Minecraft is an open-world 3D game in which you are able to build and craft virtually anything you can imagine – from tools and houses to functioning computers and pianos. You can expand upon the world’s capabilities by using what the game calls “mods.” These are essentially modifications that you make by adding bits of code to the game.
The programming language Java is used to write the game so you’ll want to become familiar with it in order to alter Minecraft. When you first download the game, your browser runs an applet that’s downloaded to your machine in the form of a .JAR file. This keeps your memory footprint small as you travel through the game by loading and unloading ‘chunks’ as necessary.
Java is a programming language that’s relatively easy to grasp. Once you have a basic understanding of it, you’ll be able to change the look and feel of the game, create brand new structures, and even add new characters to the Minecraft universe. As your Java skills develop, you’ll be able to create new items, mini-games, and more. You’ll find that Java is a very versatile language and that being able to edit .JSON files will be a valuable skill both in- and out-of game.
The first thing to do is learn the basic Java statements. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a simple tweak to the game that’s known as ‘Learn to Mod.’ With it, you’ll be able to learn to create your own mods. In fact, one of the lessons actually teaches you to write the code to create a special bow that will shoot arrows that create portals between different locations within the world. Pretty cool, right?
‘Learn to Mod’ is built upon a mod known as ‘Script Craft,’ which makes it a pretty beginner-friendly tool. It will even help you to install the mods that you’ll create in Java. Of course, there are other ways to load your mods into the game, such as ‘Minecraft Forge,’ often referred to as the most convenient mod loader.
Google has also created a kid-friendly programming interface known as Blockly. Based on MIT’s Scratch, Blockly allows students to create programs simply by dragging and dropping virtual blocks, rather than typing out several lines of code.
While there are many ways to approach the process of creating, installing, and using Minecraft mods, there’s no end to the possibilities and no limit to how you can enhance the game, making it more fun for you and your friends to play.