Installing mods is both simple and annoying for a few reasons:
- Mods aren't officially supported by Minecraft so there is no single way to install mods.
- This means that a mod built for version A might not work for version B.
- Different mods might require different mod loaders and they might be in conflict with each other.
- Just like apps on your mobile phone, some mods might not do what it claims to do and can be potentially harmful.
- Many mods are served from sites that also tries to sneak in adware and malware on your machine when you try to download even if the mods themselves are okay.
- Minecraft is built on Java and given the security issues a lot of OSs no longer comes with Java so you'll have to install it yourself.
- If you install the official Java from Oracle (whether OSX or Windows), they try to sneak in adware on your machine as well!
I have been avoiding using mods but when the family demands it what can one do but to get it done? So, after spending an afternoon learning about Minecraft mods, I thought I share with folks how I installed the VoxelMap mod for Minecraft version 1.8.x. on Linux, Windows and OSX.
VoxelMap is a mod that provides you with a map of your Minecraft world and also allows you to set way points so you can easily teleport to specific locations. There are a number of mods that do similar things which I actually tried to get first but they either made it too painful to safely download (Xaero's Minimap) or wasn't available for 1.8.4 (Rei's Minimap and Zan's Minimap). VoxelMap is a bit fancy but it's used by Youtubers that my kids watch so there's a degree of familiarity with it.
VoxelMap requires a mod loader called Liteloader to run. Because mods are not officially supported by Minecraft, the community have come up with various loaders that provides simpler APIs that modders can use to write mods more easily. However, because each of these API might be different there is a degree of fragmentation and conflicts between the mods that use different mod loaders. It seems like Minecraft Forge is emerging as the leader (quantity of mods, support, books/tutorial that teaches using it), but a number of popular mods are also built on Liteloader. Fortunately, Liteloader is compatible with Forge and in this guide I'm going to install both.
A final note before we dive in. As of this writing, support for 1.8 is still somewhat "beta" for both Forge, Liteload, and VoxelMap (and pretty much any mod) and also I'm only going to install "client" mods since VoxelMap is just for the players and not a "server" mod which is that the clients connect to when playing multiplayers games. For the server, it's going to be just the vanilla Minecraft 1.8.4 server that is officially released by Mojane.
To install VoxelMap mod for Windows, you'll need:
- Java 1.6+ (to run the installers for Forge, Liteloader, etc).
- Minecraft 1.8.x client launcher
- Minecraft Forge for 1.8 (see below to avoid getting mislead by the download links)
- Liteloader for 1.8
- VoxelMap for 1.8
It's possible that you don't have Java installed on your system (Microsoft suggests that unless you really need Java, don't install it for security reasons.) You can download Java from Oracle for free, but if you're not careful you'll get stuck with crappy adware (shame on a corporation like Oracle to use such underhanded tactics). Fortunately, Microsoft now bundles Java with Minecraft launcher and you can use that version of Java to run the Forge and Liteloader installers.
The path to the Minecraft Java is something like this:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Minecraft\runtime\jre-x64\<version>\bin\javaw.exe
You can find this by looking at the default Minecraft profile from the launcher and see what the executable path value it has. Then from the command prompt (Run > cmd):
set JAVA_HOME="<path to java minus the javaw.exe>"
Minecraft 1.8.x Client Launcher
Simply download from https://minecraft.net/download and install it.
Minecraft Forge for 1.8
Liteloader for 1.8
VoxelMap for 1.8
- Click on the Minecraft installer you downloaded from minecraft.net. This will install Minecraft.
- Click on the launcher that it installed to start Minecraft.
- Click "Edit Profile" and change the version of Minecraft from "latest" to "1.8" (this is just a one time thing because Forge needs you to have run that version at least once).
- Click "Play"
- You can quit once the game menu comes up and change the profile back to latest at this point.
- Quit Minecraft completely.
- At the command prompt, install Forge with: java -jar <path to .jar file>. Select "Install client" then OK. Start up the client again, pick the "Forge" profile and make sure everything works.
- Quit Minecraft.
- At the command prompt, install Liteloader with: java -jar <path to .jar file>.
- From the menu's "extend to" option, pick the drop down that says Forge... and then install.
- Start up the client once again, select the "Liteloader 1.8 with Forge..." profile and make sure everything still works.
- Quit Minecraft
- At the command prompt, copy the VoxelMap mod to the Forge mod directory: copy <path to VoxelMap's *.liteload file> %APPDATA%/mods/1.8
- You're done! You should now be able to play Minecraft with the minimap on your screen.
Installing on Linux is the same steps as for Windows except for the following:
- Linux might already have Java installed, but if not then use the package manager to install openjdk and you shouldn't have to do anything else beyond that for Java.
- The path to copy the VoxelMap mod (step 13 above) is ~/.minecraft/mods/1.8 (instead of %APPDATA%/minecraft/mods/1.8).
Updated: Sept. 27, 2015
Just like Windows, the Minecraft launcher for OSX also comes with Java 1.8 so it isn't necessary to download Java separately. OSX only have Java 1.6 so you should use the version that comes with Minecraft then the default OSX Java.
Minecraft Forge for 1.8
You should be able to install Forge just by clicking the installer file or you can do it from the terminal just like it is described step 7 above.
java -jar forge-1.8-*-installer.jarThen selecting "Install client".
Once installed, start up the client and pick the "Forge" profile.
Liteloader for 1.8
Right click on the installer jar file and select "Open With > Archive Utility". This should create a folder with all the files from the jar file. Using the Terminal, go to the folder and copy the Liteloader jar files to the mod directory: cp liteloader-*.jar ~/Library/Application\ Support/minecraft/mods Now start up Minecraft but continue to use the Forge profile. If everything starts up fine and it Forge is running then quit Minecraft
Liteloader somes with an installer which you can launch by using:
java -jar <liteloader jar file>
Or you can copy the file to the mods directory and have Forge load it since they are compatible.
cp liteloader-*.jar ~/Library/Application\ Support/minecraft/mods
VoxelMap for 1.8
Just like for Windows and Linux, you just need to copy the VoxelMap mod file to the Forge mod directory:
cp <voxelmap mod file> ~/Library/Application\ Support/minecraft/mods/1.8
You can now start up Minecraft and see that the VoxelMap mod is loaded.
Now you should be able to use the VoxelMap mod whether in your single player game or if you connect to the 1.8.x server.
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