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3rd July 2012
ARTICLE: Cauldron Lake Lodge in Minecraft (1/2)

Imagine the world of Alan Wake, filled with giant rope-giving spiders and skeletons trained in archery. Where Cauldron Lake is overlooking a small village of squid people and Bird Leg Cabin is constantly being overrun by chickens. The sun sets behind a large rock-face and the final light of the day is slithering out of the gaps in between blocks....So with that image, I had a desire to create an ambitious Alan Wake related project in the game.

Like many fans, my favourite section was Episode Four. I loved exploring Cauldron Lake Clinic and shooting down Taken to the sweet sound of Poets of the Fall (aka The Old Gods of Asgard). So as an ambitious first creation on my newly purchased copy of Minecraft, I attempted to recreate the clinic with the help of Fraps to tell you how it went!

Here it goes!

For this, I built the walls first just so I knew approximately how big the room was going to be. I had Minecraft on my PC and the original Alan Wake game loaded on the XBOX360 just to make it easier when it came to comparisons. The start, like all projects, was quite slow. I marked out where the windows and doors were going to be and then got to work on the floor.

As night fell, the building I was working on increased in size. Whereas before I was just working on the reception area, I was now focusing on the entire bottom floor of the foyer and adding the staircase. Strangely enough that wasn't the most difficult section of the build, the second floor on the other hand was quite frustrating. By the time it was sunset, I had several torches placed down so I can work on the outline of the foyer. This section is perhaps the only part of the building that I didn't rearrange the width and length during the construction.

About 30 minutes later, I had the walls up and a ceiling over the reception area which would also be the flooring for the meeting area above. At this point getting the entire building up was a priority before trying to place items in the room. Unfortunately this does mean that you have to perhaps reorganise some sections but it's a lot more rewarding if the building is up before you start furnishing the place despite realising that the room needed to be a bit bigger to fit everything in.

The design of the clinic is quite complex, it makes for a great level but incredibly fiddly when it comes to reconstruction. In the main foyer (and in quite a few of the patients' rooms) there are numerous slanted roofs. It isn't difficult to get the effect, however it does take a while to traverse down the entire hallway placing down wooden blocks as you go.

The second floor has to be the most difficult section of the entire building. As well as trying to get the right widths for the floor above, you also have to consider where the beams are going to go and if they fit into the original design if you're on the bottom floor. Luckily for me, they were pretty much spot on - luck not talent, believe me!

And now, TO THE ROOF!

...but first dealing with that fence on the section floor, because without it; that fall is a death trap!...Also with saving the game and taking a break, you forget what your main priorities were and forget that you needed to ...And that, ladies and gentleman, is why I'm never having children...Also I believe the nightmare levels from Max Payne with the screaming child crying if you fall has scarred me for life. 

 The entire [Minecraft] day was spent trying to place a roof on the foyer, kind of important. It does make the entire room incredibly dark and black...Like my soul! Although it's nothing a few torches couldn't improve. It's very strange to see the level like this, especially since the large stone fireplace in the centre is absent.

Speaking of the LARGE stone structure IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FOYER, I only just noticed that I was missing it while reconstructing the lodge, after playing Episode Four again...Not a word, anyone. Believe me there are more fails in the not too distant future....

Because then this happened:

I decided that I wanted to explore how deep the ground went after my friend told me you can only go three blocks deep before you meet the blue screen of death. So I decided to try this out with the block I was standing on. It turns out that you can go to five blocks before you bury into bedrock and in a blind panic forget your "fly"command. It was nighttime as I decided to persue with this little "experiment" and as I re-spawned I remembered that I had walked a good distance before deciding to build. So I had to find a building...In the dark...On an infinitely developing landscape. It's a good job I walked in the right direction!

Returning back to the building for the daytime...

Following my strange night of dying and getting better. I went to the second floor to create the bear rug. It's what people usually do after facing death and then living through it with a bemused expression. Look it's a bear! I'm not kidding when I say that is this section of the lodge, made from brown wool*, is my favourite achievement.

*No sheep were harmed in the making of this bear...

This is the issue with installing your fireplace after the construction of the foyer. I now have a dodgy foyer and fireplace. But at least I can't fall down the right side of the room now.

Better go to the bottom floor and fix it....

...Mondays ¬_¬

CLICK HERE for Part 2 of the article.
CLICK HERE to see images of the final product.


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