Iron Golem Farm

Our recent placement of Villagers on the Endangered Species List had us researching means to repopulate and protect their natural habitats.

The first task was a careful study of mating patterns and behavior as well as their natural predators and obstacles to reproduction.  It was quickly apparent that an increase of predation was not the significant cause of species decline.

After several confounding studies one sharp researcher hypothesized and confirmed that there was a human-induced agent, MoBGriEF*, that was endangering food sources and inhibiting the natural foraging behaviors of the species.  A swift program to stem the flow of the MoBGriEF agent into the natural environment was instituted immediately as well as developing alternative agents and compounds to replace MoBGriEF for uses that were still required, chiefly in the construction industry and pest control.

* MoBGriEF Material Safety Data Sheet

However, with only 5 known Villagers surviving in the wild we realized immediately that there was not enough individuals to guarantee species survival.  To protect the species from its near certain demise we would have to develop a synthetic means of coaxing their reproduction in a controlled habitat.  After a sufficient population was raised some of the subjects would then be re-introduced to their natural surroundings to hopefully raise new young and recover the species.

Below we describe a synthetic habitat for Villagers that we have used to successfully breed the species.  Further we found several resource benefits to the mechanisms used to induce breeding.  An additional engineering team was scrabbled together to exploit these mechanisms.

The Habitat

Several designs were considered.  Many showed a lot of promise but were either very expensive or too fragile to be practical.  In the end a simpler design was chosen.  Initially we had concerns as to the efficacy and were planning to build multiple habitats.  This proved unnecessary as the prototype exceeded expectations.

The design is a somewhat modified version of docm77‘s design.  It consists of twelve doors to a side constructed around two central pools for 48 total doors.  The pools have water sources that are place to flow towards the center drainage.

Synthetic Villager Habitat

Synthetic Villager Habitat

Synthetic Villager Habitat

Synthetic Villager Habitat

Placement of the habitat is extremely important as the species habitat is very sensitive to the environment around them.  To eliminate environmental influences the habitat was built at an elevation of 170.  A second habitat was planned directly above it at an elevation of 250 (70 blocks above) but was scrapped (later this was built with additional funding).  The habitat must be at least 32 horizontal blocks away from any other valid “houses” in all directions as described in the science publication Wiki of MineCraft.   Additionally, due to the urgency of the re-population effort a desire to be placed near our researchers was essential.  This made placement difficult but eventually a suitable spot was found directly above XP Farm.  As it happened the unique underground construction of XP Farm gave the researchers high confidence that the surroundings both around and underground was clear of harmful environmental influences.

Villager Capture and Selection

Only one location known to contain more than a single Villager individual was known, Chasm.  Chasm was a significant distance from where the habitat would be built. Although the capture of the Villager species is without challenge, moving a Villager without harming the subject over great distances is difficult.  A special purpose rail-system was built between the planned Habitat construction location and Chasm at significant expense.

Proper selection of the two Villagers to be used in the program was also essential.  At least one of the Villagers was required to be of the ‘Farmer’ profession, a genetic trait of some of Villagers.  Thankfully, at Chasm there was indeed one individual with the necessary genetic markers.


The Habitat is constructed such that there is suitable farmland in four “pods”, one pod per side.  The pods are connected via a thin walkway allowing Villagers to travel from pod to pod and encouraging congregation within each pod.  Additionally the interior of the “houses” are all connected internally.  Again to encourage breeding during their nocturnal behavior.

Synthetic Villager Habitat

Pod Catwalk and Housing Exterior

Synthetic Villager Habitat



Within two days there were sufficient breeding that the population self-stabilized at ~16 individuals.  Re-introduction eventually to Chasm and Desert Village is planned.

Additionally Iron Golems are spawned at this population level within the synthetic Habitat.  The Golems are spawned within the two pools which are the only suitable locations.  The flowing water causes the Golems to fall through the center apertures into a collection chamber.  Once in the collection chamber dissection of the Golem into raw materials occurs by Piston crushers.  The Dissection device is timing controlled with a Hopper Clock.  Through experimentation we found it takes approximately one minute to adequately and completely dissect a Golem into raw components.  The raw materials are collected by a moving water stream and drop into a hopper which stacks the material in the chest at ground level.

