And now for the most impressive thing I’ve seen all day: a Minecraft cell phone that not only works, it can make video calls from inside the game. It’s amazing.
Here’s Minecraft YouTuber CaptainSparklez, demoing the build first-hand:
You might remember CaptainSparklez as Jordan Maron, the man who recently bought a swank mansion for $4.5 million thanks to the money he’s raised while streaming video games. This, I suppose, is an example of how he accomplished that: he starts the video saying that he worked with Verizon to build this contraption, and the YouTube description says the entire thing is sponsored. Still, though: even though this is an ad, the product of that partnership is really cool!
In the video, you can see Maron use the cell phone to browse the internet, as well as make video calls with other people. The game can’t really process images at high resolution, though, so video calls are rendered in blocks. It’s pretty neat, actually. That’s just what you see in-game, though. From the other end, whoever is receiving the call will see the caller as a Minecraft avatar, funnily enough. In addition to all of this, you can also use the Minecraft cell phone to take selfies and send them out into the world—but again, you’ll appear as your in-game avatar.
So, how’s it work? Here’s Verizon, describing what’s going on in the video:
In the world of Minecraft, almost everything is made of blocks. We’ve created a web application, Boxel, that translates real web pages and streaming video into blocks so they can be built on a Minecraft server in real time. Our server plugin uses Boxel-client to handle the communication between Minecraft and the real world as translated by the web application.
You can read more of the nitty gritty technical aspects at play here, where you can also download the entire thing yourself, if you’d like to try it out.