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Minecraft Mod Development Rules

rainbowdestiny’s Minecraft mod development rules (that I use, at least)

Made primarily for Vanilla integration

This is a list of mod development rules I try my best to follow when working on something. While there are a handful more still, these are the 10 most important to me. I wanted to share it because it's something I find useful and hope some people will give it a read!

1. Disaster must be the player’s fault (rather, you can avoid it if you choose to be smart)

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Like the ability to back out of the way before a creeper explosion, destruction in Minecraft should be something the player is the cause of. Whether by not avoiding danger, or simply causing it.

2. Single blocks at a time (no instant builders or miners)

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Like the above, another one of Mojang’s rules. Machinery that creates blocks instantly or mines them away in bulk breaks the interaction feel of the game. All cases should be player maintained or block by block.

3. Electronic systems integrate redstone into their use

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The same going for magic, Minecraft has it’s own built in power system and fantasy magic. Things adding to these areas should work with the existing, rather than add separate systems for the player to keep track of.

4. Not everything should be craftable, but everything is obtainable

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Survival items are usually boiled down to something you get with a crafting recipe. This is not always the case, many things should use different crafting blocks or have no crafting all together - leaving it to the player to find either from circumstantial drops or loot. This is one of the most important parts.

5. Dimensions must match the Nether in quality

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Minecraft’s Nether update set a standard for the quality of dimensions and the amount of usefulness they provide. A minimum of 5 biomes, a vast array of creatures, ores, food, etc. A new dimension should be something you can live in unless intended as otherwise like The End. Dimensions should not be added further unless yours is at this state.

6. Do not break the progression of Minecraft, build around it

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Features that get around Minecraft’s structure from the overworld to the End, are a large issue to the game. As the mod will become something that creates it’s own world and ignores Minecraft’s. Unless removing those existing features from Minecraft, this is something to be heavily avoided.

7. Avoid “variants” whenever possible to ensure diversity in gameplay

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Unless your feature is a block, it’s important to not continually add versions of the same thing such as mobs or items just for the sake of it. As these things are supposed to enhance the world, they shouldn’t be treated like background visuals. If a mob does not behave differently than the other mobs, don’t add it. If an item doesn’t have an advantage or disadvantage to another, do not add it.

8. Structures cannot use palette building. Ever.

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Minecraft’s structures are often made in such a way with exclusive blocks or other, but generally consist of survival blocks to form them. Any structures added to a mod should reflect this and avoid using blocks based on their appearance rather than function. Things such as “texturing” walls with unmatching blocks that would not practically be there, a good example being end rods and player heads. All structures should be practical over visual.

9. Mimic Minecraft’s art style at every turn, however you can.

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Part of creating art is usually to form your own style, and part of modding Minecraft in early days involved adding things that look “better” than Minecraft. But in mod development, you are building on a game rather than making your own. As such everything should visually blend in to the base game, as best as you can. Using lower part counts and contrasted pixel art is important, avoiding mixels and etc.

10. Play Minecraft.

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The most important rule, you’ve got to regularly playtest your mod and the game itself. Creative mode and quick tests are not much use, as if you aren’t regularly playing you’ll never really know how well it integrates or what you need to work on. So above all, you’ve just got to play the game.

Thank you for reading and hopefully this gives you a better idea of the mindset any features I may work on come from!

With that last rule though, it's always worth noting that creative tests to make sure a feature is working/present is always a good thing to do, just to make sure the feature isn't causing crashes or not functioning at all, while having larger tests at intervals to run through multiple mechanics and make sure they properly interact with the rest of the mod and game

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