A colourful cyberpunk city from Udvio!
Loyal readers of Minecraft.net – the one's who spend their weekends arguing about the best Block of the Week and print out every article so they can keep them in a creepy scrapbook – may remember an interview we ran earlier this year with Marceau “Udvio” Nakayama.
Marceau's a self-taught creator, one whose main focus is designing incredible environments and structures that transport you out of your comfortable surroundings. His love of travel and culture gives each of his works a sense of a journey and discovery, and this is just one of many reasons why we love his latest Minecraft creation, Awakening.
“This started as personal research for a more cyberpunk theme,” Marceau says. "It’s basically a vision of an alternate future where most cities are very densely packed. It has a lot of layers [in the] buildings and structures. The initial idea was to have a space facility where people would experiment with anti-matter and space-related forces.”
Marceau knew that he wanted to expand this original vision, but it wasn’t until he stumbled across a Minecraft competition with the theme ‘human achievement’ that it hit him. “I thought, ‘that’s perfect!’” recalls Marceau.
“Awakening is basically the human achievement of discovering new weapons and how to transcend dimensions.” He continues, “in fact, the whole point of Awakening is the discovery of human civilisation being able to control the greater of nature’s powers and to use it - not [always] for the best purpose.”
This is the core concern of Awakening - the dark side of humanity’s ambition. One the one hand, Awakening celebrates humanity’s technological advancement with strong, sharp structures and beautiful colour composition. But on the other, there is space: the part of nature that we know the least about. Should we harness the power of anti-matter and the unknown? Can we be trusted with it?
More importantly, how did he achieve that explosion effect in Minecraft? “Basically, the purple anti-matter bomb explosion, that detonation effect, is a mix of World Edit and Voxel Sniper. The purple blocks are actually Nether Portal particles. It gives this glow texture and it’s also not a full block, so it has this very fluid type of look to it. I think it was the best option to make the explosion visible in the middle of such a colourful city. I had to combine this with a few lighting blocks so it [would stay well lit] in the middle of the build.”
While the fluidity of the Nether Portal particles give the explosion a glowing sense of dread, Marceau went further still. He introduced a sense of volatile, kinetic energy and the illusion of outward movement by destroying his own work.
“For all the parts that are being vortexed,” Marceau explains, “like the buildings that are being sucked into the vortex, those were basically broken apart from the structures. I had to rotate them and try to imitate the vortex effect. So there’s a lot of debris flying around, and this was very fun for me to introduce; things like movement and suction and... something that gives a sense of action into a scene that is entirely static.”
Marceau started playing Minecraft in July 2015, when he discovered the creative community through a contest. Instantly, he was hooked on the ability to create a build, share it, have people edit it, and mix different projects together with other people. “That’s how I started basically,” he says. “I just got interested in doing that and I met a few people.”
Marceau tells me this is a big part of why he loves the game. Not only is it a new medium for him to develop his art, but he’s excited by the variety of people and talent in the Minecraft community. “You have people that are passionate about video making,” he says, “or about the artistic side of Minecraft, or the gameplay - redstone-related for instance – or sculptures or terrain through the World Machine program. So there is a collision of different mediums which is really interesting, that’s the reason Minecraft is actually quite universal, I think.”
So what would this esteemed builder and budding artist say was the most important thing to bear in mind when creating a Minecraft build?
“I think that it’s not really about how to build in Minecraft,” he says. “It’s more about expanding your general knowledge and culture and just looking at the world out there. Be curious. Anything that can be a source of inspiration is really great to have. It doesn’t matter what medium you’re using, I think it all comes down to the same thing and it’s about understanding the world and having those ideas that will inspire you [to] create something new. Once you combine the technical skills and you mix that with your own emotions and ideas, I think it can really become something even greater. Being passionate is really important.”
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