Viking Modular is a building system devised by Tweetabix. It is designed for CivRealms but with modifications could work on any Minecraft world.
This page is a Wiki version of the building code document which is also available in two in-game books and a PDF.
Theory (copied from the Manifesto)
I got the idea for Viking Modular one day back when the Vikings were still part of the Kingdom of Norlund. I was reading a RL book (nerd!) called Architecture on the Carpet, all about the history of construction toys. It's not the best book tbh. Anyway, it was talking about Lott's Bricks.
This was a 1930s building toy which could be used in a modular fashion.
Lotts Bricks were supposed to be simple so you could make infinite combinations- modularity like we see in Minecraft today.
But as time went on, they introduced so many specialist parts that it became less modular.The wonder of Lotts Bricks is the very small palette of blocks and the wide variety of buildings that can be made with them.
Lotts Bricks represented the Arts and Crafts architecture movement.
Arts and Crafts was a call to minimalism, a romanticisation of the pure and simple. "The simplicity united with the plain architectural elements to make a visual whole."British socialist William Morris was an architect in his day job. Simple living that involved the use of head and hands, and everyone having enough but not too much, was as much the aim of Morris' socialism as his attitude to architecture.Morris published this in his magazine, The Commonweal. A Commonwealth suggests that if aspirations are limited and living is simple, then everyone can have enough.
I and some other Vikings, were in the Commonwealth back on Civcraft 2.0. What a coincidence...
All creatives will agree:RESTRICTIONS drive lNNOVATIONS.
Just look at how CivCorp run a stock exchange using shop chests, or how Tritonio runs ESTA using book-and-quills!
The second source of inspiration for Viking Modular is Bjarke Ingels, a Danish architect, and his firm the BIG Group. There's a good Netflix documentary about them. Most of interest to me is his VM Buildings in Copenhagen.
Yes. That's right. The Viking Modular name is a pun on VM. I don't think we're even playing as vikings anymore! I just love a good pun, don't you?
To improve the efficiency of the elevators, and allow residents to meet more of their neighbours, as well as having more living space, Bjarke designed VM to have just one corridor every three floors.
To do this, Bjarke only designed three types of apartments, which fit neatly around each other in an interlocking pattern.
These apartments also all include a double-floor height space, to allow apartment dwellers a feeling of roominess.
Finally, I took a little inspiration from a video by AndyisYoda on YouTube, who showed a modular type system. However mine is much stricter than his version. Why, you might ask?
Bastions and Mixed Use
Well you might be surprised to learn that IRL, building codes actually control much more of our lives than we might expect.
In America this is more pronounced than in Europe. But property rights also get in the way of interesting architecture.
For example, American cities' minimum parking requirements of usually 3 parking spaces for one parking space sized indoor space, means one building ends up taking up four times as much space as it needs to because of all the car parking.
This leads to a sprawled out, flat, low rise city design, which then bakes in car dependency.
In many American cities, beautiful mixed use developments are actually banned because of these laws.
Many of the coolest cities incorporate multi-layered elements. For example, check out Edinburgh, with its bridge-streets and valley-streets, and sealed up "closes" from the middle ages. It's often not clear where one property ends and another begins.
I've always been surprised that in Minecraft, a world where moving on the Y axis is about as easy as moving the X and Z access, we don't see more multi layered housing. IRL, pedestrians will always prefer a flat path to a slope or stairs.
This is even more so on CivRealms, where cheap gold blocks mean moving up the Y axis is in fact easier and quicker than moving on the X and Z axis. And it would be so, were it not for...
Bastions protect everything from the level that they are placed, upwards- usually they are placed at bedrock, because why hesitate?
Towns can of course share bastions, but they have to trust each other.
Bottom up Bastions dissuade players from building interesting mixed use multi layer developments on top of one another. There are only a few examples of this type of building on CivRealms, such as CivTopia and Neo Boris.
However, these places have a complete lack of a building code so end up with a kind of look of chaos.What if, like the Model T Ford, you could build anything you wanted, so long as it was allowed in the building code?
You are also free to develop your own code. It's open source!
