Friday, August 23, 2013

Modular Design

This is a method for designing buildings that revolves around designing smaller units called modules and them putting them together to form buildings. It is useful for people who aren't good at making large builds but can design small units better.

For example, suppose I wanted to make a couple desert buildings. Here are some modules I might use:

An entrance:

A sort of living room area:

A general purpose module:

And a roof module:

The visual design aspect of the game was handled in these parts. All that is left is to come up with good ways of putting them together. Here are two I've come up with.

And that is the basics of modular design. You can build as big or as small as you feel inclined to.

The advantages of using modular design lie in how it pushes the burden of design on smaller, more manageable sections.

  • Buildings can be more quickly made by simply combining the various modules together.
  • They give an appearance of physical unity, bringing together multiple builds.
  • Minor variations can be added, thereby giving variety without breaking the overall style.
  • It can be used to emphasize or accentuate a build that isn't modular, while still looking good.
The primary disadvantage to this method of building is that things will look alike. A lot. This can me minimized by varying the dimensions of modules, blocks used, shapes, and so on.

This is, most likely, the method I will be using from now on for my builds. In tandem with techniques for designing things, hopefully my stuff will become a lot better looking!

Surviving as a Low-Detail, Small-Size Builder

In my previous post I mentioned how building styles in Minecraft can broadly be measured and compared by size, detail, and functionality. I also said that I scored low in size and detail. Some might think that because anyone scores low in these regards, that they are bad builders. I don't think this is true. Here are a couple builds I have made recently.

You can see these houses are not bloated with detail, nor are they terribly large, but they still look good. They have a quaint look to them. They don't barrage the eyes with too many distracting details. And they're quite easy to build too.

I don't think you need to be able to build huge things in order to be good at Minecraft. In fact I think sometimes stuff can be made too big. After a certain point, things just get ridiculous. But by and large, size does not impact the quality of something.

Nor do you need to be able to put details into every cubic meter of the game. Indeed I think it's possible to have so much detail and flashy patterns that a person can't really appreciate the whole thing. I'm a person who prefers simplicity, and a simple pattern can be just as nice to look at.

If you want to not be frustrated with Minecraft, know your limits. I presently don't have the imagination to make huge, complex things. What I'm good at are smaller things. I also don't have the patience to work on a repetitive project for weeks and months on end. What I like are small projects I can get done in one session. After taking the second picture shown above, I proceeded to add a potato farm, spruce tree farm, and then put a fence around the potato farm. Three separate sessions. I play casually. I'm not a YouTube let's player who has the energy to pump hours into the game. I get things made sooner rather than later, and I like it.

Are you a small builder? Then be the best darn small builder you can be. There's a market out there for you, because not everybody wants to see monolithic builds.