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A nation crafted

February 9, 2019 11:30 am

When you’re building in Minecraft, how big do you like to go? Some people like to craft small-scale, focusing on houses and gardens. Some people prefer to dream a little bigger, crafting towns. Some people like to dream even bigger than that, and create entire cities in our humble little block game. It doesn’t get much more ambitious than that!

Does it?

It does. The Republic of Union Islands isn’t just a city of blocks – it’s an imaginary nation in an alternate universe, consisting of six separate states: Neueburg, Montaña, Orleans, Dramhail, Victoria, and Región Federal Nacional. All of these states have their own unique architectural features and designs, with influences from Europe, America, Asia, and the Pacific, creating a massive amount of variety throughout the nation. What’s even more impressive is that’s mostly the work of one builder from the Philippines – IGFredMcWaffe, or simply Frederick.

Like many other city builders, Frederick was inspired by Greenfield City and World of Keralis – gigantic city builds that made him want to create a city of his own. This project, known as ‘Invalid City’, was a small town that Frederick worked on (occasionally with friends, who helped him come up with building designs). The initial plan was to just build a city, and then a metropolis. But as construction kept going, Invalid City kept growing. Eventually, Frederick decided to expand it into a whole country!

“I wanted to have something to look back on when I get older,” Frederick explains, “and this project will remind me of all the fun experiences of building something that I’m passionate about. I also wanted to share this map for everyone to enjoy.”

Frederick has had an interest in architecture ever since he was in grade school, designing buildings in Google SketchUp. As he entered high school, his friends introduced him to Minecraft, which he quickly fell in love with. Fast forward to today, and Frederick has spent over six years working on his personal nation.

What makes it stand out compared to other similar builds is that his work includes more than blocks and architectural design – the Republic of Union Islands have its very own history and lore – something that he has has put a great deal of though into.

“At first, the build had no direction or goal,” says Frederick. “I just wanted to add a bunch of streets and structures in between them, until it became bigger, and so I wanted to add defining characteristics to each and every district, city, and municipality to give meaning to the architectural design choices that I made.”

“It really pays off to see everything you’ve worked hard for in the digital canvas that is Minecraft.”

As an example, the Ciudad Capital de Montaña, a region in Union Islands, has predominantly Spanish influences in its architecture. His lore is also based on historical events, such as the American Revolution. Given the time it took to do all that research and craft the build, it sounds like he must have worked night and day on the project!

“I’ve probably spent thousands and thousands of hours!” Frederick laughs. “It has been an ongoing process ever since. It just became more systematic as I had already envisioned how the final map would look like.”

Fredericks tip #1 – Look for inspiration. There are so many things where you can get inspiration from like movies, books, places you’ve been and never been before, and the Mighty Google Search! This is where you can also develop the lore which can also guide you in building.

Fredericks tip #2 – Set goals. It’s important to have direction and a goal where you’re heading to as it will give you an estimate of the progress you’re making.

Fredericks tip #3 – Plan things out. Decide if you want to recreate a movie scene, a real life city, or create your own imaginative world. If you’re going for a realistic city, then you have to use zoning to plan the use of space in your city.

Fredericks tip #4 – Have fun and appreciate your work. You can enjoy the process of building continuously, but sometimes you have to stop for a while to appreciate your work as it really pays off to see everything you’ve worked hard for in the digital canvas that is Minecraft.

When working on his nation, Frederick has three specific tools that he always use: WorldEdit, MCEdit, and World Painter. WorldEdit for designing buildings in-game, and MCEdit for creating schematics and angled structures. “These two tools combined are great to use for placing repetitive map details such as lamp and electrical posts, rooftop details, road signs, trees, and rows of houses.” he says. “World Painter on the other hand is used for the creation of realistic natural environments such as lakes, valleys, and mountain ranges.” This make the city as realistic as possible, while still being unmistakably made in Minecraft.

Frederick looks for design references from Google images, and some of the buildings found in Republic of Union Islands have been recreated entirely, such as the Manila Cathedral in the Philippines, the Cepsa tower in Spain, or the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. However, he also likes to incorporate different designs into a unique one. “Most of these designs are a combination of different designs, like the Montana Metropolitan Theatre, which is a combination of the Modern and Art Deco Architecture.”

You might think that the materials used to bring these structures to life would be something close to the real deal, like brick or concrete blocks. Wrong! Instead, Frederick’s go-to block is… wool! “It is probably the most important block that I’ve used, since it was the only block type that had different colours, until the latest updates where [different colours of] terracotta and concrete were added,” he explains. “Though I use bricks and wood planks mostly for older building designs.”

So after six years of work, and an entire nation in Minecraft crafting, Frederick must be finished with this build… right? Wrong again! “I expect to finish the build maybe after several years or more. I’ll probably have children, and the map will still be in development,” he laughs. I admire Frederik’s commitment! Maybe he’ll name some of his future children after the states he’s crafted up? Good luck at school, Dramhail!

