When UNC junior Dustin Duong decided to recreate Carroll Hall on Minecraft, he had no idea that it would garner attention from students, alumni and even ESPN writers.
What began as a fun experiment would morph into a full-fledged passion project to build the entire campus as part of the Build the Earth project, an effort to build the world on a 1:1 scale.
Duong, a former Daily Tar Heel photography editor, began building the campus in early September under the name UNC Block'd. He has recreated several buildings thus far, including Carroll Hall, Hanes Hall, Phillips Hall and the Campus Y. Some have taken hours or even days to complete.
“I started with Carroll because I’m a journalism student," Duong said. "I’ve spent a lot of time there and met a lot of people there, and I just missed it."
After a friend suggested he become involved with Build the Earth, Duong took the recommendation and started to collaborate with others. Beginning on March 21, creator PippenFTS’ original goal was to make the biggest collective achievement in Minecraft.
Jacob Yates, who began working for Build the Earth as their public relations manager in April, feels strongly about the group’s mission.
“It’s about gathering people from all over the world to come together and recreate humanity’s legacy as it currently exists," Yates said. "From structures established thousands of years ago to the modern buildings of today, this project will capture a moment in time, and we have hopes that this will inspire more large-scale community projects in years to come."
Placing importance on a friendly and clean community, Build the Earth welcomes any and all new builders and hosts over 6,000 workers, 100 staff members and 3,337 ongoing projects.
“The most challenging part had to be the map projection conversion to Minecraft. Due to the challenge of converting a spherical map into a workable plane, one of the first challenges we noticed was distortion, creating a huge problem with building,” Yates said.