Monday, 25 February 2019

Minecraft Creations - The Sunken Temple Rebuild

In the autumn of 2013 I had joined yet another new Minecraft server called Vancraft and after looking around for a bit I decided to start another project. This time I wanted to create something in a swamp, a sunken temple to be precise. I got the idea from the original Temple of Atal'Hakkar in World of Warcraft which is a pyramid-like temple with only the very top rising above the water with the rest of the temple below the water line. So long story short after a lot of effort dredging the lake bed, digging a hell of a lot of stone, fighting off zombies and clearing out the water it was built, and this was the result.

The original sunken temple
 I was pleased with it at the time but I knew that I would need to go back and re-do it in creative mode to make it bigger and better than before and that’s what I did. Finding a swamp was easy this time as you can just generate a world which is the one biome so all I had to do was find a nice big lake to put the temple in. Once I found a suitable place it was a process of working out the how wide and tall the temple was going to be, how deep it went and how much of the temple was above the water and of course which type of stone. I decided on Mossy Cobblestone as this seemed the most appropriate choice for a temple in a swamp. And so for the second time I went through the process of dredging out the bottom where the base of the temple was going to be and building up from there which didn’t take too long. I then built all the way up to the top above the water, I had decided to do more of a rectangle then a square so it took me awhile to decide on what the top of the temple was going to look like.

This is the only shot I got of the build in progress, nice sunset though
When I first created the entrance to the last temple I didn’t include a door just a stairway but we got attacked by so many zombies that I had to seal it off with a door and entryway. So built over the entrance to the temple with a sort of curved roof and decorated with blocks of emerald which I chose basically because they were green and looked cool. After I had finished though I thought it needed something more so I created a sort of spire at the front which actually make it look more like a chapel than a temple but oh well it looked pretty good anyway.

Yeh it kinda does look like a chapel, and hurrgh look at that water oh yes it's beautiful!
So then came the task of clearing out the water, previously this was done automatically by the helpful owner of the server Van, however this time I was on my own and without any knowledge of commands in Minecraft so the only option was sponges, many, many sponges. So I swam around placing sponges all over the floor and gradually dried out the entire bottom.

Spongey!
But of course I had to dig down a lot more to reach the bottom of the temple perimeter and you know what that meant, TNT and lots of it. This was probably the most fun part of the whole process I placed TNT everywhere and blasted the floor out from under me until it got the right level, in the process I managed to blow up parts of the temple walls and had to patch a few leaks but got it done in the end and ended up with a relatively smooth floor.


Boy do I love TNT excavation.

I built a stairway to the bottom but then I had a dilemma, I hadn’t thought of what I was going to put on the bottom, I didn’t really know what the temple was for. The last time I made the temple it I just covered the bottom with sand and left a pool of water and it was my ‘Sunken Temple of Solitude’. Though this time I decided it would be a temple for the worship of Slime(s) I didn’t want to cover the entire floor with slime though so I made some bouncy ‘slime block pits’ and also some water pits but left the floor as stone, I considered making the entire floor slime but meh the whole point was more for the outside of the temple not the inside.

Slimes, Slimes everywhere
I made a pyramid of emerald blocks as these were basically the symbol of the temple and a green beacon to go on top which unfortunately cut through the staircase but there wasn’t much else I could do. As an additional decoration I hung vines all over the temple which looked pretty cool on the inside once they were fully grown. And then of course it was time to spawn the slimes which I put all over the place but unfortunately most ended up killing themselves somehow and also because the place was so dark other monsters such as skeletons, zombies and bats had spawned too but oh well it was fine.

Once the vineshad grown it looked pretty cool, I had to lighten this picture up to see anything
In the screenshots and movie I am using the KOP Realism 64x64 Texture pack with RRe36's Shaders (High) from the Optifine mod. And man did the water look spectacular not to mention the sky and sunsets. I only realised now that my monitor at home must be very light compared to other monitors as viewing on other screens is much darker and I actually had to lighten up two of the pictures as they were just too dark on other screens I tried. But anyway I’m happy with the result, it was the first Minecraft project I’ve worked on in awhile and don’t know when I’ll back to the game but I don’t think I’ll be gone forever, no siree.

