Brick by brick, they will rebuild Besançon in 1722 on Minecraft, the fantastic cooperative project of these video game fans

Brick by brick, they will rebuild Besançon in 1722 on Minecraft, the fantastic cooperative project of these video game fans
Brick by brick, they will rebuild Besançon in 1722 on Minecraft, the fantastic cooperative project of these video game fans

The project is called “Besacraft” and it is open free to all amateur builders. Nicolas Jeudy proposes to recreate in the world of Minecraft the capital of Comtoise as it was in the 18th century. An incredible challenge for young and old children, video game enthusiasts or not.

The construction site is gigantic. “It’s true that it may take time”, smiles behind his beard Nicolas Jeudy. But nothing to scare the 46-year-old computer scientist. He has always been a gamer and he likes challenges. “I was born with the computer, I started with Pong, the very first video game, and when I was a student, I was one of the first to take out a Minecraft lifetime license for a few euros, even before its release, to help with the development of the game”, he tells France 3 Franche-Comté.

It was he who imagined and designed “Besacraft”. The objective is to faithfully reconstruct, in the world of the Minecraft video game, the city of Besançon (Doubs) as it was precisely in 1722, once fortified by Vauban.

It was when I saw the relief map in the Musée du Temps that I got the idea. I said to myself that it would be really interesting to be able to walk around freely, to measure its true scale, to have a real representation of the ramparts. And Minecraft allows you to do just that.

Nicolas Jeudy, designer of “Besacraft”.

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The relief map visible at the Musée du Temps in Besançon gives a very precise view of the city in 1722.

© Nicolas Jeudy

So he created a dedicated server. Access is completely free. He also carefully prepared the ground. Around twenty hours of work already to redraw the exact topography of the Loop over six square kilometers. But the game is far from won in advance. In the game, the blocks are only one meter by one meter.“It looks like Lego, but you have to bring all the resources on site, the materials and the tools, because at the beginning, there is nothing, you also have to put up scaffolding when it is too high and it Above all, we must feed the builders and therefore bring them something to eat.”adds Nicolas Jeudy who deliberately complicated the task.

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Nicolas Jeudy prepared the ground for the player-builders and recreated the topography of Besançon in 1722.

© Emmanuel Deshayes – France Télévisions

Since Le 97, the third place in Battant where he works on a daily basis, notably organizing activities for the youngest, he has been fighting to put cement back together among the residents of the neighborhood.

What interests me is to recreate links, to seek out people in real life, children, adolescents, parents, and to make them play, work, learn together thanks to video games.

Nicolas Jeudy, designer of “Besacraft”.

This is why the project will be primarily collaborative. “The goal is to break away from these games where you have to be the strongest, the best, the richeste, he specifies. There will in fact be two dimensions: a first imaginary space where we will play in a classical way, but where we can also contribute to making the necessary resources, in the second place which is that of the historical reconstruction of Besançon.”

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The building area covers 6 square kilometers and is completely bare.

© Nicolas Jeudy

The architect of this small virtual universe also hopes that the inhabitants of Besançon will take advantage of “Besacraft” to rediscover their history and their heritage thanks to this great construction game. “We will already try to build the ramparts, redo the contours of the city, the Battant bridge, the Citadel and only afterward, we will build the houses“, says Nicolas Jeudy. But, apparently, the mischievous computer scientist still has many surprises in store.

The curious will in any case be able to get to know “Besacraft” at the Ludinam festival, organized by the Collectif LUdique Bisontin from May 3, 4 and 5, 2024. “We hope to be able to build in two days the Royal Gate which closed the city in front of the Pont Battant, at the entrance to the Grande Rueexplains Nicolas Jeudy in front of the plan of the building that he found in the Departmental Archives. We have to convert the dimensions which are in toises and find players to do it.”

There will be six computers on site, connected to a network, to invite visitors to embark on the adventure and start laying the first stones. ‘We’ll see if people are interested and ready to get to work!’ confides Nicolas Jeudy.

It is the best-selling video game in the world. He sold himself to 238 million copies. Minecraft was designed by a Swedish developer, Markus Persson. He designed the program in just a week, at home, in his free time. The first version of Minecraft was released on May 17, 2009 and was an immediate success. Less than a year later, the game had already been downloaded 6 million times thanks to by word of mouth on social networks.

The principle of Minecraft is that of a “sandbox” game. He dives the player in a universe composed of cubes or “voxels” which represent different materials like earth, sand, stone, water, lava or ores (iron, gold or coal). These cubes form mountains, caves, trees or will be used to raise buildings.

The player can modify this set at will by adding or removing blocks. And even if the graphics of the game are quite rudimentary, some have managed to recreate real landscapes, entire cities or famous monuments with astonishing precision: the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, the Vatican, the city of New York or even the Titanic. For 7 years, for example, a player known under the nickname Zedh74 and three other of his companions have gradually and meticulously reconstructed the entire city of Amiens. A few years ago, uA young 20-year-old landscaper also undertook the same project in the Gironde city.

Many gamers today share their creations on YouTube. A creator named Dream has gained nearly 32 million subscribers just from videos of him playing Minecraft! In 2022, Emmanuel Macron created a surprise by also campaigning for the presidential election on Minecraft. Markus Persson sold his company to Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion.

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