I was interviewed by Spence Denny on ABC Breakfast on New Year’s Day about our Minecraft project. The audio is expired, but here’s the link.
My notes for the interview:
The City of Adelaide has created an ‘Adelaide’ world in the popular children’s computer game, Minecraft.
What is Minecraft?
Played by over 126 million people worldwide, Minecraft is a popular construction game available on computers, tablets and game consoles.
Minecraft takes place in a blocky 3D world, where players search for raw materials and tools, and use these to construct buildings and other structures.
It’s a highly educational pursuit, and indeed many schools around the world are now incorporating Minecraft in their educational curricula.
The story behind Minecraft Adelaide 2021
In early 2020, we were lucky enough to stumble upon a way to use Minecraft at the City of Adelaide. We had the good fortune of hosting a work experience student, Jonathan,
for four weeks in January 2020.
It turned out that Jonathon is a very passionate Minecraft gamer and his work experience presented us with an opportunity. How about we team Jonathon up with our internal Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist and see if they could build an Adelaide ‘world’ in Minecraft?
Our GIS specialist, Josh, also a keen Minecrafter, took Jonathon under his wing from Day 1 of his work experience. What emerged after four weeks of intense work was absolutely remarkable – together they produced a complete replica of Adelaide in Minecraft.
Leveraging Josh’s GIS skills and Jonathon’s Minecraft coding experience, the pair were able to generate a world that replicates the city in its current form, showing its buildings, public infrastructure, streets, park lands and other landmarks.
All told, 8 billion Minecraft blocks were laid down to form what we call the ‘Adelaide 2021’ world.
Minecraft Adelaide and COVID-19
The first cut of our new Minecraft Adelaide world coincided with the onset of COVID-19. As schools and workplaces closed and much of the population was forced into isolation, it was clear that kids and their parents would be cooped up at home with absolutely nothing to do. But we had something that could keep them busy!
Quickly we put together a ‘scenario’, we built a website landing page, and we released the Minecraft world to the public.
We challenged kids to assume the role of ‘Chief Town Planner and Engineer’ for the City of Adelaide. Using the ‘Adelaide 2021’ world as their canvas, we asked them to build the future city of Adelaide.
Does the city need a new rectangular sports stadium? A concert hall? A cross-town freeway? A subway rail system? If so, then we told them to build it.
The challenge was accepted enthusiastically. To date, over 1,200 people have downloaded the Minecraft world. We’ve also had interest from the South Australian Catholic schools system, which hopes to incorporate the ‘Adelaide 2021’ world into its educational curriculum.
We’ve also seen some great examples of work by the community – one eager Minecrafter has built the Adelaide Town Hall (inside and out), General Post Office and the city’s major public space Victoria Square in splendid detail in Minecraft. It’s quite remarkable what can be built in the game.
Applications for gaming in government
We believe that Minecraft (and gaming more generally) present some great opportunities for government organisations: it can be used in town planning; for ideation about public spaces and placemaking; for storytelling; for history and heritage purposes; for education; even tourism. There are myriad uses and we’ve only just scraped the surface.
Where to get it
If you’re interested, you can download our Minecraft Adelaide 2021 world at cityofadelaide.com.au/minecraft