sbbcom@rit.edu (Scott Bureau)
Monday, April 20, 2020 - 12:00pm
Students use ‘Minecraft’ to recreate a digital RIT campus

One brick at a time — that’s how members of RIT’s Electronic Gaming Society are building a digital version of the RIT campus in the video game Minecraft.

As universities across the country closed their campuses and moved to online courses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students went to Minecraft as a way to stay connected with their schools. The game Minecraft allows multiple players to collaborate on building structures and designing landscapes, including recreating physical places.

“It was obvious that students at RIT would be interested in a project like this and we had the resources and knowledge to make it happen,” said Lauren Suter, vice president of RIT’s student-run Electronic Gaming Society (EGS). “After we moved to online classes, it wasn’t long until RIT Student Government reached out to us and asked if this was something our club would able to facilitate.”

With help from more than 300 members of the RIT community, the group has rebuilt The Sentinel sculpture, Student Alumni Union, Campus Center and Clark Gym — inside and out. Visitors can view the campus in a YouTube video created by EGS.

“We are building one section of campus at a time and we hope to have a new section of campus available to build with schematics every Wednesday evening,” said Alexa Amoriello, a second-year game design and development major from Westchester, N.Y., and LAN and console manager for EGS, who is head moderator for the Minecraft project. “We plan to continue uploading screenshots and videos of our progress throughout the process.”

Students have suggested using the Minecraft campus for a mock-graduation ceremony, for virtual campus tours and for online Humans vs. Zombies games.

“We think these are great ideas and hope to look into hosting these events once the project is complete,” said Suter, who graduated from RIT with a marketing degree in December 2019. “As of now, the main purpose of this project is to give students an outlet to be creative, collaborate and have fun with each other during social distancing.”

The EGS club has hosted Minecraft servers for years and even talked about creating a digital version of RIT’s campus before.

The process for building this creative Minecraft world involves looking at campus maps and floorplans, making two-to-one scale outlines of campus structures and importing them into Minecraft. The schematics act as guidelines for the build, to make sure everything is accurate and to-scale.

Five students in EGS are serving as Minecraft moderators to help orchestrate the project. EGS leaders said that students, alumni, faculty, staff and their family members have all been involved with this build.

The club invites any member of the RIT community interested in participating in the project to join their Minecraft server using the IP mc.server-egsrit.com. You can also join the EGS Discord server and follow on social media to find additional information on getting involved, stay up-to-date on announcements regarding the project and talk to others working on the project.

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