“Minecraft my home”

Videogame world, online and digital downloads
Published 18 April 2018

“Minecraft my home” is a re-creation of St Loyes as a world in the Minecraft game. It was created as part of the “Working with Gold” project.

The Minecraft world lets residents explore their neighbourhood in a new way, imagine new possibilities for it, get rid of the things they don’t like, and put in the things they do. They can experiment… ask what if? They can express their frustration with their workplace or school in safety! Or they can be subversive, and make small changes that question the status quo.

For example, I think much of St Loyes has been designed with the car in mind, rather than people. So I’m interested in where people walk anyway – crossing a dual carriageway halfway between pedestrian crossings, or cutting a corner, or taking a shortcut through a hedge – and I laid a number of red carpets for them.

With the help of one workshop participant, I planted some bones under the Tesco store and car park, which were built on the burial ground of one of the Prayer Book Rebellion battles. I turned the surface of the car park into a Mondrian painting, and planted some other modern art in other locations. I also rebuilt my home as Working with Gold Towers, and set up a donkey sanctuary in my back garden. I imagined a possible community hub, with gallery and café, and at the request of one of my City Councillors, I reimagined a wilderness behind a row of houses.

How to access the St Loyes world

The St Loyes world is available to download for computers (Java Edition for Windows/OS) and mobile devices (Pocket Edition/Windows 10). The Pocket Edition version is as automatically generated (see below). The Java Edition includes some corrections I made to the map, and my addition of Working with Gold Towers. You can explore and play in this world in singleplayer mode, and you can set up Pocket Edition multiplayer and interact with people in the same room.

From May to December 2018, the Java Edition world was also available on a multiplayer online server. A number of players built some interesting stuff, and I saved the final version, so that it can now be downloaded and explored in singleplayer mode.

These worlds should be available to download for as long as the Working with Gold website exists.


Creating the St Loyes world

This work was created in partnership with Exeter City Futures.

They generated St Loyes in Minecraft using the Geocraft software, which takes as its inputs open data from Defra and OpenStreetMap. The colours on OpenStreetMap give the land use – buildings, grass, water, etc; and the Defra LiDAR data give the surface level and the height of buildings and other features.

Because it’s all automated there are inevitably quirks. For example, railways and bridges were not properly represented; there were some interesting water spouts where water on OpenStreetMap overlapped LiDAR trees; and part of one neighbourhood was flattened. The first two sets of errors were corrected in the Java Edition of the world.


Exeter City Futures

Massive thanks to Exeter City Futures, and Mark Jones in particular. Exeter City Futures have their own Exeter 2025 Minecraft Challenge. See their website for more information.