A Very Minecraft Megacity: The Endless City Mod

By Alice O'Connor on July 9th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

The megacity of your Minecraft nightmares.

To my infinite shame and professional disrepute, I’ve never played Minecraft. I know. But that hasn’t stopped me from hugely enjoying a Minecraft mod for months, Endless City by Julian Hyde. It’s an idea so lovely, I’ve enjoyed it in itself, not even watching other people play. See, Endless City is inspired by this cracking tweet from game-maker Andi McClure:

Reverse minecraft: Minecraft in a large city. Cut away dead frozen impassable skyscraper towers, construct trees and earth in their place.

Ooh, that’s top musing all right! Then Hyde made a mod inspired by McClure. The realisation isn’t quite the same (making ideas real changes them by forcing specificity anyway), but Hyde explains:

Endless City is a Minecraft mod that replaces Minecraft’s natural world with vast, empty city stretching out in all directions. In this city many of the basic principles for how you play Minecraft must be reconsidered or abandoned complete. Can you survive the city and bring life to this ravaged land? Go find out!

The result is an endless city of abstract, semi-functional buildings, as if an alien intelligence had tried to build a city based on brief observations. Which, given how Minecraft’s procedural algorithms work, is pretty much what’s going on. It reminds me of Adri├ín Villar Rojas’s sculpture installation Today We Reboot the Planet, another weird set of half-understood recreations.

Skyscrapers are simply towers of gravel. Mini towers are one-bedroom apartments. Golden homes ornamented with cakes and Creeper heads are entirely walled in, with monster spawns in the yard. Dark cubes contain lava. Chests hold more weapons than you’ll ever need in this dead land. So many Minecraft builders create functional, usable spaces as virtual homes, but this only broadly resembles a city. It’s sinister and fascinating and I still smile thinking about either Hyde’s realisation or McClure’s original idea. I’m not slipping into self-parody, am I? I don’t think I am.

You can download it and have a look around yourself, though I have no idea if being made for an older version (1.6.4) will mess things up. Weird things happen when you take a world generated by the mod into a non-modded version too.

Sure, if you want realistic cities which flow over and meld with natural landscapes, the CityWorld mod does that. Actually, now I look, that’s due to be updated for modern versions of Minecraft and server plugins any day now. But an abstract nightmare city? You’ll want Endless City.

Here’s the first watchable video I found:

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7 Comments »

  1. ganom says:

    this is a neat idea, and I think whoever made that youtube video missed the point.

  2. Tei says:

    back in 1.2.1 I did a few funny world generators

    replace trees by large cobblestone fungus (warning: potato quality video)
    https://.www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzRY9PrIy6w

    replacing oceans by very dense forest
    https://.www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2jBK4QrCj0

  3. The Random One says:

    Like Alice, I’ve never played Minecraft. (Well, except for the two free weeks that came with one of the humble bundle, which I felt were more than enough.)

    Like Alice, I found the concept of the mod very intriguing and fascinating when I found out about it (on her help.txt file repository, in fact).

    Unlike Alice I watched a few videos and was disappointed. The endless city consists of about five different buildings, repeated at infinite. I’d expected it to at least replace the biomes with different kind of neighborhoods, maybe add some shopping malls or factories as megabuildings, but no.

    I think I’ll stick to Rogue Survivor. It’s been years since I checked for a new version…

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      I think the developer left it in alpha to rather make… Rogue Survivor II.
      And then was never heard from again.
      *wind whistles, rustling leaves*

    • Frank says:

      You both have weird definitions of “never”. You played it for two weeks, and Alice played a modded Minecraft?

    • Zankmam says:

      There was an older, better mod called the “Walled City Mod” which, alongside two more mods it came with, generated large walled cities; there were several types of them (with differences in aesthetics and layout), some were “normal” while others were “in ruins” aka had a lot of monsters. Additionally, the two secondary mods created a) large and long-running walls (also in a few different styles) which contained mobs and loot as well; b) large “constructions”, large oddly-shaped relics, towers, pyramids and such; and c) underground dungeons.

      Hell, it even created simple roads.

      So yeah, lots of different things to explore and loot. Great mod.

  4. JademusSreg says:

    When it comes to procedurally generated urban landscapes in Minecraft. have yet to see anything which beats CityWorld.