Green-fingered builder Enderock terraforms the world
It took about 98 million years for the Earth - our home planet, the soil we walk on, the hills and mountains, seas and lakes, the very air we breathe - to form into something habitable. 98 million slow, slow years, turning dust and rocks into the wonderul lumpy sphere we call home!
In Minecraft, however, most of that hard work is covered for you. You don’t have to worry about the atmosphere, or how to turn space-debris into land, because we’ve taken care of all of that. You’re basically several billion years ahead of the universe. You’re welcome!
Then again, maybe we should've gotten today’s builder, Enderock, to do all that for us instead? As you can see from the gallery below, he's a terraformer who would make Mother Nature proud:
His creations range from rolling, tree-blanketed hills to the proud mesas of a desert landscape, and he still finds time to experiment with non-terraforming projects like this fantastic, Stargate SG1-inspired fantasy portal.
Where does it go? The Nether? Somewhere more sinister? Of course, I’d love to jump in and find out myself but... er... I'm not really wearing the right shoes for a portal jump today?
You buy that, right?
“It is in building that we become builders,” Enderock tells me, in his native French language. "C'est en construisant qu'on devient constructeur." We are all builders, but not all of us have picked up the tools.
“It’s one of my favourite phrases,” says Enderock. “I would also advise any amateur builders that they should watch what others are doing, so that you can come away with knowledge and techniques. After that, it’s just practise, and imagination.” Doesn’t he make it sound so easy?
Enderock, also known as Anton when he’s not building worlds in Minecraft, first began playing around with Creative Mode after his best friend recommended it. “Since then,” he says, “Minecraft has become my favourite game.”
He currently posts a build about once a month, each one as different in colour, shape and style as the next. A personal favourite of mine is Controlled Nature, which takes Anton’s greatest skill - terraforming - and puts a fresh spin on it, creating huge walls that fracture and splinter the landscape into glass-like shards.
But Anton only lets the very best of the best rise to the surface. “I challenge myself to only upload my build on the internet if I think it’s better than the last one,” he says.
“If I don’t think it’s good enough, I change it, and if I never get to the point of making it better, I put it in the trash and start again.”
“I love constructing landscapes,” Anton continues, “because you feel immediately tiny compared to them, and you always get the feeling that they go on forever.” The landscapes he builds are largely inspired by his home, a region in central France called Le Puys De Dôme, dominated by a dormant volcano and the lush green hills that surround it, nurtured by rich volcanic soil.
“We’re surrounded by countryside here, with vast landscapes, so I reproduce what I see, so to speak, with a little touch of imagination.” Disclaimer: there probably isn’t a Stargate-style portal in the centre of France. Probably.
When Anton isn’t busy looking wistfully out the window at the glorious countryside around him, he’s getting on with his studies - but that doesn’t stop the inspiration flowing at some fairly inopportune times. “I often have ideas in the middle of the day,” he says. One of his projects, ‘Wild Freedom’, came to him “in the middle of a maths lesson!” It goes to show that there’s never a bad time for ideas - just don’t tell your maths teacher, okay?
"If I don’t think it’s good enough, I change it, and if I never get to the point of making it better, I put it in the trash and start again."
Wild Freedom is Anton’s most popular map so far, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s the kind of countryside you’d love to pitch a tent in - where steep slopes beg to be climbed, and long, golden beaches beg to be… beached?
The seas are clear blue, and the trees are a chunky forest of green, nestled in the cracks between snow-peaked mountaintops.
Anton paints these landscapes himself, using a tool called WorldPainter, which, rather than placing blocks by hand, allows the builder to create swathes of colour more fluidly. He also uses a tool called WorldMachine to, as he puts it, “sculpt” the landscape - but for designing his worlds, he uses something much more old fashioned: pencil and paper.
“This build took me about a weekend,” he says, “48 hours in total - with a sketch that I did prior, to know where to put my different mountains and islands.” 48 hours versus 98 million years? We think Anton wins this round. Sorry, Earth.