The making of a Minecraft city

You may recall that once upon a time, I introduced you to my love of Minecraft—and how much of a relief that was for everyone in the house who didn’t have to step on Lego pieces anymore.

I fell in love with the popular indie game because it invited me to think outside the box (just a tiny bit ironic), and channel my creativity into a world of endless possibilities.

Where some folks put their skills to work recreating incredible sites like entire existing cities or playable versions of Hogwarts that I can then download and run around in a fit of pure joy, I wasn’t sure I could take on such a big project right off the bat.

So I shelved my ideas for building my very own Hogwarts for the time being, and started what I thought would be a smaller project: building my very own city from my imagination.


Building the foundation

One of my favourite things to do before I start any project is to find a bunch of images for inspiration. So, before I got started building, I spent a long time looking up house floor plans, just to get an idea of what I wanted to do.

I decided to start with the easiest one, which was a super-modern cube of a house, and turn it into a building of two-storey apartments.

That really should have been my first indicator of how time-consuming city builds are, but I chalked it up to being a block noob.

About a real week later, I had a building of beautiful lofts and a million new ideas for my city.


The first expansion

Once I finished that first, quintessentially Minecraft-y building, I expanded south to build a Central Park of sorts, with a residential district south of that where I could test out more of my housing ideas.


The first design had been easy enough to convert, because everything about it was square. When I started throwing in more traditional designs, though, I had to develop a complex scaling method to help translate the floor plans to Minecraft.

I now have no idea what that scaling method was.

So that’ll be fun when it’s time to hop back into that district…

Back to downtown

Once I’d finished the first batch of houses, I decided it was time to keep working on the tall building district, which is what I’d started calling the section of the map that was completely flat except for the one apartment building.

I’ve always liked the look of little shops with apartments upstairs, so that’s what I decided to do.


Now, right about then, I decided to start building my resource pack, because I had a very specific look in mind.

That became another big project, which still isn’t done, but it was well worth it!

It was a little frustrating at first because my video card struggled with some of the higher-res textures, but boosting the antialiasing fixed that up pretty quickly.

Getting around

The multi-block expansion in the business district made it a little tedious to fly around everywhere, so it was time for a new way to travel. So what did I do?

I tunneled.

Well, okay. I built a subway system.


My subway system took a few tries, because I kept running the tunnels into one another by accident, and it only has four stops, but it definitely makes getting around easier!

Tip: If you build your own city in Minecraft, I 5/7 recommend building a subway.

Getting complicated with it

I think one of my favourite parts about looking back on this multi-year project is seeing how it’s evolved, and how my building style has changed.

For the most part, my days of building square things are gone; through practice and continuous research, I’ve figured out surprisingly complex things like domes.


There’s still a long way to go, but that’s one of the satisfying things about Minecraft: you get to watch your creations evolve and change over time.

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