How to Mod "Minecraft"
By Seth Amery
Updated September 22, 2017
Like any good open-world PC game, "Minecraft" allows the use of modifications to alter the game in any way you'd like; the changes can be as minor as changing the graphical appearance of an in-game item or as drastic as creating automatic crafting machinery or a complete reskinning of textures.
Types of Mods
Mods, shorthand for modifications, change a part of the game in some way and are user-created. In the case of "Minecraft," there are two primary kinds of mods you can get: client-based mods and server-side mods. Client mods affect your personal game files for single-player mode, and they can change just about anything you can see or interact with; if you play online, though, the server ignores these modifications as it uses its own world files. Server-based mods, as the name suggests, affect the server software. These don't typically change the game but do allow server administrators to enable permissions and console commands for other players. Mods are only available for the PC version of "Minecraft"; you cannot mod the home console or handheld versions of the game.
Adding a Mod to Minecraft
Mods are available from a number of websites (see Resources); once you find a mod you like, you can download it and add it to your "Minecraft" profile. However, integrating the mod into the game will take a few extra steps since the game doesn't install in the same way as most other PC games do. The specific steps will vary depending on the mod: Read any documentation that comes with the mod for specific steps about how to install it. However, many mods will go in a "mods" folder. On Windows 8, press "Ctrl+R" to open a Run box, entering "%AppData%" without the quotes. At the top, double-click ".minecraft" to open the installation folder, and you'll find the "mods" folder within.
Writing Your Own Mods
As "Minecraft" is written using the Java programming language, you'll need to know the Java programming language if you intend to write a mod of your own; if you don't know Java, downloading simple mods and looking at the code can help give you an idea of what means what. Just make sure not to claim any code taken from another person's mod as your own. If you're just starting out, try coding a main file for a mod; it can just return a set phrase, such as "This is my first mod."
Troubleshooting a Modded Game
Think of "Minecraft" like a Jenga tower where modding the game ia like removing different blocks and inserting differently-shaped pieces instead; it might look nice, but the wrong combination of changes can make it all crash. Not all mods play nicely with one another; if you're having game-crashing problems, try removing all mods and checking if the problem still happens. If it does, you can file a bug report. If it doesn't, add each mod one by one until the problem occurs again to see which mod needs to go.
Seth Amery is a long-time writer whose specialties extend to all areas of video games, having written thousands of tutorials, fully-featured strategy guides and reviews across all platforms. His experience also includes one-on-one relationships with major gaming publishers to write previews on upcoming games, establish interviews with game designers and hold early game giveaways.