World of Warcraft is known for many things, one of them being its massive size. That might deter most from re-creating Azeroth, the setting of World of Warcraft, but not 27-year-old graduate student “Ramses” who spent about 100 hours on that exact project. To give you an idea of the size of his creation, it is 24 GB in size and in Ramses’s own words:
The current version of the map spans approximately 275 square kilometers and contains over 68 billion blocks. The highest part of the world, the peak of Mt. Hyjal, stands more than a kilometer above sea level.
The project is far from over, however, he is still adding new regions of the world of Warcraft and there is the question of NPCs and how the game will be played. Nevertheless, it is an amazing feat and has impressed both the communities, although no official word has been heard from Mojang or Blizzard as of yet.
The conversion was done by voxelization software developed by Ramses himself. To get a better idea of the process here is Ramses own words on the Minecraft forum where the beta is also available for download:
I developed software to convert the continents of World of Warcraft into Minecraft blocks using a process known as voxelization. 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. For example, an object with a wooden texture might be converted into wooden planks, while an object with a mossy texture might be converted into mossy cobblestone. I created a special program to help do this assignment, but selecting materials for all 10,000+ textures in the game still required many hours of work.
In an interview with Venturebeat Ramses revealed how the project came to be:
Porting content from popular video games into Minecraft is something that others have done before, but until now, no one has been able to do it at this scale. Such large-scale conversions are only possible with special tools, ones I knew I would have to design myself.
I’ve been a fan of the Warcraft series since I was a teenager, so the challenge was appealing to me. I also knew that the results would impress fans from both games, so there was a lot of motivation in that. When I realized it was something I was capable of doing, the temptation was hard to resist.
For those of you interested in finding out more, here is a link to the interview and the forum post where you can download the map as well.