January 27, 2015 9:13 am

A beginner’s guide to Minecraft: Pocket Edition

Since arriving on Windows Phone last year, Minecraft: Pocket Edition opened up a new world of exploration and creativity for more people.

For the uninitiated, the world of Minecraft can be both expansive and daunting. But if you know how to master the game or at least know the essentials, you’ll be building an entire kingdom in no time.

Here’s our guide to starting out in Minecraft: Pocket Edition.

1. A game of two halves

Minecraft: Pocket Edition has two methods of play.

Minecraft_Pocket-Edition_game-mode

Creative mode is where you can jump straight into a world, fully equipped with everything you’d possibly need to start creating.

Want to build a small wooden hut? Just use the limitless wooden planks in your inventory without the need to chop down trees.

Want something a bit more grand? Use the infinite number of glass blocks, stone bricks and glowstones and head to the seas for your underwater palace.

In Survival mode you start with empty pockets and you must earn your much-needed possessions.

Need wood, stone, wool, or gold? You’ll need to find it the old-fashioned way–by collecting it.

Beware, it’s not called Survival mode for nothing. There are plenty of nasties out there looking to get you. Stay clear of the spiders, endermen, creepers and zombies. If they get you, you’ll lose everything you’ve collected, and you will have to harvest/farm/mine them again.

For the rest of the guide, we’ll assume you’re playing in survival mode as you don’t really need any help in the creative mode.

2. Seize (or should that be size) control

Depending on the Lumia you have, you may want to change the size of the D-Pad. For instance, the Lumia 1520‘s six-inch display might provide a D-Pad big enough for most people, but the Lumia 532‘s four-inch screen may require you adjust the controls a bit.

Thankfully, game options include the ability to increase the size of the D-Pad from small to huge. Play around with the slider-bar until you find the perfect one for you.

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Small D-Pad

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Large D-Pad

3. When darkness comes, hide!

One of the first essential tasks is to build yourself a home. That may not be so easy with an empty inventory.

Minecraft features a day and night cycle, which means that after 10 minutes, the sun will set, making way for night-time. You don’t want to be out at night: That’s when all the hostiles come out to feed.

For your first night, find a hill and dig a shallow hole into the side of it by punching the dirt (tap and hold). A basic one-time safe house needs to be no bigger than two blocks tall, one block wide, and two blocks deep.

Minecraft_Pocket-Edition_shelter

Slide yourself inside and barricade the bottom of the entrance using a dirt or sand block, leaving only a single block free for you to see out of that no angry mob can enter.

The reason you’ll need to see outside is so you’ll know when the sun rises, making it safe for you to spend another day exploring–in about seven minutes.

4. Gather lots of resources

At the start of a new day, it’s time to leave the safety of your temporary shelter and go out hunting or gathering.

Pretty much everything you come across on Minecraft can be collected in one way or another. But if you’re just starting out, you’ll need to use your fists.

Want to gather wood? Start punching that tree until all that’s left is a pile of logs on the floor and you have splinters in your knuckles. The same technique can be applied to the ground to gather dirt, sand or clay.

Minecraft_Pocket-Edition_gather-resources

What you do with those materials is up to you, but for your second day in Minecraft, we suggest you upgrade that hole you spent the first night in, as night will soon arrive again.

5. Craft

Take a look through your inventory by hitting the ellipsis icon at the bottom. There, you can move to the crafting section where you can turn those oak logs into oak planks.

Minecraft_Pocket-Edition_craft

Once you start making planks of wood, your creativity options begin to expand. For example, planks of wood can be turned into sticks and you’re going to need plenty of those later. Planks of wood can also be used to…

6. Create a crafting table

You’ll need one of these.

Go back to your newly constructed dirt/wood/sand house, create a crafting table and position it out of the way.

The crafting table is used for making advanced items out of the basic materials that you find. Items that will help you progress at a quicker pace would be the wooden sword, wooden axe, wooden shovel and wooden pickaxe.

Minecraft_Pocket-Edition_crafting-table

Why? These items help you fight foes, chop trees, and dig dirt/sand at faster speeds. Plus, by using a pickaxe when mining stone, you’ll now be able to collect cobblestone–a vital ingredient for creating stone pickaxes, furnaces, and many other items.

7. Knock, Knock!

Who’s there?

Who knows? Who cares? The fact you’ve got a door in the first place is a wonderful thing.

When you’re inside and sifting through the inventory at your crafting table trying to decide what to make next, the last thing you want is a bad guy sneaking up behind you and blowing you and your house to smithereens.

It’s a simple thing, but create a door (out of six planks of wood) to block the entrance rather than using valuable building blocks. Plus, you can open and close it by tapping it.

Minecraft_Pocket-Edition_door

8. Create fire!

To create fire you’ll need coal and plenty of it.

Coal can be found using a pickaxe when you mine coal ore blocks. While they’re quite easy to find, they’re much less common than the plentiful dirt, grass and sand.

Try digging away at the dirt on the side of a mountain and keep on the lookout for a grey block with large black specks. That’ll be coal ore.

Minecraft_Pocket-Edition_coal-ore

The nice thing about finding one block of coal ore is that there are usually several blocks around it. Keep on digging to collect as much as possible. When you destroy a coal ore block it drops coal.

By combining one stick and one coal you create … four torches!

Torches = no more fumbling around in the dark.

9. Know your enemy

As previously discussed, night-time is when all the frightful creatures come out looking for you, but you’ll also see some in the daytime, too.

At dawn, you’ll see the remaining zombies and skeletons burning under the scalding sunshine, which means you just need to be out of arm’s reach before they turn to dust.

Minecraft_Pocket-Edition_enemies

Spiders will remain but they won’t chase you should it be light enough–they only attack when it’s dark.

Takeaway lesson: Don’t attack if you don’t need to; you might not win.

10. Learn the lay of the land

So, you’ve created your castle, created a sheep farm (yes, you can do that, too) and maxed out your inventory. What’s next?

The time has come to explore farther afield. However, you may not want to completely abandon your first home.

Navigating your way around Minecraft is difficult, with mountains, oceans, and forests around every corner. Did you turn left or right past that very nondescript-looking tree?

Create a “breadcrumbs trail” so you can find your way back again. These can consist of torches, planks of wood, even carvings in the dirt. Use anything available.

Minecraft_Pocket-Edition_longest-pier

Now that you know the basics of Minecraft: Pocket Edition, create your world today.

Minecraft_Pocket-Edition_farm

Updated September 30, 2015 7:44 pm