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A'therys Deconstructed: A Guide to Building an RPG World (Part 1)

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avatar Gazamo
Level 80 : Elite Creator
As some of you may know, Gazamo has been a long time name in the Minecraft community. In that time, I, Hinder863, have had the great pleasure of being one of the figureheads of this great community. During my time with Gazamo, I have seen the death of our creative server, the birth of our RPG server, the inception of our build team, and the building of our YouTube and community presence to nearly 50,000 strong. Recently Gazamo set out to revamp it's RP/PvP server, A'therys Ascended.

During this time, we made sure to document the process as we have been asked many times about the process that we have gone through to complete this process multiple times now. Therefore, without further ado, I give you:

A'therys Deconstructed:
An In-Depth Guide to Building a World

This guide will cover many things and therefore will be broken into several parts. Sadly due to the amount of work that goes into this process, we cannot put it all in one blog.

Our chapters will be broken down as such:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Server Hardware & Capabilities
  3. Mod Compilations & Internal Conflicts
  4. Lore / Story
  5. Making of the World
  6. Filling the World
  7. Building a Community (Coming Soon)

    - Disclaimer

First things first, I will start with your typical disclaimer: If you want to do something of this caliber, it is not as easy as following this guide. Perseverance is something that you will need in spades. Completing this task was one of the most trying things I have ever done, including my college and career experiences. That being said, it is also one of the most  rewarding things I have ever done.

When I entered this environment, I was under the impression that "creating a world" was just taking the blocks in Minecraft and adding my own flair to make a pretty place for people to run around in. I was wrong. There is so much in this process that I have learned through my time with Minecraft and Gazamo.


Creating a world meant fostering a community of unique indivduals, growing that community to a team and binding them together with a goal, and then using that team as the ultimate tool to create an amazing experience for the Minecraft community to share in. The people who worked to make this world, tied together by more than any one thing, are what truly led to the possibility of such a creation.

I suppose that when it comes down to it, that ties back into my initial disclaimer. Without the people who are willing to struggle through this process, you cannot have the great things that come of it.

The Server Hardware
    - Hardware Capabilities, Mod Compilations, and How Not to Over-Spend


One of the major killers of mass communities with Minecraft is a lack of good hardware, and thus, lag. Now since there is not a win-win that can be directly tied to what server to buy for your specific needs, it is instead smart to know how each aspect of your server works and how that relates to your world's performance.

I will be placing our specs under each category so you can see what we use to host what we host :)

The almighty question of RAM. Do I need over 9000 GB of RAM?! Probably not. Plain and simple, RAM is important when talking about Java, but it is not as important as it is made out to be when buying a server or dedicated box for your needs. Minecraft itself runs on roughly 300mb of RAM. It needs 256 to start up and will run in single player with just a slight bit more than that. Of course, with Java being the memory hog that it is, coupled with the poor coding of Minecraft itself, much more than this is suggested.

When moving to Multiplayer and using Bukkit, it is suggested that you use 1GB or more. However, that is generally where the decent info on this subject stops. That being said, RAM usage needs to be gauged and adjusted accordingly. It is one of the cheapest parts of server hosting and therefore, it can be played with pretty excessively if need be. Generally pin pointing what you need is fairly fast. Anything above 32GB will be a general waste so beware. If you can, do your best to try and know at least a bit about Putty and basic Linux systems before getting into the Java OS installs if you decide on a dedicated server since many of the dedicated hosts out there offer little in the region of customer support when it comes to setup.

RAM we use: 32GB RAM

I find that this is where a lot of people drop the ball on their hardware. See, since it is general knowledge that Minecraft is a single core process, most people look at this and go "Well, heck, I only need a single core so I will save some money on the processor." Wrong wrong wrong! What people fail to take into account is the fact that even though MC itself may be single threaded, many of the mods for it are multithreaded and are competing for the same space that MC is if you are running on a low core count. This can create huge issues because once your plugins cap your CPU, they immediately try to make up for it by eating your memory alive. Java memory leaks work the opposite of this as well, something I will touch on quite heavily in the "Mods Compilation" section of this guide.

CPU we use: E3 1270 V3

Is memory important? How much actual space do I need to pay for in the long run to make sure I am set? Well, once again this is a matter of dialing in on the correct number. Most MC plugins and other such things do not take up much room. However, the things you need to think of are ever expanding files such as permissions, towny files, heroes files, etc. Anything that needs to create a file for a new character as they log on your server will be something you need to take into account.

Additionally, you have to consider your backup activity. In the world of Minecraft, we are plagued with grifers, hackers, etc. Since this is the case, backups are GOLDEN. They can really save your rear when someone decides to go medieval on your server. Now that being said, you need to decide how often you want to backup and WHAT to backup. Some people only do the world. Some people do the plugins. Personally, we do everything. The entire server, every two hours. Therefore, we require a lot of space. As I said: Dialed in. We have learned over time and from our past experiences that we require this amount with the size of our community. That being said, not everyone will need what we need.

