City of Angels

Musical_Mystery tells us about building his tremendous town

One of the things that makes cities so magical is all the variety that can be found within them. Architecture, art, and people all come together in one place, creating somewhere vibrant and alive. Today’s builder, Musical_Mystery, has captured this feeling in his sprawling metropolis, Roklavia.

The city was designed in a wider world, as part of a friendly competition on a server known as the Realm of Allura (and was built on a map created by Moonti). “The intense competition between us players fueled my creativity,” Musical_Mystery tells me. “Every player had their own standards and objectives for how they wanted to build their nations, but I wanted to go as over-the-top as I could.”

He took inspiration from lots of fictional cities, but noticed that they were usually dark and foreboding. “My thought process was something like this: what if I take all these grim, scary-looking buildings, bunch them together, and then ironically change everything to white?”

This process gave Roklavia its unique, bright look, like a city made from clean marble, and fits in with the snowy trees that surround it. It also makes the details like the clock face and orange tower peaks stand out, drawing attention to all Musical_Mystery’s hard work.

It took him about five months to build the city, working piece by piece but making sure to always stick to his spotless colour scheme. “My pallet consisted of primarily quartz, red sandstone, cobblestone, and brick,” he tells me.

Plus he had some clever tricks to make the build process move along smoothly. “After making one detailed building, I copied sections of it and used them for other buildings. For example, the arches visible in a lot of the larger walls are actually sections taken from the face of the clock-tower, and many arches are also derived from the base of the tower.” Great for saving time, and it makes everything fit together with his style very neatly too: win-win!

Nonetheless, some of the city’s details took a lot of care and attention. Firstly, Musical_Mystery decided that he wanted to turn all those blocks into curves and circles. “These are shapes that, when used properly, can make Minecraft look truly epic,” he explains.

But it’s not an easy task! “One curve that I'm proud of is the staircase under the bridge. It required very precise calculation and proved to be a challenge, but was very satisfying to complete."

He says he also put “a lot of thought and work” into the two statues, which he spookily calls “ominous angels.” Actually, one was designed later, using the first as a base, so that he could use his new skills and improve the design. “I fiddled with the rotation and managed to make some much more convincing wings,” he tells me.

These statues are important for the mood that Musical_Mystery wanted to create with his build; the idea that despite the bright colours and peaceful sea outside, something dangerous might be waiting just around the corner. He says that he was inspired by events like the French revolution, so wanted to create a city that could “emanate an aura of power and wealth, but also sorrow and regret.”

Because of that, the government palace, for the legal business of the city, and the clock tower, marking the passage of time, are both very important buildings. The clock was the first piece that Musical_Mystery built, entirely from quartz. “I found the result quite satisfying as it gave the build a ghost-like appearance,” he says. “Eventually I pasted it into the city and coloured in various sections of it.”

“The government building's dome is directly inspired by the US Capitol building in Washington DC,” he explains. “But instead of the statue of freedom perched on top of the dome, I placed my angel statue holding the menacing sword and lantern.” Creepy!

Musical_Mystery credits his hugely successful build to the help of the server community. “After playing on the Realm of Allura for so long, I got used to having creative players online to give suggestions and constructive criticism. I’m deeply grateful to both the admins and fellow builders who were so supportive and helpful throughout this experience,” he says.

Cooperation is always important after all, especially if there’s a slight fear that your city might suddenly be overrun by spooky statues!

Jay Castello


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