Landscapes on Minecraft maps are formed with world-generated structures, from lakes and ravines to villages and dungeons (Figure 4.48). These structures shape and add detail to the world.
FIGURE 4.48 World-generated structures, clockwise from upper left: abandoned mineshaft in a ravine, blaze spawner in a Nether fortress, jungle temple, End portal in a stronghold, village and desert temple, ocean monument.
Many don’t require any discussion, but it is interesting to think that even something as simple as trees, glowstone, a spring of water, a lava pool, or the ores you mine are programmed to generate at certain locations and with specific frequency. Ravines and caverns are great for caving, a mining technique that takes advantage of the open walls that expose ores. Features such as ice spikes, mossy stone boulders, and giant mushrooms offer a decorative touch.
Other world-generated structures, however, are much larger and add to the gameplay. Villages, fortresses, and abandoned mineshafts fall into this category and deserve a closer look.
Villages are collections of houses and gardens populated by villagers. They occur in plains, savannah, and desert biomes. They can make a great home base or provide materials in the form of food from the gardens, treasure from a chest (usually found in the blacksmith’s house), and items in the houses themselves, such as bookshelves and furnaces. Villagers are non-player characters (NPCs) that will trade with players, using emeralds and other items for currency.
Encased in mossy cobblestone, dungeons often occur in abandoned mineshafts and are scattered underground across the map. They contain a monster spawner (skeleton, zombie, or spider) and chests with treasure. You can stop the monsters from spawning by placing a torch on the spawner (or, if you’re as paranoid as me, many torches).
Desert and Jungle Temples
Temples in deserts and jungles offer treasures—and traps. Desert temples have a hidden pit in the middle, filled with chests... and also with a pressure plate that will set off TNT if touched. Jungle temples have a puzzle of levers as well as a tripwire passageway to navigate.
Temples are worth exploring—not only do they provide a fun challenge, but they are among the few places you can find treasures that can’t be crafted, such as iron, gold, and diamond horse armor.
One of the newest additions to Minecraft is the ocean monument. While it’s not a source of treasure chests, you can find special new blocks like prismarine and sea lanterns in these deep ocean structures, as well as new mobs like guardians and elder guardians.
Deep underground you’ll occasionally discover abandoned mineshafts, usually cutting through ravines and caverns. These multi-story maze-like constructions are made from wood, with rail tracks running through them. Here, you’ll find chests and minecart chests with treasures, and also venomous, deadly cave spider spawners.
Abandoned mineshafts are great for gathering wood, fence posts, treasure, ore from the walls, and rails, but they are also easy to get lost in and can be deadly. It is important to mark your path or use a map marker, and to explore them only when you are well prepared.
Strongholds are special fortresses that hold the End portal. No more than three spawn on a world, and they are underground and hard to find. You can craft an Eye of Ender from ender pearls and use it to locate strongholds by throwing it and following its path. Strongholds are much more designed than other structures, with prison cells, storage rooms, libraries, scattered chests of treasure, and of course the End portal.
Deep in the Nether are fortresses made of netherbrick. You can find chests with semi-rare treasure tucked throughout the fortress. Only in Nether fortresses will you find blaze spawners and the nether wart plants. Nether fortresses are populated by wither skeletons and zombie pigmen.