I'm sure all of you know what a starter house is. In theory, it's a house that you build shortly after starting a new game. Its looks may vary from person to person. Some don't care about decoration and feel satisfied with a huge wooden cube, while some prefer making it both good-looking and useful. I'm part of the latter. I love giving my builds as much detail and decoration as I can, whether it's survival or creative. But recently I've realised a big problem with this mentality. Now, I'm sure that whenever anyone hears the term "starter house" they imagine a small, humble house that has a roof with curvy sides and a pointy top, windows that are surrounded by fences, slabs and stairs, and an interior that has furniture and utilities that you'd see in a normal house like furnaces, couches, wardrobes and all that. This is the type of house I usually make. And its biggest letdown is the space. Starter houses always lack space. It may look good, it may make you want to live in it forever, but it almost never has enough space to put things like a storage system or a supersmelter inside because the whole thing is covered by blocks that are purposed for cosmetic usage, not utility. I can think of only one plausible solution to this problem, that is to make the house very big, I mean, insanely big; but that creates the problem of: How? Because at the start of the game you don't have a lot of resources. Building a huge house will take lots of time that you may not have because you're surrounded by mobs or because you constantly need to pause your progress and go foraging for building material. I'm sure there's an easier way to fix the problem, but I don't know it.
So, with that, I decided to come here and ask people who are much more experienced than me how they deal with this problem. How do you make a starter base that both looks good inside and outside, and is actually usable for survival purposes?
While I have a habit of NOT decorating and instead simply making buildings and houses for the sake of making places, I still feel like I can answer. My "bases" are usually just holes in mountains with tons of hallways, rooms, etc. They typically start as a foyer (central room door goes into) with hallways leading to one one kitchen (furnace room and food storage) one room (bed and personal storage, like tools, weapons) and storage room (material storage), and then I expand as I go (such as adding a pantry room off of the kitchen, adding more storage rooms, other rooms for other purposes, etc.). My "houses" are villages and cities, often not decorated, but sometimes they are (usually smaller villages). Again, these serve as an extension of my base, but sometimes one house will double as mine in that location.
It sounds to me like you have an answer to your question without consciously realizing it. If you need more space, obtain it. That's the answer. How you choose to do that is up to you. I gave an example, and while I decorate less, and while mine are built into mountains rather than as houses, the premise is the same here. You simply give yourself what you need. It doesn't "wrong" your starter house to add upon it, or abandon it in favor of something else. It still exists (unless you totally remove it instead of building upon or rebuilding it) and served it's purpose. In your example, you could make a "village" where each house or building is dedicated to a purpose (barn for animals like horses and llamas, livestock yard for farm animals, some kind of shrine or tower for a beacon, a windmill and farms for farms, etc., etc.; the default villages give a good indicator here). Use your creativity and you can have both. You won't have everything jammed in one small house, no, but where's the fun in that!? (might be obvious I'm biased in favor of building things.)
1)shrink the capacity of a specific-use room. For example, if you have easy access to a skeleton spawner (or a darkroom mobfarm) there's really no need for large 9x9 farms or even reasonably-sized 3x3 or 5x5 ones...just have a few spots or even just one spot per crop and use up the bonemeal that will inevitably stockpile. While you can later automate the farm, grinding through a few stacks of potatoes or whatever isn't going to take a lot of time when each plant gets to advance with bonemeal each time (seriously, 4 stacks of potatoes without incorporating fortune-tools is generally going to equate to about 10 stacks of bonemeal.
2)distributed building. It takes a village, after all, can't exactly have everything crammed together like you were born in a cannery.
a)extend this to the next level by developing multiple villages, each one filling a specific (group of) needs so that each village has a reason for going there on a regular if not frequent basis. One village might be situated on a lucrative mine and would export mass quantities of stone and import mass quantities of charcoal, one village might be deep in a large forest making charcoal and various carpentry knicknacks, still another might be built on a lake maintaining an aquatic economy.
3)starter, shmarter. Forget the small starter house and just build the huge 3-year mansion you intend to move into later. Live in the foyer, tripping over random chests and oddly-placed machinery until you get motivated enough to build another room. I like this approach because it lets me plan and design things, usually because what I want to do next requires lots of harder-to-get resources or because perhaps I'm not sure how it'd fit together (did I forget to account for hidden redstone, did I account for the way stairs and slabs work together, is it just too bulky than I intended?). What I build also tends towards the nontraditionally whimsical concepts...like living in a gigantic-scale billiard table with a 3d pixelart pool shark lining up a shot (the table and balls were very easy...the statue not so much).