JD









  A few shots without the texture pack and shaders












All hail the slime

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The Past and Times of Yore: Star Wars Republic Commando, Soldiering on

Release date: February 28th 2005
Genre: First-person shooter
Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: LucasArts
Engine: Unreal Engine 2
Platforms: Xbox, Microsoft Windows
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! Well 2018 was quite a year in gaming and I hope you enjoyed all of the posts despite the fact that there was unfortunately only 8. As you can see I'm still going and this year I hope to do at least one blog post a month but with things going on and work commitments i'll see how I go. I still have a large backlog of posts so I'll get through them as best I can. Here's to a great 2019!

This was an interesting one that I purchased from GoG.com. A Star Wars game where you play a Clone Trooper, though it has been done before though in the original two Star Wars Battlefronts. I was looking forward to playing a game that did not seem to feature Jedi of any kind. And I’ll admit I enjoy playing a linear First Person Shooter, I’m not sure why maybe it’s just because it’s simple unlike all of the completion-focused sandbox games with random encounters and respawning enemies and objects to collect which take up so much of your time. With those linear shooters it’s just like bang-pow, well that was that bit let’s keep goin, and when you play it on easy you don’t get bored and can power through it, not that I’m trying to power through the game I just like to get it done and not get stuck anywhere. Star Wars Republic Commando is one of these types of games, of course it’s not jumping around shooting like a maniac like Doom, it’s a game about tactics, a little bit of tactics, but tactics none the less. You are commanding 'Delta Squad', an elite group of clone commandos, through three missions during the beginning of the Clone Wars as your first mission is on Geonosis which we all remember from Episode II Attack of the Clones.

Ooooo my pre-battle-scarred helmet
When starting the game you have the title crawl of course then after a short cutscene where a Kaminoan introduces the clone commandos and their purpose as well as the war situation you are then booted to the troop deployment on Kamino and wow it was pretty intense seeing all the troops flying when you’re currently by yourself.

Huge docking bay, hundreds of soldiers, pouring rain, it's like the start of every war deployment
You are then flown to Geonosis where you are introduced to your abilities and some commands things like healing from bacta stations and taking out gun emplacements with thermal detonators. You then meet your first Squadmate Scorch the younger-sounding wisecracking demolition expert And soon after you meet Fixer the squad’s slicer and no-nonsense by-the-book career soldier and finally Sev the bloodthirsty tough guy sniper who adorns his armor with red paint which may or may not be blood.

Dey be my squad
Now that my squad was at full strength I got to practise giving orders and fighting with them, if there is a fairly powerful enemy you can assign the squad members to target them by pressing the F key. Along the way there are various locked gates, terminals and mounted weapons, you can use these yourself of course but the best course of action is to assign a squad member to the task, I enjoyed doing this as you watch the squad member carry out their task or use their gun emplacement. I had to do this quickly as soon as you entered an area enemies often came at you, other times I got everything set up just right then initiated the enemy attack by advancing slightly.

Commanding 'Sev' to initate a door breach
One of the best moments was when I had all three squad members on Sniper positions pointing at a door down a hallway, I then crept up to the door and opened it then watched as the enemies that came out got shot to pieces by sniper fire. During play my usual course of action was to assess the area for anything I could order to squad members to man then usually ran around on my own providing additional fire or getting up closed and meleeing enemies which I often did as ammo was relatively sparse.

Snipe away boys (I have the Sniper attachment in too)
Your main weapon was the DC-17m Interchangeable Weapon System, which has rifle, sniper and grenade launcher attachments, the sniper and grenade launcher were very useful and you really had to conserve the ammo, you also had the weaker but self-recharging DC-15S and your trusty Knuckle plate vibro blade which I actually used quite a lot for the fact that one of the most common enemies you encountered was the B2 Super Battle Droids  and if you didn’t have any sniper or grenade ammo they took such a large number of regular rife rounds to kill that most of the time I just ran around them in circles stabbing with my knuckleblade which proved even faster then shooting them with regular rounds. You could also use enemy weapons such as the Geonosian Elite Beam Weapon, Accelerated Charged Particle Array Gun or Wookiee Bowcaster though only one at a time could be used, the genosian weapon was particularly good.


