Alien Haven

A futuristic sanctuary for endangered extraterrestrials!

In recent years, conservation efforts saved many animals from extinction and indirectly made the sneezing panda video a reality. That’s a big win with an adorable cherry on top in my book – but what does the future of conservation look like? To Jordn, a 21 year-old Minecraft builder, it looks like Hive City, one of the most unique and complex Minecraft builds we’ve come across. In the year 3221, this futuristic island stands tall and luminous above the water as a sanctuary for endangered alien lifeforms.

“After technology advanced over the years, humans discovered that they are not alone in the universe and started interacting and meeting new intelligent alien life,” explains Jordn. “They soon learned that there were a lot of hostile alien lifeforms, and so they decided to construct the city for the purpose of protecting species that were more tame and endangered.”

But let’s take a step back from this cosmic creation for a second and get to know the creator. Jordn started building in Minecraft around five years ago when he discovered Mithrintia, a server dedicated to helping players improve their building skills. 

“On [Mithrintia] your goal was to fill plots with whatever you could come up with. Once your plot was filled, you were able to submit it to rank up and get access to larger plots and more complex commands. People on this server were willing to show others their creations and give their opinions and feedback so that they can improve in the future.”

If Jordn’s skills are a testament to the effectiveness of skill-building servers, then sign me up! But skill alone isn’t enough to create a unique build like Hive City – you also need inspiration, and Jordn’s comes from both the online community and the tangible world.

“Lately I have been seeing a lot of amazing sci-fi- and cyberpunk-themed builds and drawings on Twitter, and I knew that I wanted to start something big and sci-fi related. I remember seeing some futuristic city concept art on Twitter and wanted to recreate one of the skyscraper towers in the picture. I also took inspiration from street photos of Tokyo. I love how colourful and bright it is there and how unique their structure designs are. I knew that I wanted to include a lot of realism into this build but I also wanted to add some concepts that would make Hive City look more interesting.”

Once his recreation of the skyscraper was completed, Jordn reached out for feedback to his friend Tom (known as Tbls in-game), who is also a builder. Tom ended up helping Jordn with detailing the building as well as making the terrain and the forest in the back of the city. But the build was far from finished, because Jordn already had a bigger plan in mind. He started expanding it by mapping out the roads and pathways that would connect the future city, then added smaller and more simplistic structures to give it that compact, lived-in feel. Once those buildings were completed, the only thing left was to add the hidden light sources and billboards that give Hive City its distinct look. Jordn makes the entire process sound fairly simple, but even for a seasoned builder, it’s not always smooth sailing.

“One of the main structures that stands out in Hive City is the large glass roofed tram station. It took me around three different attempts at making it look nice. I struggled with this because I had never created any type of tram station before, let alone a futuristic one. I think the most challenging aspect to the station was making the tramline tracks the right height so that they looked functionable.”

And indeed, Hive City is not just beautiful – it actually looks like it could work as a real city. The tramline tracks connect its intricate structures, which all serve a purpose. For example, the numbers you can see on the side of some apartment blocks indicate where different species take refuge.

“I love working on builds that have a purpose and functionality to them. It's satisfying to create concepts that include both realistic features and unique styles. This is why I love the sci-fi theme so much. It allows me to explore a different approach when it comes to detailing and working with different structure shapes that aren’t just cubes and rectangles.”

So do I! However, most of my structures turn into ugly cave houses. What am I doing wrong and what can I do to improve? According to Jordn, the secret to a good build is challenging yourself – and perseverance. In order to create eye-catching complex builds, you need to learn to leave your comfort zone and experiment with different designs and styles.

“Right now I'm working on improving my space ship-building skills. I find it very hard to come up with refreshing ideas for them, but recently I’ve started improving because I've been practicing different design ideas. My main advice is to try and not get demotivated because something you’re making isn’t looking good. Just keep working on it until it’s perfect to you.”

Hive City is a look into humanity’s distant future. But what about Jordn’s near future? The skilled builder is taking a step back from ambitious personal projects to focus on his full-time gig as a Minecraft Marketplace creator.

“Working on large-scale builds such as [Hive City] always takes a lot out of me, so right now I’m taking a little break from personal projects and just focusing on my laid-back work-related maps. Being a full-time builder for the Minecraft Marketplace, I work on builds that have to meet a certain criteria because our maps are targeted at a younger audience. Personal projects such as Hive City really give me a chance to be creative and not worry about any limiting factors I have when creating a Marketplace map for Bedrock.”

Clearly, there are no limits to Jordn’s creativity. We’re looking forward to his return!

Tile render by Deltagon.

Written By
Cristina Anderca