Hi there, and welcome to the world of Minecraft. HighLife here, doing everything I can to ensure that you don't die a gruesome death. Before we get to that, though, I suppose I should make sure you know how to walk around and such.
Minecraft uses the standard “WASD” control scheme: “W” to walk forward, “S” to back up, “A” & “D” to sidestep left and right, respectively. You can also jump using the space bar and crouch using left shift. The mouse is used to look around and perform most actions. As a general rule, holding the left mouse button destroys objects while clicking the right mouse button places or uses objects. The scroll wheel can also be used to switch between items on the inventory hot bar (more on that soon).
“E” will open your full inventory menu. The “Esc” key pauses the game (The pause function works in single-player only, since you can't really expect a multiplayer world to just stop every time somebody needs to tweak their settings) and brings up a menu from which you can fiddle with your settings, check your mining and crafting stats and achievements, or quit the game.
|The Minecraft Inventory Menu (Item Selection)|
Get it? Got it? Good. There won't be any time to waste once you start your first Minecraft world. You've got about ten minutes from the second you begin to make yourself an illuminated shelter, or else you run the risk of dying that gruesome death I mentioned before. You see, you're not alone in Minecraft. There are creatures out there that would gladly make you their dinner. There are also some that have anger issues stemming from a severe hug deficit during their upbringing, but I digress. What's important is that you have a well-lit hidey-hole to spend your first night in. Remember, I'm here to help you survive, so if want to make it you need to do exactly as I say. Now, it's time to go punch some trees.
|It may not look like much, but this little room is the only thing keeping me from being zombie bait|
Yes, I said punch some trees. Find some trees, aim your cross-hair at the trunk of the nearest one, and hold down the left mouse button. Make sure to walk over the small block of wood that falls when the block you were punching breaks, as this is how you collect items. Pound your way through a few trees (three to five should be plenty), picking up wood as you go, then open your inventory. Somewhere in there should be your wood. Left click on it to pick up the whole stack, then -IMPORTANT!- right click somewhere in the grid where you got the wood from to put a few pieces back. Now find the 2x2 box labeled “Crafting.” Left click on any of those four squares to place the wood in one of them. A new kind of block called planks should appear in the box to your right. This box shows what can be made from the contents of the crafting box. Hold the “shift” key and left click the new block to turn all of your wood into wooden planks and have them automatically stored in your inventory.
|It doesn't take long to see how they came up with the name “Minecraft”...|
You now have a decision to make. What do you want your shelter to be made of? The two most logical materials for you to use at this point are either dirt or planks. Each option has its advantages and downfalls. Most people think planks look a bit nicer than dirt, but the number of planks you'd need means you'll likely have to spend precious time beating up some more trees. Dirt, while looking like.... well... dirt, is virtually everywhere, and it's much easier to gather. In fact, you might not even have to gather very much of it. If there are any hills nearby, you can simply dig into the side of one and use it as your shelter. I should warn you though, only trust spaces you've cleared out yourself. If you stumble across any kind of natural cave inside your hill, block it off for now by patching the opening with some of the dirt you've collected during your excavation. You never know what could be in there waiting for you. Since this is meant to be a survival guide, I suggest you conserve your time and use dirt.
|Avoid the zombies and other monsters, they will kill you!|
Whether you've decided to make your own mud hut or burrow into a hill, there are a few rules you'll need to follow if you want to danger-proof your new abode. First, keep it reasonable. You don't need a three bedroom luxury home yet, just something to keep the baddies out. You shouldn't need anything bigger than five blocks wide by five blocks long. Honestly, you could survive perfectly well in a 1x1 hole covered with a block of dirt.
Next, make sure there are absolutely no holes in the ceiling. A 1x1 hole in a wall can be problematic, but if there's a single hole in your ceiling you may as well have not built a shelter. Nearly all of the monsters that roam at night can fall through a hole of any size, so double check that ceiling to prevent any uninvited guests.
|A quick base built into the side of a hill|
Following along the same lines, rule number three is to never have more than a 1x1 gap in any of the walls of your shelter. Ideally, you won't have any holes at all by the time night falls, since some enemies can fire projectiles through even the smallest of gaps, but if for any reason you do, make sure that there are no gaps of more than one block. The reasoning here is similar to that behind the ceiling rule. Any gap of more than one block is big enough to allow at least one kind of monster into your base.
