Radical Nether Hub Redesign Proposal April 2016
Back in the day, the Nether Network was started by fallerOfFalls as a quick and boat-free way to travel between Spawn Island and Zero Zero. Gradually it grew into a sprawling web of chaos, which was later slightly tempered by an enormous Nether Hub that encompassed the spawn portal, the Zero Zero portal, and a few of the weird criss-crossing messy bits.
Now we have more active players, I think it's time to neaten things up a bit.
The current situation
How to visit
I've built a mock-up in our creative world for you to take a look around, which might help if you visit while reading the description below. To get there, use the teleport block in Subzero or the End Portal in the Nether Hub, and follow the trail of purple carpet until you see a large white building with netherrack tunnels attached.
The proposed new map
Description of main features
I am proposing a combination of suggestions by other players and strategies for navigation that appear to have worked well on a smaller scale.
The first thing is the creation of eight new "main roads" starting at x = 0, z = 0 in the Nether. There would be one each for North, South, East and West. And there would be one for each of the mid-directions - NE, SE, SW and NW.
The previous navigation of coloured wool paths leading to arches with main roads works very well for new players, and gives roads visual distinctiveness. So I'm suggesting that we colour each road with the seven colours of the rainbow plus one, starting at North and working clockwise. The combination of the colour wheel and the compass could work well as a mnemonic - if you see at-a-glance that you're on the green road, you can "count" clockwise from North/red and work out that you're on the South-East path.
To fit the new rotationally symmetrical road system, I'm also proposing a new, square hub. To make sure it's navigable and difficult to get lost, I've added coloured posts with signs to match the corresponding archways - and there will be other landmarks such as a horse pen and a small family of mooshrooms for easy food. Players will be able to add signs to the coloured posts to indicate which is the best road to take to get to their builds.
With the evenly-spaced main roads, I think it will be less work in the long-run getting new people connected to the network. And because not everyone can use co-ords on the debug screen easily, there will be regular navigation blocks (a sign on coloured wool with a torch on top), saying the colour and direction of the road and pointing the way to the Nether Hub. Main roads will be bigger than is necessary for riding a horse, so it will be bigger than horseable sideroads - that way it will be very visually obvious when you've hit a main road, and it'll be easier to find your way home again.
Jazzable has already written a spreadsheet that allows you to type in the co-ordinates of your nether portal (netherside or topside) and be told how to connect your portal to the nearest main road for the fastest route back to the hub.
Most of the walls will be quartz, which isn't cheap. However, the new Hub would be smaller than the old one - and if we don't have enough quartz we can use snow blocks (which don't melt) and gradually replace it with quartz when possible.
The floor is easy - that's just smooth stone slabs, which we already have enough stone for.
The coloured posts and arches are wool blocks, and that's either already available or cheap to obtain.
First we discuss and vote. If we vote in favour, Cassolotl will write a plan of action here on the wiki that we can all work through, picking tasks that suit our skills and preferences.
Cassolotl is willing to work as hard as they can at this, but if they work alone it will take a very long time. Several players have volunteered to contribute heavily, and the more players that pitch in, the faster it will go.
This will be a hell of a lot of work. There are eight new main roads to build, all of which will be very big and take a lot of digging. Those main roads will also need to be paved and marked with navigation signs at regular intervals. Existing bases and portals will need to be connected to the new main roads.
What you need to do
First of all, visit the mock-up in Creative World and check it all out.
Next, get any concerns or ideas to Cassolotl somehow. You can leave a message on their talk page here, you can message them privately on Telegram, you can email them, or you can tag them (@cassolotl) in the Telegram Chatter group. (That last option means you can get input from other players about criticism and ideas, too.)
And finally, if you feel strongly, make sure you can vote. You'll be given a voting book automatically if you have a post box in the post office (they're free to claim), but if you don't have one you can also contact Cassolotl to ask for a vote book.