The beauty called Ashoka Minecraft
The Ashoka Minecraft project, which a handful of us students completed during the difficult days of the pandemic, was one of the few initiatives at Ashoka university that really flourished and thrived with really wonderful responses from people. The Ashoka Minecraft project was launched by a bunch of students in May, while we were all shaking from the pandemic’s pressures. For many of us, it was a way to battle the psychological anguish caused by the pandemic. To be honest, when I first started, I genuinely believed it was impossible to execute; it was difficult since it was a massive work that had to be completed by individuals who had no prior knowledge of Minecraft. Most importantly, I had to work out the practicalities; I spent days finding out how to set up a server; there were a lot of students interested in the project, but they did not know anything. I spent practically every day cold calling folks from my institution and other people I knew to inquire how to build a server for such a huge project.I’ve seen that this is the typical path of successful initiatives; it takes time and effort, but it eventually happens. It was a wonderful 7 months of my life in which I dedicated myself to developing Ashoka Minecraft so that students may experience university life to some level and have something to look forward to at such a trying period. My university’s students do not have a strong work ethic. They will produce well-written research papers, but when it comes to implementing real-world, life-changing initiatives, they will be disengaged; they can be good supervisors, but not visionary leaders. Despite the fact that more than twenty students expressed interest in the project, none of them were able to assist me. I was severely demoralized since I couldn’t figure out the mechanics of the endeavor. Furthermore, it was difficult to locate gamers and coders at my institution because the majority of the students were majoring in economics and political science. My university’s sciences department is still lacking, but it is improving year after year. Finally, there was this person who got accepted into my institution, and I had known him for a few years and he used to ask me questions about Ashoka University, and he had also watched a number of my YouTube videos. His name was Shaun Stanley, and he came as an archangel to ensure that the project did not die. He used to play Minecraft, and he assisted me in setting up free servers so that I could create the Minecraft campus. I was relieved and saw some optimism. We began by configuring the servers; he had a premium account, but I had to use a free account online due to the cost of the membership. I believe we created free accounts using third-party websites. Initially, I got the idea to construct Minecraft from a close friend who shared some articles with me about what we can do in the event of a pandemic, and one of the things that another institution in the United States was attempting to do was to create a university campus. His name is Rohit Bhisikar, and I give him credit for coming up with the idea and showing me that this could be done. Many international institutions, such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley, have constructed their campuses in Minecraft, but Ashoka University was the first in Asia to do so. I recall that we began by constructing the university campus gate, which took us 20 days to complete. It was a difficult task because we were not on campus and thus had to rely on our memory and the university’s virtual campus tour, which was actually quite outdated, so we had to ask students for photos. Because we couldn’t get the scaling correct on the gate, we opted to design the campus on a 1:1 scale, which made the exteriors of the buildings look great but created a big obstacle in places where we needed to build the interiors as well. We also had a lot of trouble creating the campus perimeter; as you can see, the institution does not have a perfect rectangular boundary; instead, it is somewhat trapezium in shape, thus we had to figure out the measurements from google maps and convert them to Minecraft block dimensions. It was difficult to work at first since we didn’t know how to use the Minecraft program to construct, so every block had to be manually placed, but we learned codes, students from Washington University assisted us with coding, and we eventually improved our building skills. We erected the fences, the gates, and the smoking room, so there was at least something finished that made us feel good and gave us hope to keep going. With approximately 8 team members and some assistance from the office of student life, it took us about 6 months to build the entire campus on Minecraft. Every day, we used to spend almost 7–8 hours simply building the campus; we were all reasonably free and, more importantly, quite dedicated to building the university in Minecraft. We had to spend money out of our own pockets at first since no one at Ashoka understood what Minecraft was, and it was tough to convince the office to invest money on a project on paper. As a result, we had to fund the server with our own money, at least Rs. 2000 every month. Every product, no matter how wonderful it is, must be effectively marketed; I learned a lot about how to sell a project through this project; everything is determined by how the market perceives it, which is determined by how we sell it.I was in charge of the project’s marketing at first; we had Twitter and Instagram accounts, but we primarily used Instagram. I was a distinctly average video editor, so I utilized them to produce some decent Minecraft videos. They were well-presented, and people began sharing them on their social media accounts. Later on, we were joined by two additional people who took over our Instagram profile, and we quickly surpassed 1,000 followers; each of them did an excellent job, and it took a combined effort. It was incredible how similar the Minecraft campus appeared to the original one; it gave a platform for individuals to share the same place once again when common spaces had become less accessible.