Ever heard of the Roman Empire? No? Where have you been? They were quite a big deal two thousand years ago – and let me tell you – they sure knew a thing or two about architecture!
The Colosseum, sparkling aqueducts, walls of marble and mosaic, and even glorified statues lacking any sort of cloth except some tiny leaves here and there. But amazing constructions aside, if there was one thing they were particularly good at, it was something far more practical.
In a world full of insanitary hazards, filthy living conditions and daily battles in the arena, a bath was an absolute necessity for the Roman citizen. But it was also quite enjoyable, especially if you were a brutal gladiator coming home after a hard day’s work. Or what do you think Shaliquinn?
“Ha! Sure, who doesn’t like to unwind a little after a fight to the death?”
Shaliquinn is an experienced builder-for-hire, which long-time readers might be familiar with, as her Lunar Love build has previously been featured here on Minecraft.net. Her most recent work however, is something in a completely different style – the Roman bathhouse, depicting a picturesque square set in the old Roman Empire.
But trying different styles is something Shaliquinn is used to. As a freelance builder, it’s her job to take on different requests and transform them into a Minecrafty reality.
“Flexibility is key when you’re working with clients asking for commissions.” she explains. “I’ve spent a LOT of time experimenting with different ways of accomplishing different things that I’d likely never have tried if I were just building things that I felt like building on a whim, so I’d say that’s my best quality.”
“In terms of where I really specialize, I’d have to say I really shine when it comes to organics. There’s something really challenging, and therefore rewarding, about creating something that really needs to be brought to life.”
If there’s such a thing as bathing in style, the ancient empire sure knew how to please. As a communal activity, citizens of old Rome could gather at the local thermae – public baths, decorated with cool interior touches such as sculptures (yes, the ones without clothes, stop blushing you prude) and nice wall art – to have a relaxing bath and an overall good time.
It was a centre for not only making your body clean as a whistle, but also for socializing and political discussions (suggested topics: “do we really need this many naked statues?”, “have you seen my towel?”, “can you believe we have to wait two thousand years for someone to invent Minecraft?” etc).
Shaliquinn’s build is more than just a pool of water though. Despite its name, the biggest focus on the map is actually a giant arena.
“At the risk of making it sound boring, my client just said they wanted a Roman bathhouse and a PvP area and I aim to please! In truth, it made it really easy to add a nice arena and viewing area that just felt pretty organic. I’m a big believer in the idea that builds tend to just fall into place once you have a feel for the theme.”
The custom-made amphitheater is enormous in size. Any visitor keen on attending its brutal events will be met by two giant centurion statues guarding the entrance of the arena. After a walk up the marble-like stairs, you’re free to take a seat and watch bloodthirsty players duke it out in ruthless PvP in the ring below.
“When you’re dealing with the limited size it can be difficult to give it a sense of grandeur. My job is to provide enough detail to keep people focused on what they see rather than on the size limitations. So I suppose I was trying to balance function with form in order to make sure people could have fun PvP’ing and then spend their downtime enjoying the atmosphere.”
The build manages to capture the Roman vibe and aesthetics, which Shaliquinn herself is a fan of. “It’s not limited to just Roman aesthetics. I’m a big fan of any architecture I can find that’s ornate or detailed.” she says. “I spend a great deal of time looking at images on Google of Roman, Gothic, Japanese, even fantasy or sci-fi architecture. Seeing all the curves and pillars is just appealing to me. Architecture that incorporates a lot of natural beauty is fun as well. Creating builds that have waterfalls, trees, and natural caves is really satisfying.”
Getting the aesthetics right wasn’t the only challenge. Shaliquinn also spent time figuring out how to make the bathhouse water shiny enough. “I needed more light to come through. I ended up using a combination of things to get the final effect. To start, I placed sea lanterns all the way at the bottom, then stacked alternating layers of stained glass which created a foggy look to the water I placed on top which left the water with a real sense of depth while still providing the light I was after.”
Sadly, a pleasant bath can’t last forever, unless you want to look like a raisin. Shaliquinn is already moving on to new exciting projects, and other projects to be inspired by.
“I love creative pieces that haven’t been done before, something full of ingenuity. It has to have a real attention to detail, not just broad strokes, with shapes that are outside the box. And the lighting is really important; It’s really frustrating to see a build that someone has spent so much time on and then left muddled in dreary lighting.”
Good point! I’m so inspired I’m going to start working on the greatest Minecraft build eve… actually, I think I’ll just have a relaxing bath instead.