HDD we use: 2TB HDD

SSDs are all the new craze. Everyone is obsessed with them because of how fast the data transfer can be saved and accessed and everything like that. Some of these are half truths however. Plain and simple, some plugins just do not work well with them because of the sheer amount of data being transferred in a large server.

Another issue? SSDs are expensive. These are by far the most expensive part of your server and they generally require a RAID array which means if they go down, you may risk a decent downtime.

These are good because of SQL databasing, however, DO NOT assume that just because something is in SQL on an SSD that it is faster. Test your loads and make sure they are if you are paying for them. Some companies charge for the space you use or by the drive. Be careful that you are not sold something that you do not need, do not want, or will never use.

SSD we use: 3 x 240Gb Samsung SSD

MySQL is a databasing method that allows you to take what would normally be a .yml file and write it into a much quicker language. By doing this, you make it easier for your system to access data at a higher speed and with less bottlenecking. As said above though, please be careful. This is not always the case and SOMETIMES, flat-file is truly better because of the increased access speeds on the current gen HDDs.

One of the biggest things that happens to start up server is that they are desperate for staff and therefore, they go out and they find people quickly under the pretense of "Be an owner!" or "I'll give you OP right away!" By doing this, they tend to draw in the worst people imaginable and they put all of their hardwork at risk. A couple tips on this:
  • Do not ever give out shell access to your server to anyone outside of yourself or your head tech admin. This allows them access to your backups and gives them the ability to hurt your server in unrecoverable ways. Shell access can also mean things like your Multicraft or other associated panel if you are with a shared host.
  • Do not ever give out OP to unknown, untrusted individuals. Given OP and the correct plugins, your server can be ruined overnight. Done. Kaput!
  • Do not store your backups in a directly accessable area with your server files. Store them in another location out of your base minecraft directory. This means if multiple people have access to your server files, they may not be smart enough to actually find your backups.
  • Be very careful when writing permissions. Avoid '*' commands at all costs. Those are the absolute freaking bane of everything that is permissions. They allow things to be done that you do not plan on.
  • NEVER underestimate your community. If there is a loophole, window, exploit, or anything else THEY. WILL. FIND. IT. Close them quick and close them well. Permissions errors fall under the OP warning above.
  • Test all new versions of Bukkit on a test server if you have the means. Many larger communities do this and it allows them make sure that any large errors can be dealt with before they harm your community. As an example: I believe is was the 1.5 or 1.6 update that involved a bukkit error where people could log in under the name of an OPed player and they would have all of their permissions. This destroyed a TON of servers. Don't be one of those people.
  • Consider the use of a KILL command for your mods and such. In the end, you cannot be online all the time. If your community is large enough though, you will always have players online, which means there is always potential for hacking. If you have mods with the ability to kill the server at the first sign of trouble, you may have a rollback, but it may save a lot of grief in the long run.

Mod Compilations & Internal Conflicts
Spigot or Bukkit? That is the question!


Bukkit by EvilSeph & Co
As many people know, bukkit is sort of the go to for Minecraft multiplayer. They now work directly with Mojang though and sadly this means slow, poor updates. While it is still required that Bukkit updates for each minecraft patch, the sad truth is that they have done little to keep up with the needs of minecraft server providers. While bukkit is still good for smaller servers, sadly it does little to help those of us who want to expand beyond the realm of 15 player servers. A poor level of support, coupled with many, many bugs and player exploitable windows makes for a bad experience from Bukkit :(

Spigot by MD_5
Spigot serves the same role as Bukkit and is based entirely off of bukkit. It was just developed to help people who run larger servers without requiring NASA super computers in order to do so. Through optimization of the bukkit code, as well as internal expansions, the Spigot system makes managing a server a lot easier. It has a huge config that allows for a lot of extra customization. The system also has built in cheat mitigation which can help significantly when trying to avoid things like NoCheatPlus.

Out of the two systems, Spigot is the preferred method I would choose over any others.

Towny by Palmer Games
Towny is an amazing plugin. It is also the biggst headache that has ever been made for this game. Due to the complexity of the plugin itself, it does not play nice with other plugins. It likes to effec them in very strange ways OR it will let other plugins effect it, thus causing Towny to enter debug mode. However, that being said, it is nearly vital for a good RPG experience.

This plugin allows for people to own their own towns and also allows for things such as Nations to be setup, and wars and such to be managed. Why is this important? Well in our opinions, in order to have a good RPG server, there is a requirement for people to be able to own their towns, be able to effect the economy, and to be able to actively effect the politics of the server. Towny allows us to do that, or helps us to do that by giving players the ability to have towns, embassies, town banks, arenas, etc.

