I’ve always been insecure about my ability to build creatively in sandbox games. I’ve had some middling success here and there in Minecraft, but I don’t vibe with the cube-y nature of it very well, and it doesn’t excite my creative juices. Generally, I find trying to create elaborate builds in most games to be headache-inducing, as it requires spacial-linear skills that I do not possess in the slightest. I mentioned recently on this blog that I started playing an indie game in early release called “Dinkum.” It’s made by one single creator named James, and it’s very quirky and enjoyable. It takes place on a small island in Australia. Once you have all of your townspeople moved in and have started making gold on the reg, the world’s your oyster. You can make anything you want. People have done crazy stuff, like building giant sports stadiums, swimming pools, race tracks, shopping malls, and shipyards that take up huge sections of the island.
Once I got everything in place in the game, I was ready to toy around with building myself, and I started obsessively watching YouTube videos of some insanely talented builders. One in particular who I love is Gerse. Gerse is extremely artistic and philosophical. He has very high standards, but he also works very much on instinct and intuition. I’ve learned a lot from just listening to him talk about design theory, architecture, the technical aspects of building, and art in general. And this week I took the plunge (well, more of a toe-dip, comparatively) and decided to completely re-make my little ad-hoc town. When I first started the game, I initially just plopped buildings down wherever, but inspired by Gerse and others, I wanted to re-do the entire town with an intentional design and an eye towards artistry. I started with the bank, which is the biggest building in town and the one that most designers lavish attention on. I built a high platform for it and gave it the works—fountains, birdbaths, coconut trees, etc. The blue surface of the fountain bases was made from glowing mushrooms found in the mines:
There is both a clothing boutique and a salon in town, but as of now, no pub or restaurant. I decided to group the boutique and the salon together in one “plot” and created an outdoor dining area in front of them. It’s next to the bank, so townsfolk can access their money then shop, eat, and maybe get new ‘do. I also included a mini-library, since I had two beautiful purple armchairs I didn’t know what to do with:
Then I turned my attention the museum, which didn’t have much love at all. I had to two animal sculptures that I found during mining runs, which were perfect for the exterior. I also generally gussied it up with fancy fencing, flowers, trees and ferns:
There is a lot more to do to make the town look fully integrated, but so far I am happy with my progress. It’s been really fun to think through my designs and then be able to implement them. The game is new and at the moment, pretty limited, but I find that the limitations actually enhance my creativity by forcing me to think about innovative ways to work within those limits...hmm…sort of like writing formal verse.
Finally, I completed this diamond painting of smiling giraffes:
All-in-all, I’m feeling very design-y and artistic this week. Maybe you will be similarly inspired to make something or write something!