Minecraft Blogs / Article

How to Build the Forbidden City And Other Major Complex Building Projects

  • 12,763 views, 0 today
  • 33
  • 12
  • 30
bohtauri's Avatar bohtauri
Level 82 : Elite Architect

Part of Project 1845: Click Here

There is a lot of ways you can build one of these great masterpieces of human engineering and after being the first to build a complete replica at 1:1 scale, I learnt a lot that I would like to share while building the world-first 1:1 scale replica of the Forbidden City in Beijing,China as part of the world-record project Project 1845.

Do Your Research First

Some questions you need to ask yourself when building the Forbidden City or any other large project are:

  • How To-Scale do I want?

A sad thing I've found far too many times while building 1:1 scale replicas is that a lot of walls are not 1 meter thick so to make things 1:1 scale means your interiors are not going to be 1:1 scale but a lot smaller than the real version. This isn't avoidable building 1:1 scale replicas so keep this in mind.

  • How Historically Accurate do I want?

Do you want to use wool blocks for wool elements and bricks for bricks or are you going for aesthetics reasons. You wont be called a cheater if you use blue wool for blue painted plaster walls. Its your choice but one you need to make at the start

  • Do I want Function over Accuracy?

A lot of large complexes like the Forbidden City wasn't built for accessibility to every corner easily, there are sometimes doors few and far in between, you need to decide if you want it functional, like if players are going to live in it and regularly explore or want to accurately role-play in it when its done. This again is a personal decision of what you want out of it after completion.

  • Do I want o inspiredo or o accurateo

Again this is a personal choice, There maybe design elements too boring for you or certain elements youo ll like to put emphasis on like larger doors or curlier roof slopes. But please, if you want to make replicao s or accurate builds compared to something in real-life, resist the temptation to add extra flairs. Theres not many annoying things when someone makes a replica of a building and it looks nothing like the original.

  • Did I Include the entire Complex?

Surprisingly this is a common mistake of builders, they find a map named o Forbidden Cityo and think it contains everything, The complex Forbidden City has fallen prey to this issue many times with players claiming to build, 1:1 scale replicas of the city but only building one fifth of the entire complex. Make sure you double-check with several sources before making a claim.

  • Default vs Generic vs Custom Texture Pack?

If the project is big and unique enough you will get a tourists, and not every tourist is going to know or want to download another texture pack. Make sure it still looks good in default, I would personally recommend any project larger than 500x500 to have their own custom texture pack designed for the project, this will help players have a better immersive experience. Make sure the official project texture pack doesn't overwrite the importance of still looking good and applicable in Default view.

Rule of Thumb:
According to Notch 1 Cube = 1 Cubic Meter, meaning each side of each normal sized voxel block is 1
meter long, tall and deep.

Location & Elevation.

Always make sure you know how high in elevation the tallest building is, you dono t want your project ruined by making the floor of the project four blocks too high.

Also, according to Notch the sun rises in the North. This means you have to decide if you want your big complex aligned with Minecraft cardinal points or to real-life points.

Old big complexes most of the time have walls or moats, this is a great opportunity if you are not making them on a flat custom map, you can use these structures to have your base level lower than sea-level by masking the drop the elevation if needed (for example, one side of the wall shorter than the other, creating the drop in elevation that is sometimes necessary).

Legit Vs Not-Legit = Someone Is Paranoid

o Legito building can mean a lot of things, some people are purists, that use no-mods absolutely, all materials hand-collected and hand-placed. Some still call things legit building as long as all items are collected and hand-placed, even if you use a flymod or used World-guard plugins to stop mobs spawning. This is a personal preference and anyone calling you a o cheatero for flying around has been sitting on something hard thats moved north ;)

It is true people feel a project has more worth in something o legito than o world edit was usedo but at the end of the day its about effort vs reward. Are players going to give u a parade to build a 120,000 block floor? Simple answer is no, its only worthwhile doing it o legito if you want it legit, if you feel pressured into building legit, don't listen to the demon.

I built the forbidden city, all 4.2 million blocks 100% legit with only flymod to aid construction. Looking back, it wasn't worth it, it took me 4 months to build it while if I used World-Edit I could've stripped two months off that time at least. I still got over 2 Billion blocks to place over the next three years in Project 1845, even with World-Edit that will be an epic achievement, if I did the entire Project 1845 100% legit it would take 95 years (and I'm being seriously accurate with that number) Is anyone going to give me a medal at the age of 120 for building it legit? No.

