It’s not difficult to see why Minecraft is a game that is loved for millions. Since it’s written in Java, it can run on a variety of platforms including Linux. With a huge modding community, there are countless Minecraft enthusiasts who would love to be able to get under the hood and play around with the source code themselves. Unfortunately, the source code is not available to the general public.
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There’s good news. Minecraft’s popularity has led to numerous attempts to recreate the game, and others in a similar vein as open source software. Are you looking for a free Minecraft alternative to Minecraft? Here’s a quick overview of some clones and derivatives out there that you really ought to look into.
These projects are at different stages of completion and meet many different purposes. Some seek to duplicate the Minecraft experience completely or at most provide a very similar experience. Others are taking the voxel-based gaming concept in completely different directions, and still others are really more of a framework that can assist you in creating your own game or create.
The first game on our list is Minetest. Minetest, which is a “near infinite-world block sandbox sandbox game” and a “game engine” is the most complete alternative to Minecraft. It supports both multiplayer and subgames. It also has a variety of terrain generators and different default biomes. It also has a very user-friendly API to make mods using Lua.
Minetest is open-source under the LGPL. It is written mostly in C++, which is much quicker than other scripting languages. Minetest can be run on Windows, OS X and Linux as well as Android, Linux, Android, FreeBSD and possibly other operating systems. Find the source code on GitHub.
Minetest screenshot, Minetest website, CC-BY-SA 3.0.
Terasology could be a contender for the most stunning rendering engine in the pack. Its shadows are both dark and spectacular. The game was originally an experiment in procedural terrain creation. It has since evolved into a fully-featured game that includes multiplayer and a variety of add-ons that allow players to experiment with various gameplay mechanics.
Terasology is written using Java and is freely available under the Apache 2.0 license. Because of its Java-based system it should run on just about any platform that has enough power, so long as you have a Java 8 virtual machine installed.
Terasology screenshot, Terasology Code repository, Apache 2.0.
Voxel.js can be employed in a variety related projects. This lets you utilize as much or as small of a code as you want when creating your game. The main library, voxel-engine is a very basic engine to render small-sized scenes, but there are more than 200 add-onsavailable. Mega blog There are examples of other engines in the gallery. The engine is available under the BSD-style license. Other add-ons might be licensed differently so make sure to check before you make any assumptions.
Screenshot of voxel forest made with Voxel.js, Jason Baker.
TrueCraft is written to be very similar to the original game. It is described as an Minecraft “implementation,” as opposed to a clone and is compatible with official Minecraft server releases. The creator of TrueCraft wants to implement beta version 1.7.3 of the original game, which is a period in Minecraft’s development he deems “nearly perfect.” A snapshot intentionally frozen in time, TrueCraft seeks feature-parity with Minecraft.
Because it is so similar to the original, TrueCraft has taken great care to avoid copyright issues by allowing developers only to code that they have not decompiled or otherwise had access to the original game’s source code, though those who have are encouraged to contribute in different ways. TrueCraft is written in C# and is open-source under an MIT License.
TrueCraft screenshot, TrueCraft code repository, MIT license.
Craft is another open-source engine for voxels that is reminiscent of Minecraft. Development seems to have slowed down or stopped but there are over 200 forks, including many (such as the school project not2bad-craft) with major improvements. Craft’s simplicity could appeal to you if interested in building a game similar to Minecraft but aren’t sure where to start The game engine is encapsulated in only a few thousand lines of C code and utilizes OpenGL for rendering. It employs simple algorithms to generate terrain and other tasks, and everything is stored in an SQLite3 database. There’s also a Python-based multiplayer server that is worth an attempt.
Craft is available under an MIT license.
Craft screenshot, Craft code repository, MIT license.
Other great alternatives
Other noteworthy mentions to consider:
Freeminer is a second sandbox-based game that is inspired by Minecraft and inspired by Minetest. As an alternative, the creators are determined to “make the game fun while trading off some bits of perfectionism.” It has installers for Linux and Android. ClassiCube is a Minecraft Classic clone written in C#. It is open-source under the OpenTK License and is compatible with Linux, Solaris, Windows OS, Solaris, Windows OS, Mac OS and in browsers.
And there you have it. This list is far from exhaustive; there are plenty of alternatives waiting to be explored, and as time passes, we’ll likely see more options emerge as enthusiasts take these games and rip them out on their own. Which one is your favorite, and which one did we leave out you would have liked to have covered?