Block by block: Carmel High School graduates create Minecraft version of Purdue campus

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Esteban Richey is a huge fan of the video game Minecraft.

“The game works like Legos. The entire world is made out of blocks,” Richey said. “So, you can be really creative with it, and you can build anything you like. I took a flat patch of grass and started building the buildings on it to scale. It’s easy to make to scale because each block is 1 meter wide, 1 meter tall and 1 meter lengthwise.”

So, the Purdue University senior and 2018 Carmel High School graduate decided in March 2019 to build the Purdue campus to use for the video game. He has completed about 55 percent of the campus, including most of the recognizable spots.

“You can download it on the internet and put it into your version of the game,” Richey said. “You can do anything you want to the campus, but it won’t affect the file that I have. I have a master copy where all the official changes are made. I work on it incrementally and then I update the public version of it.”

Close friend Andrew Klotz Jr., a fellow 2018 CHS graduate and Purdue senior, helped with approximately 30 percent of creating the campus.

Richey, a computer science major, is a member of a Christian organization Launch Campus Ministry, which has a clubhouse in the middle of campus between the academic buildings and dormitories. That was the first building he created.

“I built our clubhouse to scale,” Richey said. “Everyone really liked it and thought it was really cool. I thought, ‘Why stop just at the house?’”

Richey decided to create the apartments down the street and then the fraternity houses.

“It’s a fun little side project that just kept going and going,” Richey said.

Richey estimates he and Klotz, a mechanical engineering major, have put at least 300 hours into the project.

“Each block can have a different look to it,” Richey said. “There is wood and stone and hundreds of different blocks.”

Richey said Mackey Arena was difficult, but fun, to create.

“The best thing about working on the project has been seeing it develop over time,” Klotz said. “I remember when the entire map was just one house, and now we’ve managed to complete the majority of campus. It’s been so cool to watch the campus develop and compare the Minecraft version of Purdue to real life.”

Klotz said initially he and Richey worked on the project in their free time just for fun.

“I think the long-term goal was to complete the entire campus, but that didn’t really sound like it was possible until we were well into the project,” Klotz said. “Esteban has definitely completed the majority of the work and it was always his project, but I’ve always been there working on sections of the project myself and giving him advice when he needs it.”

Like Richey, Klotz said he has been a huge fan of Minecraft for many years.

“I remember playing Minecraft pocket edition on my phone in middle school, and I never would have believed back then that I would eventually help build a massive college campus within the game,” Klotz said.

RIchey said he has gotten positive reactions from students to his creation.

“I’m kind of famous on campus,” he said. “It’s a lot of satisfaction from seeing it all come together. It’s immediately recognizable because I have so many memories all over the campus. A lot of people have tried to do the same project and they kind of fizzle out or don’t have the grand scope I did.”

To view the Minecraft Purdue campus, visit github.com/estebanrichey/PurdueInMinecraft.

Difficult stretches

Esteban Richey found some parts of creating the Purdue campus for Minecraft more tedious than others.

“I did have breaks where I got burned out working on it because I wanted to get a lot of the details right,” he said. “That can be very exhausting. Whenever I got burned out and wanted to take a break for a couple weeks, (friend Andrew Klotz, Jr.) would pick up where I stopped.”

The engineering mall area was a difficult stage for Richey.

“All of the blocks are square, so I had to represent 45 degree-angled buildings really awkwardly,” he said.

Richey said Klotz made a lot of iconic parts of campus.

Klotz said the toughest part for him to create was the academic side of campus, most notably the southwest area around the Liberal Arts Center and the Memorial Mall.

“I’m actually working on the Memorial Union right now, and trying to get all of the small details represented can be so difficult at times,” he said. “Another building that I remember being difficult was the CoRec (Cordova Recreation Center), because it’s a very architecturally complex building with so many weird angles and shapes.”


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