Someday this will be an entire website about Aerna, but for now, it’s just a development blog. Aerna, or more technically, Aerna III, is a Minecraft server, built by myself, Ian, and a few friends of mine. We like to think of ourselves as being a bit talented when it comes to building in Minecraft, but we’re a bit talented, then it’s worth saying that we’re more than a little bit ambitious. This is the third iteration of the project, because we keep finding better ways to create terrain, generate worlds, and build cities. What will the world be when it’s done? We’re not sure yet. But we love building and we want to construct our own universe out of cubes and see what happens.

Aerna I started off as a small creative server that my girlfriend and I set up to fool around. The first thing we built was an enormous “God Tree” with an elven tree house in the branches. Next, we built Trädlund; a small castle on a nearby outcropping of rock. The castle become a town, and more towns sprung up further away on the map. In hindsight, it’s hilarious how small the world was: you could almost see from town to town. Nevertheless, I started recruiting staff to help me build the world, and not just architects but terraformers as well who could build mountain ranges. We also set about “equalising” biomes… carefully rezoning them so they made more sense; no more hot deserts next to snowy forests.

When WorldPainter first caught our attention, we developed Aerna II. Aerna II was far larger than Aerna I. The latter was only 8000 blocks wide, but Aerna II would be a whopping 102400. As far as I know, this is the largest Minecraft map ever created. Unfortunately, we never finished it. The countryside looked amazing, but we simply couldn’t generate realistic mountains on that scale. It was clear they were smaller hills scaled up to absurd proportions. Slowly, with no hope of ever making the world as realistic as we wanted, and with no way to host such a large map, the project was scrapped.

But no more! At some point I decided I would create fantasy world in my head come hell or high water. Aerna III is still 102400 x 51200 blocks, but created using World Machine to procedurally generate infinite amounts of richly detailed, highly realistic terrain, which we can render with World Painter. We don’t know what we’ll use it for, but we know we want to make it, and cover it in towns, cities, castles, harbours, and temples. From there, we’re still figuring it out… but we’ll cross those mountains when we get there.