The build team risking it all to craft in Survival Mode!
Minecraft is a stressful life to live. You begin, resourceless and all on your lonesome, usually surrounded by trees, and you have no choice but to punch them, over and over, until you get enough wood to protect yourself from the horrors that come at night. It can be a surprisingly tough challenge! Especially if you go it alone.
Point is, you need a break. You need somewhere to rest your blocky head after all that tree-punching, diamond-mining, spider-fleeing madness. Come this way, friends. I have something that’ll sort you right out.
Raven SMP is a ten-person Minecraft building team, which sounds like a logistical nightmare, but in the case of this radiant world of wonders, ten people is just enough to make something special. Rather than being simply a village or a themed project, Raven’s world is a kaleidoscopic mish-mash of spectacles, from the towering windmill skyscraper to the strange ombre glass apartment building to the big thing in the sky that’s shooting a laser directly at us. Oh dear.
The team have all experimented with colour and form, which makes wandering through their world an absolute pleasure. Like a nice day out at the museum, except instead of mummies and statues, it’s giant bunnies and lava. Well, I suppose it depends what kind of museums you’re into, really.
At the spawn point, there’s a lovely little village. This was started as a communal building area, says team member Trog. “We let everyone build wherever in that area and then connected paths to each building to make it look more like a village.”
Even with ten team members all building their own things in the same space, the village manages to look remarkably well put-together, with shops, farms, and even a graveyard.
Wait, a graveyard? Who’s buried there?
“The graveyard was a punishment for myself,” says team member T-Rav, whose names (and causes of death) you can see on the gravestones. “Every time I died, I had to put down a grave, to encourage myself to get better at survival mode.” Ah, if only real life could be so forgiving.
In other parts of the world, beyond the village, there are large-scale experiments, like hanging gardens and a city in the sky. Raven’s world isn’t just a bunch of random architectural styles lumped together in one world - each building, each location, each weird little crafting experiment has a story to tell.
“I make a story for every one of my builds as I am building it,” says Trog, describing how he comes up with the ideas for each new project. “I built the city in the sky, and as I was building it, I would come up with different mini stories.” He even calls this technique his “signature feature” - being able to see the history and the background of a place is hugely important in creating something original and interesting.
Now, I mentioned it earlier, but this whole world - from the grass to the tippy-top of the castle in the sky - was built in survival mode. The team have been posting videos documenting their journey to building the entire world - which they’re calling “Season One”, with a promise of a Season Two coming soon, complete with new mods to keep it interesting.
It’s difficult enough to keep yourself alive in survival mode, let alone to build an entire world - but having friends with you to share resources and the burden of building makes a massive difference.
“We all just wanted to have a close community of people,” says Trog, “so we started a survival Minecraft server and played on it for a few months.” Fellow team member Jena says that, “the aim was to create a world where we could all combine our special talents,” with a team that T-Rav says feels “like a family."
It might sound difficult, but Trog says they manage to work together well. "We always encourage one another to do our best and offer advice and tips whenever we can.”
“Everyone has their own ideas on what they would like to do,” T-Rav adds, “and sometimes we would all do special events together, like going to The End, or finding a woodland mansion, just for fun.”
When people say that their team is “like a family,” it can make you think different things. Some families fight, some families barely talk at all. But a good family is one that supports each other, that functions as a unit when they need to, but all have individual interests. That sounds like what Raven SMP is - a bunch of people with one common interest, Minecraft, coming together to help each other achieve more than they could on their own. That’s a good family.