This process was surprisingly efficient.  Once the Villager population reached sustainable levels enough Golems were produced in a single day to collect 7 full stacks of Iron Ingots and nearly 2 stacks of Red Poppies.

Synthetic Villager Habitat

Interior Golem Spawning Pool

Synthetic Villager Habitat

Golem Collection Chamber

Synthetic Villager Habitat

Golem collection after one day with dissection device visible (right)

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Villager Mechanics

Villager Mechanics changed in 1.8.  Villagers now farm and this is essential to self-reproduction.  Unfortunately, since the upgrade they have not been doing this and this has caused their slow extinction.  It took some time to discover that the farming action and food sharing is considered mobGriefing which was disabled.  Don’t worry, I’m able to disable Creeper block damage without having to use such a blunt instrument as the “mobGriefing” setting.

Villagers will now farm again and naturally reproduce on their own.  The Villager Breeding and Repopulation Program is now in effect and our engineers are working hard at cultivating the remaining population back to self-sustaining levels.

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Forge + OptiFine Tutorial on MineCraft 1.8

These work but a very specific procedure is required.  Follow this procedure or you will spend hours (like I already did) just to find out it only works this way.

Java Classloading can get very complicated and technical even for an experienced Java engineer such as myself.  Both Forge and OptiFine are very sophisticated mods and do a great deal of dynamic work upon loading of the MineCraft application.  Consequently, there is often difficulty getting the two working together.  This solution is guaranteed to work and is relatively painless.

Mmmm!  Delicious!

Preparing a Clean MC

You must start with a clean and unmodified MineCraft Jar for the version you wish to use. This tutorial was written with 1.8.7 as the latest.  If you haven’t done any messing with McPatcher or Forge before this is probably the case already.  If not:

  1. Go to your “.minecraft/versions” folder and delete that entire folder for the version you wish to use.  Oh, and stop using McPatcher and use Magic Launcher instead.  🙂
  2. Run the vanilla MineCraft Launcher.  Configure a profile to use that version of MineCraft and launch.  The application will re-download a completely clean copy of that version.
  3. Exit

Installing Forge

  1. Download the Recommended version of the Forge “Installer” for MineCraft 1.8.  Even if you are Windows, you do not need the “Windows” Installer. Just get the regular one.  The specific version I used at this time was
  2. Double-click the downloaded Jar and run with “Java”.  It will bring up a window and prompt you to confirm the location of your “.minecraft” directory.  Be sure “Install Client” radio button is selected and click OK.  This should download a bunch of dependencies and complete successfully.
  3. Re-launch the vanilla MineCraft Launcher.  You will notice a new profile called “Forge”.  Your original clean profile is unmodified.  Edit the profile name if you desire (recommended “Forge-1.8”) and launch.  Please note that Forge at this time is simply “1.8” with no minor version number.  Mods that specifically require newer versions than generic 1.8 may have issues at this time.  You should see this upon successful boot. If not, figure out what you did wrong and fix.


Installing OptiFine

Unfortunately, at this time you cannot use Magic Launcher for this.  Normally you can just add OptiFine to the Magic Launcher list of mods and everything just works but there is a couple extra steps here to work with Forge.

  1. Download this specific version of OptiFine: “OptiFine 1.8.0 HD U D3”.  Newer versions will not work with Forge.
  2. Place the JAR in the “.minecraft/mods” folder.
  3. You can launch MineCraft with the standard launcher or Magic Launcher at this time.  Be sure to use the “Forge” modified JAR/profile.  Note: Magic Launcher may show the OptiFine status in red as that looks like an error saying “internal Mod”.  That is ok.  MineCraft should start fine and you should be able to go into the Video Options and see the “Quality” / “Performance” options that OptiFine provides.

Installing Other Mods

You are all set.  You can use either Forge or Magic Launcher to load standard client mods or Forge mods.  I, of course, recommend Magic Launcher for this but however you wish to do it is fine.   Happy Crafting!

