One of the things my daughter and son-in-law get in my case about is how I dig mine shafts. I learned to just step down one block at a time… after having to figure it out but it left a narrow kind of shaft that even I the game, can feel claustrophobic and I realized that digging a one block wide shaft meant I could be missing out on coal and iron and other good stuff.
I experimented with both three and five block wide one shafts after understanding the odd number symmetry of the game; a 6x6x6x6 cube for a building doesn’t “look right” when doing a door and Windows but a 9x9x9x9 base offers a pleasing symmetry… but for my mine shafts, a 4 block wide thing just works – it gives room to move around, maybe lay down tracks for a mine car, and exposes more areas and some of which can lead to caverns and ravines or a spot to mine coal and iron.
I like my mine shafts nice and neat and “sloppy” shaft digging just drives me insane although I’ve often dug into large open areas and now it’s about “ignoring” them for later exploration so I can keep digging down to the bedrock level. My son-in-law, well, I make him a little,cray-cray because I developed a way to carve out an area to mine; “slice by slice” and over time, I can carve out a very large space that keeps the symmetry I find comforting and easy to work with… and makes my son-in-law want to disrupt the symmetry by digging long shafts where I don’t want them or, worse, digging up the floor and leaving gaping holes all over the place…
Which I wind up filling in or now I’m trying to regain my preferred symmetry around those long shafts he like to dig. Sometimes he’s nice and fills in whatever holes he’s made and puts stuff back the way I had it – or not – but he never fails to remind me that he, as well as my daughter, doesn’t like the way I mine while acknowledging that it works for me. I like being able to peel it away, working from left to right, top to bottom and in a manner that can be mind-numbingly repetitive and boring but I find it to be rather relaxing and, sometimes, it’s safer because you never know when removing a block will reveal water or, yikes, lava!
Once in the rhythm and unless I run into something, I can spend an hour or more carving out my “mine room” and often without realizing that I’ve been at it for that long. Digging a mine is high on my list of things to do in a new world because one of the things I know I’m gonna need is cobblestone to build a place to stay, create more durable tools, and craft a furnace and I’m going to need coal and iron – lots of it – in the initial going…
And digging a mineshaft the way I do it will eventually supply me with enough material to do what I need to do and I just might be able to find some diamonds along the way. I even have a preferred “starting level;” I always start digging a mine at level 64 which, in most places, is ground level. While there are no rules for starting a mineshaft, I just learned that staring at level 64 or lower makes digging a shaft faster than, say, starting at level 75.
There’s method to my mine digging madness and I might even be a bit OCD about it which makes me laugh at myself at times. As I’m digging the shaft down to bedrock – usually at level 6 – if I dig coal or iron out of the sidewalls, I use cobblestone to fill in the area I’ve dug out so it’ll look neat but it keeps me on track with how I’m progressing. Sometimes I’ll dig into a side wall and find huge areas that can be explored and exploited for iron, coal, and the most important thing when digging, gravel which is almost always needed for the great oceans of lava such a “side hole” can reveal or lead to and as much daughter instructed and taught me, where there’s lava, there also can be diamonds.
Diamonds are always good. In some places, water and lava have gotten together to form obsidian – and that reaction is a damned good reason to always have a bucket of water on you at all times since you never know when you might have to keep from burning up and dying. You need obsidian to build a nether gate and to make an enchantment table that, along with bookcases, can creat a room that you can use to give your armor, tools, and weapons some extra powers and abilities.
I’ve learned to leave a “doorway” for those areas so that it’s easy to leave the shaft proper – and after I’ve installed proper steps in the shaft – and get in there to explore… and I know my son-in-law happens to like areas like that because he can dig like a demented gopher without wrecking the symmetry of my mine shaft and mining room.
Madness and method. And the biggest perk is, when I finish digging my way down, there will be more than enough cobblestone and other materials for use to build pretty much anything I might feel like building and, oh, yeah, if run short, I can always spend some time in the mining room to get more. It is never if I’m gonna dig a mine – it’s always where I’m going to dig it because it’s just a big deal thing to do in a brand new world and, later, just to have something to do.
I even learned how to dig two separate mines and, using the game’s coordinate system, connect them and no matter how far apart they are… and you never know what you’re gonna come across or run into. The other day, my daughter called me a pussy because when I’m in building mode, I play in the game’s Peaceful mode until I’ve set things up the way I want to before switching to Normal mode and lets the various mobs loose.
I just don’t like trying to establish an area while having creepers creeping up on me and blowing me up or having to fight off hoards of zombies and skeleton archers when the sun goes down and my house isn’t quite ready yet and/or food is scarce in the area and “starving to death” is a real thing in this game. I ain’t got the patience to deal with that crap and prefer to work undisturbed. Yeah, I might be a pussy… but I don’t set myself up to get killed and running the risk of losing my inventory should I die and can’t get back to it in the time allotted – about five minutes.
I learned a costly lesson about this when digging my mineshaft, I fell through a gap and down quite a way into a ravine and died on impact. I lost everything and I wouldn’t have had I been in Peaceful mode and I couldn’t get back to where I died to collect my stuff without dying again. So, okay – I just might be a pussy but I’m an alive one with an intact inventory and XP points.
And besides, it’s my game and my world and I run this bitch so it’s my rules, too! Baby girl called me a pussy and her hubby agreed with that assessment so I put the game into Normal difficulty and a few seconds later near my son-in-law shout, “Oh, shit! Fuck me! I ran right into a bumch of skeletons!” And I just asked him if he was okay. I got your “pussy” right here…
It’s not that I don’t know how to play with all the things that will kill you running around all over the place – I do. But why do it when I don’t have to? And if you’re wondering, had my son-in-law died after the switch to Normal, yes – I would have laughed at him and with no real compassion or sympathy – call me a pussy, will you?