I'm not sure how hell portals will work, but this is what i'm hoping...
I want it to have a similar system as wormholes on EVE with some elements of oblivion gates.
Unstable hell portals will spawn randomly, mostly underground, especially around lava (the fact that they spawn and aren't built into the map means players can continue on their current worlds and still have hell portals which can take them new lands where there may be biomes, since they have likely explored alot around spawn). These portals are unstable, so they will last randomly from about 1-6 minecraft days. New stronger enemies (lava creepers/demons/dragons?) that only spawn in hell are able to leave through the portal and hang out around it. You can venture in the portal into the whole other realm notch mentioned, which is a completely separate map (so compasses won't work) and venture around it. I assume it will be a place filled with lava, void of plants, rich with minerals, and lots of stronger mobs. There will be no way to stop these mobs from spawning, and it will be unlikely that you can spend prolonged amounts of time in hell and survive. You will more likely go in short expeditions (or groups in smp). Obviously, there will be other portals back to the normal world, but being magical, the direction and distance you walked in hell have no impact on where the portals take you.
Now, Notch is obviously implementing hell portals as a way access far away lands. Seeing as how I said portals are unstable, if it collapsed while you were exploring hell, you would likely be lost until you died and respawned, and this model does not benefit you in creating consistent paths through hell. So I'm thinking a magical device like
can be used to wedge a portal open and keep it stable while preventing mobs from leaving hell through that portal. What would be interesting is if making these magical devices require a new material found only in hell, so that you have to take an initial risk of going into hell with uncertainty of returning before creating a stable portal.
I'm really excited about this update, i wish i didn't know about it a month in advance.
Post your comments or ideas of how you want hell to work in this thread.
Wait... That DOES bring up a good point. It seemed to imply that you travel through a new area... What if the area is a small but new area each time, rich in non renewable resources? That would make iron lanterns more viable but at the same time dangerous (provided the portals are somewhat dangerous)
i was thinking scattered around your map would be premade ruins of the "forecrafters" who built makeshift obsidian tombs with entrances to the hell world. once your inside the hell world it will be a flat plain that will go on forever with lava lakes scattered around, the floor will be made up of dirt (no grass) and a new mineral called hellstone, hellstone is a darker version of redstone that can be used to create smaller and more stable entrances and exits through hell.
hellstone will take as long to mine as redstone with and you will get 2-4 dark red stones, these stones can then be inserted into a
structure, this structure will be activated when you hit it with a hellstaff, hell staffs are
craftable items wich activate and deactivate portals
every time you enter hell the monsters grow larger in packs and stronger each time you enter. in hell your armour and weapons are as usefull as wood and leather armour no matter what they are (even your perty :Diamond:) you have to use armour and weapons made from smelted hellstone.
all in all i like the idea of something called hellstone
 if you leave the portal to many times in a row you will end up in bell air
Basically, I craft 2 portal gates. Then, I place said portal gates wherever I want them. Then I open one, travel through a hell-like biome, and come out the other side.
But then you add in the mobs that will be in the hell biome, the fact that lanterns will probably be 'expensive', that torches won't cut it AND that if I want to use the gates properly I gotta go waaaaaaaay out into the middle of nowhere, dodging mobs and slowly running out of resources, then place a gate and go back through it, with whatever resources I have left.
Or I just place one in each of my houses. That be easy.
Oh. I just realized. What if mobs can come OUT of the gates? Maybe I shouldn't put one inside my house after all.
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