The world can be downloaded and run by anyone—anyone with a licensed copy of Minecraft and 4 GB of RAM, that is. MolCraft is populated with structures of proteins and chemicals. Also included is some chemical history.
Besides running it on your own computer and exploring what’s already there, you can make your own molecules using the world’s building blocks.
Users are encourage to share their creations on Twitter with the hashtag #MolCraft.
Download links and instructions are available on the University of Hull Chemistry Department website.
The University of Hull students built MolCraft by porting protein structures from a protein database and from the free software Avogadro into Minecraft. “Chemists often build ball and stick models of molecules to help visualise them. The balls represent atoms and the sticks are bonds between them. By convention different atoms are represented by certain colours. We’ve stuck to this colour scheme by using dyed wool blocks.” The dyed wool blocks are standard Minecraft items.
Besides chemical models, MolCraft also offers hidden treasure chests that contain “goodies, puzzles, and quiz books.” The download website also offers to support teachers: “MolCraft is available in the EDU world library for use in schools. If you are a teacher and want to use it then get in touch and we can provide you with more supporting information.”