Saturday, March 1, 2014

Modern House Designs for Minecraft: A House on Stilts Keepeth the Monsters at a Comfortable Shooting Distance

My love of modern architecture and legos spilled over into Minecraft in a big way. It's an obsession similar to my Sims obsession of 2000 (where I did nothing but go to my college classes and build Sims houses with downloaded wallpapers). I like the idea of small and well-designed houses that function in-game and can be built with materials that are easily mined. Anyone can build a 5,000 block mega-mansion out of diamond blocks in creative mode... but what if you're playing an online survival game with friends, and want something attractive that's easily defend-able from monsters? My logic led to me to build a house on stilts.
Minecraft House on Stilts situated in a bay. Monsters wade,
but they don't swim.
If you're building this, or something similar, "legit" then an important thing to know is that if you place fenceposts on the ocean floor, the post will physically take up the size of a normal "block" which means it creates an airbubble around itself where you can breathe. Breathing is good, as it prevents drowning. So what I would do is let myself sink all the way to the bottom of the ocean, place 2 or 3 fenceposts on top of each other.... *breathe next to the poles* ....and then fan out from there with my other posts. For the sake of convenience, I built a wide dirt platform one block above sea level on top of the fenceposts so I could build the rest of the house as if I weren't floating out on the ocean. 

I chose a shallow bay for the build site, so I could plant a lot of sugarcane
for paper production as I was planning a gigantic library after this.

Materials to get that "modern" look are white blocks (snow), gray blocks (clay), birch wood plank blocks, and iron bars to form the ivy trellis on the other side. You can get leaf blocks into your inventory by using the "shears" tool to cut trees and then place them as greenery. I also made some more designer-looking trees from green wool blocks and fence posts.

Here I built down to sea level to create a built-in dock for boats. A ladder
takes you back up to the house-level.
Interiors in Minecraft are kind of a clunky, depressing venture so I always get happy when I see someone who has done something attractive. Building glass skylights with panes is easy and more intricate looking than just glass blocks, and despite the appearance of "spaces" they would still block out spiders (not that there are any spiders in the middle of the water).
Pressure plates on top of fence posts make lovely little bedside tables.
Using slabs for roofing helps break up the blockiness.
If you're starting a project like this - I would recommend sketching out on graph paper how you want the different heights to look. I ended up changing my design a little bit as I built it, but I always start out with a sketch that looks something like this:
The "X"s on the floorplan show stilt placement, and the dashed
lines show the outline of the decking. 

Final material counts differ from what's shown and I ended up using snow instead of stone (because I found out that it doesn't melt in the rain). Minecraft physics and weather are things you have to experiment with. For instance, torches won't melt snow but they WILL melt ice blocks into water source blocks and that can be a nightmare for those who like to use ice blocks for windows instead of glass blocks.

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