[image] The standard Minecraft Block
[image] The central Module, such as a wooden box, bordered by the Grid. A set amount of Minecraft Blocks makes one Unit, and a set amount of Units makes one Bloc. (See Versions for dimensions of the Unit)
The Units are arranged on a Grid which can in theory be stretched out infinitely. The grid nests all Units and each Bloc of units is nestled by Roads.
As wide and tall as a unit- although if there is sufficient space in adjacent blocs they may be widened.
The road must remain clear at ground level.
If a lot of units/bridges/toppers cross over a road between blocs, they may appear more like corridors, but they are still roads.
Corners of roads are also lighting opportunities.
Roads may also incorporate rails.
Stairs for rises are incorporated into Roads.
A set of Units restricted by Roads. Currently set at 3x3 units for both unit sizes.
Blocs may be a maximum of 9 units high depending on their neighbours.
Where a square of 9 blocs are all on the same elevation they may form a super bloc wherein every bloc can reach maximum height, and a central bloc may be treated as a special case.
Central Blocs may contain parks, pools, transport hubs and other exciting features.
When building in a natural terrain you will of course experience changes in elevation.
In this first release of VM, you must change elevation only by one unit- not more or less. This means the floor of the new level is equal to the ceiling of the adjacent lower level. The new level should be bordered by a Road with a retaining wall using similar material.
You can then take the length of the road and bloc to ramp up to the second road on the elevated level.
The Minecraft Blocks used to make up the Units in a bloc.
The basic style is wood- with logs as a grid and wood as fill.
This could be varied, such as with sandstone fill and netherbrick grid.
The basic floor style is stone- with stone slabs as grid and stone as fill.
There are currently two versions of the Viking Modular System
“3x3” and “5x5”
These numbers refer to the number of blocks visible on one plane of a unit, not including the grid the units are nestled within. So for example, including the Grid, a unit is actually 7x7- but each of these grid blocks is shared by its neighbouring Unit.
Both of these operate currently on 3x3 Blocs, extending to 9 Units high, within 3x3 Super Blocs. This may change with the addition of more versions. The system itself is modular.
The standard road unit between Blocs
The standard side of a risen unit, most likely a road unit
A farm unit can either be placed on the ground or above a unit, although on CivRealms having a lot of air below a farm stops it from working so it may become ornamental. Dirt also falls on CivRealms so it will require support slabs below. Water can be placed in the grid corner if a 2x2 unit farm, but requirements are different with bigger farms.
For growing trees at the centre. Remember that CivRealms rules state that you must leave 4 blocks between trees, so 3x3 is a little too close, but 5x5 should work well. Be careful not to damage adjacent plots.
The only real rule for shops is that you SHOULD ensure that anyone using your shop does not become trapped in a private area.
There is scope to build minus layers within the VM code. Examples are yet to be built however I can imagine a railway corridor underneath road units would work well, especially in a 5x5 mode.
Up to the height of the first section of the bloc (currently 3 units)
Essentially an inverted stairs which supports an unsupported section of a bloc.
See Specifications > Support and Overhangs for cantilever information etc.
Not final design. Stairs to be used more as building or floor entrances than on roads- roads have to be access from all angles. Stairs may be most useful in defensive buildings. Horses struggle to use stairs (and indeed ladders, scaffolds and elevators even more so), so build your stables at ground level!
See Specifications > Bridges and Specifications > Rise Blocs
A flat roof style. Pitched, hipped or dormer roofs may be added to VM in future but for now, it’s flat roof pub Friday night fight night. Remember to leave gaps to jump down where necessary, see Specifications > Fencing and Vertical Movement.
See Terminology for more information on styles
Styles should not be mixed within the same Bloc, unless they are of very similar materials, such as different shades of wood. However it may be permissible to connect Blocs of different styles using bridge units. This depends on the suitability of the two styles.
Creating a new style
Any new unit styles must be presented to the VM Board (currently, just tweetabix) for a decision to be made on their inclusion.
