Learn to program by making Minecraft mods on your own private server.No prior programming experience required.
* Online courses require a modern desktop computer, laptop computer, Chromebook, or Netbook with Internet access and a Chrome (29+), Firefox (30+), Safari (7+), or Edge (20+) browser. No downloads required.
Time: 45+ mins
IntroductionWelcome to Tynker’s Mod Design Studio course! As campers progress in the course, they'll go from little or no programming experience to confident coders who can express themselves creatively with modding. They’ll learn how to create custom resource packs, use code blocks to build mods, program simple mods, use the drone tool to construct buildings programmatically, code full multiplayer Minecraft games in Tynker, and more! Note: campers can deploy their mods and resources to their own private server within the Tynker multiplayer server.
This is the first lesson of the course, where campers are introduced to Tynker, block-based coding, and will learn how to link their Tynker and Minecraft accounts. Before campers begin the coding activities, make sure that they can get onto the Tynker server and join their own private server. Optional: Complete the first few activities together as a class. Make sure to think out loud through your logic as you code. Also inform campers that each lesson has DIY (do-it-yourself) modules where they'll need to apply everything they’ve learned at camp to create fun, Minecraft projects! Below are some teacher tips to help you get started:
- Campers have limited time to access their private Minecraft server. Each camper has 2400 minutes on their private server over the next two months (starting when the camper first accesses a Minecraft lesson in Tynker). When not using the server, they should log out.
- Review the teacher guide before assigning the lesson. This will give you a sense of what campers will be working on and what issues you should anticipate. This is also a good opportunity to familiarize yourself with the concepts they will be learning.
- Familiarize yourself with the material by completing each lesson before assigning it to campers. This will make it much easier for you to help campers. You can also experiment further with the concepts in Tynker’s Mod Designer.
- Review the answer key for each lesson before class so you have it available if campers run into any issues.
- Tynker’s lessons intentionally do not check whether a camper’s DIY project is “done” because this would require checking against a single completed sample to see whether the project matches exactly. Note: This means that the system will mark a DIY project as complete as soon as the camper clicks the “I’m Done” button on the last slide of the tutorial, even if they haven’t completed the entire tutorial. It is up to you to check that campers are actually completing the DIY projects. A good way to do this is to ask them to show off their completed projects. This will encourage them to complete the project as well as to make it their own!
- Computer or laptop (1 per camper) with internet access
- A Minecraft client and login for each camper
- Tynker student accounts (1 per camper)
New Code Blocks
: Run code attached to this block when you deploy a mod or first join your private Tynker server. : Send a message to everyone playing in your private Tynker server. : Send a message to the specified player in your private Tynker server. : Make Minecraft particles (e.g., smoke, snow, explosions) appear. : Run code attached to this block when the player moves from one block to another. : Run code attached to this block when the player moves to the specified location. : Run code attached to this block when the player breaks any Minecraft block.
- Coding: Using a computer language to tell the computer what to do.
- Tynker blocks: Blocks that represent programming concepts and can be attached to create programs.
- Event block: Blocks that will run any blocks attached to them when the specified event occurs. Examples include the “on start” block (runs all attached blocks when the program starts) and the “when [player] moves to [location]” block (runs all attached blocks when any player moves to a new location). You can recognize them because they are shaped differently from other blocks (notch in the bottom but not the top).
- Sequence: The order in which steps or events happen.
- Mod: A term that's short for "modification," and refers to any changes of items, blocks, or mobs that are different from the "official" Minecraft version.
- Tynker Mod Designer: This is where you will create all their Minecraft mods and games. On the left, you’ll see all the code blocks and in the middle, you can drag the code blocks to create your program.
- Skins: The texture and appearance of Minecraft characters or items, which you can customize and design.
- Mobs: The animals and monsters in the Minecraft world, such as sheep, pigs, and creepers.
- Particle Effects: You can create special effects in Minecraft that normally appear for events like explosions, death, fireworks, spells, and more. Particle effects refer broadly to effects created by many small sprites, usually being emitted from a source and only visible for a short amount of time before disappearing.
- Parameter: An extra piece of information that is passed into a function. Example: The block “when [player] moves to another block [location]” has two parameters: player and location.