The first part of the Prosecutor mission, I use a few different weapons including some trandoshan weapons.

 As you battle through the level’s you and your squad will often lose health when you deplete your shield, your shield auto recharges but too much damage will deplete it then go through your health. Interestingly your squad does not have a medic, you can heal yourself though wall mounted medical units and your squad usually heal themselves automatically if they need it but sometimes need prompting to do so. If you do lose all of your health you go into a ‘downed’ state and require another squad member to revive you. If the last squad member dies then it’s all over. There were some situations where all my squadmates had died and I was running around by myself praying I could clear out the remaining enemies, but most of the time if you studied your surroundings and planned ahead you would be fine. For clones your squad members certainly have very different personalities despite the fact that they are all supposed to be clones in fact it only seems like you and your commander who don’t have much of a personality. The squad is fun to play with they have a good amount of banter with Scorch and Sev being the most talkative it’s basically Scorch as the young joker, Sev as the tough guy and Fixer as the straight no-nonsense guy bringing them in line. Your own character ‘Boss’ has a fairly neutral gruff older tone and like Fixer does not really have a sense of humour. Your squadmates commend you if you make a good shot and grumble if they have to be revived, It’s quite not akin to Battlefield Bad Company but it’s still pretty good.

Destroying the Spider Tank on Geonosis

The game came out in 2005 but still looks pretty good, the bulk of the storyline is made up or three missions which have many sub-stages and missions inside of them, the initial walkthrough and first mission being the first battle of Geonosis which you would remember from the movies where you battle many geonisian warriors as well as the trade federation droids. I had a few slip ups here where I ran out of ammo and had to make do with my fist blade and the pistol and died a few times but got through it ok, those damn flying genosians were tough though that beam weapon they have really helped and that fight with the spider tank was pretty cool. The next missions a derelict Acclamator-class assault ship designated the Prosecutor, the squad has to infiltrate the ship and find out what happened to the crew. You start this mission alone as you and your squadmates have been split up between sections, the first time you enter it’s pretty damn dark and spooky. The ship has been taken over by some Trandoshan slavers and you can use their Accelerated Charged Particle Array Guns which are basically shotguns, you also encounter larger trandoshans with the LS-150 Heavy Accelerated Charged Particle Repeater Gun (seriously could they make these names any longer) which is basically a minigun and is very powerful but chews through ammo like a boss.

Alternate weapons were useful for conserving ammo for your main weapon.
You do meet some other troopers from the original crew of the Prosecutor though like the introductory part of the game and like any game where you are supposed to be alone, any contact with allies is fleeting and they quickly meet their messy demise. You eventually meet up with your squadmates and then have to plow through the ship to get to the bridge, this wasn’t too hard the final bits were pretty challenging though you had to really scramble around to kill things like those droid dispensers that kept churning out super battle droids. These and enemies on turrets or just rooms with lots of enemies can be challenging in itself especially if you have limited cover or no heavy weapons at your disposal.

Having access to a turret really helps, I was like running back to them constantly to make best use of them.
The final mission is Kashyyyk where you personally help the Wookies who have been enslaved by more trandoshans. This was pretty cool as the only ever time I’ve seen the wookie homeworld was in Battle of Kashyyyk in Episode III and also in the Age of Empires style, Genie Engine representation in Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds. Well this time around it looks pretty cool albeit in a much more condensed environment, with giant trees and foliage all around. I actually liked the way you started in the jungle then as you got higher you went into the trees, the best part about this mission was fighting alongside the wookies and the Wookiee chieftain Tarfful although I accidentally blew them up a few times. This mission had several run-ins with the trade federation IG-100 Magnaguards and one of the fights Tarfful actually joined in on so it was difficult trying to kill the droids and not hit Tarful as well. This scenario actually ended with the Battle of Kashyyyk though Delta Squad weren’t around for it though I’ll give a small spoiler you do actually hear from Yoda.

