Minecraft Modding History, and Python Code.

I wanted to write a short article recounting some of the defining moments in Minecraft modding history. I looked at key modding changes since 2009, including information on Forge, and the Minecraft publishing studio, Mojang. I have some information to share about one current modding project I encountered recently to finish.

Gamers worldwide know Minecraft. Playing the game in any of its different modes involves creativity. Standing on the pixel-art ground, looking up at the geometric clouds, new players equip their first pick-axe and dig. Ore and minerals unearthed constitute the foundations of houses, mansions, temples, and even skyscrapers.

Minecraft was first released in April 2009. Since then, modifications, or modding, has become a popular coding pursuit.

The creative desire established by the game has extended from building within the originally intended boundaries, to changing and reshaping the game code.

Since Minecraft runs with java code, modders sought out the ability to compile and decompile java. Eventually, in 2011, the Forge modding tool became available.

PC Gamer reported in November, 2012 that game studio Mojang – founded by Notch, the creator of Minecraft – planned to release an Application Programming Interface (API) that modders could use to creating their own modifications to the Minecraft source code.

Mojang has hired modders for their work on unofficial, community modding work. Nathan ‘Dinnerbone’ Adams is one modder hired by Mojang in February, 2012 to work on a potential API. However, no API resulted for the PC edition of the game. The API was developed for the mobile game Minecraft: Pocket Edition.

I had the opportunity to see a modder at work, and their efforts were impressive. Developer Richard Jones created a Python Code Book for running python inside Minecraft, and for checking code.

(Python book Copyright (c) 2017 Richard Jones <richard@mechanicalcat.net> All Rights Reserved).

Using the Forge modding tool, interested modders can set up the Python Code Book, and write their own code into the book. Then, they can generate all different kinds of effects using a Python Code Book, wand, hand, and block tool (called “runners”).

Depending on where modders want the effect to take place, they can use the runner to create the effect writing the code into the Python Code Book, and invoking the code by equipping and targeting with the Python wand or hand, or applying the book to the Python block, which causes the effect to take place on the block.

Modders should strongly considering writing a “def run():” function at the start of their code. Otherwise the Python code they have set to the book and invoked can create problems. For example, a Python block without the def run(): function  will activate code whenever the block loads. You could spawn Sheep, or Creepers, in your house, mansions, or skyscraper.

If modding sounds interesting, the community is an accepting place, with lists of helpful tutorials either on YouTube in video format, or in several documentation sources:

  • The Python Block content is available on Jones’ github.
  • To read the Forge modding documentation, see their docs.
  • PC Gamer’s report on Mojang API plans.
  • For more information about Mojang, check on their website.
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