- Set up a Tynker account
- Link their Minecraft account to their Tynker account
- Customize the character’s skin
- Deploy mods to their private Minecraft server
- Use code blocks and apply coding concepts to design a mod
- Use event code blocks to detect events that happen in the game
- Create projects that spawn particles, play sounds, and send messages
Getting Started (5 minutes)Lead a discussion with your class. Ask campers...
- What is "mod" short for? (Answer: modification)
- Can anyone give an example of a Minecraft mod? (Answers will vary)
- What are you looking forward to learning in this course? (Answer will vary)
Activities (40+ minutes)The lessons are intended for self-directed learning. Your role will be to facilitate as campers complete the Introduction modules on their own:
1. Getting Started (Video)
- Campers will watch a short video that explains how to set up their Tynker Minecraft account.
- Optional: As campers go through the course, ask them to make a list of what mods or games they would like to make.
- Make sure all campers are able to log in to their Tynker accounts.
- Make sure campers are able to successfully join Tynker’s Minecraft server and link their Tynker account and Minecraft account. If campers are waiting for help, they can explore the Tynker lobby world, where they can preview different kinds of games and mods they will be able to create using Tynker.
- Help campers navigate to the “Minecraft” section, then the “My Server” tab.
- Make sure all campers enter their Minecraft profile name. Inform campers that capitalization matters and there should be no spaces or extra characters.
- Allow campers to name their world.
- Ask campers to open Minecraft and log in. From the title screen, they should select the “Multiplayer” option and add a new server. The server address must be mc.tynker.com.
- Have campers join Tynker’s Minecraft server for the first time and allow them to explore.
- To test if your camper's Minecraft and Tynker accounts are successfully linked, have them type “/join” from the Tynker lobby world or walk through the central purple portal. The first time they join their own world, it may take several minutes and it may even cause them to exit the server. This is not a problem. Just ask campers to re-enter the Tynker server.
- Campers will watch a short video about using Tynker's Skin Editor. Optional: Before you start the video, ask if anyone can explain what a skin is. (Answer: The texture and appearance of Minecraft characters or items)
- Ask campers what skins they might want for their Minecraft character. Optional: Encourage campers to create a sketch of what they want to make.
- After finishing the video, instruct campers to make at least one new skin. For now, they should make a skin and not other resources (like items, blocks, or mobs) because skins must be deployed in a unique way.
- Make sure campers experiment with all the drawing tools at the top of the skin editor, including the paintbrush, the texture brush, and the skin rotator.
- For any campers not interested in making their own skins, allow them to explore the skins in the Tynker community and save one that is their favorite that they want to use.
- When most campers are ready to move on, tell them to check whether they want to use an “Alex” or a “Steve” skin, then download and save their new skin. Inform campers that any time making mods, skins, or items in Tynker doesn’t count against their server time limit.
- Have campers log into their Minecraft accounts at minecraft.net, click on their profile name at the top right, and choose “Profile” from the drop-down menu. Now they can choose whether they were using an Alex or Steve model and upload their file.
- Direct campers back to Minecraft and have them join the Tynker Minecraft server. As soon as they join, they’ll be able to see their new skin if they’ve uploaded and saved it correctly. They can click the F5 key (or the function key with the F5 key on a Mac) to see their skin from third person.
- Campers will watch a short animation of Andy introducing Tynker code blocks. Next, they'll move onto the Start Modding DIY activity.
- Inform campers that they can drag code blocks directly from the side tutorial bar if the blocks have a gray background. Code blocks that are just on a white background cannot be dragged.
- Reinforce the idea of an event block. You can recognize an event block because of its special shape (rounded on the top with only a notch on the bottom) and by its orange color. Blocks that are in your code will not run unless they are attached to an event block, which will trigger the blocks attached to it when a given event occurs.
- The back-and-forth editing cycle of creating a mod, deploying it to the server, going into the server to check it, then back into Tynker to debug or edit may seem confusing at first. Optional: Use your projector and model the process of deploying the mod and viewing it in your Minecraft private server.
- Make sure campers follow the tutorial's step-by-step directions. This activity allows campers to familiarize themselves with the process of deploying a mod and using code blocks.