In a build so large, it must be hard to pick a personal highlight, but Frederick does have one. “The DJML Arena is my favourite as it is one of the most complex designs that I have ever made. The design inspiration is based off of our logo for the record label that my roommates and I at university have founded.”

Wait wait wait… you had the time to build an entire nation in Minecraft and found a record label? Maybe we’ll interview Frederick on again next year, where no doubt by then he’ll have built the entire Earth in Minecraft. Actual size.

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Taking Inventory: Oxeye Daisy

February 8, 2019 10:00 am

Among Minecraft’s many flowers, the Oxeye Daisy is a little bit unusual. Beaming out across the plains, its white petals gleaming in the sunlight, it’s a beacon of hope against the many perils that can befall an explorer.

Oxeye Daisies were added to the game during the Great Flowering of Minecraft in patch 1.7.2. This update, released in October 2013, included a whole heap of new flowers – from the azure bluet to the peony. You’ll find Oxeyes in Plains, Sunflower Plains and Flower Forest biomes. Occasionally, you’ll also find them in woodland mansions, where the former residents perhaps appreciated their beauty and purity.

The Oxeye Daisy was added in patch 1.7.2, but it was in patch 1.8 that it gained a superpower which sets it apart from other flowers. That superpower is the ability to create flower patterns on banners, which you can only do by combining an Oxeye in a crafting grid with a coloured dye and an existing banner.

Your other crafting option with the Oxeye Daisy is to grind it down into light grey dye. Grinding daisies down into dye feels like a waste to me, though. It’s far nicer to gather them and plant them in a garden, or put them in pots in a house, where they can charm you day and night.

Image credit: Geoff Derrin

You might be wondering where the whole “oxeye” thing comes from. It’s because real-world Oxeye Daisies supposedly look like the eye of an ox, though personally, I can’t see the resemblance. The ox thing is only a few centuries old, though – before the 16th century, they were more commonly called Moon Daisies or Dog Daisies (again, not seeing the resemblance). In Austria and Germany, they were once hung inside the house in the belief that they repel lightning. They do not.

Today the Oxeye Daisy is very common all over the world, but it’s only native to Europe and Asia. It blooms from spring to autumn, and is a reliable sign that summer is approaching. However, it can also be an invasive species – it’s regarded as a weed in Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand, and it can spread viral diseases affecting crops.

My favourite Oxeye fact, though, is that it’s edible. They’re eaten in salads in parts of Italy, and the flowers can be battered, pickled, or turned into sweet or savoury snacks. So next time you’re standing in a field of Oxeyes, maybe take a few home for dinner! Don’t cook with the actual eye of an ox, though. That would be gross.

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Screenshotting Guide

February 7, 2019 10:44 am

What’s the point of building something great in Minecraft if you can’t then show it off to the world? Exactly! So we’ve compiled this handy guide to help you take the best screens in every version.

PC/JAVA Press F2 to take a screenshot. Use your computer’s search function and type in ‘%appdata%’ and open this folder. Open the .minecraft folder and then Screenshots. And there they are!

Windows 10 Edition
Open the Windows game bar by holding the Windows button and G simultaneously, then select the camera icon to take a screenshot. Or hold the Windows button, Alt and Prtscn together to take a screenshot straightaway.

Mac Pressing Shift, Cmd and 4 together will take a full screen screenshot. These are saved on your desktop.

Xbox One Double tap the Xbox button on your controller. Now you can press Y to take a screenshot or X to record a video clip. Then visit, login to your Xbox Live account and you’ll find all your screenshots in the Captures section of your profile page.

Remember, you can fly in Creative Mode. It’s an easy trick for taking large-scale screens like this!

PS4 You can hold down the SHARE button on your controller to take a screenshot. Or tap the SHARE button to open a new menu, with options to take a screenshot, record video and how to share your captures.

Nintendo Switch See that lovely little button on the left joy-con? The one with the camera on it? Press it to take a screenshot. Easy!

iPhone Press the sleep/wake button on your phone and the Home button simultaneously to take the screenshot. You’ll find your screenshots by going into the Photos App, in Albums and then Camera Roll.

Android Android phones that are 4.0 and above are easy. Just press the Volume Down and Power Button simultaneously. Older Android models are trickier as they vary from phone to phone. Search the model of your phone online to see if it has screenshot functionality.

Try taking screens from unique angles to make them more interesting and original. A photo of a chicken? Boring. But a photo of loads of chickens from a birds-eye view? BEST CHICKEN SHOT EVER.

Kindle Fire HD You can take a screenshot on your Fire HD by pressing the Power and Volume Down buttons simultaneously. Keep in mind that this only works for the Kindle Fire HD and above.

PS Vita Press the PS button and the START button simultaneously. You’ll find your screens in the Photos folder.

Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 This is where it gets tricky! Neither the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 have built-in screenshot functions that support Minecraft. But! If you invest in some video capture technology, you’ll be able to take screenshots. It’s not the cheapest solution, but shop around and you’ll soon be able to take screens from these older console versions.

