Currently Tinkering: Minecraft Mods and Textures

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Changing the look and feel of Minecraft can be fun on it’s own.

I’ve been playing Minecraft for more than a year now, but I’ve been playing it more on my Asus EEE Netbook before, which is not really designed to play games in the first place. I was just happy that the game was playable. But now I do have a better system, I thought I might try adding a few features to the standard game. I thought to why not make the game look a tad different. I don’t plan to use any mods that drastically change the game since me and my wife play on a personal server. Just the look, and that’s it.

Modding

Modding the game can be a little overwhelming at times. The reason why I didn’t do this before is because most of the time the game can fail to load if your hardware is not supported, but it can generally improve the look depending on the mod that you are using. It may complicate some people on how to install them since each mod installs differently, but in general, most of them are pretty straight forward. The problem with modding is that some mods don’t well with each other, so you really have to do a trial and error when combining them. But once you do get the hang of how it all works.

Optifine

This is the first thing that Minecraft gamers have to consider. Optifine is generally an enhancer for the game. It improves the loading speed, framerate and it has support for high definition textures. But the most noticeable feature that you can’t miss out is the multiple video configuration options where you can change so many features while playing the game. Even if you have no intention of installing mods, this is one mod that any Minecraft gamer should always consider adding to the game. Some mods even require to install this first before adding their own.

Original Minecraft:

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Optifine Mod installed:

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Though this mod ran fine on my HP Pavilion DV7, this didn’t load the game when I installed it on the Asus EEE PC.

GLSL Shaders

This has a lot of features but it doesn’t show up immediately since they have different configurations for each. At default, the first thing you’ll notice is the Depth of Field. When you look at one object the view blurs our the background and foreground which gives this realistic feel.

Original Minecraft:

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GLSL Shaders installed:

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Although there are other features that the mod can do, but it’s not there on default. There is dynamic lighting, celshaded graphics and more. You have to make a separate installation to get the different effects. This makes the mod “user unfriendly”.

Sonic’s Unbelievable Shaders

This is a modification of GLSL Shaders. It’s actually a mod of a mod. But in one installation, it does a lot of features on default. It has support for motion blur, real lighting, moving grass and more.

Original Minecraft:

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Sonic’s Unbelievable Shaders installed:

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The dynamic lighting is pretty and it feels more alive and natural. It does make the mood feel more refreshing than the basic look of Minecraft.

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Personally, I felt like I was having a headache when I see the motion blur working. I presume this effect is okay if you have a very fast system, but on my case, it was having a hard time rendering everything, making every second feel like it’s all going slow.

The only problem with this is, it’s not easy to disable some of the features since you have to open up some code to edit them and this one takes a lot of computer processing power that if you don’t have a fast system, it’s not a recommended mod.

One mod that I tried and failed to work was the Water Shader mod. It should make stagnant water reflect objects above it and make it a little more transparent than it is on default. I’ve seen videos on how it works and how to install it and I tried getting it running and I only got a “failed to load” screen.

Modding can give you different results depending on your computer setup, patience on changing parameters and ability to adapt each mod. But once you do get a good set of mods to work for you, it can be pretty amazing indeed.

Textures

It’s pretty easy to install a texture pack. This is the easiest way to change the look of the game. But before you install a texture pack, be sure to install a mod that has HD texture support, like Optifine. Minecraft has texture pack support without modding your game. The problem is that a lot of texture packs out there are set to high resolution and by default Minecraft doesn’t have full support for it. By default, Minecraft textures are only 16×16 pixels. Anything beyond that, you should use an HD texture support. Without it, some textures will look off and weird. Some textures can get high, even up to 512×512 for a lot of detail. But adding too much detail can strain the game engine. So experiment on what works for you. I tried using 256×256 and it hogs a lot on my system. I went down to using 64×64 or even 32×32. So, installing a mod with HD Texture support is highly recommended to make sure that all textures that you download will be automatically supported.

This is the original look of Minecraft.

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Dokucraft

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This texture looks great. It feels like the basic Minecraft texture was from the late 80s (NES/Family computer era) and this one looks like it’s from the early 90’s (SNES or Genesis era) graphics.

JohnSmith

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This is another great looking texture pack. Again, it feels right at home for me.

LB Photo Realism

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I like the way this texture pack looks. The detail on each block is amazing. But personally, with all the graphics limited to blocks, it feels like the world feels more surreal. Like something is a bit off than it should.

There are a lot of Minecraft textures out there and it can get quite interesting to see different ways to experience the game. It won’t change the gameplay but it can make you feel that you are in a different world each time you set up a texture pack.

Overall

Minecraft is an amazing game. The graphics are simple, but you can enhance the experience the way you want it. Not everything works well, but tinkering around on what works can be a fulfilling experience. Not only you can modify the world around you, you can change how everything in the world will look for you.

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1 Comment

  1. Joshua

     /  October 14, 2013

    Nice post, i’d like to hear some more.. 🙂

    Reply

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