Just when you thought Minecraft couldn't get any better, two students at the MIT Media Lab have come up with a hack that makes the whole thing into a whole new dimension - literally.
Their application, Minecraft.Print(), is an attempt to "create a bridge between Minecraft and the real world" - and it does exactly what you'd think it might - by creating a fully programmable 3D printer that can be controlled by the game.
Here's the thing in action:
Cody Sumter and Jason Boggess explain that the procedure takes three simple steps (once you've got the printer set up, of course!). It's a matter of playing the game and making cool stuff, then preparing the area by laying down a specific combination of blocks, and then printing your creation directly to a MakerBot, RepRap or any other 3D printer. Technically, step four then is "show it off"!
The creative pairing have printed off a bunch of Companion Cubes (and why not?), as well as the Enterprise - but the sky's the limit for this one. The benefits of using Minecraft of course is that the game is so blocky originally that the translation to a physical object makes simple sense.
You can define the size of the finished object when it comes time to print - the maximum is, of course, set by the capabilities of your printer.
...and if you don't have the hardware yourself, Cody has hinted that - "if there is enough interest," he might be inspired to put together a web app or service that will print off your Minecraft creations, after a simple upload process.
I like video games, fishing, Depeche Mode, long walks on the beach, writing discussion papers and cups of tea. Not necessarily in that order.
Jimmy the Geek
Jimmy the Geek