This year’s edition of r/place, Reddit’s massive communal internet mural project, has wrapped. Started on April 1, 2022, it brought together internet strangers with a common goal — filling a massively blank canvas, pixel by pixel. The usual ensued: lots of fighting over real estate for making memes, logos, and fan art. But one Redditor decided to track the project by recreating it in Minecraft, in a feat of code and engineering. The result is stunning and disorienting.
Redditor NickG365 made this mural come to life in the latest 1.18.2 version of Minecraft. Each pixel in r/place represents a tile in the game, and the result mirrors how they were placed in real life, on Reddit — those super tall stacks, in the video below, tell the story of territory disputes over pixels.
In a Reddit comment, NickG365 explained a bit about how it was done. (To be clear: These were not laid down by hand!)
I started by taking a look at how Reddit itself shows r/place in the browser to get an understanding of how it works. After that, it was just a weekend project’s worth of setting up servers to run it on and programming the Minecraft plugin. The plugin connects to Reddit’s servers and gets the same updates that they send out to everyone else, but knows which color should be which block in the game.
NickG365 had initially designed a flat version of the mural, within Minecraft. Watching it feels a bit like looking at the window as a plane lands, and spotting fields and neighborhood subdivisions.
Reddit’s r/place was carried off for the first time in 2017 — founded by Josh Wardle, whom you might know as the creator of Wordle. It remained the one time the massive social experiment was conducted, until another version was kicked off this year. In 2017, NickG365 had also made a live-updated version of the mural in Minecraft.