Fighting with the Wookies on Kashyyk, damn those droid dispensers

As I said before the visuals are still appealing being a bit dated nowadays. I started out with the view set to be looking out from my helmet, with was very immersive but I ended up just turning that off as it got a bit annoying with the tunnel vision. It was great to visit locations from the movies. Your hud shows you your health, shield level and grenade ammo with your weapon ammo being displayed on the gun itself. It also shows the directs you are being shot from and the status of your squad members, the squad hud lets you know if you squadmates are, engaging the enemy, healing, downed or at a specific weapon station. You also almost always have your current objective displayed at the top of the screen which is quite helpful.

The view from inside your helmet
The levels were very linear but it was expected in a game like this, the challenge was as you moved into each new area/room, survey your surrounds, and organise your squad tactics. Kashyyk was probably the best looking as you progressed through the dense jungle into the treetops. It was a unique feeling to be (sort of) ‘just another trooper’ fighting in the battles for the Republic and not like one of the main characters in the film deciding on the fate of thousands, you just did what you were told, to some distress later in the game. Another thing was you really felt like you were part of a team or the leader of a team I should say, bantering together etc, getting through the various engagements, I almost had like a kinship to them all in the end. Of all the old Star Wars games I’ve played recently: Shadows of the Empire, Star Wars Starfighter, Jedi Outcast even Tie Fighter I would still only replay Republic Commando, I don’t know I just like it. Of course it’s not the best, it’s no Jedi Academy which I have now replayed for what would possibly be the 6th time and I think no Star Wars game will ever trump The Old Republic MMORPG. But for a Star Wars first person shooter this thing is pretty damn good.

JD.


 
An unofficial trailer, a good one too

For the boys

Friday, 21 December 2018

The Past and Times of Yore: Diddy Kong Racing, (Not Just) Kart racing excellence on the N64

Release date: December 20, 2017
Genre: Kart racing
Publisher: Rare
Developer: Rare
Platforms: Nintendo 64
Modes: Singleplayer Story, Multiplayer Racing and Battle Modes

Ahh kart racing games, with their cutesy characters and wacky cartoon graphics, I’ve owned a few myself the first and foremost being Super Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo which to this day I still regard as the best kart racer ever, followed closely by Crash Team Racing, and possibly Micro Maniacs and Lego Racers though they weren’t kart racers. Back in the day when I played the good old N64 with friends we mostly played Mario Kart 64, however my housemate Brok was a staunch fan of Diddy Kong Racing which did look quite interesting as it included not just Cars but Hovercrafts and Planes too which I understood you could use several different vehicles on the one map which was pretty cool. I can’t remember playing it back then I can only remember playing it a year or so ago at my house then playing it properly on emulator on the perfectly functional Project64, an excellent choice which I have used to this day. Diddy Kong Racing (DKR) was created by the famous Rareware who I’m sure you’ll know created the likes of Donkey Kong Country series and many other well-known titles such as GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and Conker's Bad Fur Day, they seemed to be able to do no wrong on the Nintendo 64 as DKR is no exception. Just a quick note before I start, I decided to use the Mario Wiki for my hotlinks as the Donkey Kong Wiki has an annoying custom mouse pointer, why do people do that, really? At least I don’t see it happening on many websites anymore.

It's go time! (almost)
The opening of the game is really enjoyable with the animated Nintendo and Rareware logo’s (A staple through Rare-made games) then it cuts to Diddy flying in and then starts that awesome intro that shows you all of the characters with that very catchy boppy music, I gotta say the music in Diddy Kong Racing pretty much beats any other kart racer I have played, even Mario Kart. After the great intro you can select your mode, DKR is fairly simple starting with Adventure mode and tracks mode. In tracks mode you can choose to race any track you have unlocked via Adventure mode, tracks with a Taj the Genie symbol are completed tracks, and players can choose any vehicle that is compatible with the track. Tracks with a Wizpig symbol have not been cleared, and players are restricted to the default vehicles for them.

