Vanilla-Minecraft is one of those games that just isn’t quite satisfying by itself. Lots of PC titles really shine with community mods and Minecraft is one.
There are some great single player mods, texture packs and skins. MoreCreeps and Weirdos is pretty wild. There is a plethora of server-side plugins that require no setup for connected users. Of course the admin must install and configure the addons. Users simply connect and enjoy them seamlessly.
With the right configuration you can turn Minecraft into the ultimate sandbox.
To really make your world shine you will need the right texture pack. It really depends on the environment you are designing. If you’re creating a desert biome with Egyptian architecture I recommend trying Doku. I’m using Doku in the screenshots below. You could also modify several texture packs, taking the textures that you like from each one.
The server-side plugins that I list all require Bukkit. Server-side plugins that are able to use money (Citizen and Resident for example) can take advantage of an economy plugin such as BOSEconomy. BOSEconomy seems to be the best available economy plugin right now.
For an extremely easy and powerful way to edit your worlds WorldEdit is available as a client-side and server-side mod. You can install it on your Bukkit server and setup permissions with the Permissions plugin. Then decide which WorldEdit (or other plugins’) commands each user or group has access to.
After you install WorldEdit take a look at the World Edit Client-side Interface. Without it you won’t be able to see the selections that you are making. It turns your selections into a cuboid wireframe.
ZanMiniMap is similar to the mini-map radar in other games. The compass is very helpful.
WorldEdit makes editing your world extremely easy.
I created a pyramid that is 119 blocks wide at the base and touched the ceiling. I was able to do this in about 10 minutes by typing a few relatively simple commands. First I created a single block for the top of the pyramid. Then I repeated several commands (//shift 1 d, //outset -h 1 and //set sandstone). Shift 1 d moves the selection down one block. Outset -h 1 expands the selection horizontally in both directions. Finally, set sandstone places sandstone inside the selection.
Another great feature of WorldEdit is /brush which lets you point at an area and terraform. Here is an example of “/brush sphere 50%sand,50%grass 5”.
You can relatively easily setup an economy and RPG system with Bukkit plugins. To start I recommend first installing BOSEconomy. From there install Wurkit so that your players can make money and then Jobs for another source of income.
For skill leveling try McMMO.
To add NPC traders, blacksmiths, guards and healers try Citizens. Guards appear broken. I was never able to get them to aggro mobs.
Residence allows your players to claim, buy, sell, protect and rent property. Admins can configure lots of parameters defining what players can do. Players can set flags on their property, protecting it from mob spawns and creeper explosions. Property also becomes a teleport location. For a plugin with similar abilities, but more for admins than regular users take a look at WorldGuard.
With the right plugins and configuration settings you can have a working economy, cash flow, cash sinks and leveling system. This effectively turns Minecraft into an MMO-like experience. It can get quite interesting. The plugins that I’ve listed also don’t force players to participate in the economy or leveling system. They can simply ignore these features and do other things (like build).
It’s really amazing what you can do with server-side plugins in Minecraft.
To further extend you and your players abilities: WorldGuard, CommandBook and HeroChat. Don’t forget the Permissions plugin. It is absolutely essential when running a server and allows you to determine who can use which commands and plugins.
I’ve tested all of the plugins above with Minecraft 1.7.3. Most were tested together and seem to co-exist peacefully. They are designed well not to conflict with other plugins. Each plugin is very configurable by editing YAML configuration files.
If you’re new to YAML you should download Notepad++. It’s required to edit the configurations.
Comment about your experience with these plugins.