Can You Dig It?

Can You Dig It?
Crafting Oblivion

John Funk | 11 Jan 2011 11:52
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With a project of this magnitude, "further impetus to get things done" can't be underrated. Lionheart's initial planning and explorations of what it would take to recreate the Imperial City at a 1:1 scale led him to a daunting realization: To complete a project of this magnitude, the team would have to mine an area of 500x500 blocks all the way down to bedrock - or, roughly 1.25 million blocks. "At this point, I almost quit planning it ... [luckily] we have other people on the project who are just as crazy as me." In fact, the sheer scale of the project was what attracted Lathania to it in the first place - Lionheart and co-conspirator Blackadder51 were initially keeping their plans secret.

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Obviously, a project this big can't be completed by just one person, or even just three people - but divvying up the work helps. Lionheart is the grand coordinator, the architect in charge of planning the construction and advising any volunteers on how to help out. Blackadder is in charge of moving materials to where they're needed as well as keeping the community updated and recruiting more talent, and Lathania? He blows things up - flattening the construction area down to its bedrock with skillful use of in-game TNT. "Of course, none of our roles are straight forward and whenever one of us needs assistance the other two plus our volunteers always lend a hand," he says (in between detonations, one imagines).

It's boggling to imagine that there even are volunteers willing to commit their time for the sake of constructing a virtual representation of another virtual city. It's boggling to imagine anyone would start on a project like this in the first place - what is it about Minecraft that attracts so many people?

"Basically, it's the thrill of digital Lego," thinks Blackadder - of getting to create and destroy what you see fit. "Minecraft is a true sandbox game, in that it plops you in an endless world and says 'Go nuts!'" Without limitations beyond the technical, players can shoot for the sky. "There's also the nerdy sense of pride when you finally lay down that last block; it's a special feeling. No other game can come close to this, since it offers genuine freedom."

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