I remember Coestar's darkroom builds back in the day. Good times...While this probably wouldn't be able to be done within an hour or two of spawning in, it is a refinement which has merit.
And actually, this gives me an idea for bringing back a classic build back to the forefront: the darkroom mob grinder.
In effect, you build a large room with no lights. In vanilla, you had water in a two-block deep hole to shuttle mobs around (this was before endermen) that would eventually deposit them in either a drop trap or a lava blade. You the player would just stand at the output of that water stream and collect things while afk.
For the advanced version, we need MFR. Same room layout, only you use conveyor belts instead of water. This means no clumsy drops, everything can be on the same level, and it works with endermen as well. It runs mobs into one or more Grinder(s) with output going to AE. Now you have all the mob drops.
I still think that the Portal Gun mod needs to implement the Excursion Funnels from Portal 2, though. Same deal, but WAY cooler.