in front of the door (it checks the 5 squares in front of either side of the door, but none to the sides).

Base Status Tiers[edit | edit source]

When planning a new colony or structure away from your home base, it is wise to match function and importance to resources spent on it. For instance, it's all well and good creating a nigh impregnable castle, but if it's just somewhere to hide from mobs, your time and resources would have been spent better elsewhere. Below are a few general tiers of structures and advice.

  • Tier 0: Mob Escape: A contained area with nothing inside, not even a bed, just a torch or sign to mark its location. Handy in a pinch, but you won't be spending much time in here. Put these in areas where you are likely to be attacked.
  • Tier 1: Temp Shelter: This shelter is essentially 4 walls, a roof, a bed, possibly a crafting table and a furnace, and a small area with torches in surrounding areas. Good for spending a single night. Build these en route to points of interest in case you are delayed.
  • Tier 2: Outpost: This shelter should be at least 3×3 inside, and contain a crafting table, chest (not necessarily with things in it) furnace, and a bed. Build these at points of interest, but not at places you are reliant on.
  • Tier 3: Home: This shelter should be 5×5x3 inside and have either another room or another floor. Contains Tier 2 items and at least one chest, with basic supplies in it. Useful as a temporary base of operations when you are out of your home base, or when building a larger colony.
  • Tier 4: Colony: This one should contain a home, food and wood supplies, and a Mine. Can also include a fishing harbor with preferably 2 or more boats, a chest to store all the things you have caught, and a furnace to cook fish. A colony should also have a set perimeter. These will typically be permanent, and should have sufficient resources for you to stay as long as you want. These will generally be used to deliver where your home base cannot.
  • Tier 5: Secondary Base: All the Tier 4 features, but better furnished inside and with fortifications on the edge of the perimeter. Put these where you would put a colony, but it should have rails to nearby colonies, and be capable of independent function. Use them when it is very far from home, or connection to your home base is impractical (i.e. it's separated by an ocean).
  • Tier 6: Home Base: Like a secondary base, but with better fortification, a large mine and storage, and better furnishings. Should have rails to the other places. This base should be central to all others. Generally this will evolve from your starter base, but if it turns out you have a bad starter base then you should find a suitable spot and build there, then destroy your home base. If you have already developed enough to have several colonies then you may as well stay in your best colony and downgrade your starter base into a railway station.
  • Tier 7: Empire colony: usually a permanent location which, at the center, looking all around, nature is no-where to be seen for about 4 chunks. This settlement is usually end-game and would've taken months even with help (in survival mode). This settlement must contain: remarkable fortification and guaranteed safety almost 100% of the time, at least 5 furnished structures each one being 12x12, quick and nifty transportation (maybe saddled animals or a rail system), all of tier 6 requirements and a storage structure at least containing 432 slots of storage (8 large chests).
  • Tier 8: Server Spawn/Ultimate Colony: All of the Tier 7 requirements, but 20-100 large chests, at least 1 20x20 room, 1 35x35 spawn/entrance room, a multitude of large housing complexes, and an ender chest in each room. It should have a chest for stuff that isn't needed (double), and a public crafting area, with every kind of crafting station, and possibly a store. There should be a contributer/staff wall, and if you have mods, a mod list. This will be something that you will probably want to build in Creative with friends.(Note: If you are playing Survival, then this will probably take a very long time.)

Breakdown[edit | edit source]

Note: This section is optional and may not be advantageous depending on the circumstances. In the event that the further improvement of the colony is too difficult, or that the resource payload is not worth the time spent, the best choice is to decommission the colony. In this case, the proper breakdown method is like this.

  1. Level all plant related sections to the ground.
  2. Level to the ground all surface buildings.
  3. Remove any underground structures and seal off the mine.
  4. Leave No Trace (e.g. fill holes, remove water.)
  5. Leave a small memorial consisting of a 3×3 pillar of stone, and signs that state your name, the name of the colony, it's commissioning (starting) date and the current date. Finally state the reason you left and light the area.