By Blake Gattuso, Nate King, Aditya Mynampaty, William Osborne, VI Form; and Tommy Flathers, V Form
Minecraft St. Mark’s: An Engineering Final Project
Minecraft. What was once just a video game to us became this Engineering team’s means of production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The original goal of our group was to build a platform (Image 1) through the Cross Country team’s “Grove of Champions.” It would encourage spectators to make the hike into the course and allow them plenty of space to stay out of the way of the race while also providing a great, elevated place to take pictures of the runners. We went to work designing the platform, buying the materials, and we finished construction of the deck’s main frame; we expected to finish our observation platform once we returned from March Break. COVID-19, however, interrupted our plans. As we could no longer congregate at school, we did what engineers do and looked for another solution. Could we build the deck virtually?
When we, Aditya Mynampaty, Blake Gattuso, Nate King, and Will Osborne, pitched the idea to Mr. Bauer, that we would build the platform in Minecraft, he challenged us to do more. He wondered whether we could build the whole school. Up to the task, we said, “why not?” Will and Nate made the initial progress, providing us with a strong foundation for the cloisters (Image 2) and chapel, respectively. As we began adding details and building upward, it was apparent we could use another team member. Tommy Flathers offered to help and his impact was immediately noticed. He helped refine the whole school, particularly Belmont Chapel (Image 3) and the Main Dining Hall (Image 4).
It was an all-around team effort, led by elected captain Blake, as we went through many phases of breaking down foundations and restarting. Particularly challenging was getting the appearance of proportionality, while still allowing enough room to build inside because we could only use 1m x 1m blocks. We went through many iterations of hallway sizes, repeatedly tearing down roofs and walls just to rebuild them one or two blocks larger. On one occasion, after Will had spent hours on the admissions parlor (Image 5) and front, right side of the main building, we were forced to tear it all down. That hallway was not equal in size to the English hallway (Image 6), and we were not able to shrink the English wing since we needed space for classrooms. Small changes required massive overhauls. Aditya and Tommy were particularly instrumental in maintaining our attention to detail with regards to the proportionality. Aditya also had one of the most incredible creations of the project, a series of “note blocks” (Image 7) that played “For the Splendor of Creation” (see video) when a character stepped on the piano’s bench in the chapel. Overall, great teamwork, ingenuity, and an innovative spirit gave our group huge success and a beautiful product, though, even after 100+ collective hours, it is still a work in progress.
We were disappointed to learn that we would not be able finish our platform before the end of the school year, but we still plan on finishing the construction of our deck if and when it is possible for us to reconvene on campus (Image 8). Our project in Minecraft was a great substitute and allowed us to feel connected to our school in our final days here.
Blake Gattuso is a VI form day student from Southborough, Massachusetts. He loves running and being a member of the cross country team. Outside of sports, Blake can be seen hanging out with friends in the Cage or Burnett and studying economics and history.
Nate King is a VI Form day student from Holliston, Massachusetts. His favorite subjects are history and science, and he enjoys playing soccer in his free time.
Aditya Mynampaty is VI Form day student from Southborough, Massachusetts. In his spare time, he enjoys running, reading, playing video games, and watching football.
Will Osborne is a VI form boarding student from New York City. His favorite subjects are English and science, and he enjoys spending time with friends.
Tommy Flathers is V form day student from Southborough, Massachusetts. His favorite subjects include math and history, and he also enjoys playing soccer, singing, and rowing crew.