Minecraft Modding with Code -
The ultimate guide for makers

Minecraft is a famous game that just celebrated its 10th anniversary and is still incredibly popular among kids. It’s often compared to LEGO®, and if you play Minecraft, you’ll see why. Players can truly build anything they can imagine.

The open-endedness of the game has created a culture of makers who dream up new things to make and then persevere to bring them to life. Over the years, communities have come up with some amazing Minecraft re-creations, such as the complete Westeros continent from Game of Thrones, the Eiffel Tower, or even the USS Enterprise from Star Trek!

Another fun aspect of Minecraft is that the game encourages users to customize their experiences. Minecraft allows users to transform the look of their worlds, change the behaviors of in-game characters, and even add code to make more interesting and custom modifications.

In this article, we’ll delve into Minecraft modding and how kids can benefit from applying their coding skills while playing Minecraft.

What is Minecraft Modding and why should you care?

“Modding” is jargon for modifying or altering Minecraft in some way. For example, if you want a block in Minecraft to look like a magic carpet and float like one, you can create that. There are many kinds of mods with varying levels of complexity.

Superficial changes like making rainbow-colored chickens are possible with no coding. Deeper changes that govern the behavior of actors or even generate worlds procedurally can be done with code.

Players love mods as a way to express themselves among the community. As they build mods and add-ons for Minecraft, they’ll learn to code, think critically, and write programs. They will see coding as a tool they can use to bring anything in their imagination to life.

Since coding is the primary method that kids use to make mods in Minecraft, kids learn and apply programming fundamentals as they go. Young makers are able to create mods and games that they can show off and play with their friends. They practice repetition, conditionals, functions, and variables. Kids are incredibly motivated to learn to mod because it allows them to do so much more in Minecraft and truly customize worlds to be their own.

How to Make a Minecraft Mod

To get kids started with Minecraft modding, you need to have a version of Minecraft on a desktop, tablet or smartphone and access to a coding platform such as MakeCode or Tynker. While all versions of Minecraft support some kind of modding, they are all a bit different based on the platform.

Explore our Minecraft modding courses

Modding with MakeCode

Microsoft MakeCode is a web-based environment that provides a block editor and a JavaScript editor to create Minecraft programs for the Minecraft Education Edition. This version of Minecraft is specifically designed to be used in schools and is available to anyone with an Office 365 Education account.

  • Get Minecraft EE for Windows or Mac from here.
  • Get the Minecraft EE app for iPad here.
  • Start with MakeCode for Minecraft here.
  • Intro to CS course with Makecode here.

Using Makecode, students can build Minecraft programs for both the desktop and iPad versions of Minecraft Education Edition.

Modding with Tynker

Tynker supports modding on Pocket Edition, Win10, and Java editions of Minecraft, in addition to Minecraft Education Edition.

  • For Minecraft on PC and Mac - Tynker provides a private server that students can use to deploy their mods and play with friends. Kids can create mods using tools such as Mod Creator and Resource Editor. The mods are deployed on the private server.
  • For Minecraft on Windows 10 and iPad - Tynker supports the creation of add-ons that change behaviors and resources. Additionally, users can use Tynker Workshop to create block-based programs for these editions of Minecraft.
  • For Minecraft Education Edition (PC and iPad) - Tynker and MakeCode are embedded right into the game as coding options. Kids simply type “c” to get the coding options.

Here is a sample Tynker mod that makes it rain TNT blocks from the sky!

Kids in the community have made more than 10 million mods using Tynker!

Modding with Java

A more advanced method of modding is to use the Java programming language instead of the block-coding methods. This works only on Minecraft for PC and Mac, also referred to as Minecraft Classic or Minecraft Java Edition. This method will not work in Minecraft for Windows 10 or on the Minecraft app versions.

This method may require adult help and some professional mentoring. To use it, you will need to install a Java IDE like Eclipse and get the right Java Development Kit. You’ll also need to get a modding API like Minecraft Forge. You can also look for expert tutorials on the web such as this one.

With MakeCode and Tynker’s block-based approaches, kids can learn by themselves. Both options use block-based programming and do not require any installation beyond Minecraft.

Learning to mod with Tynker is fun and easy!

What do kids learn with modding?

Because of their passion for customizing and playing Minecraft, kids often show a high degree of motivation to use code to build mods. As long as the tools are user-friendly and not frustrating, modding is a great way to learn to code. Kids learn a number of skills while modding.

  • 3D Modeling and Design - Kids use 3D editors to create custom mobs in Minecraft – like an elephant or a giraffe!
  • Cause and Effect relationships - Modifying the behavior of a panda or a dolphin teaches kids sequencing and conditional logic.
  • 3D Geometry - When kids create complex structures such as pyramids and skyscrapers, they learn coding concepts such as coordinate geometry, iteration, and nested loops.
  • Game Design - Building Minecraft minigames on their private server teaches kids to use events, triggers, functions, messaging, variables and conditional logic.
  • Collaboration - When they play with their own friends on their servers, they learn communication and collaboration skills.

What can kids mod in Minecraft?

Here are the types of things that kids can customize with Minecraft modding:

  • Skins: Alter what you look like when you play Minecraft. Get creative with our Skin Editor and our set of starter skins.
  • Items: Customize Minecraft items that you use. You can create a rainbow-colored version of a sword, for example, using the Resource Editor.
  • Items: Design your own special blocks. For example, make the grass block and sand block look like cakes to turn your whole world into a cake world.
  • Mobs: Dress up your Minecraft animals and make them your own. Give the pig sunglasses, re-color the horse, or even make zombies less scary.
  • Mobs with code: Change the look and behavior of these mods. You can transform a wolf to a dinosaur and then modify its behavior with drag and drop block coding.
  • Server Mods: Create a mod and deploy it on your own Private Minecraft Java Server. Build complete multiplayer games like spleef or soccer, or even construct mazes and cities. Server mods can only be deployed on a PC or Mac computer.
  • Client Mods: Mods for Minecraft PE are easy to make! Program a mod with code in Tynker and deploy it in your Windows 10 Edition or Pocket Edition (iOS/Android) of Minecraft. This uses a socket connection in the newer Minecraft clients. These mods do not require a server.

All in all, Minecraft modding is a fun and creative way for teaching kids to code. As they build mods, they will see coding as a tool they can use to bring anything in their imagination to life. With a solution where everything is taken care of from tools to servers, you do not have to get involved. They learn by themselves! Kids experiment and learn with friends in their own secure and private environment.

Get started with Minecraft modding – and have fun!

“[Students] enjoy the vast selection of stock stages and characters that Tynker provides, and they like customizing and even creating their own, too. They are thrilled with being able to customize characters and use their code in Minecraft.” – Sarah Van Loo, Blue Ribbon Educator
“Students are able to design and modify existing games like Minecraft that they already love.” – Sean Arnold, Blue Ribbon Educator
“Once the Minecraft builder emerged, I was messing around with it, changing worlds. It was really fun.” –Featured Maker Cole
“I’ve been doing a lot of Minecraft modding. Those are my most favorite projects. I’ve been a Minecraft fan for a while and then I just saw modding one day and I was like, “Wow, what is that?” I got on and started doodling and stuff and thought, “Wow, this is crazy!” I saw Mythicraft, it’s really cool!” –Featured Maker Anna
Get started with Minecraft modding — and have fun!