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Over four years went into building this gorgeous Minecraft kingdom

For a long time, Minecrafters have been making some pretty incredible worlds often inspired by the likes of Game of Thrones (opens in new tab) or Lord of the Rings (opens in new tab). One builder by the name of Linard has taken things a step further by constructing an enormous fantasy kingdom that looks as well-realized as any inspired by actual fiction. The Kingdom of Galekin has taken Linard over four years to build, but the payoff is absolutely worth it as his world is gorgeous.

"I started in 2012, but after seeing the reactions from players, I became hooked on the idea of finishing it," Linard tells me over Skype. "My goal is to create the biggest, most detailed map ever in Minecraft." He tells me that even with some long-term breaks, it was common for him to spend upwards of eight hours a day building the map. Judging from my short experience playing it, Linard's hard work is worth it as Galekin is expansive and richly detailed. Multiple cities and settlements litter its coastal landscape, giving Galekin a kind of layered density that reminds me of Dark Souls minus all the creepy apocalyptic overtones, of course. The insides of buildings are all meticulously crafted too, meaning Linard's world is ripe for a fully-fledged roleplay server or whatever you want to do with it. 

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Using a program called WorldPainter (opens in new tab), Linard was able to easily shape the landscape before diving into the nitty-gritty job of assembling everything block by block. He tells me that though he drew inspiration from many different sources, Galekin is more than just a pretty face. Linard is also working on detailed lore and backstory that players can utilize if they decide to use the map for their own adventures too. He he hopes to eventually get a server up and use Galekin as the setting for an epic adventure he has plotted out, which sounds exciting.

I love that instead of just recreating different locales from popular fiction, Linard has decided to create something wholly original. It's evident that years of work went into this, as the architecture isn't just functional but also beautiful. That's not easy to achieve when the smallest unit of measurement is a massive square block, yet Linard pulls it off effortlessly. It's great to see people use Minecraft as a palette to bring their imaginations to life, and I'll never get sick of exploring these creations even if I haven't earnestly played Minecraft in quite some time.

You can download the Kingdom of Galekin here (opens in new tab), and Linard has suggested using the Conquest texture pack (opens in new tab) in order to achieve the full effect, though you can also get it running on vanilla Minecraft too. 

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.