I agree that sometimes its better to build legit, and sometimes its better not to because no one will gain anything from it. Its a personal choice on how you do it, get over it people! Its not that big of a deal!

Has Someone Visited It In Real Life?

A lot of people all across the world travel, and like any tourist, they take photos, there is a lot of blogo s and photo hosting sites out there, to help with accuracy and replica-building, use these resources to double check layouts, colors, and to confirm your buildings the way you want to. If you know someone that has gone to it in-person and if they are being helpful with advice, take their weight in gold because this will give you an immense advantage to building.

Google is Your Savior!!

What a weird header, but its true. Google Maps and the application Google Earth has saved my skin plenty of times, Use Google maps to easily find the locations your going to build and then use Google Earth for measurements, Google Earth has a ruler tool to calculate the length of buildings either in meters or the imperial system if you so desire.

Something Unique Vs Tried and Tested

After Building the Forbidden City, a lot of players I know personally gave up trying to build their versions because players sometimes build things to be first to build it, while it is nice to make world-firsts it isn't necessary, but for those who want to build unique replicas, there is a lot out in the world to build. For example, I live in Beijing at the moment so I have first-hand access to what a lot of people still dream of, and every major local, national and international important landmark in and around Beijing has never been built in Minecraft as far as my research has shown. There is always world-fisto s to make, you just got to look for them :)

If you are going to be Building the Forbidden City to scale, I recommend you check distances on Google earth with the Ruler function to make sure you don't make it half the size by accident.

1 Update Logs

Update #1 : by bohtauri 11/10/2011 11:25:52 amNov 10th, 2011

Some users were complaining the large blueprint images were not working. so I have uploaded them to picasaweb and so they should now work fine.

Big thanks out to my loyal supporters of the project to helping promote this guide and the many responses with how helpful it is.

Create an account or sign in to comment.

12/23/2012 3:03 am
Level 23 : Expert Mage
joeldahero's Avatar
im not sure where this city is in china, but is the great wall nearby?
would be awesome if added it if it was.
03/27/2012 3:24 pm
Level 3 : Apprentice Miner
dddsss1's Avatar
Dude, I could tell you worked hard on this blog.
12/29/2011 3:36 am
Level 10 : Journeyman Miner
ProOps68's Avatar
11/10/2011 7:52 pm
Level 35 : Artisan Pokemon
reece2004's Avatar
11/10/2011 7:52 pm
Level 35 : Artisan Pokemon
reece2004's Avatar
<a href="URL">LINK NAME</a> doesent work :(
11/10/2011 8:21 pm
Level 82 : Elite Architect
bohtauri's Avatar
oh well
11/10/2011 6:09 pm
Level 51 : Grandmaster Architect
shj1991's Avatar
i have to say that i have the same problems like you discribe in your blog.

i can't be 100% historically accurate or accurate at all ( i have only maps and models of my project)

i do not build 100% legit (i build on a creative server, and i use flying to aid construction, but i do not use mcedit)

it can't be visited by people as the project never existed... only a few buildings were build, and most of them never were completed.

i try to build on a 1:1 scale, but it is very hard to find the dimensions of the project. and i think they are lost or they never really existed. besides some buildings wouldn't even fit in minecraft.. they proceed the height limit even if you build from bedrock.

but i still continue, i do not know how to even start some buildings, my attempts to use binvox and viewvox were a disaster, (for some reason the model got corrupted half way, or the model changed drastically when i converted it from .skb to .dae to .obj

i have respect for every one who builds a huge project, only for these reasons and difficulties you have mentioned in your blog.

Goodluck wished sir!
11/10/2011 6:59 pm
Level 82 : Elite Architect
bohtauri's Avatar
thanks for your very detailed response. Much appreciated
11/11/2011 11:29 am
Level 51 : Grandmaster Architect
shj1991's Avatar
no problem at all, i recognized the things you described, so i thought i should leave a comment
11/11/2011 4:58 pm
Level 82 : Elite Architect
bohtauri's Avatar
Planet Minecraft


© 2010 - 2024