A detailed replica of Abertay University has been created using the best-selling videogame Minecraft to allow potential applicants and members of the public to explore its campus during the coronavirus pandemic.
Nine Masters students from the University’s internationally renowned School of Design and Informatics came up with the innovative solution, recreating both inside and outside of the university.
It took the team around six weeks to construct the replica, painstakingly recreating the layout of the university using more than 700,000 Minecraft blocks.
The students behind the project are from the University’s MPPOP Game Development Preparation course, run in collaboration with China-based education and entertainment company Perfect World.
Students study the first part of their degree in Beijing, before completing their Masters degree in Dundee.
Amazingly the team finished their project before attending Abertay’s campus for the first time, working from photos and videos.
Team member Baron Zhang said it was challenging: “We had a lot of material to work from, but to be honest it was quite hard!
“We gradually discovered tips and tricks in Minecraft to help us build our version of Abertay, and in the end we were happy with what we produced. We hadn’t been to the campus yet though, and we were a little worried that our Abertay would not look like the real thing.
“Now though, I feel like we did a good job and we all feel proud.”
“It was a lot of work, but it’s really cool and very exciting to know people will be using our model to explore Abertay.” - Yiqun Guo, Abertay Minecraft developer
Yiqun Guo, also from the team, added: “One other difficulty that we faced was working remotely. We weren’t in the same place at the same time when we made the model and had to communicate using WeChat, which is a Chinese social media app.
“We used Google maps to make the outside of the building and that worked well. Using photos and videos to make the inside look good was a bit harder they only capture certain angles.
“It was a lot of work, but it’s really cool and very exciting to know people will be using our model to explore Abertay.”
Abertay has a strong relationship with the award-winning 4J Studios, the Dundee-based game development company well known for porting Minecraft to games consoles.
4J Studios Chairman Chris van der Kuyl, an Abertay Honorary Graduate, said: “The creativity shown by the Minecraft fan community never fails to impress me and it’s great that these students have looked at it as a tool during the restrictions of the current pandemic, and that people will get to experience Abertay through the lens of Minecraft.
“Given Abertay’s reputation in producing talented gaming graduates, I think it’s very fitting.”
Dr Ruby Wang, Senior-Vice President of Perfect World Group and Chairwoman of Perfect World Education, added: “The COVID pandemic has created both challenges and opportunities for videogames companies and students, and the fact the team have been able to adapt to remote working so successfully to create this replica is very impressive.
“It’s a good example of the kind of teamwork the partnership between Perfect World and Abertay looks to embed in students, as we cultivate industry-ready, high-end gaming professionals.”
Minecraft Abertay can be accessed on Minecraft Java Edition, by entering the IP address: 126.96.36.199
To find out more about Abertay’s Computer Games courses, visit: https://www.abertay.ac.uk/schools/school-of-design-and-informatics/computer-games-courses/