Minecraft has long been known for its vast potential. You can pretty much build anything you want. After the introduction of Redstone on March 13, 2013, people have been experimenting with the limits of the game’s mechanics. I find this so fascinating because, theoretically, you could build a computer that could run Minecraft. If the game allowed for such a massive world, you could literally create a computer that could simulate the universe that we’re living in right now.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but this game is just so impressive. One user, by the name of legomasta99, created his own quad-core computer in Minecraft! It took an incredible 2 years just to finish it!
You might be thinking this sounds impossible, but items in Minecraft align surprisingly close to computer components. All computers are made of just one thing: an “on-off” switch, known as transistors. Everything on your computer – the CPU, GPU, RAM, Hard Drive, etc. – is as simple as a large series of light switches. In Minecraft, Redstone essentially acts as electricity, which, in combination with pistons, can trigger a sequence that leads to a working computer.
I could go on about NAND gates and logic structures, but that’s a little too much info for this article. Legomasta does a really great job of explaining what he built. What he made is essentially a virtual machine, or a computer running inside of a computer. Anyone can download and use these, so you might be wondering, “Who cares?”
The reason this one is so impressive is that it was built with the limiting factors of the videogame, such as the world size, processing power to render the world, and Redstone speed. As for the functionality of the computer, it’s able to take in commands and give back a variety of outputs. It can make a random drawing, draw a smiley face on the not-so-high resolution display, multiple numbers, and run the Fibonacci sequence.
Many of these functions might not seem too impressive, but you need to keep in mind that your computer is made of billions of transistors. The Minecraft world doesn’t even have the space for that big of a computer. Also, Redstone takes way more time to move than electricity, so it would be immensely slow to run, and the more Minecraft simulations you run, the slower it gets. As Antoine Casol stated on Quora, it could take the entire length of our universe to run Minecraft after just one embedded Minecraft. But, this does raise an interesting question, could you run ‘Minecraft in Minecraft’?
Yep! Although, due to the speed of the Redstone and pistons, the FPS would be really slow, likely one frame for many hours. Hans Lemurson made a less demanding version of Minecraft where a player can move across a screen, and it looked pretty good, so that’s a proof of concept of sort.