PROJECT 41: NETHER EARTH SKULL FIELDS
|Project coordinates: NX +687 : NY +63 : NZ +73
The Wither was introduced in Minecraft 1.4, four years ago now - and it's always been a tough nut to crack. There's the huge explosion it starts out with, there's its ability to smash through anything (including obsidian) that isn't bedrock, there's the way it regenerates its health and becomes immune to arrows. You can go in thoroughly unprepared and scream and panic (like Dataless822 in the Build Big or Go Home series)... or take a few precautions to tip the balance your way. Paul Soares Jr's tutorial series showed him using potions and a Notch apple - though now that the (very expensive) crafting recipe for the Notch apple has been removed, I'd suggest sticking with the Strength II, Regeneration II and Night Vision potions and use a Smite V diamond sword (called Quietus). But if you really want to employ some German efficiency to the job, Panda4664 will show you how it's done in 3.8 seconds, using the Nether's bedrock ceiling to trap the Wither in place and render its projectiles harmless.
But there is also the thorny issue of obtaining three Wither skeleton skulls to be able to summon the Wither in the first place. They're a rare drop from a rare mob if you're not looking in the right place. And it's all very well having a Looting III sword to increase the chances of getting the skulls to drop, but you still have to go hunting around Nether fortresses to find the Wither skeletons. This is why some of the more technical Minecraft YouTubers out there have been making machines to maximise the number of Wither skeletons that will spawn, and harvest the skulls automatically. Such machines work most efficiently if the spawning space is completely cleared to a 128-block radius, requiring a truly horrific amount of demolition or slab-laying in an environment where this is particularly difficult; the terrain is full of precarious overhangs, gigantic drops and further caves beneath the lava sea...
I don't need to create such a machine, but I do require a facility to make Wither skeleton skulls easier to obtain. The aforementioned Quietus (diamond, Smite V, Looting III) is the sword I require - now all I need to do is contain the space in which the Wither skeletons will spawn. To help me, I had xisumavoid's original tutorial for an automatic Wither skeleton skull factory - which no longer works as nothing can spawn on pressure plates any more - but it does explain, absolutely unambiguously, where the Wither skeletons can and cannot spawn, so I have no excuse for building this wrong!
I had no intention of clearing the Nether to the full 128-block radius - this was not intended to be an automatic farm, and I'd tested such a design in a Creative world and found there were just too many mobs spawning for me to deal with! However, a cleared radius of 30 blocks would allow me to retreat to the edges and allow more mobs to spawn after I'd cleared the area of all its mobs each time... and that would still be a massive undertaking.
So begins the story of the project that took even longer to finish than either the Heavy On The Magick Witch Farm or the 128K Toast Rack Guardian Farm, both of which needed a large amount of tedious and time-consuming mining underneath them. I've even kept enough temporary world saves to be able to track the timing of this 410-day build, phase by phase!
THE LONG BUILDING PROCESS
THE DECORATION CONCEPT
This was an enormous build - and came straight after the Time Trax Rune Cube that wasn't exactly small either. I think I'll stick to something slightly less massive for a while now!