Additional Info: http://code.google.com/a/eclipselabs.org/p/towny/wiki/Commands

Heroes by LordKainzo
Heroes is sorta like Towny but for PvP. A huge pain but also an amazingly powerful tool in creating a custom experience for the players of a server. If you are able to code for it, you can create custom classes, skills, and just about anything imaginable. However, like Towny, it also likes to break everything. Especially towny lol. Since that is the case, balancing of this plugin is never done. It is forever an on-going process.

Creating a balanced PvP experience, as most of you know, is impossible. Therfore, be prepared for this plugin to be a lot of work should you decide to use it. Trying to properly establish an RPG heirarchy of classes (Healer, Damage, Tank) is not easy in Minecraft and even less so when you do not want classes bleeding together into one another.

In our case, we have well over 60 custom classes seperated into 4 tiers and it can be a mess at times. However, it is also a blast for our players and we love it.

Additional Info about Config: http://dev.bukkit.org/bukkit-plugins/heroes/pages/configuration/

Citizens by aPunch
Citizens, as well as its many addons, is a wonderful plugin for bringing your server to life in large areas. Sadly with minecraft, a lot of the time you can have anything moving around except NPCs and Mobs. So instead, we use Citizens to do exactly that: Have citizens. We put them in cities, walking around, talking to one another about current events, as well as players, and other such things.

With the combination of this plugin, as well as the two directly below, Denizens and Quests, we are also able to create quests like those seen in any modern day MMO. They will have a full conversation with the player, as well as divuldging lore related topics and such. By doing this, we can actively engage players in the lore of the server, as well as basic every day tasks that allow for people to constantly have something to do.

Denizens by aufdemrand
Denizens is just "Wow." I don't know how else to put it. When I asked a Dev about their system, they told me "If you know how to use Denizens well, you do not need to use other plugins on your server." After some time with this plugin, I am bound to think they are right. The power of this plugin has allowed us to do so much on the server that you just do not see elsewhere. From creating poisonous potatos that have a 10% chance to skyrocket you into the air, to creating unkillable sheep for people to sheer who sometimes attack you if they don't want to be sheered.

It really is a limitless system. If you want a truly remarkable server, learn to use this plugin.

Additional Documentation can be found here: http://mcmonkey.org/logs

Quests by _Blackvein_
Quests is exactly what is sounds like. It is a comprehensive questing plugin which works with Denizens and Citizens or can be entirely free-standing. Any quest you can think of that you have done in other games can essentially be re-created. Even quests that actively change the game-world, actively evolving the objective, can be accomplished.

For example: If you have a massive construction project in a nation capital and you want the server patrons to give the materials in as a quest so that the area can be built. You can use denizens to create a custom item, have your server patrons talk to a quest giver who will then assign them a quest to turn in those items. They will do out and collect that item or craft it and then turn it in. After they reach X amount of items, at that point, you can have Citizens start to build the area with those gather materials. You will actively be able to watch the NPC build that cathedral that people have been dreaming about!

Essentials by Essentialsteam
Essentials is, well, essential. It runs many of the basic programs that people come to expect from a server. It also makes the life of all of your admins and mods much easier. Since that is very important given that you need them, Essentials is a must have. Alternatively, some people use Command Book. They both have their pros and cons. However, I would suggest Essentials because, overall, it does more.

If you have to configure one huge plugin, might as well get the one that does more.

PermissionsEx by t3hk0d3
Permissions... Ugh. This seems to be the downfall of many servers, especially new one. You NEED to learn how permissions work and how to write them correctly. Many people use Group Manager over PEX, but it all comes down to preference. I learned PEX first so I use it.

One note of advice: DON'T USE '*' COMMANDS. They are the devil, Bobby Bushay (Waterboy reference for anyone wondering)

Buycraft by LeeMcNeil
Buycraft is a plugin that you can run to setup automatic micro-transactions. In the end, servers are NOT free. They are expensive, complicated matters to run. Even if you are only looking to collect enough money to pay for the server and nothing more, it is good to have a solid microtransaction system in place. This will allow people to support the server in a monetary way.

I would advise the typical "Pay to Win" circumstance that many servers allow. Letting people pay for OP and things like that is rediculous. You are asking for issues and if that is your point when building a server, I doubt you have made it this far in this guide.

World Guard by Sk89q
This plugin is normally a good idea for any circumstance that involves a large amount of work into the server. If you plan to run more than a Vanilla MC server, I would highly suggest using this. It serves to protect parts of your server, while also allowing many of the things within regions that command blocks do but without the normally required redstone clocks.

World Edit is a pre-req for this (or used to be) so I would suggest using them in conjunction.

World Border by Brettflan
World Border allows you to restrict the area in which your players may actually expand their gaming activites on your server. This can be very helpful if you have a planned server OR if you just do not want people expanding in a random direction infinitely which can lead to map corruption.

This can also be helpful if you develope a map which is meant for future expansion but do not want your players expanding into it right away. You can make these borders RP friendly and they also have the ability to wrap the world, meaning that if a player hits the West side of the map, they will warp to the East side, essentially making your world round. This is still a little unstable so experiment at your own risk on that one.

