Are you a new member on Minecraft Awesome? Or perhaps you've been on for a while but haven't participated in a Build Challenge? This guide should help you out when it comes to preparing and successfully executing build challenges. Even if you've done it before, you should seriously consider reading this entire guide.
Build Challenges are not as easy as they look, especially with the new rules in place. Below is a step-by-step instructional guide that should help you out.
Aside from rules specific to a particular challenge, here's the basics common to every challenge:
- You must submit your plan to the mods on the submissions thread of the VGA forums. You cannot build in the challenge if a moderator does not approve of your idea.
- You must build in the place provided to you by the mods.
- You only have one week after submissions are closed to build your project.
- If your project is not complete, you will not be part of the show.
- Projects may be skipped if they are not deemed show-worthy.
Time is your ultimate enemy in the build challenge; if you want to be successful and get your submission on the show, you need to carefully plan out everything ahead of time, or else you will end up with an unfinished project and all your effort will go to waste.
Assemble your TeamEdit
Before you even think about what you're going to build, you need to put together a group of people willing to help you. Mods are more likely to accept your submission if you have enough people helping you out, and communities come in handy here. Just make sure it's an active community; there are plenty of communities on the server, but not all of them last more than a few weeks before members disappear or move elsewhere. Unless you're insanely good at solo builds, and we're talking Mellisbaker level here, you're very unlikely to get very far. Also, be aware of how much time your team members are able to commit. Just because someone says your idea is "cool" doesn't mean they'll accept putting the time in to get the job done.
If someone else is already working on an idea similar to yours, the best thing you can do is work together. It's the best way to make sure you'll be able to finish on time, as you'll have twice the manpower and resources available to you.
Finding people may be difficult, as not everyone visits the forums or can see your ideas. You should go on the Minecraft server and ask people in the chat; though there may only be a few people on at a time, you're more likely to get someone who's interested to listen to your idea than on the forums. You should try for a busier time, such as on weekends or later in the day.
Plan out your BuildEdit
I know some people like to create their build organically and on the fly, but this can easily get you into trouble, such as if two people have conflicting ideas, you can't get a good work schedule together, or some unforeseen delay happends. You should seriously get yourself ready well ahead of time, or else everything might fall apart at the last second.
Also, you only have a week at most to build your project. Do NOT overestimate what you are capable of; too many submissions have failed because their creators were overly ambitious and lacked the manpower and resources to complete it on time. Instead, a better idea is to create a plan around increments: start with what's most important to your build, and if you have time, add additional features to make it better. Have a system of checkpoints to make sure you are meeting deadlines, such as having a cave carved out by the first day, decorating the second day, etc.
One last piece of advice: If your build involves puzzles, DO NOT make it hard. Fraser is not a good puzzle pilot, and has cheated numerous times in the past to keep the show going. Keep the overall design simple and efficient, and make sure any important signs or buttons are immediately obvious.
Gather Resources Well in AdvanceEdit
You only have a week to build, and you can't afford to spend it gathering resources. You should spend the week prior, during the submissions period, doing all your resource farming. This is also why it's important to join a community, as having a lot of manpower and a community chest will help speed things up.
It also helps if you're active for more than just build challenges: lots of people only come on the server for build challenges, but with the new, stricter rules in place, you will not be able to complete your build if you haven't at least built up some supply of materials in advance. This can be as simple as just resource farming for your community, mining, smelting, or other activities to add to your stockpile. This will also keep you in touch with other members who may be willing to help you, as well as know who specializes in certain things such as redstone circuitry or noteblock music.
Getting Work DoneEdit
If you find that you're falling behind schedule, don't hesitate to ask for help. It's entirely possible that there are people who want to help with a build challenge but don't know what work is available. Just be sure to ask for help early and often. If you wait too late, you won't have enough time to finish. Even moderators might be able to find help for you, but be aware they might be very busy during build week, so you may have to find help on your own.
If you're running low on resources, trading is a great way to make sure you get what you need. You might also find people freely donating items at the hub or elsewhere. Lastly, asking for donations may be a good way to get the items you need.
Prepare for AccidentsEdit
Due to the nature of some builds such as Atlantis or the Sky Build, some challenges are inherintly dangerous. Expect to die a lot, especially if you're not careful. If you'ew in a situation that's easy to loose items, be careful when transporting items you need, especially if they're rare. Also be sure to keep your area well-lit and possibly walled off to prevent mob attacks and creeper bombs.
Be on the lookout for who is online. If anyone from the VGA crew such as Becky or Ben are on, avoid spoilers as much as possible and communicate with your teamates using the /tell command. This applies to the show itself, as well.
If your build involves acting, make sure everyone knows their part ahead of time and be sure that everyone will be available for the show time. It can be extremely difficult to find a replacement at the last minute. Also, only include actors if they actually add to the build, such as if you're working on a story-centric build such as the Adventure Build.