Since I first heard that the Christchurch Cathedral (Canterbury, New Zealand) was announced that it would be torn down, it seemed like a good time to test out my Minecraft building skills and build it, preserving it in an interactive digital form. Now, I started this on Friday evening, and I’ve already made a great deal of progress through it already. In the back of my mind, I figured I might be blogging my work in progress, but I ended up just being drawn into my construction and then off to bed.
So here’s what 3 days produced. I generally worked around 6-8 hours over the weekend as a number of things came up.
Work done on Friday evening consisted of a bit of research, visuals, plans and such. I found many pictures, but plans were more difficult to find. I ended up getting the topdown estimates from Googlemaps, the rest just eyeballed based on a few height details of the tower and spire. Which is what i worked on first as it really is the more iconic part of the cathedral.
The Tower spire was finished on Saturday evening. I think I only worked on it a few hours that day, since my day was occupied with other things.
Sunday I began work on the main building of the church. I had already measured out the dimensions on Friday and went ahead placing cobbles over the place. A few walls were already up, when it dawned on me that aesthetically it needed to be one block out, and also another block back at the end where the roof intersects. Why? so I can get a peak at the top of the roof! I left that for Monday to do lol Today, I played with the new block properties of Version 1.2. Upsidedown stairs! Now I can do awesome archways and stuff. I took a break from the cathedral to update my Millenium Falcon with these new things. I was also testing how well maps do when being converted back and forth to Anvil. While when converted to pre 1.2, the map (if a flat map) turns into a randomly generated one, with no view of the existing map features, but when converted back into Anvil format, the flat returns.. with some extras… Bedrock particles appear on the ground, and just out of sight, if you venture beyond the draw distance, you see the previously loaded random map, except it’s been cross sectioned. looked kinda awesome, but since the bedrock particles showed up, I loaded up the copy I made in case I corrupted it from the test.
Monday, I went over and shifted the dimensions out. If I was doing this the right way, I would have loaded it up in a map editor, but due to the recent changes to Minecraft, they haven’t updated to 1.2 just yet. Soon they will. I hope! So I was working on the main roof, placing it around quickly, and getting that conical effect looking right on the back of the cathedral. I chose Netherbrick at this stage as it works well for the interior, being a stained wood colour. Later on I may swap it out with Timber and recommend a texture pack like John Smith for it.
Who’d have thought that Diamond blocks are the right shade of light teal that work perfectly for the copper portions of the spire, the all too familiar green ^_^
I put lights and torches around the place, not only to see what I’m doing when it’s dark, but give a nice overall look of it when it used to be lit up by spotlights in the Cathedral Square.
The main Building is quite spacious, so plenty of room for awesome little details I have planned.
That’s it for now. I might have another up tomorrow, to keep this sort of thing regular. I expect another day and a half and it should be done. I had hoped to get this done over the weekend as I really wanted to try a speedy build.
Now, I’m not the first to actually try this. A team of NZ Minecraft enthusiasts did this about 11 months ago, the only difference it seems is that they did theirs entirely in survival mode. That means they had to make their materials. They took about 48 hours to finish and raised $1600 for the Earthquake Appeal, so props to them ^_^. Here’s the site if you’re interested to see their build.
I’m not looking to be recognised for this though. This is for the remembrance of an icon that has been a part of my life for the best part of… well, since I can first remember. I passed this place every day in my youth, when I walked through town, even at my last job when we were based in town. That day, February 22nd was a surreal day indeed, and when we all gathered in the Square, the realisation just hit, and hit hard.
Whether they manage to keep it and strengthen it, I don’t know. A part of me wishes to keep it, but another says we need to bring it down. It’s just not safe anymore, and will never be in her state. I do hope they preserve as much of the fascade as possible so that they can be integrated into the much stronger and stable design in the future. As long as we remember, then no catastrophe, no matter how large a scale will erase it.
Amendment: It seems that the Minecraft For Christchurch site is down, most likely they only leased it for a year and when they finished it they just left it until it expired. Some of the screenshots I did see of theirs helped immensely with placement of certain features and details. Thanks to them, I might not have gotten to a stage I would have been satisfied with.