No Lagg by BergerKiller
NoLagg is an essential part of any server with a massive amount of people. Sadly, the amount of people who spread out in your world will do things like raise farms with massive amounts of animals and they will also cause massive amounts of mobs to spawn. Since entity management is very poorly dealt with in Minecraft, you can use a program such as NoLagg to help to manage them. NoLagg runs an occassional clear of the server which will clear entities for which you specify in the config.

This plugin is very useful and highly customizable. I would suggest learning it and using it on even the smallest server to streamline performance.

Lore & Story

Our lore segment will be written by our Loremaster, OccidentalAnvil. Since he is far more likely to understand it all, and I am a pure noob with all of it, it will be better coming directly from him.


Our lore for our server makes for one of the most intriguing and fetching parts of our servers allure. Due to this fact, it is generally a point in which I think most people should hit due to the fact that a solid story helps in make an engaging play experience. That being said, a couple words for our loremaster, OccidentalAnvil:

"Hey there folks, OccidentalAnvil here, Loremaster for A’therys Ascended. I’m here to shed a little bit of light on how the story of the server came to be, and how you can emulate that process for yourselves. If you’re looking to create a solid RPG experience for your server, then you’re going to need a strong fiction to back it, and that’s where lore writing will come into play. Now keep in mind, fiction is an incredibly subjective thing. That’s why Hollywood is such an enormous industry, people like what they like and that’s what they seek out. I would imagine that if you’re already contemplating starting your own RPG Minecraft server then you have a tale to tell as well. If you do, then feel free to glance through my opinions and see how your plans line up. If you don’t, well, let’s go for a ride. Keep in mind that, though I lay this out in logical progression, your thought process will almost definitely not go through this cycle. You may create an idea and run with it for a while before moving on, and that’s fine. Do what feels comfortable to you, just try not to miss any points along the way.

So, first things’ first, what is your world like? Think about the setting first, before you even go anywhere else. Yes that means names – unless you have a name you just really like, wait until the place shapes itself before you try to label it. What kind of world do you want your players to adventure in? For me, that was a world on just the other side of chaos. It is an ancient world reborn, with humanity able to make its own decisions for the first time against a millennia-long backdrop of gods and spirits doing that for them. This gives players a story to work with, if they so choose, and the knowledge that there is always history to play around, while simultaneously allowing them the freedom to make new decisions as they see fit. It is best to set up a history, and leave as much of the contemporary to their imaginations as you can handle. Something you will need to learn very quickly is that players will take your world and make it their own very quickly. So give them that backstory, prepare the world for their arrival, and then do the best you can to just watch it unfold. Naturally you’ll want to run events along the way to remind players that the history is very much alive, but such planning is beyond the scope of this segment.

Now you have a setting, what’s next? Well, you’re going to need to populate it of course. Due to the modern state of Minecraft plugins (as well as the desires of modern players) that means nations. So how many? Well, that entirely depends on the size of your map and the orientation of your continents. I’ll assume you already have a map at this point, preferably generated in line with what you want your world to look like. In the case of A’therys, we have six nations – this is a nice round number, not too large or small for most map sizes. You could get away with four if you had to go smaller, but I wouldn’t recommend going higher than eight. You see, regardless of hard mechanics for supporting these nations, you’re going to have to write up at least a solid outline for them all. And it is in your best interest that they be as distinct as possible. And that can be hard, because balancing what sounds like a cool idea for a nation on paper with what your server needs is going to be difficult. You may end up duplicating basic cultural ideals if you make your nations too numerous, or multiple nations may serve the same purpose in the eyes of the player, thus muddying the choice.

Players want familiarity in the same way that they want a fantastic adventure. Your world might be amazing, but if at least a few aspects aren’t immediately approachable then you will lose a good bit of your potential players to confusion. Take for example our Vrovona, the Unbridled Sovereignty of the Sun. It is a nation of honorable combat, of ancient victories, once led by a shining god of conquest and might. Any outsider will see that as the nation to be in for PvP, backed right up by the lore surrounding it. It has a history, and a story unique to our world, but is immediately approachable to the uninitiated. Contrast this with our Roreg Logh, the Eternal Sanctuary of the Depths. It is a bizarre, deeply spiritual nation buried deep beneath an impenetrable jungle, where the people speak a language that is impossible to comprehend for all outsiders. It is baffling to those who do not seek at strictly role-play experience, and that’s alright. It is there for those who desire it, just in the way that Vrovona is there for others. You will need to find this mechanical balance in your writing, to ensure that what you do translates into Minecraft in a way that players of all kinds find appealing. The same can be said for races, should you choose to implement them. I am of the mind that, as Minecraft player models are all identical, a singular race is all that makes sense. Humans are familiar as well, allowing you to place the identifiable race into more unusual fantasy circumstances. But that is a choice for you, and I will not cover it here.

