Blockdown Simulator

 

Hello Crafters,

During these troubling times during the COVID 19 pandemic, one of the most important things we can do is practice social distancing, while I understand that is hard at times, its something that is necessary to slow down the spread of COVID 19.

One of the benefits of  the stay at home orders for some of us, is getting some time to hop back on Minecraft to enjoy the fluid game play with that soothing Minecraft Music.

AKQA, has made a Minecraft map to help teach people effective strategies of staying at home during the pandemic. Its a map that support sthe United Nations Development Program and Heart17 for #TomorrowTogether in which a village is exposed to highly infectious Zombie Villagers.  As its name suggests, it’s a simulator designed to educate players about the impact of a pandemic, its effects on healthcare services, and how various social measures can mitigate it. It is by no means an accurate model of the Covid-19 pandemic but is simply meant to visualize the concept in a digestible way with the help of Minecraft. AKQA has released this map for free for everyone to download and enjoy on the Java edition of Minecraft.

 

In Blockdown Simulator, you act either as an observer or take a more active role as a nurse. While the map isn’t locked to a specific game mode, it is recommended that you experience it in creative hard mode in order for the simulation to generate the right circumstances. Once this is done, you can toggle between three different scenarios within the game: free-for-all, quarantine, and lockdown.

The map itself consists of two levels. First, we have the village, the main area in which our brave Villager inhabitants live. In the middle of the village stands a tower, and at the very top of it is a vantage point, full of levers and buttons – all clearly marked with its function so even a blockhead like myself (my head is literally a block, just look at my avatar) can use it. The control tower doesn’t just offer a nice top-down view of the entire village – it’s also used to simulate the outbreak by spawning Villagers and Zombie Villagers, raising or lowering houses, as well as locking or unlocking doors.

By toggling between different variables in the control tower, players can observe how quickly Villagers can turn into Zombie Villagers. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be permanent. Zombie Villagers need to recover and return back to Village society no matter the cost – which brings us to the second level: the hospital.

Positioned beneath the village and accessed through an elevator in the tower, the hospital is an underground facility from which players can monitor and cure infected Villagers. They do this with the help of some state of the art technology: Zombie Intensive Care Units (ZICUs), clever machines that bring infected patients down to the hospital through trap doors on the surface. When this happens, Zombie Villagers get automatically splashed with a potion of weakening, which is all part one of the curing process. To simulate a real-life healthcare system, only one Zombie Villager can occupy a ZICU at a time. The rest is up to the player, who has to administer golden apples to all patients in order for them to fully recover. Once healed, the villager can return to Villagerkind again.

Blockdown Simulator may aim to educate players about the nature of pandemics, but it is nowhere near complete. On the contrary, Joseph and Hugo even encourages players who enjoy the map to share it in order to both spread awareness and also help develop the map even further:

“Blockdown Simulator will always be in beta,” says Hugo. ”If you are a developer, modder, data scientist, or just a tinkerer, please build upon, hack, or even remake it. We would love to see it evolve into, or inspire, a more compelling tool.”

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