MCPE-Craft » Articles » How a team of fans has been creating Middle-earth in Minecraft for 10 years
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Despite its age, the Minecraft community continues to amaze with its incredible creations. And one of the most ambitious projects is the Minecraft Middle-earth server – a project dedicated to the construction of Tolkien’s Middle-earth from cubes.

All the popular locations of Middle-earth have been recreated here, as well as everything in between. You can freely stroll around Hobbiton, plunge into the depths of Moria and visit Helm’s Deep. Or maybe they wanted to jump from the top of Minas Tirith? It’s all real here.

Last month, Middle-earth in Minecraft celebrated its 10th anniversary. PC Gamer spoke with server founder Nicky Vermeersch, also known as q220, asking about his humble beginnings and how a man in his right mind decided to create Middle-earth completely from scratch inside Minecraft.

Vermeersch’s first encounter with Minecraft took place when the sandbox was still in beta testing, in 2009. Like many others who started the game from the early stages of development, he became seriously interested in the gameplay. Then he was a moderator of the Dutch Minecraft server, thanks to which he came across the idea of ​​​​creating Middle-earth in the community.

I guess I, and most people in their 30s now, grew up watching The Lord of the Rings. There were a lot of interested people on the Minecraft forums, so we had a solid player base from the start. We started by creating the main locations, such as Bree and Hobbiton. Then we published screenshots, which caught the attention of many, and interested people began to join the project.

Recreating an entire fantasy world inside the 2009 sandbox was no easy task, especially since the team didn’t have many of the tools that are available to Minecrafters these days. Today, vital tools include Dynmap, WorldPainter, and WorldMachine, but the creators of Middle-earth in Minecraft were able to operate in a free style.

It was real chaos. Such tools did not exist, so people ran around in circles and counted blocks… It was a real disaster. There were no problems with the construction of Hobbiton, but when we had to reduce the distance between the main locations, we faced great difficulties.

Another tool that this project did not have is custom map generation. Modern Minecraft builders begin to create on a flat map, creating blueprints on it, but the Middle-earth team had to start with a fully equipped world. And it had to be destroyed. If there was a mountain on the way to the forest, they would have to demolish it, which is damned not easy.

Over the past 10 years, the Middle-earth team has grown from a modest forum group to 300 people in full-time positions, which means they continue to improve and maintain the server. The process of researching and recreating an accurate representation of Tolkien’s world requires the participation of the entire community.

The largest and most iconic builds are usually handled by senior team members or our best builders. Then we organize a building competition in which everyone can participate. We place them in an empty world and, for example, ask them to create houses in Minas Tirith. People are starting to build. We provide recommendations and show images for inspiration. For example, the architecture of the Roman Empire. Then we look at the end result and decide what is true and what needs to be changed.

References used by the team include descriptions from books and landscapes shown in films. But Vermeersch also says the group is using its own concepts for parts of the world that can’t be recreated in Minecraft. Middle-earth builders must apply their creative thinking to vast parts of the map that Tolkien says nothing about.

The Minecraft Middle-earth server already existed when the Hobbit trilogy was released (2012-2014). Which begs the question of whether the server team was excited about showing off new parts of Tolkien’s world.

Currently, Middle-earth Minecraft consists of 29 by 30 thousand blocks, which is equivalent to about 870 square meters. km. It’s about the same size as the city of Dallas, in the US state of Texas, so it’s understandable why the team is in no rush to tackle other parts of Tolkien’s universe just yet. If you want to know what there is to see in Middle-earth, then the server has the perfect sightseeing tour.

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