A Minecraft Modding Tutorial for Beginners

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Since its inception, Minecraft’s “build what you can imagine” gameplay has attracted modders by the droves. Not since the days of Counterstrike have we seen such an active mod community. There are hundreds of mods already available for the game, and new ones are being released every day. So how can you tap into all this creativity whirling around Mojang’s phenomenal sandbox game? This simple Minecraft modding tutorial will give you all the info you need to get started, whether you want to install a mod that has already been released to the community or you want to try your hand at creating one on your own.

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Why Would I Want To Mod?

Minecraft Modding Tutorial
Minecraft Modding Tutorial Creative Commons by Bricknave/flickr

Mods are changes to the source code that do a wide variety of things to your copy of the Minecraft client. They can be as simple as a change to the visual aesthetic or as complex as completely changing the style of the game. Adventurecraft, I am looking at you!  There are mods that add new mobs, ones that alter the GUI to your liking and ones that even change the behavior of in-game objects.

There are as many reasons for wanting to alter your Minecraft experience as there are mods to choose from. Love the game but tired of Creepers? If you want to, you can remove them entirely. Does Redstone confuse you?  No problem, there is a mod that helps you to better understand how its power connections work. Heck, maybe you just want your character to look like RuPaul. Everything from streamlining your experience to creating completely new gameplay types can be achieved by modding. This Minecraft modding tutorial can help you start enhancing your Minecraft experience by explaining how it is done.

If you want to browse the mods that are already out there, a good place to start is on the Minecraft wiki mods page here. While not a comprehensive list, it is a great place to start, and lets you know the update status for the mod and whether or not it will work with the current version of the client. There are even packages that come bundled with all the necessary software to help with installation.

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Installing a Mod

Once you have chosen a mod and downloaded it, you will need to install it. There are some programs out there, such as ModLoader, which will help install and manage all of your Minecraft mods. If you wish to do it manually, however, you will need to copy the files in the mod to your minecraft.jar folder. This folder essentially contains all the elements that Minecraft uses while it is running. To do this, you will also need archiving software such as WinRAR or 7-Zip.

As a caveat, remember that if you use this Minecraft modding tutorial to alter the game client, Mojang will not be able to give you technical support, as they cannot offer help with code that they themselves have not written.

First, you need locate the minecraft.jar file on your computer. In Windows, this can be done by typing “%appdata%” (without quotes) into your start menu search bar and opening up the Minecraft folder. You will also need to have the option to view hidden files checked in your folder options, as the minecraft.jar file is hidden. Use your archiving software to open the file by right clicking and then copy the class files from your newly downloaded mod into the minecraft.jar folder.

It is also important, after adding the new files to the .jar folder to delete the folder titled META-INF, as it contains a certificate that will prevent Minecraft from running once things have been altered in the .jar file. Once you have done that, your new plug-in or mod should load the next time you start the client.

Of course, always make sure to back up everything before you make changes!

Creating Your Own Minecraft Mods

At some point, you may not be satisfied with just using mods that others have written. Maybe you want to dress your character up as the Lone Ranger and no one has made a skin for that (check out our tutorial on creating skins here) or maybe you even want to overhaul the whole UI. In that case, it is time to start creating your own!

To do so, you will need a bit more than just your archiving software. First off, a familiarity with coding in Java is required, as well as some decompiling software. The Minecraft Coder Pack is the most widely used software for helping to decompile and deobfuscate the source code. In addition to those, you will also need an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to be able to edit the code.

Minecraft Modding Tutorial-Beyond the Basics

The intricacies of coding new Minecraft mods are beyond the scope of this article, but if it is something that interests you, there is a very helpful and active community out there, which can aid you on your first steps to becoming master of your sandbox. A good place to start is the Minecraft wiki, where you can find a number of tutorials on how to alter the game to your liking.

Now you have all the tools at your disposal to modify your version of Minecraft any way you see fit, from installing mods that have been authored already all the way up to creating your own. Minecraft gave us a space where we are able to build anything we want.  Modding Minecraft enables us to build it any way we want, and get a little more enjoyment out of our play in the sandbox.  This Minecraft modding tutorial gives everything you need to get started. Happy Modding!

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