Turtles and Tunnels

I don’t have an awful lot to talk about this morning.  I seem to be sliding into another deep turtle mode, and a pretty good indicator of that is that I have been playing a significant amount of Minecraft lately.  I don’t have screenshots to go with this post so it is going to largely just seem like a giant wall of text.  There are lots of different ways to play Minecraft, but I am a base builder.  What I mean by that is I extend my reach out into the world crafting safe enclaves that keep me from having to ever deal with the monsters that inhabit it.  As such I craft vast tunnel networks that allow me to move around without ever leaving the safe zone.  Sure I occasionally venture out purposefully to go collect resources, but I tend to bring with me this umbilical cord like network of safety from area to area.

It is though Minecraft that I realized how much I would love to live underground.  Things feel so safe there, and I think this is why I keep returning to the game when I am going through periods of stress.  I almost always start the same way…  for my first nights shelter I dig into a hillside and hollow out a little chamber, that serves as my first foothold into the dangerous world.  From there I start expanding this warren until I have a firm base of operations.  From there I decide which direction I want to expand and build my first outpost, and then start digging a 3×3 tunnel in that direction until I decide it is time to pop back out of the earth.  I tend to dig a staircase upwards and then build some sort of a tower like structure that will serve as the anchor of that outpost.

Last night for example I spent a good deal of time hollowing out a hillside next to where I popped back out of the ground, crafting three block high levels moving slowly up towards the top of the hill where I started crafting an external structure.  I tend to build all of it out of cobblestone at least as a start, and as I get access to better looking materials I start swapping pieces of it out.  My tunneling nature however pretty much guarantees I have plenty of cobblestone and dirt to do pretty much anything I can dream up.  Similarly the bulk amounts of rock that I end up clearing means I am bound to find a ton of coal and steel which helps to feed this machine.

Another thing that I regularly do is dig a staircase down to bedrock, and which point I start digging mine shafts in search of diamonds.  My first diamonds this time I found as I reached the bottom without much effort, but I spent a chunk of last night clearing things out, trying to avoid the magma and an underground lake that I found.  Magma is always the real challenge when you get down to the bottom level of the world, because if you dig long enough you are going to eventually encounter it and risk it flooding your tunnel network with fiery death.  I crafted this tunnel network underneath my first cave base, and in the second outpost I am slowly crafting my way downwards by building a series of rooms and a ladder network.

It was through this ladder network that I broke into a cave complex that goes potentially all the way down to bedrock on its own.  I managed to clear my way down to a ravine in the middle of the earth, but that is as far as I went because I was running short on torches.  I could however see magma down at the bottom lighting the structure up so in theory that is another network to explore.  I need to spend some time clearing out the cave structure to craft a more deliberate path downwards so that I will not get lost down there.  That is always a problem I have in cave structures and I have tried to adopt a “torch on the right” methodology so that I can sorta see which direction I should be going based on the side of the cave the torch is on.

I think ultimately I find it relaxing reorganizing a chaotic world and crafting safe little areas for me to live in.  You know that feeling you have when you are bundled up in a blanket but it is raining hard outside?  That warmth and safety is how I feel when I am wandering around my tunnel networks.  It is a safe world that I ultimately crafted for myself… a bubble that lets me explore without ever placing myself in danger.  I know I play Minecraft way different than a lot of folks, but my methodology feels calming and relaxing.   Which ultimately is apparently the thing I am seeking out when I go into one of these turtle modes and return to the game.

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