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The OV

Everyone these days is coming up with a new hotel concept.  So I decided I would try my hand at it and created the OV.  No idea what’s that short for, but it sounds cool!  Of course I addition to the name, I was interested in creating something that wasn’t so darn square.  After hours and hours of farming Netherbrick (thanks to my friends, we found a fortress to farm from) I was able to create this building.

Of course, the flat roofs were old school so it had to have a nice oval roof to compliment the building.  Lastly, check out the lobby.  Had a little fun and tried out some artistic talent where I could.

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Bridge Over the River

I needed a way to provide easy access to the other side of the river on a new build I wanted to start.  Yeah, I have underwater adventure (to come soon) but didn’t want a simple bridge no one would remember.

So, I built this little guy, but I the river is so tiny than I doubt you will remember 🙂  It’s still fun and as you go over it I’m sure you will enjoy the river views below.

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Hot Air Balloons

Building in the desert is quite a bland experience.  To add a little color I thought some hot air balloons would be perfect.  I stacked up the dirt to get me into the air and started building the first.  After than I thought why not one dedicated to my Spartans!  And of course the most colorful of all, every shade of wool I had my hands on.

Overall I think they turned out great and thank all of the hot air mine craft builders out there who gave me inspiration to build these.

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One Detroit Center

Long ago I worked for a company whose offices were located in One Detroit Center, now known as Comerica Tower, in downtown Detroit.  I always liked the building because of the “mullet” effect it had with business (boring) most of the way up and party on top!  A little modern a little gothic like it belonged in Ghost Busters.

From Wikipedia:

“One Detroit Center is a skyscraper and class-A office building located downtown which overlooks the Detroit Financial District. Rising 619 feet (189 m), the 43-story tower is the tallest office building in Michigan, and the second tallest overall in the state behind the central hotel tower of the Renaissance Center, located a few blocks away”

My Minecraft building follows the same principles of the original on the outside, especially at the top.  It was hard to get good pictures of the base but hopefully I am close enough.

Inside, like many of my buildings, I took great liberties and created a lava flow from the very top all the way down to the bottom.  I also created a sitting area including a Green and White couch (Go Spartans!) and lighting.

This part doesn’t exist in real live at all in Detroit, but I did add a small park out front with trees and benches.  Creating a grass field in the middle of the desert is MUCH harder than you think.  But two creeper explosions later I had a nice little area in front of the building.

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“Plus” Building

Not the most exciting building I’ve built but I was looking for a hotel like, symmetrical building to create.  I’ve named it the plus building due to its shape if you look at it from the top.  Also the first build after carpet was released so the first couple of floors had carpet as I experimented with the new update.

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One South Church

In Tucson Arizona the tallest building is One South Church.  According to Wikipedia:

“One South Church (formerly UniSource Energy Tower and Norwest Bank Tower) is a postmodern skyscraper that was completed in 1986. The tower is the tallest building in Tucson, Arizona and is the eighteenth tallest in Arizona. The building rises 330 feet with 23 floors. It was designed by Curtis W. Fentres, FAIA, RIBA of Fentress Architects in 1986.”

I was in a new area where we found our second natural village which we quickly walled up.  It was time to build something BIG. Here’s my representation of One South Church in Tucson AZ. Note the full block floors and ton of torches as this was well before I knew about half block construction and mob spawning.

To round out the building I added a walkway to the next building over (inspired by the building walkway in Indy) and several fountains.

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Ivory Twin Towers

In sky (my little city) I was thinking it would be fun to create two towers that were exactly the same.  In no way where they to mimic the twin towers in NY, just two spires exactly the same next to each other for effect.  I decided to go round and have them taper up at each level and not use a single torch in the build.  Yes, that’s a ton of time gathering glow stone.

I built both towers in sandstone and then immediately regretted it.  The sand stone in the desert biome just blended right into the back ground.  The server admin and I talked and we decided that for this build, I could use a sign to replace every single brick with quartz from an admin sign (signs are where we can get basic materials created by an admin in survival mode).  I quickly went to work and love how the towers actually turned out in quartz.

One final note.  I ended up building part of the second tower over the water.  This was an interesting effect due to the rain falling on the river, even in the desert.  I had spent so much time in the desert I forgot what rain was like and how loud it can be.

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