Minecraft isn't a game so much as it is a movement, the pivotal center of a block-breaking, edifice-building cult. But as impressive as Mojang's magnum opus might be, nothing in the world is perfect. To begin with, it doesn't have Chocobos. Which kinda sucks if you've ever harbored dreams of developing a little Chocobo farm on Bioshock Infinite's Columbia.
Today's conglomeration of mods isn't the end-all guide to Minecraft mods. It won't set your feet on the path to new adventures or help you build computers. Today's mods are focused on making your world into a living, breathing copy of the real thing. Why settle for regular vegetation? Why not appoint your realm with trees that stretch to the heavens above? Why stop at cats? Have werewolves too! I could totally go on but why not let the mods cluck, squawk and howl for themselves?
If God used mods, he'd use Optifine. Humbly described as a 'Minecraft optimization mod', Optifine will, according to the official description, 'allow Minecraft to run faster and look better with full support for HD textures and many configuration options'. In other words, it provides access to everything under the hood, every setting and what-not that you might want tweaked and an instant solution to any FPS problems you may have had. If you own an older computer and have been lamenting its inability to function with all those new-fangled mods, Optifine's the thing for you. Of course, for those with bigger, badder set-ups, Optifine lets you push Minecraft even further. Try using the Extreme Render distance. Let us know if your computer the power.
Download Optifine here.
Dr Zhark's Mo' Creatures
You have Optifine installed, right? Good. Now, let's get the real party started. Dr Zhark's Mo' Creatures is an absolute must have for anyone who enjoys going out and playing King of the Jungle. It's pretty much what its name implies. Mo' creatures gives you, well, more creatures. These can range the full spectrum. On one hand, there are mundane critters such as tameable bunnies who will breed if left in pairs. On the other, we have bonafide werewolves that can only be killed by a blade made of pure, molten capitalis -- er, gold. And while many of them are rather uni-dimensional in the sense that they just want to kill you dead, there's a fair bit of depth to many of the other members of Dr Zhark's menagerie. A tamed mammoth, for example, is totally capable of being accessorized. (What? Mammoths? Yes. Mammoths.)
Download Dr. Zhark's Mo' Creatures here.
Back when I was a wee lass, I used to spend days agonizing over my chocobos in Final Fantasy 7. I would race them industriously, fuss over their family lineage and reboot the computer each time they failed to breed in a satisfactory fashion - all in the service of acquiring a golden Chocobo. Laborious as that might sound, I loved it. (I may also have an unholy fascination with simulation games, but that's beside the point.) Needless to say, I'm kind of smitten with ChocoCraft. Yet again, the mod does what you probably think it does. It allows you to find chocobos, tame them, breed them, use them as super-powered mounts and call them George. Sorta. The creator of the mod even added a few personal touches of their own, one of which is delightfully and appropriately morbid.
Download ChocoCraft here.
Too Many Plants
Oh, hey there! Have a plant. Have two. Have three! Actually, why stop at three? Have fifteen of the green rascals. What's a few petals between friends? Too Many Plants, as you might have already guessed, introduces fifteen new plants to the Minecraft ecosystem. By and large, the new plants are of a somewhat fantastical nature. Fire flowers that emit smoke and turn into a cheeky homage to the Mario Brothers when affixed to sticks. Bone flowers that yield a harvest of calcium. Evil flowers that impart instant death. Naturally, this mod comes with an abundance of recipes as well. Similar to the flora packaged in the mod, the recipes have a slightly outlandish spin to them. How so? Download to find out, Jack..
Download Too Many Plants here
If you hate other people, you may want to pass on Millenaire as it's a largely successful attempt at, you guessed it, filling the emptiness of Minecraft with people. True, villages and villagers do exist in vanilla Minecraft but anyone who has spent any amount of time with Steve will have to agree that the locals are far from scintillating company. Millenaire wants to fix that. It wants to coat your world with villages inspired by Norman, Japanese and Mayan culture. It wants to populate it with men, women and children of all shapes and sizes, many of whom will be all too happy to trade with you. If you're cordial enough, you might even be able to marry one of them! One of the adults. Not a kid. Alternatively, if you don't find the idea of cubical mate quite as appealing, you could always help in the development of the village. Who knows? They might even celebrate your existence by building you a house of your own.
Download Millenaire here.
Sonic Ether's Unbelievable Shaders and GLSL Shaders Mod
You still have Optifine installed, right? Right. Because Sonic Ether's Unbelievable Shaders will annihilate a plebeian rig. There's a strong possibility that it might run your computer into the ground even if you have. Nonetheless, if you can get it to work, it's worth it. The mod does staggeringly gorgeous things to the shadows and lighting in Minecraft. Even without a panoply of supporting material, Sonic Ether's Unbelievable Shaders will still make you stop and stare wide-eyed at the world. But don't take my word for it. Just watch the video and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
Download Sonic Ether's Unbelievable Shaders
Before you ask, the answer is no. R3D.Craft doesn't work with Sonic Ether's Unbelievable Shaders. I know. It's unbelievable. I have no idea as to why this is the case. However, if you ever find yourself sick of running the former, R3D.Craft is a totally viable second option. In fact, it's so viable, it might even be worth considering as a first pick. The idea behind R3D.Craft is simple: it's a high-quality texture pack designed to make Minecraft look more realistic. As you might have imagined, it's steeped in little nuances, artificial lighting, smoother gradients and more artistic shadows. Once again, I'm not going to go into too much detail. Watch the video. Be awed. (And make sure you have Optifine installed, damnit.)
Download R3D.Craft here
The Massive Trees
The simplicity of this mod belies its quiet, understated beauty. Massive Trees does precisely what it advertises: it creates gargantuan trees that will spiral all the way into the pixelated heavens. There are no recipes associated with this mod, no unique creatures, no coy gimmicks, nothing that really shouts 'Hey, hey! Look at me! Look at me!'. Nonetheless, that doesn't stop it from being any less majestic. I thoroughly getting this one in conjunction with either Sonic Ether's Unbelievable Shaders or R3D.Craft.
Download Massive Trees here.
In life, we often tend to get obsessed with big things but it is often the little details that truly bring an experience together. MAtmos is a simple yet striking conceit. Instead of installing yet another repository of strange beasts, it offers something far subtler: ambient sounds generated from your surroundings. In other words, MAtmos will bring about the howling winds when you're perched on a hilltop and the singing of birds when you're in the forests.
Download MAtmos here.
Better Breeding Mod
Better Breeding is an .. interesting mod. What it does is that it gives actual purpose to reproduction. Sort of. I'm certain the local wildlife enjoy breeding just fine. However, Better Breeding Mod gives you a non-salacious reason to encourage it. To provide an example as to how all it works, let's pretend, for a moment, that you enjoy pork but think the local pigs could provide better drops. With Better Breeding, that's more than possible! All it takes is a few generations worth of intensive work and you'll have bacon that's actually good for you.
Download Better Breeding Mod here.
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