Making Main Street Look Gooooood!

Today’s post is all about taking Main Street to the next step. I present some different choices and maybe(?) settle on one?!

I spent a lot of time in the past few weeks trying to understand villains. I’ve discovered that if you have a weak villain that isn’t very well thought out, you can’t actually make a real skeleton. Yes, folks, my work on my frame summary has stalled out.  I feel like I have a good half of my skelly lightly plotted out but quickly realized that yours truly can go no further until I understand my antagonist better.

Growing up, I never realized that a writer would have to think of his or her creations as real people.  That point was lost on me in my education until I was much older. I try really hard to impress this on my students now but haven’t really found a good way to drive the point home. Maybe it’s because I’m still learning it too?

Anyway, I love the idea of a villain that fought for good before his or her downfall. Yes, folks, the antagonist was formerly a protagonist. This shift in paradigm would require a something massive to happen; Anakin’s fear and eventual loss of Padme is a good example.

Anyway, this requires more thinking on my part, that’s for sure. I’m hoping to start posting more updates of this sort in the future! Anyway, on to today’s post!


As you can surmise from today’s title, I’m ready to make Main Street into something special.  Say goodbye to plain old boring stone! Now, I’ve recently been traveling all over the country, and as I roamed the streets of San Fransico, I realized I like how they did some of their streets. For starters, they used brick blocks! I almost forgot that this block existed in this game.  I decided to sketch some stuff out and came up with this below.

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Yeah, it’s not really that amazing. It’s way too busy, that’s for sure! I don’t want to lose the brick though, so I started to swap it around with the intention of using it as an accent, not the star. By moving the red brick to the edge and changing the road into something else made it really start to pop!

 

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So, what should the road be made out of? I played around with a couple of ideas as you can see in the slide show. The stone brick is used too much as the wall, so I chose against it.  The dark gray block is actually cyan clay, and I reeeeeeally liked it.  I ultimately decided it against it though because of the texture–it’s simply too bland.  All that we have left is our winner:

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The light gray concrete powder really makes this shine!

Now, a few things to note:

  • The bushes are subject to be removed based off of the buildings that pop up around it. I want the buildings to be taller than the northern district’s buildings, but I know that they can’t be too tall because of my super-smart brother.
  • The trees have some green space around them now.  I want to make sure I keep splotches of green in this more “urban” area, so the grass should really pop out.

A dash of this, a smidge of that…

Cooking, Minecraft, and houses! Who could ask for more?

I enjoy cooking quite a bit.  It’s amazing taking some foods, adding some spices and boom, bon appétit! I recently made some jambalaya, a specialty of mine and I just can’t get enough of it. Every time I make it, however, I always wonder if it’s good enough. It’s gotten to the point that every time I see jambalaya on the menu at a restaurant, I buy it and obsess over how my jambalaya compares. Seriously, it’s a miracle that my wife agrees to eat at restaurants that serve jambalaya with me.

Anyway, the point that I’m trying to get to is that I’m neurotic.  I’m also a glutton for punishment because one of the places I want to go visit is New Orleans and try some amazing food, listen to some fantastic music, and destroy my self-confidence when it comes to cooking jambalaya.

Well, not really the point I’m seeking to make, but just a fact.  My point is I like mixing things together to create something that is better than the sum of the ingredients. That’s synergy, folks! and really cheesy!  Anyway, this is how I see Minecraft.  I start with some “ingredients,” usually decide that I’ve done an awful job at something, and go back to the drawing board and try it all over again.

Anyway, here’s attempt number one of the row of buildings in the northern district.  They’re sort of like my medieval interpretation of the Painted Ladies in San Fransisco (Remember Full House? Boom!) and some houses that I’ve seen in my hometown.  Below, I started to frame up the buildings.

Below, I started to frame up the buildings and began to add some different blocks to make some choices.  I need to add something in to break up all of that wood, that’s for sure.  I like the fence posts and the concrete walls as well; it is good to get different sizes going on in builds (which is difficult in Minecraft, that’s for sure).

We’ll return to these later, that’s for sure!


 

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Concrete is out! Yessss! Nothing too special here, just trying to decide on what I want to replace the stone with.  I have to admit, I don’t think that concrete will be a good fit here; the flat texture is amazing in different builds, but definitely not here.  The cyan clay (far left) at least has some texture to it, but it’s too dark…


Garvog gets an update! I think that the concrete WILL fit on the blade better than the diorite.  I think. Maybe?

