Through limitations, there is creativity. Minecraft is not great in terms of level design. To do anything effective at the scale I want to do, where I recreate setpieces I imagine in “The Story,” I have to learn to juggle 9 algebraic variables in my head. The need for this arose after I finished writing Novel 01 and assessed it critically. Building the screenshotted parking lot and outdoor waiting area below proved helpful before I write Novel 02. 
Spoilers?: Minor [environmental storytelling thoughts]
Let’s start at the end of the build session with that outdoor waiting area.
When friend-of-the-website ViridianJack stopped over last, as a bit of an afterthought, he built a little bus shelter since I said I wanted to build a bit of a parking lot outside of the apartment complex where Sammohini lives. I took his idea and expanded it to how it would appear within the apartment complex, and talked through my thoughts on what I was building as I built it. When I wrote Novel 01, there was a scene where Chris picks up Sammohini. Sammohini waits in a visually distinct area, which I might still fit into Novel 02, but here, it might make sense to have a sheltered waiting area right outside of the office.
I built this little area based on that bus shelter.
It has three “couches” which, if Minecraft were more flexible, I would want to change the colors of to match bus shelter benches – the sort of plastic-dipped type, in maybe green or purple – but wood is probably fine since it is covered by an awning. I ran out of energy before I could build much more, but as I reflect on that building, I don’t think this structure needs to contradict the structure I wrote about in Novel 01. Sammohini could have been waiting in another part of the parking lot; maybe one where she could see the road clearer, and be seen more clearly from the road, than here? These are the sorts of details I’ve been enjoying ironing out within these Minecraft builds as I recover my health.
These are low-stakes changes that I can build, rebuild, and rebuild again.
The “bushes” to the left of that bus shelter were ones I had about three iterations of over the course of five minutes, and I could change them yet again, since they don’t look much like the sort of shrubbery one might see in front of large buildings. I will say, though, that despite the amount of implication I have to do with these Minecraft buildings, there is flexibility within that implication, as long as I’m willing to compromise on certain details. The color of the benches here don’t exactly matter, so I’m OK with having it rigid like that, whereas if they needed to be a certain color, then I could build something maybe less detailed but in a more accurate color.
The hallway of Zeal is a good example of that.
I didn’t take a screenshot of it, but the hallway ramps up, with a purple carpet.
The purple I used for the carpet is darker than the steps I used to help denote that the hallway ramps up to the first part of Zeal – which is my mind palace, but translated into Minecraft, and specifically, a place where I can show people my plans for “The Story” and perhaps help with my own mental endurance. If I can build an example of my own mind palace, then I can better visualize the many efforts people might intentionally or unintentionally make when trying to break into my mind palace to harm me. If I can picture Zeal as a place where I can invite people in, but quickly boot them out for being rude, then I can take that sort of mental exercising outside of Minecraft and with me into the rest of life.
I don’t know how I want to design Zeal out yet.
I might end up destroying much of the hallway I built out today, since I’m not sure if I want to extend it out as far as I did. If I do, then I’ll need to add in a second diorama room along with the one I built during this session to represent a small-scale version of Zeal, next to the small scale version of the Eville Medical area, but that’s where practicing cloning within Minecraft can be useful. If I make any large-scale changes in my imagination, then I can clone the diorama and build it out further. It would be a big deal if it weren’t for cloning, since I would have to tear down and rebuild everything, but with cloning it won’t be too bad.
I just need to practice juggling those 9 algebraic variables in my head.
The main clone command looks like this – /clone [3 4 24] [8 4 27] [3 4 31] – without the [braces]. I included them in here for the sake of helping to denote particular sections. The cloning command captures all of the blocks between the first and second set of numbers, then pastes those blocks starting where the third set of numbers starts. If that’s confusing to read, don’t worry, it’s confusing to do. I’ll have to practice this until I can explain it simply, and who knows? Maybe, if I get famous through my novels-writing process, maybe they’ll even include in a shortcut for this? I would love to place three blocks, one for each set of numbers, then doing some magic trick for the cloning to happen automatically.
Until then, I need to keep practicing cloning as I can.
The process is less frustrating now, and each time I do it – like any math formula – it gets easier, but I would much rather prefer not doing all of this algebraic legwork. I often don’t. I talked about how I would rather fill in a section by hand than use the clone or fill command. Maybe, eventually, this process will be easier – both for me and in-game?
I’m not in a big hurry, though.
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium.|
|Inspirations: I didn’t feel well enough to make much progress toward my healthcare errands, but I did feel well enough to do something to lift my spirits. These are fun enough for me to do, but I do them in moderation because of how much time it takes to record.|
|Related: Essays helping build “Novel 02.” This novel is formally called “A Story About Self-Confidence: Something About Anxiety,” and is a sequel to “Novel 01,” which is part of the Sammohini Arc of “The Story.”|
|Picture: Screenshot from the video. As a note, too, the yellow blocks are intended to help me note where the cloning blocks are located so I don’t build in these areas I intend to clone out later on, once I’m more comfortable with this process.|
|Written On: 2020 December 16 [10:22pm to 10:49pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 December 16 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|