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Minecraft Snapshot 19w06a

February 6, 2019 5:43 pm

This week’s snapshot is a small one, but it brings a fancy new splash screen! Start up the snapshot and you’ll find out right away.

Changes in 19w06a

  • Added a new splash screen and slightly improved startup time
  • Updated LWJGL to 3.2.1
  • Particles are now broken up into individual textures rather than being in particles.png
    • This breaks resource packs right now but we’re working on a way to still be able to load old resource packs
  • Adjustments to the Wandering Trader
  • New optional tag for block items: BlockStateTag
    • Contains map of block state properties to be overwritten after block is placed (note: item model is not affected).
  • Fixed bugs

Fixed bugs in 19w06a

  • MC-11532 – Empty map is consumed upon right-clicking in creative
  • MC-90523 – falling_block entity floating on fences/walls
  • MC-114561 – Baby mobs can grow while dying
  • MC-119808 – Minecarts drop their items offset in the positive direction
  • MC-126302 – Game freezes if splash text 231 is the only one in splashes.txt
  • MC-136400 – ‘Serious Dedication’ advancement not given when using up diamond hoe
  • MC-138389 – Slime balls sneezed by pandas cannot be picked up
  • MC-138617 – Jungle Pyramids not spawning in bamboo jungle
  • MC-139477 – Ravager falls with NoAI:1
  • MC-140009 – Pandas can eat while swimming
  • MC-140240 – plains_big_house_1 in new plains villages is missing a floor
  • MC-140286 – Village stair not connecting
  • MC-140698 – The snowy_small_house_7 house from new snowy villages is missing a light source
  • MC-140703 – Weaponsmith building catches fire
  • MC-140710 – Pillagers require skylight to spawn from spawners
  • MC-140759 – Some of the new village structures are missing a jigsaw block
  • MC-140940 – Procedurally generated bells in Villagers do not connect to blocks correctly
  • MC-140985 – Scheduled ticks get lost when leaving chunks (Redstone components get stuck)
  • MC-141823 – End gateways on the main end island take you to a tiny island
  • MC-141940 – Crafting table shows campfire and stonecutter recipes
  • MC-142655 – Client crashes when opening resolved book on lectern containing malformed text components
  • MC-142893 – Magma cube riding zombie causes crash in lava
  • MC-142916 – Recipe toasts for stonecutter use crafting table icon
  • MC-142958 – Water disappears when placed on double slab
  • MC-143069 – An armor stand which is Marker:1b doesn’t collide with a block
  • MC-143347 – Ravager spawn egg is not sorted alphabetically within the spawn egg list
  • MC-143350 – Wandering trader subtitle missing; shows translation string
  • MC-143351 – Item frames and leash knots appear at the wrong location
  • MC-143354 – Filling a composter is silent

Get the snapshot

To install the snapshot, open up the Minecraft Launcher and enable snapshots in the “Launch Options” tab.

Snapshots can corrupt your world, please backup and/or run them in a different folder from your main worlds.

Cross-platform server jar:

Report bugs here:

Want to give feedback?

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Minecraft Bedrock Update!

February 5, 2019 5:20 pm

Slabs! Stairs! Signs! Swalls! I mean, walls! Ahem, sorry – I always get overly excited like this when there’s a new update for Minecraft on Xbox One, Windows 10 Edition, iOS, Gear VR, Android and Nintendo Switch out today!

This update is full of building materials announced as part of our upcoming Village and Pillage update. The new villagers aren’t quite ready yet (they’re all busy studying for their new professions) making this update more of a builders dream, as it’s practically overflowing with new stairs, walls, slabs and more!

Gardeners, we haven’t forgotten you. This update brings two new flowers to Minecraft, The Lily of the Valley and Cornflower! Cornflower fans, this means you can finally stop sending our offices millions of letters a month, demanding we put cornflower in the game. Your cornflower wish has been granted!

Other new features include new gamerules and buttons that will take you directly to the feedback site, bug tracker site, or support site. Another hot new feature – lava – can now be placed in cauldrons! Just make sure you place it carefully, yeah? We’d hate to see your new-and-improved garden go up in flames…

In this release, we also have quite a few new features behind the Experimental Gameplay toggle in the world settings. If you’d like to use these features, you must enable Experimental Gameplay first.

These features include the Minecraft Script Engine (what’s the Minecraft Script Engine, you ask? Click here to find out more!) Go to this page of the all-powerful Minecraft Wiki for reference guides and sample packs.

Under the Experimental Gameplay toggle we also have Pillagers, the new Bamboo Jungle biome, lanterns, crossbows with new enchantments, and the block placeholders for the new village blocks (they don’t function yet – hang tight!) Keep in mind we call it Experimental Gameplay for a reason – make sure you backup your worlds!

Have a suggestion for the game? Please put these on and chat with us about the update on

This update will be rolling out thoughout the day across all the Better Together platforms, so keep checking back. Enjoy!