Sneak Peek and Upskilling

I’ve been working on a Minecraft mega-build. I don’t think it’s as mega as some of the things made by the Hermitcraft server people but this is still pretty large. I’ve been working around an hour a day for what feels like ages. It started out as an experiment and now I seem somewhat obsessed with it all. I think about the plans as I go about my daily business and some of those have had to be binned as just too extravagant. Once this build is finished I think I might have trouble becoming motivated again in Minecraft, it’s been such a labour that this could end my metre-cubed-block career.

Sneak Peek
Sneak Peek

There’s also the problem of saving this build for posterity. That is where I will be upskilling. I intend to record some videos, to be placed on the YouTube platform, of me moving around the world and talking at the same time. I tried doing this in the lockdown and I hated it but I think it’s the only way to record the details of this build. I’m going to be testing recording and talking in other areas of this world to get practiced at this and hopefully be able to sound almost professional when I publish the videos of this build. I’ll also be using the PC rather than the PS4 to complete the screen recordings so that should look at lot better too.

Beach House Complex
Beach House Complex

I do not intend to learn any video editing software so I expect my tour around the base will be short clips rather than one long massive video. That way I can maximise the information given. Wait and see.

View From The Top

I shared a screen clip from the PS4 on Twitter recently. It shows the view from my current build project and looks towards my beach house.

I’ve got a slightly better version if you can’t get to Twitter.

Beach House View
Beach House View

While the structure I am standing on remains top secret I can talk you through what you can see. The green rectangle in the lower left area is my redstone testing area, it’s where I go to practice or test out builds before taking them to their proper installation place. Directly above this in the picture is Beach Station which is just visible but is made of glass and green concrete so it is quite well hidden. The lump of red in the sea is my nether portal. The monolith of obsidian is a monolith of obsidian. Below the red nether portal is a clump of trees with my beach house hidden just behind them. The small wooden structure in a lagoon is the beach bar and above that is my wood farm with height restriction.

Keep a look out for news and maybe a video of the monster build I’m currently working on. I’m currently trying to decide whether to have an external block on the latest layer and I am not quite sure – maybe it should be glass?

Build Plans

At the beginning of the national lockdown I went out for daily exercises with the kids and they talked constantly about Minecraft and I just nodded along. Then, I decided to join in and at least understand what they were talking about. Now, about half a year later, I still don’t always understand what they are talking about but I do at least get some of it. Our second world is progressing well and the luxury now is that we’ve conquered farming and so are able to devote time to “projects”.

I will confess that I have been using a map application to help with guided mining. While cheating I don’t think this is the worst cheat. I also started showing coordinates on screen which feels a little like cheating, but, not the worst as far as I’m concerned. Recently there have been nether tunnels made to progress around the world faster than my minecart railway from the Meadow to the Beach.

A while back I introduced the world to the HOLE via my YouTube channel. I don’t think I wrote about it on these informative pages but I didn’t really have much of an idea what to do. I think the HOLE took about two weeks to dig playing one to two hours a day. Two hours is my limit before I start getting restless.

The bottom of the HOLE is now layered with glass, there are torches placed at the lowest bedrock level and I have also filled a layer of water at the moment to save me dying if I fall into the HOLE. I might or might not remove the water, I’m not sure yet.

I have started a build project in the HOLE. It is going to take some time. So far I think I have spent about a week on it, playing for one to two hours per day. There are a few issues. The main one is resources. After building for a session I am generally out of particular resources and have to spend the next session building those resources up again. It does give me a break from the project I guess and allows me to think about how to design the next stage. The lowest level of the build was almost done as a proof of concept and it looked so good that I decided to carry on. After about a week of building the whole project started to take shape in my head and I now have most of it loosely planned. I know what I am going to do, it’s just a matter of getting the resources and doing the building.

I guess there will be a grand reveal here and on YouTube. I expect this project to take another two weeks to complete the main section of the build. I think it’ll be another couple of weeks after that to build the extras – such as minecart tracks and redstone components. So, given delays and that a national lockdown seems unlikely, this project looks set to last another month. I can’t wait to show people around the project. I will have to come up with some name for it.

HOLE Teaser
HOLE Teaser

Beck Map

This most definitely is not a Harry Beck type map but maybe I should produce one. This map goes with the previous communication about the Minecraft world that I inhabit and the underground system that I made. Apparently we are now working on an infinity room in the server, whatever that is. I hope I have enough RAM to cope with that!

This map shows an aerial view of the meadow area of the server world. The straight lines represent different sections of the underground system.

