Madness: Entire World Of Warcraft Recreated In Minecraft

By Nathan Grayson on October 9th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

Lack of perfect one-to-one-ness can be chalked up almost entirely to my terrible Photoshopping abilities.

This is basically staggering. Have you ever considered building a ship in a bottle? Well, this is sort of like that – except someone essentially decided to build a bottle around a full-sized war galleon. In short, this is all of  World of Warcraft‘s Azeroth (read: no Outland, Northrend, or Pandaria… yet) recreated to 1:1 scale in another slightly popular game that prominently features “craft” in its title. Apparently, that herculean construction effort necessitated 68 billion blocks. And yet, one person managed it all by their lonesome. But how?

Well, pretty much exactly like this:

“I developed software to convert the continents of World of Warcraft into Minecraft blocks. The software converts everything in the game, including all the buildings and natural details, down to the individual tree stump. Once the parameters for the software have been set, the entire conversion process takes approximately 24 hours and requires no human intervention. Prior to the conversion process, I needed to match textures from World of Warcraft to the appropriate material in Minecraft.”

As a result, some locations didn’t entirely make the jump with all their proper colors intact, but – after looking through this before-and-after gallery – I still needed to de-slack my jaw, which had danced down to the floor in much the same fashion as a feather wafting on the breeze. Except faster and with more crashing into solid tile.

You can grab the entire 275 kilometer behemoth in these here parts – to the tune of a 2 GB download. Be warned, though: the actual map it ultimately generates will devour a whopping 24 GB of hard drive space. Worlds, as it turns out, are kind of big.

In other news, the most elaborate object I’ve recently crafted is a coffee creamer pyramid. It used significantly fewer than 68 billion coffee creamer packages – though probably more than you’d expect. These sorts of Minecraft projects, though, really put things in perspective. I mean, I can already hear my internal monologue going, “Why aren’t you creating Westeros and building The Wall out of artificial sweeteners, Nathan? Why aren’t you? What are you even doing with your life?”

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46 Comments »

  1. Zanchito says:

    Holy shit!

    Man, I love Minecraft. Crazy, crazy people.

  2. pupsikaso says:

    I wish this could be split up into smaller individual pieces… or at least a video to show it off? More screenshots?

  3. Nevard says:

    I’m scared

  4. Gothrek says:

    “MADNESS? This is MINECRAFT!”

    Had to do it

    • Hunchback says:

      Good one there! Still, i can’t help but wonder – why? And no, i don’t mean “why rebuild the WoW map into Minecraft”, i mean “Why write code that would automatically convert WoW data into Minecraft data and generate a map?” I mean, the whole point of the game is building crazy stuff by yourself, isn’t it?

      • Urthman says:

        There are several possible “points” to Minecraft. One of them is definitely “wander around exploring amazing landscapes.”

        And maybe if you’re a WoW player, the idea of designing and building your own castle in Everlook or on top of Stonetalon Peak would seem pretty nifty.

      • zaphod42 says:

        They’re not playing Minecraft the game, so those points don’t matter. They’re playing Minecraft the lego game software. They’re using it to make their own games using that engine. And indeed, writing the code and building the world, that itself is a game, just a different one.

        I mean, think about it. When it comes to legos, how much fun was playing with them, compared to how much fun was building them when you first got them? I loved putting them together.

        • noelkd says:

          For some people its not about the end product, this guy would have thought.. ” mhmm i wonder could I write something to convert the wow maps into a minecraft one.. that would be fun” then he did it. Now they exist if anyone does want them or part of them, which is cool!

  5. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    There are some places where it doesn’t work so well – flagpoles that alias badly, for example. But it’s still an awesome idea. Some great biomes coming out of it, like the sandstone / netherrack landscape.

  6. InternetBatman says:

    Finally, World of Warcraft without the people!

  7. Premium User Badge

    Cinek says:

    Man, your life really need to sux if you spend it on stuff like that.

