An article on BBC Newsbeat intrigued me recently. It seemed to suggest that an estate agent was actually prepared to pay someone to replicate some of their properties in Minecraft.
As this blocky digital world seems to be the obsession of every 5 to 15-year-old on the planet, I thought I really should find out what all this is about. (Ok, so I’m a little over the aforementioned age range myself, but you’re never too old to be a kid again are you?). Paying children to make Lego-style digital houses? Surely not!
As it turns out, this was a genuine offer – though they did ask for only those over the age of 16 to apply. Luxury UK private residences specialist Elysian Estates, who, it seems, rent out an eclectic mix of some of the most dramatic and awe-inspiring properties in the country – from castles and manor houses to the ultimate in seaside homes and swanky city pads – decided that the best way of promoting their portfolio of properties was to digitise them into Minecraft. This may seem insane, well it is a little, but I have to admit that I’ve since seen some stunning YouTube video fly-throughs of incredibly intricate structures and buildings created by some unbelievably talented Minecraft designers.
Unfortunately for Minecraft fans it’s too late now to apply as I’m afraid the closing date was 18 April, but it would be interesting to see what the winning cube cobbler could create for this agency.
However impressed I may have been by the Minecraft wizards I’d witnessed, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the whole idea was still a little loopy. Minecraft is, after all, a game version of a very basic AutoCAD equivalent system, so why not ditch the whole low-resolution blocky world of online gaming and pay a designer to create a proper 3D walk-through. It would be more detailed, could be rendered to be more accurate to the original, and it would be easier for others to navigate once produced.
Then there is the crème de la crème – the latest in 360 degree photographic tours – incredibly sophisticated technology that can create immersive 3D walk-throughs by using specialist camera equipment. This allows the viewer to guide themselves through every room in a property as they would actually see it if they were really there, to view it from any angle, to zoom in or out, to see the entire property in 3D plan view and more. This is amazing tech and when compared with Minecraft, well, it makes the game phenomenon look like a chocolate Ferrari next to the real thing – it may be fun, but there’s no substitute for the real thing!
So, if you have a portfolio of luxury properties to rent or sell, which tech would you prefer to use to help you in your task – the blocky children’s world of Minecraft or the stunning sophistication of a 360 degree photographic tour? Chocolate Ferrari anyone?