Students praised for building 'ingenious' Minecraft university campus with 19 million digital blocks

WATCH: ITV Meridian's Kit Bradshaw reports from the University of Sussex in Falmer, near Brighton

Computer science students have been praised for their work painstakingly recreating a virtual version of their university campus in the popular game Minecraft.

The interactive University of Sussex campus was created from 19 million digital building blocks, equating to more than 100 gigabytes of data.

Fourth year computer science student, Tom Harwood, spent months downloading satellite imagery from Google Maps to recreate a scaled version of the 142 hectare (350 acre) campus.

The nearby Amex Stadium, home to Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club, is also included. Credit: Sussex University Minecraft Society / Tom Harwood

“It’s a big area but it helps you understand how much of campus there is and how much you haven't explored yet. I haven't seen a lot of the schools around campus, but now I'm getting students coming up to me… it's kind of a good way to network,” Tom explained.

Members of the Students’ Union’s Minecraft Society are now working on adding extra detail to the virtual world, including interiors of buildings including lecture theatres and the student bar.

The campus in Falmer, near Brighton, was designed by modernist architect Sir Basil Spence in the 1960s, with Falmer House a Grade I listed building.

The university’s red-brick buildings are perfect for Minecraft’s square building blocks. Credit: Sussex University Minecraft Society / Tom Harwood

Tom added: “The genius of Sir Basil Spence’s architecture meant that everything was on a grid already, so all of the roads and all of the buildings are perfectly square, which made it technically much easier to import over to Minecraft.”

The Amex football stadium, home to Brighton and Hove Albion FC, and university library are among the landmark game game players can visit.

Prof Ian Wakeman, Head of the School of Engineering and Informatics, said: “Tom's approach to download all of the data from Google Maps and then using that to basically block out the original structures was just really ingenious. And that's what we expect from our students.”

It is hoped the project will help encourage students to connect in the real world, as universities continue to adapt following the pandemic.

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