As I play Minecraft more and more, I become pickier and pickier at where I set up my base. If the locale doesn’t look interesting enough, I’ll be moving somewhere else. Even if it means dragging cows and sheep over a thousand blocks, which I normally have to do since I ended up staying in the mountains most of the time.
And after I find a place that I like, I modify the area so that it looks better. I start off by cleaning up the area.
Generally, I’ll have a temporary base set up first since I need a lot of resources. Stone and dirt are honestly worth more to me than diamonds at times. This is especially true for dirt, since that is something no Minecraft player will deliberately collect and stock up on. From my experience, terraforming almost always use up more dirt than expected. I’ve had many a landscaping session cut short because I need to travel somewhere out of sight to gather dirt.
With stony areas, spare bits of ores, granite, dirt and diorite stand out and are pretty unsightly. I’ll normally replace them with stone, or andesite or gravel if I want to add a bit of texture. They look close enough to not stand out, yet they still add just enough variety so that you aren’t just staring at a blank stone wall. As the mountain is next to a forest, I also chopped down all the nearby trees
After the clean-up, I’ll then start defining the main features. For this place, I want a waterfall on the side, where there’s a vertical depression on the side of the mountain. I also want a winding path from the recessed flat face to the foot of the mountain. The door will be on that recessed flat face.
After that is done, I’ll start placing down dirt and stone to carve out the general shape of the landscape that I want. For this particular landscape, I extended the grassy foot of the hill outwards so that the winding path isn’t just floating in the air. The rocky mountain is also sculpted to remove some of the sharper and more angular features.
For the peak of the mountain, I added more dirt so that it doesn’t look like a film of soil on top of a boulder. As it is above a V-shape notch on the mountain face, I enhanced that feature and make it looks as if a grassy patch is wedged on the mountain top. I tend to use the naturally-generated features as a guide or inspiration as to how I want to mould the landscape further.
There is a depression on one side of the path at the foot of the mountain, so I decided to turn it into a lake. It is being embraced by trees and plant life on three sides, with the side facing the path open so that anyone walking along the path gets a full, unobstructed view of the lake. The ground on the top of the mountain and at the base of the waterfall also have more plant life added to it.
When I’m adding flowers to a place, I normally have a colour scheme in mind. For the lake, as it is surrounded by birch trees, the flowers I used there are either white or blue. If I have more browns in the area, I tend to go for red instead. For the mountaintop area, as there is snow and podzol around, I planted red and white flowers there along with sweet berry bushes.
For stony areas, I always smooth out the jagged looks of the full blocks with stone stairs and slabs. Sometimes I wish grass slabs and stairs are a thing because it does look nicer.
The last step is lighting. I need to mob-proof while making sure that I don’t just carpet-bomb the area with torches. I tend to hide light sources underneath slabs or behind dense vegetation, or build proper lights along the pathways. I replanted the forest on the empty land opposite the lake since I have no idea what to do with the land.
And this is the completed area leading into the base.
Unless I’m doing a more technical build, like farms, I tend to have zero plans going into a build. That’s part of the reason why I tend to look for an interesting locale before terraforming instead of building up the landscape from scratch. The other reason is that the resource grind for dirt and stone are extremely time-consuming, making it cheaper and faster to just find and modify existing landscape instead.
I like to have something nice to look at along the main path or at the border of my base area.
Minecraft’s default terrain generation is passable, but with a bit of player effort it can be made better. I am quite excited about the new terrain generation for 1.17, as the terrain generated looks to be a lot nicer than what we have now.
Sometimes, there are areas I put in more effort than is necessary, such as the area on top of the mountain. That area will only be viewed from afar, and I can actually skimp on the detailing. In fact, some trees and most of the flowers are completely hidden from view. Literally no one will know the amount of the work I did there.
But hey, I know it’s there, and that is all that matters.