I try to plan far ahead because I hate moving after I have settled somewhere.
I find myself a hillside and dig inside. I make room according to what my future needs may be, then I dig down and create a safe room from which to start my mining operations. For some reason I dedicate tons of effort to this underground room, the last one I made had a farm and a huge room where trees could grow, it was so refined that the only way you could tell it was deep under the earth was because there were no windows.
After I get a set of iron armor and enough food, I go outside (on the surface) and destroy the hill. I build a fortress on top of where the hill was, and a spider-proof wall all around the area. Then I start tending to my crops and taking in sheeps, cows and whatnot.
At this point I start exploring and connecting all points of interest to my base through simple cobblestone paths. But that's another story... my main base is always the first one I settle in.
Bases - I can't really say with "Bases" as I've never fully completed one. Not what I call a base though - living quarters instead of comfy sitting rooms, bunk-bed sleeping quarters istead of comfy bedrooms those are the definitions for me between "home" & "Base". Saying that though, I did start a new world, starting to clear the inside of a mountain bottom to top and seeing how many layers/floors I can get in. Still early days yet and I haven't got floor, still clearing the ground floor.
Homes - with homes, I very rarely build at spawn. I personally like to look around a bit and if I see a bit of landscape that looks really nice/cool/interesting, that is where I know I want to settle. I like to be influenced by the landscape around me. I have a bit of a bad habit of making homes inside mountains however. Need more room - dig yourself a new one! Take advantage of caves and transform them - smooth/flatten walls or extend them etc. I have build all sorts of homes however, in mountains - on top of them, in sand pits, ravines, in strongholds (Never finished that one, now the world is very old), in deep dense mega tiaga forests on islands and in many different biomes,..
My base is rarely built into the side of any existing structure or natural landscape. It tends to be built from the ground up.
During singleplayer, it is very plain. Just a rectangular prism with some glass panes to be able to view outside mobs. I'll often build upwards to get more room for chests and the like. They're always built at spawn so I can easily return home when I go out exploring, since I have no sense of direction whatsoever.
On multiplayer maps and servers, I make more of an effort at making eye candy. A lot of glass is involved in my home, and it's framed by some kind of wood log (most commonly birch). The floor is often made out of polished andesite, granite, or diorite. Unlike in singleplayer, I build downwards if I need more room. In fact, it's not uncommon to see entire farms being built below ground right under my home.
Most the initial stuff (during the no armor, stone sword phase) is built purely for utility with the idea I'll be moving/repurposing that area.
A major exception is a darkroom/dropshaft mob drop farm. Getting the first one of these operational is often an early priority (just after a secure food supply) and they are both visible enough and difficult enough to move, that I pay considerable attention to the siting… [Inside the entity active spawn chunks and (ideally) over water both for safety when building and the convenience of being able to jump down.]
Once past the initial survival scramble, bases are loosely planned.
I generally build bases for particular purposes (eg. access to a jungle biome) so there will be a central core (Portal / Bed / Manual Farms) with anything noisy (Ranches / Villager Farms / Item Sorters) 16+ away (often up or down). Because of lightning, the top layer tends to be either stone/cobble bottom slabs or above the snow line.
I also tend to build bases 128+ from the resource itself with a small "forward base" (basically a fort with minimal supplies, some storage, and the head of an item transport line to the nearest base item sorter) so the resource area stays clear of hostiles.
I don't go in for the one base with everything because of lag concerns, but tie various bases (sited as convenient) together with a web of nether portals.
This also means bases have towers since I find it far easier to build tunnels/roads in the nether near the bedrock ceiling (usually just below it because of the hassle of punching stairs and item transport through bedrock and as a convenient source of netherrack).
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WARNING: I have an extemely "grindy" playstyle; YMMV — if this doesn't seem fun to you, mine what you can from it & bin the rest.
