Watch: An 18-year-old built the 'entire known' Universe on Minecraft, block by block
The universe took billions of years to form, but 18-year-old Christopher Slayton spent less than two months recreating the "entire known universe" down to the nitty gritty details comprising the solar system, the famous Pillars of creation, clusters of galaxies, and powerful galactic entities.
He created the universe on Minecraft, a game that allows people to build complex stuff using blocks.
Slayton's universe on Minecraft is mind-blowing, with the most stupendous views that could easily pass off as realistic elements. Under the handle ChrisDaCow on his Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube handles, Slayton has been posting videos of his Minecraft builds since 2019. Perhaps then, it is no surprise that the high school graduate spent months perfecting what is possibly his biggest 'build' yet.
"Everyone freaks out about the power and expansiveness of the universe, which I never really got that much," he told The New York Times. After working for a month and 15 days to build the celestial world and an additional two weeks to create a YouTube video unveiling it, "I realized even more how beautiful it is," he said.
The teenager had documented the project on his YouTube channel, which has 3.7 million views as of now, and shared the building process on a viral Reddit thread.
Zooming into the Earth first
Slayton first began on home ground. "The only way to truly appreciate the beauty of our planet is by jumping out of an airplane," he said in the video. And so he skydived from an airplane to gauge the planet better.
But, though Slayton felt like he saw a lot, it wasn't nearly enough to build the entire planet. So, he referred to his "trusty friend, the globe". It helped him "measure the exact location of every continent to perfectly replicate the planet."
Once he 'built' the Earth and the planets — Saturn and the hues and tilts of rings being a massive challenge — he moved on to the Sun. Slayton used the brightest blocks in Minecraft to create the fireball and even added solar flares to make it look alive.
But he wanted more
"I wanted the entirety of existence itself to be within my grasp," he says in the video.
The Minecraft hiked up to a mountain, armed with a telescope to observe the cosmos and collections of stars and dust. "We were surrounded by the cosmos, millions of stars right before our eyes,” Slayton says in the video.
Building celestial wonders by the block
Slayton researched black holes ("The hardest thing I've ever built in my nine years of playing the game," he says in the video) and dove into one of the "most famous space photos" - the Pillars of Creation to create the nebula, and even relearnt the Pythagorean theorem and other possible Math concepts to ensure his creation was accurate and up to scale.
In the video, Slayton describes the meticulousness of his project that came to life from a jumbled lot of ideas and sketches on his notebook and whiteboard.
According to the Times, Slayton was relieved after fishing the Minecraft Universe. He hadn't been sleeping well over the two months and ended up with a cold.
The YouTuber will be starting a job as a lifeguard soon while focusing on his YouTube content. He also hopes to move his production from his bedroom to a studio to continue making his builds.
Slayton says he is not the first to make the Minecraft universe, but his version has resulted in an extraordinary one, this time, just a "click away."
Engine technology has come a long way since the dawn of the Space Age.