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The Build Process Part 3 | City planning and districts

Appendix “A”: Notes from a build review stream

These notes are inspired by builder jea, who did a great job at demonstrating the concepts and putting them into words in his build review stream on the Cubed Community discord. [jea (@jeasolis_) / Twitter]

elden ring academy replica by jea
  • When laying out a whole city, consider “verticalism”: real cities aren’t flat, even if the terrain variation is slight. Having buildings on one end of a street slightly higher will add realism and character. [For city planning content I recommend Alpine1, TheBuildingDuck and Gabimaix.]
  • Never forget the purpose or context of your build – are you trying to recreate something from real life or another game? Where is it, what era, what style? Are you adding buildings to an existing part of your city – how will it fit in with what’s already there to tell the right story?
  • Remember, when taking inspiration from life, you don’t need to use the exact same blocks. For example, don’t use bricks to replicate a brick wall – try adding another block into the mix, or removing bricks entirely in favor of a different material that works better.
  • Macro vs Micro texturing – Over-detailing a build will make it too chaotic and noisy. Consider how individual parts of your build look up close, and how the build looks as a whole from afar. Your goal is usually not to overwhelm the viewer…
  • A great case in point is jea’s Raya Lucaria (from Elden Ring) pictured above. The walls are actually quite plain, but no one will be able to look at them closely from ground level – so instead, jea opted to add a widespread gradient to the wall, giving a very effective textured shadow from afar.
  • Furthermore, instead of over-detailing every area, focus on a few key areas. For example, jea mentioned that the bridge leading up to the Raya Lucaria is simple on purpose – which doesn’t overwhelm and brings attention to the detailed garden and Raya Lucaria at both ends.
  • Lastly if you haven’t already, get familiar with building tools and use their aid to their full extent. Huge servers like Cubed Community and Builder’s Refuge offer many tools, including World Edit, goBrush, Voxel Sniper, and paid plugins like Arceon for free.
  • Blocks can convey so much about the age, purpose, etc, of a building – can you replicate the shine of a metal surface? Define a road’s type/purpose by its surface material, e.g. a mix to indicate it’s an ageing back road? Add depth through a wall gradient that imitates shadows (like the Raya Lucaria above)?

Appendix “B”: Conclusion

Looking back, there is a chaotic wealth of information in these posts – tell me if you found it useful! They are my thoughts on everything and nothing. Inspiration for your own personal Build Process. Now onto you.

BUT DON’T OVER THINK IT! The best plan or guide is nothing if you never start placing blocks 🙂

Further reading

Part 1: The Build Process Part 1 | Make better city buildings – Premium Minecraft Blog

Part 2: The Build Process Part 2 | Building realistic interiors – Premium Minecraft Blog


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