MineCraft – Journey to the Origin

in 1864 Jules Verne published A Journey to the Centre of the Earth which popularised fiction about travelling to the centre of the earth. In reality, you would get a very small proportion of the way to the centre before it would be impossible due to heat and pressure besides other problems. But there might be another place where such a journey is possible.

Assuming each block to be a cubed metre, this is how Minecraft compares with other celestial bodies in our solar system

Minecraft worlds are just the kind of place that you might be able to find the centre of the World. The one big difference between our world and a Minecraft world is that our world is spherical and a Minecraft world is flat.

But it is still huge! According to the developers of Scale of the Universe, it is comparable in size to Neptune!

How could we go about finding the centre of this world?

Using coordinates

We use coordinate systems to find locations. In the real world, we have longitude and latitude or OS coordinates to help us find places. So the centre of the world could be thought of as the point where zero longitude meets zero latitude. This would be a point somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean a few hundred miles south of Accra in Ghana.

Actually, there is an interesting app that has split the surface of the world up into Minecraft like squares and given each one a 3 word address which you can use to find any point on the surface of the planet. In this system, the centre or zero longitude meets zero latitude has the address prosecuted.amplification.showings

Minecraft also uses a coordinate system. Each block is given a set of numbers that link it to the coordinate system of the world. If you press the F3 key on your keyboard, you will be able to see the statistics for the world including which coordinate or block you are at, which block you are looking at and lots of other information.

Here is the part of the data that shows you where you are in the Minecraft world. In this example, I was at block 64 64 64. Each number shows you how many blocks away you are from the origin or block 0 0 0.

This little diagram shows you the actual axes of the world. The directions are named X, Y, and Z. Y (the green line) is the simplest as it is the up-down direction and there is are no negatives in this direction (for those who know Minecraft, what do you think happens if you try to get below the level where Y = 0?).

The X direction (the red line) is East-West, with East being the direction where the X coordinate increases and West being the direction where the X coordinate decreases. If you’re facing in the X direction, that axis disappears. If you can only see the green and blue lines, you must be facing West or East.

The Z direction (the blue line) is the north-south (North being negative, South being positive).

Your challenge is to work out the smallest amount of blocks you need to connect Block 64 64 64 to Block 0 0 0.

Here’s an example of a path starting. I’m heading West and have used just wood blocks. Feel free to use which ever blocks you like.

We will launch a competition linked to this challenge in November so please watch this space, or even better, subscribe to this post to keep informed. You can subscribe by clicking this link.

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