What to Build: The List
Now BEFORE we get to listing all the things you should include in a world, read a few tips on keeping your playtime nice and long before giving up and starting over.
Tip 1: Pick somewhere nice to live
Nothing is worse than building a house in your starting location if you aren't really happy with your starting location. There might be a lot of limiting factors that keep you rooted to one place in the beginning of the game, but if you don't find ways to overcome them, you will soon find yourself wanting to start over after you've gotten your haul of diamonds and nothing can kill you anymore. Ideally you want to find your diamonds and still have things to build, and you want them to look nice. Don't begrudgingly stay in that ugly tundra or swamp because that's where the seed made you start. You could find greener pastures with nice terrain features to be exploited. Build castles in the fields and wizardly towers jutting out of the mountaintops.
Tip 2: Don't confine yourself to one building; Spread out
The route most people will take is to build a starting shelter and then continually expand it or cram things into it. It starts off as a one-room house with just a bed, furnace, crafting table and chest but soon becomes cramped as they pile more chests and furnaces into it. Or perhaps a cramped basement is dug underneath the house. The basement has a few chests in it, and bookshelves with an enchanting table and brewing stand. And there's a staircase from the basement into a branch mine. And another staircase to a room with the Nether portal in it (conveniently out of audible range from everything else). Eventually all player activity becomes centered around one small area, and things become boring. If you build multiple buildings, each with a specific purpose, there's more time spent being creative and using lots of styles and colors for each building... instead of time spent digging more square rooms under the main house to hold more double-chests in.
Tip 4: Don't build too big
This one comes from personal experience. I once started a world with the intention to dig a MASSIVE quarry mine. The base of which would be 100x100 at layer 6, and that would slope upwards gently until it reached sea level. And then I would build a city on layer 6, in the pit. Needless to say, I never finished the pit. I never even got to start the city. Once I had dug a 100x20 room, after spending at least seven hours with iron pickaxes and stacks of gravel filling in lava pits, I decided to MCedit the rest. The result was me feeling unsatisfied having cheated to complete a task that no mortal should ever have attempted in the first place. I restarted the world soon after, finding no joy in my "accomplishment".
Tip 5: Don't build too sparsely or too densely
If you want to build multiple buildings, don't put them too far away from one another, or it will be a chore to travel between them all. But don't put too many buildings too close together, or you might feel a bit cramped or run out of room to build larger buildings.
Tip 6: Notice that I skipped Tip 3
(Work in Progress, last updated 3/1/12)
The following list is potential projects that should be completed in every Minecraft world, preferably in separate rooms or buildings. They're in no particular order in regards to when you should build them. Priority structures are in bold.Shelter
Should have the basic means of survival, which is a crafting table, a furnace, and a bed. They come in the forms of small houses or large, elaborate mansions.
Storage Room / Warehouse
Needs to have LOTS of storage room and be LARGE. Separate the chests into different categories before you actually put anything in them. Make sure to have more room than you will actually use. A warehouse should also have at least one item disposal.
Got a lot of valuables? Want to show them off? One way to do so is to build a room and line the walls and floor with your most valuable blocks. The rooms are incredibly expensive to build, but can turn out looking very nice. A centerpiece of the room can be a chest that contains diamonds and other expensive ores unused in the building of the room. They can be standalone structures or connected to another building via a hidden sticky piston entrance.
Grows wheat and perhaps melons and pumpkins. These sorts of things are ideal to avoid starving to death, and are necessary if a player wants to stay in one place permanently.
Grow lots of sugarcane. Don't skimp on the size or it will take you forever to get bookshelves. Hoard that stuff away until you build an enchantment table.
Can be large, featuring lots of bookshelves along the walls and aisles of books. It could also be a small room not much larger than the space required for the enchantment table and its associated bookshelves. Either way it should be separate from other specialized rooms.
Tree Farm (credit: Lothos)
Useful for underground bases, as it allows a player to harvest lots of wood in a short period of time, all without returning to the surface. Additionally, in above-ground settlements it might be nice to have a source of wood that doesn't require destroying the neighboring forest.
Go spelunking all you like, but eventually it's going to become too long a journey to find new caves to exploit. Establish a branch mine or phoenix mine somewhere near your place of residence. Make the entrance its own building, perhaps with a mine cart track going up to the surface. Consider making the inside of the branch mine look nice as well, instead of a series of 2x1 tunnels.
A room for your Nether Portal
Nether portals are too noisy to have near your house, but they also look very unsightly when placed out in the open. The solution? Build a room for the Nether Portal. Make it look ornate, as if the portal is something to be revered (after all, it's a portal to what might as well be hell). Personally I pick a style that makes it look like the centerpiece of a temple.
Ironworks / Blacksmith's Forge
LOTS of furnaces. And perhaps lava or fire used for lighting. The idea is to have a room to store and smelt all that cobblestone when you decide it's time to build a castle... but you need 100 stacks of stone bricks to build it with. Forges and the like will make large smelting jobs go by a lot smoother.
Blacksmith's Yard (credit: xRILLIANx)
Similar to an ironworks, this place would be in a large outside area with a forge where your furnaces might be kept. This would also have chests for storage of your materials, and would essentially function as an outdoor fireworks, in nature where you can see your world; this is a great alternative if you're building a more medieval encampment.
