We've been going a little bit crazy and came up with some tools that you can use to make things in Houdini, and export them to minecraft. What's good about this?? Well, Houdini is used for feature film VFX, game dev, scientific viz and everything inbetween. It's node based, fully procedural and allows you to make anything you want...
So we took this a bit far and put an MRI of a human brain in Minecraft.
Yes, this is your brain on Minecraft:
The back end of the brain:
The dataset in Houdini:
Inside; you kind of need to be in there walking around to appreciate it.
It's a bit airy inside but I had to tweak the density thresholds back so that there were sizeable caverns. In that airspace between the outer skin and the inner bits is a lot of volume data, which can be turned into weird twisty caverns that are confusing yet oddly organic and familiar to walk around inside. Creeps are a problem.
Some windy tunnel things created from a particle system:
You can also turn pretty much any 3d model into minecraft voxels via the volume tools. Of course, you are probably wondering how to do this yourself. So here is a zip with everything you need, except for Houdini 11; which happens to be available for free with a full featured non-commercial license. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39212504/demoPackage.zip
I've put a demo file there, as well as the brain file, so you should be able to sort of figure out how it works. But when there is time I will write a more detailed how-to. In the following post are a bunch of links to point you in the direction of Houdini resources and tutorials.
But.. Houdini ain't that great a software. Why not something simpler like Blender?
You would be quite wrong there. Houdini is an incredibly powerful software package with many applications. Many of the toolsets that it offers are far more powerful than Blender. It is more designed for prodedural modeling and animation though, so if you wanted to model things by hand, you would probably be better off in another software package like Maya or 3Ds Max (Both of which you can also get fully featured educational versions of).