Avoiding Getting Lost
It’s easy to become lost in Minecraft. Run helter-skelter from your base, chase a herd of livestock, discover a natural cave system, or take a shot across the sea like that famed Norseman, Leif Eriksson. It’s all part of the Minecraft charm. But don’t become Columbus in the process.
You’ll find a map in your inventory that can help you always return to your home base or other locations in the world (see Figure 3.3). The map can display the entire world but only updates while you have it active in the Hotbar, so it will take some time for it to build up the big picture. However, it does provide coordinates. Take note of those displayed for your home base.
FIGURE 3.3 Point your down to view the map. In this screenshot I’ve also turned off the HUD for a better view.
The coordinates are based on the world’s center where X and Z equal 0. (Y shows your current level above bedrock.) Jot down the current values. If you become lost, you can always find your way back to your original spawn and, presumably, your first shelter by traveling in a direction that will bring both X and Z back to those noted values.
When you need to return—and I should warn you that this can take some experimentation and a little practice—turn and take a few steps while tracking the change in your current coordinates. Your goal is to shift those X and Z values back toward those you originally recorded. You’ll probably wander around a bit, but eventually you’ll get there and the map will help you get your orientation and to head off in the right general direction.
When you are able, craft a compass. It takes some redstone and iron, and both are relatively easy to obtain with some assiduous mining. The only problem with a compass is that it always points to your original world spawn point. Think of that point as the magnetic north pole—it’s not a GPS. Sleeping in a bed resets your spawn point but not your compass, so this method falls out of date as soon as you move to new dwellings and update your spawn point.
A compass is actually more useful when transformed into a map, see p. xxx (“Mapping, or There and Back Again” CH 11). You may need to do that if you lose the original map.