I've been playing Minecraft on and off for the past seven years or so, solidly since r1.2.5. A friend got me it for my birthday and I've always enjoyed survival as a comfy diversion from playing anything heavier. The building part is even better.
For a couple months in 2019, Somnolescent gathered together on a private little vanilla SMP r1.8.9 server running on a spare iMac I had to build a town we've very creatively dubbed Somnoville. By the time the relevant blog post came out, we were already starting to run out of steam, but that's not to say we didn't get anything done. On the contrary! It was lovely coming back to an always-on group server like that after a solid seven years of either playing by myself or playing with one other person at a time.
Things must always come to an end, but at least we still have the world and these photos to look back on. This gallery is dedicated to everything we were able to accomplish in that time. (Builds are written about by the person who did them. If there's no name on a build, it's mariteaux's.) Click through for the bigger versions of these pictures, as some of them get rather large. Enjoy!
To start with, here's some of the smaller points of interest in the world.
Snake Shack (built by dcb)
dcb's internet was a bit too shaky for him to really get anything big done, but he joined us enough times to get a base going. I gotta admit, this multi-level wheat farm is surprisingly effective. The massive increase in crops is probably worth the loss of automation like we have with our group farm.
And speaking of that. This one has an autoharvester system based on water and pistons, the drops of which end up going into the chests in the front of each section. It's a neat effect, but it never fully worked right and it's a little small. Either way, came out nice looking at least.
Town square (built by Caby and mari)
This was a nice way to repurpose the outside portion of Caby's old base. (We'll get into the inside portion shortly.) I never did figure out what that little hidey hole was supposed to be, but it stuck around. The flowers and fountain though, I understood completely. Nice way to fill space.
Boner Castle (built by borb, finished by mari)
borb was...even more shit at focusing, so she didn't get much done either. It was originally called "Boner Castle" because it had a big tower of polished granite on the top. Like an erection. Teehee. We were working on rebuilding it last time she played, since it was kind of an eyesore, but we got bored with the world before that could happen. Either way, I polished it up for the photo here.
Another casualty of the Great Somnocraft Desertion was this barn I was working on as a better way to house our animals. Seriously, this is the view from the back, it's still open.
Right, now onto the good stuff. The real big builds.
Redstone Testing Lab
This is the earliest of the official builds in this world, not counting my old base where the Visitor Center now stands. It's small and not really ideal for testing much, but I'm still rather proud of the piston door and that obsidian "blast box", which I casted using lava buckets instead of mining by hand. A little note block rig for an adventure map I was planning is still inside at the moment.
One thing I find really helpful when I'm building is to use reference pictures. Often, little details that wouldn't otherwise come to you show up in references, and it makes your build look more solid overall. I based the lab off a Greyhound terminal, specifically the one in Blytheville, AK, just with red clay instead of light blue.
The storage facility was the first of the real "town" projects, a place for everyone to centralize resources and materials. I wanted a real modern, smooth look to it, so I used a lot of stained clay and smooth stone with flowing lava in towers for lighting, because, except in specific aesthetic cirumstances, I refuse to simply scatter torches about. I used this warehouse as a reference.
The storage facility got a pretty massive overhaul a few weeks later when I realized that the old chest sorting scheme was kinda weird and no one could find anything. Originally, I used double chests and grouped stuff in categories, but dedicated chests for each item works a whole lot better.
I originally ran out of space doing that, but by this point, Caby had moved to her own house and her old cave base conveniently underneath the storage facility was sitting abandoned and spooky, so I just overhauled that. Rather satisfying. (One lone shot of her old base pre-renovation survives.)
(built by Caby)
After mari and I started building our houses off to the side of Somnoville, there was this rather barren pathway leading up to that area, so it was thoroughly in need of some decoration. As such I began building a simple but pretty pathway leading you to the staircase up to my home. I built it using polished stones mostly, glass windows to give it some air and natural light. I then, naturally, filled it with flowers~ Tall flowers around the edges and shorter ones nearer to the pathway, a good mixture of colours for variety. I think it turned out alright.
My first base, as they often do, was proving too small for a growing badger boy at the center of an empire, and I wanted a nicer, bigger house anyway. Enter the Badger Den, a big ol' mix of brick and stones that I've still yet to fill completely. It's probably my biggest base to date. It's a little bit out of the way, but in the perfect spot (more on that later <:3c)
The Badger Den was actually originally based off a little building just off the campus of the college I went to, but only having two blurry pictures to go off of, it got pretty far away from it. This base, and really this world, was when I finally fully embraced brick blocks. Glad I did, they're pretty comfy.
