Island Beneath the Mists
Creative collabroation produces gorgeous gardens!
Today’s featured community member, billoxiiboy, doesn’t call himself a builder. Instead, he considers himself the “gardener” of his map, Island Beneath the Mist.
That’s because this gorgeous island is a collaboration between him and many, many, many, many other people who allowed him to bring their creations together into something bigger. In this case, billoxiiboy collected tree and other plant builds and organised them into an explorable world.
“I’ve been referring to this as my first cut and paste build,” he tells me, “but that term would give connotations of a quick and easy build style. I can tell you it has been anything but quick and easy!”
After sourcing the very best builds from the community, billoxiiboy reaches out to their creators for permission, explaining his idea for the overall design. But it’s not as simple as copying their schematics. “The success of the project relies entirely on using these creations cleverly,” he explains. “Really understanding the item and creating a believable context for it. It has to look as though it originated in this spot.”
This can take a very long time! “It inevitably involves some tweaking or even semi-rebuilding of the item to suit its surroundings,” he says. “But all the time I have to respect the creator’s conception of the custom item. I’m always asking myself questions like: ‘will its creator be happy with my reinvention?’ and ‘why does this item absolutely have to be here?’
“Sometimes I can work with an item for over an hour, only to decide it’s just not working. The virtual cutting room floor is a mess with these supposed good ideas.”
Because of this dedication to making sure every item is placed exactly right, making the Island Beneath the Mist took nearly two months, with billoxiiboy working for hours every night. But he says it was well worth it. “Everything has been really well received, which makes the challenge all the more rewarding,” he tells me.
Personally, he likes visiting the areas poetically called the Pool of the Mage and the Heavenly Ponds. “They have a tranquillity to them,” he says.
“The enormous God Trees from Plutouthere towering above and the dappled light; the deep blues of the pools and the lightness of the flowers. They are quite magical areas.”
“Artistically, I’ve really enjoyed including other creators’ custom items in my builds. Mostly because they look amazing!”
They certainly do. With so many talented and hardworking builders featured, it feels almost unfair to choose a favourite. Billoxiiboy instead tells me that he is very proud of the map’s use of water, which can be a tricky element to work with. “Waterfalls were certainly the one thing I perfected in this series of builds,” he tells me. “After the initial building and terracing, I had so much fun planting them up with my custom flower beds and bunching vines.”
Personally, I really like the fact that the map showcases many different kinds of environments, including underwater coral reefs. There would certainly be a lot of nice places for visitors to take a swim!
Billoxiiboy also encourages future collaboration with his build. “Each of these areas were created with a player in mind. I filled the areas with beautiful plants and waterfalls, but always left blank areas for other players to build on. I would set up little backdrops with picture perfect surroundings, so players could build their dream house or castle or village within it.
“This makes for great screenshots,” he says. “But it also left me a little frustrated in the build process sometimes. I was left with the constant feeling of wanting to build on those spots.”
So, after creating this beautiful map with the intention of allowing other players to explore or build within, he decided to make a more complete “story.” Exodus from Paradise uses both the natural beauty of Island Beneath the Mist and some more mechanical builds, like the beautiful steampunk-inspired hot air balloons, to tell the tale of people fleeing from killer wasps!
Both of these builds have a trailer, set to epic music created by Aspirin60, which will take you on a tour showcasing all the best parts. Keep an eye out for the cute snail, made by ErosOfficial, pulling the cart in Exodus from Paradise, which made me laugh out loud!
Billoxiiboy does sometimes build his own projects, but he says he still wants to keep working on these collaborative designs. “Secretly, I get bored with my own creations,” he tells me. “It’s so, so much more fun playing with other people’s toys in the sandbox.”
AND NOW FOR THE MASSIVE END CREDITS OF THIS ARTICLE. SERIOUSLY, BILLOXIIBOY WAS NOT KIDDING ABOUT THIS BEING A COLLABORATION:
Builders who worked on Island Beneath the Mist: Springstof, Kenofox, Plutouthere, Eremilion, Lentebriesje, CubeLeaf, Monsterfish, Madl, JakeCrafts53, Bidule995, QLS Shader Group, Aspirin60
Exodus from Paradise builders: Plutouthere, FreshLeaf, Erosofficial, titanoftitans, Stenlee, Jswiaay84, NovoLenio, Aldoria, Hahdrim, Ragnar le Rouge, diederik, fun-da-mental, Hahdrim, Alecdent, Kostahansen, JulianSpire, RvB01SS3T, Idralwel, Razzlie, AppleBow, Eremilion, Kenofox, Springstof, Lemon-fox, Monsterfish.
Renders by Conquest
Phew! Great job everyone!
- Jay Castello