Longfield student joins thousands of Minecraft players rebuilding UK landmarks online, including Gravesend Gurdwara

Longfield student joins thousands of Minecraft players rebuilding UK landmarks online, including Gravesend Gurdwara

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 rebuild Gravesend Gurdwara, one of the largest Sikh temples in Europe, within 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 trying to replicate the UK’s best-known landmarks online.

Described as “Lego Online”, Minecraft is a 3D generated world that invites players to battle monsters and build their own universe using a series of cubes and fluids, called “blocks”.

It is one of the most popular games on the market with almost 140 million monthly active users worldwide.

And now, hundreds across the UK are volunteering their downtime to take part in Build the Earth (BTE), an open project that aims to rebuild the world online.

Among those who have invested heavily is college student George, from Longfield, who has volunteered more than 60 hours of his spare time.

Gravesend Gurdwara has been recreated in Minecraft.  Photo: Build the Earth UK
Gravesend Gurdwara has been recreated in Minecraft. Photo: Build the Earth UK

The former Grammar student from Gravesend first got involved during lockdown after citing his passion for a particular construction project.

“I’ve 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 beginning of the lockdown and I decided to go ahead and have since moved on to other areas around Gravesend, such as the station.”

Feelings of social isolation were also a motivation. She added: “I wanted to feel like I was in those places during lockdown when you couldn’t go out.”

George first found out about the BTE UK project after seeing it on YouTube, where the team shares their update videos.

Developers use sources including Google Street View and Bing Maps to identify where each block should go. A map is then updated to inform users of the progress.

George Walker of Longfield is among a team of Minecraft players recreating towns and cities in the online universe.
George Walker of Longfield is among a team of Minecraft players recreating towns and cities in the online universe.

However, it’s not an easy process, as George explains, as each virtual landmark requires hours of your time to get the details right.

“First we have to make outlines,” explains the player. “So we have a command that takes the longitude and latitude coordinates and teleports us to that place in the Minecraft world and we can use it to get to the corners of the building and then we can make the outlines from that.

“Buildings that are highly detailed can be quite a challenge because in Minecraft, blocks are three feet long.

“So it can be quite difficult to pick up the small details.”

It hasn’t stopped George, who started playing the game in 2014 and is currently studying physics at the University of Warwick, from recreating some impressive benchmarks.

Among his most complicated constructions to date is the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, which took months to complete.

George added: “For Gurdwara, it was really mostly myself, a couple of other people helped finish it off at the end.

“But it probably took about six months to complete everything.”

A video of the completed work was shared on BTE UK’s TikTok account, where it amassed over 50,000 views.

It’s featured 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 embassy in the UK.

George is currently working to complete the Gravesend town station before marking off other parts of the Kentish maritime town.

The content creator added: “We have people from all over the world on 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 go.”

The teen also encourages anyone with a passion for Minecraft or gaming to get involved.

George added, “We’d love for anyone who thinks they have the skills to join in and it’s very easy to pick up and pick up the skills.”

He is currently studying physics at the University of Warwick.

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