Now that you have your setting and your people, you get to move into the fun part: flavor text. Your world won’t be interesting unless it has a lot of cool history behind it, so now’s the time to throw your imagination into high gear. I can personally attest to the fact that your players are going to want to know the minutest of details surrounding their chosen nations, so it’s best to have as much of that as you can set up from the get-go. Obviously you won’t want to cover everything – they need a little bit left to their own imaginations, after all – but get the basics down. Coming up with fictional characters that may or may not still be around in the world is a great way to start. Key figures can often get the wheels turning with regards to specific events they were a part of, so start there. What were some previous rulers of the nations in your world? How did they interact? Are there deities that people worship, and are they real? Are there any famous people that may not have been rulers, but instead are just cool characters you want to include somehow? Characters can be difficult, especially when it comes time to name them, but they can be some of your most rewarding creations. I have seen players adopt little-known characters that were simply included for flavor into their own histories, be they descendants or otherwise, and it really lets people anchor their fictional selves into your world. Spend a good bit of time on characters, you won’t regret it.

It is at this point that your world is pretty much ready to go. You have the place players will play, you have the alliances they will swear to, and you hopefully have a good bit of launch material to provide backstory that they can adopt. But you are most certainly not done. You see, your players will always want more. Hopefully, you’ll have had enough fun writing the world that you’ll want to continue anyway. If creating your fiction is a chore, you will have a difficult time post-launch. As time goes on, you will want to add more characters, more places, and more history points for players to build off of. Leave little hooks in your official encyclopedia pointing to things you will soon add, gifts and secrets to those who care to look. The role of Loremaster in an RPG server is rewarding, so long as you are willing to play a game with your players – odds are, they’ll appreciate it when you let on that you know more than you’re telling. If you play your whole hand early, with no carrots to dangle, you’ll find that your lore will begin to lose a bit of its shine.

That’s about it, but before I go I want to leave you with a few points regarding originality. I’ll assume you’re in this for the long haul, so what I’m about to say bears hearing. When I was designing the A’therian history, I paid particularly close attention to its uniqueness and originality. I’m not really talking about the broad concepts, I’m talking about their implementation. Honor-bound warriors are a fantasy trope, as are master of sailing and brilliant engineers. But our engineers are cast into pure democratic rule as a result of freedom after seven thousand years of enslavement. Our honor-bound warriors are no longer the power they once were, torn between serving their departed sun and trying to face the modern world. And our naval power has secrets of its own, a dark and twisted past that the people try to forget. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of the easy choices – Roman and Greek influence can be spotted from a mile away, so use them sparingly. Even worse are Asian influences, as it seems every fantasy world these days has martial artists from the mystic East. Vikings, pirates, those are things that people are just too familiar with. When A’therys first began, I daresay we were the first of our kind. We were certainly unique for a time, and then the imitators came. But you’ll find dwarves and elves among their ranks, in Japanese citadels and Nordic ruins. If you want to stand out, you will have to make that happen in your lore – it is from your words that you will build your server, and you will also find your marketing buzzwords there. If you can offer them something new, or at least as original as you can be, you’ll be more likely to catch prospective players’ eyes. If the tales can stand on their own, outside of Minecraft, then you’re in business. I know originality is hard in this day, with thousands before you writing their own tales, but do your best. It will be worth it in the end."

Making of the World

Making a world that is engaging and amazing to look at is a long process. However, we know that many more people would do it if they just knew where to start. Therefore, I am going to lay out each program that we used, along with videos on how to use them, that will help you become an amazing map maker. At the end, I will explain how we used this to create the world that we have with A'therys Ascended.

MCEdit by CodeWarrior
MCEdit is a program used to make edits within a minecraft world via a 3rd party program. You can use this program to place schematics in a world, edit entities, remove large amounts of a specific block, edit spawners, etc. If you have ever built an adventure map, you have probably used this or at least know that it exists.


More MCEdit Info:
(Its very rare I will plug a specific YouTuber when it comes to stuff like this but plain and simple, if you want to learn MCEdit, you watch SethBling >.> )

Voxel Sniper by The Voxel Box
Voxel sniper is a very powerful world modifcation tool created by the people over at the voxel box. Using this tool, and becoming proficient with it can help you to create one of the most amazing experiences possible for the players in a minecraft world. However, it can also be one of the more trying processes as using it on a mass scale can create quite a large amount of lag, as well as resulting in devastating losses on your server if you do not have the ability to rollback the changes made by an errant minded builder.

As far as making the world, Voxel is what we used to create the finer parts of the map that we could not do with World Machine or World Painter (both are below). If you are interested in learning this program, I would suggest some videos such as these:


As with any program however, practice will always make perfect.

