5 min read

For three years now, I have tried to help a lot of people enjoy Minecraft in a different way. One specific thing I want to talk about today are add-ons for Minecraft. This article covers my personal experience, as well as some advice and tips for people who want to start developing and bring their own creativity to life in Minecraft.

We all know the game Minecraft, where you live in a blocky world, and you can create literally everything you can imagine. So what could possibly be more fun than making the empire state building? Inventing new machines, formulating new spells,  designigning factories and automatic builders for starters! However, as most of you probably know already, these features are not present in the Minecraft world, and this is where people like me jump in. We are Mod Developers. We are the people who bring these awesome things to life, and change the game in ways you may find much more enjoyable to make Minecraft more enjoyable. Although all of this might seem easy to do, it actually takes a lot of effort and creativity.  Let me walk you through the process.

Community feedback is priority number one. You can’t have a fun mod if nobody else enjoys it. Sometimes I read an article on a forum about a really good idea. I then get to work!.  However, just like traditional game development, a small idea that is posted on the forum, must be fully thought through. People who come up with the ideas usually don’t think of everything when they post their idea. You must think about things such as how to balance a given idea with vanilla Minecraft. What do you want your creation to look like? Do you need to ask for help from other authors? All of these things are essential steps for making a good modification to the amazing Minecraft experience that you crave. You should start by writing down all of your ideas and concepts. A workflow chart helps to make sure the most essential things are done first, and the details happen later. Usually I keep all of my files in a Google Drive, so I can share my files with others.

In my opinion, the actual modding phase is the coolest part, but it takes the longest amount of time. If you want to create something that is new and innovative you might soon realize it is something that you’ve never worked with before, which can be hard to create. For example, for a simple feature such as making a block spin automatically, you could easily work for two hours just to create the basic movements.  This is where experience kicks in. When you make your first modification, you might bump into the smallest problems. These little problems kept me down for quite a long time. It can be quite a stressful process, but don’t give up! Luckily for me, there were a lot of people in the Minecraft modding community who were kind enough to help me out through the early stages of my development career.

At this moment I have reached a point where my experience allows most problems to easily be solved. Therefore, mod development has become a lot more fun.  I even decided to join a modding team, and I took over as lead on that project. Our final mod turned out to be amazing.

A little later, I started a tutorial series together with a good friend of me, for people who wanted to start with the amazing art of making Minecraft mods. This tutorial series was quite a success, with 7000 views on the website, and almost 2000 views on YouTube.

I do my best to help people make their first steps into this amazing community,  by making tutorials, writing articles about my experiences, and describing my idea on how to get into modding. What I noticed right away, is that people tend to go too fast in the beginning. Minecraft is written in Java, a programming language. I have spoken to some people, who didn’t even know this, and yet were trying to make a mod. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that. You need to know about the basic language, before you can use it properly. Therefore, my first advice to you is to learn the basics of Java. There are hundreds of tutorials online that can teach you what you need to know. Personally, that’s how I learned Java too!

Next up is to get involved into the community: Minecraft Forge is basically a bridge between the standard Minecraft experience and the limitless possibilities of a modded Minecraft game. Minecraft Forge has a wide range of modders, who definitely do not mind giving you some advice, or helping out with problems.

Another good way to learn quickly is to team up with someone. Ask around on the forums for a teacher, or someone just as dedicated as you, and work together on a project you both want to truly bring to life. Start making a dummy mod, and help each other when you get stuck. Not a single person has the same way of tackling a task, and perhaps you can absorb some good habits from your teammate. When I did this, I learned a thousand new ways to write pieces of code I would have never thought of on my own.

The last and most important thing I want to mention in this post is to always have fun doing what you’re doing. If you’re having a hard time enjoying modding, take a break. Modding will pull you back if you really want it again. And I am speaking from personal experience.

About this author

Martijn Woudstra lives in a city called Almelo in the Netherlands. Right now he is studying Clinical Medicine at the University of Twente. He learned Java programming about 3 years ago. For over a year he has been making Minecraft mods, which required him to learn how to translate Java into the API used to make the mods. He enjoys teaching others how to mod in Minecraft, and along with his friend Wuppy, has created the Orange Tutorial site (http://orangetutorial.com). The site contains tutorials and high quality videos and understandable code. This is must see resource if you are interested in crafting Minecraft mods.


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