A 15-Year-Old's Epic Quest To Rebuild The Whole Of Glasgow In Minecraft
Stephen Browning been working on the project every day since January 2013, with several more years to go. Now that's impressive geekery.
Minecraft is the insanely addictive video game that lets you build anything you want.
It's spawned a worldwide following that Microsoft recently decided was worth $2.5 billion.
When Steven Browning, 15, got Minecraft for his computer in January 2013 he started work on rebuilding Glasgow, block by block, all 175 square kilometres of it.
So if you can build anything at all, why Glasgow?
Steven was born and raised in the city, and says Glasgow deserves to be immortalised in Minecraft because of its unique history and culture. "It's also a bit of a challenge to try building the city," he told BuzzFeed News. "Especially as it's Scotland's largest."
Steven's first priority was recreating the block of flats, 123 Petershill Drive, where he grew up.
It's part of the troubled Red Road Flats complex. Steven still has an emotional attachment to the estate, where many of the buildings have either already been demolished or have been slated for demolition.
"I think it is wrong that Red Road is being demolished," he says, "seeing as the buildings are among the tallest in Glasgow, and when they were built were the tallest buildings in Western Europe."
The buildings are the only steel-framed high-rise structures in Glasgow. Steven has launched a campaign to save them.
So far Steven has begun work on 293 buildings.
Some of them are just the foundations, but 103 of them have full interiors. He plans for every building to have full interior fit-out.
Ultimately Steven wants to craft the whole city, including outlying areas such as Cumbernauld, Motherwell and Paisley.
He explains his methodology thus: "I use building plans to copy the floor plans, and Google Earth to measure the external wall sizes. Sometimes I may give a building its planned future look. For example, five 15-storey apartment buildings in the Wyndford area are currently being refurbished, which involves placing overcladding onto the buildings."
Steven says he loves the challenge of building the city, with its hills, curved roads, and curved buildings, to a high level of detail.
Steven spends between 15 minutes and five hours a day working on the project.
Sometimes more. And yet he's hard on himself, and thinks he should increase his efforts: "Despite all this work I think I'm working slower then I could be able to."
He refuses to cut corners.
When asked if it would be easier to just cut and paste identical buildings to new positions (which is possible using Minecraft edit software) Steven replied:
"I prefer to build a identical building from scratch, since some people, even myself, think that just copying everything using a program for other stuff is a little too lazy."