In these times of physical distancing and lockdown, we've all been looking for ways to maintain community. This is true for our children as well.
Video games provide worlds where friends can connect, but there are many drawbacks to the unfiltered and unconstrained realities of most online environments. Our children need private online spaces where they can grow healthy relationships, but also safe places where ONLY friends they know from church can gather.
If you do a search for the word "Bible" in the Minecraft marketplace, it returns zero results.
Not to mention, our children don't need more screen time. We want them to dig into God's word. We want them to grow in their faith. We want them to abide in Christ.
If there's going to be a faith based gaming platform for our children, it needs to be intentional on both of these fronts.
What it does
Vinegraft is an online world where kids can meetup with their local church friends for an organized time of fun and Bible teaching. A world where the kids would need to work together and crack open their Bibles to solve trivia, puzzles, riddles, treasure hunts, and mazes. A world where Bible learning adventures are intermingled with theological building blocks of the faith.
How we built it
Vinegraft is built entirely on the Minecraft development platform. All activities, challenges, puzzles, Bible lessons, are build using MCEdit. Each Bible Adventure consists of 6 core components:
- Launch Pad: Where participants START each ADVENTURE. This is the initial spawn point. Participants begin in Adventure mode by default. Has physical boundaries, to ensure participants are contained and must go through the stages of the ADVENTURE, before they proceed to the CREATIVE SPACE.
- Gates: GATES separate the various STAGES of the ADVENTURE. GATES only work in ONE direction, so you can’t go backwards in the ADVENTURE. There are currently 2 GATE Types: Drop Steps - which drop the participant down more blocks than they can jump; and Pressure Plates - which are only triggered from one side.
- Switches: Command blocks that change the participant mode from ADVENTURE to CREATIVE or from CREATIVE to ADVENTURE. There are currently 2 SWITCH Types: Zone Switches which are triggered when a particpant enters a specific area; and Checkpoint Switches - which are triggered when a participant moves past them.
- Stages: The various STAGES of the ADVENTURE, consisting of the following STAGE Types: Lessons, Illustrations, Activities, Games, Puzzles, Trivia, Mazes, and Scavenger Hunts.
- Landing Pad: Where participants END each ADVENTURE. Host churches may choose to debrief here and/or end their time, or may choose to permit some FREE PLAY in the OPEN SPACE.
- Creative Space: Once an ADVENTURE is completed, participants may enter the CREATIVE SPACE. Here the game mode is changed to CREATIVE, via a ZONE switch. Here participants can engage in FREE PLAY for the duration as determined by the host church.
What's next for Vinegraft
We're looking for churches to host Vinegraft adventures, individuals to share their home internet to run a server from, and writers, designers and creatives to help us build out our Bible Adventure Library.