If you decide to skip the build-and-move-on approach, the only thing you really have to worry about is project fatigue. One of the neatest concepts I came up with was an attempt at Mount Olympus with each of the deific realms scattered on its faces. It was going swimmingly, but because it was freakishly huge I was getting bogged down more and more with the "chore" of building some crazily-uninteresting parts.
I usually come up with an idea of what I want to build then I find an area. Then in order to have some shelter I will either mine a small chamber into the side of a hill/mountain near some water if possible (for wheat or baked potatoes for food), or I'll build a platform in the air with ladder access. Both of these are simply temporary storage areas full of chests and a bed whilst I gather materials and terraform, and also it gives me time to think about the build in more detail. Once the base is underway, and reasonably secure, I demolish the temp storage areas and stay in the main build. And as for the main build - think bigger! Sounds like you've had experience of things too small, so go the other way and make it huge i if you have the patrience of course. One thing I do like is to have lots of stuff underground, the surface part of the build doesnt feel so cramped then ... but that means more mining.
Below is my very first base in my world. The little platform to the left was basically home for quite a few weeks whilst I levelled the desert and built the Pyramid. Its the only base too now which still has the orig. platform I built - it did have a simple enchanting table on the side early on for my first enchantments. Probably 80% of the base is underground now, and you can always expand outwards underground, most of my bases have a central hub with various things coming off them. But if you want a lot of stuff in your base, you gotta plan and be prepared to create the space you need ...
For me it's either 1.A House with wood/stone (or a modded option of the two) or a material from a new update (if there is a island surrounded by water or just floating above I'll use that too for something different). 2.A cave/hole in the wall. 3.Or renovating a Desert Temple for a chest room around the outside of the treasure room but following the underside of the main floor as it's enough space for chests/tech mod machines.
I do struggle to come up with ideas but I usually just go with the first option most of the time if I'm side of breaking blocks (similar to how I want to follow the caves rather than strip mine/making tunnels) or just want to make something fast and expand it in whatever way I need to later. Obviously mods do determine what I want the base to be. Otherwise if it's a Vanilla playthough (not as often anymore though) then I'd just make a basic square box house and put chests, crafting table, furnace and bed in it then go mining, to the nether, find new update content and whatever else I come up with.
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I hollow out a series of rooms just below the surface as needed, with the main room along the staircase down to my branch-mine and the only surface features the entrance and animal pens; everything is purely functional, as are most of my builds (I do add some decoration to my main base, which is built later on), none of which can be described as a "house":
Most of these were taken early on (e.g. the screenshot of the crops in rows on dry farmland would later be fully planted and hydrated):
Newer players may not know what this is but this is how you'd breed villagers in older versions:
This is my idea of a trading "hall" (I collected these villagers to get Mending and the emeralds needed; afterwards I do not trade anymore and don't need any sort of permanent trading area, I moved the villagers into a village I built in my main base):
For comparison, this is my main base, whose main purpose is to store the resources I collect while caving and to grow food and wood, but it does have more decorative features:
You can probably tell that I don't do much brewing, actually, none at all past the early-game (I've never used this brewing stand or harvested the Nether wart), likewise, the only items I enchant are iron pickaxes found in minecarts, which I use to dig rail tunnels between bases (I could use my "caving gear", but I want them to only be used while caving):
Of course, the majority of my bases are dedicated to storing the resources I collect while caving:
This is mainly purely decorating as I don't trade at this point or use any of the animals:
Likewise, my secondary bases are a lot more like my starter base, just pure function with only brief trips back to them to store resources and restock on food and wood (at this point I only visit my main base when bringing back resources I collected at secondary bases):
I understand the lack of space causing dissatisfaction with starter houses. I've made a habit of not building any house/centralized base as a result of being anxious over space, and that habit is hard to break.
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Watch out for the crabocalypse. Some say the day will never come. But it will.
Feel free to drop by for a chat whenever.
If you'd like to talk with me about other games, here are a few I play.
Team Fortress 2
Borderlands series (Borderlands 2 is my favorite game, ever. TPS combat is a lot of fun and makes up for the lower-quality story, in my opinion)
Elder Scrolls series
Warframe (IGN is something like That_One_Flesh_Atronach)
Pokémon series (HGSS forever)
Left 4 Dead 2 (Boomer files always corrupt though)
SUPERHOT (SUPERHOT is the most innovative shooter I've played in years!)
Dead Rising series (Dead Rising 2 is one of my favorite games, and the 3rd was a lot of fun. 1st has poor survivor AI and the 4th is bad)
Just Cause series
Come to think of it, I mainly play fighting-based games.
I typically cut into a hillside for my starter area. From there I tunnel down for initial mine. Also under the hill, I dig out areas as needed. At some point, I build something nice and decorative on top of the hill.