By Satviki Sanjay
The Taj Mahal is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings ever created. It has been celebrated in legends, art, paintings and now even as a Minecraft replica. In a Reddit post that went viral, a project called Build the Earth showed how it managed to recreate the monument on the popular game Minecraft. And they’re on a mission to map the entire planet on the game, at a 1: 1 scale.
Build the Earth (BTE) was a project launched last year in March. As people around the world retreated to their homes due to the pandemic, Youtuber PippenFTS pondered the possibility of recreating this planet – and its beautiful cities, towns, and monuments – on Minecraft. People had been building structures from shows like Game of Thrones, their colleges and college campuses, and even entirely fictional universes, throughout this game. Mapping the entire planet on the game, however, was a task. gigantic.
It was not impossible, however. The land area is about 500 million square kilometers, while the area of ââMinecraft is 4 billion square kilometers. If anyone tried, they could put eight whole planets on the game. And so, PippenFTS embarked on this journey where one block on the game equals one meter on Earth.
He called on the builders of Minecraft to join the project in a video that has now racked up over 13 million views. People enthusiastically participated and took measurements using Google Earth and Google Maps. âWe have seen an incredible response,â Andrew Krug, representative of BTE, told indianexpress.com. “People usually started with their hometown – buildings they know well – or famous landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty.”
Over the past year, they have built a community of over 200,000 members. âBut the best part of the project is that it lets people see how amazing the planet really is,â adds Krug. Seeing the places you’ve seen in real life in the game – or, for that matter, the places you haven’t seen yet – is a surreal experience, he says.
According to their website, they have 4,237 construction projects underway, which together cover around 6,275 square kilometers. While the progress they’ve made over the past year is huge, “in the grand scheme of things, it’s next to nothing,” says Krug. So far, cities like London and New York have been mapped almost entirely. For other parts of the world it’s different: India saw one of its first projects completed in the Taj Mahal.
The 42-acre resort was built and completed in three long months. âThe Taj Mahal is one of my favorite monuments in the world – it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and iconic,â says Daniel Tan, the Minecraft builder who worked to materialize the monument. “Because it hadn’t been recreated in the project until September of last year, I decided to make it my first major historical project.”
The process of recreating the white marble monument and its ensemble was slightly complicated. âThe monument is not perfectly represented on Google maps and presents several distortions. I had to measure everything myself to find out the size of the complex and the buildings, âsays Tan. Although the Malaysian builder has never seen the Taj in real life, thanks to Google Maps, Google Earth and other sources which gave him the exact dimensions of the monument and its complex, he completed the project last year. in December.
Besides the Taj Mahal, parts of Mumbai, Bangalore, and Varanasi have also been remade into the game. But they have big plans for the country, especially for Mumbai. They built the famous Ambani Antilia Residence, but Andrew says they want to work on building monuments like the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
The team fights against the demotivation of certain members. This is a project without any financial incentive and has no end for the foreseeable future due to the large scale on which it operates. For this reason, they regularly see tired limbs after a year of work. They also face a shortage of members, especially from countries like India which remain largely undersized. âThis project is huge and will last for several years,â adds Krug. “For that, we need more members from as many regions as possible so that we can map the planet accurately.”
Ultimately, they hope it will become an educational tool, especially in light of the pandemic and travel restrictions. With in-game features that allow players to tour towns and even inside structures, this tool can help pave the way for virtual excursions. Studying the architecture of faraway places, studying maps of different cities or just exploring a new city on another continent, the possibilities are endless.
(The writer is an intern at The Indian Express)