You decide! The left side of the blade is diorite, right side is white concrete.

Ah! More Roads!

Working on Main Street, but this time, on the west side! Also, another book review…well, more like an author review.

 

Wow. Roads. Again.

I know, if I’m not excited about this post, why would you be, right? Well, I am excited, but more because of how this starts to tie everything together and less because it is a road. I mean, it IS the western branch of Main Street, so we’ll just jump in…to a book/author review first!

Jasper Fforde

This man is one part brilliant and 105 parts of the worst torturer known to humanity.  Jasper Fforde is a British author who has four or so series, but there are two particular series that I immensely enjoy.  Well, one and a half; more on that later.

Series Number One: The Nursery Crime series

Do you remember all of your fairy tales and nursery rhymes? Old McDonald? Old Mother Hubbard? Humpty Dumpty? In this series, they’re alive. Set in an alternate-England, Jack Spratt is a police officer who is in charge of investigating and policing all “nursery rhyme” type characters.  Not only does Fforde put some creative spins on old tales, but the sarcasm and snark are real and fantastic. There are currently two books out in this series: The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear.

Series Number Two: Shades of Grey

I use the term “series” very loosely. It’s only one book. The sequel was supposed to come out in 2012. Then 2013. Then finally 2015. At this point, I’ve given up multiple times on hoping the sequel would be published.  The first book, The Road to High Saffron, was fantastic. As a dystopian novel, this one sets the mood in a way that doesn’t make the reader insanely depressed like some other dystopian settings tend to do.

I read this book multiple times years ago, but the bitter taste of a cliffhanger consistently left me frustrated and wanting more.  The next book, a prequel actually, is allegedly slated for late 2018…we’ll see. Now excuse me, I’ll be updating all of my calendars in anticipation that this book actually will be released!


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Now onto Main Street!  This side presented a prickly situation (as discussed last time) that involved decreasing altitude.  I managed to find a descending pattern that I  thought looked decent but was left with a floating road.  There was only one thing left to do at this point: terraform the land for the next hour and change.  Eventually, I was left with something that looked realistic!

One cool thing that I’ll be able to do on this stretch will deal with the actual buildings.  These buildings will have multiple entrances at different heights, similar to walk-out basements. Look for more in the future!

The last addition today addressed yet another issue I had to deal with: how do I end this strip of road? On the eastern end, I simply had a massive wall gate there (that looks like garbage and needs a bunch of work), but I couldn’t do that here.  Also because of the layout of the ground and the walls, I wasn’t able to continue this road into the western district.  To be honest, I didn’t want it to either, it wouldn’t have looked correct.

I ended up deciding on stopping the west portion of Main Street at a majestic blue wool frame! Nah, just messing around. That blue wool frame would eventually become a glorious courthouse!  Regal, marble, and majestic, I think this could be a grand looking building.

Oh, and on the down-low, keep this between you and me, I’m planning on putting a jail near the courthouse. The jail would be more of a temporary holding place while people waited for their day in court and less of a long-term facility.  (Don’t worry, my undergrad degree dealt with law and society and such. I’ve studied jails for my degree, and even went on a field trip to one…weird, right?!)

Anyway, I’ve rambled.  The jail just happens to be conveniently located above the sewers. Secret exit, anyone? More on that in the future!

Main Street Madness

Today, I continue working on the main street and begin constructing the palace district’s town square!

Today’s post is going to be a little different than some of my others.  Instead of showing a finished project, I’ll be doing more of a progress update. Hey, I didn’t call this update “Main Street Madness” for nothing! This is a massive project!

My first objective was to take the pattern on the left picture and start copying it onto the western portion of the main street.  Unfortunately, my first goal quickly spawned in my first problem.  The land in the east was beautiful, flat and manageable. The west side? Not so much. At all. I think I have a plan at least? As shown above, I’m going to try to make a step-down pattern.

I fully understand that this is Minecraft and that one of the disadvantages to using Minecraft is that it’s a bunch of blocks on blocks on more blocks.  I just keep reminding myself that this is just an outlet for my creativity.  Anyway, I know that my setting will not ACTUALLY be a blocky world and I need to remember that.


