Stone Skull Island
Take a trip to this forbidding multiplayer lobby!
Ahoy there, mateys, welcome to the Stone Skull island! Here, all yer dreams and wishes can come true, though ye must forfeit yer gold, yer soul an’ yer travel sickness tablets. Argh, here be vomit on me trainers!
Okay, I’m not a very good pirate. Sea-sickness, soft hands and burning hatred of seagulls make me a pretty sub-par Jack Tar. Turns out that the only good thing to come of this otherwise horrendous seafaring escapade was my tour of Stone Skull Island, a hub for multiplayer Minecraft servers. It’s beautiful, mystical and I can feel my soul slowly seeping out of my body every time I gaze foolishly into the hollow sockets of the skulls’ eyes.
It’s basically everything you’re looking for in a holiday island getaway.
You might look at this island and think that it must have been created by a malevolent force; a ghost captain still searching the seas for his sunken vessel, or a tortured kraken from the deeps, but you’d be wrong! This was made by the lovely ByMrCraft, a longtime Minecraft builder who first got into Minecraft through a school project.
“It was a project in which we had to recreate a Roman city,” ByMrCraft tells me. “We had to include all its most popular buildings. I loved building in the game because it was a way of expressing how I feel. It’s a way of doing what you want to do, and nobody can tell you where you have to place a block.”
Naturally, ByMrCraft kept on building. And this freeform building style allowed him to explore new ideas and different parts of his own imagination. “I had the idea of making a large structure, in which the main material used was stone, creating a dark environment,” ByMrCraft explains. “It just arose from my mind, a dark and tenebrous place.”
While the build may make you think of ancient pirate myths and sinister seafaring tales, ByMrCraft’s inspirations were visual - pulling ideas from illustration and observation of the natural landscape. That was as important a part of the design as the buildings themselves: without the rocks, birds and trees, the architecture itself wouldn’t make sense, he says.
The skulls were a late addition, an attempt to further differentiate the build and add an extra, immediately striking feature. “The same with the birds,” says ByMrCraft, “which were added to the finalised structure to give colour and create a more mysterious environment.”
Of course, being a multiplayer hub, loads of people can enjoy the island of madness simultaneously - an important consideration for ByMrCraft. “Most of my constructions are built for multiplayer mode, so others can enjoy them,” ByMrCraft tells me. “I think the aesthetics of a server is one of the most important things for the players to enjoy.”
When it comes to building these places, he says, “I just need time and imagination. Neither I, nor anyone else, has any limitation when building in Minecraft. It’s so special, you can build anything you want, how you want.” This translates into his advice for newer builders, too; “Never try to copy something already done. Be yourself. Every builder has his or her own style of building, and his or her own way of doing things.”
So get out there, builders! Go build me a special seagull-splatting cannon! Or, y’know, whatever you want I guess.