Just on the outside, it's got three levels, the ground floor, the deck and library level, and then a rooftop tree garden on top. Early on, I dedicated a pretty big portion to a side garden that Caby came in and decorated for me with her wonderful flower arrangement skills. It's still one of my favorite parts because of that.
You might notice a little brown bunny peeking out of the tall grass in that first picture: that's Gonzo. Bunnies in Minecraft are fucking manic-depressives who regularly try to kill themselves, and Gonzo was no exception. Good thing he fell into my side garden, where after we discovered his liking of psychoactives, he immediately stopped trying to die and instead started rambling about how cave aliens were trying to prostitute my shins. Good lad.
Inside, it's still a little barren, owing to my business in other parts of the world as well as a general lack of ideas (what the fuck is a house?). Still, ya got my little kitchen/brewing area with a big window for peering into the side garden with, a garage with more to it than meets the eye, and the foyer leading to both decks, the rooftop garden, and the library. Oh, and speaking of that!
The library's a pretty typical enchantment area (well, aside from my written book chest...and Caby's gay signs~), but the thing I like about it is the big skylight that lights the entire space without a single torch. In Somnoville, day-night cycles are banned, so that space is lit entirely by the sky, always, while being entirely indoors. Skylights are underrated.
(I originally used lava lamps in the corners too, but that only goes so well for so long...)
The underground area of the Badger Den is actually accessible through a hidden passageway in the library rather than anything through the ground floor. Here, I knew I wanted flowing lava for lighting again, plus green clay and floating glass floors for flavor. It all came out rather power plant-y, I like that a lot. Again, no torches, very satisfying. Those furnaces in my garage pump my gems and minerals into a chest down here through a hidden hopper system for added security.
Oh, and of course, the gay tunnel between the Badger Den and Caby's house. Speaking of that...
(built by Caby uwu)
I spent a lot of the beginning of the game living out of a hole I'd dug into a cliffside, and while workable, it was a bit small and plain. We were right next to the sea and I felt there was plenty potential for a home with a view. As such, I travelled up to a higher plane and cleared out space for a two storey home built mostly out of different kinds of wood.
Big windows to take in the views, high ceilings for more space, and a cupboard under the stairs where I stored mostly rotten flesh and bones. Can't all be perfect~
While I never quite got to decorating the inside fully, I did spend a decent amount of time on the ground surrounding the house.
First off is the flower garden, which was once again surprisingly well planned. My main advice for anyone decorating with flowers is to use a variety of colours, never put two flowers of the same colour on blocks next to one another, spread it out, and frame borders with taller bushes. You then sprinkle some bone meal on the empty patches for a natural flare~
On the opposite side of the house, next to the small army of dogs I'd built up, was the chicken coop, where lived three chickens, one of which I'd dragged out of the ocean and the other two hatched from eggs. Besides that was my humble little side garden where I grew veggies and sugar cane. I really like this general area, just feels very homely, and I found myself getting pretty attached to the animals living there.
Behind the house I'd built a little fishing cabin down at the shore, but actually getting down there was a pain and building a staircase proved to be kinda ugly, so instead I tore the whole thing down and built it up on stilts, inspired by the fishing cabins on stilts I'd seen while on holiday in France. In retrospect I should've used a lighter coloured wood, but I'm still pleased with it all the same. I'm sure the views you'd get across the ocean would be fantastic!
As stated before, I never got around to finishing the inside, but the layout itself I'm pleased with. And the bedroom turned out rather cozy, with a bed overlooking the sea (and absolutely covered in gay signs left by mari u///u) besides a chest where I kept books I'd been given~ Underground was also a storage room and an entrance into my mine. Also down there is...
The entrance to my side of the secret tunnel between my home and the Badger Den~ Decorated with roses of course :3c I have mari to thank for just about all of this, he did a fantastic job of it.
We also worked together on the field above ground too, seeing that he, like the madlad he is, dug out the mountain that was there originally and I decorated it with flowers, as well as a small pond that turned into a waterfall somewhere along the way.
I don't quite remember when the lighthouse came up as a topic, but given our spot on the coast, it only seemed appropriate. The biggest pain in the ass was getting all the clay needed, but I pulled together in the end. The shape was kinda funky too—was (and still am) very into breaking symmetry, curves, and building funny shapes out of simpler shapes.
