We’ve been working with Leeds Libraries since Summer last year on a series of Minecraft events. Since the finale event of March of the Robots a Leeds Map has been developed by artist Gemma Latham, with the team at Leeds Library and the Immersive Community (www.immersiveminds.com) We’re still tinkering and testing it, but the plan is to develop a map which both the library can develop and anybody can contribute to over time.
Here’s Gemma on a recent experiment in a 20ft Shipping Container…
The Playful PlayBox has been residing in Charlie Cake Park in Armley since Easter and a couple of weeks ago it opened it doors to a group of young Minecraft enthusiasts, all of whom had signed up for a fun afternoon recreating the park in Minecraft. Tasked with plotting all the features of the park, each of the children were given a grided map with a basic layout of the park on it and working in pairs, counted and plotted the positions of trees and other features such as benches, flowerbeds and cable boxes.
After much conferring and careful observation out in the park, the children returned with brilliantly annotated maps, many having noticed features that I had missed and one even having created a key for his drawing. Then came the excitement of moving into the Minecraft map. Met with a pre-plotted basic Minecraft version of the park with grass areas, fences and paths marked out, the players soon discovered the PlayBox itself within it. There was also an in-game guide in the form of Stephen Reid of ImmersiveMinds who joined us on the server remotely from Scotland and was there to aid with any questions and show the players around. Upon entering the playful container, the players were transported, via the magic of Minecraft, to a much larger internal space from which they could collect all the blocks that they would need for building.
With resources gathered, building began and we soon had trees sprouting up all over the park. It should be noted that the tress were built block by block and not planted as sapplings which allows trees to grow within Minecraft. We wanted the children to observe the individual nature of each tree and try to recreate it both through size and shape and block textures used. Having set each player up in Survival mode, building was more of a challenge than being in Creative, especially building at heights. With a little guidance, the players were soon erecting ladders and structural supports, lots of problem solving and sharing of ideas.
We ended the session with a fun treasure hunt both within Minecraft and in the actual park. With clues written in virtual books and hidden in chests in game, the players followed a series of directional instructions to find the next location and dig for the next clue. The final clue invited the players to hunt out a real life treat hidden in the same location in the park.
All in all, this was a good first test run using our Leeds Minecraft map, the biggest success I think being the combination of real world and online experiences within a physical location.