The plan was to play through the story episodes in Guild Wars 2 today, but when I sat down at the computer, I realized that what I really wanted to do was putter around in peace and quiet, working bit by bit on my Minecraft: Terrafirmapunk house.
So I did.
Terrafirmacraft variants really extend the time it takes to accomplish stuff in Minecraft, opting for a more ‘realistic’ simulation over gameplay convenience.
As a result, house building is less of an hour or two affair and more extended across time.
It reminds me a bit of the pace of Wurm Online, in that there’s going to be a lot of open walls just sitting there for a while, incrementing by degrees, but much less aggravating in that you’re not necessarily starving to death and really really needing a shelter to begin with.
Maybe some two real life weeks ago, I started working on the ‘foundations’ of the house, or at least the ground floor flooring.
This was deliberately a big departure from my regular functional but ugly rectangular house styles that conserved materials and produced a roof over one’s head super-quickly.
A Youtube video I’d watched suggested that starting with an irregular shape would make the house more aesthetically pleasing to look at later.
So I crafted stone shovels and dug all the dirt out of the area in a semi-random pattern of rectangles.
The smooth stone blocks have to be chiseled out from raw stone, and then mined out. The type of stone determines the color. This rough light greyish flooring is gneiss, the stone around my home locale. I figured I’d be spending most of my time on the ground floor, sorting items into various chests, so it had to be something light and netural on the eyes.
Chisels require metal to make, so first I’d have to smelt the metal alloy in the forge and crucible, and hammer out the necessary tools on the anvil.
Armed with hammer and chisel and pick, I traveled over to the nearest pile of raw stone to chisel smooth blocks out of them (feeling a bit like an ancient Egyptian or some other rock quarrier – fortunately these are pretty small blocks and the game is kind enough to let you just carry them in your inventory and not have to roll them on logs or float them downriver in rafts in order to move them.)
The floor was laid in.
The straw thatch forming the outline was a whimsical decision on my part, mostly intended to save on raw material (that’s a lot of rocks to chisel out for something that will remain hidden from view.)
I thought it was rather clever though, as using some other cheap material like dirt or cobblestone or gravel would be risky later if I decided to dig a basement and end up with a small cave-in. Dirt also had the disadvantage of getting overgrown by grass and blending in, rather than forming a clear boundary.
I also liked the pretend simulation aspect of using the thatch as a kind of building insulation. Granted, a better simulation of insulation would be putting thatch in between two walls, but that would be one massively thick wall and be hard on materials cost to boot. Not that desperate for verisimilitude.
The result some time later: one pretty layer of floor, visible on the map.
Enter another game session, and it was time for the walls. This took more experimental time deciding on a nice color of brick, from relatively nearby stone biomes.
I knew I wanted them out of stone. I’m scared of flammable houses.
Eventually, I settled on chert.
One has to mine the raw stone with a pickaxe, yielding small rocks of chert.
One then crafts these small chert rocks with a chisel in the crafting grid, to form lone chert bricks.
These chert bricks are then crafted with another item, mortar, made from soaking sand in a barrel of limewater over time, to form the final buildable-with chert bricks block.
After making a sizeable quantity of bricks, I start laying in the walls, making building decisions on the go.
I like looking out of any house, so I leave room for big window panes to be put in later, assuming I ever figure out glass. (The compound is all fenced up anyway, so it’s pretty safe, even minus the glass.)
I’d already gotten the first floor of walls set up and a set of simple stairs leading up to the next floor, when I came in this afternoon to work on the house again.
The second floor was being problematic.
I hadn’t decided on an appropriate color of flooring for the second floor.
The outside join between the first and second floor had to be worked out, since I didn’t want just a straight flat brick surface like I’d usually just resort to.
I had a number of false starts experimenting with small quantities of slate and claystone bricks, thinking a different lighter color might offer some variety of look. I tried chiseling them into microblocks – Terrafirmacraft’s microblocks are really annoying as you cannot retrieve the material once chiseled. I tried different shapes with Carpenter’s Blocks, that let you make sloped surfaces.
No go. They just wound up looking bad or just not nice.
I ended up taking a break to work on another project. I wanted to make a controlled tree farm on a raised, fenced platform keeping dirt in, and high enough to make a nice flat surface.
I had to search for cheap gravity defying materials.
The oak scaffolding was interesting, relatively cheaply made from a lot of sticks, but in an episode of hilarity, the moment I dropped the first dirt block on it, the dirt block sank right through, caving-in that particular scaffolding block it was placed on.
Oops, apparently it couldn’t support the weight of gravity-affected blocks, even though it would support a player standing on it and gravity-defying blocks could be placed on it.
Well, I’d always intended to attack the rogue dungeon next to my house and break it down for spare parts. Maybe some of the blocks could be repurposed.
Enter a Minecraft night or two of shimmying up to the top and demolishing every layer with an axe.
It yielded a surprisingly respectable amount of treated wood stairs, and white cedar paneled blocks.
The white cedar panels were what I was after to form the base of my gravity-defying tree farm platform, but what was I going to do with all these treated wood stairs? The staircase to the tree farm only needs to go up so high.
Hey, this doesn’t look half bad.
So all I need to do now is continue with the same color chert bricks to make a second floor, and it should still look somewhat-aesthetically-together.
A look at the inside while under construction.
On the right is one of my false starts with slate bricks. Just doesn’t color coordinate and looks flat and ugly.
I’m especially tickled that this plan lets me stack yet another layer of thatch. More “insulation.”
The inside of the thatch will be hidden by the stone floor, whatever color I decide it to be eventually.
The outside of the thatch is the treated wooden stairs frame.
Then I’ll stack chert bricks on top of the thatch, and no one but me will be the wiser that there’s thatch inside.
And so the house progresses, little by little, session after session.