Conker in his Hovercraft in Pirate Lagoon, this was one of the few tracks where only one type of vehicle could be used
 Whichever mode you pick you then get to choose your character in what is probably the most entertaining character select screen I have ever seen (or heard) and I loved the way the music changed its tune slightly whenever you selected a certain  character with each character having their own tune, it’s hard to explain you’ll just have to watch the video, I swear every single time I play the game I spend 2 minutes listening to all of the character tunes. There are 8 available characters at the start with two that are unlockable, as with Mario Kart there are various stats and weight differences with the smaller characters being easier to handle but slower, the middleweight character being good all round and the heavier characters have good top speed but can’t accelerate or turn very well. So I decided to go as Conker as he is an all-rounder then Bumper just for a change in the later game as I liked his yellow colour vehicles.


The intro and that awesome character select screen

Adventure mode is the main singleplayer mode and one of the features it has over Mario Kart 64, the first time I experienced an adventure mode was in Crash Team Racing and it made playing a kart racer alone so much better it isn’t just menu, race, menu, race you have a whole world to drive around in, explore, practice your skills and unlock new areas. This was an era where the story was written in the instruction manual which they assume you read first and I think I did used to do that but basically it’s all loosely tied in to the Rare Games. Diddy Kong is sitting at the tree house having a G&T then gets a letter from his friend Timber the tiger who says that while his parents were away holidaying with the Kong clan in the Caribbean the evil paedophile Wizpig has come from outer space and taken over his island and brainwashed some very large animals into serving him. So Diddy gets Squawks to send a message that their coming then attempts to sober up his friends Banjo and Conker from their hangover and they jack one of Funky’s boats to reach Timber’s Island, closely followed by Krunch, who is after them from a botched crack deal the previous night. Meanwhile on the island Bumper is trying to hide Pipsy and Tiptup from Wizpig but she’d eaten magic mushrooms and was dancing around trying to summon Taj the Genie although Tiptup says that he had been dead for 50 years due to substance abuse.

Taj awarding me with a Balloon
 When they all get together Bumper then has the great idea that they should defeat Wizpig by racing go-karts, hovercrafts and planes for no reason whatsoever and they should get practicing. Then T.T comes over and says he’s gonna do some hot laps and dares them all to beat him and their all like how the fack is that going to help us defeat Wizpig? And he’s like how the fack is us racing against each other going to do that either? oh and Drumstick has been turned into a frog, yeh I think that was the gist of it.

Timber Island, the main hub of the game, on the left is the entrance to Dino domain, on the right is the entrance to Snowflake Mountain inw hich you need the plane to navigate to.
So on starting the adventure you are greeted by Taj himself (guess he wasn’t dead) who gives you an introduction to adventure mode before challenging you to a kart race around the island rewarding you with a Golden Balloon which is the main reward system in DKR, golden ballons are awarded for coming 1st in races and challenges and they allow you to unlock more areas on the island. So now I could enter Dino Domain the first sub-world which consists of 4 races, a challenge level, a boss race and a trophy race, earning stuff along the way. The first 4 races weren’t too bad, you race against the other characters in the game using weapon balloons and shortcuts to gain the upper hand. The weapon in DKR are pretty cool, they use a powering up system exactly the same as Lego Racers, there are different colour balloons that give different powerups, red are missiles, blue is boosts, green is mines etc, yellow is shields and rainbow are magnets which is a new one, you can pull yourself toward your opponents or pull them back to you which is pretty cool.


Shootin a few missiles on Crescent Island

The more balloons of the same type you get the more powerful the item is, for example 2 red balloons is a homing missile, 3 red balloons is a group of ten (not homing though) frankly I don’t know which is better, I would have preferred more homing missiles. Anyway you get a Golden balloon for coming 1st each time, to get the challenge level you have to find the Wish Key hidden in one of the tracks, the challenge levels are either collection challenges like Fire Mountain where you have to fly around and collect Dragon Eggs or a straight battle mode like Icicle Pyramid. Diddy Kong Racing’s battle mode isn’t too bad though technically there is only two Mario Kart style battles which were Icicle Pyramid which was similar to Mario 64’s Double Deck and Darkwater Beach which was a fairly open water-filled level where hovercrafts were used.


