Meet a Developer: Serena Builds Wilson Commons

Serena is the first Virtual UR team member to be highlighted in our new Meet a Developer behind-the-scenes series. Some of her largest accomplishments in the Minecraft world include the interior of Wilson Commons and the entire first-year quad.

Serena’s initial design of Crosby in modded Minecraft.

We asked how she came up with the vision for Wilson Commons and why it’s so important to her.

“Since I spend a significant amount of time in Wilson Commons, it was quite easy for me to remember the layout of the building from memory,” Serena says. “I’ve also been living on campus for the summer, [so] I was able to easily fill the gaps by just walking over and taking pictures to reference later.”

One of the unique design constraints of Wilson Commons, however, is its diagonal structure. Minecraft is built using square blocks, so “this makes converting the design into Minecraft surprisingly difficult. There were several instances where I had to take some creative liberties to preserve the general look of the building,” Serena adds. She knew it would make certain spaces less functional (such as the second floor bathrooms near the lift), but it would still feel like home.

Serena’s design of the front of Wilson Commons features the diagonal elements of the building that made the design very difficult to implement.

It took a few days before Serena felt comfortable with the build, and she may still go back and edit it with the new 1.16 blocks, but for now, she says she’s happy with it. “I may also try to figure out how to use command blocks to better assist with moving throughout the building (no pressure plates for iron doors, for instance),” Serena explains, but for now — the build is complete.

Note: The Virtual UR Team also recently added an elevator between the first and second floors of Wilson Commons, in addition to Serena’s existing lift on the second floor, with hopes of adapting the new elevator to work on all floors soon. Read more about that progress update here.

“Whether it be daily dinners with friends in Rocky’s, weekly practice in the May Room with the Strong Jugglers, or just grabbing a quick drink from Starbucks before class, I can usually find myself spending at least a few hours per day in Wilco,” Serena says. “Over the years, I’ve made countless memories within the building and I guess this is just my way of commemorating those experiences. While those experiences may be quite different now in the upcoming semester, the memories will always be the same.”