Fishing for attention

A garbage build (in a good way!) from Thomas Jackson

People tell me fishing is a relaxing hobby, soothing for the soul and all Carpe Diem when you go for an early morning tour on a calm lake. These people are WRONG. Fishing is serious business! Competitive as I am, I once dueled my cousin to see who could catch the most fish. He humiliated me with 22 perches to my one. Remind me to never invite my cousin to any more family dinners. Or anything. The jerk.

Today’s builder Thomas Jackson is probably still talking to his cousin. After all, it was his cousin that introduced him to the Minecraft Pocket Edition during a trip to the beach many moons ago. Thomas took the bait without hesitating and got hooked on the game instantly.

“I went ahead and bought Minecraft for PC as soon as I could – so fast that I ended up not making sure my PC could even handle it,” Thomas tells me. “It couldn’t, and I had to end up waiting about two months before I could finally play the game.”

Nowadays Thomas is a part of a professional team of builders that makes commercial builds, such as recreating the city of Florence for an Italian art museum or this world that portrays the excitement of science and chemistry. A creative job, but the road to it began with utter destruction.

“I started out by just playing on survival servers, but I never really enjoyed it since people [were] mean and destroyed [my] work,” Thomas remembers. “Because of this, I tried to find servers that needed builders. This eventually led to me trying out new blocks in an update on a certain creative server I fell in love with. Five years later I still work on the same server – now known as ‘Shapescape’.”

When Planet Minecraft held their own fish-themed tournament “BassCrafters Solo Competition”, Thomas was one of its participants. Being a competitive spirit, not only did he want to create the best possible build centred around the theme of the challenge – he also took the opportunity to convey a special message. While other participants focused on crystal-clear sceneries and daring catches, Thomas created “Dumpster Diving” – a dark glimpse of what the future might bring to not only fishing, but the planet as a whole.

To him, it’s simply more to building contests than just making “nice builds”. “You have to show people that you can be artistic with any concept, and the best way to do that is to consider the subject from all angles,” says Thomas. “I thought ‘well, if this contest is about fishing, what if I make a build where there are no fish to catch anymore?’”

Dumpster Diving takes the beholder to a dystopian cyberpunk world of decay and pollution. In this bay, chimneys are spewing out gas while a lonely fishing boat is doing its best to haul in some food for humanity. Above it, a huge arch connects the two sides of the harbour.

“I knew that I wanted something grand in scope, so I decided that a massive arch connecting two sides of structure together would be perfect for the composition and making the player feel that the boat is immersed in the middle of this dystopian scene. Personally, I love arches for this very reason; nothing is more immersive than being able to walk under a massive arch as you tilt your head back gazing at the curvature of the ceiling surrounding you.”

Grand it may be, but barely visible in all the smog, and easily clouded by the waste-covered harbour inlet. The water itself is anything but blue – a distasteful visualization of a damaged environment, but also an impressive detail in the build's construction.

“A really cool trick to make coloured water is to create layers of different glass colours, generally getting darker as you go deeper. This will help develop your colour as well as give the illusion of depth in the water.”

While the theme itself was depressing, Thomas’ build was more than well received by both judges and viewers, earning him first place in the competition for his unique approach to its theme. Most importantly, Thomas himself was even happier with the message his build came to carry than placing first in the competition.

“Whether it be a silly twist on a common idea, or a symbolic representation of a very deep truth, your concept should be something that you care about or enjoy. Also, it doesn’t matter how popular your creation becomes or how many people know who you are. All that matters is that you create it, can self critique it, and can learn from it; you’ll make friends and an audience along the way who care about you.”

Wow Thomas, that really puts my own fishing contest into perspective. Perhaps I should start talking to my cousin again?


Renders by Bramboss and Splekh

Written By
Per Landin