MineCraft Masters Explain How They Rebuilt Rapture

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MineCraft Masters Explain How They Rebuilt Rapture

Of all the amazing projects built in MineCraft, few are as grand as the recreation of BioShock's oceanic dystopia, Rapture, by the Penny Arcade community. We talked to their leader to see how they put it all together.

Most gamers will remember that breathtaking moment when they got their first glimpse of Rapture in BioShock, watching a whale glide between huge underwater skyscrapers connected by huge glass walkways. The MineCraft version is no less astounding, keeping the walkways and the whale, and even adding a water slide.

MineCraft Rapture is an enormous project undertaken by posters on the Penny Arcade forums, on a server operated by Adam "Ein" Shefki. With help from the community, Shefki put together a pair of YouTube videos that showed off the city, which caught the attention of pretty much everyone who saw them. We were able to catch up with Shefki and ask him a few questions about how the project got started, and where he thinks it's going.

Unlike the original Rapture, Shefki's city beneath the sea wasn't part of a grand vision. In fact, the idea came to him quite by accident. "It wasn't really planned. I was in a boat, and I'd just discovered a huge expanse of water on the map with a tiny island in the middle," he explains. "I started building a lighthouse on the island, which then reminded me of BioShock's introduction sequence. The city at the bottom of the ocean nearby was inevitable after that."

Shefki says that the construction started to gather momentum a few days later when other people on the server started to notice the lighthouse and the structures he was building under the water. From then, it took around thirty people about five weeks for the city to get to its current state, but Shefki says that there are plenty of others that deserve credit. "[S]ome of the guys who are on the server and do nothing but mine all day and drop the products of their work into a chest in one of the community warehouses," he says. "[H]aving a steady source of glass and cobblestone available has been vital for us, since we've been determined to build everything on the server by hand."

A perfect replica of Rapture was never going to be on the cards - the limitations of MineCraft simply don't allow for it - so Shefki encourages people to try and replicate the feel of the city instead. "[W]e've built an area from BioShock 2 called Siren Alley," he says. "The Siren Alley in the game, though, was a gigantic, sprawling complex. We've limited ours to a smaller area both out of necessity and because nobody really wants to recreate the whole thing, just the recognizable parts."

"If someone wants to work on Rapture, but doesn't know what to make, I'll usually tell them to go find some videos of one of the games and just watch for a little bit until they get an idea in their head of what might be good," he adds.

People are allowed to build wherever they want, although experience has led to the creation of certain guidelines, like making sure the new building is easily accessible from the metro lines and not too close to the bathysphere waterslide. On the rare occasions there's a really big decision to make - like the creation of the metro system and removal of the maze-like warren of walkways it made obsolete - it's talked out on forums and effectively decided by a committee.

"Usually it's simply a matter of someone pitching an idea on the forum, and if it gathers a consensus behind it we'll try and follow through and do it," he says. "[O]ur community is fantastic, and tends to hive-mind around good ideas once they get going. There's not usually any disagreement on these things, and where there is, a couple pages of talk in the forum thread is usually enough to develop some sort of consensus as to what we should do with any particular thing."

As you'd imagine, building at the bottom of the ocean presents certain challenges, especially when you consider that MineCraft lacks the ability to pump water out of a completed structure. Removing the water one block at a time is time-consuming work, but nowhere near as bad as the method the community initially used. "When we first started building Rapture, we weren't very comfortable with underwater building, so our initial structures were made by digging down into the sea floor, hollowing out a giant space inside, and then building our structures within that area. When they were done, we cracked the roof over the structures and dug them out so they would be exposed."

The water also significantly limits visibility and is one of the problems that has yet to be fixed. "We've been trying to figure out a way to make it so we can see more than 4 blocks away," Shefki says. "But so far none of us have figured out a workable solution yet."

Just as there was no grand plan to start Rapture, there's no particular plan for where it's going either. It certainly won't be the last project that the community tackles. Work commenced on a recreation of Columbia from BioShock Infinite and on the floating islands of Chrono Trigger's Kingdom of Zeal while Rapture was still being built, and Shefki was confident that there's even more to come. "Our community seems to love doing these huge-scale projects," he says. "It's just a matter of getting inspired."

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.......

why the hell haven't I bought this game already?!

Watched those videos earlier.

Awesome. Simply Awesome.

Even my Avatar agrees.

hmm...

If he's just trying to make rapture... Why doesn't he wall off the surrounding area. empty it of water, build rapture inside, expand the wall when needed, then at the end just flood it. Might need an OP to spawn some water blocks, but it'd work.

Quality stuff.

If none of you have tried multiplayer yet, we have a great usergroup going on.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/groups/view/Minecraft-Appreciation-Club

Lots of team building projects and fun.

Wow. The concept of this is just that amazing. I love the feel and atmosphere of this one. Great job!

Mabye they can fix Bioshock with mine craft!

