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UNITED24 releases Soledar salt mines mod for Minecraft

A screenshot from the Minesalt mod for Minecraft
A screenshot from the Minesalt mod for Minecraft

A modification for the popular video game Minecraft mod, called Minesalt, has been released by French developer Endorah in collaboration with UNITED24, allowing players to delve into a virtual representation of the renowned Soledar salt mines, according to UNITED24 press-release on March 21.

Read also: The history and present of the famous mines of Soledar

Soledar, a town in Donetsk Oblast known for its salt mines, became a battleground following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Despite enduring nearly a year of heavy battles, the town and its mines eventually fell under occupation. The Minesalt project's mission is to shine a spotlight on the war in Ukraine and gather funds to rebuild a school in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast village of Velyka Kostromka, that has been destroyed by Russian forces.

Players in Minesalt will rub virtual elbows with celebrity characters based off of well-known Ukraine supporters such as Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Nobel Prize laureate Paul Nurse, actor Misha Collins, boxer Oleksandr Usyk, astronaut Scott Kelly, soccer player Oleksandr Zinchenko, and actresses Katheryn Winnick and Ivanna Sakhno. They're all in the game, guiding players through Soledar's virtual mines. They're joined by Stepan Bandrivskyi, who's been with the salt mining company for a decade and played a crucial role in recreating the mines for the game.

Read also: Ukrainian games get dedicated section on Steam platform

The biggest hurdle during the creation of the game was replicating the nitty gritty details of Soledad’s mines, UNITED24 explained.

Given that mine’s current occupation by Russian invasion forces, there was no way to obtain original blueprints or take a look at the mine itself, and while the mining company had created a VR tour of the mines before the full-scale invasion, it wasn't enough to nail down all the details.

Read also: Artemsil salt from legendary Soledar on sale to mark 1st anniversary of full-scale invasion

As a result, the mod’s developers had to get creative, UNITED24 said. Endorah worked with miners directly to collect their stories, photos, and videos, and even received a hand-drawn map, which the developers digitized for the game.

In the mod itself, players are tasked with gathering crystals swiftly and taking a quiz at the game's end, based on their journey. Another incentive for players include prizes for completing the mod, which can range from an Xbox Series X, to SOLEDARITY salt packs signed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and UNITED24 ambassadors, as well as Twitch gift cards. Minesalt, available since March 21, welcomes unlimited play and donations, with the winners to be announced post-project.

“After the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Soledar became a fortress of the war, defending against Russian forces for over a year,” said Yaroslava Gres, UNITED24 project coordinator.

Read also: Ukrainian forces withdraw from Soledar, having fulfilled key tasks

“Now, as the city is under temporary occupation, Minesalt is the only way to explore the incredible beauty of these salt mines and commemorate the historical and monumental elements of this place. It preserves its memory, paying tribute to the people who have worked there generation after generation. There are many hidden places waiting for the players - through the search for crystals, they will learn the history of Soledar and its mines. We hope that as many people as possible around the world will go through Minesalt and fall in love with the Soledar mines as we have.”

About UNITED24 

UNITED24 was launched by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as the main platform for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. More than $623,000,000 has been raised through donations from over 110 countries during 21 months of operation of the UNITED24 fundraising platform. UNITED24 ambassadors include singer and actress Barbra Streisand, actors Liev Schreiber, Mark Hamill, Mark Strong, Katheryn Winnick, Ivanna Sakhno. and Misha Collins, music band Imagine Dragons, Balenciaga art director Demna, film director Michel Hazanavicius, astronaut Scott Kelly, British adventurer Bear Grylls, historian Timothy Snyder, businessman Richard Branson, country singer Brad Paisley, philosopher and economist Francis Fukuyama, Chef José Andrés, Nobel laureates Paul Nurse, Edward Moser, and May-Britt Moser, as well as famous Ukrainian athletes, Andriy Shevchenko, Elina Svitolina, Oleksandr Usyk, and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine