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! (Just try to keep sanity?) Anyway, moving on, one should already have beforehand:
- A successful home base including at least a crafting, smelting, and storage rooms, a mine, and a food supply.
- Tools/weapons/armor of iron tier at least
- A wood supply
If you have met the requirements above and have a thirst for a change, then read on!
- 1 Location
- 2 Preparation
- 3 Building
- 4 Ideas for key sections of the colony
- 5 Future thought
- 6 Other
To establish a colony you need to find a space to build it in first. This section of the tutorial will help you find a good area.
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 probably isn't worth the trouble. If the place is too far, it will be difficult to set up the communications line (communication lines are explained later in the tutorial). Somewhere between these two is ideal, if possible. However, if you have gathered a lot of rails, ice for boats, or elytra and fireworks a long distance isn't really too much of an issue. One of the most important things is to 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, because of the fact that 1 block traveled in the Nether is 8 blocks traveled in the Overworld.
If you don't mind using cheats, there is an alternate way of traveling long distances. This is to 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 appearing entombed in the ground or 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!
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. mountains biome), it would take a long time to carve out space to make your colony. 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.
Lastly, you should consider the resources that are 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 probably isn't worth it.
Once you've found the location for your colony, you will have to prepare to establish yourself.
First of all, you will need to get to your colony with all the materials you need. 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 multiplayer railway. 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. Alternatively if you travel by sea, in order to mark your cruise line you might want to leave some landmarks on the ocean, like soul sand bubble columns, glowstone or even put spare boats on the sea (easier to construct but require more inventory spacing). A map could also be used in this case. When you reach the land near your main base’s side (if it’s a bit far) you can build a small port house with a bed and chests.
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)
- A bed, crafting table, and furnace
- 1 bow
- At least a half stack of arrows (unless your bow has Infinity on it)
- A few pieces of coal
- A solid supply of food (a stack of potatoes/bread/chicken, or at least half a stack of beef/porkchops)
- 2 buckets (Enough for an infinite water source and one lava if needed. If storage space is limited, two or more blocks of ice may be substituted for Water Buckets.)
- 1-2 stacks of cobblestone, which can be generated on-site if you have both lava and water.
- 2 stacks of dirt (good for putting up small walls and fortifications)
- 1 stack of torches
- A stack of wheat seeds
- An ender-chest (For another inventory)
Fill a shulker box (means a trip to the end) and then mine it. When you come to a place of interest, place it and open it. All your things will be there. This can hold a whole chest-full of supplies in one inventory slot.
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.
Advanced Colony Kits
These materials are hard to obtain, but if you have them they can help you:
- 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 saplings (oak, birch, spruce, jungle, acacia or dark oak; preferably choose the one, if any, that you will use in your build)
- A partial stack of bones
- If available, an ender chest, which you can store even more items in.
- Some wool (or just one or more beds. Note that the beds will not stack.)
- Several shulker boxes
- Tamed llamas
- At least one lead
- A shield
- A stack of iron ingots (if you want to bring more, carry iron blocks instead)
- Optionally, some redstone (dust or blocks)
- Optionally, a quarter-stack or so of melon slices or seeds, and/or cocoa beans.
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.) These are not necessary, but can be helpful.
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.
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 than you think, 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). Once you've cleared an area, 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
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 build on a spot just because there's space.
To do list
The things you should focus on first are on this list in order of importance.
- Build a small house/hut.
- Flatten land for building or farming.
- Farms (wheat, chicken, pumpkin/melon, wood).
- Walls/fencing, to keep mobs out.
- Watchtowers (put as many of these up as possible, you can put snow golems in them if you want to).
- More animal/plant farms! You will need as many resources as you can get.
- Other expansions.
- Start building or expanding the colony.
If you level a space and build a strong wall with towers first, you will probably find yourself out of materials. Set your priorities, and stick to them.
Ideas for key sections of the colony
This is the blueprint gallery for a basic colony.
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.
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 pumpkin pies, melons or cocoa for small-change food, wood for tools.
Mines are a way of collecting useful raw materials for your colony or to deliver home. Mines can be placed on the surface where stone appears, extend down from a basement, or be dug into a mountain. Mines placed near the colony make it easier to carry the items up to storage. Mines usually leave large, open areas which can be used to expand the colony underground, if needed.
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.
- Processing Center (a room lined with furnaces). Maybe add an automatic smelter with hoppers and a minecart system connected to your mine.
- 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 harbor with 2+ boats, a chest to store all the things you have caught, and a furnace or smoker, campfire to cook fish.
- If you have horses, a small stable.
- A mob farm or grinder to gather other essential items and experience.
These are some ideas to enhance your colony even further in the future.
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. Communicate by putting a book and quill that you have written your message in into the chest. Then send the minecart along the minecart track.
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.
If your colony remains long enough to keep active for a long period of time or permanently, it may be a good idea to upgrade the colony to the point of being a secondary base (See 6.2). Give it the comforts of home, such as beds or a village.
If you decide to make your colony temporary, or you've exhausted all the resources around your colony, there are a few things you can do:
1. Give your colony to another player that recently joined your world so they have a base to work with. Make sure to take the items you don't want them to get.
2. Leave it there, but collect all your supplies. Maybe put up a sign saying your colony is abandoned.
3. Tear it down to salvage all the building blocks if you plan to make future colonies. Tear down all the buildings and cover up all holes, and if you want, leave a memorial of sorts in the center.
4. Give it to a neutral player and let them handle the problem of low amounts of supplies. (Comparable with 2)
If there is a village in the vicinity of your colony, use it!
The best way to do this is to conquer the village
- Pillage! If there is a blacksmith, the chest can contain valuable items. Also, harvest all the wheat, carrots, potatoes, beetroots, melons (if in desert or savanna village), and pumpkins (if in taiga or snowy taiga village). Many of the buildings in villages contain chests, just take what you need.
- Destroy! Level all the wooden houses to the ground. This will provide a massive amount of wood resources. (Note: Don't break the temple or the house foundations! That is what mining is for!)
- Occupy! Live in and expand the largest house of that village. If there are any other villages nearby, level them as well. Conquer those other villages the same way.
- 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.
- Place a bed in a large house and use it right at sunset every evening to keep creepers from spawning, until you…
Villages already generate beds, one bed in small house, two beds in medium house, and four beds in large house (plains village only), however villagers may occupy those beds, so you should place a new bed in a bedless building such as a temple, a fisher's cottage, a butcher house, an armorer's house, etc..
- Build a fence or wall around the village and light it, and the roofs, up with torches.
- Create a villager breeder by placing beds everywhere, then build trading stalls and trap excess villagers there.
- Door in hand, drop to the bottom of a well, place a door, and dig to the side. You now have a player only entrance (as villagers float) to your new mineshaft.
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 either end) you can always convert 1 log to 4 wood 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 them, 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 planks 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 making mistakes 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
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 on 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 5×5×3 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 (e.g. it is 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 containing at least 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, at least 3 large housing complexes, and an ender chest in each room. It should have a chest or more 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 contributor/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.)