Minecraft is a fun game that lets you build giant worlds made out of blocks. The Minecraft community has created tons of mods and modpacks with nearly anything you could imagine. There are extra weapons, armors, spells, buildings, type of energy, science, and dinosaurs! Why not build a nuclear reactor to power your teleporter and go see a T-rex? You can do it with mods, and most of the popular mods are maintained and packaged in curseforge.
Unfortunately a lot of mod software doesn’t support Linux. Curseforge does have a Linux build, but it only supports World of Warcraft. You can install Curseforge using Wine but, it has mixed results and you might find yourself spending more time troubleshooting than playing the game.
The last option that a lot of gamers do is manually download a TAR or ZIP file, and load it into the Minecraft client or server. This might be fine if you’re using a modpack but if you’re using individual mods then it can be become a pain. This is a current issue in Linux gaming. Different mod managers are available for one game but not others. But this is Linux, and we’re sysadmins. We can make this work!
It took some time researching, but the mod manager that worked for me was Prism Launcher: “Prism Launcher is a custom launcher for Minecraft that was forked from MultiMC. It allows the creation, and management of multiple installations of the game, or ‘instances’ rather, each having their own separate mods, resource packs, settings, and more.”
Prism Launcher makes it easy to get mods and modpacks from the following:
- Import from ZIP
- FTB Legacy
This is very flexible, and you might have mods that you enjoy but that are hosted in different locations, or have lots of options.
Before you run Prism Launcher and install Minecraft, you need to install the correct version of Java. If you install the wrong version (like I did at first!) you might have a JDK that’s not compatible with the game. I’m running Manjaro, so the command you use may differ from mine, but the important thing is to specify a compatible JDK version for the version of Minecraft you’re installing.
$ sudo pacman -S jdk17-openjdk
Java allows multiple versions of its JDK to coexist. You can switch to the correct version of Java using the
alternative command on many distributions, or the
archlinux-java command on Manjaro and Arch:
$ sudo archlinux-java set java-17-openjdk
Install Prism Launcher
Prism Launcher can be downloaded from AUR. I had some issues building manually but, they have an AppImage version which makes the process easy.
$ chmod 755 PrismLauncher-Linux-7.0-x86_64.AppImage
An AppImage is a little like a container. You can launch the software right away without having to install dependencies.
In Prism Launcher, fo to the right side and click on Accounts. In the window that appears, go to the right and click on Add Microsoft (by now, everyone should have migrated from a Mojang account to a Microsoft account). This opens another window, and asks you to go a link and log in to your Microsoft account. It also provides a code to enter to verify account access. Then it requests permissions from your account.
After granting permission, you’re in the Accounts area. Potentially, you can have multiple accounts. This is good when a computer is shared among a group of people. Click on the Java tab on the left. Verify that the
java path points to Java 17 (or the current JDK supported by Minecraft).
There are other tabs here, should you want to change more configuration options. For example, if you run modpacks that are resource intensive, then you can change the usage of the memory for JVM under Java. You can change the resolution. When you’re finished, click the X in the top right to return to the main interface of Prism Launcher.
Click on Add Instance and choose whether you want to install Vanilla from a ZIP or from a different mod site. I’ve been using the modpack called Valhelsia 5 under the CurseForge tab.
In the bottom right, you can specify the Version Selected, if you need a specific version to play locally or to match a server. Click OK to download the modpack.
Some mods might not be able to be downloaded by a third party launcher, so those have to be manually downloaded. But this launcher accounts for that! It provides the link to download the mod, and what directory to look for it.
The launcher continues downloading all the modpacks and everything necessary to run successfully. Once everything’s been downloaded, an icon is added so you can launch the game. This is very flexible, allowing you to have multiple mods and versions installed without affecting each other. Each instance is independent from the other. Click on an icon, and the game launches!