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Tips for not getting lost underground?

Today I discovered a very big cave (I explored it for like hours and it still has a lot of places I have to visit) but suddenly I decided to go back home. I was expecting I would have some troubles finding my way home, but it took a very long time to try to go back to the entering of the cave. After several minutes of walking circularly I decided to just dig up until I saw the sky.

Now, I had a method to orientate my self toward the exit (using the direction of the torches I placed down there to indicate a previous torch or the exit) but it didn't have any success.

I think of creating a bunch (something like 12 x 64) of signs and start writing directions but I was wondering: is it really an option? would you suggest it? are there any other way to orient are yourself down in caves?

Thanks.

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Reading through carefully, these questions are essentially identical, voted to close. –  fredley May 31 '12 at 11:53
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marked as duplicate by fredley, FAE, OrigamiRobot, Adanion, Emerica. May 31 '12 at 13:10

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2 Answers

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Placing the torches in a special way can help. For example, place all torches on you're right side. So when you want to leave just go into the direction where the torches now are on your left side.

Also, walling of areas you already cleared can help really much. And can save you torches if you remove them after you leave that specific shaft. And since you wall them of you don't have to worry about creepers jumping you.

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This is my preferred method!

Rei's Minimap

this is a mod that will give you a minimap and is pretty much OK to use on any server or single player. (if you dont think it feels like cheating)

It really is amazing, and can even mark points and will auto track death points for easy gear recovery!

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