Armagh meets Minecraft: Armagh 2.0


Summer is a busy time here at AmmA Centre with all sorts of fantastic creative and digital workshops for young people. Sometimes its easy to confuse the place with a busy school playground with the creative buzz from our various rooms and studios. This year we made the brave leap into the world of Minecraft having tinkered with it during the school year in a number of primary settings.

But with the summer comes opportunity for young people to collaborate and work with the support and equipment of the AmmA Centre to try new things and push the boundaries. This years challenge was to build a scale replica of Armagh city using Minecraft Edu with 40 young people working within a Minecraft world constructing various buildings and landmarks block by block and to a scale of 2:1 with every real world metre equating to 2 Minecraft blocks (a block equates to 1 cubic metre). The outcomes continue to impress us here at AmmA with the young people having worked to construct the interiors and exteriors of all the buildings before members of the AmmA team pulled them all together into a replica Market Square.

One of the key themes of our summer workshop is ‘fun’, school is out during the summer so these are not classroom activities. As a compromise for working hard to construct the buildings, the ‘underground’ was the sole responsibility of the young people. As a result, visitors to Armagh 2.0 will find many hidden lairs, dungeons, tombs and spooky crypts although finding the entrances may present some challenges! With all of our workshops, we celebrate the failures and the successes. Day 1 of the workshops resulted in a major crash which resulted in a full days work being wiped out but this worked to our advantage, it allowed us to disregard the mistakes and consolidate our efforts on building the town centre and not the entire city which was our first intention. In the remaining days of the session, a huge amount of work was completed with the key structures being completed. The cathedral is the largest single structure in the map to date and it was successfully extracted from the map and replicated using a 3D printer, a bonus for everyone involved in the project.

So how did the young people approach this challenge:

1: Identify the key structures and investigate online

2: Visit the structures in person and capture evidence of the architecture using mobile devices

3: Break into teams based on the size and complexity of the structures

4: Break into interior and exterior sub teams and assign responsibilities. (2 + 2)

5: Use Google Maps in satellite view to measure the dimensions of the buildings and spacing from other buildings

6: Lay a foundation and begin the construction process

7: Build to plan above the surface, young people build whatever they want below the surface

As part of our annual showcase in Armagh, Flashback, we brought Armagh 2.0 to life by allowing young people and their parents explore the virtual world with Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets and repeated this activity as part of Culture Night 2015.

So what next for Armagh 2.0, this is just the beginning. Our intention is to grow the city by adding more of the building and landmarks that historic Armagh has to offer. We will use the map as a template with schools and other groups of young people. Inside the structures and in voids underground we will add activity zones and learning zones where people can explore programming, redstone and all sorts of other educational challenges. This is just the beginning for Armagh 2.0!! Watch the final video below which uses drone footage to compare the virtual world with the real world.

Last but not least, we are offering the world map out to anyone who wants it. Download, open it in Minecraft and explore. If you wish to add something to it, please do but share it back to we can add it as a permanent feature.

Download the map here: Armagh 2.0 Minecraft Map

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