Embarked on an epic Minecraft build, and you’ve just realised that you’ve bitten off a lot more blocks than you can chew? No problem! Here are a few quick tips to help you get back to ‘crafting success.
Plan using a paint package
Just jumping into a complex Minecraft construction is asking to fail badly. You need to plan before you place, particularly if you’re building in Survival rather than Creative mode.
There are a variety of useful tools out there to help you plan, but the simplest and arguably best approach just requires something you’ve probably got on your computer already – a paint package.
Open up Paint, GIMP, or whatever else – ideally the simplest tool, you don’t really need Photoshop for this. Zoom in until you can see individual pixels.
Now, you can plan your construction by blacking out individual pixels to represent blocks. Particularly if you’re looking to build a large, curved object, this will save you hours of staring at your construction wondering why it doesn’t look QUITE right.
If you didn’t know – Minecraft 1.8 has a Creative Mode now. It lets you fly around, gives you an infinite supply of blocks, and more.
It’s up to you if you still want to build in Survival mode – it’s more challenging and arguably more satisfying – but if you want a pure creative experience, you don’t need to mess around installing the Minecraft Fly Mod or other creative / flying mods (except of course the wonderful planes mod ) any more – just start up a Creative world and have at it.
You must destroy in order to create
Don’t be afraid to smash your constructions apart if they’re not looking right. Whilst it might be painful to tear chunks off a build that took you hours, you’ll almost invariably find that even if you don’t do any planning, you’ll create something that looks better the second time around.
Often, it can be worth building a rough version just to get an idea of how it’ll look. Even if you’re planning on doing the final build in Survival Mode, it might be worth enabling Creative Mode just to have a mess around. No matter how much planning you do outside Minecraft, as soon as you get into Minecraft you’ll find your ideas change and develop.
(Creative Mode also gives you infinite access to blocks. Again, this is useful to play around and see what looks good or bad, before you invest the time mining the darn things in Survival.)
Learn a bit about architecture.
When you’re building in Minecraft, you’re essentially becoming an architect, so it pays to spend some time researching the lessons that real-world architects have already learned.
Look up the “Golden Ratio”, negative space, and color theory to start, then branch out from there. (There’s an excellent Minecraft article on the Golden Ratio, for example, over here)
Negative space is a particularly important concept. When you’re creating, don’t just think about the points of interest, think about the spaces between them. A building’s appearance is determined by its surroundings – spend some time landscaping. If you’re doing an interior or underground build, consider that you’re painting the space with shadow as much as you are with light – don’t just blindly light everything. Use light only where it’s needed.
Stand back, I’m going to try science.
Curves in Minecraft are a particular PITA. Whether you’re building a bridge or a tower, it’s very easy to create curves that look more than a little lopsided.
If you’re creating a major curved item, it may be worth spending some time with a calculator. Parabolas are mathmatical structures which, amongst other things, will tell you how best to simulate a smooth curve from a series of blocks.
You can find the maths for them on Wikipedia – but during the course of writing this article, I found an automatic parabola generator, so you might be better just to use that!
it’s not 100% reliable (it doesn’t handle circles very well, for example), but it’ll still do a decent job of getting you started.
*Do you have Minecraft building tips you’d like to share? Stick ‘em down below!”