Desert Survival – Part 1

Creator: CiscoQL
Site: Minecraft Forum
Map’s challenges:

  • Build a two story house/base made primarily of glass.
  • Build a brick fireplace.
  • Build an automated cactus farm.
  • Build an under ground tree farm.
  • Build an above ground animal trap.
  • Make a diamond mine.
  • Make a sugarcane farm.

My own choices:

  • Difficulty: Normal
  • Hardcore: No
  • Beds may only be used to set a spawn point.

Spoiler warning: Reading this before playing the map may spoil the experience a little, although I don’t cover many of the hidden resources mentioned in the forum post.

As I said in the last entry, I’m going to give a brief recap of my time in the Desert Survival map. It’s not the first survival map I’ve played but it’s the first one I’ve completed the goals for and the one that really sparked my interest in this sort of map. Generally, this blog will be updated while playing a map, but since this one was the catalyst for the creation of this blog it’s included as a recap even though I’m about ready to move on from it.

"Your one tree."

The map is almost entirely sand with very few resources available initially – less even than most other survival maps as I understand it. There are a few screenshots illustrating this on the map’s forum post. I wasn’t sure yet if I was taking this map seriously but decided that I would at least try to find “the tree” and see if I could get it. During my search I came across a piece of grass-covered dirt surrounded by lava, which I dug up and took along with me so that I could use it to plant a tree on. In retrospect this was a mistake as this was the only piece of grass I was to find until I’d almost finished with the map and there is currently no way in Minecraft to create grass without an existing grass tile. However, this didn’t make any of the challenges impossible so it didn’t really matter.

Eventually I found the tree and commenced my second piece of stupidity. I haven’t used sandstone in Minecraft for many months and in fact had completely forgotten you could make sandstone out of four pieces of sand in the crafting panel in your inventory. So how was I going to get the dirt? Getting up to the tree was easy using sand and the sand tower was able to stop adjacent to the canopy of the tree but I wasn’t sure how I was going to get back. I chopped away as many of the leaves as I dared, gaining a single sapling and leaving the lower layer as a platform. I could probably have done more than that but didn’t – I don’t like heights and extreme heights in games (like this) make me feel funny so I was on edge through this whole process.

I chopped down the trunk of the tree, realising just in time that the leaves I was standing on were now decaying around me, and stood on the dirt. To get back I crafted the logs into planks and used those to build a bridge back over to the tower, retrieving them as I went back. I lost a few plank in the process due to not thinking carefully enough about it, but it was the sapling that was the important thing. Another option would have been to leave a single trunk piece behind so that the leaf platform remained.

I can’t remember if I managed to get the dirt or not – I know I lost one of the two pieces but I can’t remember if it was this one or the first one but ultimately I had a single piece of dirt and a single sapling, which was all I needed. Obviously if I’d remembered about sandstone the whole process would have been much simpler as I could have built a platform under the tree canopy and collected everything in safety with no losses. Ah well.

Obviously not what I started with, but you could have one of these some day, too.

Since I’d successfully retrieved a sapling I decided to continue on and see how I could do from here. The next order of business was some sort of shelter. I’d already spent a couple of nights perched on various columns of sand trying to keep out of view but now it was time to get something more practical. Since I still hadn’t remembered about sandstone my shelter consisted of a 3×3 hut not far from the tree’s lava tower with sand for walls and planks for a roof. The door was more sand and the windows were an absence of sand just above eye level. By the end of the challenge this shelter had evolved into something much greater (as pictured here), but for now this was the best I could do.

I didn’t yet have a source of food and I’d taken various knocks up to this stage so wasn’t in great shape. This fact was taken advantage of by the skeletons in the night who decided it’d be hilarious to jump up to my windows and shoot me in the face. After several attempts throughout the night they managed to kill me. I probably should have blocked up the windows and sat in the dark or made a hole somewhere else. At least I’d made my shelter near an obvious landmark because I was now back at the spawn point and without sheep (which require grass to spawn) I had no way to create a bed to move my spawn point. The shelter would have been no real loss, but my precious sapling was planted outside. I would say it was also lucky that I wasn’t playing with hardcore rules, but I hadn’t even considered this as an option at the time I started.

The mine entrance.

The next thing was to find some resources and since everything on the surface was sand, the only place to find them would be underground. The only real option here was to dig straight down until I hit rock, which was about 30 blocks down. The place I ended up at also had a fair amount of soil, which was a great bonus. This allowed me to expand my tree farm, which was currently restricted to a single tree, speeding things up greatly. I was now able to make some wooden tools and (many) ladders for the mine shaft.

I still didn’t have a source of food, so the only real option open to me would be to find some water underground in which to fish. Mushrooms (for stew) would have been ideal since now they spread so can be farmed, but that would require both types of mushroom and they’re not that easy to find. As it turned out I could hear some water from my initial mine entrance and searching for this led me into quite a large cave system with the usual goodies of iron, coal, redstone etc. This cave system also brought many ambushes and deaths and I died so many times in this map that I lost count.

The first fishing area and sugarcane farm.

I eventually located some water (though not the one I’d heard) and decided to wall this in as a fishing spot. Fishing here was a little tricky as the hook tends to get stuck in the walls in small pools unless you get the angle just right. I also decided to plonk down some dirt along the edges and plant the sugar cane I’d found on the surface. I didn’t need it, but I remembered that it was one of the challenges so thought I may as well.

The new fishing area (though I realise it looks more like a swimming pool).

Ultimately, this didn’t really get much use as once I found another water source I used the two to create an infinite pool on the surface and used that to create a bigger fishing area.

Now I had the resources to feed myself and build a better shelter. In fact, it could now even be referred to as a house. I also set up a cactus perimeter as well as some on the roof to kill off the spiders which frequently hung out up there.

That’s it for part one. I’ll conclude the recap in part two tomorrow.

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Posted on 14 July 2011, in Games, Minecraft and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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