World Edit by sk89q
World Edit, in my opinion, is like the other half of a solid, in-game, building compilation. This, coupled with Voxel, will let you do just about anything you need to do in game. You can use it for replacement of block values, setting meta-datas, rotating, pasting, copying, saving schematics, etc. All of the pre-requisites for building are generally contained within this plugin.

We used World Edit extensively in the creation process for copying and pasting, as well as importing schematics that were built in alternate locations of the main builds themselves. We also use mask brushes and such quite heavily. More on this program can be found in the videos below:


Some other helpful links for World Edit:

World Painter by Captain_Chaos
World Painter is one of the most powerful tools for creating and managing a large world. It allows you the ability to be able to modify block overlay variants, create biomes, custom biomes, custom caverns, custom ore distributions, etc. It really is quite amazing.

You can also use this program to add custom trees and such and really make your server pop. Given some of the packs of trees below, you can add them into your map via the features in this program.

Custom Tree Packs (All Rights to the Respective Owners)

Some other features you are going to want to look into with this:
  • Custom Nether
  • Custom Air Density (Allows you to make realistic forests, etc)
  • Custom Terrain Brushes (Bring things into minecraft that it cannot do on its on)
  • Custom Biomes
  • Tons of other stuff.


World Machine by World Machine Software, LLC.
World Machine is the real power in this equation. World Machine is a program that is built to make terrain for actual games. By using this and then importing the terrain model or picture into World Painter, you can create some of the most realistic terrain possible in Minecraft. When you go on servers and you see mountains that look like they came straight out of a painting.. World Machine.

This program is incredibly powerful and I would suggest that everyone learn to use it if you are into building, map creation, or even basic mini-game creation. Even the smallest 512x512 map created with this program can look amazing.


Terrain Control by Khoorn
Terrain control has a very unique use for us when it came to creating an RPG experience. You see, World Painter has one major falw and that is that it lacks the ability to be able ot add in natural mineshafts like you find in Minecraft. Because of that, you must use a program like Terrain Control to create yourself a map that is generated in Minecraft and then manipulate certain aspects of it.

In our case, the lore of our server dictates that each area of the world would have different ore density. So, what we did was use this program to change them so that each nation would have a type of resource it was known for.


Tying it All Together
Using all of these programs in unison with one another can become a conviluted and upsetting process to say the least. So what I will do below is explain the order to use them in and what processes you will need to complete to move one to the other.

The order in which we used these programs:

  1. World Machine
  2. World Painter
  3. Terrain Control
  4. MCEdit
  5. World Painter (Again)
  6. Voxel & WorldEdit
  7. MCEdit & World Painter (Final Edits)

So essentially the process consisted of making the world, of which we had more than a little help from Jamziboy, one of the people whos videos you will see above. Once we had the World Machine render of the map, which came out to roughly 22,000 x 14,000 blocks, we then moved it into World Painter for its initial Biome Painting and to add details such as snow, swamps, volcanoes, savannahs, mesas, etc.


After we finished in World Painter, we then moved onto creating the custom layer for the ore distributions via Terrain Control. This allowed for us to make each nation with specific ore underneath it so people would need to trade in order to access specific materials. This helped us to create a very specific RPG experience.


Once we had our custom ore layer, we move the original Minecraft map that we had generated in Terrain control and we cut it in half (the bottom half with the mineshafts, ores, etc) with MCEdit. After we had done that, we took our World Machine/World Painter map and we cut the top half off of it. We then laid both of the maps together as one. Now we had a map with amazing terrain, custom biomes, and all the other trimmings from World Painter BUT we also had the natural mineshafts and everything that makes exploring so cool in Minecraft.


Now that we had the terrain to build on, we added in our trees, bushes, rocks, etc and touched up the last little bits and started the final render of the map. This was a very extensive process by itself. With such a large map, World Painter tends to get more than a little memory hungry.


Filling the World

The day to day of minecraft, as well as many other games has become about instant gratification. Since this is the case, you must be able to make a server engaging from an early point, yet still manage to keep things from being overly complicated. Taking this into account, developing quests for your server can become a complicated event due to the nature of some of the plugins you can use.


As with any game, you can setup quests in many ways in Minecraft. We opted to use the plugin called "Quests" due to its features that tied in with citizens, denizens, etc. This allowed us to create quests that could accomplish almost any task. However, as I explained above, we ran into multiple issues with people finding quests to be to complicated or finding them to difficult. Keep this in mind as you aim to develop your own quests on your server.

NPCs are a luxury that people do not realize. Sadly, due to the entity management of Minecraft, having a world brimming with activity can also become a nightmare due to the fact that these NPCs act just like player in many ways. You can have them walk routes, speak to people, interact with the environment, guard things, etc. However, make sure to monitor the plugin use as your player population grows.

As for using them, we have generally done so to back our lore and bring our nation capitals together. We also have our entire player economy setup through them. You can use them to create nice RP events and other such things that are just good to offset with some non-player bodies.

