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Minecraft On Fire! (Fun With Flint And Steel)
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The day I discovered that one could use a steel bar and a piece of flint to create a Flint and Steel fire starter in Minecraft was the day my world began to burn. Those of you who have read my previous gaming articles will know that I spare no time and expense in the investigation of the mechanics of fire in a game. My article on The Sims 3 entitled 'House of Fiery Death' has been one of my more popular pieces.
Fire is primal to the human condition, so it makes sense that when we game, we also wish to explore the uses of fire. In Minecraft, fire is dangerous indeed. In fact, I feel I should warn you at the outset that you too, are flammable. If you go about the place setting things on fire and accidentally catch yourself alight, you better pray that you are near a body of water, or else you will be charred to a crispy cinder and be forced to respawn.
Other creatures in the world of Minecraft are also flammable - and interestingly enough, much like some of the dimmer Sims 3 sims, many of them will leap into flames with all the wild abandon of Joan of Arc. Many is the time I have set a tree ablaze only to see a cow sacrifice itself to the fire.
Fire also takes on a mythical kind of resilience. My first experiments with fire were lighting sand on fire. Fire does not last long on sand, I discovered. However if you light a stand of trees on fire, they will go up like a box of matches. Flames easily spread from tree to tree and it is easy enough to end up with an entire hillside on fire if you are not careful.
Navigating By Bonfire
The curious aspect to this sort of conflagration is not merely that everything burns, but how long everything burns. Though most of the trees will fall prey to the flames, and the leaves burn away almost instantly, some pieces of wood seem to be immortal fuel for the flames and can continue to burn for days. It's not uncommon to see a block of wood mysteriously suspended in mid air and burning. If you've yet to find redstone and make a compass, lighting trees on fire isn't a bad way of making beacons that can be seen much further away than torches, so keep that in mind.
Put Out The Flames
Fortunately for us all, fire fighting is especially simple. One needs not craft a hose (which at the time of writing isn't possible anyway), one needs simply hit the burning wood with an axe. Hitting burning wood not only extinguishes the flames, but allows one to collect the wood for future use. Handy.