    • lizzardborn says:

      He spend a few hours on a software automating this, that includes parsing processing/ reverse engineering a few APIs. If his life suck soon it won’t because some job offers are on their way. This guy is competent developer.

    • Hikkikomori says:

      He is obviously really good at coding and just implemented an atypical and intriguing project that I’m sure will be a proof of concept for many more to follow, by her/him and others.

      Get some difficult hobbies man, it’s worth it.

    • razgon says:

      Man, your life must really su(x)ck with reading skills like that.

      Anyways – Awesome project and idea! I’ll have to give this a spin before Blizzards lawyers lay down the law upon the file.

    • Rhin says:

      Man your life really sucks if you spend your time downing on people who accomplish impressive things

      Man, my life really sucks if I spend it downing on people whose life really sucks

  8. Fazer says:

    My first reaction was “Wait, haven’t you already covered it?”. And then I remembered I saw it earlier on Reddit.

    • Phantoon says:

      Yeah, it got covered a long, long time ago, when only Kalimdor was being worked on, I believe. I saw the beginning stages of it before reddit became so ubiquitous.

  9. Premium User Badge

    lowprices says:

    I can’t believe that the name correlation between Minecraft and WOW only just hit me. Clearly if I want to become rich then I will have to release a videogame with “craft” in the title.

    • Salt says:

      Trivia fact:
      Minecraft was named more-or-less after Starcraft (which itself was named after Warcraft). The name was suggested by indie developer Paul Eres. I say “more-or-less” as I don’t think he specifically said it should be named after Starcraft, but Paul is a fan of the game.

  10. phelix says:

    Speaking of madness, I really want someone to recreate the Shivering Isles 1:1 (with dungeons et al) in Minecraft.

  11. tehfish says:

    I got this working last night. some places fare better than others :)

    I also have new respect over just how huge the wow map is, teleported myself to Azeroth and it took absolutely forever just to walk to Ironforge.
    The scenery of blackrock mountain and surrounding area is particularly impressive, minecraft never generates such large mountains on it’s own!

    Now tempted to be very geeky and build minecraft rail lines all over it :)

    • running fungus says:

      Yeah, the import itself doesn’t stagger me, because like the Starship Enterprise in Minecraft before it, it wasn’t built by hand. But the great thing about these Minecraft imports is you can look at a map of what’s been created and decide to go there. Love it love it love it.

  12. GallonOfAlan says:

    I’m surprised more of this doesn’t go on. For example converting Minecraft maps into Cryengine and so on.

  13. Premium User Badge

    BubuIIC says:

    Technical question: How does WOW handle the huge map? Are there individual areas/loading times or do they manage to swap the active areas in and out seamlessly?

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      The continents are (almost) completely seamless. It’s extremely rare that you notice a slight slowdown when moving from one area to another, but you can walk (or fly) from one end of the continent to the other without one loading screen.
      The only exception are the former Burning Crusade areas which used to require a separate expansion. The Burning Crusade (and Wrath) are now part of the standard game package, so there’s no need for load screens there either anymore, but they haven’t gotten around to updating it yet.

    • Hunchback says:

      Not sure how it works in the background, but to the players every “continent” is only loaded once when you enter a zone on that continent, then everything’s just there and you can (with the later-on introduced flying mounts) really position yourself anywhere, with absolutely no loading. Apparently the map is loaded and managed on the client, while NPCs, PCs and other monsters seem to be “loaded” on the server and then sent over to the client(which is kinda logical).
      I suppose this is achieved by the really low-res textures WoW uses for the landscape and geography in general. Only things that could (have been, 5 years ago) be considered as somewhat higher-res textured are player armour and weapons.

      P.S. Wrath introduced “Phases” which are a sort of a parallel universe in which players can end up in function of their current quest progress. There’s no loading for phases either, even though they include modified scenery and/or NPCs and player characters and stuff occupying the same space in the world at the same time.

    • max pain says:

      Internally, the terrain is divided into tiles, that are loaded as your character comes in range but before you can see them, and unloaded when you get our of range. That’s why ‘view distance’ is important in games with huge worlds.

