Basic Building Guide for Applicants

Welcome and thank you for your interest in becoming a builder! The purpose of this guide is to prepare you for the application process and identify common building mistakes.

Before an Application

To get a basic foundational understanding of our server style, do the following:

  • Explore the various warps found at /warp map, particularly the ones featured below.
  • Look for ways to improve your own builds from examples found on the server.
  • Visit and observe our builders work on new additions to the map. Try not to get in the way, but feel free to ask questions or give feedback at any time!
  • Familiarize yourself with the server rules as well as our styles and expectations and read and review the application guidelines carefully; your application will not be reviewed if they are not followed correctly.

Regions

RegionMap

Map of the different regions

  • As a server, we have developed a series of styles that create a sense of transition and seamlessness throughout the map. Each region is generally comprised of approximately 3-5 different sub-regions which differ slightly from sub-region to sub-region, creating the sense of transition and seamlessness mentioned earlier.
  • Each of the 7 main regions are relatively unique and have distinct traits that can make combining more than one region problematic. When you begin a build, make sure you fully understand the regional style you are building before proceeding.

A list of some exemplary builds in various styles. We recommend visiting each of these places and their surroundings.

Block Variation

  • A fundamental principle of creating an engaging aesthetic is to vary the blocks used in your palette.
  • While building, consider whether placing the same block immediately next to each other multiple times is aesthetically pleasing. Consider what other blocks you can incorporate to break up the monotony.
  • However a mix should never be totally random. When using dark, lighter and very light materials, make sure that the dark and the light materials never touch directly. Most of the time our gradients are darkest towards the ground where it is exposed to dirt and areas where the wall is exposed to weather.
From left to right: No gradient, bad gradient, proper gradient.

Exteriors

Layout

  • The first thing done before beginning a build is planning the structural frame. Often, this is done by constructing a wool frame that makes an outline. By doing this you get a general idea of the size of the build as well as a rough visualization of the interiors. Doing so will help prevent creating short or cramped rooms (2 block tall rooms, for example).
  • Another important concept of layout is the shape. Avoid cuboid and rectangular layouts as they will often result in a plain and boring structure.
  • Vary the shape of the structure by employing more 3-dimensional shapes, such as L-shapes, a T-shapes, slight offsets (respectively, as shown on the photo to the right), or whatever other shape you can come up.
L-Shape, T-shape, and Offset Layouts

Foundation

  • Usually a structure should have some sort of stone foundation that extends far enough down that nothing is visible beneath it.
  • A foundation that does not extend down far enough and leaves dirt/sand visible beneath it makes the build look incomplete and more importantly compromises the builds structural integrity.

Facade

  • Minecraft tends to have a rather blocky nature which does not lend itself towards interesting yet realistic structures. Often used to overcome this obstacle is Depth, but in Vanilla and at older builds on the server this is used to an unpleasant amount. With the custom blocks our launcher offers you get the chance to create an interesting and beautiful Facade in just one layer, if you want to.
  • Planks are a good material for walls, however a wall of one plank type is not an acceptable level of detail in most places. Take it further and employ more detail, for example by mixing two different wood types. Good combinations are birch-oak, oak-jungle or jungle-spruce. When experimenting with other combinations, be wary as sometimes certain blocks clash when mixed.
  • Daub and wattle is a great block and a staple of medieval architecture. However, it can be hard to use correctly. There are five different wattle and daub types. Each type has four different designs (or “hatches”), as well as one plain Daub block, which lend themselves to various design patterns.Try to experiment with the different designs to create interesting patterns. However, usually you should use only one wattle and daub color per build.
Daub and Wattle Pattern, properly done. Different roof shapes.

Roof

  • The roof is another important element of a structure. Many roofs, especially those that have a relatively steep pitch, comprise a large part of the build; ensure that sufficient thought and planning goes into it.
  • A roof should in most, but not all places include some sort of eave, or overhang. Eaves help give the build a little more depth and prevent rain from washing out the foundation.
  • Most roofs should be made from either sod, wood, thatch, or slate - always depending on the region you are building in. Some regions such as Dorne and the Westerlands incorporate brick/slate as a roofing material but for the most part try to avoid heavy stone roofs.
  • A wooden roof can also be mixed a little with its plank pair as was mentioned in the Facade section. Doing so helps give the roof a worn look and makes it a little more interesting. Be careful that you do not create a roof that is jumbled; try to discolor it in ways that make sense from a weathering standpoint (sun-bleaching, leaf tannins, etcetera), and only add a few larger patches of another colour.​
  • Thatch is probably the most common roof material, as it fits a few middle class and almost all low class house styles. When using thatch as roof material, there are a few things to look out for. The two thatch types should never be mixed. The thatch would never become that severely discolored and it creates something that looks jumbled. Thatch roofs have to be at least 45° steep, since thatch would not be waterproof on a lower angle. A common mistake often made is making a thatch roof into a shapeless blob. It should still have a defined roof shape albeit a little roughed up.
Example of a thatch roof that lacks shape and slope.

