With Minecraft mania continuing to sweep the nation and the world, is there a way it can be used to help further your child’s talent? Well, maybe. It depends on the skill set your child wants to develop. For my one son who is more focused on metal work, Minecraft has no useful purpose. For my other son who is into areal filming with his remote control drone, it might have a useful purpose. As of yet though, he is unable to get over the stigma of Minecraft being a younger child’s entertainment tool. I might still be able to get him to reconsider. The Minecraft software has this amazing ability to render 3D landscapes very quickly and you can fly within the landscape of your choice and in and around any buildings you design. It would be a cheap and efficient way to work out the various best flying patterns and camera angles BEFORE getting to an real onsite video shoot.
However, there is one younger son for whom Minecraft is starting to prove very useful. Gideon is 10 years old and he is interested in developing some design architectural skills for restaurants. If you are not familiar with Minecraft, it probably needs to be clarified that it is not one-size-fits all piece of entertainment software. After you download the required core Minecraft software (a one time fee of $27), there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of resource packs and modules that you can choose from. The add-ons enhance the virtual world in any number of ways that you want.
Back to Gideon: with the help of an older brother, he found a server site that is particularly keen on attracting other young designers who are interested primarily in critiquing each other’s layouts, rather than chasing and blowing up each other. I have a book on architectural grammar (“Archetypes in Architecture” by Thomas Thiis-Evensen) that I bought years ago, that I’m now reading one very small section at a time to Gideon. After our readings, he goes to his online Minecraft server and applies some of the principles he is learning to his buildings. Right now, he is working on the application of concave and convex walls and vertical walls and low walls to influence the movement and flow of the people in and around a building.
Is it fair that this young boy gets to use Minecraft to help fuel the fire of his talent? Probably not when you consider that most young people will not get to do anything close to designing interesting 3D buildings they can walk around in until they are in late high-school or in college. But then talent is not at all about being average in behavior and about bringing average value to the world. It is about seizing every opportunity at as young an age as possible while still keeping the fire alive. If Minecraft can be one of the bricks on the path to Gideon’s success, we will gladly embrace Minecraft in my household.