Watch out, Minecraft players: selfie sticks are invading.
Minecraft‘s creative players have built everything from battle arenas to replicas of Westeros inside the game’s blocky confines. Now they’ll also be able to text selfies of their Minecraftavatars to their friends and video call real phones using their own in-game phone.
It’s all part of a Verizon-created Minecraft server that puts working cell phones (and the towers that power them) into the game. From these giant phone screens, players can browse the web, video call cell phones in the real world, and send text messages and pictures. Every video call isMinecraft-ized, with blocks filling in pieces of the actual image. Since Minecraft blocks are all the same size, you’ll need a huge cell phone display in the game to make sure the picture is clear.
Just like Minecraft crafting, you can also add a stick to a phone to make your very own in-game Selfie Stick.
“I’ve seen people make an iPhone before, but it’s always [a] simplistic thing,” said YouTuberSethBling, who’s been making Minecraft videos for the last four years for his now 1.9 million subscribers.
To power it all, Verizon’s programmers created an application that translates images from phone and web cameras into Minecraft blocks in real time. Your web browser sends each frame from your camera, and the application pixelates them by averaging the colors in every square region. It then maps each color in the frame to its closest match in Minecraft‘s palette of 48 blocks.
Something similar happens when you point your Minecraft phone’s web browser to any website. The application takes a snapshot of the page, then creates a blocky analog that’s sent back to the phone display. Due to webpage text size, these don’t usually translate as clearly — and certainly aren’t readable — but are recognizable nonetheless.
These aren’t using actual cell phone numbers. The video calls access a phone’s camera and microphone through a browser to simulate a video call. (Want even more technical details? There’s a GitHub.)
There have been notable Minecraft projects that have attempted to recreate tech before, including a word processor and a coding interface.
“Minecraft really gets the entire Internet to try and one-up each other,” SethBling explained.
If players want to access the Verizon Minecraft server to try it for themselves, they’ll have a bit of a wait — the program is still in beta, and Verizon hasn’t announced when the server will be open to all.