Unfortunately my computer is too crappy to not die whilst attempting to play Minecraft, so I cannot partake in such awesomeness at all.

Damn cool though.

Well, making a game using the Unreal Engine 3 is a lot different than making a game using pixelated blocks, but HOLY CRAP, I recognized most places!

This deffinitevly took a lot of time and dedication, congratulations to whomever did this.

And I'm having trouble building a single glass tunnel underwater...

dududf:
hmm...

If he's just trying to make rapture... Why doesn't he wall off the surrounding area. empty it of water, build rapture inside, expand the wall when needed, then at the end just flood it. Might need an OP to spawn some water blocks, but it'd work.

because emptying that amount of water is RIDICULOUSLY time-consuming.

It would suck if someone found a way to grief that.

Just saying but what would happen if you broke one of the windows?

All I've been able to do is create various structures that turn mountains into castles from the insude out.

Holy toot.. I can't imagine the work that has gone into that. I'm building currently Outpost 31 from the movie The Thing and currently it has taken me two weeks just to get the basic structure inside and out laid down right. Humm project number three will be making Atlantis from SG:A underwater.

Oh and if you haven't gotten this game yet, but loved playing with lego blocks when you were young, this is the game for you. The game is only Alpha but currently it is the most fun I've had with a game in a very long time.

wow the Escapist really has an Minecraft hard-on. I can see why, it's just so... perfect for a community of tinkeres and modders. It's like crackabis for PC gamers.

Daemascus:
Just saying but what would happen if you broke one of the windows?

The city would be flooded.

Just one broken window, and all that work gone.

Daemascus:
Just saying but what would happen if you broke one of the windows?

Not much, really. Close up the access point, and the water would all disappear in short order. If you didn't close it? Well it really depends where. But unless you did it in the forge where there's that open lava, probably not a lot, really.. water prefers to drop straight down, and can flow 7 squares horizontally from any landing point. But the water level never rises from the landing point.. so it can't "fill up" a room.

So, crack a block on the bottom floor and you'd have a wet floor. The rest would be perfectly fine. Crack a block on the top floor, and you might have a bit of a mess as it flowed downward over stairs and through ladder shafts but nothing too serious.

Now in the forge? Well.. lave + water = cobblestone, so you could end up stoneblocking a good portion of the room. That'd be an ugly mess to clean.

Why doesn't the escapist do an expose on their own server? There are some amazing things on there.

In other words, dude has a lot of skill, time and dedication. I really want to check it out, but whenever I'm on Minecraft I'm usually working on one of my own projects.

Amazing.
Where were Neptune's Bounty and Fort Frolick? I think I saw Arcadia but I'm not sure.

Kwil:

Daemascus:
Just saying but what would happen if you broke one of the windows?

Not much, really. Close up the access point, and the water would all disappear in short order. If you didn't close it? Well it really depends where. But unless you did it in the forge where there's that open lava, probably not a lot, really.. water prefers to drop straight down, and can flow 7 squares horizontally from any landing point. But the water level never rises from the landing point.. so it can't "fill up" a room.

So, crack a block on the bottom floor and you'd have a wet floor. The rest would be perfectly fine. Crack a block on the top floor, and you might have a bit of a mess as it flowed downward over stairs and through ladder shafts but nothing too serious.

Now in the forge? Well.. lave + water = cobblestone, so you could end up stoneblocking a good portion of the room. That'd be an ugly mess to clean.

doesn't lava + water = obsidian? that would be an ugly mess. obsidian takes forever to break.

Burst6:

Kwil:

Daemascus:
Just saying but what would happen if you broke one of the windows?

Not much, really. Close up the access point, and the water would all disappear in short order. If you didn't close it? Well it really depends where. But unless you did it in the forge where there's that open lava, probably not a lot, really.. water prefers to drop straight down, and can flow 7 squares horizontally from any landing point. But the water level never rises from the landing point.. so it can't "fill up" a room.

So, crack a block on the bottom floor and you'd have a wet floor. The rest would be perfectly fine. Crack a block on the top floor, and you might have a bit of a mess as it flowed downward over stairs and through ladder shafts but nothing too serious.

Now in the forge? Well.. lave + water = cobblestone, so you could end up stoneblocking a good portion of the room. That'd be an ugly mess to clean.

doesn't lava + water = obsidian? that would be an ugly mess. obsidian takes forever to break.

Only deep underground that I've noticed, do it higher up and it turns it into cobblestone.

theSovietConnection:

Burst6:

Kwil:

Daemascus:
Just saying but what would happen if you broke one of the windows?

Not much, really. Close up the access point, and the water would all disappear in short order. If you didn't close it? Well it really depends where. But unless you did it in the forge where there's that open lava, probably not a lot, really.. water prefers to drop straight down, and can flow 7 squares horizontally from any landing point. But the water level never rises from the landing point.. so it can't "fill up" a room.

