A new player had an 8×8 buildplate available by default. The player selected a surface in the real world on which to place the buildplate, and once placed, the player saw the buildplate superimposed on the real-world camera view. An open space and a flat surface were required for buildplates to be placed. Players were also able to interact with the items or mobs in their buildplate. The player was able to physically move around the buildplate to view it from different angles, and build structures.
- Default scale (creative)
By default, when the buildplate was set on a real-world surface, it appeared sized as a square about 58 centimeters (23 inches) on each side for an 8×8 buildplate, resulting in a scale of about 1:14. A 32×32 buildplate appeared as about 50 centimeters (20 inches) per side, resulting in a scale of 1:64.
- Full scale (survival)
Before placing the buildplate, the player had the option to place it at full scale. At full scale, the player was in survival mode with only their configured hotbar for items. This was similar to playing an adventure. If the player was playing a shared buildplate, the hotbar provided by the owner was used and cannot be changed. On a full-scale buildplate, the player was able to be burned by lava, and any hostile mobs on the buildplate attacked the player.
Players were able to collaborate on a buildplate. A player who placed a buildplate was able to select "Invite Friend", which allowed another player to scan a QR code to join.