PAX East Panel: Making the Most of Mods in Minecraft
If you weren't lucky enough to go to PAX East 2016 this past weekend, you might have still glanced at some of the cool panels that took place at the event. One of the most informative panels was on mods in Minecraft. The panel covered some of the challenges that the developers get into to make them happen, how they've come along over the years, and some other cool facts about Minecraft mods, all of which we'll discuss right here.
1. "Once you go modded, you don't go back"
As Direwolf20 so elementally put it during the panel, Minecraft mods tend to have quite a loyal following -- and more often than not, once you get used to all the cool and shiny features mods have to offer, you can't really go back to the vanilla version of the game easily.
Interestingly enough, as was mentioned in the panel, mod streams and YouTube videos are actually a great sales boon for Minecraft in general.
2. Mojang's takeover by Microsoft
Something that was discussed towards the end of the panel was Microsoft's takeover of Mojang and how that would effect the game, from both a modding perspective and in general. The popular belief was that Microsoft will probably stop making use of Java in the future, but this would only mean that the last version of the game that supports Java would likely be the one that mod fans would make use of. As for when this is going to happen, none of the panelists seemed to know for sure.
3. How to get into mods?
So if you're new to the concept of modding and/or haven't actually seen much modded gameplay, where do you begin? The best place to start is with modpacks. These are collections of varying mods that have been configured to work alongside each other, and can offer anything from new texture packs to completely new and insane ideas. The easiest way to find and download these modpacks would be through a launcher such as Curse Client or the Feed The Beast launcher.
Be mindful when downloading mods from other sources however, since malicious software could be introduced into the mods that could cause harm to your device. As a general rule of thumb, stay away from any source other than the Minecraft forums, the launchers, and some of the main Minecraft websites.
4. What if you want to start making mods?
If you've been using mods for a while, but always wanted to take a crack at making them yourself, then you're in luck. Any knowledge of Java is a bonus when it comes to writing mods for Minecraft on PC. A great place to look would be the free MIT Java course available here. Another great suggestion for those already in the modding field would be to make use of other people's open-source work to better understand how mods are made.
5. The transition between Minecraft 1.7 to 1.8 was a hassle for modders.
Something that was mentioned in great detail was the massive work hours that had to go into re-integrating mods for the 1.8 Minecraft update. Because of the nature of the update when it came to re-coding current content, modders had to re-write a whole lot of their programming to make their mods work in the new update. Luckily though, this hurdle's largely been overcome now, and most of the top mods actually work for the 1.8 and later updates.
6. Will some of the 'fancier' mods ever come to consoles and the pocket edition?
Another interesting question that many Minecraft fans and enthusiasts may have had, was whether the console and pocket editions of Minecraft were going to receive the same kind of love the PC and Mac versions did. The simple answer, was no. Skipping some of the overly technical parts of the response that was given by the programmers on the panel, the short and sweet of it is that because the console and mobile versions make use of their own programing and not the Java version for modding, they will never be able to support anything beyond simple re-texturing mods.
So, are you more inclined to start using mods now? Would you be interested in making your own at some point? And what are some of your favorite mods out there? Let us know in the comments section below.