After spending four years building Chicago out of virtual blocks, an 18-year-old from the north suburbs unveiled an intricate Minecraft map of downtown on Saturday.
Ryan Zull, a New York University student who grew up in Deerfield, posted the model on Reddit under his username, Koodoo25. At a 1-to-2 scale, it’s among the most detailed models of the city ever made in Minecraft.
The model lets users navigate Chicago’s Loop and areas just north of and west of the river, including the Wrigley Building, Willis Tower, Trump Tower, Millennium Park and Jeanne Gang’s Aqua.
Minecraft, which was first released to the public in 2009 and bought by Microsoft in 2014, is one of the best-selling video games ever, according to Time. Minecraft is a sandbox video game, which means it has no rules and it’s up to gamers to create their own experiences. It allows users to build and explore worlds where they can compete or work alone or together.
Zull said he first started working on the model in July 2013, though the work wasn’t continuous, and the project sometimes sat untouched for as long as a year.
He’s not the first to publicly release a Minecraft model of Chicago — another Reddit user posted one in 2015. But Zull’s is more than twice as detailed as that model, by scale.
“I started by making Mies van der Rohe‘s Federal Plaza and eventually worked my way outwards from there,” Zull said in an email. “All the buildings and streets were created directly within Minecraft. … All the design is done by measuring dimensions of buildings and streets in Google Maps and fitting them into the Minecraft world as proportionately and accurately as possible.”
He unveiled his Chicago map on Reddit Saturday and quickly gathered acclaim. But Redditors were also instantly curious about the project’s future and were quick to request additions. One user asked if Navy Pier and Lincoln Park would be built, while another asked about CTA lines.
Zull said the model is a work in progress and that he plans on building all of downtown.
“There may be a few tiny details or dimensions a little bit off, but everything down to the placement of streetlights and trees was done to recreate what I saw in Google Maps Street View as accurately as I could,” he wrote on Reddit.
Minecraft players can download a playable version of the map themselves on Planet Minecraft. As of 4 p.m. Monday, 515 people had downloaded it.