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Planet Minecraft Interviews J_A_Y__

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This interview was featured in the PMC Weekly, Volume 90! In this volume, we interviewed J_A_Y__!

Jay was recommend by another member to be interviewed, and from the moment we looked into their submission portfolio, we knew they needed to be featured! Just this week, jay released his Tower of London 1:1 recreation project (seen below) which we learned, is just a small part of an even bigger project - The London project. This project aims to recreate Greater London in Minecraft as accurate as possible, for the most immersive experience for players. Along with some other members, they've already complete 220 hectares. Not familiar with hectares? 1 hectare is 10,000 square meters or about 2.5 acres - thats over 211 football fields! This interview covers a lot about this project and how he stays motivated in times where inspiration might be lacking. A great read, and we hope you gain some insight on what it's like to build at such a large scale and with multiple people!

Planet Minecraft Interviews J_A_Y__

Minecraft/Personalized Questions
How did your Minecraft experience begin?

I’m pretty sure I got Minecraft on the Christmas of 2014. However even before that I was interested in creative Minecraft, thanks to watching Keralis in Youtube. Since then I’ve always been on the creative realism side.

Do you still play Minecraft (aside from building for your big project)?

Apart from the occasional nostalgia-filled survival with friends, not really. Although I used to build alot on creative servers I lost interest round round about 2018-2019, so doing London is a great project that keeps me on the game with new challenges all the time.

You’re currently working on a very big project - building as much of Greater London as accurate as possible.Tell us what inspired you to to take on such a task, and when it started!

It’s definitely important for me to note that I’m not the owner or the founder of the London Project. That goes to Pieberius, who has had multiple different iterations of a ‘London project’, the first one in 2013. In the first half of 2019, Pieberius struck gold by managing to import a combination of LiDAR and OSM data into the game, meaning we could build on what was essentially a rough ‘mould’ of the entire city.

I found and joined the project when it was Pieberius and merely a couple other people (TeamTraction and jackd175), round about October 2019, which was great because I had become interested in doing recreations, and I myself am a resident of London. My first build was the BFI IMAX in December 2019, although Pieberius already had a small area around Westminster bridge. Back then it was baby steps, but we’ve been getting better and faster ever since.

How many people are currently working on the project with you?

We’ve had about 20 people build on the map since this iteration started, however the level of activity varies, as most of us are on the older spectrum, ie doing A-Levels or in university, meaning we have been pretty busy on and off with studying. During summer 2020, we could have 4-5 builders active on the map at one time. At the moment, myself and one other builder are active, though other long timers expect to come back on for summer.

What is your favorite part about re-building London?

It’s extremely challenging, which makes it fun. Each building is on a unique angle, and many buildings have their unique challenges (such as an angled arched roof), particularly due to the highly diverse architecture of London. That combined with the very difficult balance of accuracy and translatability into generally 1m^3 blocks makes every day building in London engaging.

What is your approach/creative process when building? What tools do you use to build accurate replicas?

Firstly, we have our LiDAR data, which can be very sketchy and awkward. However it’s a great jumping off point, especially when it comes to positions and heights. However our best friend is Google Earth Pro, which can measure heights, positions, and angles, as well as providing high quality imagery for us to build off of. However we also use Google Streetview and Mapillary to look at details from the street level. There are a number of techniques I outline in a help chat for our builders, however there are different ways of approaching different builds. Usually, I mark out the basic shapes of the whole building with wool before detailing. Some go section by section.

It’s clear that you’re striving for perfection. Have you ever had to re-do a building because you felt it wasn't accurate enough?

Definitely, especially Pieberius, who has recently redone quite alot of his year-old Westminster builds such as the Big Ben. Euston and St Pancras are builds I need to make improvements to since I did them right at the beginning of 2020. Especially recently however, we’ve been making sure we ‘perfect’ everything we do so we can focus on spreading our build area.

Working on such a large project must sometimes be tiring. How do you maintain motivation in times when you’re not necessarily feeling up to the task?

Whenever I build it’s for a 1-2 hour period (ie in the evening) or for a longer period (ie 6-8 hours on a weekend). Either way it’s a matter of going on and doing whatever you can do in the time you have. It doesn’t feel like work for me, it’s a matter of fun and activity in the same way some may load up survival

When do you hope to have your project complete?