CK005Next update is on the green space lining the side of the east section of the main street. Problem number two was something some may consider small and petty, but I couldn’t figure out what color I want the bark of the tree to be.  I like the lighter aspect of the gray currently, but after I replace the road with the new concrete? Hmm…. I’m not sure!


Last big section–the town square!  I began constructing the centerpiece! The design ended up becoming harder to see than I anticipated due to the water, but I’m still pleased! Maybe I’ll adjust the bottom of the fountain to add some more depth. That will stand out more than the different types of blocks, that’s for sure!

Future plans for the centerpiece are not laid in stone yet.  On the one hand, I want to build one breathtaking fountain in the middle.  On the other hand, I’m toying around with building an ornamental tree growing out of the midst of the water.  My original thoughts on this tree were that it could be a peace offering between the elves and the kingdom? Not sure, but there’s no such thing as a bad idea!

I leave you today with the updated map. No creepers came and tried to destroy my hard work this time! Anyway, I love how this is coming along. The roads are really doing quite a bit to frame everything up. I’m curious what this will look like down the road, however.

I’m curious what this will look like down the road, however. I’m thinking that most of this will be built on eventually, which means that I’ll be building a LOT of buildings. How do I keep the builds unique (but still following a building style) without it getting stale?  My current ideas are to make each of the three districts stand apart from each other, kind of a similar but different thing?

Something to ponder, my friends! Until next time!

MAP 5:13

Main Street Madness

More roads! However, today, we work on the main road, ranging from the palace town square to the eastern wall gate. It’s gonna be great!

Oh, and I talk about another book!

I spent a lot of time trying to come up with something catchy about “Main Street.”  I tried songs, lyrics, all a bust.  Best I can come up with is “State Street” from Frank Sinatra’s Chicago. Man, sometimes catch intros can be so hard! I’ll do better next time! To make it up to you all, I’ll review another book, and this one has a twist to it!

Anyway, in case if you didn’t realize, I’m spending today’s post talking about the kingdom’s “Main Street,” that will run from the east gatehouse to the western wall.  I thought about having the third and newest district get in on some of this glory. However, I ultimately decided against it for a multitude of reasons. The most important of reasons though is this: I have NO IDEA how to make the pattern I’m about to show you bend.

So, this is what we started with. We are currently looking towards the north with the palace sitting just over the left hill seen below.  This is one-half of the current project, with the other half continuing on the western edge of the circle.  EK005

My brother and I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to construct this road.  Thankfully, there are no cars in this world, so we are allowed to take certain liberties with the roads that would not function in our world.  We settled on a wavy pattern, and I’ll be honest, when the bro recommended it, I wasn’t convinced at first.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but well, I thought that a wavy road would be odd. I think part of my problem was that I was stuck in the 21st century of the United States where roads are super straight. Curse you, mind, for being a silly fool!EK006

The final piece of this build that place me firmly in the “This is awesome!” column was the bushes running along the side of the road.  When originally planning this road, I used green wool to denote the boundaries of the road.  Now green kind of looked like bushes, and when we were working on the waves, we liked how the “bushes” framed the build. After I removed the wool, the build just did not look right, so the brother and I decided to add the bushes back, with some lighting cleverly hidden beneath them.  Now we can create some green space along the clearly defined/bordered road, something that would set this road apart from all of the others.

Just use your imaginations: trees, flowers, awesomeness. Yeah, it’ll be grand.

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The book that I wanted to share today is called Skeleton Creek.  Skeleton Creek takes place in a small town. (This town also coincidentally has a Main Street, but mine will probably look better!) Well, what sets this book apart is how it’s created. Yes, created, and not written.

First off, it’s a young adult book. It’s perfect for anyone ages 11-90 and tells an amazing ghost/spooky story.  Now, here’s the catch about this book: It’s written in the main character’s (Ryan) point of view as he is writing in his journal. The story begins with Ryan recovering from a serious injury.  As the story progresses, readers are introduced to the second main character and Ryan’s best friend, Sarah.

Sarah doesn’t write in a journal, nor does she get to read what is going on in Ryan’s journal.  Sarah is a vlogger, and as Ryan progresses the story in print form, Sarah supplements with her videos. You can’t just read the story or watch the videos independently; they work together to tell and expand on the story.

It’s very well done and is unlike any book that I’ve read previously.  Obviously, it comes very highly recommended and will become a staple in my classroom in future years!