Currently in both 3x3 and 5x5 versions of the VM Unit, units are arranged into 3x3 blocs. This can be replicated up to a total height of 9 units for any one unit space on the Grid. However tall blocs SHOULD ideally be joined by at least one neighbouring tall bloc, and freestanding tall 1-unit towers should be avoided.
Support and Overhangs
Up to the third unit from the ground, extra filled-units should be supported by units below, or unfilled Support pillars.
At four units high a stair-support should be used, unless only a Bridge or Topper unit is required and not a full filled-in unit. (Due to weight)
The supported full units must be cantilevered by an equal or higher weight of units on a support at the opposite side of the supported unit.
Bridges longer than 2 units must be supported by a stair-support unit at at least one end, preferably two ends. Bridges can reach a maximum length of four units.
Any double-deckered bridges must become corridors and be considered full units.
Fencing and Vertical Movement
For residents’ safety fences must be applied at anything higher than a 1-unit drop. Conversely, if there are no stairs, ladders or elevators within 3 units’ walk, at least one one-block drop-down should be required, as long as it does not lead to a private area in which an unwitting visitor may become trapped.
CivRealms’ gold block elevators and birch fence scaffolds should be used where appropriate to extract the best value out of a building’s height with minimal horizontal footprint.
Any Unit which faces the sky should preferably use Inverted Daylight Sensors and Redstone Lamps for lighting. Some units may be better served by torches or prismarine lamps.This may also vary by Unit Style.
You SHOULD try and include some kind of direct sky access in your bloc somewhere, either for sunlight or to activate a Daylight Sensor
Blocs of the same style, if on different ground elevations due to the use of a Rise, may be allowed to bridge to each other. This is at the discretion of the VM Board.
Snitches should be placed in the corners of grids to minimise their visibility.
To be used sparingly: you may combine two units without the usual grid intersection up to a maximum size of 2x1 or 1x2. It’s preferable if you use this in a symmetrical fashion and not too often. This rule may change in future and be loosened or tightened.
Defensive walls can be easily built as part of the usual grid pattern and can use a stone based style. Even TNT cannons and archer towers can be built modularly.
Naming Convention/ Addresses
Because of the multi layered effect of Viking Modular, often players will not enter an address from the street its bloc is on at ground level. Therefore using a traditional address system such as “Flat 4, Floor 2, 4 James Street, Mayfair, London” may not be the most effective.Especially as, due to elevators and rise blocs, one man’s floor 2 may be a neighbour’s floor 4! This one is still up for debate, but VM v1’s address system is as follows:
Minecraft Y Level used to denote elevation.
Any residence’s main entrance with postbox used to define its address
Street level still given names with compass directions
Rise blocs mean a new street name
A map of street names to be shared on Reddit and Discord periodically
Each bloc to be given a number on its road based on south-to-north, the southernmost being N1. If new blocs are built south of 1, they will be named S1.
Therefore an address of someone whose front door is based at the red arrow in the picture could be:
Terry Road North,
Of course this may be a step too far with complexity so ideas for naming conventions are welcomed. Truly this is something that I don’t think has been done before.
Get in touch with tweetabix#0660 on discord, TweetBiscuits on Reddit, or check out the #viking-modular channel on Yggdrasil Discord.
Untitled VM Town Near WTC
The first VM town is being developed north of the World Trade Centre in Yggdrasil, near the Norlund border.
One of the streets has been converted into a part of the King's Road project, which now runs straight through the town in a fitting manner.
Due to a disagreement with Yggdrasil management, a conclusion was arrived at wherein the town is restricted to 9 blocs.
Tweetabix hopes this town will serve as a model for other towns using the code.
Many have criticised VM's aesthetic, but this is largely because the cheapest form of VM is the wooden style. This has been described as "like a shitty basic Minecraft village." These critics, T would argue, have rarely seen examples of VM in other styles.
Another issue that has come up is that the socialist and urbanist origins of the style are at odds with the imperialistic, capitalistic ethos of Yggdrasil. Although it could be argued that the Commonwealth had some similar principles, pre-Bastions, the best solution is simply to spread the system beyond the borders of Yggdrasil, so that it becomes a way of life for many throughout CivRealms.