Adventure Camp is the camp that keeps on giving. Let me explain…
Creative Minecrafters can develop unique adventures within the game, ranging from a desert expedition to discover an ancient artifact, to a “dropper” challenge, a kind of puzzle/parkour map where participants “drop” safely through a gauntlet of traps by guiding their avatar while falling through the air. The possibilities for adventure are almost limitless; some maps and storylines focus more on puzzle challenges, with others are all about creating a spooky aesthetic.
Minecraft enthusiasts have built a large and growing online library of adventure maps, which guide users through particular adventures and experiences within the game. Adventure maps utilize different story and game elements to create a new kind of game within the bigger world of Minecraft. In Adventure Camp, campers are tasked with creating one of the these maps, or campaigns, which can be used over and over again by campers and non-campers alike.
Camp counselor, Ande (aka extrafancyrice), explained, “Minecraft works really well for this because it’s a sandbox game, a game all about making your own world with your imagination as your guide. This especially works with Adventure Camp because the camp brings everyone’s imaginations together to create a unique campaign. The possibilities in Minecraft are next to limitless, and I don’t think a camper’s brought us an idea that wasn’t possible to do in Minecraft yet.”
Campers start by brainstorming the elements of their story and talking about what kind of experience they want participants to have. They’ll then take their ideas and turn them into fully formed stories. Not a detail is missed. Campers discuss story pacing, their project’s scope and scale, and the overall mood they want to project and the design aesthetics needed to bring it to life. For instance, if the map will be Western theme, what kind of blocks and color palette would help convey that?
Trying Out New Roles
Campers then take on different roles and collaborate to come up with the finished product (or products—sometimes campers will be working in groups to make 2 or 3 different maps) by the end of the week. Ande said, “Some different roles might be story writer, builder, puzzle master, redstone engineer, parkour champion, NPC (Non-Player Character) friend, but ultimately we want to give the campers the chance to try each role at least once. They could have a new strength they didn’t notice until they tried something new.”
In these varied roles, campers work together to get the map finished by the end of camp. It doesn’t always goes smoothly, but Ande explained that those bumps in the road can be turned into positive learning opportunities:
“Adventure Camp fosters collaboration and fun by giving kids a place to work together and create something that’s not only unique, but awesome in the end! All players want to see the map come to life, so we use that common goal as a means to work together. This isn’t to say that conflicts of interest/goals don’t occur, but we try to see those conflicts as learning opportunities/plot twists/ or perhaps a chance for a camper to try something new if the problem is that both want to do the same thing but differently.
Pride in Making
One of the most exciting parts of Adventure Camp is the opportunity for campers to practice and expand on a wide range of skills, from storytelling, teamwork, and project management, to building and architecture, redstone engineering, and game design. But the most rewarding aspect, said Ande, is the campers “being able to play through their campaign and see the ideas they’ve had from day one…but alive!”
Campers are usually full of pride in what they’ve accomplished by the end of the week, so the personal rewards of Adventure Camp are great. But the hard work, care, and attention to detail lives on in the finished adventure maps, too, which can be enjoyed by gamers well into the future. The campers’ maps will be shared with both future campers and within some public adventure map communities at the end of the summer.