Hacking the Minecraft world

If you’re a Minecraft fan and a Pi owner, you’ve probably already downloaded a copy of Minecraft: Pi Edition. But are you getting the most out of the fact that you can modify the world with code in-game?

If you’re not sure where to start, or if you’re looking for ideas (sometimes being given a blank canvas can be lousy for getting the brain sparking), Martin O’Hanlon at the marvellous <Stuff about=”code” /> has several tutorials on Minecraft: Pi Edition, from installing the game to using the Minecraft API to build wonderful things, like magical bridges that appear where’er you walk, games of hide and seek, and in-game analogue clocks.

The hide and seek hack is easy and rewarding: with a little coding you’ll be able to get the game to hide a diamond somewhere in the world for you to find, and to give you hints of the warmer/colder variety.

You can find code and an explanation of what’s going on over at Stuff About…

And we’re all agreed that the clock is just brilliant (it’s also big enough that you can go and stand on the hands). Again, the project has its own page with code and a spot of discussion.

We’d love to see what you’ve been doing in Minecraft – take some video, or write something about your experiments on your own website, and let us know about it!


Kevvy Wilch avatar

This might just be the catalyst that gets my two boys interested in coding :-)

winkleink avatar

Been playing with Minecraft and since I make a lot of mistakes I needed a fair few new blank worlds so I can see what I’m doing. When I mess one up too much I just restart with a different world allowing me to keep going with the coding.
I also copied the blank worlds so that when (not if) I mess up all the ones available I can just copy in new ones and start again. It’s a mix of python code and some manual editing in a hex editor. Nothing too complex.

Below is a short howto on what to do.


Mike Karthauser avatar

One of the best resources ive come across for minecraft on the Pi is http://mcpipy.wordpress.com/ which includes many of the examples you’ve posted about as well as loads more. Even neater is that the site has its own GitHub repo where you can get all the python scripts ready to run on your Pi

Rui Andrade avatar

I set up a minecraft server using my Pi. It runs well. There’s a topic dedicated to it on the forums!

tzj avatar

Would you be able to write up a 2 page article with the info in your thread of the best working version?

Rui Andrade avatar


Jim Manley avatar

I assigned students in a 6th grade science class I teach (as part of the Troops To Teachers program) to build models of the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles. A surprising number (including some long-term discipline problems who had shown no interest in school, much less science) asked if they could build them in Minecraft instead of the traditional plaster/cardboard/painted dioramas. I hesitated at first, knowing they would likely goof off and just play in default random worlds that came up when it start. It would be difficult to supervise all 56 kids working on all of the various physical and virtual models (just keeping them from covering each other in paint was enough of a challenge). To my amazement and surprise, though, they actually built some really intricate Minecraft worlds with all sorts of waterfalls, clouds, precipitation, and even animated evaporation and condensation representations. They were required to label everything and cleverly created all sorts of variations on the carved signposts included in the stock Minecraft collection of tools and materials.

I’ll never hesitate again to let students use Minecraft for projects (they’ll still need to be monitored to prevent goofing off … they are 6th graders, after all). It will be fascinating to see what they’re able to come up with when they dive fully into the programming capabilities.

Viva La Minecraft! :D

Tim Rowledge avatar

Don’t forget Bert’s Squeak bindings for Minecraft – which could probably be be extended to Scratch – as shown on

Chris R avatar

My two boys had a play with the MineCraft Pi and enjoyed it. My oldest (10) has been writing some Python scripts that can turn one sort of block into another, build spheres and together we put together a script that builds a house wherever you are standing (complete with fence, stairs, lights, windows and flowers). His biggest disappointment is the lack of redstone which he uses to build all sorts of devices in normal MineCraft and is hoping that this will be to come. In terms of its goal in encouraging programming it certainly has done that as he hadn’t looked at Python since playing with it a year or so ago.
Overall a positive from us.

yaconsult avatar

Totally new to minecraft and decided to give it a try.

After following instructions, I found that when running minecraft I got the error: failed to open vchiq instance

A quick google reveals that the solution is to change the device’s permission with: sudo chmod 777 /dev/vchiq

After doing this, running minecraft opens a minecraft window, but it’s blank. Now, I am currently getting a remote desktop on the pi with xrdp as described here: http://www.raspberrypiblog.com/2012/10/how-to-setup-remote-desktop-from.html

Is it possible for minecraft to display output when using an xrdp connection or will it only work on the local display?

skwirl42 avatar

It only works on the local display. From what I’ve read it was necessary in order to get decent 3D performance.

Krystal avatar

Sorry if this shows up more than once. I’ve sent it four times and it doesn’t show up. I’m 11 and I installed Minecraft on my Raspberry Pi. There were some challenges, but I did it. I blogged about it, but I think that when I put the URL for the blog, my message is called spam. You can go to raspberrypikid dot wordpress dot com to see it.


bob avatar

check out picraftmods.webs.com! you can download mods, post mods, and give mod suggestions!

Chris avatar


How do you actually save your world so that you don’t have to start from scratch everytime?


Katie avatar

Hey, I am deciding whether or not to buy a raspberry pi. I was wondering if you could go on regular minecraft servers with Pi edition. Please reply

Hassan Maher avatar

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