Magma Mia!

Aderlyon shares their lava-ly layout of the Nether

Do you remember the first time you went to the Nether in Minecraft? When you lit up that purple-black obsidian portal, and stepped through the weird wiggly curtain to be transported to the world below? And then everything was red, scary, and totally on fire? 

Yup, there's nothing like the Nether. From the streams of searing-hot lava to the screams of searing-hot fire blasts being shot out of a Ghast's mouth, it's a very exciting and unfriendly place to be.

But at least you don't actually live there. In Cacus' Revenge, our intrepid builders have imagined a world where people did, indeed, live in the Nether, and – spoilers – it didn't go very well.

"Cacus was a fire-breathing demon [who] once ruled the Nether," reads the build description. "He would often terrorise the nearby inhabitants as he survived on human flesh, so the nearby civilisations fled out of fear." Not someone you'd want to invite to a barbecue, then.

Eventually, Cacus was taken down by another god, and the people lived in peace for a while. They even discovered a new type of lava: "soul magma", created when Cacus' demons fell into regular, orange lava and all their magic (and blood) leaked out, turning it blue. 

The civilisations that remained in the Nether decided to use this magical lava to resurrect Cacus, in the hopes that he would teach them how to do cool tricks or something, but instead he wanted to take revenge on the people who escaped – and that meant inventing Nether portals to find their hiding place and destroy them. That's the scene we see here: a big, angry demon bursting through the world's first Nether portal to squish some humans.

The key to this build, according to Aderlyon Build Team member Amelia, is the "soul magma" itself. That's where the inspiration started: with a magic, blue lava that matched the new soul fire blocks in the Nether update. Maybe all blocks need a blue counterpart, actually. Blue dirt, anyone? Take notes, developers!

"During our [first] day of planning, we discussed the idea of "magic lava" and decided to model a biome around this concept," Amelia says. Nine builders – almost half of the total Aderlyon Build Team members – spent three days terraforming the cave, and another three days building the structures, trying to use as many of the new Nether blocks as possible. 

The project was actually part of a Nether building competition held on Planet Minecraft, which the team ended up winning (congrats!). But they hadn't actually used the new Nether blocks before. "Cacus' Revenge was the first 1.16 build for our team to work on," says Amelia, "so many of the members were discovering new blocks and finding creative ways to include the new features." On top of the difficulty of working with new materials, the team also had to build in the Nether to enter the competition, where the view distance and the lighting are much, much worse than in the overworld. It's basically like building a house while squinting. And everything is on fire.

Despite the low light, the short-sightedness, the new blocks, and the huge, bloodthirsty demon looming out of the lava, the team managed to pull off a build that is both massive in scale and incredibly detailed. Look closely at the structures and you'll see lanterns built from both warped and crimson blocks, the gorgeous texture combination of prismarine and Nether bricks, and ornamental bridges that tower above the chasm. Not a place I'd like to live, to be honest, but a place I'm impressed by nonetheless. 

Having mastered the Nether, won a competition, and invented Nether portals, the Aderlyon team is already looking to new horizons for their next project. But this time, they're going back above ground, where the air isn't red and the animals don't scream quite as much. "While I won't give too much information away," says Amelia, " the build has already begun and a large steampunk-themed city is in construction!" Hopefully, there won't be any angry demons invading the new build... but maybe demon-proof the floors and walls. Just in case.

Written By
Kate Gray