Building a 16th-century caravel attached to a shark-shaped dirigible is a lot like web design — except you’re doing it in Minecraft and it’s made of voxels.A good third of it involves planning and research. What does a 16th-century caravel look like exactly? Maybe we have an abstract idea of what it looks like from the outside, but what’s on the inside? How is it constructed? Thankfully, we have a huge library of images on the Internet that we can trawl through to find the answers to these questions.
On a two-week build (on and off), a good two to three days can be spent research and trialing various model interpretations in a voxel editor, without going anywhere near Minecraft. This is the wireframing and prototyping stage of web design. Not only does the model need to look good, it needs to fit the environment where it's going to live, usually a bay or port of some kind. This is akin to a website meeting the needs of its audience. What are their expectations? What might they expect to see? At the same time, we need to wow them and get their interest. Something eye-catching — say, a shark-shaped dirigible.
Once you’re happy with the preliminary model, you can start gathering the materials for building. This is like the content-gather stage for web design project. The materials should meet the objectives of the project. There's no need for 8,000 planks of wood when 4,250 will do. And don’t forget the interesting and key details that deliver the complete story. Break things up a little bit and add some colour. Nobody likes boring walls of nothing (I’m looking at you overly-long pages of text).
With any well-planned project, the pieces tend to find their place, and any issues that come up have better a better framework upon which they can be logically or aesthetically resolved. It’s important to maintain the overall vision of what you’re trying to achieve, rather than get bogged down with unnecessary detail. You can come back to the detail later. Broad strokes first, detail later.
Stay tuned for progress.