Minecraft Pi (and more) over VNC

RealVNC have released a free alpha (testing) version of VNC for Raspberry Pi that lets you remotely view and control everything on your Pi, including Minecraft, from a different computer. It works on every generation of Raspberry Pi, including Pi Zero. Here’s a demo:

Previously, it hasn’t been possible to view software that uses a directly rendered overlay – such as Minecraft, the camera module preview and OMXPlayer – over a VNC connection. It’s a feature that lots of people have long wished for, not least because it means that schools and other organisations can use existing equipment, such as laptops, as displays for their Raspberry Pis, so it’s fantastic to see a VNC server that supports it.

Our Head of Curriculum Development, Marc Scott, has spent some time taking a look, and he was impressed:

The performance was great, once the settings had been played with a little, and set-up was easy just by following the instructions on the GitHub repo: https://github.com/RealVNC/raspi-preview#startVnc.

Once this is perfected, it will certainly be fantastic for teachers and students, who will be able to use their existing ICT infrastructure to connect and control their Raspberry Pis.

It’s fair to say the new version has been well received by the Raspberry Pi community so far:

We’ve been looking forward to this since RealVNC tantalised us with a cracking demo at our fourth birthday party in March, and we’re delighted to see it out there. In releasing a public alpha, RealVNC are hoping for your feedback to help them make it as good as possible, so download it, give it a go and tell them what you think!


G S avatar

Finally. VNC that actually works!

So, wait, are we going to need to pay for this in 2017? That would be really disappointing.

Winkleink avatar

Licence for personal use and Education is free.

Winkleink avatar

This is great.
When paired with a Raspberry Pi Zero and USB OTG setup means you can program in Minecraft from your PC with only a USB cable connected to the Pi no PSU requires due to PiZero low power.

Peter Tarjan avatar

Speaking of Pi Zero… What about the availability promised some weeks ago that we should be seeing now-ish?

Helen Lynn avatar

Our update of a few weeks ago remains accurate. As a regular reader of this blog, you’re well placed to be among the first to see further updates!

fanoush avatar

How so? The update is from April 14th and says “We expect the new Raspberry Pi Zero units (with the new feature) to be available in two to three weeks’ time.” Three weeks passed on May 5th last week.

herapus avatar

Yes…ewerywhere is pi zero mentioned…”including Pi Zero”, but i cannot buy it.


Kevin Hainsworth avatar

“Even” in the UK it is difficult to buy any model other than the RPi3 at the moment. The Pizero is nice to have and its cheap but it doesn’t do enough for me, I’d much prefer a new A+ model.

Stewart Watkiss avatar

As well as the cost one of the advantages of the PiZero is the size. It can now be used in places where the traditional Raspberry Pi is too big, although attaching USB dongles does increase the size. I too am looking forward to the new Raspberry Pi 3 model A (replacement for the A+) assuming that has built in wireless and/or bluetooth, but with the slightly smaller form factor and less power consumption.

_p_i_ avatar

By the way: can someone who is blessed enough add this update to the “pi Zero schedules” thread ( https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=135081 )?

Phil Atkin avatar

So great to see this available and in use by educators and schools. It can go even faster yet with a tiny API change from the foundation … hint hint …

SWalters avatar

What “tiny API” would make it go faster?

Phil Atkin avatar

Tiny API change, not tiny API – it’s a buffer thing about minimizing copies across the CPU / GPU barrier.

Steve Richards avatar

I wonder if this will work with Guacamole, meaning you can use it without needing to install VNC client software on the host computer.

Silviu avatar

There is a free as in freedom alternative, no rendering.
On the Raspberry Pi:
sudo apt-get install -y x11vnc xtightvncviewer
x11vnc -storepasswd
Have ssh work for user pi.

On the computer you want to see with:

ssh -t -L 5900:localhost:5900 root@IPTARGET ‘x11vnc -forever -localhost -display :0 -ultrafilexfer -auth /home/pi/.Xauthority’

In another terminal on the same computer:
xtightvncviewer -encodings “copyrect tight hextile” -quality 5 -compresslevel 5 localhost:0

Silviu avatar

xtightvncviewer viewer needs to be installed on the computer you see with not on the Raspberry Pi;

also it’s pi@IPTARGET not root@IPTARGET

There it is.

MalMan35 avatar

This is so cool! I connected to my pi on my phone through the android vnc app. I then logged out of the lxsession and then typed emulationstation and it worked! Sorta the menu worked but the games didn’t.
Still pretty cool.

Sujit Vasanth avatar

I use x11vnc on my pi and realvnc to view my camera preview on ubuntu MATE without any issue over an adhoc wifi connection and it works fine.

In practical terms why would you cant to run direct render overlay on a computer which would have a better graphics card anyway? You could juts play acural minecrat as opposed to the cur down minecraft vesion.

the real issue is the render rate and you cant get full hd over vnc not even close…

Pavlo Fesenko avatar

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for Chromebooks =( The VNC viewer app from the Chrome Web Store doesn’t have the “Relative Pointer Motion” feature so the adequate game control is impossible. Waiting for the upgrade from the RealVNC – it would be a killer-app for Minecraft Pi in schools with Chromebooks!

Xavier Flix avatar

Just installed the latest Jessie with PIXEL release and it automatically installed the RealVNC server 5.3.2

Unfortunately, when connecting via the RealVNC Viewer, the Minecraft window is black (https://xfx.net/stackoverflow/rpi_minecraft_vnc.png).

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