Though it has miles of roads, thousands of homes, an airport, and plenty of shopping, the City of Greenfield does not actually exist. It has been constructed in the computer game Minecraft by hundreds of people who have painstakingly laid millions of individual cubes to construct each of thousands of buildings and all the infrastructure. Apologies to all the parents out there who spend a significant time surviving discussions about Steve and Mobs.
For those who don’t know, Minecraft is a video game that was released in November 2011 which falls into the genre of “sandbox games”. Generally without a particular story arc or goals, the game lets the user move around a generated landscape collecting resources, crafting them into tools, and building a life. There are monsters that come out at night and difficulty levels from Easy to Hardcore, as well as a “Creative Mode” that just lets folks enjoy their crafting experience.
The open nature of the game has allowed players to run wild with their dreams, with sites and threads dedicated to the amazing builds that they’ve created. There’s also a genre of Minecraft narrative stories that can be surprisingly well done in the most grating YouTube way. There are quite a few extensive Minecraft build projects that look to recreate a particular city, the Earth, or somewhat terrifyingly, the entire cosmos. The popularity of the game plus the people spinning off creative works has catapulted Minecraft videos past a TRILLION combined views on YouTube. Pretty good for a game older than quite a few of its players.
But Greenfield stands out among these builds. It’s a fictional West Coast city built to scale, where each Minecraft cube represents one cubic meter of actual city. The buildings are complex both inside and out. The dynamic map offers an overview of the scope for non players, and a perspective of what covers the 57 square kilometers in-game. The coordination between builders alone, not to mention the overall vision and plans, make the work unique. The project has its own YouTube channel including videos on participating, but few of those videos quite encompass the awe at the project as PippenFTS in this week’s Sunday Video.
Ray Dubicki is a stay-at-home dad and parent-on-call for taking care of general school and neighborhood tasks around Ballard. This lets him see how urbanism works (or doesn’t) during the hours most people are locked in their office. He is an attorney and urbanist by training, with soup-to-nuts planning experience from code enforcement to university development to writing zoning ordinances. He enjoys using PowerPoint, but only because it’s no longer a weekly obligation.