Underground Temple

I found a new area where I loved the way the outside looked and didn’t want to tear it down and ruin it.  So underground I went!  The entrance is pretty subdued.

Once inside the first room is a raised area over water with a platform in the middle.  It was heavily inspired by a survival map I downloaded called “Sun Temple”.

Once you go down the next hallway you have the choice of going straight or right.  If you go right there is another fork, left going up and right going down. If you go left, you find yourself in this little room.

If you take the right fork and go down, you find yourself in a maze which ends at a dead end…or does it?  With a flick of a switch, a door opens behind you and you can continue.

And then you find yourself at the shrine of the death walker!  Lava included!

Now back to the straight path.  After three very long stairways down the ground opens up to the underground temple!  I had to build this entire thing in single player to know exactly how deep I had to dig the area.  Luckily there was a huge open cavern running right through the area so carving it out took a little less time.  The glow at the top is due to me punching four holes all the way to the surface to give just the top some natural light.  I think it turned out to be a nice effect.


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Calder Sculpture

I’ve always been fascinated with the work of Alexander Calder.  One of the types of work he does is sculpture.  I’ve seen several of his works around the country, normally very fluid, thin and red.  Most are found in medium to large city’s (that I’ve seen) so when filling out “sky” I couldn’t think of a better fit than a tribute to Calder of my own.

Made entirely out of red wool, and I would have liked to have found something thinner, I started placing blocks and just letting them flow.  Add two here, remove one there and voila, a Calder in my own little city.  Not as good as the original, but either are tribute bands…

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Upside Down Pyramid

I was trying to figure out my next project one night and someone in my family suggested a pyramid because my “city” area was being built in the desert.  I couldn’t bring myself to make just a run of the mill pyramid so I decided to build an upside down one instead.

I built it outside the walls of the city so I could look down on the monsters at night through the glass walls.  Of course I had to create an underground entrance to it from the main area so we could safely enter and exit anytime of day.  It’s made almost entirely out of glass block and sand stone slabs.  The corners are all netherrack which I’m still debating lighting up to see what it does.

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Work in Progress: Lakeside House

I found an interesting set of hills next to a lake, one of the hills had a nearly vertical stone cliff right off the water.  I decided to flatten the cliff face and then build a house into the side of the hill.  There was room for 5 rooms that were 10 squares deep.  The top room is a little small, so I decided it would be the “attic” and I’ve got furnaces and a crafting table in it.  The room below will be the bedroom and the other rooms are TBD.  Suggestions are welcome.

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Warp Station

Being able to warp at any time is really, really handy but is also a bit like cheating.  The Craftbukkit plugin we use allows those of us with administrator rights to create warp signs.  Right-clicking on these signs will warp you to the specified location, these would work even if we didn’t have the ability to warp.  It’s very much a role-playing function since we can warp anyway, but I think it was a fun exercise in seeing how I could represent the different warp points using 12 blocks.

I used to play Everquest several years ago and I was inspired by the Plane of Knowledge, this was basically the same thing as my warp station.  I’ve been reading the Mageborn book series and the main character in that book is building an underground road with portals, at some point I want to build a more elaborate warp station along the lines of what’s in the latest book, The God-Stone War.  That would give us the opportunity to represent each area with more than just 12 blocks.

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I was wondering around one night and ran into a tall mountain with a fairly flat and open top.  It was a tough climb but after checking out the views of the two snow biomes I knew I had to build something up here.  I had been doing a lot of modern builds lately so I thought it was time to go Medieval.

While not as overly large as some of the sky scrapers I had built, the castle has taken much more time and design.  From the front it looks like a castle, but alas from the rear it happens to resemble more of a cathedral.  Oh well, I still like it.  It’s not completely done yet, but it’s close enough to post it.  Some of the features include open air dungeon cells, rooms for the whole family, kitchen, throne, storage (lots of it!) and connections to the back entrance where the guard bunk house and stable are and the medieval village still under construction below.

I was very careful not include any glass in the build so all windows are iron bars.  The walls are cobblestone (easier to produce and the look works here) and I’ve attached plenty of vines.  Side note, if you put vines on the walls it WILL continue down until it hits something no matter how far down it has to go.


Top Floor

Since it looked like a cathedral anyway, I had to add the podium and pews.  The openness down to the rest of the castle was a nice feature I was glad I had thought of during the build.  This is also the floor you can take the stairs up to the connected towers and roof.