Builds are important, but less so than the other things in this blog. It is nice to have a pretty world, and as explained in this guide, it is very possible, using many different options, to have a wonderful looking world for your players. However, try to keep in mind that the build is not everything. Players will not appreciate a beautiful world if you cannot keep them enthralled within it.

We ran into this exact issue early on because of the amount of time it took to build the server. You have to be very careful on this topic, especially if you are working with a pre-established community.


Events are the lifeblood of a good RPG community from the "fun" perspective. You and your staff must plan out comprehensive events that can keep multitudes of players entertained for a time. A word of warning though: Do not overthink them. Sadly, the nature of Minecraft leads to players being able to massacre an event, no matter how well you have planned it. If you are planning something huge, I would advise aiming to have a lot of staff on hand to keep the event ont rack and running in the right direction.

Building a Community (Coming Soon)

Project Wonderful
AdWord Campaigns
Voting Websites
Due Diligence

If you have managed to make it this far, then you now know a lot of what I have garnered over three years of helping to run a Minecraft server and community. It is so far from an easy task that you sometimes have to ask yourself if it is worth the trouble, the money, etc. Generally speaking, if you surround yourself with good people, it is. Everyone who tries to do this needs to realize that there is more work involved in making something that will last than most people will ever understand.

Servers are not the YTers that back them.

Servers are not the plugins they run.

Servers are not the hardware that is better than everyone else's setup.

Servers are community. Servers are staff. Servers are hardwork. If you can embrace that sentiment, you are already well on your way to being an amazing server owner. I have no way of knowing how many people this blog may reach, but I certainly hope it can help someone to run the community/server that they want to in the long run!


I can't wait to see what you all do. Ask any questions you have and I will try to answer them below!

- Hinder863
(Yes, I spend an excessive amount of time on Imgur so lots of gifs lol)
CreditGazamo Build Team, Atherys Ascended Staff Team, Atherys Ascended Community, OccidentalAnvil

Comments : 57

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1 - 50 of 57

  • Disnowball
  • Level 37
  • Artisan Wolf Whisperer
  • July 3, 2014, 7:12 am
Awesum blug, keep bringing us good stuff
  • Evoy_
  • Level 3
  • Apprentice Engineer
  • July 2, 2014, 3:06 am
This is so amazing. It deserves 1000 diamonds!
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • July 2, 2014, 6:25 am
Thanks :)
  • Noobso123
  • Level 40
  • Master Architect
  • June 12, 2014, 2:25 pm
i really wish i could diamond but i love seeing a post at 100 butttt..... oh what the hell *diamonds*
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • June 12, 2014, 2:40 pm
Can't say I am opposed to shooting for 200 :)
100th Diamonds.
Btw great post
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • June 12, 2014, 1:50 pm
Thanks so much!
  • Avidd
  • Level 1
  • New Explorer
  • June 12, 2014, 4:53 am
Amazing blog post. It very usefull for me.
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • June 12, 2014, 9:30 am
So glad it helped :)
Amazing blog post hinder! I could not imagine a better Team to demonstrate this complex but lovely RPG-Server system. Your step-by steps are great to understand and surely a gift for those who want to do the same. Congratulations from me! :-) We lift our' hats, Gazamo
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • June 3, 2014, 6:38 pm
Thanks a lot guys! Always appreciate your comments!
  • --NECK--
  • Level 57
  • Grandmaster Architect
  • May 29, 2014, 4:44 pm
How long did it take you to write this blog?
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • June 3, 2014, 6:37 pm
About 2 days
  • Sshiv
  • Level 22
  • Expert Mage
  • May 27, 2014, 9:38 am
This is a truly amazing guide. Thanks much. :)
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 10:31 am
Thank you for reading :)
im not exactly sure it was you but i once saw a guy called Gazamo on a server i went on.
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 10:31 am
Sadly, no. One of our old server patrons bought the account and would not give it to us so we do not have it lol.
  • StillCat
  • Level 18
  • Journeyman Pony
  • May 27, 2014, 1:58 am
Just wanted to say: you are amazing.

Very detailed, very helpful, overall, 11/10 blobs for you. Good job sir/madam/chair!
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:36 am
Thanks! I hope it helps :)
This is extremely useful! Thanks!!
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:36 am
Of course! Thanks for reading
So ... is this server operational? If not when.
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 25, 2014, 7:23 am
Yes, we are online @ rp.gazamo.com
You can look at more here: www.planetminecraft.com/server/the-land-of-gazamo-bukkit-permissions/
  • DJ_Fazmandoo
  • Level 5
  • Apprentice Architect
  • May 24, 2014, 2:09 am
So detailed...... So helpful...... Such a guide!
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:36 am
  • NormalShoes
  • Level 3
  • Apprentice Architect
  • May 24, 2014, 1:36 am
this was a very interesting blog, and it helped me a lot in making custom terrain with worldpainter, MCEdit, and world machine. all in all it was very helpfull and i think it deserves at least a diamond and a fav:)

