Sandy Secrets

Puzzling through the mysteries of Briskaard's builds

Psst, can you keep a secret? I sure can't, which is why you now know that Tom wets the bed. But irritatingly, today's builder can keep a secret. That Desert Temple you're admiring in the above image is the work of Briskaard, a versatile creator whose builds take in influences from all over the globe.

That Desert Temple has a secret just waiting to be found. Briskaard may not be willing to tell me what that secret is (no fair!) but luckily, he's far less tight-lipped about discussing how he works with Minecraft.

"I started playing Minecraft back in 2011,” says Briskaard, the builder behind temples, villas, a museum and even a brick factory that’s been renovated into a mall. “Some friends told me about the game and [pitched] it to me terribly,” he laughs. “I imagined a weird, nerdy game, very complicated and without much of interest.”

An art museum build from Briskaard! Sadly, far too sophisticated for an uncultured swine like me.

But a few months later, Briskaard relented. He tried Minecraft out; “I instantly fell in love with the simple beauty [of it],” he tells me.

Brought up on Lego, Briskaard is a naturally creative person who’s enjoyed building and creating since childhood. “My skills with 3D software aren’t much [good]”, he tells me, “Minecraft helps me create things easily, in addition [to] gathering resources and fighting.”

The first of his builds to catch my eye was the Chinese Great Wall Villa build, which impresses with its stylish interior and realistic setting. “The Chinese Villa is an actual building close to the great wall,” Briskaard says. “I spent a weekend with friends [there] and I fell in love with the place.” He also got to meet the designer of the villa and have a chat with him, although he admits his mandarin is not so hot. 羞耻!

For other builds, Briskaard likes to consider the purpose of a room before shaping the external walls. This way, he explains, he has adequate space for the furnishings, which lends to his skills as an interior designer.

“Stick to three colours maximum, document your builds, look for inspiration on the internet, don’t hesitate to destroy small parts if you aren’t happy with them, experiment and make mistakes.”

When I ask him if he prefers to design interiors over exteriors, though, Briskaard is quick to set me straight. “Definitely exteriors!” he says. “I usually leave projects unfinished for days or weeks because of [putting off the] interiors. But I can’t leave them without furnishings so I always do interiors [eventually]."

With the Desert Temple build, Briskaard had decided he wanted to take work-in-progress images to document his progress. He found himself stopping at key points in the build to take pictures, and getting an inadvertent (but very beneficial) opportunity to take a step back from the process. This way, he says, he saw the bigger picture and could identify areas that needed more work. “That’s actually a great thing,” he explains, “to look at your build from a distance to see if the proportions and [everything] else are harmonious.”

But that’s not all. Waaaaaaay back at the start of this story, I told you the Desert Temple has a secret, waiting for an enterprising player to puzzle it out.

“If you download the map, you might be able to solve an enigma and enter a secret world,” Briskaard teases. “You have to input the right password with the item frames.” Apparently, there’s a clue to be found on a sign above the button which activates the secret door. However, Briskaard doesn’t want to give away too much, he already thinks he’s made it too easy.

Click through the gallery to see a build develop into a temple worthy of the pickiest of pharoahs!

Click through the gallery to see a build develop into a temple worthy of the pickiest of pharoahs!

Click through the gallery to see a build develop into a temple worthy of the pickiest of pharoahs!

Click through the gallery to see a build develop into a temple worthy of the pickiest of pharoahs!

Click through the gallery to see a build develop into a temple worthy of the pickiest of pharoahs!

Click through the gallery to see a build develop into a temple worthy of the pickiest of pharoahs!

Click through the gallery to see a build develop into a temple worthy of the pickiest of pharoahs!

Click through the gallery to see a build develop into a temple worthy of the pickiest of pharoahs!

Click through the gallery to see a build develop into a temple worthy of the pickiest of pharoahs!

The idea of including a secret room beneath the temple came from Briskaard’s innate need to give each building a purpose. He felt that the Desert Temple was lacking one, so he started thinking. “This temple is mysterious,” he says, “in the middle of a desert. If I think of a desert, I think about Africa. And what’s mysterious in the desert in Africa? Pyramids.

“There are all these stories about hidden stuff beneath the pyramids,” and that’s what he wanted to add to the temple - the origin of a mystery.

Briskaard’s made a long list of different builds spanning a range of different purposes. The brick factory that's now a mall, the modern villas for relaxing, the temple with its mysteries, a renovated wharf of apartments and more. So, what has he learned from all of this experience?

“Stick to three colours maximum, document your builds, look for inspiration on the internet, don’t hesitate to destroy small parts if you aren’t happy with them, experiment and make mistakes.” He also recommends planning and adding details; “it changes everything.”

Briskaard’s biggest influence, however, seems to be those that enjoy his builds. “I’m trying my best to create harmonious and pleasant-looking buildings for me, and also for you,” he says. “That’s such a pleasure, when you create something and you [get] feedback from other players.”

Wonderful! Now, how about we end this story with you telling me the secret of the Desert Temple? No? Come on! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.