Students build ACS (I) campus on Minecraft

A screengrab from the virtual rendition of the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) campus created by students on the sandbox video game Minecraft for potential students to visit the school online.
A screengrab from the virtual rendition of the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) campus created by students on the sandbox video game Minecraft for potential students to visit the school online.PHOTO: ACS(I)

Students who visited the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) (ACS(I)) campus for its open house activities did not set foot on the red bricks of its assembly square.

Instead, they walked on digital blocks in a virtual rendition of the campus in Minecraft.

With school activities limited due to the Covid-19 outbreak, students got creative and found a way to welcome potential students to their campus online.

A group of 18 students, mostly from the Robotics and Technological Society, spent around 1,500 hours recreating the campus on the sandbox video game for players to tour.

Club president Aloysius Wong, 17, first conceived the idea when he saw videos of other schools built online.

The Year Five student told The New Paper: "Since we had time during home-based learning, I got a group of us to start building."

While his friends were familiar with Minecraft, where players gather materials to build structures from their imagination, they had never attempted a project on such a scale. Communicating via chatrooms, the group referred to Google Maps to gauge the proportions of the buildings and examined pictures for details, recreating most of the main areas in the school.

Aloysius said the toughest part was getting the curves of the buildings right, given the blocky nature of the game's aesthetic.

"Many times we wanted to give up because it took so long."

More than 500 ACS(I) students visited the Minecraft server when it was launched on June 1.

The school decided to adopt the creation as part of its "e-open house" activities, which began on July 4.

Physics teacher Foo Kam Meng, who is in charge of the robotics club, said educators are always looking into more ways to teach through games, as it imparts resilience and collaboration between players.

ACS(I) plans to reuse the virtual campus for further online activities in the future.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2020, with the headline 'Students build ACS (I) campus on Minecraft'. Subscribe