T-Rexes Playing Poker

Just your typical dinosaurs playing cards build! Wait, what?

In poker - and country music - they say “You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em”. But what happens if you have arms that aren’t capable of either? How do T-rexes, with arms barely long enough to hold a breath, play cards? To quote the venerable Dr. Ian Malcolm, “Life finds a way.” For William Nelson, builder of these Cretaceous card sharks, creativity too found a way.

“The first major organic that I built was a dragon,” William tells me. “Since I was still new to this, the dragon was far from perfect but it represented the culmination of a lot of learning and practice.”

Organics are William’s specialty and they’re his favorite thing to build – they’re tough, but also a rewarding challenge for him.

“Making creatures or humans in Minecraft is difficult because even subtle errors in proportions or pose can completely throw off the entire organic.” Understandable, if you get your ratios wrong you can end up with some unnatural looking creature that has a giant head and tiny- oh.

“It was very difficult get the right shape of the T-Rexes.” William explains. “In the end, I imported a reference image into Minecraft, and used it to trace a rough 2D outline of a T-Rex. This helped me keep the proportions in check and gave me a good base to get the body shape right.”

Traditional paper and digital artists take note; references work in Minecraft too. No excuses now for not building your blocky masterpiece!

Unfortunately, all the references in the world can’t change that a T-rex is a primordial monster whose image we venerate in museum halls and major motion pictures starring Chris Pratt. No wonder it’s William’s favorite dino.

But why make them play poker? And, perhaps most importantly, which one is winning?

“The laughing T-rex is winning, he has the most chips.”

Question: how do you tell if a T-rex is laughing or just hungry? All three look like they’re very ready to chow down on the chip table or the nearest thing that resembles Sam Neill.

“The middle T-Rex has the second most chips, and the left T-Rex is losing. I made it so you can’t see their cards because I don’t want to give away their game. That way it’s more of a mystery. It does seem that the T-Rex may have the winning hand and is laughing because of it. But this may just be a bluff, I’m not sure.”

In other words you be the judge. But don’t judge too harshly, remember, sharp teeth.

William states that he drew inspiration from the famous painting ‘Dogs Playing Poker’ and he likes that Minecraft allows him to put funky new twists on the timeless classic.

“The best thing about building in Minecraft is that it’s a restricted medium, but with endless possibilities,” William says. “Minecraft builders only have a set number of blocks, a set height limit, a limited colour palette, and it’s difficult to make details which are less than 1 block in size. All the limitations lead to a lot of very clever thinking and this adds to, rather than detracts from, the artistic expression and inspiration in the builds.”

As awe inspiring as they are you can’t trust a dinosaur. Even the digital ones can cause some grief for their human handlers as William recalls a very close call he had during building.

“I build on a server called Builder’s Refuge. It’s a flat world, and I walked away from my build to make another quick build to practice some commands I’d learned. I thought I hadn’t strayed too far, but since it was a flat world there were no landmarks so when I tried to return to the T-Rexes, I couldn’t find my way back. Thankfully, some of my Minecraft friends helped me out and we all flew around madly until we found them.”

Clever girls.

Renders by Lycqnnn, Omardegante11, and Joebricksy

Written by
Ash Davis