Note: Written before update 1.1.0 when the direction of the sunrise/set was fixed. North here is now west.
I feel a little bad starting a completely new build when I’m still technically not finished with Bad Joke Prison (I’ll explain it when I post about it), or a lot of the last little fiddly details of Wilshire castle or Sand Baori, though they look awesome as is and I shouldn’t stress about it. I mean when you really get down to it there some detail work I haven’t finished on the Crystal Palace. and that was months ago. I’m really excited about this build though, and after my nerdrage of last week, plus some real life Stuff Happening, things to get excited about = win.
I’d considered teasing what it’s going to be, but I’m terrible with that sort of thing, so in case you couldn’t figure it out from the title:
This is a multi-layered challenge for me. One, this is the first time I’m building something based on a place I’ve actually been, as opposed to seeing a picture of somewhere and thinking “ooh, that looks cool” and building something with a LOT of imagination and creative license filling the gaps. Not only that, this is one of my favorite places on earth. To a native New Yorker who is also mad for all things having to do with railed transport, Grand Central is like… you know what, there aren’t even words. I guess the closest I would come up with is a devout Catholic getting to visit the Vatican. So there’s an emotional component in this build. This isn’t to say there won’t be creative license taken with it – it’s not going to be a dead accurate model by a long shot – but I hope to capture the feel, the grandness, if you will, of this train station by the time I’m done.
But before I get into how I’m doing with that so far, a common question from people visiting my open runs is “how the heck did you build this subway and how long did it take you?” I usually answer something along the lines of “in sections, and for-freaking-ever,” but since I had to expand the tract from its former northern terminus at Wilshire Castle on up to the GCT site, I figured I’d try documenting the process a little.
I will note that building said subway expansion is a crapton easier now that Plug gives me coordinates. Now that I know the extant subway runs at (x, 42, -3), all I have to do is line up x.
Lets say Point A is where the existing subway ends and point B is where the new station/end/next build will be. The first thing I do is dig a 1×2 tunnel all the way end to end.
Honestly this part can be the most tedious, especially when either a) you don’t know where precisely you’re going because you don’t have access to coords and are therefore counting off every time you move forward a square or b) you DO know where you’re going and you’re all like “what, I’ve only gone 100 blocks? and I have 500 more to go?”
Then once you have your teeny Steve-sized tunnel you get to go back through it, laying down TNT in intervals. You can also just keep digging it out by hand/tool. Either way this process involves running back and forth through your tunnel a LOT.)
Tedious as it is the fun part is if you do this correctly, you light the TNT at one end and then it just keeps going off in thin this lovely chain of explodey all the way to the other end. It’s kind of hilarious because it only goes so far as the couple of chunks you can see, and then you walk forward a few minutes later and OH NO MORE SPLODE. It’s pretty glorious.
But then the funs over and you have detritus to clean up. Ugh.
If you’re in creative mode, this is where “bulldozing” comes in handy, especially if a) you’re flying b) you have blocks above you to clear. Get your face level with the line of blocks you want to clean out, then tap and hold. You’ll dig out the six blocks in front of you and then stop. Keep holding, but hit the forward arrow at the same time. Watch the blocks in front zip apart as fast as you can fly at them. Makes things a lot less tedious. It does also work with blocks directly in front of you on the ground, but you do run the risk of jumping if you don’t time it right. Still – practice! Anything that makes clearing a large number of block faster = win.
I dig out a five block high by five across square for my subway, and then line it with cobblestone on the top and sides. The bottom gets gravel in a 3×2 U formation, with the track running in the groove in the middle. But before I start slinging cobble around I end up with these cavernous long square holes that call to mind the giant water tunnels running waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay below Manhattan. Go look em up sometime.
Well now I have a tunnel, now what? Dig out a line of holes on either side? Why would I do that?
No real practical reason besides aesthetics. I put netherrack in those spots so that the tunnel walls have a little color. It makes more sense in the next shot.
Also about every 64 blocks or so, there’s a shaft with a ladder up to the surface.
I used to need to dig these up so I could figure out where the hell I was. Also it proved handy sometimes to have a periodic access point to the train tunnel below from the surface. Slightly less handy from the tunnels, but still possible if you have a couple of blocks and a couple of extension ladders with you.
Most of the rest of the tunnel construction is just more running back and forth laying down cobblestone, gravel, rail, alternating patterns of torches and netherrack, and it’s all very tedious grunt work at this point.
one thing that does liven things up is that digging out subway tunnels you will inevitably cross paths with a wandering cave or three. I don’t seal these intersections usually, it’s more fun to leave access to caves open for later exploration. If the cave is mostly above the tunnel, I glass in the ceiling instead of using cobblestone so you can see up as you pass. Occasionally this leads to random discoveries, like hey, I’ve never been in this cave before why is that wall randomly cobblestone?
We’ll have to come back and investigate that at some point.
Meanwhile above ground…
This pretty much looks like a glorified crop circle (crop square?) but it’s actually me translating a graph paper outline to the actual terrain. (Terribly; I had to lay down that gravel three times before I got it right. D:)
clearing out that sizable of a space requires quite a bit of both controlled detonation and “lets pack a 7×7 space full of TNT and see what happens” sort of detonation.
And occasionally putting up single walls.
So there are going to be 12 tracks feeding into here altogether. I highly doubt I’ll build out ALL of them, but I’ve always been more ambitious than practical.
The obsidian is just for me to keep track of where the middle is.
Thinking since the primary subway line had Netherrack embedded in the wall I may change that up for the other ones. I think I want some sort of green block for the line that will eventually go east/west. Or hell, I always end up with more lapis than I ever know what to do with, maybe I’ll just make it the blue line. We’ll see.
Makes an interesting light pattern.
I’m pretty happy with how the wall patterning came out here.
That’s all I’ve done so far, but it’s going really well and I remain really psyched about this. There will be more work in progress updates to come… can’t wait to get the mezzanine done so I can get cracking on the grand hall.