Despite Minecraft being all about squares and cubes, it’s also possible to find circles and spheres. You can arrange blocks in specific patterns while building to imitate these round shapes. Here’s what you need to know.
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How to Make a Small Circle
To put it simply, you can’t make a proper circle for small-scale builds. You just don’t have enough space to imitate the roundness of a true circle properly. However, when you’re learning to build circles in Minecraft, it can be helpful to start small. After you understand the basic principles, you can build larger circles with satisfying proportions.
Making an Octagon to Make a Circle
The smallest possible shape you can make that won’t just be a big square is an octagon. Although that is being a bit generous, as this ‘octagon’ is essentially a square with the corners knocked off. However, this leads to a crucial thought: the corners being removed from a square make it look not like a square.
This same train of thinking is what will allow you to visualize your circles before you make them. In terms of building—with any medium—visualizing your end result will help you attain it.
The Structure of a Circle
To make a simple octagon, you’ll need to place a block at the center of your structure. From there, you’ll need to build 4 “T” shapes around it. These T-shapes are ideal to use as skeletons for any circular building. This shape allows you to more easily maintain the proportions of your circles as you build.
For bigger circles, you will need to scale up your T-shapes. Furthermore, you’ll need to adjust the ratio of your T-shapes’ bodies and heads. Larger circles will need T-shapes with longer bodies and shorter heads.
How to Make a Bigger and Better Circle
The next step that you’ll need to take is to expand the size of your circles. Using the same method of building a small circle with small T-shapes, you can use bigger T-shapes to make bigger structures. However, since there will be more room between the 4 T-shapes, you can make them seem more rounded—more like real circles! If you barely scale things up from a simple ‘octagon’, you’ll end up with a real octagon, in that all sides will actually be of similar length.
About Rounding the Edges of Your Circles
As you build larger circles, the number of options you have when creating edges will increase as well. If you want to keep things symmetrical, you can connect the T-shapes of your circle’s skeleton with diagonal lines. This, while circle-like, is still an octagon. From far away it will look decent, however, your perfectionism may not accept this as the ideal circle.
When experimenting, other methods of connecting your T-shapes can be awkward at first and result in odd geometrical abominations. These should be avoided unless you want an ugly building. For the best imitation of roundness in Minecraft, you should take a closer look at an item that embodies this idea the most: Ender Pearls.
Using Ender Pearls as a Guide for Making the Best Circles
An Ender Pearl is an item in the shape of a disc. This disc is 13 pixels long and 13 pixels wide and its edges are rounded well enough that, due to their small size in-game, make them look like circles. In this regard, Ender Pearls are kind of like fat octagons in that the connecting lines between their structural T-shapes are ‘bent’ outward. You can easily scale up the proportions of an Ender Pearl for a circular structure that’s 13 by 13 blocks.
Using W-shapes to Create the Best Circle Edges
Satisfying roundness can be created from there being a ‘W’ shape between the heads of the T-shapes instead of straight diagonal lines. Whereas T-shapes are great for making the skeletons of your circles, W-shapes will be useful for forming gradual edges. Like with T-shapes, you’ll need to adjust the ratios of the different parts of your W-shapes. However, if you keep them symmetrical, you’ll have a great technique for making large circles.
For a great example, take a look at the area between the T-shapes of an Ender Pearl. The W-shape here has 2 pixels for each side of the ‘W’ and 1 pixel for the middle portion. If you were making a 13 by 13 circular structure based on an Ender Pearl, your circle will have W-shapes that will possess 2 blocks each for their sides and 1 block for their middle portions.
How to Make a Sphere
Like with circles, small-scale spheres will always appear blocky unless you view them from a distance. However, these are more like the cores of true spheres than spheres themselves. One of the best ways to make spheres is to stack circles of various sizes on top of one another.
Constructing a Sphere With Circles
It’s often easiest to start from the largest central circle when building a sphere. After you make a big central disc using T-shapes and W-shapes, make increasingly smaller ones on top of it. These circles can just be proportionally smaller versions of the big central disc. Keep going until your circles become small enough to be octagons—going any further will ruin the proportions of your sphere by turning it into some sort of cone. Repeat the same process underneath the large central disk to complete your sphere.
How to Make a Sphere Without Circles
If you don’t have the patience for ratios and math, you can always wing it for decent results. You won’t ever get the best sphere this way, but you can come pretty close. To do this, start with a central block. Then, incrementally build around it by ringing the core block with other blocks. In a plan-as-you-build manner, you can slowly grow a sphere. Just be sure to avoid pointy corners.
However, this method is more time-consuming and will result in solid spheres that require a lot of resources. You can de-mine the insides before completing these trial and error structures, although this will take even more time.
The Secret of Circular Shadows
While it’s technically impossible for a true circle to physically exist in Minecraft, there is a way for them to exist ethereally. The next time you drop an item, take a look beneath it. Regardless of what item you drop, under it, you will always find a perfectly circular shadow. Sadly, you cannot ever replicate this supreme roundness when building, as this effect is produced by lighting, not physical objects.
The Reason Why Shadows Are Circular
It’s likely that shadows are circular in-game to make dropped items stand out more. This, in combination with dropped items floating and rotating, is useful for spotting drops that come from ore blocks and more. As such, they make it harder for you to miss important goods that you have not picked up yet.