Virtual Worlds: Minecraft Club Promo Video!

Our Virtual World is now 6 months old! To celebrate we decided to create a short promotional video to showcase all the amazing and creative things our students have built. I am looking forward to what else we will achieve this year as the club has grown significantly since the start of the school year. If you are interested in the history of the Minecraft club you can see some of our previous blogposts.

Minecraft: Building Virtual Worlds – The Origin story of our Minecraft world!
Virtual Worlds: A Home away from Home – Building and Living in a Virtual World during COVID-19 Shutdown.
Virtual Worlds: The Great Wall Initiative – Securing the frontier, and the start of group adventures.
Virtual Worlds: Building a Community Village – How to build a community village and helping new players.

Enjoy the video!

Virtual Worlds: Building a Community Village


We have spent a week now with monsters roaming the realm, mostly outside the city gates and walls. There have been a few times where attempts to get inside the protective walls of the city occurred, but in all cases our villagers were successful in holding back any invasion from creatures. With the community acclimatizing to this new way of life, we moved onto our next communal project – Village Building.

We sat down this week to plan the specific structures we wanted to create in the ‘starter’ community village (this was the area we carved out a border for in the initial week of the simulation). Students brainstormed buildings, services, landmarks, and other elements that they wanted to see in the community village. We assigned a project leader to each item and that student was responsible for the planning, resource gathering and eventual building of the structure at the agreed upon location. We used an aerial view map to determine where we would like these buildings built.

Some of the building’s students came up with:

  • Market
  • Town Square / City Hall
  • Garden(s)
  • Harbour / Docks / Fishing Huts
  • Bridge (Linking the 2 sides of the river together)
  • Amphitheatre
  • Restaurant
  • Prison / Dungeon
  • Barracks / Training Grounds
  • Courthouse
  • Announcement / Billboard
  • Disposal Area / Waste Processing
  • Castle / Fort
  • Hotel
  • Bunker
  • Storage Warehouse

Students have been busy creating the structures so that the community village is well equipped to welcome new players with an assortment of services and amenities!

Virtual Worlds: The Great Wall Initiative


As of this week there is an abundance of personal homes, gardens, farms, mines, industrial areas, and road networks built by students. When we first created this virtual world we had disabled “monsters” or ‘mobs’ as they are called in the Minecraft community (A mob is a living, moving game entity. The term “mob” is short for “mobile”). These creatures offer an element of adventure and challenge but often can be overwhelming for new players as they have to learn both the building, creating and crafting aspect of the game, alongside survival and fighting off potential monsters and creatures in the wild.

Now that everyone is well situated, has a home, and equipment crafted for survival, hunting and protection several students in the community were advocating for mobs to be turned back on in the world for making adventures exciting and unpredictable as well as to be able to harvest rare materials needed for more advanced building. There were also those students that did not want Monsters enabled as they like having a sense of safety and not having to constantly be on guard and to put their creations at risk, etc.

Both positions had very valid points! After discussing the issue with the entire community last week, we all agreed to a compromise, and our first community project was born – The Great Wall Initiative. We agreed that before we re-enable mobs we will need to secure our communities, towns and homes, therefore we decided to build walls and gates around all areas we wish to be secured from Monsters.

This way we can achieve:

  • Community Safety inside the borders of towns
  • Adventure and Risk outside the borders.

Students have been coordinating how and where to build wall segments, different designs for walls, using different materials to keep out different creatures, (for example jumping spiders!)

Some excerpts from our Minecraft Google Classroom:

“I would really appreciate it if some of you would help me get some stone bricks for the village walls. Then put them in the chest that I made, so that I can use it to either start making the wall tonight or tomorrow. Depending on how much you guys help me, i could finish in 2-3 days. If you guys don’t help we might have to wait until next week for mobs since it is going to take a while to make the amount of stone brick I need for the wall.

Also, I know cobblestone would be easier, but I personally think that stone brick looks better.”
– Jack S.

“I and Oliver are offering to make walls around your houses so we can get mobs back easier, if you are interested, please leave a comment under this post about it.
You can also be specific of how big you want it to be”
– Fionn B.

As of today, many of the student built communities and houses have walls and gates protecting them from the wilderness, once we finish the entire project we will re-enable monsters in the world to create a new sense of excitement and adventure, as venturing outside the walls will now have an element of risk, where players will need to carefully think of supplies they will need, and rely on each other for safety.

Check back again next week to see how this new phase of our Virtual World has evolved!

Virtual Worlds: A Home away from Home


When we first embarked on this virtual journey there was nothing but wilderness: forests, rivers, canyons, green fields, and wild animals in this new environment. Our virtual world is now 43 days old and has been running almost 24/7 (minus some downtime during classes). The initial week of getting situated and figuring out what we as a community wanted to build was quite structured, we discussed community rules, being a responsible virtual villager, the essentials of settling in a new world (building shelter, respecting borders, sharing resources, etc.) After that initial phase, we removed most of the structured goals and activities and observed what the students would create on their own during club time and on their own time.

It has been an absolute pleasure observing the birth of a vibrant community created by students cooperating, planning, gathering resources and helping each other build whatever they saw fit. I witnessed the creation of not just buildings that acted as shelter, but actual homes – all with unique individual designs and aesthetics. The further I explored I found:

  • Hidden Green Spaces and Community Gardens
  • Sustainable Houses with vegetable gardens and farm animals
  • Intricate road networks for travelling between communities
  • A ‘Sea Turtle’ farm situated in a small canyon water reservoir
  • Industry and Mining areas for resource extraction to build structures from new materials
  • Forges and Workshops to create new and better items for community members

I look forward to seeing what else this community will create in this new world! Next week we will be bringing some more structured goals back, specifically the ‘Great Wall Initiative’ and the development of our community village with public buildings for new players.

Minecraft – Building Virtual Worlds

On Wednesday April 29th, 15 curious explorers embarked on a grand adventure to explore a new world. One by one each player opened their digital eyes to a small river winding its way through lush green hills, surrounded by a dense forest cuddled at the bottom of a mountainside. After some brief exploration of their new environment, the first foundation block of a new village house was built and placed in the ground, and with that The YMCA Academy Minecraft world was born.

During the first session, we spoke about the challenges players may face interacting in a virtual world. Students were asked to create a list of community guidelines, rules and outcomes for specific scenarios and behaviours that may happen in a living, breathing virtual environment where many complex issues can arise. How do we resolve conflicts using Rust servers? What happens if there is a land dispute? Who gets to claim resources to the south of the village? The discussion was very thorough and students came up with a list of how they would like to govern this new virtual frontier.

After we had reached a consensus on how we will interact as a community the first bold steps were made to establish our new village. We had agreed to carve out a specific piece of land, which was designated the communal village, and inside these borders no player could claim ownership of property, or build without approval from the rest of the community. Within the span of a few hours, several small huts were constructed just outside of the village, to act as personal homes, and a base where students can build, craft, and launch expeditions from. As the day went on, groups of explorers left the communal village and explored the depths of the forest finding new resources, treasures, and even another village inhabited by NPCs (non-player characters).

The first session of the Academy’s Minecraft club surpassed my expectations in almost every way, and I eagerly await the adventures to come this coming Wednesday as we continue to explore and socialize in this new virtual world.