Upon pondering the best kind of project to develop (and show off) my creative skills in CCA1103, I found myself a bit overwhelmed by the options of the what, why and how. There are a lot of creative things I like to do, be it drawing, painting, writing, building or making; but when I undertake a creative project I usually do so with with particular purpose in mind. So when tasked with starting a project that could be almost anything, my first question is where do I even start?
Now I wouldn’t say I’m a believer in creativity coming from divine intervention as with classical or medieval concepts of imagination (Ewing, 2012), but luckily the planets seemed to have aligned for things to work out on this one; having just discussed the building game Minecraft in my week 2 blog post, it turns out a friend had bought it for me for my birthday! I have long been intrigued by the game’s creative potential, but had not taken the opportunity to play it as I couldn’t rationalize spending the money or time on it while busy student-ing. So what better excuse to play a creative game than for a creative project?
For those unfamiliar with the game, Minecraft is huge open-world game where everything is made up of blocks (as you no doubt noticed in the trailer) and the main focus is on building and crafting whatever you like with the blocks you find around you. There are two main modes in Minecraft; Survival, which requires you to manage your hunger and health while working away; and Creative mode, in which you need not worry with such trivial matter, not to mention you can fly (handy for building in the sky) and have access to all the block-types.
I know not everyone will appreciate the creative potential of a blocky videogame world but in essence it’s like building with Lego, only with many, many more materials and no limit on size; ironically you’re encouraged to think outside the box, by building with little square boxes. Although I have not played the game before, I’ve seen many impressive things that were built block by block within the Minecraft world; from basic houses to sprawling cities, simple chain-reactions to complex circuits.
While I lack the experience and mensa-level IQ to create something quite as complex as the crafting pros (for example, building a working graphics calculator), the game is definitely an intriguing medium that I am interested in exploring. My friend Matt (who bought the game for me) has his own Creative Mode server and will be able to guide me through the process of building and creating basic in-game circuits. He will also be aiding in the building process, as the project we planning is a big undertaking, and it won’t hurt to have an extra pair of blocky-hands to aid in laying down the bricks.
Matt and friends have spent years building up their giant Minecraft world; there’s streets filled with houses, massive mansions, a train/cart system, clock tower, parliament building, markets and even an evil laboratory (every town needs one). But now he needs somewhere to look down upon his domain; the kind of getaway an overlord deserves… something big and something different. We have decided to team up to create a structure that would cast a shadow over the rest of the Minecraft town, an enourmous airship base/holiday resort!
This airship needs to be a massive, intimidating structure; with the desired length of the ship to sit at approximately 300 blocks, with 4-5 stories complete with fully furnished rooms. As a comparison, the game’s human character is only 3 blocks high and we will be placing each and every blocks ourselves. It’s a huge task and will require a great deal of planning, but I am certainly looking forward to the challenge! Plus as we work on it, I’ll be posting screencaps of our progress up on flickr. I’ll throw up the photosets in each project update, but feel free to have a look any time to check out the progress!
If you’re interested in trying out Minecraft yourself (because I will be talking about it a lot from here on in) you can check out the demo online. That version only gives you survival mode, but it’s still a lot of fun and definitely worth trying out. My one piece of advice; build some shelter before nightfall lest ye fall prey to the many creatures of the night. Goodluck!
Ewing, A. (2012, August 10). A Historical Overview. Lecture presented in Creativity: Theory, History and Practice. Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.