MINECRAFT fans on the Isle of Wight have been invited to take part in a project to build their own virtual version of Newport.

Devised by Chris Gutteridge, computer programmer at the University of Southampton, Project Newport is a full scale reproduction of Newport in the computer game Minecraft — a computer game about designing and building anything from a simple house to a castle in the sky.

The project ties in with Joanna Kori’s Future reCollections exhibition at Quay Arts which looks at the past and present uses of the Quay Arts building.

Chris’ contribution was to expand on that idea with the whole town, and also consider what it’s future might be.

It’s a blank version of the town, fit for adaptation and Chris wants people taking get creative and build their own vision of Newport.

“They might want to rebuild what Carisbrooke Castle was like at a certain time in history, and have to look up how tall the walls were, or where the stables would have been,” said Chris.

“Or maybe fill the town with zombies. I reckon a couple of them will accidentally learn something,” he joked.

For Chris, the aim of the project is to help provide the engineering oriented education that wasn’t afforded to him when he was growing up on the Island.

There are dozens of amazing artists on the Island, he says, but when it comes to engineering and computers, there is very little for children to engage with.

Using open source data from the environment agency and OpenStreetMap, Chris wrote a program to combine the data and generate it in Minecraft.

In all, the project took him around 70 hours, compared to his previous endeavour which involved manually building Ventnor seafront and took around 500 hours.

Chris will be hosting a free drop-in at Quay Arts tomorrow (Saturday) between 1pm and 4pm.

He is also involved in the University of Southampton science and engineering festival which runs from March 11 until 19 and Chris hopes will encourage younger people from the Island to become involved in science and technology.

For more information, and to download Project Newport, visit: users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/cjg/newport/

Chance to make your own Minecraft Newport