Magical Music Box

Marvelling at Meaf’s Musical Minecraft build!

If there’s a rule about writers not choosing favorites and liking all builds equally, I don’t know about it and I’m about to break it (sorry soooo not sorry). I’ve seen haunted mansions, pirate ships, dinosaurs, dinosaur bones, and dinosaur theme parks (lots of dinosaur stuff lately, wonder why that is?)

But my favorite of all the builds I’ve covered this year is Meaf’s humble music box, Alto.

“Alto is a musical gadget with a lot of gears, pipes, wires, and machinery all attached to a musical instrument.” Meaf assures me, not exactly convincing me it’s not also a cursed curio that will steal your soul while playing a soothing tune. “I designed this like a music box where it would likely sit on a desk or table and operate like one - except cooler.”

With the steampunk vibe of all the wires and lights, cool is a bit of an understatement. Alto is also a bit outside of Meaf’s building comfort zone. If Meaf’s name sounds familiar (how could it not, it sounds like someone saying ‘meat’ with a mouthful of ...meat) it's because we’ve spoken to him before, back when he was building moody mansions in snowcapped forests.

So what brought Meaf down from the mountains and into the realm of creepy cool music boxes?

“While many of my projects are geared towards architecture and realism, Alto represents a new challenge for me that requires far more visualization and imagination than what realism had to offer," Meaf explains. I was motivated to stray away from my realistic comfort zone and to leave a greater mark on the creative community of Minecraft as an eclectic mind.”

Big ambitions! When you push beyond your comfort zone you either achieve something brilliant or wind up pulling a muscle. But Meaf needed a challenge and didn’t stop until he found one.

“The greatest challenge of this build was the organic parts like the skull and the phonograph horn as they required such precision in chisling out blocks to form the shape (respect to all you organics builders).”

skeletal fist bump

Speaking of bony hands, Meaf explains how they fit into Alto’s overall structure. “One detail to note for this project is that all gears and mechanisms are designed to realistically function. From the position and design of the the bowed hand to the hand on the fingerboard, if this gadget were real, it would play like a human would. If you were to put a quarter into it, it would light up and play a neat tune.”

Now I’ve seen a lot of pretty builds (it’s kinda my job), but one thing that struck me about Alto is just how impressive the pictures make the build look. In-game screenshots of Alto just don’t do it justice, so it’s up to render artists to take a good looking build and make it magical.

“Rendering is the process of displaying a Minecraft build in an image that can be enhanced,” Meaf explains. “Through third party 3D design software, like Cinema 4D, renderers can depict the build in its entirety. I am not a render artist myself so I respect the time it takes for render artists to master their craft and I’m quite happy with what they’ve done with Alto.”

Do you have a face? Do you take selfies of your face? Think of rendering like Snapchat for Minecraft, but instead of dog ears and flower crowns you get art. These renders for Alto, courtesy of Splekh, Cmelvard, Iskillia, and Squity = pure art. So next time you’re looking at a great build, make sure you spare a kudo or two for the render artist too!

Renders by Splekh, Cmelvard, Iskillia, and Squity - but you already know that because you read the last paragraph carefully, right? RIGHT?

Ash Davis
Written By
Ash Davis