With those rules in mind, go ahead and build your base, leaving some small holes in the wall for now to provide light so you can see what you're doing. Go on, I'll wait.
Okay, time for some more crafting. Open your inventory again and left click on your planks to pick them up, then right click in each of the four crafting boxes to place planks in each one. You only need one in each square. Left click in your inventory to put back any unused planks, then make your item by once again clicking on the box to the right of your crafting box. Congrats! You're now the lucky owner of your very first crafting table, which will let you make tools and weapons by using a larger 3x3 version of your crafting box.
While you're in your inventory screen, you may as well make some sticks by vertically stacking planks in your crafting window. These are an important part of nearly every tool you can make with your new crafting table. It's a good idea to make somewhere between twelve to twenty sticks here, since most tools take two sticks apiece, but you should also be sure to keep a few planks for later.
Once you're finished making your sticks, store them anywhere in your inventory and place your crafting table in the hot bar (any of those 9 blocks across the very bottom of the inventory screen). Exit the inventory menu and use the hot bar- either scroll your mouse or hit the number key that corresponds with the item slot in question- to get the table out. You need to place it somewhere before you can use it, so choose any place inside your shelter and right click to place it. Once that's done, right click on the table to use it. What you need most right now is a pickaxe, so let's make one. The crafting menu will appear, displaying a 3x3 grid. Place a stick in the bottom-middle and exact middle slots, then planks across the entire top row. This will make a wood pickaxe. Grab your pick and place it in your hot bar.
|Hmm... That doesn't look like a crafting tool. I wonder where he's going with this...|
Okay, that's enough crafting for now. Exit the crafting menu by pressing “E”, but don't actually equip your pick yet. Pick a place in either your floor (or inside wall if you're dug into a hill) and start digging it up with your bare hands. Oh yeah... Digging rule number one: NEVER dig out the block you're standing on. You could fall into a deep, dark, dangerous hole. Just don't. Keep digging until you see gray blocks. These are stone blocks. Once you uncover several of them, bust out the pickaxe and break some rocks. You'll need at least eight pieces, but the cobblestone you get from breaking rocks will soon become one of your most prized resources, so more couldn't hurt. You should also keep an eye out for blocks with black spots one them. These contain coal, which you can use to help light your base.
Once you've collected at least eight pieces of cobblestone, head back to the main area of your base, making sure to cover the hole you dug. You don't need to fill it, but you should at least cover the opening so your shelter takes up less space, making it easier to light up. Use the crafting table, this time placing cobblestone in every slot except the one in the very middle. This is how you make a furnace.
Before you can use your furnace, you need to place it in the same way you placed your crafting table. Once this is done, activate it by right clicking on it. The menu that appears tells you what is being cooked in the furnace (top slot), what is being used as fuel (bottom slot), and what finished products are sitting in the furnace (right slot). It's time to make some charcoal. Place any blocks of wood - not planks - you saved from your tree-bashing session in the furnace to be heated. For fuel, place 2 planks in the bottom slot or use a single piece of coal if you happened to find any while breaking rocks. Once both the fuel and wood are in the furnace, it will light. After consuming all of the fuel you gave it, the furnace will burn out. No matter how many pieces of wood are left in the furnace to be cooked, grab one of the pieces of charcoal you just made and put it into the furnace's fuel slot. Charcoal and natural coal are two of the best fuels available in Minecraft, as one piece of either will burn long enough to cook exactly eight items.
|Renewable energy at its finest. One piece of charcoal, which essentially grows on trees (okay, it IS trees), can fuel a furnace long enough to cook eight more items.|
With the other pieces of charcoal, as well as any coal, moved into your inventory, close the furnace and open your inventory. Grab some coal or charcoal and place it into one of the top crafting slots, placing an equal number of sticks in the slot underneath it. Now you finally have some torches. Equip them via your hot bar and place them along the inside of your base. If you followed rule number one, even four torches should be plenty to light the place up perfectly well. Now is also a good time to patch any holes in your walls, since you now have your own source of light. If you need to look outside, feel free to punch a hole in the wall, but be ready to either plug it or step out of the line of site it provides if it's nighttime.
...And there you have it. How to avoid a gruesome death during your first Minecraft night. Questions? Concerns? Complaints? Suggestions? Feel free to make use of the comment section. This part of the site is just taking off, so I'm very much open to suggestions. What do you, the DARKLY community, want to hear about Minecraft?
Looking for your own Minecraft server? Check out Aim2Game!