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Obsi 24th November 2010 07:49 PM

Minecrafting 101
Minecraft - Why should you care?
People are raving about it, but to you the graphics look like something that has come out of the 80's and you heard it's not even finished yet. You've visited the Minecraft website but still come away none the wiser. Then take a few minutes to watch the below fan-made trailer and video.

So what exactly is it?
Minecraft is both a singleplayer and multiplayer game, with 2 game modes and varying levels of difficulty. To play, you can download the PC client from the official Minecraft website (, or you can play through the Minecraft webpage. There are also mobile apps (Android, Apple) and an Xbox version (soon at

There is no storyline, no particular way in which you have to play. You have a vast world in which you can explore and build; what you do is completely up to you. Different players find enjoyment from different aspects of the game. Some may prefer to build elaborate castles while others want to go monster hunting in caves.

There are 2 modes, and our division has a server for each. The "Creative" mode (Server = "Sanctuary"), where you have all blocks and items in your inventory in infinite quantities - there are no monsters, no damage or hunger bar, and you can destroy all blocks with a single hit. The "Survival" mode (Server="Frontier") is the mode where you must gather your resources, be wary of hunger and damage, and avoid (or battle) monsters.

Playing the game:
To join the TOG Minecraft server, you'll need to sign up for an account from the Minecraft site. Once you have downloaded the game, head over to the Getting started in TOG minecraft thread for all the information you need about joining us in game. Including our server address and how to apply to be added to the whitelist.

Threads of interest:
Welcome to TOGville
Minecraft Videos
Division's Gallery
Division's calendar

External links of interest:
The Word of Notch (Notch's blog)
Notch on Twitter
Jens Bergensten (jeb_) on Twitter (Lead developer for MC)
Official Minecraft Forums
Minepedia: The Minecraft Wiki

Minecrafting Tips
A collection of tips. Please reply to this thread to add more, and they will be added to this list

How to play

General Tips

  • You've probably seen lots of images showing people's avatars in the game "on location" but have wondered how they managed to do it when the default viewpoint is first-person. Actually, it is as simple as toggling F5. It's safe. It's fat-free. It's wholesome. It's environmentally friendly. Try it!
  • You can get rid of the targeting cursor and the inventory bar whilst pressing F1. Try it in 1st person and 3rd person modes.
  • The FAR viewable distance is about 120/150 metres or so
  • Android application - Minecraft Canary - Android app on AppBrain
  • If you want to run different versions of Minecraft at the same time (So you can try out the latest version and also keep playing older versions too), you can use Minecraft Profile Manager or other methods to do this (See post below)
  • Updated Minecraft by accident and want to revert back to an older version? no Problem - use "Minecraft Version Changer" to choose to backdate your Minecraft to any previous version.

Gameplay Tips
  • If you are building etc near an edge and you don't want to fall off, just go about your business while also holding down SHIFT key and you won't fall off.
  • '/getpos' is handy for a basic co-ordinate response & '/compass' is handy to determine your current facing direction.
  • You can craft an in-game compass that points towards spawn. All you need is 4 iron ingots and a pile of redstone dust.
  • An easy way to figure out north is to look on the top surface of a cobblestone block. As part of the skin you will notice a letter 'L' shape. just turn so it looks like an L facing the right way and you will be facing north!
  • Trying to keep those pesky monsters out of you castle??? Build a portal for a door. You can run through it without jumping to the nether but mobs are too scared :p Even keeps creepers calm with the cool purple glow
  • When having a chest open, holding shift while clicking a stack in your inventory will instantly move it to the chest and vice versa.
  • You can grow grass and flowers by applying bone meal on grass blocks. This is useful if you're on an older part of the map without grass and want to add some or if you want flowers for dye. It doesn't generate too many flowers, but you get a few from time to time.
  • Fire will burn anything within a 2 block radius. So you need to make sure you have something non-flammable for 2 blocks surrounding the fire before you have anything flammable. In all directions (including diagonals). Chests and workbenches will catch on fire, but will not burn away (not sure if they will set other things alight)

