Raeyzeus’ Top 5 Building Tips
The Console Edition super-builder dispenses handy hints
Beautiful symmetries, precisely executed geometric shapes, scale, detail - we see so many amazing community builds that we can sometimes take these things for granted. But they are hard won achievements - and even more so on Console Edition, where players can’t resort to helpful cut-’n’-paste mods or thirdparty tools.
So, who better to ask for their top building tips than one of Console Edition’s most prestigious builders? Riley “Raeyzeus” Garland’s builds are such elegant things - the image above, rendered by Josh B, is a great example of his skills at creating powerful symmetry, or picking the right density of detail, to draw the eye to key features of each creation.
“A part of it is patience and a part of it is having friends that can help you out,” says Riley. “I’ve always been involved in build teams, and take on people that are younger or less experienced under my wing. They help me out, and in turn I try to teach them things as they go along - so it really accelerates the process of building things.
“A part of it is patience and a part of it is having friends that can help you out.”
As for building something like that perfect dome, Riley points to websites like Plotz that generate blocky shapes for you to examine, making it easier for you to apply the designs in your own build. Placing all those columns round the rim is something else, though:
“That’s just a lot of patience, a lot of counting blocks,” he says. “Most of my time is probably spent counting and not necessarily actually doing the work - heh!”
So what about those top tips then?
1. Plan It Out
“A lot of people underestimate planning out your build before you start,” says Riley. “It’s so important to have a basic idea or vision of what you’re going to build. So, usually for me, I always like to draw out pictures of what I want to build on paper and then usually from there I’ll make a mini model which is trying to build a very small version of it on a map, just taking about half an hour.
“And then the last stage in the planning process is structuring,” he says. “I map out what the build is going to look like by placing blocks along the corners so eventually I have what looks like a sort of hollow, 3D model of what I’m going to end up building, and that way it’s a lot easier to redesign or move things because you don’t have to take down entire pillars – you can just take down the little strips of planning that you have. It makes it a lot easier to envision how it’s going to look and make sure that everything lines up correctly and makes sense.”
Riley says a common error when building is to start with a centrepiece - like an elaborate doorway - at the expense of considering the whole. “Sometimes you’ll end up with the whole front of the building, and then you have no idea what to do for the sides and the back. By the end of it, it looks like a heap of a mess with a very beautiful front.”
2. Pick a Colour Scheme
“You want colours that match,” says Riley. “It’s good to have contrasting colours, but you don’t want to build a rainbow of a build. En masse, you want to them to work very well together. If you use a colour, you want to repeat it in different areas of the build where it makes sense and not have little isolated clusters of it. So it’s really important beforehand to lay out a palette.”
Does he restrict himself to a certain number of colours per build?
“It depends on how big the build is,” says Riley. “If it’s a smaller build, like a single tower, I would usually do one colour for the pillars, one or two for the detail and one for the background or the back wall. So that’s about four colours, or maybe five if you want to do the roof. For much larger builds – like those made by Royal Blood or Endless Candy or myself – we will sometimes have fifteen or twenty or thirty different blocks – you never really know.”
I ask if he tries to stick to blocks with similar texture detail, or whether he likes to mix it up completely.
“It looks very good to mix textures,” replies Riley. “If I have a large white wall, I’ll mix in bone blocks, white wool, quartz and really any other white blocks I can find – it looks a lot better when it doesn’t have a repetitive texture to it. That’s a trick that JoeyJoeJoeYo uses a lot – any time he has a grey wall, you’ll see clays, different stones, different woods mixed into it – it’s beautiful.”
3. Don’t Over-Detail
“This is the biggest problem that people seem to have when they get into building,” says Riley. “They try to do too much and they end up making a mess by laying on too many stairs and slabs. The detail should complement the building, but it shouldn’t be the building. The whole wall, or the whole structure should never be completely covered in detail; it always looks really nice to have negative space and have structural pieces like pillars that are complemented by detail around the edges, that’s the best way to do it in my opinion. Obviously different people detail in different ways, but don’t overdo it.”
It’s important that when you pull out and look at it from a distance, there isn’t so much noise in the overall image that you can’t focus on individual features.
“You don’t want to see a wall of colours and think, ‘Wow, that’s cool – but what is it?’” Riley says. “You want to be able to look at it and see all the different techniques and all of the different shapes used in it and really appreciate it. So the cleaner, the better.”
4. Get Creative
“There have been millions of people that have built medieval cities,” says Riley. “There have been millions of people who have built pirate ships. So put a twist on it! Maybe, instead of building a pirate ship, you’ll want to build – like Necrosys did – a pirate ship with a shark built into it! That was a very cool build.
“So get creative and try to incorporate different inspiration from unusual places,” he says. “The build I’m working on right now is inspired by a piece of literature, the epic poem Paradise Lost – so you can really pull creation from anywhere; whether it’s movies or TV shows or literature or anything you can really imagine.”
5. Be Open to Criticism
“This is super important, maybe the single most important tip,” says Riley. “No one is perfect and no one knows everything so the best advice you’re going to get is from your friends. Listen to them when they join your map and they tell you what you should change or what you should try to think out a little bit more. If you always go with exactly what you think, you won’t develop as fast as if you incorporate different advice that people give you, so be open to criticism and understand that you don’t know everything, but no one else does either.”
Riley says this is especially important to remember because of how competitive the building scene can sometimes feel. It’s also supremely collaborative - particularly on Console, where the lack of tool assists mean it’s much rarer for a single builder to produce a truly colossal build entirely by themselves.
“Everyone’s just trying to help each other out and make their work as beautiful as possible.”
Words to build by.