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A spirit that is not afraid

Alum builds Auburn block by block

<p>A view of Plainsman Park and Jordan-Hare stadium from The Auburn Minecraft Project.</p>

A view of Plainsman Park and Jordan-Hare stadium from The Auburn Minecraft Project.

Meet Chris Smith: the second-generation Auburn grad that is building Auburn from the ground up ... in Minecraft.

After graduating with a major in graphic design, the Auburn local pursued his masters in game design from the University of Central Florida. It was not until he moved back to The Plains that Smith stumbled into a life-changing opportunity, the Auburn Minecraft Project.

The project was originally started by Trey Long during his time as a student at Auburn. Long posted his first video of the project on Youtube in 2013, and his creation went viral. The video, which surveyed 10 out of the 89 buildings Long hoped to build, has almost 17,000 views. 

Long hoped to replicate Auburn’s campus on Minecraft using a 1:1 scale. Now, eight years later, the project showcases over 900 updates on their Twitter account. 

It was the original video that captured Smith’s attention. He reached out to Long, hoping to put his background in game design to use, and the rest was history. 

Smith’s initial contribution to the project was remodeling the previously built structures to reflect the correct terrain on Auburn’s campus.

“Originally, we were trying to do it by hand,” Smith said. He went on to add that the project was taken to a “completely different level” when they employed GIS source terrain technology. 

This technology has allowed for the project to become exponentially more accurate. In the project’s eight years, it has grown to reflect Auburn’s entire campus, including large contributions such as Jordan-Hare Stadium, Plainsman Park and Toomer’s Corner. 

When asked what’s next for the project, Smith said that he has recruited current students to help replicate the more niche environments throughout the community, such as apartment buildings, band practice fields and the Auburn University Regional Airport. 

“Everybody has ties,” Smith said. “They want to build what they’re associated with, and that’s really cool.”

Smith believes that the future of the Minecraft Project relies on student involvement. He hopes to have more people volunteer to help update the project as the Auburn community changes. 

Although he recognizes that the project will never be perfect, Smith said he aims to make it look as complete as possible. 

“We even put that big red crane out in front of RBD at one point just because that’s how Auburn was for about four years,” Smith said. 

Smith knows first-hand that building a Minecraft replica of an ever-changing community is a challenge, but he believes the familiarity his audience feels when looking at the project is what makes it so special. 

"There are times where it feels real," Smith said.

Follow along with the Minecraft project on Twitter @MCAubie and Instagram @mcaubie.

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Sabina Crisitello | Assistant Culture Editor

Sabina Crisitello, junior in journalism, is the assistant culture editor at The Auburn Plainsman.

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