A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away... I found a game called Minecraft -- I still remember the confusion about a block based game as I sat getting ready to go to University in 2010. Later that year after only tinkering with the game over summer I decided to set up a multiplayer server and invite a couple of my friends to play -- one of those being Phil. From there, we played Survival, which evolved into playing Creative and so on. One fateful night, while waiting for Valve to release Portal 2 on Steam, we decided to film ourselves building a Cathedral using a Timelapse camera (which in all reality was just my laptop logged into Minecraft on an account called MrTimeLapse) and then release it on my personal YouTube channel. At this point I had a minor following, around 1000 subscribers from my time creating Halo Machinima and videos in general; but once we released this and subsequent timelapse videos we began growing and growing. In Summer of 2011 we decided to split off from my personal channel and create a channel of our own called FyreUK - which led to one of our early videos on that channel (a huge train station timelapse) being tweeted by Notch; the creator of Minecraft himself.
I decided to start this off with a little bit of a history lesson because I wanted to share with everyone how it all began and how big things can grow from tiny... unsuspecting, beginnings. Which brings me to today and the unfortunate news that is FyreUK has closed its doors forever. From those humble beginnings we grew to an unimaginable powerhouse in the Minecraft community and got to work alongside other amazing content creators and people in general... people I will be honored to call friends for the rest of my life. This is why the decision to close the doors on FyreUK is a difficult one and why it has taken me this long to even get to this point, even though we've been silent for almost a year now. On 24th September 2016 our Teamspeak server shutdown; we used this to communicate with each other while making Timelapses - those fast moving black specks that build the structures in all our videos are actually people... all working diligently together through vocal communication on teamspeak and taking orders and giving them to make sure the very best build is the final result.
The day of this website going live, 1st October 2016, is the day the Minecraft server shuts its doors. We took donations for many years which were later renamed to 'payments' upon the Minecraft EULA change and funds gained through these years have now dried up. In 2013, I made sure all donations were transparent so anyone online could see how much we had made through donations. With the monthly server costs and annual Teamspeak & website costs the last of the savings dried up in June 2016 - upon which I closed the server access through payments/donations and then continued to pay for these things out of my own pocket for anyone still wanting to visit our server. Once a server brimming with users and a new build being completed every day, it is now a wasteland; an empty husk of a beautiful community that preceded it. It has less than 5 unique visitors a month now and has been decreasing more and more since our final timelapse happened last year.
Now, you may be thinking why? Well, in 2014 we joined The Yogscast and Phil joined them on their staff as a Minecraft Producer, creating builds for Yoglabs and other series. When he made this step he also began giving many of his old responsibilities to Tom, which was absolutely fine and we were all thrilled for his new venture. He still continued to play Minecraft and was still a part of the regular FyreUK team. Phil then left his position at the Yogscast and joined Mulitplay, the amazing company known for their huge conventions in and around the UK called Insomnia and for their commitment and assistance with the Minecon official conventions too. At this time, I also found myself in a position wanting to move away from YouTube and Minecraft; finding myself a full time job as a film and television editor. Both of these moves for myself and Phil meant we could move out of our respective parents homes and get our feet onto the career ladder - while YouTube with a large subscriber base is a good statistic for a CV/Resume, it's not a truly valid step into the larger world of work, for many anyway.
We continued to play Minecraft after our moves and new jobs had started, continuing to play and live stream Mianite and also record our final Timelapse, the Grand Train Station. For me this is the fitting end to FyreUK as a YouTube channel. You see, the Grand Train Station was the spiritual successor to that very first Train Station timelapse that Notch saw and tweeted all the way back in 2011. I also think it's the perfect example of the culmination of our work, design and prowess in Minecraft. At this point and even before, I began to pull away from FyreUK - focusing on my new job and having my nights to relax and play games that truly stimulated and excited me, rather than Minecraft which I had lived and breathed for 5 years at this point.
As the time went on, It became very clear to me that I would have to write this statement and announce to the world that FyreUK is no more. That did truly fill me with sadness but also filled me with a sense of relief - it would give me and all those wrapped up in the world of FyreUK a chance to move on and see the rest of what is possible -- and maybe just move on from Minecraft as I have now. The opportunity to hand FyreUK over to others, to let them run it and try to revitalize it has been offered to me. I respectfully declined because although all these amazing people have made FyreUK what it was - they didn't originally create it and in my eyes Phil and I were the heart of FyreUK and our hearts are clearly not in it anymore. I wish all these people the best with their future endeavors within Minecraft as they still have the interest to be in that world - but I also wish for them to move on from it shortly as the world away from it is better than the one you eventually feel you're trapped in when you play it.
FyreUK was a roller coaster to me; happy memories, sad memories, amazing people, people I'd rather forget.... but it was all of ours, together. If you watched the videos, left comments, came onto the teamspeak, was an active member, moderator, admin... whatever, then you have my utmost thanks and respect for being there. To those who worked alongside me for all those years, thank you. To those who left due to complications, I hope you're all well. To those who are still my friends, well... I guess I'll speak to you all soon. I am honored to have met and worked with all of you, whether it be through creating an amazing YouTube channel or changing the world through the Block By Block project with the United Nations. Sincerely, all of you, thank you, I never thought any of this would have been possible, never in a million years, so thank you.
We'll always be Fyreflies, every day... until that final light blinks out. Our memories of FyreUK will live on and the videos will always be on YouTube for you to go back and view whenever you would like.
We are all different people all through our lives and that's okay, that's good you've got to keep moving so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.
I will not forget one day of this, not one block, I swear. I will always remember what FyreUK was.
- Matt <3
Co-Owner and Founder of FyreUK