      In this sense, WOW handles this quite similar as minecraft, they both stream terrain data from disk, only that one has vector data, and the other voxel data.

    • Premium User Badge

      BubuIIC says:

      Thanks for the explanations!

    • Aatch says:

      I know you already got some answers, but as a programmer, I should be able to give a decent technical answer.

      Basically, with WoW you have the all the terrain already on your computer, also all the textures and models for all the characters and items. I haven’t played, so I don’t know about what customizations are available for characters, but that is a minor point.

      When you enter an area, the game loads all the terrain for that area and simultaneously request all the dynamic data from the WoW server. Dynamic data consists of Player data, NPC data, mob data and anything that can change frequently. Not all the terrain for a continent is loaded at once, and stuff further away is actually simplified. This is called LOD, or Level Of Detail. As you move around, the game will load and unload sections in order to make it seem like a smooth, consistent world. If you look carefully you can see transition points, but the “popping” of old has been mostly eliminated by a variety of techniques.

      In short WoW can handle such a big world, because much of the world is handled on your machine, at least all of the exceedling complex bits (physics, rendering etc.).

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        Wow doean’t have much in the way of level of detail hacks. Only the physical landforms get reduced to simplified shapes at large distances. They also render them untextured (grey outlines).

        The main trick is as max pain describes above, they fully load tile by tile before they have to display them, and unload as you depart.

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    Surlywombat says:

    I believe this was created by Blizzard, for the express use of making Warcraft look better in comparison shots.

    *polishes tin foil hat*

  15. Jupiah says:

    Oh wow, that’s reassuring. At first I was sure you were going to say he’s one of those sad, lonely weirdos with way too much free time who spend hundreds of hours hand-placing millions of blocks, like those losers that made the block-to-pixel scale model original gameboy Mario land stop motion video in Minecraft (each frame of the video required them to move every dark block 1 space to the right to simulate the screen scrolling – yes that is as insane as it sounds).

    But then you explain that he’s just a genius programmer. Damn that is impressive, this guy is going to have a very promising future in the tech industry.

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      Couldn`t they just use Redpower though?

    • Aatch says:

      There is more to it than them just being “losers” I participated in a marathon where a team of us constructed the now-demolished Christchurch Cathedral on a 1-1 scale in Minecraft. We did it for charity, to raise money to help the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery, but it was a lot of fun anyway.

      What people do in their spare time is up to them. I could program 24/7 but I would explode if I did that. So I play games, watch Doctor Who with the missus and relax in my time off. If I wanted to spend weeks or months making something ridiculous in Minecraft then that is my business, not yours.

  16. ShineyBlueShoes says:

    Ok I’m going to be the dork that points out that Northrend is part of Azeroth as it’s simply a continent and Azeroth is the world that holds it, the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor.

  17. jimmydean239 says:

    This is absolutely insane, and having walked around for a few hours, I really fancy logging into WOW again. Must stop myself, that road leads to ruin…..

  18. Bleiz says:

    Why are people not working?

    • Snakejuice says:

      Because if someone has to pay you to do something, it probably isn’t any fun.

  19. MadTinkerer says:

    And so, when the WoW servers inevitably go down (as sadly they must someday, for all MMOs exist to be mourned once they drop below a certain threshold of subscribers / kids with rich parents’ credit cards), we’ll have a decent backup. It’s better than what CoH got.

  20. Metonymy says:

    I’ll go ahead and state the obvious, since I’ll never have a chance to do this myself.

    A gameworld needs to be created from a digital image of the earth itself, combining satellite imagery, and hopefully a black-hat hack into security cameras worldwide.

    Then a team of a few thousand artists stylize and rework civilized areas, leaving wilderness mostly procedural, and then generating framework gameplay, hopefully as little like an MMO as possible. I was thinking movement using only the mouse, with most interaction handled directly through the microphone.

    World economy, worldwide pvp, pve super-projects, and bam you’ve got the killer app. Possible within 20 years, in my opinion.