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Mountain of madness

We speak to the builder of a working ski resort in Minecraft!

Loyal readers of (the one's who send us Block of the Week fan mail and dress up as Marsh for Halloween) may remember an article I wrote earlier this year about this working Ski Resort in Minecraft. The resort was the brainchild of Joshua, a Minecraft builder who consistently tweaks and updates his impressive wintry holiday destination. An inspiring level of commitment, considering Minecraft doesn't even have skis!

The resort itself is well worth a look, full of minigames, hotels and restaurants, and even working lifts to get you up those slopes with ease (it's getting back down without breaking your neck that's the hard part).

“I live in a ski town in Colorado,” explains Joshua to us, when we ask what compelled him to craft this resort. “Skiing is one of my favorite actives. So, the inspiration to build the resort was not difficult.”

Joshua first got into Minecraft after his brother introduced him to the game. “The second I played it, I was hooked. As a fairly creative person, the whole building aspect of the game drew me in. It was all downhill from there.” OH WE SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

But how did he get around the fact that Minecraft doesn't have skis?

“That's the thing...” Joshua admits. “I didn't... really… work around that challenge. I sort of just avoided it. In the ski resort, the only way to ski is to have your player run down the mountain. So, you know, feel free to add skis into the game in a future update.”

We'll, er, think about it!

Joshua is selling the experience short – skis may not be an option, but fancy footwear is available for a solid skiing experience. You get to choose between a variety of boots that can make you faster and more powerful on the slopes. Plus, try sprinting cockily down a slope and then hopping off a ramp. You'll be in for an airborne treat as the game blasts you into the sky! Who needs lame wooden planks strapped to our feet anyway when Joshua can simulate the exhilaration of skiing without them?

Another impressive feature of the resort is its variety. If skiing isn't for you, explore and you'll find several fun minigames. LIFT OPERATOR is particularly good/cruel. Villagers walk up to a chairlift, and you have to press a button to release the chairlift so they'll be lifted on and taken up the mountain. But if you don't time it exactly right the lift will just smack into the villager. Owch!

I'm not proud to admit that a lot of angry, wounded villagers didn't get to go skiing because of me. Sorry, fellas!

“I’m glad you liked the Lift Operator game,” says Joshua. “In the resort, I needed a way for people to make money so there could be an economic system. The best option seemed to be minigames. I used to have the world I made with some friends that was full of minigames. From this, I learned how to program the games and such.”

Making those lifts would turn out, however, to be the most difficult part of the project. “The technology itself wasn’t difficult. Instead, the real challenge was aligning the lifts to go along a wire. It’s just a very tedious, time-consuming process.”

His efforts were worth it though, as the lifts stop ascending the mountain from being tedious in the game. Way to take one for the team, Joshua!

It's a detailed, polished build, full of staffed shops, hotels to sleep in and beautiful scenery to gaze at while you recover from your latest batch of skiing related-injuries. That level of polish is likely thanks to this being Joshua's third resort.

“Very few things were planned out,” says Joshua, of the benefits of this being his third go at a now-familiar project. “I kind of knew what had to go where. I had a basic idea of how I wanted the terrain to be formed in my head. I created the terrain with World Painter, a free terraforming software, and I really just built off of the terrain. I added lifts and buildings where I thought they were necessary.”

More impressive still, is that this was essentially a solo project. “Basically everything (terrain, technology, buildings, structures, renders, etc.) was done by me. I did have a friend or two come on and test some times, but other than that, it’s all handcrafted (literally) by me.”

I love projects like these – testing what Minecraft can be and trying ideas that look mad on paper. Seriously, who wants to listen to the buzzkill who thinks you need skis to make a skiing game? Think outside the box, friend. Where we're falling, we don't need skis.

Keen to hit the slopes yourself? You can find Joshua's ski resort here and his YouTube channels here and here. Try to break less bones than I did! Shouldn't be hard!

Tom Stone
Written By
Tom Stone

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