Overview of the Architecture¶
There are many different programs and tools involved in these activities. This document introduces you to these pieces.
This is what you run when you start the game itself. Most of the time, it is actually the Minecraft launcher, which you have downloaded from Mojang. This is sometimes referred to as the client, because in these activities, we will connect it to a separate server that you will control through Python.
CanaryMod is a Minecraft server. Like the vanilla Minecraft server from Mojang itself, it can be used to host a multiplayer game of Minecraft. Unlike the vanilla server, CanaryMod has a plugin API which allows it to be customized by developers. Unlike the CraftBukkit server, it is still available to download in both source code and compiled forms (as of October 2014).
RaspberryJuice for CanaryMod¶
Mojang release a special version of Minecraft (called the Minecraft: Pi Edition) that runs on a small, inexpensive computer called the Raspberry Pi. This version of Minecraft is special because it is available to download and use for no cost, and because it comes with support for modifying the game server’s behavior in multiple programming languages. The only downside to this special version is that it requires a Raspberry Pi, and cannot be run on a regular computer. While a Raspberry Pi is relatively inexpensive, most students probably already have access to a regular computer than can run the normal version of Minecraft, so we’ve looked for an alternative.
The original alternative came from the RaspberryJuice plugin for the CraftBukkit server. This plugin supports the same methods for customizing the server’s behavior as the Minecraft: Pi Edition, but it can be used with the PC version of Minecraft.
Due to some turmoil in the Bukkit project beginning around early September 2014, CraftBukkit is unavailable for the time being. The good news is that the CanaryMod server also has a plugin equivalent to RaspberryJuice, so it is the one we can use.
Git is a developer’s tool for keeping track of changes made to files. These kinds of tools are commonly referred to as Version Control Systems (VCS) or Source Code Management systems (SCM), because developers use them to keep track of the files that go into the programs they write. The examples used in the CoderDojo class are kept in a Git repository, along with the files that make up the RaspberryJuice plugin.
Python is the language in which we will develop our mods for Minecraft. It is free and open source, it runs on pretty much any computer around. It is both easy for beginners and powerful enough for very complicated or sophisticated programs.
A Text Editor¶
Python programs are written in plain text files. As such, you will need a program that helps create and update these files. There are many available, and most computers even come with one out of the box. However, some editors have features that make it easier to read, write, and test computer programs, so we will select one of those.