Crafting Tips

  • If you have a grouped inventory item (like 64 cobblestones) if you right click you can divide that in half.
  • If you right click the crafting box squares while holding a grouped item, it will place one of the item in the space.
  • If you have more blocks than you needed for the recipe in the crafting box, you can just exit the crafting screen and the extras will "fall" out of the crafting table and you can pick them back up (often quicker than manually placing them back in your inventory)
  • To make more than one of an item, keep clicking on the finished item in the output box. (items that don't stack, such as boats and food, will need to be made one by one)
  • You can mix the dyes from the red and yellow flowers, squid ink, Cacti, and lapis lazuli, with bone meal to get lighter color dyes and can also mix other dyes together to get various other colors, like your orange, or purple.
  • To get the most dyed wool for your lot of dye, if you click on a sheep with the dye, you will dye the sheep - when you harvest the sheep you will then get a chance of getting 1-3 blocks of dyed wool from it (compared to 1 dye = 1 block of wool by crafting)

Changing your skin

  • Download the char.png from Minecraft and editing that to create your own skin. When done, upload your skin. (It can take a day to actually appear onscreen and in the game however).
  • The image at Skin (article) - Minepedia - The Minecraft Wiki! shows you what each region of the image corresponds to.
  • The one optional addition to the skin is the "hat" (or head accessory). This is the area of the skin which is normally blank, but if you start to fill it in, you can give your character a hat, a mask, glasses or even make his head a little larger.
  • SkinEdit - New version 3rd of June - Minecraft Forums - Skin editing program
  • You can download other people's created skins here - The Skindex - Minecraft Skins

Building tips

  • "half-blocks" can be used with full blocks to make stairs. Craft them by placing three of the same block on a horizontal line at the bottom of the crafting window (yields three half-bricks). Works with cobble, refined stone, sandstone, wood. They use up slightly more space than stairs, but they're predictable and easy to work with.
  • An easy way to get the base right for a round tower - just stand in the centre of where the tower will be and rotate, breaking all blocks you can reach - the unbroken blocks out of your reach then give you a form on which to can also then scale up or down from that guide.
  • When you are building high structures and need to make a block tower so you can reach, make it out of sand/gravel. That way when you are done you can pull the tower down from the bottom as well as the top... OR - start by placing a torch, then one block of dirt on top of it, and after that build the stack of gravel. If you want to pull it down from the bottom, just remove the dirt block and the tower will collapse on the torch automatically. The only thing you need to do is stand there smiling while you collect your gravel as it falls down.
  • If undertaking a large project/structure that requires detailed planning, an offline tool such as Minecraft Structure Planner may help ensure you're not "1 block out" when you get to the end.

Obsi 24th November 2010 07:50 PM

Tips for running 2 versions of Minecraft
Sometimes players may want to be able to change between different versions of Minecraft. For example you may want to play an earlier or updated version in single player, to what version our TOG servers are running. or you might like to have a modded version and a vanilla version. There are a few ways to do this:

Minecraft Profile Manager:
(This is what I personally use, and I love it)
There is a program you can download which will allow you to have multiple "profiles" (versions of the game). The extra profiles are located in a different directory, so your original minecraft installation is completely untouched.
Minecraft Profile Manager - (Doesn't work with WinXP)
Minecraft Profile Manager clone - (that works with WinXp)

To use it - download the file from the website, extract it anywhere you like (In it's own folder would be best). You will need to copy your minecraft.exe file and place it in the folder, then run the profile manager. Click the "create new profile" button and give it a name (using the version number will help you know which is which). Then "launch profile" will load your game. You will need to login again and enter in the server details again, but it will remember them next time you login.

The clone that works with XP runs differently, so check the forum for the guide on how to use that one, but basically it's the same idea but it runs from a command prompt.

From then on, run the "minecraft profile manager" exe instead of your minecraft exe, and you can choose which of the profiles you want to play and it will load that one for you.

To create additional profiles, do the same thing (or copy an existing profile), giving them names to distinguish them. Since the game files are stored in that folder, not your regular "appdata" location, you can run multiple profiles with different mods, without affecting the original minecraft install.

Renaming the minecraft.jar file:
Find your minecraft.jar file, which you can find here:


C:\Documents and Settings\yourlogin\Application Data\.minecraft\bin

Rename the minecraft.jar to "minecraft_version.jar" (where "version" is the version number eg "minecraft_1.1.jar") and as a safety precaution, zip it (or copy it to a folder somewhere else) so you have a zipped backups in case something goes wrong. Then let the game update, which will create a new "minecraft.jar" for the current version.

