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Operation Enterprise Aircraft Carrier - Day 1

It is a well known fact that I hate most series blogs. I read them all because I am trying to read everything on the blog page, but there are some I just suffer through. That being said, I promised myself I would not do a blog series unless I had an extremely solid foundation and purpose. I believe such a foundation and purpose has been found...in Minecraft.

Everybody has their castles and houses and 8-bit characters in their Minecraft world (or did before we took TNT to them to see what would happen), but I wanted to build something different, something not everybody would think up and decide: "Why not?" So, I decided to build an aircraft carrier, but not just any aircraft carrier: the USS Enterprise CVN-65.

Set for decommission in March of 2013, the real floating airfield holds a compliment of 3,000 personnel and up to 90 aircraft. While my Minecraft version won't hold up to any of the statistics, I plan to make it look awesome and as close to real as possible with in the game. And I plan to document the entire process.

For any who want to join me in Minecraft 360 and lend a hand (or just want to check in on the progress), let me know. Creative minds are always helpful, but if you plan to help, please have reference pictures available to look at.

Without further ado, I give you Day One of Project Enterprise.

Day 1
With a project as large as this, my minimally creative brain cannot move forward without something somewhat resembling a plan. At the same time, this brain cannot just look at a picture and translate it into a blocky plan. So, I use my ingenious Excel skills and get to work.

In a new spreadsheet, I resize a massive chunk of the columns to 2.14 (20 pixels) in order to change the standard Excel rectangle cells into squares. With my planning system in place, I take to the internet to find some references pictures of the USS Enterprise (CVN-65). I find a few that will do for mocking up purposes and save these pictures onto my hard drive.

Back in Excel, I inserted the picture I plan to use for designing the mock-up of the top deck and the starboard size. This will give me the top layer of the main deck as well as a reference for how many blocks above water and how blocks below the waterline will be necessary. I resize the picture to more conveniently match the Excel squares to simplify the mock-up process.

With the picture in place, I start outlining the main portion of the flight deck by using the insert shapes option and selecting the line. Once the outline of the flight deck is completed, I select the picture within Excel and delete it. This leaves only the lines I have drawn against a backdrop of the Excel squares. Using these lines as a guide, I begin filling in the corresponding blocks and am left with a small plan, but not nearly as big as I want it to be.

Using the smaller plan of the flight deck, I double all of the squares and create a much larger plan, spanning 179 blocks long and 47 blocks wide...this will do. Using the larger plan, I begin making preliminary plans for the tower and mock-up the location for the deck tip's "65" as well as determine how I will be representing the jet lifts (either raised or lowered).

Using the flight deck as a guide, I prepare a scale version of the starboard side of the carrier, specifically identifying the height that will be above water (15) and the height below water (9), showing that the total height of the carrier will be 24. Using these numbers, I prepare a general outline of the profile of the ship from the starboard side, knowing that this will no doubt change as I move through the construction process, the contours from the various angles of the ship will be difficult to replicate and plan in Excel, so they will probably be determined as I build rather than planned down to the brick.

With a solid start on the plans, I get to work finding an appropriate world. Fearing it will take forever to find a world with enough water to handle my needs, I found myself shocked as the first randomly generated world is perfect. I map out the entire world and find it is over 60% water, with plenty of areas long, wide and deep enough to house my special project.

Using my now-complete map, I pick two potential locations to begin construction and scout them out. One that looked like it had potential was unfortunately a small and un-elevated island. While I could build it up it would take a lot of time and effort, this location is unlikely.

 

Moving to potential location number 2, I find exactly what I am looking for. The area is home to a decent sized island with good elevation to it and potential to add new projects upon completion of the carrier. Additionally, the water has a large drop-off not too far from the edge of the island this will ease the underwater portion of construction. This location will be perfect.

 

With the area selected, work begins. Unfortunately, I left the detailed plans on a laptop I did not have access to. However, I did tweet the general dimensions (length and width, sadly not depth). With this information, I made a quick scaffolding structure, a rectangle, set to these general dimensions and guessing on the height.

 

With the scaffolding complete, I realize I had emailed the plans to Saint and pull open my sent email folder. Unfortunately, these early plans did not include the height of the boat... Regardless, I decide to do a test run constructing the deck and hoping I have the height close to where it needs to be.

Everything comes out great except I realize towards the end that one of the sides did not come together where it should have. This demands a closer look, but I am tired and decide construction must conclude for the day. That extra block on the width will need further investigation, but at a later time...

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