CQ’s Rob Thomas runs the largest mine operation in Australia through his Minecraft server.
CQ’s Rob Thomas runs the largest mine operation in Australia through his Minecraft server. Sharyn Oneill

Geeks take to digital mine game

ROB Thomas runs one of Central Queensland's largest mine operations.

Except there are no draglines at his site as his miners go online in the world of Minecraft.

It's the digital game that's taken the world by storm with 40 million registered players.

Rob's own site has hosted 10,000 miners in the past three months alone. When asked about the Minecraft phenomenon, self-proclaimed computer geek Rob described it as "Lego on steroids".

The Gladstone man created and hosts the oldest, largest and longest-running Minecraft server in the country, Minecraft Australia or MCAU.

It's a place where players can come and fight, create or destroy anything and everything in a game focused on creativity, where the player views the world in first person and can literally mine various 3D cubes of all materials which are then used to build anything.

Rob said the current server, an Intel Xeon e313 processor with a 3.8GB Xeon quad core and 16GB of RAM with twin SSDs - which is as extravagant as it sounds - cost him $4000 alone.

For a server of this size it costs $1000 a month to keep in a data centre which provides power to run it, air-conditioning to prevent overheating, and regular upkeep for optimum performance.

"We are the oldest server in Australia, the reason other servers stop running is because it's expensive," he said.

Rob said to run a server from home was easy. You ran the program on your computer and it just worked, allowing up to four others to play in the same world.

MCAU caters for those who want to play with more than four people. This server allows for dozens to play together in the same world without the server crashing.

The server has costs him $12,000 a year not including movement of the server to different data centres and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Minecraft

 Over 40,000,000 registered Minecraft players.

 Over 241,920,000 people log in every month to play.

 Over 1000 logins per hour every day.



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