My main bases are a large rectangular structure with 1 or 2 floors; they are all pretty much the same with quartz being used for many of them as I get large amounts of it as a byproduct of getting XP for enchanting. Here are screenshots and renderings of all of the main bases that I've built (6 across 8 main worlds, with 2 being copied to another world with MCEdit):
This one is from my first world (World1), which was not built as organized as the others. The village seen is mostly naturally generated, while the others all have a self-built village:
This was the base I built in World1v3 (also copied to TripleHeightTerrain using MCEdit, as was a modified version of my base for my first world to World1v2):
The base I used for the first version of TheMasterCaver's World; unlike the others this was all one floor:
Inside, they aren't very complex; my main storage area for all the resources I collect while caving dominates and there are no XP/mob farms, reflecting my playstyle:
This shows the base from TMCW while it was under construction:
The inside of my base from TMCWv4:
I also build numerous secondary bases (17 in my first world) although they can hardly be called bases, being little more than places to store resources and restock on food and wood; these are linked to my main base with railways:
When building a major base or farm etc, I often plan out what I’m going to do on some CAD software I have, then proceed to gather resources. My current (2nd) world has four main bases (one of which is demolished awaiting rebuild) but when I started the first one, I just basically had an elevated platform, with the basics on, which I used as my collection/sleep point whilst I spent the time doing whatever the site requires (in the case of my first pyramid, it was to gather loads of sand to make the steps for the walls) once that is done, I usually move in and start working on the interior in relative comfort. The other bases were easier because already having the first base and nether rail links to the new areas, I could just travel back and forth as I required. In fact, the two screenshots below, I still have the first platform I built whilst working on the first base, just kept it as a momento J
All of my bases are conceived around the storage area I want to build (which is usually a large central area lined with double chests around the edges -I veered away from this on my second base, which is why I eventually demolished it!) with the idea of having all my resources as close to hand as possible, and I expand outwards from there. I try to build underground stuff when I can so as not to make an eyesore of the landscape (a mistake I made in my 1st world)
Mine all begin with a shallow hole in the ground just big enough for me, a few chests and furnaces, and a mine shaft. Yup. I one of THOSE guys. I do plan my bases a little because I have a very decentralized style of playing. I founds buyilding hyper efficient bases with everything automated and within arms reach breaks the game. I would spend hours preparing my base to be so efficient that I could build anything I wanted!!...only to discover by the end of it, I'd exhausted what Minecraft can really do...
Now I build elaborately. I have lumber mills to house my wood, centralized storage houses for aggricultural overstock, dedicated blacksmith shops for ore and gems, etc. It means I have to walk around a lot to find stuff, but it also means I have dozens of opportunities to build something attractive that actually serves a purpose and which will enrich my experience of being in my base/village. I tend to build everything with a norse mythology style I've developed, too, so it all looks like it could actually exist on some level.
So, yes, I plan my bases in the sense that I do seek out terrain that is conducive to building villages without too much aggressive terraforming, and which is scenic enough that it will add to the scene I get to look at no tter what village road I happen to be travelling down today. Building in a sprawl like that, it HAS to be pretty to occupy that time you spend going from build to build. But it puts the game back in minecraft, which for us long time players, is something we sorely need!
The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
Usually a combination of a vaguely planned/sketched design and just winging it. When I start a new world, I toss up a quick first-day house (simple box, maybe in the side of a hill if there's a conveniently located one) while I dig my first mine and start gathering resources; once i get down to mining level I dig out a pretty large area and wall in a work/storage room more-or-less centered around the stairs back up to the surface, and start the stubs of my (3x3) mining tunnels. And while each one ends up being slightly different, my mine work/storage rooms tend to follow a similar plan/pattern (which has evolved over several years/worlds and many, many mines on each world). Once I've got that started I'll usually start work on the surface house - whether or not i ultimately decide to make my home in that spot (combination of view, terrain, access to resources) I'll at least upgrade that first-day box to a little cottage with a bed, kitchen/pantry, and maybe a table and some chairs...
Later house/bases might start out with more of a plan - i'll usually at least sketch a vague floorplan out on some graph paper with a general idea of the look i'm going for, although that part often goes through a bunch of changes during (and sometimes after) construction - but my first base on a new world grows out pretty organically as i collect resources and need more space/functionality.
(i'm currently living in a heavily-renovated woodland mansion; that was a completely different sort of project - modifying the rooms to fit my needs/taste without losing the feel of the original design. and that process was very organic - again, i started (once i cleared and lit up the place) with the mine and storage/workroom; next was the kitchen/pantry (with a new door out to the vegetable garden and barn, although those came later - that side of the house was originally growing out of the side of a mountain (the other side of the house is in a lake), it took a while to dig all that out), and a library, and a general storage room. I started exploring the local area (a long, long way from my original base) and establishing a new trade network with nearby villages (my village expansions are also a mix of standard builds I find myself repeating and improvised structures), added in a portal room (and built a new nether base - also improvised), and started working on the mostly-decorative rooms - i ultimately turned the entire second floor into one big library (with an enchanting section/enchanted-book storage, and a map room), turned one of the boxing rings into a swimming pool, built a roof-deck with garden and firepit-table, built a large fountain with a walkway around it in the middle of the lake, with bridges leading to the garden and the front door... There are still a couple of empty rooms waiting for inspiration, and of course there will always be finishing touches to tweak, and I'll probably end up adding some more outbuildings - right now there's the barn and the garden shed, i may move the portal out of the house. And once i update my "real" world to 1.13, i may need to build an aquarium... )
The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
Your builds are awesome, and very unique too!
I usually start off living in some cave as a caveman, and then grab my building resources and go off to build a cabin somewhere. I love cabins, but lately I've been trying to just make my beginner caves very nice homes.