The Icicle pyramid and Frosty village tracks

After you finish all 4 tracks and the challenge level you then have a chance to face the boss, which are giant animals that have been brainwashed by Wizpig, and they are quite challenging, even the Dino Domain boss Tricky the Triceratops wasn’t exactly easy they cheat and run ahead at the start before the  and they often throw things at you or leave them in their trail for you to crash into . So you beat the boss then have to complete all the races again this time doing the Silver Coin Challenges which added the extra difficulty of finding and collecting all 6 silver coins on a track and also finish first, then after that you had to race the boss again and win the Wizpig Amulet then after that you did the Trophy Race which was all the races of that world in row like a Mario Kart Cup and after that you were finally done with the area. To access the different areas you need to drive around Timber’s island unlocking new vehicles to use through Taj to reach different areas. I didn’t have too much trouble with Dino Domain or Sherbet Island though the boss of Sherbet Island Bubbler was pretty damn hard and when I got up to the Snowflake Mountain track Silver Coin challenges I was stuck on the Snowball Valley one for a while, it’s gets pretty fackin hard going out of your way to get the coins then still coming first.

Bubbler the octopus boss of Sherbert Island
 The main feature in Diddy Kong Racing that makes it stand out from the rest is the multiple vehicles used, you start off with the Car and after gaining more Gold Balloons you race Taj to gain access to the Hovercraft then eventually the Plane. Using the car is pretty easy, I was playing using a Playstation controller so just used R1 as the trigger button for using powerups, apart from that there was just accelerate, brake, sharp turn and powerslide where you went on two wheels. Most of the time I just used the brake button to make small adjustments and to get those boost pads, the Hovercraft was probably my favourite vehicle as I found it easy to drive an enjoyed being able to do very sharp turns by hopping. The Plane was probably the hardest as you had to deal with the vertical axis was well and there were often many obstacles and sharp turns in tracks where you flew the plane so you had to be nimble and remember to knife edge to make the corner. Crashing was often very costly as it slowed you down a lot and took a while to get back up to speed.

Flying on the Windmill Plains Level

So after god knows how many runs I managed to finish the Snowball Valley Silver coin challenge then race the boss again then finish the Trophy race then I finally got up to Dragon Forest where it was a medieval theme and a bit more challenging but I finished it ok including the Smokey Castle challenge level. The boss Smokey the Dragon was pretty darn hard, you challenged him in a  plane and had to dive through caverns dodging stalactites, but it was the silver coin challenges that stopped me dead, for the life of me I couldn’t finish the Greenwood Village, Windmill Plains or Haunted Woods Silver coin challenges. Unfortunately I never finished them and gave up the game but I came back eventually thanks to my housemate Brok who had unlocked almost everything I was able to play the bits I couldn’t reach such as racing Wizpig and unlocking the final area Future Fun Land which was pretty fackin awesome. It was a kind of space fun park with homages to different sci-fi movies notably Stars Wars as one track had a section that looked like the Death Star Trench run. Of course couldn’t defeat Smokey the second time or Wizpig in both his initial encounter and the second encounter Wizpig Strikes Back but at least I experienced them so I could write this review.


Dang those silver coin challenges were hard.
I love the look of the game, there is so much colour everywhere with great looking , it was made even better by the fact that I was playing on the emulator so although some of the text and icon graphics weren’t the best the 3D graphics were very crisp and looked great. The water textures were really good and the overall level design was great I’d say on par with Crash Team Racing. One thing I really need to do is see what the Future Fun land tracks look like on the emulator as they are so crazy and colourful it’d look nuts. Another thing I will have to go back and do is play all of the tracks again but with a different vehicle to the default just to see the track from a whole different angle. Though I didn’t finish the game fully it was still great to play both on emulator and the actual Nintendo 64, it had some really innovative features like the different vehicles and the adventure mode and the way you could use different vehicles on the one track. Oh and the music the soundtrack was so damn good it could give Spyro a run for its money, one of the few things that lets it down was that it only has two true “battle mode” levels but then again Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64 only had two good ones anyway. So I will finish with this bombshell if I had to choose between Mario Kart 64 or Diddy Kong Racing? It’d be Diddy Kong Racing of course.

