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Venk's Build School Chapter 1 - Introduction to building/building philosophy

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Posted (edited)

Here are a list of other tutorials in the series:

Chapter 1 - Introduction to building/building philosophy

Chapter 2 - Familiarity with common commands/usages COMING SOON!

Chapter 3 - Basic geometries and build styles COMING SOON!

Chapter 4 - Detailing your builds COMING SOON!

Chapter 5 - Creating and landscaping terrain COMING SOON!

Chapter 1 - Introduction to building/building philosophy

Having been a builder for around 11 years now, I think it's safe to say I've definitely learned some things and techniques through the years and these guides will hopefully help you improve on becoming a better builder. Before we start, I'm aware that many of you are eager to get to building - which is great! - and will likely skip this first chapter. I can safely say that this chapter is the most crucial and essential chapter in the series and skipping it will make the building process harder than it has to be.

Planning your builds

Many people like to rush into building without having an idea of what they're actually going to build. While this may work for some, for the rest of us, it makes building awkward and oftentimes we will lose inspiration quite quickly or head in a direction that we're not happy with. You should have a mental image of what you're wanting to build in your head. The more detail you provide, the better your build will be. Here are some examples taken from the Not Awesome 2 server. Keywords are highlighted in bold.

"I'm going to build a cozy, Elven house with some trees surrounding it."


Build created by Westbeam. Map: westbeam+2 on Not Awesome 2.

"I'm going to build a European village with lots of buildings and next to some hills."


Build created by okias (saiko). Map: okias+11 on Not Awesome 2.

"I'm going to build a suburban neighbourhood with a city backdrop."


Build created by StarlightGlimmer. Map: novacity on Not Awesome 2.


Gathering inspiration

Much like all great art pieces, artists need to gather inspiration from somewhere. Whether it be from your friends, builders you look up to or from the internet, inspiration can be found literally anywhere. A method I use quite often is going onto Google images and searching for "[whatever you're after] ArtStation". The reason I use ArtStation for inspiration is because it is home to some of the craziest artists I've ever seen and there is an endless supply of inspiration to be found there.


After you've found some inspiration, it's important to know the three Rs of building: Remixing, Replicating and Ripping Off.


Remixing occurs when you find a source of inspiration and you put your own spin on it to make it look unique. It's probably the most common of the three. It doesn't have to look exactly the same but you should be getting inspiration towards certain things from the source. For example in the images below, I wanted to make a medieval gate for my city so I decided to use a similar shape as the original image in my build.


"Castle Gate" created by Jonathan Dufresne sourced from: ArtStation.


Build created by Venk. Map: venk+1 on Not Awesome 2.


To replicate something is to remake it almost the exact same as the source. I like to replicate things to learn new styles and from there, I can incorporate those styles into my future builds.


"Statue Forest" created by Daniel Riise sourced from: ArtStation.


Build created by Venk. Map: riise on Not Awesome 2.

As you can see, I've started to replicate the image here by building it to look the same. 

Ripping Off

Ripping Off is something you should not do, ever. Similarly to replicating, ripping off is making something exactly the same as something somebody else did, but claiming you made it entirely yourself without even acknowledging the original source. I've had a couple of instances of my maps being plagiarized over the years and it's definitely not a great feeling.

Mapping out your builds


Now that you've got an idea in your head and some inspiration, let's put it to work and start building it. When starting a build, you should always try and map out what is going to go where before actually starting to build. To do this, most servers have a command to write text. In MCGalaxy, it is /write, for others it may be /writetext or something else. Below is an image of one of my maps after labelling what I want to go where.


Build created by Venk. Map: venk+ on Not Awesome 2.

As you can see, I've labelled things like library and tavern so I know that a library and tavern will go here.

Creating assets

Assets are a nice and easy way to fill up your map quickly. While most people like to make all of their buildings unique and individualistic, using the same building once or twice isn't harmful at all. Away from your build - often in the sky -, you should make buildings or trees, essentially whatever assets you're planning on using later. This is so we can /copy them easily without getting the nasty excess blocks that we would  get just copying from within the build itself.


Build created by Venk. Map: venk2 on Puissant Royale.

After you've created an asset bundle, you can start copying and pasting some of these builds into your main build.


Build created by Venk. Map: venk2 on Puissant Royale.

Colour coordination

Colour coordination is a great way to identify things and assort them into groups. You should try and use blocks and colours that you aren't using in your build as it can be quite confusing when removing the labels. Below is an example of using colour coordination to plan directions for a road system.


Build created by okias (saiko). Map: okias+15 on Not Awesome 2.

Of course, this technique can be used in many different ways. For example, I use it to focus on areas that need to be worked on more than others.



Build created by Venk. Map: ombshire_old on Puissant Royale.


To-do lists

To-do lists are probably the best method of monitoring your progress and knowing which areas need to be worked on. Surprisingly, not many people use this technique in their builds but you'll notice that the best builders use this technique quite often. Using that /write command we discussed earlier, we can make checkboxes which we can cross off after we've finished an area.


Build created by okias (saiko). Map: ochre2 on Not Awesome 2.

Maintaining focus and motivation

Oftentimes when I build, I lose a lot of motivation on a project. In-fact, I'm notoriously known for having so many unfinished projects, it's scary. The reason for this is because I am constantly coming up with new ideas and want to build them all before I lose the flow, which I do recommend. If you're losing motivation on one of your builds, take a break from it and come back another time. If you keep going with no motivation/interest to keep going, chances are it will make the build seem like a chore and eventually, your build may start to go down-hill and you'll be unhappy with your project. Building is something you should do for fun, not as a chore.


Edited by Venk
Italics messed up.
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Posted (edited)

Wow, it's so cool! I hope everyone can be a good builder. 😊

Edited by azbacho10
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An addendum on references and their efficacy in a few images:












Why you should be using references:

Think of building as speaking a language. If you only conversed with yourself you would not learn much, if anything at all. If you engage with other sources and incorporate their vocabulary (in this case, a visual vocabulary) you will have an overall more vibrant and effective means of expressing yourself. This doesn't stop at 1 for 1 replication though, as concepts can be applied in varying contexts beyond what is just in the image you are referencing -- this is the basis of creativity. Applying your vocabulary in different contexts to see what works, often to create something new and original, is an exercise in practicing that creativity. 

The power of references is ultimately in the fact that they allow you to go beyond your own perspective. If you want to know what a classical Greek temple looks like, it's much more reliable to search for it than to try to recall from your own memory the idea of a Greek temple.


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Posted (edited)

One of the best tips for newbies is too build in repeating panels. This can get stale after awhile, but it's a good place to start. Once you get this trick down it's very easy to create a layout for your build.

Here's an example of a simple farmhouse I built, notice the panels.

Edited by 6456922519
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On 3/25/2021 at 10:51 PM, 6456922519 said:

One of the best tips for newbies is too build in repeating panels. This can get stale after awhile, but it's a good place to start. Once you get this trick down it's very easy to create a layout for your build.

Here's an example of a simple farmhouse I built, notice the panels.

I agree 654 but they should also make an outline of what they are going to build like then add the edges and build off of that like this simple house

Screenshot 2021-03-29 at 9.19.56 AM.png

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