Last year I sent this to a friend who works in the cloud storage business as an idea for a good way to show off that product.

On Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 11:13:26AM -0400, Chris X Edwards wrote:

My hasty calculations show that a Minecraft world (32meter X 32meter chunk at ~5MB each) would require about 2.5PB for a 1:1 server of the entire earth. A 1:1000 server has just started but I’m thinking ahead. :-)

That was just a very rough idea of what would be required but other people were apparently thinking of this more seriously. Check out this video describing a project that has successfully built a 1 to 1 scale model of the entire earth in Minecraft!

The special thing about MC is that it is actually quite coarse. That is why such a massive project is feasible. A map of this scale in some other kind of engine would have to be very sparse and even then it would be uncomfortably rough (like MC, but not in a pleasant structured way) and empty.

In ancient times (the early 1990s) AutoCAD shipped with a neat demo file containing a full scale 1:1 model of the entire solar system. They had a 1km object on the moon (ours) and all the other objects of our solar system were roughed in to scale. That demo was quite interesting to get a sense of what the capabilities and scale of computer floating point numbers were (2 to the 32 power is around 4.3 billion and that is about how many km Pluto is from the sun at perihelion).

In games like Space Engineers which have some minimal terraforming capabilities, you’re deforming a sparse shell. In MC, it’s real volume. This means that this Minecraft model of the earth is ready to incorporate bathymetric surveys of the ocean depths and subterranean geotechnical data (from petroleum exploration, for example).

Here is a wonderful project from the British Geological Survey that has modeled the real geology of Britain in Minecraft.

To jump an order of magnitude linearly from 1m resolution to 10cm is harder than a 10x increase in resources — it’s 1000x because of this volumetric quality. But a decimeter model of the earth in real scale would be pretty amazing and useful. And probably in our future!

At least the kids now have something as useful as school to work on!

UPDATE 2020-04-01

Check out the wave of projects that students are working on to recreate their closed schools in Minecraft.

Frankly this is the best use of practical shared virtual reality I have seen.

UPDATE 2020-05-21

Hmm. I don’t know what to think of this. Some anti-censorship advocates (usually on my team) have thought to use Minecraft (again, usually my kind of people) to create a virtual library where all the world’s censored material can go.

I’m not keen on this for a couple of reasons. First there is the simple reason that censored things are often not ideal for kids and a lot of kids play Minecraft. But let’s put that aside and move on to the more problematic issue. These people thought to do this because they had the brilliant realization that, although censorship is all over the internet, Minecraft is never targeted. I’m going to suggest that the reason is because it is used mostly by apolitically non-threatening kids.

What do you think will happen when you start putting things Badgoverstan deems seditious on Minecraft? Well, obviously Badgoverstan is going to start blocking Minecraft. And who are the victims? Kids.

This is why I was so frustrated at the terrible YouTube comment situation for my MC videos. I wanted to heavily censor the comments. Gasp! Yes I did! The reason is not that I hate the First Amendment. It’s that I don’t like the thought of some poor kid getting disenfranchised from a pretty wholesome hobby because some asshole says "asshole" in the comments. Again, I’m not caring one bit about what the kids see. What I care about is the fundy parents seeing my channel and thinking it’s violating some decency threshold due to content I don’t even want to see myself. My censorship would be preemptive censorship to keep kids in the game. But of course managing YouTube comments are one of those things which makes me want to host all of my material on my own web distribution mechanisms — where I can describe the situation as a "clusterfuck" if I want.

Anyway, let’s hope this library fails to cause the censorship I fear. If that means it fails, so be it.