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How to Mod Minecraft without Java (using TypeScript)

Josh Wulf
Developer Advocate. Red Hat Alumnus.
・5 min read

Usually modifying Minecraft requires coding in Java, and a lot of scaffolding. ScriptCraft is a JavaScript modding library, and we've written support for TypeScript transpilation and a bunch of tooling to create a familiar developer experience for those coming from JavaScript land.

In this video, I show you how to write a basic Minecraft mod using TypeScript, and run it on your local computer with both a desktop and a mobile Minecraft server.

Prerequisites

You’ll need some software installed on your computer, to run the Minecraft server and the tools for writing your plugin. Install all of the four following:

  • Docker  — a containerisation solution.
  • Node.js  — a JavaScript execution engine and library.
  • Portainer  — a web-based GUI for managing Docker containers.
  • Visual Studio Code  — a code editor.

Minecraft Client

You need a Minecraft client to test your plugin.

Install at least one of the following:

Installation

Now that you have the prerequisites installed, it is time to install the tools for the server and for plugin development.

Run the following command:

npm i -g smac yo generator-sma-plugin typescript
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This will install four things on your computer:

  • smac — Scriptcraft Modular Architecture Controller, a program that runs Minecraft Servers for your plugins.
  • yo  —  Yeoman, a scaffolding tool.
  • generator-sma-plugin  —  a Yeoman plugin for generating a new Minecraft plugin using the Scriptcraft Modular Architecture.
  • typescript  —  the TypeScript transpiler, for converting TypeScript code into ES5 JavaScript that can run in Minecraft.

Create a new plugin

Now that you have the toolset installed, create a new plugin by running this command:

yo sma-plugin
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This starts the plugin wizard:

➜ yo sma-plugin
     _-----_     ╭──────────────────────────╮
    |       |    │      Welcome to the      │
    |--(o)--|    │  Scriptcraft SMA Plugin  │
   `---------´   │       generator by       │
    ( _´U`_ )    │      Magikcraft.io!      │
    /___A___\   /╰──────────────────────────╯
     |  ~  |
   __'.___.'__
 ´   `  |° ´ Y `
? Your package name (workspace)
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There is only one question you need to answer here — the name of your plugin. The wizard will create a new folder with the name of the plugin, and place the files for the new plugin in it.

This screencast shows you the process.

Once the wizard completes, it emits a message similar to this (I chose the name my-sma-plugin in this example):

Edit your new plugin

Start Visual Studio Code and open the directory containing your new plugin.

Here is a description of the files in your new plugin:

  • __tests__  —  a directory containing unit tests for your plugin. These are run with Jasmine. Add more tests in here as you develop your plugin.
  • .vscode  —  settings for Visual Studio code.
  • autoload  —  any files in here are automatically executed when your plugin is enabled in the Minecraft server. Use this for initialisation tasks, registering event handlers, and so forth.
  • lib  —  A place for you to put files that should not be automatically loaded (or that are required from your autoloaded files). If your plugin provides functionality to other plugins, then you export that via lib/index.ts.
  • node_modules  —  modules from npm are installed here. You cannot use modules from npm that use V8 APIs (like fs or http). Many of the features that you need are provided by the Scriptcraft API and by the @magikcraft/core package.
  • .editorconfig  —  settings for the editor.
  • .gitattributes  —  settings for git.
  • .gitignore  —  files to ignore for git.
  • .prettierrc  —  settings for code formatting.
  • package-lock.json — versions of installed dependencies.
  • package.json — configuration for this plugin, including dependencies and scripts.
  • README.md  —  instructions for developing and testing your plugin.
  • smac-nukkit.json  —  a configuration for running a Nukkit server with your plugin loaded.
  • smac.json  — a configuration for running a Bukkit server with your plugin loaded.
  • tsconfig.json  —  the TypeScript configuration for transpiling your plugin to JavaScript.

Open autoload/index.ts:

This file is automatically executed when the plugin is loaded. Changes that you make here will be visible when you (re)load the plugin.

Start a development server

You can load your plugin in a development server. There are two servers that you can use — one for the desktop Java client, and the other for the mobile Pocket Edition client.

Start the desktop server

Run this to start a desktop server:

npm run start:bukkit
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This will:

  • Pull the Bukkit server image from Docker Hub.
  • Start the Bukkit server with your plugin loaded.
  • Start the TypeScript transpiler to transpile your code to ES5.

You can now connect to the server with your desktop client. Click on Multiplayer then Direct Connect, then use the server address 127.0.0.1:

Start the mobile server

Run this command to start a mobile server:

npm run start:nukkit
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This will:

  • Pull the Nukkit server image from Docker Hub.
  • Start the Nukkit server with your plugin loaded.
  • Start the TypeScript transpiler to transpile your code to ES5.
  • You can now connect to the server with your pocket edition client. Click on Play then Servers, then add a server with the address 127.0.0.1:

Reload changes to your plugin

As you change your plugin and save the changed TypeScript, it will automatically be transpiled to JavaScript.

To reload the changes in the development server, type the following in the server console:

ts on
refresh()
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See this screencast to see what this looks like.

Stop the server

To stop the server, type this command at the server console:

smac stop
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See this screencast to see what it looks like when you run this command.

Screencast: Start, Reload, and Stop

The screencast shows you starting the desktop server, reloading the plugin code, and also stopping the development server.

Further Resources

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