The Christmas holiday has seen me interested in Minecraft, and in a situation where I have a lot of time to game.    So, I’ve managed to move into a very advanced situation.

All I need is the desire, and I can craft a Nether portal.    Right now, I don’t really have the desire, although I believe I have the means at last – I’ve got plenty of obsidian and flint.     This includes a full set of diamond armor and a sword, with level 30 enchantments on each.

Getting level 30 enchantments was simply time consuming, but not hard.    Killing chickens and mining items give XP, and I would smelt/cook a 64 stack of items to push me over the top.

So having done so, I read up on guides to make things easier as you play the game, and nothing else is really mentioned.   Remembering my first experience in the Nether, I’m hesitant.

I got on the best items I could manage (Full Iron armor !) with an enchanted Diamond sword.     I walked through the portal to see what would happen.    And a ghast killed me before I could even figure out what was happening.   My body fell into a lava lake and the portal was broken.   Bye bye, all my stuff.

So I read up on the Nether and have much better idea about what to do – use arrows; bat fireballs back at ghasts; leave anything alone that isn’t trying to kill you.     It’s simply not something I want to do however, over accumulating wealth.

Next step – clearly, to make my home into something more like a Castle.

Castle building, early stage

Castle building, early stage

Having far too much stone I simply started sketching out a block around which I’d construct a castle.   Some of the lake in front of the hill is gone now and filled with cobblestone.    But to get a proper castle, I’ll need stone instead of cobblestone.     Re-mining the cobblestone is not a big deal wherever it needs to go.     But how to get enough nice stone blocks ?

At first I’ve use coal to smelt them, but I don’t want to use up all of my coal.    I’ve been continuing to accumulate the various types of wood for the simple goal of filling a double chest with each type – not there yet, but halfway or more for the oak.    With enough wood, you can smelt stone.

Then on the same day I review the wiki I also get a hint from a commenter – use lava !    Lava will smelt for 1000s which is apparently an entire day and night cyle in Minecraft, or around there at least.    I sure have enough cobblestone – I had been throwing it away before beginning the castle.

And I decided to stop throwing stuff away, in the ultimate example of keeping everything.

The Overflow storage area

The Overflow storage area

One row as a walkway; two rows for chests; one row for a sign.   And the plan is to simply ad them as long as I need them.     It just feels bad to throw things away.

Turns out, the lava bucket will reliably enchant a 64 stack of items.   If you are willing to sit and watch it, you can smelt more – I think it’s an extra 36 items, for a grand total of 100.

Unfortunately, a lava river does not yield a bucket full of lava.

Unfortunately, a lava river does not yield a bucket full of lava.

So now it’s about collecting enough lava to smelt with – and I have several lakes mapped out to draw it from.     Thankfully I didn’t turn them all into obsidian, which having 150 of is probably enough.