NewHeaven return with possibly their most ambitious project yet
Ever worked under the pressure of an approaching deadline? The stressful feeling of a strict timetable crawling towards you, utter terror forcing you to forsake your creativity for the sake of delivering in time? Well you’re not alone!
I have first hand experience with this (not to brag, but I have both a bachelor's degree in Procrastination and a minor in Slacking), so I always try my best to elude Tom’s unbelievably unreasonable deadlines for my articles. Not enjoying this intro? That’s because Tom only gave me 16 seconds to write it! :(
Thankfully, today’s build, is here to prove that deadlines/Tom are a thing of pure evil – that a group of people with many visions can come together and create something truly magnificent, without the ominous threat of a deadline! We give you: Xin Tiantang.
Covered in cherry blossom trees and jade-clad rooftops, the magnificent Xin Tiantang is a build made by French build team NewHeaven, with members from all around the world. Last year they created a staggering replica of the French art museum Louvre – a build that was featured here on minecraft.net.
Since its release, NewHeaven has worked tirelessly on this new project that has been massive in both scale and workforce. Their goal has been to create an Asian utopia, bringing together a variety of styles while maintaining a cohesive theme. And the meaning of its name? "New Heaven" in Chinese.
“[It] may sound cheesy at first, although it emphasizes on the fact that what we created is perhaps a reality that is too good to exist, a ‘new heaven’ if you wish,” the group tells me. With their shared love for Asian architecture, the goal was to create a map that paid tribute to the continent’s wide range of styles by combining their personal favourites into one single build.
“Asian architecture has always been widely popular and liked by most people – we were no exception,” says NewHeaven. “Some members in our team use it almost all the time. Xin Tiantang was a way for us to freely express our love towards this style. [It] was essentially a large canvas and everyone in the team was able to take part in its creation.”
Xin Tiantang portrays a flourishing Chinese empire with revolutionized agriculture and architecture. A massive palace of jade and bronze stands tall at the feet of a blue lake, while smaller villages are located on the countryside. The map measures 2500x2500 and had more than 20 people partake in its creation – from the terraforming of the landscape all the way to the fine tweaking at the very end of the build. Despite the size of the team, NewHeaven took an open approach to its design in order to involve as many as possible.
“We made sure to find a theme that everyone was happy with,” explains NewHeaven. “Eventually, we had formed a good understanding of each other’s style. This cohesion then led to what we have today, a bunch of cities and villages that work together, even if they weren’t built by the same people.”
From an outsider’s perspective it may appear that Xin Tiantang was made rather quickly, posted only three months after the completion of the Louvre. In truth, work on this fictive Chinese empire began a long time ago and has been an endeavour for the team.
“[It] was actually started almost two years ago. What takes a bit of time is initially figuring out what style we will be doing and making the terrain. Once that is done, we do lots of testing on the side and like to assign certain areas to people that ask for them. Finally, when everything is in order, we start to properly build the map, which can take up to a year in this case. When we get close to the end, we like to have cinematics done on the map and above all timelapses.”
The aesthetics and architecture located on the map is a mix of several cultures and styles found in eastern Asia, such as China, India, and Japan. They also drew influence from Chinese culture by having organics inspired by the Zodiac calendar. Nothing was rushed, as NewHeaven’s builders were allowed to take their time completing their work without a strict timetable.
“These kinds of projects in our team are known not to have any deadlines. We do our best to avoid having to set them, as they force builders to create, which can only lead to people having to give up on certain ideas and choose the easier and shorter path to fit the deadlines. So in general, it is easy to think that they do not help with the quality of a build.”
“We recently just initiated a new project similar to the concept of Xin Tiantang, which means a big map, a style we love and no deadlines. However, we have other things brewing in the cauldron, as this map is not expected to be released soon. It also goes without saying that in the meantime, our members are doing personal projects and some of them are also doing contests.“