p.s if you hadn't put the tree repository links i dont think i would ever had found them;]
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:37 am
Those Tree repos are amazing. They make things so much better IMO.
  • NormalShoes
  • Level 3
  • Apprentice Architect
  • May 27, 2014, 5:01 pm
the only thing i dont really like about them is that there are a whole bunch of floating leaves on most of the pines and cedars:/ And i hope that one day i'd have the priviledge of building with you guys(once i get a new account).
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 8:23 pm
Yeah when we created this server, a whole bunch of people dont like that lol. It sucks but they look so good. I used to work a lot with Lente who created a large amount of them and he did it to prvent leaf decay. Mojang seems to have made it very hard to merge creative and survival play in this game. Seems to be one of the other. Shame that. Anyway, hopefully we can work together one day. I will look forward to that :)
  • NormalShoes
  • Level 3
  • Apprentice Architect
  • May 28, 2014, 6:20 am
i'm planning on getting a new account in a few weeks or months, and if i do, look out for Normal_Shoes ;)
  • mikhaelcool7
  • Level 19
  • Journeyman Dragonborn
  • May 23, 2014, 10:34 pm
Amazing ! How long did it take you guys to do it ? 
+ Diamond
+ Favorite
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 23, 2014, 11:19 pm
The revamp took 4 months but overall, this is about 3 yrs worth of experience in the making.
  • Seivelath
  • Level 22
  • Expert Network
  • May 23, 2014, 5:53 pm
Take my shiny blue rock
Take my Favourite
Take my Subscription
Take my soul...
actually, on second thought I'll keep my soul thanks :)
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 23, 2014, 6:04 pm
Sorry to late, mine now. Your soul belongs to me UNLESS, you pay me 100 peanut butter cups.
  • Seivelath
  • Level 22
  • Expert Network
  • May 23, 2014, 9:42 pm
Oh. Well, I guess having my soul enslaved by a group of minecraft builders isn't too bad.
I've seen worse :P
  • prof_Lucus
  • Level 15
  • Journeyman Mage
  • May 23, 2014, 4:03 pm
The best bog I have ever seen.
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:37 am
Thanks :)
  • FocusSjonni
  • Level 16
  • Journeyman Fish
  • May 23, 2014, 1:51 pm
..I think this is how I would feel if some huge company, like coca-cola for example, would reveal their secret ingredients ._.

Also, it doesnt seem whether its building, writing, teaching, managing, *kicking people ;)*, or just straigt up being awesome seems to be a difficulty for you Hinder.
Thank you so much for this blog, even though I dont think I will ever need it, I know it will be very useful to other people! Awesome stuff man!

(ps. this is the first blog that I have ever favourited! XD)
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:37 am
Thanks focus! We could always use ya back! Amazing builder right here, everyone!
All I was doing is scrolling down... Looks like a lot of work... *Yawn* No offense... :D
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:38 am
It is a lot of work. Almost to much sometimes. it is worth it though lol
  • Pizzacrud
  • Level 1
  • New Miner
  • May 23, 2014, 12:36 pm
Thanks for the info.
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:38 am
Of course. Hope it helps!
  • strydier
  • Level 29
  • Expert Architect
  • May 23, 2014, 11:46 am
Great read, Hinder
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:38 am
Thanks a lot bud!
  • Dayhunter7
  • Level 13
  • Journeyman Architect
  • May 23, 2014, 10:56 am
Great guide Hinder :).
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:38 am
Thanks Day! Ill have to include some merchant stuff in the next blog lol
  • Dayhunter7
  • Level 13
  • Journeyman Architect
  • May 31, 2014, 6:17 pm
OHH THAT WOULD BE FANTASTIC!  I would happily help with that one :p
  • Ra2a
  • Level 12
  • Journeyman Goblin
  • May 23, 2014, 10:51 am
Fantastic! I was just starting a rpg map and you posted this! =D
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:38 am
Glad it can be of some use!
  • paintsniffer
  • Level 7
  • Apprentice Network
  • May 23, 2014, 10:44 am
Love this!! Should be a great guide to anyone looking to start a server
  • Gazamo
  • Level 80
  • Elite Creator
  • May 27, 2014, 7:39 am
Awesome post, I encourage anyone interested in this to give Atherys a shot :)
  • Haelos
  • Level 1
  • New Explorer
  • May 23, 2014, 9:51 am
Wee Woo.
  • Valkyrien
  • Level 1
  • New Explorer
  • May 23, 2014, 9:26 am
As always, great job. :)
  • East
  • Level 3
  • Apprentice Miner
  • May 23, 2014, 9:25 am
I love it.
  • Forge Gaming
  • Level 46
  • Master Pixel Puncher
  • May 23, 2014, 9:23 am
Good lawd thats a lot of writing...

1 - 50 of 57

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