A little logic with food, please…

The logic of the inventory system in Minecraft is, by necessity, topsy-turvy. Stone is bloody heavy in real life (I’ll show you just how heavy, later), and if Minecrafters were forced to move one block at a time from their mine to the building site, they’d lose interest very quickly. On the upside, you wouldn’t need weapons, because you could flatten any mob by dropping it on them.

With similar upside-down logic, you can only carry one crafted food item per inventory slot. This appears to be so that you can’t stuff your backpack with a couple of weapons and hundreds of foodstuffs, and effectively make yourself invincible. But countless Minecrafters have bemoaned the inability to stack food, and I’m one of them, even though my return to proper survival mode is only recent. I still understand others’ anguish.

In the absence of a more flexible approach, cunning Minecrafters have been taking wheat with them into the dungeons, because it does stack, and then crafting bread with it when they get low. But unless you’ve got mad mousing skillz, speed-crafting bread isn’t really an option – perhaps the best way would be to craft, say, three beforehand, throw one or more stacks of wheat in your pack, and then heading back to a safe area to craft more when you run out. Hopefully, there won’t be too many more mobs spawned on your return…

A quick note to show the efficacy of this method: If you took three stacks of wheat (so you can make a full stack of bread, over time), plus three bread, that’s 167.5 hearts’ worth of food, taking up just six slots out of the 36 available. And that, hungry miners, is just under the total value of 42 grilled pork – more than you can fit in your inventory and quick slots!

[Mushroom soup is even more effective – using the same system as in the last paragraph, you get twice as much health. But then you’ve got to find that many red and brown mushrooms in the first place.]

This is a great workaround, but realistically, we need to be able to stack more crafted food, without resorting to hacking the inventory. The fact that the game doesn’t break if you do take this route shows the capability is there.

I know that the real world has to take a back seat at times so as to enhance gameplay, but I want to ram the point home about the suspension of disbelief Minecrafters engage in pretty much automatically. So, time for some math. Stop groaning, and keep reading!

A single block in Minecraft is one cubic metre (or meter, if you prefer). That quantity of stone weighs… get this… two and a half tons. I’m using the British ton, aka the “long ton” for this (the American one is 240 pounds lighter). There’s a reason for me using the British version, which you’ll see very soon – just hang in there, please.

If you were so inclined as to stuff every last inventory slot with stone, that makes 2,304 blocks of stone you’re lugging around with you. Total weight: 5,739.138 long tons. If you had the equivalent weight of iron, that’s 10% of the weight (displacement) OF THE TITANIC! Chuck Norris would pee his pants at the sight of you.

[Oh, yeah: both long tons and metric tons are used to measure displacement. I went with long tons, partly because that’s the measurement used in the Wikipedia article on the Titanic, but also because metric tons look like a bloody oxymoron to me.]

So we can carry all that around without breaking a sweat, but we’re asked to accept that we can’t stack crafted food? Yes, I understand why we can’t, because I mentioned it before – or at least, I think that’s why we can’t. We could construct a grassy area down in the dungeon depths, light it up, and spawn piggies to our hearts’ content – but then we couldn’t go far, because they’d despawn. But if we’re planning a long journey into the depths, some of us like to be well-prepared first.

Please, Notch, I beg of you – while the rest of the Minecraft community disassociate themselves from me for such a demeaning display – let us stack crafted food. Even if we only were able to have one stack of sixteen, it would still be a world of difference from having nearly half of our pack taken up with food, or making animal farms when we’d rather be plundering the riches tucked away in the rocks…

Great, now my stomach’s rumbling.

If anyone feels like double-checking my math – I did do it quickly, so I’m not 100% confident on it – here are the links I used to find out the weight info:

Table of Weights of a Cubic Foot of Material, from the Bepler Handy Manual of Knowledge
Cubic Meters to Cubic Feet Online Calculator
Wikipedia entry: Ton
Wikipedia entry: RMS Titanic
Minecraft Wiki entry: Food

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One Response to A little logic with food, please…

  1. Thefre says:

    I feel the decision to make food not stack is purely gameplay based. Minecraft is one of those games where you can slay countless foes without taking a single hit of damage, if you engage them properly. I feel the limitation on hotkeyable foods is more to encourage players to attempt to fight better than it is to make it more challenging.

    Alas, I feel like this is one of those issues that’s difficult to balance. The justifications for going one way or the other is in direct conflict with the other’s justification. A reasonable compromise is perhaps to make food regen over time and be interrupted by taking damage. That way healing through food will be far more effective outside of combat when you can stand still, but being able to scarf down loads of it during combat is still an option, just a rather costly one.

    I think a cake like item that you can retrieve would be nice. That way when combat starts, you can plant it down, and then heal from it as you need, and when combat is over, you can pick it back up and go off on your way without wasting the left overs.


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