An awesome Austrian castle built with team effort
I used to live in Europe, and since I moved to Canada, I have realised that I very much took Europe for granted. It’s a big patchwork quilt of cultures, languages, and, importantly, food, where each country blends into the others in a delightful smear. There’s the ridiculously picturesque mountains of Switzerland, the crystal-clear glacier lakes of Scandinavia, the beaches of Croatia, and the cheeses of France. Whatever you’re into, there’s a place in Europe for you – even if you’re into something weird and obscure, like bell-ringing – and it’s all so close and easy to explore. You could go for a short walk in Belgium and accidentally end up in Luxembourg.
If I travel 4,000 miles west from where I live in Canada, I’m… still in Canada.
Perhaps I can live vicariously through Fall Studios’ Old Fallen Castle build, which is based on a “well-preserved” castle in Austria, with the kind of turquoise lakes and rolling, pine-topped hills that make me pine for another European holiday.
“At first we thought about building the castle in a normal landscape, but we weren't really satisfied with the result,” says Framme, one of the artists at Fall Studios. “Then I discovered concept art, in which a city was on a rock in the middle of a big waterfall! I immediately thought that our castle would be well suited for such a landscape, and started terraforming.”
There’s something extra magical about a castle that’s nearly inaccessible, whether that’s because its moat is filled with bloodthirsty crocodiles, or there’s a dragon, or a rickety bridge atop a pit of lava. The castle makes you want to explore, but the danger makes you want to run away and maybe find a spare pair of pants.
Although the title of the piece is “Old Fallen Castle”, the castle itself is actually in pretty good shape, and that’s because the team wanted to make it personal, says Tom, the founder of Fall Studios. “Since this is our first project, we wanted to combine our team name [with its title] and from that, we created ‘Old Fallen Castle’.” There’s just no truth in advertising any more!
Many Minecraft builders use reference photos, detailed planning and architectural research to create the building look they’re going for, but Fall Studios had the real thing at their hands. “During our joint trip in Austria, we collected many impressions, and wanted to recreate individual elements as exactly as possible,” says Tom.
Their project is accurate, even down to the materials: “The castle walls are mostly made of stone and the roofs of wood, so that it looks like the castle we used as a model,” says Tom, and although that accuracy means that there isn’t much colour variation (some builders even use cactus blocks in their build to get the right colours), it does have the effect of making the castle walls and columns look like they blend right in to the rocks that it’s all built on.
Working with a team rather than solo means the work goes much faster. “We built the castle in 7 days,” says Tom, “with 2-4 hours of work each day. The terraforming took about 10-15 hours.” Because of the extra hands, the Old Fallen Castle has more detail than might usually be possible – unlike many grand building projects, this one actually has an interior, using the Great Hall of Winterfell from Game of Thrones as inspiration.
“You learn how to better work in a team,” admits Tom, "and your spatial perception is also improved.” Fall Studios mention planning out their builds, but say that they end up just “throwing the planning away and doing it differently” once they start anyway. “The only goal,” Tom says, “was that we enjoy the project and are satisfied with our work in the end.” A build well done by a well-built team!