Hey everybody, welcome to our new community spotlight section! I’m Luke, the team’s lead writer. Since we have such a great community, all of whom play the game their own unique way, we’d like to take the time to highlight and talk to some of our dedicated players and learn more about how and why they play Vintage Story.
Our first guest is an exceptionally dedicated player called UmbraCreations! He’s a builder that has taken full advantage of Creative Mode and the world height potential to create a massive medieval city (which is still growing). Our team is always excited to see more of his epic work.
Luke: The scale and detail your creations have are incredible. Where does your interest in building these giant structures come from, and how do you maintain the dedication to keep working on them for so long?
UmbraCreations: I originated from the creative era of Minecraft before the survival "Let's Plays" became really popular on Youtube. Videos of build teams or community build-servers with epic music (no "Content ID" system yet, so all kinds of good copyrighted music) inspired me back then and it stuck with me. People back then just built whatever they wanted to build and it wasn't as competitive as it is now. A more creative and free time for Minecraft builders.
The reason I always build over-sized projects is my personal interest in "epicness". The feeling of looking at a huge castle with good graphics/shaders on, is just something I appreciate far more than the "average" person. Unfortunately I always spend far too long looking at my projects instead of continuing my work on it xD.
„ This project in particular is my dream project. “
Big projects in general are usually very rewarding in the end. So a little bit of "tunnel vision" is always required. Unfortunately my mindset continuously drifts towards emptiness and a general feeling of an overwhelming situation. Back in the days I could work for months without have to take a break but nowadays I just need to stop every few days for a day and even several weeks or more, once I'm really fed up with it. The only good development is that whenever I come back from a big "break" I always come back bigger and more epic than before. Other than that I can only say for this project in particular is my dream project, so I will always come back to it.
Luke: Do you have a vision/blueprint for each project before it starts or is it more of an "experiment and see what I like" sort of approach?
Umbra: This is a classic question of how it should be and how one does it x)
A general idea and even a little bit more detailed plan should always come first. It gives structure and a better overview and can limit the "overwhelming feeling". But I'm certainly too spontaneous right now. Many things were not built the way as planned or even completely improvised.
Real detailed "blueprints" are planned for the future especially for creating the epic landscapes of the map, but right now I plan everything in my head and not too detailed either.
Luke: What is it about Vintage Story that drew your interest and keeps you building here?
Umbra: Back in November 2016 I’d been contacted and asked to become a beta tester for this game by Tyron. I'm usually not interested in Minecraft-like games, but I looked into in a bit more and saw amazing potential as well as a lot of features or potential features that would make it far easier to create my dream-project. Funny enough, what really caught my attention was the amazing height limit for building. Minecraft always frustrated me. I always wanted to build something bigger than last time but the height was in the way over and over again. This was the main reason at first why I downloaded the game and gave it a try.
Once I was part of this community I started see how nice and respectful people were on the forum and in the chat. Coming from the pvp-server community of Minecraft and being quite literally being bullied out of the scene back then, I found it amazing how the atmosphere was in here. The staff, especially Tyron and Saraty, welcomed me with open arms and supported me all the way.
„ I'm usually not interested in Minecraft-like games, but I looked into in a bit more and saw amazing potential. “
Particularly, I have to point out how much "support" I mean: Buggy maps fixed, new blocks introduced just for creative mode, as well as some ideas like crates that have been implemented. Even world edit tools have been added on my suggestion like the mirror tool which I still use to this day and much more. And of course the positive feedback whenever I uploaded pictures or ideas.
Luke: What's your favorite creative tool to use in Vintage Story, and do you have any quick tips for others who might be interested in building their own massive cities?
Umbra: With a bit of shame I naturally have to say that the import tool and therefore everything that helps "copy-pasting" is my most used and beloved tool. Quite different than the Minecraft version but once you understand, easy to execute and very effective.
As for tips for other people that have no background in building big projects etc, I can only say what I already indicated. Plan it out first! A city is a difficult project. With my building style in particular it took sometimes more than an hour or even two for a single building. A gigantic city contains many buildings, so having a limit in number to count down or break down effectively as in "today I build 5 -7 buildings, that's my goal" will help in a huge project like this. Also you will likely have less expectations on quality and style. I didn't copy paste a single building in my city yet but for other styles as well as different levels of detail and quality I highly suggest exactly that. Of course do it clever and don’t just place the same buildings next to each other over and over. Look at real cities or how other games designed their cities to get a feeling on what looks nice. But always be ready to put in a lot of effort anyways.
Luke: What are some new features you would like to see someday in Vintage Story?
Umbra: It's really hard to say for me
Already a lot of features have been introduced to which I was saying "Great! It will save me so much time," but I've never actually thought of it before for some reasons. It's great to have a team that is so close to its community that you can even give them suggestions on what would be nice to have and to introduce at least a discussion about that, not to speak of even the probability that it will be included in the next update.
„ It's great to have a team that is so close to its community. “
So for right now I can only think of graphic or ambiance additions. Like good water shaders with reflections or colored glass blocks that change the color of the light that shines through it. Ambient sounds that are more lively and realistic could enhance my future experience as well. Being able to tilt ("rotate") your view for cinematic camera paths would also affect me directly in a few months. Also I anticipate the mechanical power system greatly. I know it is not something I thought of personally (in a sense of enhancing my own game experience). But I do think it will greatly add to the overall survival experience. And that’s despite the fact that it doesn't actually affect me that much directly. I hope that it will be something that will bring more interest and popularity to the game. But everything in time!
Luke: Do you have a social media presence that you'd like to share for anyone interested in seeing more of your work?
Umbra: More than this on the forum and maybe the Vintage Story Discord server will probably not happen too soon. But in maybe 6 months or something I hope I can restart my Youtube channel and upload great videos of my map. I have great ideas for trailers and cinematics and my editing skills have increased as well. I will redesign everything and change it to VS.
UmbraCreations on Youtube and of course my Twitter where I will certainly announce everything and maybe even exclusively upload spoilers for my future video projects.
From all the VS Team, thank you Umbra for taking the time to do this interview and to show us your work! <3