Meadow Underground System
Meadow Underground System
  • RED – from Meadow Station to Harbour 1
  • WHITE – from Harbour 1 to Main House
  • ORANGE – Meadow House to Harbour 2
  • YELLOW – Harbour 2 to Mountain Base

Do these colours match the colours of the lights in each tunnel? Of course they do! Below is an overview of most of the world so far. We have discovered some deserts and a cold region but have yet to find a jungle biome which is a little annoying.

Current Interesting Parts
Current Interesting Parts

You Gotta Get About

It’s been interesting removing oneself from the shit-show that is 2020 and enjoying my Minecraft server world. In the server world things aren’t perfect. I die sometimes, normally from entering the Nether, creepers seem to blow up my most treasured aspects of the world and occasionally I get lost and spend days walking back home. All of this still makes Minecraft better than 2020 or almost any of the last four years. My favourite time is when it rains in Minecraft. I love it. The sounds, the smell, the not getting wet. Now, I’m a little gutted as this is the second draft of this I’ve had to do. My first draft disappeared into the ether[net] and I don’t know what I wrote. I know I was happy with my prose but something will be lost this time around and you won’t get the chance to read my brilliance.

So, here we are, another video which is a screen clipping from the PS4. I looked into doing this properly with a voice over and all that jazz. I downloaded some software and recorded some screen clips on my computer and then starting meshing all that stuff together and having a go at a voice over. What did I learn? I learnt that I hated speaking out loud. I can just about do it for work stuff when I record lessons but I did not enjoy trying this out. Then, I also learnt that I spoke too many “ums” as I tried to commentate on a five minute clip. So I decided that I wouldn’t do it. Now, I do know that learning a new skill takes time and practice. I am giving it neither at the moment but I think that might change in the future and maybe I’ll give this another go over my summer break. What follows is a written description of the sort of stuff I was going to say.

This video takes about a Minecraft day. In fact I go to sleep at the beginning and the end so it is pretty much a day. We travel from one end of the Empire to the other but there are still aspects that are missed and maybe I will cover those one day.

So, we open at night and I am atop the Mountain Base. I sleep in the mountain top hall that I built and then head down the stairs to the internal secret hall. I think I want to make all the walls by the steps the same as I feel it’s a little messy at the moment. It was meant to be a secret staircase and so didn’t matter but every time I use it I think it needs smartening up. At the bottom of the ugly steps I look in a chest and take a rail – I’m not sure why because I didn’t even put it in its rightful place in the basement later, then I head out into the main hall and get a minecart from that chest. Then the journey starts! We get a tour of the underground railway I built.

Mountain to Harbour 2

The journey from mountain to harbour 2 station has smooth stone blocks and the railway lays on wooden planks. The lights start out as yellow stained glass and all the torches are placed one block rearwards from the track and with smoothstone surrounds. The emergency doors into the mountain base open and close automatically keeping the different areas secure. Once the yellow accented lights run out we get shroomlights. The whole idea of this was to give each branch of the underground from the main Meadow House a certain look and feel so you always kinda know where you are in the system. At Harbour 2 station we can see it has a purple concrete and smooth stone design to it. The way to the surface is a long ladder. The station at the top is designed to be similar to the platform area. We get a short look at the mountain base. Then, there is the harbour with the flip-flop switches that are operated by buttons and open and close the water exit to the harbour.

Harbour 2 to House

This section of the journey doesn’t take too long and we head to the main house and store room. House station is designed in white concrete with a light blue concrete ceiling to match the store room. The floor is glass and most of the lighting is torches under the glass. It costs a fortune to keep the glass clean of soot and dirt! Then we head up stairs to the Basement Storage Area which I built. It’s all nicely labelled and everything has a place. Every now and then I have a tidy up because other players on the server leave things all over the place. There is an enchantment room and a portal to the Nether. The doors to the station look hidden but are a bit obvious if you are the type of player who likes to go around pressing every button that you find. I do like the flip-flop circuit.

House to Harbour 1

Harbour 1 was the first harbour I built. I spent quite a while rowing around the rivers trying to map out the land. I have stairs places on all explored rivers which point back to the main house so if you come across a river you can find your way home. These walls on this line are a snazzy stone effect that I can’t remember the name of. The lights are white on this stretch of track. I think my favourite part of all the railways is the bit on this section where we go through a cave. I think it just looks nice considering every other part of the journey all looks the same. Harbour 1 station is red glass and wood accented. I think there’s even a tree growing up through the middle of the ground level building. We also see the first harbour and a glance at Meadow House. When looking at Meadow House you can see two platforms that were designed to give an overview of the meadow. The top one is called The Top and it’s just slightly too high for all the animals to be rendered when you get up there so you can’t actually see a great deal of detail. It’s nice up there though.

