Hosting A Modded Minecraft 1.16.4 Server on a Raspberry Pi
Recently, some friends and I wanted to check out the recent major updates made to Minecraft. There’s something especially inviting about diving into a new world, exploring the infinite landscape and building huge castles with friends that has captured Minecraft players for years.
Here, I’m going to describe the process of setting up the latest version of Minecraft Forge and installing your favorite mods, because who doesn’t want to add Tesla coils and rail guns to their game?!
But Minecraft is better with friends! In Part Two, we’ll be hosting our own modded server on a Raspberry Pi. Make sure to follow the steps here first.
First thing’s first — you’ll need to be an owner of Minecraft Java Edition. As of this article’s publication, the most recent version is 1.16.4. You can buy a copy of Minecraft here. Even if you’re on Windows 10, you want the Java Edition!
Since we’ll be playing modded Minecraft, you’ll also need a copy of Minecraft Forge 1.16.4. Make sure to download the one that says ‘installer’ under the ‘Download Recommended’ banner. If you’re going to be following along in Part Two, we’ll use the same file to install the server on our Raspberry Pi.
Select Some Mods
There are a ton of community made mods for Forge. You can browse and select which ones you want here. My favorite is Immersive Engineering, which adds a robust electricity and mechanics system. Just make sure the mod is compatible with your version of Minecraft, then click the download button to get the zip file. For now, download the mods you want and keep the zip files someplace you can find them later.
A note about mods —
Some mods, like the very popular Optifine, are client side only. That means we won’t need to put them on the server later and players are free to use them as they please. All other mods must be installed on the server and the client, so all players must have a matching mod list! If a mod doesn’t specifically say it’s client side only, assume it’s for both. If you’re not going to be building the server, don’t worry too much about this. If you are, make sure you add the same exact mods later.
Launching Forge from the Minecraft Launcher
When you launch Minecraft after first installing it, you should be treated to something like this.
Notice the version just to the left of the play button. We’re going to install Forge so we can select it from our launcher instead.
Stay with me here, this is likely the worst part. In order to use Forge, your computer needs to have Java installed. Java used to be installed alongside Minecraft, but lately the game has used a bundled version to avoid needing that (this is a good thing). Forge, however, still needs Java running on your computer.
For MacOS —
Open your terminal with the launchpad or by going to Applications > Utilities and clicking on Terminal. Check to see if you have Java installed already by entering this into your terminal.
If you see something like this and as long as the number after Java is 8 or above, you’re good to go!
java 13-ea 2019-09-17Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 13-ea+33)Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 13-ea+33, mixed mode, sharing)
Otherwise, we need to run a couple of commands here to install Java. We’ll use Homebrew, an excellent package manager for MacOS.
Run this first to install, (or update if you have it already), Homebrew.
/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install.sh)"
Then run this to install Java.
brew cask install java
FYI, there are two ways to install and use Java — the officially supported version from Oracle that requires a license and the open source version called OpenJDK. Since we’re not Java programmers who need production level support, we’re happy with OpenJDK. That’s what Homebrew will install.
For Windows 10 —
This process is a bit manual. You’ll need to download a version of OpenJDK from here. The latest version should be fine. Extract the zip file in a folder at C:\Program Files\Java\ (you’ll need to create the Java folder).
Open the control panel, then select system > advanced > environment variables. You’ll want to append the location of the ‘bin’ folder from what you just extracted in C:\Program Files\Java\ to the PATH variable. After doing so, it should look something like this, but with whatever version you have —
Finally, under system variables, click new and add a variable called JAVA_HOME. Set this to be the same Java location, but this time without the bin folder. Click ok, then apply changes.
If you didn’t download Forge before, go ahead and do so here. Click on the installer option under the recommended banner. This should download a .jar file. Open the file to be walked through installing Forge for the client. Once it’s finished, relaunch the Minecraft launcher. You should now have an option launch Minecraft with Forge.
On MacOS —
Go back to the terminal and paste this —
open ~/Library/Application\ Support/minecraft
If there isn’t a folder called mods, create one. Simply drop the .jar files of the mods you downloaded into this folder.
On Windows 10 —
Click start and type ‘run’ into the search bar. Type %appdata% into the text field of run and hit the enter key. It should bring up a location in the file explorer. You should have a folder called .minecraft in this location.
If there isn’t a folder called mods in the .minecraft folder, create one. Drop the .jar files of the mods you want here.
At this point, you should be able to play single player Minecraft with mods! Make sure to check out Part Two so your friends can join!