Big City Life
MattuFIN's Minecraft mega-city makes us marvel!
Ah, there’s nothing like visiting the big city! The glamorous skyscrapers! The hustle and bustle of the busy city citizens, bumbling to work! The friendly stranger asking for a closer look at my wallet! Sure, buddy, you can take a lo- HEY COME BACK YOU JERK.
Rats, I should’ve visited a nicer city. A city like Mattupolis.
Mattupolis is massive city, built by 20 year old Matias, or MattuFIN as he calls himself. For six years he has been hard at work constructing his very own city that continues to grow as we speak. The recipe for it is North American architecture, where he draws inspiration from cities such as Seattle or Vancouver, with the goal to make the city as modern and realistic as possible.
“I like big cities so much as I can't get enough of the great outdoors, and I guess that's why Vancouver inspired me so much,” MattuFIN tells me. “The way Vancouver seamlessly connects urban environments with gorgeous natural scenery is something I really wanted to recreate in Minecraft.”
Perhaps the right word for MattuFin’s map would be megalopolis, as his city is humongous in size. Measuring from one edge to the other, Mattupolis is around 2500 x 2000 blocks wide, complete with all the necessary districts, buildings and point of interests you might find in a real city.
“I've never counted the buildings, actually. The amount must be in the hundreds, if not thousands,” he says.
It wasn’t always like that. As famous poet Lao Tzu once said: “The journey of a perfect Minecraft build begins with one block”. MattuFin’s own journey began in early 2012 as he and a couple of friends joined forces to start a brand new project. They had grown short of ideas and needed a new daring challenge to put their minds to. Luckily, they found inspiration in one of the world’s biggest map projects.
“A city project called Greenfield was becoming popular back then,” MattuFIN remembers. “I guess we wanted to create something similar and eventually started working on a modern city, not thinking it would result in anything particularly big.”
Though the city grew at a steady rate, MattuFIN and his team lacked a long-term plan for their project. The crew soon started to lose interest in it and in 2013 the last remaining team member was MattuFIN. He was left as a governor of a ghost town.
“I thought about starting a new city from scratch, but then realised that I'd gotten too attached to Mattupolis to do that,” he remembers. “I decided to rebuild the existing map instead, tearing down 95% of what had been built, only conserving a few select buildings that I and the others had built during the first phase.”
Since then, MattuFIN has been working alone, assuming the role as city-planner, grand architect and builder. Considering it a hobby, he builds it in his spare time a few hours every week.
“A single building usually takes somewhere between 30 minutes and a couple hours. More if it's a particularly large or complex building, design-wise. As for districts, if I'm really determined and have time to spare, I may build one in a week or two.”
When adding new districts, MattuFIN always start with the infrastructure, working out a rough map sketch with ideas. He then establishes the areas where residential, commercial and industrial buildings should be built.
“Google Maps has proved immeasurably useful for me in the process of recreating real-life buildings in Minecraft. Scrolling past different parts of a building in ‘Street View’ can help you get little details right and give you a sense of the building's scale so much better than just reference pictures from the image search. In some cases you can even take a virtual tour of the building's interior.”
As I take a tour through the city, I quickly notice the level of detail in not only the architecture, but the urban planning as well. The city has more than 150 high-rise buildings, an observation tower based on Seattle's Space Needle, a large park, a convention centre, train station, courthouse, shopping malls, IKEA and even a mandatory McDonalds. If that’s not enough, how about a waterfront music festival, library or a railway station? Anything you can think of is literally there in Mattupolis, carefully crafted and laid out in districts.
“At this point I have a clear picture in my mind of the amount of work that remains, and I reckon the map will be complete within the next two years, depending on my free time. I don't think it will ever be one hundred percent finished. Just like cities in real life.”
Working on Mattupolis with all the research involved has made MattuFIN learn a lot about architecture and real-life urban planning, which has also given him a lust for the real deal.
“I recently sent in my application and preliminary entrance assignments, and I'm currently preparing for further entrance exams. I don't know yet if the city project will affect my studies and future job opportunities, but one thing is for sure: without Minecraft and Mattupolis I probably wouldn't have ended up applying to university to study architecture in the first place.”
Thank you so much MattuFIN, we’re rooting for you! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a wallet thief to catch. I’ll catch up to him easily in my new car! Oh, a helpful stranger is offering to drive my car for me! Thanks, new best frie- NOOOOO NOT AGAIN COME BACK COME BACK COME BAAAACK.