First of all, I'm not quite sure if this belongs in the Screenshots Forum. It's already in the Tutorials Forum, but I felt it also fits here since it has screenshots, and has to do with a lot of the things that we as the community take screenshots of. If it doesn't belong here, can a moderator message me and tell me where to move it to? Thanks. On with the show.
Rillian here with a comprehensive guide that will walk you through the design and creation phases of building a medieval settlement, whether it be a small village in the middle of nowhere, a budding town with thirty citizens, or a large city, well known across the continent. Let's begin.
Alright, so you want to build something awesome, but you have no idea where to begin. Or you have some idea, but you're not sure how to collect it all? Whatever the case, this phase is meant to help you plan out every idea you have, and get it all ready for construction. Obviously, materials vary from user to user; personal preferences are a big thing nowadays. But here's what I usually use:
I prefer graph paper because I can take it anywhere, and it's so much easier in my opinion to erase a square or line on graph paper than it is on Gimp, or Paint.Net, or whatever else people tend to use.
Obviously, I'll need the pencil and eraser because I use real graph paper, in order to draw my lines.
The internet is there because sometimes, I will want a perfect circle, or I need a reference image to start from. So I just type into Google "reference image of [NAME HERE]" or "perfect circle grid patterns."
Now, how to use your graph paper: it should be pretty self-explanatory, but do you see all those grid lines? And how they comprise a whole bunch of squares? Use each of those squares as if it were a block in Minecraft. You can use this for top-down, front, side and back views. 3/4 or "oblique" views are a little harder to do on graph paper, but they are possible. But before you go drawing anything, you'll need to know what it is you really want to put your time into.
So a village is a really small place to live, usually comprised of about twenty to thirty people. Almost all of your buildings will be made of wood, perhaps with trace amounts of cobble, with thatch roofing [You can get this if you use certain texture packs or mods. If you don't want to replace your texture pack or install the mod, then use wood]. The main goal of your settlement will be to survive. Because of this, the largest line of work will be crop-farming and/or hunting.
You'll most likely have quite a few small-time farms, a logging camp, and a couple of storehouses, as well as your actual villagers. Here’s a picture to illustrate. Here, there are two farm houses, a couple of housing areas for stable-hands and a warehouse for the wheat [I built this on my "Tests and Tutorials" world].
A town is quite a lot larger than a village, holding anywhere from fifty to about a hundred people. Most of the buildings will be made out of timber-framing and jettied upper-floors. In towns, you may find blacksmiths, shops, inns, perhaps a stable, a church, and other things you might think go in your neighborhood. But you should still be able to walk the length of the town in a little less than a minute.
Here’s another picture to illustrate what I’m talking about [shameless plug - this is the town that you can view by clicking the link in my signature]:
A city is, in essence, an expansion of a town. You'll have a lot of the same things, but also possibly parks, more housing, a cathedral instead of a small church, more inns and pubs, and above all else, a large castle or some sort of governing house, and a fortified city wall, rather than the mediocre wall you saw in the last picture.
Here's a picture to illustrate [This is a medieval town that was built by "oddworld" on our very own Minecraft Forums. You can view his thread here]:
Now that you [hopefully] have an idea as to what you want your settlement to look like, now it's time to figure out housing/ proportions [really, these are general guidelines for all buildings, but the pictures are particular to housing]. This is all a matter of personal taste, but here's my general guidelines; take 'em or leave 'em, but they're out here for you to use:
Here, the houses are usually one-story, small areas meant for sleeping, getting out of the rain, and eating. In a village, it may be common to see the residents grouping together to eat, and discuss plans of expansion, the most recent gossip, or otherwise chat.
An example exterior:
An example interior:
These two can be lumped together for housing because, as I said previously, a city is really just a large expansion of a town. These houses will usually be timer-framed [wooden outlines with pargetting], jettied [where the upper floors stick out more than the bottom floor], with wooden roofs instead of thatch, and usually a larger fireplace. They will also have a small kitchen and dining area of the house, as they are much more civilized and advanced than village-folk.
An example exterior:
An example interior [Ground Floor]:
An example interior [First Floor]:
Now you just start planning it out. Make dimensions, think of buildings a town might have or want, where are the resources coming from, what are the pathways made of, and so on and so on.