JD




I want one of those planes…

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Minecraft Creations: The Brick Mansion Chapter 7, The Great Escape Routes and the Future Fallback Base

My delving into Minecraft is minimal these days, I remember the good old times where I would join a community of players and we would make whole cities and communities. Of course I could still join a server and get back into this again but I guess I’m just a bit fatigued with the game I’ve been playing it that long. I used to work on my Brick Mansion every major patch to add new things, but at some point I just decided that was enough and just left it, mind you it had been finished for a long time I was just adding and redecorating. Though one of things I always wanted to do was create more secret fallback tunnels with powered minecart tracks that you could zoom along and escape a potential invasion. I already had one from my bedroom to the nearby village in case the house gets invaded, but I needed more, something that went far away to an (also secret) fallback base. So I searched around for a bit and found an island just a little bit away from the taiga forest across a small bit of ocean and decided to was far enough away to be safe from would-be invaders.

My original escape tunnel had lots of more powered rails
I decided to make the entrance to the secret tunnel in the pool hall as the idea was to make it a wall switch that activates a secret door. But because I don’t know enough about redstone I just had to make it a normal door on the wall, but the problem with that is you can see the door right there and because the wood on the wall is jungle planks I had to use a jungle door which as you may remember has holes in it. So it wasn’t really a secret entrance but nevermind I’ll fix that later. 

Ahh no one will notice that XD
Entryway from the (8-ball) pool room with chest of minecarts (yes minecarts) I like having the torches in their own little alcoves sometimes as it looks cool although doesn't give off that much light.
 So then I started digging, and digging, and digging, and digging out the tunnel, I joined up my original escape tunnel with the new one so now you had two options of where to go and dug the rest of the tunnel underneath the forest towards the sea. I stopped at one point as I noticed I had dug into a cave, so I made another secret exit in the middle of the forest.

One of the tunnels with a ladder to the forest exit
The Taiga forest to the southwest of the mansion, you can see the cave entrance at the bottom of the screenshot
Once I was nearing the ocean things were going to get tricky, I wanted to create a tunnel of glass underneath the ocean to the island with the fallback base. So as soon as I came in contact with water I stopped putting torches for light in the tunnel as it can’t have any light otherwise you could easily see it from above the water. So I built the glass tunnel into the bank and zigzagged across the ocean floor at one point dredging out a hill to make it a bit lower. I got to the island and tunnelled into a large cave which was accessible from the surface via a tall shaft, I was thinking of making the fallback base on the surface built into a mountain but then I thought that it may be safer built into the cave as we’re trying to hide from invaders aren’t we? I could make a lookout on the surface I guess. Minecraft really needs a way of making lifts as ladders are a bit too flimsy and stairs take up a bit of space but that may be a bit sophisticated for the base Minecraft as there’s redstone but no rope/pulley system in it really.

The entrance to the ocean tunnel
It's dark down here
See the dolphins!
Glass tunnel exit
The fallback base 'cave'

 After doing some test runs I managed to give the Minecarts enough speed to get through the glass tunnel stretch without needing more speed which worked out well as without any lighting the tunnel was pretty hard to see.


A few shots of the underwater tunnels



As that’s as far as I got really I just wanted to make the tunnels and they are pretty cool, especially the underwater bit as you can see all of the undersea creatures. Speaking of which there are now lots of more undersea creatures as of update 1.13 The Update Aquatic yes there are now dolphins, fish mobs and turtles to look at which is a welcome change from just the damn Squids. But anyway this was just a quick update, I may keep working on the fallback base at some point or maybe even update the mansion again but for now it’s finished.


A flythrough of the fallback tunnels

JD

Time for Plan B