Interiors

  • Interiors can be a challenging, yet rewarding aspect of building. An important part of interior design is the partitioning of space into smaller, more useable spaces. A method of achieving this effect is simply placing more walls, hence making more rooms, to divide the larger rooms into smaller ones.
  • On a similar note of division of rooms, applying different purposes to different rooms is a good way to employ a sense of coherence and sequentiality throughout the interiors. Consider what you have in your own home: separate rooms for sleeping, food preparing, clothes washing and so on. Attempt to employ these into your own builds to base the build in reality.
  • Although this tip is not exclusive to interiors, ensure that each block that you place has a specific purpose. If the block is only there to fill space, it is not serving a worthy purpose and should be replaced by something else that would contribute to a more engaging environment. For example, a pile of crates may occupy space, thus making the build slightly less boring, but do not serve any other purpose.
  • When using our custom blocks, you should come across blocks like Bench Drawers, Table Drawers, Cabinets, all kinds of tool-blocks and bookshelves. Those blocks have multiple sides with the exact same look. Since it wouldn't make any sense to be able to pull out drawers to all sides, you should always cover all but one side of these blocks. You can use walls, halfdoors or wattle fences for that. In very few cases it is ok to not completly cover a side, for example when placing a drawer next to a bed.
A sub-par interior; poor use of space, no rafters, poor block usage (from an old build).
Good interiors at an attic, good roof structure.

General Dos and Don'ts

Do:

  • Add rafters - It's important to make sure that roof blocks are seen to have the support necessary to hold them up, we do this with a combination of wooden stair blocks/stairs and half doors. A general rule of thumb is to make sure the external roof blocks are not visible from inside the house.

    Stairs and half doors have been added beneath the external roof slate to create roof rafters.
  • Cover up cabinets/drawers/profession blocks - When using our custom blocks, you should come across blocks like Bench Drawers, Table Drawers, Cabinets, all kinds of tool-blocks and bookshelves. Those blocks have multiple sides with the exact same look. Since it wouldn't make any sense to be able to pull out drawers to all sides, you should always cover all but one side of these blocks. You can use walls, halfdoors or wattle fences for that.

    A half door block has been added to the side so that only one side is exposed.
  • Use slabs/half stairs to create cross beams - When adding another floor to a building, you can use rows of stairs to create the effect of floor rafter cross beams. It's best to have these rafters span the width of the house rather than the length (means the beams are shorter/more structurally sound).
    An example of how stairs and slabs can be used to create floorboard cross beams
  • Add a profession - Most homeowners would use some portion of the home for professional use (e.g. a carpenter would have their workshop downstairs below their living area). The exception to this is the common farm worker, but these houses will tend to be smaller by virtue of just having a sleeping/kitchen area, but it is still good think about other details you can add (e.g. an animal pen, vegetable garden, wood chopping area).
  • Add a yard - Most houses in small towns and hamlets will have a square yard out the back for growing vegetables, doing washing, storage and animal pens.

Don't:

  • Use torch blocks - a fireplace or a candle on a table or bench is fine.
  • Use log blocks - we try to avoid using log blocks as they look clunky and don't allow for much variation.
  • Use trapdoors - like with log blocks these are an outdated building block and half doors/shutters are better suited for their purpose.
  • Mix stone block palettes - When deciding what bricks/stone to build with, it's best to maintain a consistent style and color of stone, e.g don't mix yellow sandstone bricks with dark cobblestone.
Incorrect use of logs and trapdoors.

Conclusion

There is a lot of information contained within this article and it's important that you understand and remember it. However there is still much more for you to learn, so spend some time exploring around the server. Apply these principals in your new builds and see what you can do to improve. Builder applicants are almost always eager, but there's no need to rush; there's plenty of cool builds to come. Good luck and feel free to ask questions!

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