Harbour 1 to Meadow Station

Meadow station was originally the start of the railway line to the beach because it meant I didn’t have to have so many resources to build the line. Over time I wanted to be able to avoid walking and now I have achieved that. The underground line heading that way has the same snazzy stone things and pink accented lights. All turns in the system have signs on them in case you get lost. Meadow Station is a glass topped glorious sweet design that makes me happy. It was my first ever use of sea lanterns. There’s not really anything else there now but the station. It looks so nice I don’t think I’ll get rid of it but I rarely use the station for anything other than passing through.

Meadow Station to Beach

This is boring and takes around three real minutes. It’s quite good if you need a comfort break while playing as you can just get on the railway and head off to somewhere nice and do stuff. I’ve spent a while adjusting the redstone torches from the last video and putting them under the track to make it all a little neater. The purple concrete blocks allow you to find your way if you get lost. The side with the torch points to the direction of Meadow Station. The monolithic spikes every now and then were waypoints for when I used to walk to the beach. They also have torches on them which point towards the meadow. Getting back home has been quite important to me. The railway heads due west and as we approach Beach Station you can see my mob farm off to the right towering up over the land. Beach station is a glory of green and glass. I like the design of it. Once off the railcart we head to the beach, the house there, the small farm and the beach bar.

The Beach

The beach has an area nearby where I practise my redstone skills. It has the mob farm which kinda works ok ish. I also have an extensive mine which I have used to gather lots of lovely resources and the underground railway to that is in the next video. At the beach we gaze at the monolith which was a suggestion of a friend and I really like it. I think it adds a certain something to the whole area. The ratios of the edges of the monolith are 1:4:9, although I made this one 2:8:18, which is the same ratio. Then we head to the beach bar and dive into the sea pool I made. From there we are able to swim underwater to my ocean viewing platform. The lower opening to this was open to the sea but waterzombie things kept getting in my house so I used trapdoors to block it off. Finally there’s my storage basement at the beach and a short journey up to the surface and another flip-flop for the doors to my summer house. We have once last glance at the monolith and then head to bed, the end of a busy day in this Minecraft world.


After my video showing my Empire I had the following comment on Twitter:

This was an omission I had to correct. So, I did. I went and built a monolith at the Beach House but it looked too small. 1 x 4 x 9 didn’t really work that well so I doubled it. You have to keep the correct ratios and here it is:

Monolith and Portal
Monolith and Portal

It’s a 2 x 8 x 18 which is a lot of obsidian that I had to make down in one of my mines. I have perfected my lava quenching techniques though! I think it looks good just floating in the air and although I touched it while building the thing I won’t be going near it, just in case.

TMA 2, Portal and the Beach House
TMA 2, Portal and the Beach House

This view has all the important bits of this end of the world. My beach house, the portal and the monolith. There’s also the remains of a tower showing top centre which was to indicate the way back – I’ve since got rid of most of it!

Monolith and Portal
Monolith and Portal

I’m currently working on a *secret project* and there will be another video released soon showing the Empire. I’m not expanding the area but I’m tidying up some of the impact of building in the meadow area. Ultimately I would like to continue the *secret project* to the rest of the Empire but I think that would be too tedious. I have other things I want to do, like learn redstone and also get a shulker box and beacon.


I’ve been building my Minecraft empire bit by bit. The last few days have had me experimenting with redstone and what that can do. I’m now upgrading different bases that I “own” to have automatic doors and security systems. Once I get quite good at the basics I’ll try to make bigger and better things. I have an area near my beach house where I practice certain builds and I have even gone to sleep realising I could have made things much simpler but, hey ho.

Here’s a video of the journey from one end of my empire to the other. You will move from my “secret” mountain base to the beach house. It’s changed a little since I made this video as I’m trying to add more stations to the system but this still represents most of “my” land.

Once I’ve got the railway system working well I’ll try and post another video to show what I’ve done.

One Metre Cubed Blocks

Lockdown has led me to have the chance to learn how to play Minecraft. I know it’s not that hard, but I’ve found it interesting and fun. I’ve also had the chance to explore parts of the world that I can’t do in real life. I had started thinking that I would write today about systemic racism and privilege in our modern society but I’m not going to, yet. I think there’s been enough said over the last while and if you read these communications you will see what side I’m on. What I will say is that if you deny systemic racism then you either a purposely not reading or learning anything about our modern society or you are racist. I think my favourite thing I’ve seen written recently was – We hate Trump because he is racist, you hate Obama because you are racist – and don’t you go thinking this is just an American problem, it is rife in this little island over here too.

