When I first started playing Minecraft a few months ago, I played with a rule: if I die, I have to delete the entire world. This is the fourth entry in the diary I kept of that experiment - the first is
World 3, Deaths 2
When my third world pops into existence, I know I have to keep it. No more dying.
I'm standing on a beach, in a cave, looking out of this cosy hole at the ocean beyond. It's a cove. It's perfect.
It's time to learn how to actually play this game. All I've figured out so far is how to turn blocks of wood into other, lighter coloured blocks of wood, and how to turn those blocks of wood into a block of wood with a picture of a saw on it. I've tried hitting trees with this saw-box, but it doesn't seem to be any more effective than punching them. It's equally useless for gently damaging rock.
I know you can make pickaxes somehow, but there doesn't seem to be space in my crafting window for the component parts: it's 2x2. The one thing I do know how to make in that space is a torch, but that requires coal and I haven't found any.
At this point Graham informs me that the saw-box is not actually a tool, but a way to make them. If you put it down, you can 'use' it to craft bigger stuff. He doesn't know it, but he has also informed me that there is a 'use' command.
I swim out to an island with some trees, punch the bejesus out of them, and return with enough wood to make a saw-box, some sticks, and some lumps of wood to fix to the top of those sticks to make a rudimentary pickaxe.
I know this seems slow to you, but I'm pretty sure it took the human race longer than this to invent tools, and I'm probably going to discover fire before teatime.
There's coal in my cave, it turns out, and from the moment I make my first coal-on-a-stick - or 'torch' as we'll call it - Minecraft starts to make sense. Monsters come from the dark, so torches let me make a safe place to spend the night. Specifically, to spend it doing something more interesting than trembling in a two-block hole.
I stick two torches in the sand at the back of the cove, giving the place a nice homely glow, then start pummeling the rock behind them six times a second with a wooden pick.
My plan is simple: I'll just dig out a sizable cave complex with an artificial lake at the base, cultivated groves of hand planted trees and a criss-cross of glass walkways linking staircase tunnels from the lower levels to the entrance.
My wooden pick snaps.
I plumb the depths.