Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Point of Pumpkins

If you’ve been playing Minecraft for a bit you may have heard of a new harvestable item they’ve added called the pumpkin. These new crops may seem like little more than a novelty, but they are actually very useful in your Minecraft world.

How to get them
Before we go into the many uses for these handy little crops, let’s address the issue of how to get them. Even if you’re playing in a world created before the update that introduced these new harvestable items you can still get ahold of them in your world, though you may have to travel out for a while. Pumpkins can be found wild typically in either a plains or mountain biome, though mountain seems more common as that’s were most people find theirs (including myself). When you harvest them you’ll find that you collect whole pumpkins which cannot be planted. However you can turn the pumpkins into pumpkin seeds by placing a pumpkin in your crafting window and clicking the output (which is four pumpkin seeds). You can then plant these seeds which will grow a vertical vine. Once it’s mature it will spawn a pumpkin on a dirt or grass block adjacent to it ever one and a half Minecraft days or so. As with most plants pumpkins grow more quickly when near water and you can control where the pumpkins will spawn by limiting the eligible adjacent land to a single square. This is handy for more efficient pumpkin farming as lining all the vines up in columns of two with two dirt or grass blocks between each column will cause the pumpkins to spawn in two neat rows.

As you can imagine there are several different uses for pumpkins in Minecraft for both consumables and other items.
Pumpkin Pie – The first and probably the most obvious use for pumpkins is the creation of pumpkin pie which is made with one pumpkin, one egg, and one sugar. They restore four hunger and are stackable which makes them a great option for adventuring and they can be crafted in your inventory which makes them easy to make on the go if you find any wild pumpkins, eggs, or sugarcane. It restores 8 hunger points (or 4 of the 10 drumstick shaped bars above your hot bar), but has a relatively low saturation.
Jack o’ Lantern – Another use for the pumpkin, and arguably the more common is to create jack o’ lanterns by combining them with torches. These can then be used for a number of different things including decoration for Halloween.
Light Source – a jack o’ lantern can be used as a light source in much the same way as a torch, but with a few additional benefits. The jack o’ lantern actually produces as much light as full sunlight and more than a regular torch making them great for use as a mob deterrent. They will also allow mobs to spawn on top of them so they can be effectively used in slime farming as well, though they require a solid block beneath them to be placed initially, but the block can be removed afterwards. They’re also great for use as underwater light sources as they only require a solid block beneath them in order to be placed. This makes them an excellent option for under water exploration and construction projects.
Golems – The other use for jack o’ lanterns is the creation of golems. These can be created out of snow or iron. The snow golem is at this point more of a novelty as it doesn’t seem to actually attack anything, however an iron golem created using four blocks of iron in a “T” shape with a jack o’ lantern placed on top for a head will attack most mobs (but not creepers) with devastating effect. This is especially handy in villages to protect the villagers from zombies. They’re also used to great effect as the killing mechanism in mob traps. Golems do not attack villagers or players unless attacked.
Helmet – It is entirely possible to place a pumpkin on your players head for use as a helmet. This affords your character no armor, but does alter the screen to make it look like you’re looking through the carved out portions of the pumpkin. The great advantage of doing this is that enderman don’t register you looking at them while you have a pumpkin equipped as your helmet which can make the end, considerably easier.

Pumpkins are a cool new addition to the Minecraft world that are well worth taking advantage of. If you haven’t found any yet, stock up on some pork chops and head out on your own epic quest to bring pumpkins back to your N3rd C0rn3r.