Advanced Stronghold Construction Information - Minecraft
In the first part of the guide we dealt with survival -- addressing the very first of the Hierarchy of Needs -- shelter and safety. With that accomplished, the next task was to obtain the various tools that were needed to gather resources and improve your lot as you survive your first week or so in the game, and then we reviewed the different mobs that you are likely to encounter -- hopefully before you actually encountered them, right?
Now that you have accomplished all of that, it is time to think about building your first Stronghold -- a creation that is historically significant if you think about it, as it was a common next stage for practically every settlement in the New World due to the presence of hostile natives... What this starts with is building a palisades or a bastion -- and when we use the term "bastion" we mean a fortified place, not a rampart...
While walls can be useful, connecting buildings by underground tunnel is far safer!
Accomplishing this means building walls around your Den -- in this case, with stone being so plentiful as you should have stacks and stacks acquired in the process of digging your first mine -- that would be the easiest material with which to construct it, but before you do so, you will need to level a large enough area to be worthwhile outside or around your Den. Ideally you will need around fifty blocks by fifty blocks or so -- which you surround with a wall that is at least five blocks high. Depending upon how fancy you want to get, you can make it three or four blocks thick with either internal or external stairs, and a walkway across the top, with well-placed torches to light it up.
Constructing the walls serves several purposes -- it gives you a place to farm and grow and harvest trees with relative safety, it provides you a place to create a pond around which you can grow Sugar Cane and, if you have moving water, Fish, and it also provides you with a place to raise animals that is again, relatively safe as long as the ENTIRE inside area is properly lit with torches so that nothing can spawn inside at night.
As you can see from the illustrations for this section, I went a bit fancy on my Stronghold -- whether you go that route or not, remember that every bit of effort and work you put into it gets paid back to you later in convenience and resources!
--== Developing a Light Plan ==--
Once you have created the interior space of your Stronghold, you will need to devise a light plan so that none of the interior space is dim enough for mobs to spawn in the shadows. This can be particular challenging if you decide you want to farm trees inside your Stronghold because the shade that they create when grown IS sufficiently dark enough to allow for mobs to spawn under it, and can even protect them from bursting into flames when the sun comes up.
Mobs require specific levels of darkness in order to spawn
That being the case you will want to devise a lighting system that compensates for this -- one way to do that is to liberally use torches on the inside walls, so that they provide a border of light, and then build three or four block tall pillars carefully spaced inside the area of protection and placing torches on each side of these pillars to light the area that they cover. Using this tactic you can easily protect the inside of your Stronghold grounds from spawning monsters without taking up too much space in the process, which leaves you plenty of room for farming or raising animals.
That is a consideration largely because obtaining a reliable food supply is a primary goal in the game, and at least half of the reason for building your Stronghold in the first place!
--== Spider-Proofing your Stronghold ==--
The ledge around the edge of the roof here prevents Spiders from climbing the walls and accessing the roof...
While using your bed every evening is an excellent way to control the Zombie and Spider population in the area (they spawn at night and by sleeping in the bed you avoid there being time for that to happen every evening) you can easily Spider-proof your Stronghold by simply adding a lip to the outer wall - a layer of blocks jutting out that prevent Spiders from climbing up and over the walls.
In addition to that you can prevent Spiders from gaining access to roofs by ringing them in fences -- as a Spider cannot climb over a fence.
Ensuring Variety Inside Your Grounds
One of the necessary efforts that you will want to make in the construction of your grounds is to ensure that there is a variety of features -- that is to say you will want at least a small area of sand for desert planting of Cactus, you will want to excavate and fill a pool or pond -- preferably with a moving water block or two in it so that you can fish in it if you like, but mostly so that you can plant and raise Sugar Cane along its edge.
You will want to use the hoe to create tilled farmland in which you can plant Wheat -- for making bread -- and Pumpkins and Melon, but do bear in mind that vine-based plants like those require an open space beside each plant in order to actually spawn their fruit.
A cross-section of farming, animals, and a pond mean diversity in your food supply!
When you create your farmland, you will want to dig out and place a water block every 8-square blocks, since the water block can irrigate four blocks in every direction around it.
Finally you may want to collect and plant flowers to pretty the place up -- that is always a nice touch to make around your home...
A properly planned and constructed Stronghold will provide you the ability to grow every type of plant in a sustainable fashion, making you completely self-sufficient once you have actually obtained the seeds and plants that you need, so as you explore your new world you will want to make an effort to acquire Wheat Seeds by chopping tall grass, Pumpkin Seeds by harvesting any wild Pumpkins you do encounter, Sugar Cane from near water, and Cactus from desert areas.
Additionally you will be able to acquire Melon Seeds once you begin exploring Abandoned Mines and Caverns, as these are found in Treasure Chests inside the same.
--== The Start of Animal Husbandry ==--
The expansion in the game of raising and breeding animals as part of your farming operations and your food-supply strategies is a natural extension of the pre-existing resource, and really if you think about it makes complete sense. That and the ability to bring animals into player-created animal housing within the broader scale of the player Stronghold adds yet another (welcome) activity for play!
Breeding and raising your own animals can be a very satisfying pursuit as part of normal game play regardless of mode, but one should bear in mind that particularly on multi-player servers and maps, the pursuit of setting up a productive and efficient ranch can serve as an attractive target for grief-play by other players. Serious efforts in ranching are, therefore, logically better served in single-player games, or in MP games that are hosted by the players rather than in official MP Server environments.
Chickens are the simplest and easiest animal to begin learning how to ranch in your Stronghold
Save for Chickens (which can be obtained by throwing eggs) the process of acquiring the starting animals for your ranching is generally accomplished by the player holding a sheaf of Wheat which has the effect of luring animals into following you, so that you can then lead them into your Stronghold, where you will place them inside the fenced-off spaces that you previously created to house them.
Before you begin luring in and acquiring animals therefore, it would be an idea to construct their respective pens -- with overhangs to protect them from rain -- and with gates to allow you access to the pens and animals in which you will be keeping them.
The following animals are efficient and productive for the purposes of ranching:
Of the above, Cows and Mooshroom will be the most challenging to locate for most players, being particularly less populous than the other farm animals in the Overworld, but with a little effort and exploration you should be able to manage this eventually. If you find that you have a choice between either Cows or Mooshrooms, the latter is the obvious choice, since they can be converted into Cows by shearing their Mushroom coats off with a pair of Shears.