We have 2.3 square kilometres built, out of the 1,600 square kilometres of Greater London (which is pretty much the area we have generated LiDAR into the map). That means we have built roughly 0.04% of the map in about 18 months so far, not accounting for our acceleration in progress. We don’t expect to ever finish Greater London, nor would we want to build every area in it (for example, some of the suburbs won’t be that interesting to build or to visit). However we do aim to build the well known areas at least, mainly Central London, as well as some other areas such as the Olympic Park, Heathrow, and the Docklands.

Do you have any other big projects planned?

Not really, many things we do as part of the Project would be considered big projects in and of themselves, such as Canary Wharf, or our completed 1km^2 Westminster / Waterloo block.

Add a thing or two about your London Project that you want people to know.

Firstly, we are always open to recruiting new builders. It’s not a commitment, but I must warn that we do have a high bar when it comes to applying and getting the role. However if you think you have the chops, feel free to send me a Message, or you can find the build application form at linktr.ee/tlp_mc.

If you want to support the Project in other ways, we have a Youtube channel, and also post on Twitter and Instagram. Furthermore, we also have a Patreon. All of these can be found at the aforementioned link tree.

PMC Questions
What is it that you enjoy most about Planet Minecraft?

Definitely discovering other buildings and finding some of the most incredible Minecraft builders on the site I never would have otherwise.

Which PMC Pet is your favorite?

I managed to find Ender last October, and now there’s a cool black cat hanging around on my profile, so definitely Ender.

You’ve been a member of PMC for just over 6 years. Out of all of the updates through the years, which one have you liked the most?

I’m not sure if I can give a great answer on this one, as I only really started using it 3 years ago. However, I’ve definitely noticed great improvements in the interface and site design.

What PMC submission are you most proud of? Why?

Waterloo is definitely my most successful build (though the Tower of London might catch up) and it’s taken me the longest, between June 20th and August 5th 2020. It’s a huge building, and although the ExCeL has a much larger footprint, Waterloo is an extremely complex site. That said all of my latest PMC submissions are the biggest builds on PMC that I am the most proud of.

Is there a specific member that inspires you or you look up to? Who/Why?

I’d go with Kruidnoot. He’s built some stuff on London and he’s extremely well respected where he builds now. He definitely inspired me to push myself to where I am now. Also, @Ryer, who I used to build on the same server on. He’s known as ‘skyscraper god’ and for good reason.

Fun Questions
What other video games do you enjoy playing?

I play GTA Online from time to time, and have played the Story mode a couple times. I used to play alot of Cities: Skylines and Warframe, but whenever I’m gaming it’s pretty much guaranteed to be building London.

If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be?

I’ve wanted to go to Hollywood for years, and actually would have gone if it wasn’t for a certain global crisis. Still, I hope to go soon, and in the long term.

Describe yourself in 3 words!


What’s your favorite food?

Thai food (my go-to is green curry) is the absolute bomb. Pizza can also be great, if it’s done well.

Do you have any pets?

Unfortunately not :/

Are there any hobbies outside of Minecraft that you have?

I’m going into filmmaking, so I do alot of writing, pre-production, and occasionally, the actual shoot. I’ve also done alot of street/break dance, including doing competitions and shows.

Is there any new skill that you’ve been wanting to try, but haven’t had the chance to yet?

Skateboarding and parkour, but I am going to find the chance very soon once I’m out of school.

Favorite quote or words of wisdom for the community? OR Do you have any advice for new members of PMC?

Well, Minecraft is a fossil of a game and yet it’s not only reaching new heights in terms of its updates, but also in terms of what’s achieved, whether it’s in terms of building quality, or redstone machines, or coded minigames. PMC is a great way to canonise yourself in what seems to be an extensive tapestry of Minecraft history, by doing great things or even pushing boundaries. So, what will you do?

Anything you'd like to add?

I’d definitely like to thank the PMC mods for choosing me to talk about the London Project and myself on PMC Weekly. Thanks, also, for the awesome site.

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10/08/2021 7:55 am
Level 1 : New Miner
Carlos game
Carlos game avatar
09/28/2021 8:44 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
jackbuilder1 avatar
This is a very powerful and time-consuming job, respect to the author
09/27/2021 10:01 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
MR peporoni dounut_123
MR peporoni dounut_123 avatar
wlcome for emarelds
09/26/2021 4:37 pm
Level 37 : Artisan Architect
J_A_Y__ avatar
Thanks for having me!
09/25/2021 12:51 am
Level 44 : Master Procrastinator
JorgeTKP avatar
Such amazing buildings indeed. Epic
09/24/2021 8:35 pm
Level 35 : Artisan Creeper Hugger
HomelessPetey avatar
09/24/2021 8:11 pm
Level 17 : Journeyman Ninja
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