A Minecraft player has recreated one of Kent’s most famous landmarks on a one-to-one scale online – completing the build in just six months.
Efforts to reconstruct the Gravesend Gurdwara – one of the biggest Sikh temples in Europe – inside the virtual world were led by a talented teenager from the county.
Minecraft player George Walker explains the idea behind the Build the Earth project
George Walker, 19, is part of a group of passionate gamers attempting to replicate the UK’s best known landmarks online.
Described as “online Lego”, Minecraft is a 3D-generated world which invites players to fight monsters and build their own universe using a series of cubes and fluids, referred to as “blocks”.
It is one of the most popular games on the market with nearly 140 million active monthly users worldwide.
And now hundreds in the UK are volunteering their downtime to get involved with Build the Earth (BTE) – an open project aiming to reconstruct the globe online.
Among those heavily invested is university student George, from Longfield, who has volunteered more than 60 hours of his free time.
Gravesend Gurdwara has been recreated in Minecraft. Photo: Build the Earth Uk
The former Gravesend Grammar Pupil first got involved during lockdown after citing his passion for a particular build project.
“I sort of always wanted to build my school in Minecraft and when I heard about this project I thought this would be the perfect place to do it,” George explained.
“It was the start of lockdown and I decided to go ahead with it and since then I have moved onto other areas around Gravesend such as the station.”
Feelings of social isolation were also as motivation. He added: “I wanted to feel as if I was in those places during lockdown when you couldn’t go out.”
George first learnt of the BTE UK project after spotting it on YouTube where the team shares its update videos.
Developers use sources including Google Street view and Bing maps to pinpoint where each block should go. A map is then updated to inform users of the progress.
George Walker from Longfield is among a team of Minecraft players recreating towns and cities in the online universe
However, it’s no easy process, as George explains, with each virtual landmark taking up hours of his time to get the detail right.
“First we’ve got to make outlines,” the gamer explains. “So we have a command that takes longitude and latitude coordinates and teleports us to that place on the Minecraft world and we can use that to get to the corners of the building and then we can make the outlines from those.
“Buildings that are very detailed can be quite a challenge because in Minecraft, the blocks are one metre in length.
“So it can be quite difficult to get the small details in.”
It hasn’t stopped George, who started playing the game in 2014 and is currently studying physics at Warwick University, from recreating some impressive landmarks.
Among his most complicated builds to date is the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara which took months to complete.
@bteuk Gravesend Showcase! #uk #fyp #fypシ #minecraftbuilds #minecraft #Buildtheearth #city #building #UK ♬ original sound – bteuk
George added: “For the Gurdwara it was mostly myself really, a couple of other people helped to finish it off at the end.
“But it probably took around six months to complete the whole thing.”
A video of the completed work was shared on BTE UK’s TikTok account where it has amassed more than 50,000 views.
It features alongside other high ranking videos of famous landmarks including London’s Big Ben, Lincoln Cathedral, Coventry’s viral Binley Mega Chippy and even the North Korean UK embassy.
George is currently working to finish off Gravesend town station before ticking off other parts of the Kent maritime town.
The content creator added: “We’ve got people from all over the world in the project, probably over 10,000 builders and around 500 builders in the UK.”
“I just want to keep exploring and keep seeing how far I can get.”
The teenager is also encouraging anyone with a passion for Minecraft or gaming to get involved.
George added: “We’d just love for anyone that thinks they’ve got the skills to join and it’s very easy to learn and pick up the skills.”
Currently studying physics at Warwick University.
Dartford Gravesham Kent Sean Delaney