Cute creature creations from DerpinQ4!
Minecraft has always been a lovely place to experience the animal kingdom in safety. Sure, that animal kingdom may be limited to the categories of things you can befriend, things you can sit on, and things that want you dead, but isn’t the real world much like that anyway? Look, all I'm saying is that I had a very traumatic experience this one time with a field of bulls and a very yappy dog, and we’re leaving it at that.
But one thing Minecraft has never been very accurate for is depicting the British countryside. Why should it have to, you ask? Why would anyone want to recreate a place renowned for its mangy badgers, soggy summers and a constant fear that there are ants in your picnic basket?
The former is a bushy-tailed friend that’s the perfect combination of a dog and a cat, a lovable animal that may or may not have been sharp-shooting rich-folk-robber, Robin Hood, and a far better bin-loving pest than the American equivalent, the raccoon. I love foxes, and so do these builders, Natalia4 and AnnejuQ, collectively known as DerpinQ4.
“We did not know each other in the beginning but our stories are quite similar,” they say of how they met. “Our adventure with Minecraft began 4, maybe 5 years ago. We played mainly survival servers, but we were interested in building. We left Minecraft for 2 years, and returned at the beginning of this year.”
The pair met by joining CraftCast, a Polish building crew, after auditioning for the group by building dragons, which aren’t available to the public yet. Awwww!
The fox and deer are both inspired by photography, either that the two builders took themselves - “we take photos sometimes, but it’s amateur photography,” they admit - or photos that they find. It’s not hard to imagine the fox sneaking through the undergrowth, but what about the deer?
It’s not just a deer, after all - it’s a sort of deer-tree hybrid. You might not have visited the British countryside (and we’re starting to worry that you might think we’re being paid off by Big Countryside here, but you definitely should visit, it’s great) but we definitely don’t have deer that are also trees. Although that would be OUTSTANDING.
So where did the tree-deer (Treer? Dree?) idea come from?
It turns out that it’s quite a common theme in photo manipulations to combine the branch-like structure of a deer’s antlers with the, er, branch-like structure of actual branches. Deer and woodland have been intertwined since the days of Ancient Greek mythology, in stories from that of doomed hunter Actaeon (who was turned into a stag and promptly torn apart by his own hounds) to the sun-god Apollo and the woman he fell in love with, Daphne (who was turned into a tree so she didn’t have to date him). Maybe this particular deer is also not into Apollo? We will likely never know.
One thing we do know is that DerpinQ4 put a ridiculous amount of research into their work. Not only do they build from reference photos, but they also make sure their animals are correctly proportioned and realistic. (Unlike Minecraft’s actual native animals. Have you ever seen a cow with sharp corners? We certainly hope not!)
“Before we build each animal, we need details of its body. Bones and anatomy photos are required. Then we can begin our work,” they explain. Not only is that admirable attention to detail, it’s also a borderline Dr Frankenstein way of doing it, and for that we applaud you, DerpinQ4.
Just, er, don’t actually fuse a deer with a tree. We’ve seen Doctor Who, and other than the main message of “dressing like you got drunk in a costume shop makes everyone think you’re a genius”, we feel like we’ve learned that eldritch abominations are rarely a good idea.
Sometimes it can be hard to be a Minecraft builder when everyone else is creating works of art that take hundreds of hours of practice and perfection. But DerpinQ4 have an important message for all builders who want to hone their skills: “the most important thing is patience. Do not give up, even if the project seems to be difficult. We both know how hard beginnings are - but you can learn everything if you are patient.” Even how to combine a deer and a tree in real life? Hopefully, we'll never find out.