I think I am the only person in the EG family who does not play Minecraft.
*Quick headcount… not counting Zaltu, since she is only three years old and still mastering Diego’s Dinosaur Adventure on the Wii*
Yep. I’m the only one.
So when I walk into the bedroom and hear EG Dad cheering because his villagers are breeding all on their own… well, of course, I am going to be concerned. Curious, but definitely concerned.
It all started when I saw a villager trapped in a room… a digital room within the game of Minecraft, not a real villager in a real room within the EG Lair.
For those new to Minecraft, it is a computer game available online through servers or locally on your own computer. It is a game based on your ability to ‘dig’ (mine) and ‘build’ (craft). There are lots of elements to it, regarding challenges to complete, worlds to create, and strategies to apply. For all of these things, you need to find resources to create various items. And here is where villagers come in.
Villagers are useful because you can trade with them. Different types of villagers trade different kinds of stuff. For example, a cleric will sell you an emerald for an amount of rotten flesh. If you do that trade a few times, it unlocks another “level” of trades. But you can only do a limited number of emerald-for-rotting-flesh trades before you are locked out of that particular benefit. This means each villager has hidden benefits but also limited usefulness.
The more specific the trading, the harder it becomes to find these specific villagers and thus creating the pathways of trade.
EG Dad had intentionally kidnapped a villager. He had found a village a fair way off and was tired of the travel to and from the village for trade.
To the Googles! EG Dad then learnt of a few ways you can “farm villagers”. Essentially, he pushed a villager into a boat and then brought them across the ocean to his base. There he kept his villager safe from monsters and well-fed on potatoes. How magnanimous of him.
I’ll be honest. I felt a little uncomfortable about the idea of EG Dad holding a villager captive to help increase his trade record.
It’s not a unique idea but it definitely is new for our family.
The concept is that you create a space where the villagers are contained, so they don’t go wandering off and are accidentally attacked by monsters. A place where you can bring them together so they can breed. Give them enough food so they are content and therefore breed. And then they produce baby villagers and you create a beautiful cycle of trade.
In a simple process, you give them food. In the complex one, they will start to farm their own food.
The second night, I walked into the bedroom and see EG Dad has captured a few more villagers. Because his base was in a roofed forest biome, it means that it was difficult to set-up. Instead of flat terrain, EG Dad needed to work with sloping hills. That’s the thing about “villager farming”—you need resources to build this from the beginning. It is not something you can simply set-up overnight, particularly in survivor mode. As your farm grows, you are going to need space to separate them out a bit and allow room to trade.
Working with his hilly environment, EG Dad created a slightly more complicated design to prevent them from escaping—for their own good, of course. “To keep them safe from monsters”, he assured me.
He had set up a flow of water against villagers, preventing them from moving up the room to the door and their unattainable freedom.
Again, I was seeing a problem but finding it difficult to express my concern at his slavery villager farming.
It all came to a head on the third night when I heard cheering from the bedroom. His villagers had started to breed, all on their own.
I will not go into the complicated details of the whole program because even though it is just a computer game, I have watched Tron and Tron: Legacy too many times to feel comfortable about the treatment of characters ‘in the computer’.
Which EG Dad finds hilarious.
The thing is: This set-up works. And introducing me to the mathematical concepts within the World of Minecraft, I can see how it works. I’m not too sure how I feel about that, but I appreciate the work and strategy behind it.
If like me, you have no idea what in Hel is going on with Minecraft, then you may benefit from the Minecraft Festival being held in Sydney today and tomorrow (2 and 3 July 2017).
The Sydney Opera House is hosting Australia’s first Minecraft competition and festival in the Concert Hall on 2 and 3 July. The Opera House’s grand Concert Hall and Northern Foyers have been transformed into a Minecraft extravaganza spanning three sessions over two days. If you have been lucky enough to score a ticket, you can come and go between the main competition on stage and the activities in the foyer. If not, you can still buy tickets for Monday, and maybe even catch a glimpse of yours truly.
Alongside the competitions, there are a few helpful interactive sessions for beginners like myself. You can join me with Jens Bergensten (Lead Creative Designer of Minecraft) and Lydia Winters (Brand Director of Mojang), as I hopefully pick up enough tips and tricks to start playing with the spawnlings.
I’m not even attempting to meet EG Dad on his level just yet.
Stay tuned for my post-event review on GeekMom, and follow me on social media – #SOHMinecraft