The grand, impossible goal of “building the earth” overshadows the true effort put into every street and neighborhood. Only through showcase cinematics, such as those on the Honk Kong BTE team’s YouTube channel, do you see the true scale of the project. A massive network of teams works every day to build new areas with hurdles such as manually translating co-ordinates of buildings and detailing out diagonal facades… (Since buildings in real life don’t face the same 90 degree orientation on a perfect grid.)
The best way to explore the progress is in-person on the official servers, or on YouTube by searching for the individual Build Team or builders. I’ve placed some images below showing a tiny % of the builds. A network of Discord servers connects each team’s members to themselves, other teams and the wider world. Users can support the cost of running servers and time spent on the project through donations.
Building the Earth: Why, How and Who
The founder of BTE, PippenFTS, has his own channel where he shows humorous progress updates, plans and behind the scene problems. Build The Earth have their own website with a list of teams, maps, links and more. Lastly, there’s an official standalone BTE project channel with tutorials and showcase.
As PippenFTS puts it, he’s “just trying to beat the game”, and the purpose of the whole project is to push Minecraft to its limits and create something grand in collaboration with a global community of builders. In one video, Pippen had stated that the project will create a historical version of our world, frozen in time. For example, he referenced a detailed slum area built in-game that has become outdated, as the real counterpart has been bulldozed.
In another video he gave best case scenario estimates for the project’s completion, with comically large numbers into the hundreds of years if thousands of players dedicated their lives to building every day. For this reason, Build The Earth has shown interest in exploring new Minecraft tools and AI technologies that may one day assist the builders by automating the time consuming process. (For example, every building has to have it’s corners marked out manually by comparing co-ordinates to Google Maps.)
The project is on 1.12 but planning to update. All FAQ and info is on the mentioned official BTE website.