<a rel="me" href="https://mastodon.cloud/@jasonpettus">T</a>he personal journal of author and photographer Jason Pettus

Minecraft: Lush Cave Inc. part 1: A new adventure begins.

In which I abandon my previous Minecraft story to start this new one, which in the brand-new v1.18 has all kinds of cool new breathtaking things to see and do

#minecraft #roleplaying #storytelling #game #tale #1.18 #lush #cave #craggy #peaks #safety #conservation #improvement #terraforming #tourism #monetization

Surprise! I'm abandoning my old v1.17 roleplaying story I've been playing along with here at my journal for...nine months now? And that's because version 1.18 just came out, and is featuring for the first time two big major breathtaking things I've been really looking forward to — three new types of massive caves, including the “lush caves” that are full of living things, including new stuff like moss, azaleas, glowberries and more; and three new types of ultra-high mountain biomes known as “peaks” (stony, jagged or frozen), which are now not only twice as tall as the previous tallest mountains, but with a massive amount of coal and iron found in these brand-new ultra-high layers, so that you can start building massive amounts of iron armor, tools and weapons, which will do in a pinch when you're enchanting things, when compared to something like diamond that's so super harder to find in large amounts.

I thought as long as I was rebooting, I would think up an entirely different kind of roleplaying storyline and internal game goals than I have in the past, which were largely about creating giant farms, harvesting a massive amount of raw product, then turning all that into sophisticated buildings, armor, weapons, machines, trainlines and a lot of other stuff. So I got to thinking, what if I lived in a nearby village and had heard about these brand-new discoveries of lush caves and ultra-high craggy mountain peaks? I too would be excited about them, and would surely be happy to spend some of my village middle-class money on taking a smooth ride out to one of these lush caves, where someone had already come along, made the entire space safe from hostile mob spawning, conserved what was there and even added to the interior decorating, then built a structure in the middle that's like maybe hotel rooms looking out at it all, a big 360-degree viewing circle, probably a conference hall or whatever, you know, the kinds of places you find in a tourist spectacle space like this. I'm the dude who's planning on getting rich, rich, rich, by finding one of these rare caves, keeping it to myself, going out alone and making it safe from monsters, then renovating and building everything inside, and making a safe path out that leads to a train ride down to sea level, where the middle-class will come in with their bulging wallets.

So I'm not really worrying too much about setting up a farm, harvesting a lot of raw items, but rather concentrating on digging out as much coal and iron in the peaks as I can, turning the coal into torches and slowly lighting up the lush cave, and turning the iron into tools which I then enchant so I can get through a pile of stones or wood lickety-split. And then the way I manage to put together sophisticated things like bookcases, enchantment tables and the like is by inventing a “house rule” for myself, which longtime readers will remember is basically a fancy way of saying I'm cheating a little, claiming that I'm trading some of this endless iron and bronze I'm digging out of the peaks with the nearby villagers for these more sophisticated items, while in reality I'm just using the cheat code “/give.” I'm a fan of house rules, what can I say? I can easily justify them each time with, “It makes logical internal sense for the game, and is a thing Minecraft really should have, so in a way I'm really kind of doing both them and me a favor!” (Sorry, I forgot to also mention, the only time I play Minecraft anymore is on Saturday nights while high and listening to “dadcore” gentle electronic dance music.)

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

Let me admit that I cheated a little right off the top as well, in fact, out of frustration; because the way you find a lush cave (which is of course underground and can't be just seen) is to look for the game's brand-new azalea trees (in reality just oak but with pink flowers all over it), because they can only grow directly over a lush cave. And with hand to heart, I tried four different seeds in a row where I walked and walked and walked and walked but couldn't find an azalea tree to save my life. So I gave up and went on THE INTERNET and found a recommendation of a particularly great seed that has a particularly dramatic lush cave, crammed inside a particularly dramatic biome of snowy and jagged peaks, and with a village right by. It's a procedurally generated universe, after all, which means if you have the large number that all the algorithms start spinning off from there, anyone can replicate any billion-block unique universe any time they want by having that 16-digit number that starts it all. Blows my mind sometimes, man. Here I am at spawn point, near the ground, with the peaks in front of me and the lush cave behind and to the left. See that one way, way off in the distance, almost silver-blue in color it's so hazy? That will eventually be the place I end up to establish a top-down strip mining of a craggy peak, for the massive amounts of coal, iron and copper it will yield, since I play in this “Survival Plus” mode where I occasionally add the “legal” use of cheat codes under certain conditions, but otherwise need to mine and build all my stuff like weapons.

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

Once I slowly climbed my way manually up to the top of the nearest peak, a snowy one, I realized that by now being twice as high from the ground as you ever were before in Minecraft, the clouds are now way down below you, which admittedly looks quite cool. But alas, two problems with the idea of starting a strip mine on the peak I was on: it's full of the brand-new goats, which for those who haven't heard now have the capacity to ram you when you're least expecting it, knocking you off the mountainside to your death; and there's now “powdery snow,” which when you walk on it causes an avalanche that can bury you and kill you that way.

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

So, I started building, very slowly and carefully, a bridge that would take me straight over the valley and to the nearest peak I could safely strip-mine. That's a hell of a lot easier than manually climbing down the entire mountain, then climbing back up the second one.

