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Screenshot/SparseWorldNYC
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This student is building an epic replica of Manhattan inside Minecraft

Talk about building blocks…

COMPUTER SCIENCE PhD student Christopher Mitchell is developing a 1:1 model of Manhattan inside Minecraft, the popular open world game where players build and break blocks.

There are plenty of video games set in New York with amazing graphics, like Grand Theft Auto IV and Spider Man 2. But even with those games, you get a sense that something is missing or feels a bit flat.

That’s why Mitchell hopes to eventually create a much more accurate and realistic portrayal of the city. The goal is to get the model down to perfect replicas of individual buildings.

We first saw the news on Ars Technica.

Mitchell’s system combines ”orthoimagery, bathyspheric, and elevation data from the USGS EROS service, and 3D buildings from Google’s 3D Warehouse” to create models. In order to to get the best results of Manhattan, a server cluster with 300 cores and 200 GB RAM would need a few hours to render the model.

The current version of Manhattan has 277 million square meters of terrain, with 71 billion cubic meters of information compressed into the map. Be sure to follow Mitchell’s progress here.

In the meantime, check out some other screenshots below.

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Images: Screenshot/SparseWorld/NYC

Be sure to check out some of Mitchell’s real-world models over on his site.

- Megan Rose Dickey

Smash hit game Minecraft is getting its own movie>

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