21 May 2021

Gamers build life-size model of Parliament House in virtual world of Minecraft

| Damien Larkins
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Scale model of Parliament House built in 'Minecraft'

The one-to-one model of Parliament House in video game Minecraft took two builders a month to complete. Image: Oceania Build Team – BuildTheEarth.

A team of Australian gamers has built a one-to-one scale model of Parliament House in the popular videogame, Minecraft.

It is one of Australia’s most recognisable buildings and now you can visit it in a 3D virtual world.

With details from the grassy hills and tiled forecourt to the towering flag pole, you might be forgiven for mistaking it for the real thing.

The Oceania Build Team built the model from photos and Google Street View images.

“[It’s] just fun, really – a cool project,” says Oceania Build Team leader Elika Jacobson. “Imagine Google Maps, but it’s in Minecraft. That’s the simplest way to put it.”

It’s part of a project called BuildTheEarth, which aims to recreate the entire globe in the creative open-world game. Think LEGO, but in a video game.

Scale model of Parliament House in 'Minecraft'

The Oceania Build Team is planning to construct more of Parliamentary Circle in Minecraft. Photo: Oceania Build Team – BuildTheEarth.

The Oceania Build Team is responsible for Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. It has already built icons such as Sydney Opera House and Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station.

The Parliament House build took a team of two a month to create from the ground up.

“The Opera House took about three weeks to do just because it’s very complicated,” says Elika. “It’s the most shared building in all of the BuildTheEarth project.”

READ ALSO After 94 years, Old Parliament House is getting some much-needed repairs

The colossal project will help people from across the globe visit cities such as Canberra that they might not otherwise get the chance to see.

Lea Michael, Academy of Interactive Entertainment’s head of school Canberra and online, says it’s a fantastic learning tool.

“You’ll be able to have virtual tours in it, and you’ll be able to have education about it – [to] understand where it comes from, and where it fits within Australia,” she says.

Scale model of Sydney Harbour built in 'Minecraft'

The Oceania Build Team took three weeks just to build the Sydney Opera House in Minecraft. Image: Oceania Build Team – BuildTheEarth.

A self-confessed Minecraft fan, Lea says the game can connect people.

Her daughter and 67-year-old mother in Queensland used the game to keep in touch during COVID-19 lockdowns.

“It took me a couple of weekends to set up, being patient and understanding with helping my mum,” she says with a laugh.

“They [daughter and mother] call each other on the site, have little chats and play their worlds together.”

The Oceania Build Team now plans to build Old Parliament House and the connecting roads around Capital Hill.

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Massive kudos for the effort! People would probably appreciate a link to the file/page…

I still don’t understand why BuildTheEarth wont pull the data programmatically though. They claim they want to ‘maximize artistry’, but the whole point is to create a 1-1scale model…

Like 5+yrs ago people were hitting APIs to create these building shells. Seems much more efficient to do that and then embellish rather than start from scratch.

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