One brick at a time, members of Rochester Institute of Technology’s Electronic Gaming Society are building a digital version of campus in the video game Minecraft.
As universities across the country closed their campuses and moved to online courses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students went to Minecraft as a way to stay connected with their schools. The game allows multiple players to collaborate on building structures and designing landscapes, including recreating physical places.
“It was obvious that students at RIT would be interested in a project like this, and we had the resources and knowledge to make it happen,” said Lauren Suter, EGS vice president. “After we moved to online classes, it wasn’t long until RIT Student Government reached out to us and asked if this was something our club would able to facilitate.”
With help from more than 300 members of the RIT community, the group rebuilt The Sentinel sculpture, Student Alumni Union, Campus Center and Clark Gym — inside and out.
“We are building one section of campus at a time and we hope to have a new section of campus available to build with schematics every Wednesday evening,” said Alexa Amoriello, LAN and console manager for EGS, who is head moderator for the Minecraft project. “We plan to continue uploading screenshots and videos of our progress throughout the process.”
Students have suggested using the Minecraft campus for a mock-graduation ceremony, virtual campus tours and online games of Humans vs. Zombies.
“We think these are great ideas and hope to look into hosting these events once the project is complete,” said Suter, who graduated from RIT with a marketing degree in December. “As of now, the main purpose of this project is to give students an outlet to be creative, collaborate and have fun with each other during social distancing.”
EGS has hosted Minecraft servers for years and previously talked about creating a digital version of RIT’s campus.
The process for building this Minecraft world involves looking at campus maps and floorplans, making two-to-one scale outlines of campus structures, and importing them into Minecraft. The schematics act as guidelines for the build to make sure everything is accurate and to scale.
Five students in EGS are serving as Minecraft moderators to help orchestrate the project. EGS leaders said that students, alumni, faculty, staff and their family members have all been involved with this build.
The club invites any member of the RIT community interested in participating in the project to join their Minecraft server using the IP mc.server-egsrit.com. Players also can join the EGS Discord server (discordapp.com/invite/egsrit) and follow on social media to find additional information on getting involved, stay up-to-date on announcements regarding the project and talk to others working on the project.
Visit bit.ly/3cLDN2m for a virtual tour of the Minecraft campus.