Daily Archives: November 14, 2016

Map Art in Minecraft

It is one of those weeks where I already know what I will be writing about for four out of the five days.  Expansions or new titles with four games I cover regularly pretty much sets the tone here through Friday.  But today, today I can take a few minutes to return to Minecraft.

Actually, when it comes down to it, I could do five out of five posts this week about new updates, as the Minecraft 1.11 update, called the Exploration Update, is supposed to land today and, since we’re on Minecraft Realms, it will be part of our world as soon as it is ready.  There is a pile of stuff slated for the update… it is a big deal… but the only thing I can recall off-hand is the introduction of llamas.  (Which, true to life, spit.) So an actual post about that update will probably come next week unless I have a bunch of unexpected free time before the weekend.

Anyway, back to today’s post.

Our Minecraft server is still up and running.  I have a couple of projects on it that I have been pursuing in an extremely desultory fashion, and for a stretch I was the only one logging on.

Then Aaron started on his new project.

While there are paintings you can hang on the walls of your home in Minecraft, they are random, changing every time you put one up.  Something else you can hang on your walls are maps.

A corner in the map room

A corner Skronk’s map room

As I previously noted, Aaron took this to something of an extreme with his giant map room.

This time he decided to combine the ability to map and the desire to have art of his own making on his walls, the first step of which was to clear out a map-sized area of the world.

The empty map

The empty map

That is a cleared out area of the world exactly the size of an in-game map (8 x 8 in chunks or 128 x 128 in blocks) which now serves as the canvass on which he can work.

Our world, as a reminder, is set to survival mode, so there are no quick short cuts to obtaining materials for such projects.  You have to go out and collect them and transport them to where you want to use them.  And store them.  And manipulate them on the ground without the ability to fly.

So Aaron had to build up some infrastructure around his cleared area, including lighting, storage, and a platform from which he could see his work.  Then, when that was in place, he began work on his first piece, something of great cultural significance to us all.

A portrait of the artist as cubist dream

A portrait of the artist as cubist dream

When he sent us this screen shot of his first work in progress, I had to grab a current copy of the world and render a new map so I could see just how big this area was in our world.  Once rendered, I zoomed in and saw his work pretty quickly.

Homer on the map

Homer on the map

While that bit isn’t very big relative to the area of the world we have explored, it is easily the most noticeable of our artifacts on the ground.  While we have some large buildings, if you look at the maps in the first screen shot at the top of the post, you can see that even some of our larger compounds take up just fractions of a map grid.

The only thing that compares for visibility is the 22km rail loop I completed back in June.  And even that blends into the map pretty well, looking like a few gray lines unless I change to a night render of the map, in which case the fact that it is fairly well lit causes those lines to stand out against the darkness.

Unfortunately, the map rendering in Minecraft appears to have a color palette that is somewhat limited compared to what the open world offers.  While Homer and his donut look clear and colorful in the world or my external map render, in the game he is less than magnificent.

Homer as Art

Homer as Art

Well, he still pretty good, but his dark muzzle, carefully colored by Aaron with yellow stained clay, got averaged out to be the same yellow as the rest of Homer.

As a proof of concept though, it seemed to go okay.  The next task for his is to setup a series of color swatches with different materials to see how they actually render on the map.  Then it will be on to the next masterpiece.