Now that you have sheets of graph paper filled with graphite marks from planning out your perfect settlement, it's time to start building it. The first thing to think about is space. I'll show you a picture of a common example of what's used to start building a city, and then the more realistic approach:
Common [BAD] [Property of "Traviz" on our Minecraft Forums from his thread here]:
Notice the difference? The common approach is nothing: It's just absolutely flat as far as the eye can see. You fill up the space, and there are no mountains, no trees, no valleys or hills; nothing of interest, unless your buildings are really damn awesome. And other players who download your map will see the flat shape of it, and [if they're anything like me] think "Been there, done that. Moving on."
But the more realistic one is actually a bit easier anyway. You don't need to shop around for a flat map, or spend the time making your own. What you do is you let everything be, and plan your buildings around the terrain. Put some buildings up high on the hills, and leave some in the lowlands. If the space you're building on is too small, and it drops off from an overhang, you can either terraform until your building fits, or you can make stilt-like supports to hold part of your building up!
The only other thing I can really put here is about choosing a block pallet. Similar to how painters choose a color scheme, you should choose a block scheme and stick with it. I don't care if you hold the Guiness World Record for being the most colorblind human being in the history of the Galaxy, please. For the love of God. People. Do not make a house out of gold bricks, and then right next to it, make a house out of lime-green and pink wool.
Rather, if you're going for something realistic [which I hope you would if you're still here reading this guide], choose things that you think people might actually build with. Have you ever heard of buildings made from pure gold with nothing else? I mean, it would fall apart? However, you do hear of buildings being made of wood, stone, iron, and other things. Now this is not to say "Do not use wool in your buildings." Yes, do. For example, the timber-frame house I showed earlier used wool heavily in its design. But it was re-purposed, and the entire building was not made from it. It was used as pargetting, and I also incorporated wood and logs in the pallet.
Here's a few of the things I used in my block pallet that I used in my town [a picture that you saw near the top of this guide]:
Wooden Blocks (including stairs, fences, and half-slabs)
Cobblestone (including stairs and half-slabs)
Stone Bricks (including stairs and half-slabs)
Wool (mostly white, but other colors are used for rugs/carpets as well)
Torches (Note that you won't find Glowstone on this list because it doesn't quite fit with the time period)
Gravel (for less-traveled roads)
Grass (This is the most important one)
This brings me to the topic of grass. Yes, grass. Please use grass. Even now, I want you to walk away from your computer [Yes, it's possible. I have done it myself a couple of times in my life] and step outside your house. Now tell me: Is everything absolutely gray, with no greenery anywhere? No Jim, you're the exception; I'm not talking about your smoggy apartment complex in the cold black heart of 1942 Communist Russia, I'm talking about normal, civilized society. My point here is that cities look extremely boring, drab and unrealistic if the ground from one wall of your city to the other is covered in stone or cobblestone. It is unhealthy to build a city that looks like it came from the Nuclear Holocaust. Please use grass, trees, flowers and leaves to your advantage. They're in that block pallet for a reason.
other than that, there's really nothing in this section left to go over. It's all up to you and your imagination. Once again, I'm Rillian, and I hope you had a great time reading this guide. Please post any and all feedback, praise, critique or otherwise below! Have a good evening, mates!
Rillian's Guide to Civilizations (c) 2011 Jovan Millet. All pictures in the guide are taken by and are property of Jovan Millet [xRILLIANx] unless stated otherwise.
Oddworld's Medieval Town (c) oddworld
Dokucraft Continuation Project Texture Pack (c) Whoever is the current owner.
You said exactly what I am thinking. I'm also a big fan of realism, and I'm currently building this village/town. I'm posting new photo's in the comments. Your guide gave me some new ideas. But, Glowstone is an awesome material to make lanterns. Just put a piece of Glowstone on some fence poles, add trapdoors on all four sides and close them. Voila, a nice lantern (a tad big maybe). Put a pressure plate on top of the Glowstone, and your lamp post is done.
Thanks! I'll definitely check yours out, man! As for the Glowstone, the only reason I'm not using it yet is that Glowstone lamps seem just slightly too far ahead of the time period my town is in. Maybe once they've gone through some wall fortifications, and gotten a market district in [something I've planned out on graph paper already], then they'll start using lamps in the streets. But for now, torches work just fine! :smile.gif:
have you thought on adding some info from different approachs? i mean, urban designs from different civilizations
I would love to see some of this. But great analysis overall. I know I'm susceptible to composing something ad-hoc instead of with a good plan in mind. The section on house proportions was amazingly helpful, though.
Thanks for the ideas. I'm working on a city at the moment, but I just find myself making roads... And more roads... This at least puts in place the idea that I need to start making buildings for a change :tongue.gif: Thanks