So, crack a block on the bottom floor and you'd have a wet floor. The rest would be perfectly fine. Crack a block on the top floor, and you might have a bit of a mess as it flowed downward over stairs and through ladder shafts but nothing too serious.

Now in the forge? Well.. lave + water = cobblestone, so you could end up stoneblocking a good portion of the room. That'd be an ugly mess to clean.

doesn't lava + water = obsidian? that would be an ugly mess. obsidian takes forever to break.

Only deep underground that I've noticed, do it higher up and it turns it into cobblestone.

Really? on one server i built a small obsidian farm right on the surface and it worked just fine. Maybe it's just the server then.

Burst6:

theSovietConnection:

Burst6:

Kwil:

Daemascus:
Just saying but what would happen if you broke one of the windows?

Not much, really. Close up the access point, and the water would all disappear in short order. If you didn't close it? Well it really depends where. But unless you did it in the forge where there's that open lava, probably not a lot, really.. water prefers to drop straight down, and can flow 7 squares horizontally from any landing point. But the water level never rises from the landing point.. so it can't "fill up" a room.

So, crack a block on the bottom floor and you'd have a wet floor. The rest would be perfectly fine. Crack a block on the top floor, and you might have a bit of a mess as it flowed downward over stairs and through ladder shafts but nothing too serious.

Now in the forge? Well.. lave + water = cobblestone, so you could end up stoneblocking a good portion of the room. That'd be an ugly mess to clean.

doesn't lava + water = obsidian? that would be an ugly mess. obsidian takes forever to break.

Only deep underground that I've noticed, do it higher up and it turns it into cobblestone.

Really? on one server i built a small obsidian farm right on the surface and it worked just fine. Maybe it's just the server then.

Odd. Unless it's either random or only happens when lava flows into water.

i'm on the fields of columbia at the moment. i pressed the w button 7 minutes long, i walked thru one tunnel 7 minutes long to see columbia, and now i can't visit it.

theSovietConnection:

Burst6:

theSovietConnection:

Burst6:

Kwil:

Daemascus:
Just saying but what would happen if you broke one of the windows?

Not much, really. Close up the access point, and the water would all disappear in short order. If you didn't close it? Well it really depends where. But unless you did it in the forge where there's that open lava, probably not a lot, really.. water prefers to drop straight down, and can flow 7 squares horizontally from any landing point. But the water level never rises from the landing point.. so it can't "fill up" a room.

So, crack a block on the bottom floor and you'd have a wet floor. The rest would be perfectly fine. Crack a block on the top floor, and you might have a bit of a mess as it flowed downward over stairs and through ladder shafts but nothing too serious.

Now in the forge? Well.. lave + water = cobblestone, so you could end up stoneblocking a good portion of the room. That'd be an ugly mess to clean.

doesn't lava + water = obsidian? that would be an ugly mess. obsidian takes forever to break.

Only deep underground that I've noticed, do it higher up and it turns it into cobblestone.

Really? on one server i built a small obsidian farm right on the surface and it worked just fine. Maybe it's just the server then.

Odd. Unless it's either random or only happens when lava flows into water.

Water + still lava= obsidian

Water + flowing lava = cobblestone

There's something about this game that makes you want to build something huge.
Yesterday I thought "I need more sand", but my floating tower (complete with water elevators) is kinda far from the beach.
So today I'm building a gigantic water slide that starts from the roof of the world and has several huge drops. It ends on the beach, where I can get sand.
Would it be easier to walk? SHUT UP

Loop Stricken:
And I'm having trouble building a single glass tunnel underwater...

dududf:
hmm...

If he's just trying to make rapture... Why doesn't he wall off the surrounding area. empty it of water, build rapture inside, expand the wall when needed, then at the end just flood it. Might need an OP to spawn some water blocks, but it'd work.

because emptying that amount of water is RIDICULOUSLY time-consuming.

And so is making Rapture.

It wouldn't take all that long, maybe 4 hours with a bunch of people. The rewards would outweigh the costs.

And I thought my under water city was impressive...

Is a man not entitled to enjoy the base he's built?

"NO!" says the Creeper "It belongs to ME!"

It was some real magic that went into that,

But I have to say... I was a little disheartened when I realized it wasn't actually underwater. Kinda killed it for me.

Tdc2182:
It was some real magic that went into that,

But I have to say... I was a little disheartened when I realized it wasn't actually underwater. Kinda killed it for me.

It is underwater. Where did you get the information that it wasn't?

cursedseishi:
.......

why the hell haven't I bought this game already?!

Do you have anything you want done in the next few months?

That's why.

There is alot of awesome going on in that video.

dududf:

It wouldn't take all that long, maybe 4 hours with a bunch of people. The rewards would outweigh the costs.

No way bro. I've far far hollowed out smaller areas of rock (no re-propagation) and it took many hours even with help. Something the size of that area would take days if not weeks.

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