My co-authors and I crammed A Visual Guide to Minecraft chockfull of great tips and techniques. This article describes a few more great ideas that we didn’t have time to cover in the book. Take advantage of some rarely discovered Minecraft features that might seem a little weird at first, but definitely can work in your favor.
Tip 1: Fall into Water, No Lifeguard Needed
I’m a big fan of building houses up high in Minecraft, to gain a view of the surroundings, but great heights can mean an arduous or possibly even dangerous descent when you want to go out adventuring. What’s the solution? Jump into a pool! Water is your safety net. No matter how high up you are in Minecraft, you won’t be injured from falling into water. The pool only has to be one block deep—just like in real life, right?
First, of course, you’ll need a house up high somewhere. Second, you’ll need a bucket. Create the bucket by placing three iron ingots in a V shape on a crafting table. Once you have a bucket, you can fill it from any body of water by holding the bucket and right-clicking on the water.
At the base of the cliff below your house, start digging. Technically, your landing area only needs to consist of one block of water, but it’s a good idea to make the pool cover more area than one block, unless you’re a better high diver than I am.
In Minecraft, water has the fortunate property of flowing in to fill an empty block positioned between at least two adjoining blocks that are filled with water. To take advantage of this feature, dig two holes diagonally across from each other and fill both with water, as shown in Figure 1. (You’ll have to refill your bucket to fill the second hole.) Then dig up the other two blocks, and the water will flow in to fill them, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 1 Two diagonal blocks filled with water will fill a 4 × 4 square.
Figure 2 Water on two sides will fill in empty blocks.
This trick lets you create an endless water supply with just two buckets of water. Fill any two holes with one block between them; then cut up the intervening block. No matter how many times you fill your bucket from the middle water block, the reservoir blocks on either side will keep refilling the center block.
Now you have your diving pool. When you step out your door, groggy from a five-second night of sleep, and stumble off the cliff edge (see Figure 3), you’ll be okay.
Figure 3 Watch that first step, it’s a doozy!