When you want to go back to your old version, just rename the current minecraft.jar to "minecraft_version.jar" (where "version" is the version number), making a zipped/copied backup would be wise), then rename the old "minecraft_version.jar" back to just "minecraft.jar"
Creating a bat file:
This allows you to have more than one minecraft version on the one computer (also allows for different mods etc)

First go to where ever you want your new minecraft install to live and Create the following directories:


Copy Minecraft.exe to minecraft\bin (this is the file you download from minecraft's website)
Copy your .minecraft directory to minecraft\data

Your .minecraft directory contains these words, and is located in your user profile (You have to have played minecraft at least once for it to be there):

Vista: c:\Users\yourlogin\AppData\Roaming\
WinXP: C:\Documents and Settings\yourlogin\Application Data\

Then create minecraft.bat file(you can call it anything just don't leave of the .bat), containing the following instructions:

set APPDATA=%CD%\data

In order to create a bat file you can just create a text file with notepad and then add the text above and then change the file extension from .txt to .bat

Then, simply double-click minecraft.bat to play the game!

Altering the APPDATA environment variable does not touch the system APPDATA. This change will only affect programmes launched from the bat file. It will not change your system settings.
Getting an older version of Minecraft
If you ever need to go back to a previous version of Minecraft, because you've updated and want to use an older version - you can use "Minecraft Version Changer" It lets you select any previous version from a list.

So if you create your Profile manager profiles, using the most recent versions, you can backdate them to whatever version you need.

blacksok 25th November 2010 06:53 PM

Trying to keep those pesky monsters out of you castle???
Build a portal for a door.
You can run through it without jumping to the nether but mobs are too scared :p
Even keeps creepers calm with the cool purple glow :D

Optical Array 31st December 2010 01:00 PM

Found that when you build a house around spawn, that your spawning block changes? Or you appear on top of the building? Simple! Just leave a gap straight above the spawning block. :)

DaedalusAlpha 5th January 2011 01:48 AM


Originally Posted by Obsi (Post 2967474)
  • When you are building high structures and need to make a stack so you can reach, make the stack out of sand. That way when you are done you can pull the stack down from the bottom as well as the top - if you happen to fall off...

If you want to be really clever, start by placing a torch, then one block of dirt on top of it, and after that build the stack of gravel. If you want to pull it down from the bottom, just remove the dirt block and the tower will collapse on the torch automatically. The only thing you need to do is stand there smiling while you collect your gravel as it falls down.

Obsi 7th January 2011 05:55 PM

Ohh neat!

Celem 22nd February 2011 10:34 PM

Re: Gameplay tips

Dropping a tool and rescooping it to renew durability. As far as im aware this only ever worked in multiplayer and not single player. On top of this its a bug rather than a feature and I believe that it has now been fixed.

Likewise using your crafting grid to carry extra materials with you. While this worked in both modes its either been fixed or is going to be.

I cant access the game for the time being so if someone could confirm these i'd be glad :)
I cant remember my sources either, so if it turns out to be wrong, dont ask where I read it.

Finding north. While the cobblestone L tip is good, also remember that clouds always move North

Related to using a portal to keep mobs out: You can create a one-way door by placing soulsand outside a doorway, anything in soulsand is considered to be half a block lower than the ground and it is not possible to walk or jump from it into a 1x2 doorway, it is however possible to jump across the sand and land in the doorway, this can be solved with a wider sand patch. This works vs players in MP also.

Regarding the carrying of sand/gravel/dirt to allow you to access high places. If you use sand or gravel as the material it will also allow you to descend from high positions. Use the sneak functionality to edge off your current block and place sand/gravel beside your current block, it will fall to the ground. If you have a stack of 64 such blocks then you can build a 64 block-high tower back up to your level, which you then step onto and dig downwards to descend. (from paulsoaresjr videos)

This tactic is insanely useful when adventuring, I always carry a stack when in caverns since many have vertical passages that you may encounter from above

Note: Sneaking off your current block and placing sand/gravel directly beneath your feet will cause you to fall with the block (probably to your doom) since sneak deactivates if you place something beneath your feet.

Also, related to the spawning block comment by Optical Array: When setting a /home in multiplayer, set it on top of a dirt block which you then remove so that using the feature causes you to spawn in the air. It can help prevent server lag from causing you to fall through the ground when using /home.

Obsi 23rd February 2011 03:52 PM

you're right, dropping tools to renew them and storing stuff in the crafting grid are no longer relevant, I'll edit that out

Thermal Ions 13th May 2011 07:39 PM

Added a point under Building, referencing the Minecraft Structure Planner which came up in this thread.

Thanks to those who mentioned and linked to it.

DaedalusAlpha 14th May 2011 10:09 PM

When having a chest open, holding shift while clicking a stack in your inventory will instantly move it to the chest and vise versa.

If you have your inventory only open, holding shift will move items from the inventory to the toolbar.

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