The Hangout Gardens
Receive a warm welcome from these communal constructs!
What would you make if you had infinite money and a bottomless well of creativity to draw from?
Would you build a huge castle, tall and imposing, with cannons and tapestries and a big throne to sit on?
Would you make a gigantic golden statue of yourself for everyone to gaze at, so that long after your death you would be remembered as, “that golden statue guy”?
Or would you build a colourful playground filled with different things to see and explore, a garden of delightful surprises, for the good of the public?
Personally I’d go with the statue, but build team Creative Ducks are a more philanthropic bunch. They create server lobbies together in Minecraft - whether they’re Christmassy creations or sci-fi cityscapes. Each one is designed to be a warm welcome for players entering multiplayer servers, and they’re built specifically with that first impression in mind.
Creative Spawn is one of their more recent projects, and rather than having a central theme, the build is instead a garden full of random and incredibly different mini-builds. Look closer at the images and you’ll see individual themes and inspirations - from Lord of the Rings to Ancient Greece to science fiction, it’s all there.
“Our small project was made to inspire others to build,” the team says, “and to be creative and confident in implementing new, fresh ideas.” Ever the considerate creators, Creative Ducks always build with the players at heart. Rather than experiencing the empty sandbox that is your standard Minecraft fare, this team wants you to step into something that feels - to me at least - more like an art gallery. Here, you’re treated to a kaleidoscopic world of ideas that the team hope will inspire you to create even more!
The Creative Ducks team isn’t the biggest, but this helps them to be friendly and personable while still keeping their core values - to inspire and create - at the fore. “We help servers make their worlds brighter, and this map is one example of that.”
What’s more, the team work together to find their specific interests and expertise. “Everyone’s doing something they enjoy,” they tell me. “Some do terraforming, some do decorations - we help everyone express themselves.” Together, they create something they’re all proud of.
This entire build took the team just seven nights of work, during which, they tell me, there was a lot of “nice tea” (I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure tea makes a build roughly 7% better per sip).
“The main idea with this build was to make a giant garden in the sky, with lots of tiny worlds so that people could come and build creative things,” the team says. With such enormous variation but so little space, the hardest part was just trying to separate the different areas into distinct and separate concepts.
When building, it’s necessary to consider each type of player that might see your work. It’s worth asking, will they understand what this is? Will they learn anything from seeing what we’ve done here - are there techniques that they can use in their own builds? If you can make your build captivating to people, you can help them create better things in the future - just like Creative Ducks are trying to do.
Something that can definitely be learned from the Creative Ducks’ garden is the importance of space and how it affects your build. Each segment has a particular theme or shape in mind, and although that limits what you can realistically create (no castles or gold vaults here!) it also gives you greater focus.
It’s easy to say, “I’m going to build a Greek temple!”, but having to do so while keeping it on a small scale and limited colour palette means you need to take a more thoughtful and creative approach to it.
But one final lesson comes from the Creative Ducks themselves: Don’t be afraid to experiment. “We realised that one shouldn't be scared to try new styles,” they say. “This world has so many cool ideas from games, movies, anime etc. We want to make them all come true!”