When it comes to games and toys, Minecraft is another way students and adults are learning BIM but caught up in a virtual and open environment, explains Sarah Lorek from Trimble.
If you’ve never heard of it, Minecraft is a video game that depicts a virtual land where users can create their own worlds and experiences using building blocks, resources, and creativity. There aren’t many rules, and gamers are free to build anything and explore in their own way. Because of this flexibility, it has become popular among kids and adults alike.
BeIMCraft stands for Built Environment Information Modelling Craft. According to the BeIMCraft site, the goal of the game is to “reflect the interdisciplinary nature and requirement for collaboration with the built environment’s supply chain by challenging pupils to consider planning issues, health and safety risk, structural aspects, sustainability, and cost when creating their 3D world.” As an example, the game requires students to first place foundations when creating their building, and there are even height limitations before stability becomes a concern.
The game aims to closely align with the BIM and construction process by having collaborative requirements normally expected of the interdisciplinary design team. This allows the students to develop the best design for complex structures and a number of possibilities within the game itself. Teachers can present design briefs and budgets, allowing the students to come together and work in teams to complete the project.
Some additional benefits of using Minecraft to learn BIM include:
• Common Data Environments (CDEs) allowing collaboration
• Comfortable with the idea of working and operating in 3D environments
• Learning to appreciate how costs are assigned to an asset
• Understanding of time management and deadlines
• Understanding of site constraints
• Increased awareness of construction sustainability
For a more realistic experience, some tech mods have been created based on ideas generated by the players. For instance, a mod called “Immersive Engineering” provides hanging power lines instead of glowing red tubes, a crusher with rotating wheels instead of a magic block that spits out dust, and an excavator that digs ores out of the ground instead of a laser that turns power into magic light. This realism only adds to the relevance of using games to learn BIM.
This idea was pioneered by Timothy Hegarty, who saw the current skill shortages in the construction industry and thought that BeIMCraft would be a great way to engage college students and young kids early so that one day their talents would carry over into industry careers.
For more information, please contact the BeIMCraft group at BeIMCraft@gmail.com.