Second Floor

On the second floor are the rooms.  One for my daughter (I’ll let you guess which one it is, hint: her favorite color is pink), one for the “King and Queen” and a study with the amped up enchanting table.

First Floor

One of my favorite floors of the build.  It started with the obsidian throne.  We had JUST upgraded to 1.6.2 on our server so I went a bit overboard on carpet, using it for the run up to the throne and for place mats on the table.  Lastly is the balcony outside so you can see the peasants village below.


The basement just sort of happened.  I knew I wanted the dungeon here, but not sure what else.  Then it came to me, there is where we could build a kitchen.  If we have a kitchen we need some storage.  The storage has come in very handy and I’ve pretty much consolidated all of my building materials and stuff I’ve found or used to here.  Note, if you grow mushrooms they will spread like all over the place there is little light.

Hope you enjoyed the tour *wave*

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Elegant House

Mi casa.

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Underground XP Farm

This is not your traditional XP farm.  First I didn’t want to use a “spawner”.  I understand that this is the new and easy way to generate mobs but it felt like cheating to me.  Further there wasn’t one where I wanted it to be so the point was kind of moot.  I also did not want some huge thing floating in the sky ruining my views.

The Spawning Pads

In a large area that I flattened I dug 24 blocks down. This is the location of the spawning pads. This distance is important as mobs will not spawn closer than 24 blocks to a player, further after about 36 blocks or thereabouts mobs may stop moving. In this design we do not have a mechanism to push mobs into the trap and rely and them moving around on their own.

From that square I dug out an area 49×49, 2 blocks high. In retrospect this was bigger than it needed to be. I then built a second floor above that to same specifications. Embedded in the floor of the upper layer are Redstone Lamps. The redstone wire comes up to the surface allowing you with a lever turn the lights on and off. Some of the open area on the pads are also covered with half-blocks such there are no (or very few) areas where spiders can spawn. The pads have 1 block-wide channels dug in every 8 blocks.  The channels have water to push mobs to the larger main channels (3 blocks wide).  The signs on the side of the blocks trick the AI for the mobs into thinking that the space is not empty.  This way they walk off the edge and fall into the water.

The Spider Trap

While most of these mobs are not spiders we still might get a few. Spiders are hard to deal with and I do not want them clogging up the XP farm. The four wide water channels by the spawn pads all push to a center hole that is 3×3. Once mobs fall into this hole they again land in water. This water pushes towards a lava blade but there is a one block hole before it can be reached. This lets one block footprint mobs to fall down while allowing the spiders to “bridge” across to the water on the other side. No more spiders. If you are interested, the spiders drops will fall (if not burned up in the lava) and can be collected separately.

Mob Elevator

When mobs are touching water they will attempt to swim to the surface. This is the technique we use to bring the captured mobs to the surface where we will kill them. However, if we created just a column of water the mobs would drown. With the creative use of signs and a LOT of water source blocks you can create an elevator they will swim up but not drown

The Kill Box

The elevator goes all the way up to the surface and continues about 22 blocks. We don’t just want the mobs trapped for us to kill we want them weakened and bloody, just barely alive so that we can kill them with one or two hits of anything (like bloody fists!). Turns out a 21-22 block fall is just about right. Additionally, there is a pressure plate to our right which will push fallen loot to us so that we can reach it.

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In the castle build village I decided we needed a place dedicated to blacksmithing.  After all, every Medieval town had one according to Skyrim.  There are some great examples out there already and I have to admit I used a popular one that already existed as a model.

It’s made out of almost exclusively oak wood and stone bricks.  Looking back, I should have used spruce for the darker color but I’ve already taken out too many spruce trees to make the Medieval House.  Maybe I’ll redo it later.

Two major lessons learned.

  1. Anvils take a TON of iron to make.  Seriously, 31 iron bars is some serious mining and smelting.
  2. Don’t leave any room above burning netherrack.  I left just a little gap and the roof of the building almost entirely burned down.
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Medieval House

In the village I’m building near my castle build I just completed a medieval house like you would see in a village or town.  Made mostly from stone bricks and spruce it gives it a good medieval times look.

My two favorite features of the house are the fire place on both floors that go up through the room and the second floor balcony.  A nice view of the tower next door and of the snow covered trees beyond.

The downsides are I wanted snow to pile up on the roof so sometimes mobs appear up there, fall down the balcony and now I have to fight them off in the house.  Not really all too safe.  And the spruce is a very dark wood making the interior very dark and hard to see even when well lit.

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