Pastures / Barns
They could be as simple as large fenced in areas in a plains biome, or small grassy cubicles underground. Indoor pastures can also be called barns or animal sheds. Regardless, fill them with sheep. You'll need lots of colorful wool to keep your stuff looking interesting, and eventually you'll get tired of eating bread and wish you had some steaks.
Everyone wishes they had some arrows. Hunting skeletons might not be enough for you. And even if it is, just think of all those flint chunks going to waste in your storage room, wishing they were arrowheads. Plus, the constant source of chicken meat can't possibly be bad for you.
So you just got back from a huge adventure in the Nether. You have blaze rods finally and you want to brew up some potions. But what's this? Brewing is slow? Damn. You wish you had a building with lots of brewing stands in it so you could be hyper-efficient. And it could have neat little chests filled with potion-specific ingredients in it. It might also have some cauldrons... because what else are those for?
Monster Spawner / EXP Farm
This one isn't truly necessary to enjoy the game. It is, however, necessary if you want to get any of the high powered enchantments in a timely fashion. It's also tricky to build on near your base, because the only effective way to use these anymore is to set it up by a dungeon. Plan accordingly, use a mapping program to find one, or have a rail system set up so you can actually get to it from your base quickly.
A Fort in the Nether
This one should actually be a no-brainer. Build a little base to protect your Portal, keep out pesky zombie pigmen, and house a Nether Wart farm once you get some.
Nether Wart Farm
Nether wart is an essential ingredient in potions. Get a sizable farm going as soon as possible if you plan to do anything involving those.
Subspace Travel Hub
You might have heard that travelling one block in the Nether is equal to 8 blocks in the Overworld, and allows you to travel huge distances easily when exiting the Nether. Imagine a long tunnel in the Nether... a hallway... and every 16 blocks there's a Nether portal in the wall. You could go INSANE distances and travel between multiple bases with ease, because you linked them all via a hub in an alternate dimension. Build one of those one day. I promise it will be cool.
Lighthouse (credit: xRILLIANx)
Whether this be an actual lighthouse perched on the rocks by the sea, or a large tower near your main encampment, these are a great thing to have, and allow you to see your base when you've been traveling, and may otherwise lose your trail home. They provide a small source of light, and can allow you during the day to see monsters, surrounding forests and mines, and give a general breath of fresh air to your otherwise grounded experience.
Train Station (credit: Lothos)
If you're looking at buildings for potential town layouts it could be handy. Even if the building only handles 2 tracks its quite handy for a stop off point. I would make a grand roundhouse station though at some central hub sometime later once you have multiple large bases.
A Waterworks / Water slide (credit: Lothos)
Like roller coasters, but with water instead of rails and boats instead of mine carts.
Technically a type of shelter, but within a huge mushroom. They're generally very small, but make an easy build project that's nice to look at.
Panic Room (credit: Shadow Wolf Alpha)
A safe room hidden in the most secure area of a building, usually behind several doorways and multiple layers of blast-resistant material. Panic rooms generally contain all the materials necessary in case of an emergency, like creepers and zombies breaching your defenses. Fit it with special storage, perhaps automatic doors and several escape routes. Have buttons/levers that control all different things in your house; for example, lock the front door from the panic room. In extreme cases, a player may feel it necessary (or awesome) to destroy their base via a self-destruct button wired to huge amounts of TNT. That sort of button would be hidden in a panic room.
Walls (credit: Zergy6)
Consider putting walls around your town. That will provide an excellent way to get rid of all that extra cobblestone (without wasting it). If you want to build the walls early on, try not to encase your town in too small an area, or you'll have to tear down the walls. Make the walls thick; 5-7 seven blocks. And place walkways on the top made of a decorative material, like wood.
This section details larger projects, such as castles. Because of the difficulty in building these and taking screenshots, links to related projects will be included.
A fortified area surrounded by short, thick walls and a moat. Contained within are multiple utility structures, like cobblestone generators, automatic and non-automatic farms for various items, among other things. They generally, they're self-sufficient, with enough materials for a player to walk into the fort and never need to leave.
Example: Fort Zero
A LARGE fortified area, much bigger than a fort. Walls can be of varying heights and thickness, but are generally much higher than forts. Moats are optional for castles. Castles contain all the utility structures of a fort as well as lots of decorative buildings, such as additional houses and towers that exist only to look nice.
Example: Shadowmonarch Castle
NOTE: This list is by no means finalized. And I'm asking for YOUR input. Suggest other things to build, and give a brief description of their purpose and how you might make them look. Every time it updates, glance up and down the list see what's been changed. Not all new items get added at the bottom of the list.
This list will also contain screenshots of each build suggestion once it's completed. If you've built any of these structures, post a screenshot in this thread and I'll tack it on. And feel free (although it's optional) to include screenshots with your suggestions.
Together we can inspire the members of this board to create truly great and uniquely designed things in their own worlds, and stop them from being bored with Minecraft.
Edited by A Blind Moron, 26 March 2012 - 12:24 AM.