|Developer||Mojang, Conquest Reforged|
|Release date||15 November 2014|
ArdaCraft is a Minecraft build server recreating the world of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. The project began on 15 November 2014 and as of November 2020 has completed around a third of Middle-earth at a 1:58 scale. The final size of the map is estimated at around 2300 square kilometres (~890 square miles), making it the largest re-creation of Middle-earth ever attempted, outside of works relying on procedural generation.
The project was founded by players Fornad and dags, who believed that they could use Minecraft to re-create Middle-earth in the late Third Age in a larger and more accurate way than had ever been attempted before in any video game. Given its popularity and shallow learning curve, Minecraft was a good medium in which to work. However, the limitations of the game led ArdaCraft towards a modded approach, where it was able to use more textures and models than were available in the normal game. Eventually it adopted the Conquest Reforged mod in order to do this.
The project is run by volunteers and funded by donations, and is an entirely non-profit endeavour.
Despite being built in the blocky environment of Minecraft, ArdaCraft focuses on geological, botanical, and historical research in order to make its world as believable as possible. This includes researching historical farming techniques, understanding the likely climate of various areas in order to predict the kinds of plant species which should occur there, and examining analagous historical cultures for various regions - for example, Iron Age Celts for Dunland, or the Anglo-Saxons for Rohan.
In addition, a heavy emphasis is placed upon lore accuracy. Tolkien's legendarium, letters and sketches are all analysed to create as good of a representation of his world as possible, given the constraints of the game.
As of January 2022, regions and locations which have been completed or are being worked on include The Shire, The Blue Mountains, Lindon, Bree-land, Arnor, Forochel, Rivendell, the Vales of Anduin, Lothlórien, Isengard, Emyn Muil, Rohan, Dunland, Tharbad, Moria, and Gondor. Regions such as Mirkwood and Erebor are planned for the near future.
- Lauren Keating, "Minecraft Users Recreate The Shire From 'The Lord Of The Rings'" dated 4 September 2015, Tech Times (accessed 28 October 2020)