Minecraft World
Minecraft World

This is how much of the current world I have explored. It is approximately 5km across its furthest points. The base is somewhere in the middle of all that! This is the second Minecraft world I have generated, the first had me on an island in an ocean and I spent quite a while on that world but I have to say that being spawned in the woods and on a land of large area is much easier. It’s much easier to find resources. I find that I tend to separate my playing sessions into three main types.

  • Building Structures
  • Off Adventuring
  • Mining for Materials

The loop top right is one that I spent a few “days” exploring. When exploring I always have a bed, food and compass in my inventory. The bed is to be able to skip the night so that I encounter as few monsters as possible. Food is a requirement and then the compass I use to find my way back to the world spawn point. My main base is close to the world spawn point and I think that’s important along with a compass. I haven’t yet figured out how to use the Minecraft maps properly I need to do some reading on them. Each session I play is between one and two hours. I find the mining good fun and I think I try to see too much logic in the placement of blocks but also need to understand that while it’s random it is also procedurally generated. Building structure is excellent and my plans are slowly getting larger. I haven’t really figured out the aesthetics of it all yet and I need to practise my use of materials cleverly to look good but I’m getting the hang of it slowly.

My Buildings - Minecraft
My Buildings – Minecraft

My main structures are marked with red blotches in the above picture. Starting far left they are:

  • Beach House
  • Beach Station
  • Meadow Station
  • Main Base
  • First Harbour
  • Secret Mountain Base

I found the beach while I was off on a wander and I decided eventually to build a pathway from the main base to it as easy access to the sea is helpful in this game. Once I had a pathway in place with lit towers marking the route I then decided that the “day” it takes to walk was rather annoying and I chose to make a railway from the main base to my beach house. I knew I would have to gather a lot of resources and that I did. I needed plenty of railway and powered rails along with lots of blocks to make the whole line one straight section of railway. I chose to do this as it’s easier to head in a single direction through mountains and over rivers than winding your way, it also requires less material. The resulting railing is just under 1,6 kilometres long.

It's a long way to the beach
It’s a long way to the beach

To travel this far in the minecart takes about three real minutes. From main base to the beach house is about five real minutes of travel. At least it gives you time to sort out the inventory and make sure everything is placed neatly. Once the main railway was in place I built stations at each end and I don’t have any screen shots of those at the moment. I then wanted to build two decent looking bridges over two rivers and a future job is to build a nice viaduct where the railway passes over the swamp biome.

My Suspension Railway Bridge
My Suspension Railway Bridge
My Standard Railway Bridge
My Standard Railway Bridge

Ill try and get some screen shots of my stations and secret mountain base and put them on here sometime soon. I wanted my stations to be fun and represent the areas they headed to. So the station near the main base is fun colours and looks like a sweet while the station near the beach is green and looks like the forests the line heads towards. I have really done any Redstone constructions yet apart from the railway. I think I will need to start these soon as I would like to have a switch which turns railway points so you can pick your destination in the station and the correct railway line is chosen automatically. While I don’t know if this can be done I am sure I could find a guide if I wanted but I will learn bit by bit.

Because I’m classically on the left of politics I’m going to mention some problems with this game. Is this important? It’s just a game you say. Well, yes this is important because all of this adds to culture and what people think is acceptable. What do the Marvel films teach us? That the world will be saved by gods and masked superheroes with immense damage and that all arguments can be solved through violence. This is partly why I don’t really enjoy these movies, that and they aren’t that good. So, Minecraft. Let’s look at the overall themes. I mine coal to power my cooking and smelting processes. I harvest trees for the wood but at least I can regrow the trees or even plant more than I have destroyed. Animals roam the land and I can use them for my own purposes. I get points for killing them and also for breeding them. If I’m trapped in a village overnight I can kick a villager out of their bed and sleep in it. I can destroy the villagers’ homes with no repercussions, I can steal their food and their possessions with no repercussions. I can kill them with no repercussions. I can take their lands and use their goods for my own purposes.

This game teaches you that there are no repercussions to stealing land, taking food, killing natives, destroying the planet, building whatever you want. I know this game is played a lot by younger children who love it. They love the creativity of it. They love challenging each other and it is a massive online arena with YouTubers careers made on explaining it to the world. But, when you break it down, what does it teach you? If there’s a better metaphor for historical and current European descent white supremacy then I’m not sure I know what it is. Where was this game created? Stockholm. Who owns it now? Microsoft. This world is biased and people claim they can’t see how! There, I managed to end this communication on a depressing note.

Henry Walton Jones

Here is a picture of my Indiana Jones Minecraft character. The Cylon version is staying at home to look over my lounge. Indiana is based in my work room. He looks great, I am happy to have him.