The Spawn Chunks 236: Suspicious Stagecraft

Mar 13, 2023 | podcast

Joel, and Jonny roll through their latest landscaping projects, catch everyone up on the changes in Minecraft Java Edition 1.19.4 Pre-release 4, discuss the potential of suspicious blocks in the Nether, and suspend their disbelief over and over again in blocky Minecraft worlds.

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  • Empires, Season 2
    • The giant cliff project saw some progress this week with texture changes, incorporated path textures working with the unique savannah grass colour, and custom rock outcrops.
      •  A castle design is coming! Landscaping always takes longer than you think.
    • Going on a small scavenger hunts for early game artifacts left behind for the Empires by Rendog before returning to the realm of Hermitrcraft.

Minecraft News

Chunk Mail

FROM: DaDavio
SUBJECT: Black Sand – A suspicious solution for peaceful players

Hello Joel and Jonny,

I was listening to Episode 235 and I thought of a possible way to combine Tkander26’s idea of suspicious sand dropping loot useful to peaceful players and the requirement of exploring the nether to get blaze powder, by introducing “black sand” to the nether.

Black sand would be a logical addition to the nether on its own, considering in real life black sand beaches exist around volcanic regions. It also would probably look really cool, maybe replacing the current random patches of gravel that look a tad out-of-place in the moody nether landscape.

Patches of “suspicious black sand” would also work well in bastion remnants, working the same as regular suspicious sand, dropping a variety of loot including golden nuggets, suspicious stew, the odd ender pearl and, of course, blaze powder.

I think this would be balanced for both the peaceful and non-peaceful game-modes. On non-peaceful mode, perhaps the piglins agro when you start digging up their stuff, making it preferable to find a fortress instead and collect blaze powder the traditional way. For peaceful players, there is still a major risk involved. Finding multiple bastions to find enough blaze powder would require traversing a lava-filled nether after all.

What do you think? Should Mojang add black sand and a suspicious variety to a future expansion of archaeology?

DaDavio was hung, drawn and quartered by a piglin brute because they forgot to set their world to peaceful.

FROM: Flymod12
SUBJECT: More Suspicious Blocks?

Hello Pix and Joel,

I just finished listening to episode 235 and was thinking about solutions for getting mob loot from suspicious sand without breaking the gameplay experience. 

What if there was suspicious gravel in the nether? These could spawn in or around nether fortresses and bastions, which would make it so that people still had to visit these structures, and would contain nether mob loot. We saw both gravel and dirt being searched with the brush in the very first showcase of archeology, so it seems a bit weird that we are only getting suspicious sand. 

Finally, this would be the perfect opportunity to add more pottery shards. I can’t wait to see what you guys think!

Flymod12 tried to swim in lava while searching for the snout shard.

FROM: BludCount
SUBJECT: Suspicious Soul Sand

Hey Jonny and Joel,

I was just listening to your most recent episode and was very intrigued by the idea presented by an emailer about obtaining items in peaceful mode that would otherwise not be possible to obtain, through archeology. After hearing Jonny’s counter to the disruption of game progression, I realized something… As it stands, archeology is limited to deserts in the overworld. It would make a lot of sense for artifacts to also be hidden in the nether. If suspicious soul sand could be found around nether fortresses, nether brick decorated pottery shards and things like blaze rods could bridge the gap. 

Would love to hear feedback.


FROM: McScrewGunn
DISCORD MEMBER: Landscape Arist
SUBJECT: Carpentry / Construction Worker In Minecraft

Good (insert appropriate time zone here) Joel and Jonny.

In a recent podcast, you asked for any of your listeners to write in if they had any real world construction experience. 

As it happens, I spent about 25 years or so as a scenic carpenter for stage theatres.  Both resident theatres and in shops which served smaller theatres which did not have their own facilities to build. 

For me, the most interesting and difficult aspect of Minecraft compared to real world building, is seeing objects as something they are “not”. 

For example, birch wood either stripped or in log/stair form, is a very similar color to sand and such.  It fits well into a gradient along a path, shall we say.

However, there is always a little bit of my mind that thinks “what is that wood doing laying in the sand?”

Additionally, there is the real world physics that comes into play.  For example,  a wood floor of the second storey needs to have beams.  Otherwise, what is holding it up?


McScrewGunn did not die, but hurt himself severely falling into a hole in the stage floor. (That’s a lie, I did not get all that badly hurt)

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Stagecraft And The Suspension Of Disbelief In Minecraft

Spring boarding from McScrewGunn’s email Joel, and Jonny discuss the suspension of disbelief Minecraft players have to often learn – or at least accept – in order to see parts of the blocky world of Minecraft as something it’s not. From angled roofs, and “round” towers, to giant sculptures, and stubborn textures, how can players find the best ways to immerse themselves in a world, and where does Minecraft often fall short?