A major bit of appeal of the lighthouse for me was the potential to use it as a storytelling tool. I still have a draft for a weird epic poem I tried to do featuring the Pennyverse armadillo boy himself, Sebastian, sorta inspired by Slint's "Good Morning Captain". I remember part of that being written on Taywen's porch in a heavy thunderstorm too. Wanted to hide it in there, but alas, I was not brave enough to finish writing the poem. Maybe someday.
Believe it or not, that wasn't the only thing I failed to finish with the lighthouse: the actual light was supposed to come from a beacon! The spiral staircase leading up to the lookout point was meant to wrap around the beacon's beam, but I never found enough skulls to build the Wither for it. To this day, the gold blocks meant to power the beacon sit buried in the basement floor, abandoned.
Somnoville was a place of opportunity, dammit, and if we had a lot of storage, we also had the capacity to melt the stuff in that storage. Needing a place to cook a shitton of stone for stone brick and the like, the community forge was quickly built. I don't really know what I was going for other than "strong", "open air" (really liked that a lot in this world, didn't I?), and kinda spooky, going by the jack o'lanterns.
The important part of the forge is of course the autosmelter setup. I have a ton of experience with BuildCraft, thanks to Tekkit Lite, but vanilla hoppers less so. As a result, this one took some experimenting to get right. Basically, load items into the chest (so they get smelted in parallel, doubling the speed of the operation), load in fuel from the back, and hoppers at the bottom output the goods into the second chest. Maybe there's better setups, but I'm still pretty happy with it.
The creeper face built into the back wall of the forge was meant as something of a tribute to some of the builds on that old r1.2.5 server me and my middle school friends would play on. Back then, creeper faces were everywhere; on people's skins (on the hoodies they wore with big headphones, of course), in our builds, just all over the place. Was like the symbol of a god or an alien species we worshipped or something. Good times.
A keep is the strong inner section of a medieval castle, usually where the lord takes residence. "Suffocation Keep" is a song by the experiment-indie-jazz-rock band The Slip from their 2005 album Eisenhower. Both of these add up to a tall sandstone-and-clay tower I wanted to build because it looked neat in my head. Came out neat too. Very striking as the center of town.
Suffocation Keep (which has the chorus of the song printed on signs inside because I'm a sperg) stands where a fuckin' ugly blocky cobblestone base from mon used to. He called it "Cobble Bobby", which is at least memorialized on the Visitor Center's timeline. Either way, I was very happy to get to replace it with this. I'm not sure what the flowers all around add, but I like to think there's something magical afoot with the Keep here. We are a cult, aren't we?
Of course, it wouldn't be a keep without a secret, so if you're brave enough to flow down with the water, you'll end up in the keep's secret underground temple room. For the mystique points, I lit it only with redstone torches and just used transparent blocks to control mob spawn. (Yes, squids have spawned in the big pool under the glass. I swear they show up anywhere they fit.)
(built by Caby)
Anyone who plays Minecraft with me ever knows that I really, really like collecting flowers. (and also collecting clay but shoosh that's different >_>) I soon found myself with far, far too many flowers, far more than I needed for my builds. So I had this fun little idea of building a little flower shop where others could pick up flowers to decorate the general area and spread the colour and vibrancy!
It's a simple build but it didn't need to be anything to fancy, wooden building with colour added via of course flowers as well as a red carpet. Flowers everywhere! In the chests, on tables, on every window sill, and of course in the back garden.
Not that we ever got visitors, but I figured since so much had happened in the world, a memorial for all that occurred would be fitting. The overall structure of the Visitor Center is actually the same structure as my original base, just made open air and with some of the materials swapped out.
And of course, we have the timeline of events, plastered across the center wall with signs. Think I was ultimately glad about us getting bored because I was running out of room for more signs.
(Built by mon, bulb by mari)
After trashing Cobble Bobby and realizing that I personally didn't have much use for a base, I decided that I wanted to make a structure instead - so I grabbed a bunch of dirt and turned some nearby marshland into a small island, not knowing exactly what I wanted to build. After a month or two I had constructed most of the dome and had moved some animals to the top, including a rabbit I'd found on the marshland near the beginning of my construction.
It was quite a hassle constructing the actual dome part of the dome, especially considering I didn't want to waste that much glass, so I had to plan out exactly how I was going to make it beforehand... 'Twas fun, though. Good times.
That's about it, really. Hope you enjoyed the trip. I'm sure this isn't the last world we'll be playing, certainly not with that modpack I made all that time ago lying around...