Team Effort

Eight builders tell us how they made the huge map, Diversity 3!

For years, builder qmagnet has been teaming up with friends to make huge, creative Minecraft maps. He calls Diversity 3, his latest creation, a “buffet of game modes made popular throughout the history of Minecraft making.” So whether you’re looking for “a story-based adventure, brain-aching puzzles, or gliding through beautiful scenery,” there’s something for you. Plus, unlike a real buffet, you can try everything as much as you like without feeling awful afterwards and having to lock yourself in the bathroom. Nice!

Qmagnet started making the Diversity series six years ago. “I was inspired by the popular map genre ‘Complete the Monument,’ but wanted to make something where the player would have to defeat different game modes, which I thought had never been done before.”

The result? Well, take a look at the video below!

After years of work creating Diversity 1 and 2, among other projects in the community, qmagnet retired from building in Minecraft. Or so he thought, until something suddenly pulled him back in again – parrots!

“My kids wanted me to add them to my Test Map,” he explains. “One thing led to another, and I started playing around with new mechanics, functions, trying to bend the game to my will again. Then I accidentally started making Diversity 3. I blame the parrots.”

Well, I think the map is great, so good work, parrots!

At first, qmagnet worked on the map alone, in secret, but later he decided that he needed some friends to help. Even then, they struggled with the fact there was no end in sight.

“Then I found Adam,” qmagnet tells me. “When he joined the team, the floodgates opened. His work ethic was unstoppable and he brought so much excitement. I like to credit him as ‘the guy who saved Diversity 3 from dying.’”

Adam, better known as AdamDJM in the community, or ‘the guy who saved Diversity 3 from dying’, calls that description “very kind.” He explains: “When I joined the team in May 2018, the map was in a bit of a hibernation and progress was slow.” But he was familiar with the Diversity series and was excited to get on board. “Over the next few months, the team made a huge amount of progress.”

Adam and qmagnet weren’t the only ones working hard. Another builder, Kwa, had already been creating the introduction, the very first thing that players see when entering the map.

“After talking with qmagnet about his expectations,” Kwa tells me, “I realized he was very open to my ideas and interests. This was a project I could approach without a business mindset, which brought the joy of playing Minecraft back to me.”

Working together, qmagnet and Kwa set the tone for the map. “Our central idea was that Diversity 3 was a lost project, something qmagnet had already made in his mind, but that the community hadn’t discovered yet. We wanted it to be archaic and overgrown. Another goal was to make Diversity 3 much more open, so we chose the floating island theme.”

Kwa’s building process for the hub islands was highly iterative. “I constantly asked questions like ‘What is missing here?’ or ‘Why doesn’t this feel right?’ This guided all my work on this project, from large-scale layouts to block-by-block details. When it comes to the mechanics of the hub islands, that is the magic of qmagnet. I still have no clue how he actually made those ideas work!”

Another builder, RenderXR, who created most of the Elytra branch, also stressed the importance of iteration. “Don't confine yourself to set ideas when you can make the ideas more fleshed out,” he tells me. After some trial and error, he decided to make some parts “more focused around exploration and sweeping through open zones, while others are focused on going fast while manoeuvring narrow tunnels.”

Jigarbov created a Boss Battle area. He wanted to make something “very different from past Diversity maps,” so the branch “focuses on a meta-narrative of Minecraft itself.”

“I always considered Diversity a celebration of all facets of Minecraft map genres,” Jigarbov elaborates. “Without getting into too much spoiler territory I wanted to hit different themes from survival, crafting, and of course a larger-than-life battle with a huge antagonist.” Ooooh who could that huge antagonist be? Personally, I hope it’s a giant parrot.

Qmagnet came to focus on the overall direction and help steer the builders’ design decisions, which allowed them to fully appreciate each other’s contributions. Jigarbov says that his favourite part of the map is the Escape branch made by ColdFusion, due to how it “continues to escalate and has so many different and varied ideas.”

“Whenever I think of escape maps, I always think of challenges that focus on movement,” ColdFusion says. He eventually settled on the idea of creating a “trap-filled ‘tower of doom’ for players to scale.” Promising!

But a map like Diversity 3 needs more than just building. Two more people, Adrian and QwertyuiopThePie, worked on all the behind-the-scenes coding. Adrian sent me a very long list of all the bits he made work, like filling an underground city with procedurally generated buildings, or creating the rooftop course of the Parkour branch of the map. “[That was made] with design and playtest input from one of my sons,” says Adrian “who is super-creative and much, much better at Parkour than me.” (qmagnet and the team also credit a builder called Noodlor for their work on the Parkour branch).

“Instead of editing the commands in-game, I can spend almost all of my time in a text editor,” explains Qwerty. “As a result, the actual process of making command mechanics can be done without even opening the game itself.” Basically, in layman terms, he does computer magic. Neat!

After releasing such a huge project (after 21 months of work), the builders are very proud. Adrian summarises how they managed to work together successfully for such a long time: “Qmagnet is a bright guy with some neat tricks up his sleeve, but I think his real magic was in assembling a team of very talented and complementary people.”

And will qmagnet be going back into retirement now that he’s completed the Diversity trilogy? “I would be silly to think I'm done with the game,” he accepts. “I tried to retire once already, but I had to face the truth. As a creator, you never really leave Minecraft.

“Diversity 3 represents what I love most about Minecraft – the community of map makers and their accomplishments. I think there will always be something I'm playing around with, even if it's not Diversity.”

Well said! After all, that giant parrot isn’t going to build itself.

Jay Castello
Written By
Jay Castello