- Some campers may have already used block-based coding, in which case this activity will seem very basic. Reassure them that the upcoming activities will be more challenging.
- If any campers are having trouble getting their DIY lesson marked as “done” by the Tynker system, show them that they need to click the “I’m Done” button on the last slide of the tutorial. They'll need to do this in order to move onto the next module.
- Campers will watch a short animation of Andy introducing another event code block: “when [player] moves to another block [location]”. Inform campers that this code block will run any code blocks attached to it when the player moves from one block to another.
- Point out to campers that the “when [player] moves to another block [location]” event block has two words in blue. These blocks are called parameters and can be used to access additional information about the player that has moved and the player’s location. When creating a mod, campers can drag these blue blocks out of the event block to use in their code. Tell campers that they'll learn more about parameters in the future lessons.
- The “play sound” block is the first time that campers will see a block with a slightly darker text box that says “add location block here.” Ask them what they think would happen if they deployed their code without putting a location block into that field (Answer: The block would do nothing because it doesn’t have enough information to run).
- Inform campers that before they deploy a mod, they should make sure there are no text fields that say “add block here” still visible. If there’s no block there, their code won’t run!
- Instruct campers to complete the DIY activity and deploy the mod to their servers. If any of their mods don’t work, have them check against their neighbor’s code. Do they have a value for each field in the “play sound” block? Are the two blocks fully connected? Is the mod activated? Are they joining their private server correctly? Note that mods won’t work in the Tynker lobby.
- If campers finish early, ask them to go back into Tynker and modify their code by choosing different sounds or notes.
- Campers will watch a short animation of Andy explaining the difference between “when [player] moves to location” and “when [player] moves to another block [location].” Make sure campers identify the difference between these blocks. Optional: Ask campers, "Which of the two code blocks will be triggered more often?"
- Campers will learn how to spawn particles (e.g., smoke, snow, explosions) using the “spawn particles” block. Emphasize to campers that they need to put a valid location in the “add location block here” field. Otherwise, the code block will do nothing.
- When campers get to the DIY activity, they'll need to read the tutorial to learn how to create their own mod and deploy it.
- Ask campers what they think would happen if you put the “player” block in the “add location block here” field instead. After all, players have a location, so why couldn’t the “spawn particles” block detect that location? Well, it turns out that this won’t work. If a block calls for a location parameter, you can’t pass it a player parameter. Tell campers to pay attention to what kind of parameter each block needs!
- Review how to turn off mods: Campers can click the home button at the top left of the screen to go back to the course page. Then, click the “Minecraft” tab and choose “Mods.” From here, campers can activate or deactivate any of their mods by clicking at the bottom right of a mod. Alternatively, they can click the “My Server” tab and control which mods are active in the “Installed Mods” section.
- Eventually, campers may want to turn off some of their first mods. Some mods may even interact with other mods or make it so that new mods don’t work. If campers can’t figure out why a mod isn’t working, ask them to deactivate all the other mods on their server.
- Campers will watch a short animation of Andy introducing the “when [player] breaks [block],” which is triggered whenever any player breaks any block.
- Make sure campers identify the difference between the “say” block and the “say to player” block. Ask campers, "Which players will see each message? When would you want to send a message to all players or just one?"
- Andy also introduces the “get type of [add block here]” code block, which gives the type (such as brick, stone, or grass) of a block.
- Point out to campers how Andy used the plus button (+) on the “say” block. Inform campers that this allows them to add multiple things to say.
- In the DIY project, campers will apply what they have learned and create a program that tells the player what kind of block they just broke! If their mod doesn’t work, make sure they compare it to the picture in the tutorial and check that all the blocks are positioned similarly.
- Once campers are finished using their computer, make sure they log off. Emphasize to campers that they have a server time limit, so if they aren't using their server, they should disconnect from it so that it doesn’t stay on.
Wrap UpUnplugged Activity: Discussion
Review today’s coding adventure by leading a discussion. Ask campers:
- What are some of the different event code blocks you used today?
- What was your favorite part of today?
- What else would you like to build in Minecraft?
- Use your own words to describe what "creating Minecraft mods" entails.