I play Hypixel server, and in arcade games, there are the party games, which include a mini game where you shoot monsters. I used dispensers to drop monster eggs, because I have cheats on, and red stone connecting the dispensers to levers and pressure plates. I did it so it looks like bleachers. I did a row of grass, then a ditch of water, then grass, so on. I built a wall of stone brick blocks around it to prevent monsters from getting out. The water is to prevent the mobs from killing themselves by falling or burning. I built it by my base, so I could shoot from an elevated point and use a pressure plate to activate dispensing monster eggs. Different levels of the archery range contain different monsters. I think the guides are nice, and great for ideas. I experimented with copying the idea from another place and added my own flare. I just wanted to share my archery range, which is different from the idea in guide. Minecraft guides all the way!
Nice post, though sorely out of date providing some mis information. I did learn one or two things...the mushroom stew thing I'll have to try though I just found a mushroom Biome so I'll probably just get a mooshroom for auto mushroom soup dispensing also, I'll have to check out the nether portal being controlled by Redstone.
Old info I noticed...nether wart can be grown on the overworld, provided you have soulsand. Books can be written in now(I started keeping a travel journal when exploring, can jot down coordinates, and notes of different spots I come across) I think you didn't realize Redstone lamps when talking about putting trap doors on glowstone, though not a bad look either way.
If you're still active you should update this, other than that not bad ideas. Even gave anexperienced minecrafter some ideas.
One suggestion I have when planning a base....know the dimensions of stuff you want to put in your base. Stuff like auto furnace(not mentioned in your post), cobble/smooth stone generator(I prefer the second due to appearance and if you use silk touch, there's no need to smelt), any farm, storage(I like to use an A.S.S. Automatic Sorting Storage) it can take up a lot of space so knowing roughly how big makes it easier to keep from running into other portions of the base already being used. So on. One of my favorite bases to build on a server is hollowing out a mountain. Using multiple floors can fit more into the same verticle spot and it's less obvious to potential griefers since I typically run a shop that relies on my farms to be functioning.
Also, hidden doors and secret passageways to lead to more valuable sections of your base are both fun and useful, specially on a server. During factions I have been raided multiple times, but each time they never found my valuable private storage because they were hidden from the normal part of our base.
Automation is great for anything in Minecraft unless you want to spend countless hours simply getting stuff. Anything that would free up your time to do other parts is worth the effort to build.
On farms, automation is not always best, but can be great if it's for personal use. Example; auto farms such as the ones that use pistons and dispensors full of bonemeal...great for personal use. But not as good if you're trying to provide for a community.....unless that is your only task....sitting at the auto farm. If you would rather be running around doing other things, you can use an auto harvester and get large number of crops without sitting there the whole time. I designed one that is modular and infinitely expandable. With the land always staying hydrated. It's not as pretty as some auto harvest farms, but I designed it for function....it's also faster delivery. I'll try and post a picture soon if anyone is interested.
I'm usually not one to bump relatively old threads, however with the recent 1.8 update I've been looking for ideas for my new base [Using one of the new custom presets], and this guide gave me so much inspiration. I don't know if you're still an active forum member, however if you are I hope you continue posting such quality things such as this!
Also: I found a post on PMC [PlanetMinecraft] with content taken from this threads OP.