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I decided to engage in a project a little more fun, and less tedious than the massive Hollow Hill project, and try my hand at realistic architecture above-ground.

Castle-129 neptune

Panorama-5-castle
Panoramic view of the city walls, castle, city gate, park, and various houses. (The purple blocks are temporary markers)

Here the sky is blue, but in most of the photos the sky was green. That's because I changed my sky colour; for details see my blog article "For the Moon is Hollow, and I Have Changed the Sky".

Name and Purpose

The name "Molycastle" is a reference to the impressive and tragically lost PolyCastl by OrigamiDragons.

As I mentioned, I did this because it would be fun, and a way to practice building things that look real, and because carving out a huge hill got to be a tad boring.

Chronology

Every castle has a story. Some of the more interesting ones have a long story going through several stages of use, first as a fort, then a lord/baron/duke/whatever residence and town center, then as a landmark or tourist destination and movie set. When building things in Mooncraft I've noticed that it's good to think ahead a bit, because when I want to add something it's a lot of work if I have to un-do the earlier work first.

So I thought of a story for this castle, and built it in "chronological order" according to the story:

  • It began as a fortified tower on a hill top (something like a Peel tower) with a clear view of the enemy on all sides (and incidentally making for good picture-taking later)
  • As the site's strategic importance increased, more towers were added, with connecting walls enclosing a courtyard or bailey used as a place for fighters to keep their horses, equipment and supplies.
  • Towers were extended by adding smaller towers on top, used mainly for firing with crossbow or other long-range weapons.
  • A town built up around the castle, and a lord or baron began to occupy the castle. Since the existing structure was entirely military, the baron added a house inside the courtyard with a spire used mainly for viewing.
  • As the town expanded and warfare was still common, walls were added around the city to provide additional defense to the houses of the town.
  • Modern features, such as streetlights, public parks, and a connection to the Moon A Subway, were added later.

Castle-148 aerial

Castle Building Photos

Here are a few photos of the castle at various stages of construction.

Details of Building

In order to make the photos look good, I wanted the building to look realistic -- if it looks heavy, it needs to have something strong underneath it, built out of stone. Nothing can hover in mid-air (I made an exception for the Turrets, which are on hovering blocks, just to keep them from getting in my way as I move around. See my blog User_blog:Mrob27/Trial_(and_Error)_by_Turrets)

Fortifications

The jagged things on the tops of castle walls and towers are called "crenellations" or "battlements". In real medieval castles these provided some protection to a soldier as he shot arrows or stones on the enemy. The narrow windows also served this purpose. All of these actually work, and I was able to kill a few astronauts from the top of the tower. However, it's pretty difficult to aim and I eventually decided to let Turrets do the dirty work for me.

Tower Design

There are several different tower cross-sections with inside dimensions ranging from as small as 2 pixels to as large as 21 pixels. All have functional stairs within except the smallest, where you're supposed to imagine that there are ladders (I think that's fair because Minecraft has ladders).

Foundations and Columns

Under the towers I replaced all the gravel and dirt with Rock. Then I surrounded this with an extra layer of a different material (I used Aluminum ore) so that if I'm digging a tunnel or something later, I'll know when I'm about to undermine a tower.

City Wall Design

The city walls were more of a pain to figure out than the whole rest of the project. This is mainly because of the jagged terrain and the multiple objectives:

  • It should be easy to walk the entire length of the city walls
  • They have to look good
  • They have to look like they would actually provide useful defence against an attack
  • They can't block the view of the lake from the town, or of the town from the lake

Houses

I have plenty of room to build houses, so each time I want to try a new design I just build a new house. I try to use a variety of materials for the walls, roof and windows.

Sentry Towers

Later I added a series of watchtowers, essentially just a tall wooden pole with a crow's nest on top, to "watch the frontier" for invading forces. These are linked by a path on the surface that follows the terrain, and an underground tunnel loop. There are many shorter poles in between the taller ones.

Castle-149 sentries

Some of the sentry towers and the path connecting them

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