At this point there isn’t anyone left in the world that doesn’t know what Minecraft is, so I’ll skip that part of the introduction. What you may not know, if you haven’t played in a while, is that custom servers are a major part of the experience now. Dedicated players create entire worlds on their servers, and invite other players to come and check it out. BroCraft Gaming has their own elaborate server, and within it they’ve constructed a virtual Christmas tree that players can use to control a real life Christmas tree.
The server currently has a winter wonderland theme, and features a number of attractions and minigames. The main attraction, however, is the giant in-game Christmas tree. Players can collect power blocks from around the map, and then bring them to the Technician NPC. They’re then presented with a list of patterns to choose from, which are replicated on the real Christmas tree shown in a live stream video feed.
The lights on the real tree are individually-addressable NeoPixel RGB LEDs, which are controlled by the Adafruit CircuitPython NeoPixel Library running on a Raspberry Pi. A custom Java plugin bridges the gap between Minecraft and the Raspberry Pi, so instructions can be sent from the virtual world to the real one. Best of all, you can try it yourself by heading over to the brocraftlive.net Minecraft server! Don’t play Minecraft? You can still watch the live stream over on the same page.