How to Survive the First Night

Ok, so you've booted up your new copy of Minecraft and find yourself inexplicably lost in the wilderness. You've got a precious few minutes to explore this landscape before it is plunged into darkness. If you haven't properly set up a home to survive the night in, you're likely to be massacred by the hordes of devious creatures that come out at night. This guide will teach you how to spend the first day productively so you're equipped to handle your first night.

First, enter your new world and examine your surroundings. Minecraft has several "biomes" which are different types of environments. Unless you're very unlucky, you'll probably appear near some trees and water. If you appear in a desert, tundra or plains style of environment, prepare to do some serious hiking to get out of that area (or you can start a new world).
The first objective is to find trees. Wood is the most important crafting material at this point in the game. Head over to a tree and hold down the left mouse button to harvest blocks of wood. Keep breaking down trees until you have 11 or more blocks of wood.
The next goal is to find coal. Coal is a black mineral found in stone deposits. Usually with a bit of exploring you'll come across a coal deposit like this. Once you find coal, move the wood in your inventory into the crafting box and turn it into wooden planks. Place one wooden plank into each area of the crafting box to make a crafting table. Now make some sticks and make a pickaxe. A pickaxe allows you to mine stone and coal. Break down the coal deposit and collect the minerals.
At this point it's probably starting to get late into the afternoon. Dig a little hole into the rock face where you found the coal. This will serve as your first little home for the night. Dig a few spaces back and then dig a small outcropping to the left or right. This will make sure skeletons can't hit you with arrows.
Build some torches to light your little cave. Seal off the entrance with some stone or dirt, leaving a small hole for a window so you can tell when it is morning. Make sure to bring your crafting table inside and spend the down time tunneling into the mountain and building tools.
Stay away from the window or you might attract some unwanted visitors.
When morning finally comes, make sure to be extra careful when you leave your home. Not all monsters burn up in the daylight.

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