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

And I built.

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

AND I BUILT!

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

But finally I reached the jagged peak on the other side, where my mining adventures finally began in earnest.

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

(Here's a look back at where I started. Remember, I have to keep going back there, because that's where the lush cave is, but this will be a lot easier now that I'm here and can establish a teleport pad [but more on that in a bit].)

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

Over at the lush cave, meanwhile, I took these first couple of stacks of coal I was able to dig straight out of the surfaces of the mountainsides, and cranked out several hundred torches which I started laying quickly inward from the tiny little surface-level fissure that led me into it to begin with. This has to be done before anything else, because anything lower than a light level of 7 (i.e. seven blocks away from the nearest torch) is dark enough to randomly spawn a monster, so the cave will never be truly safe until I get the entire space lit to at least a level 7. Even then not technically safe, because undoubtedly in some of those far walls too dark to see yet, there will be tunnels over to yet other cave sections, which will need to be completely sealed up with concrete (or glazed terracotta in my case, yet another attempt to add another cool interior design detail to his lush cave space which will serve as the Disney World-like “ooh, wow!” place where everyone will want to come.

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

As I start making more and more of the space safe, though, I'm discovering more and more delightful things that I didn't realize were going to be in this new lush cave biome, which makes it so worthwhile — carpets of moss and flowers, the new axolotl friendly mob who only shows up in caves, tropical fish who bob and dance in the splash of a 150-foot-long indoor waterfall. I love it, Mojang; I love it all.

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

At the level where my insane bridge is (which is now officially named “Foolhardy Bridge,” and will eventually be part of the tourist experience here), I've just clear-cut an entire wedge out of the mountain that I'll be replacing with glass walls. None of my living stuff will be there at that point, but moved up to the aerie at the very top of the mountain; this will serve as a reception space, maybe, what, a cafe for the tourists, something like that? And I'm even going to build a giant observation tower and super-crazy spotlight that people will be able to see for miles (eight campfires on top of hay barrels, with a beacon in the middle), in the spirit of the whole Gatlinberg Tennessee – Branson Missouri – kind of genteel Southern tourist trap places built around natural wonders down in the Ozarks area and then east into the Smokey Mountains where I and my family spent a lot of long summer week-pluses on vacation; I want this entire build to have that kind of feel to it, actually, a real Meramac Caverns feel if you know what I mean. And I think you do know what I mean.

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

But now I need a bunch of glass, and to craft that I need a lot of sand. So I took advantage of yet another “house rule” and allowed myself to use one of those seed mapping services that exist all over the web and are all free. As I said, you only need a universe's beginning seed number, the one that all its complicated algorithms start spinning themselves off from, to duplicate the entire universe in exact detail each time whenever you want; so some clever coders have used this not to replicate the 3D playable space, but rather a 2D map you can quickly scan and zoom in and out of. Nice! Mojang, why don't you have this as part of the official game yet, sheesh?! So staying with the “Survival Plus” rules I'm following, I need to build a boat and actually sail to the closest desert location at least once, where at that point I can utilize yet another house rule and give myself permission to build a “teleport pad” wherever I want to come back. In reality, I'm just using another cheat code, the “/tp” one, which actually does let you instantly teleport to any X, Y and Z location you give it; but I'm pretending that this is an ability that officially exists in the game, once I reach a destination the hard way at least once and can build the teleport pad that will let me go back home.

I only have to make the two-day sail once, southwest of my current mountain base; and once there, I'll have a chance to visit two more villages, hit my first two desert temples that I'll get to raid like Indiana Freaking Jones, visit one of the mysterious ruined portals (that's guaranteed to have a treasure chest full of cool things), and even dig up a bunch of bone block fossils, which I can grind up into magic fertilizer, which for example I can use to grow glowberry vines around the cave in just an insane number. That's an important thing to know about the cave, that the ugly torches are temporary only; they'll eventually all be replaced with glowberries, glowstone, candles and iron torches, to give a very polished and professional look to the entire space, one that commands the big bucks from the village tourists. Over at the desert, I'm also going to start digging down, and hopefully get quickly to the new negative Y levels that have come brand-new with version 1.18. That's right, negative numbers! That's where a growing and growing amount of diamond can be found, the deeper towards -128 you get, and most of the redstone and lapis lazuli (which is what makes the enchantment table I traded with the villagers for work). I'm going to be digging at 200 to 100 in the sky, and then from -64 to -128 in the bowels of the earth, using teleport pads to instantly go from one to another, to get everything I need for a particularly spectacular build.

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

Minecraft 1.18 Jagged Peaks and Lush Caves

So all that is coming next Saturday night, the absolute soonest time I have for just stopping everything else I'm doing, getting super high, strapping on my bone-conduction headphones, and really digging into some major mining, smelting, crafting and building. For now, I leave you with two more shots of Foolhardy Bridge, one from sea level (what the tourists will first see when they arrive), and then from the top tip of the universe where my mountaintop aerie and signal flare will be. It will be a spectacular build if I have time to get through everything I have in mind, and I hope you'll have a chance to stop by regularly to join in with the latest.