Installing minecraft on the Raspberry Pi

There has been a lot of excitement around the blogosphere following the announcement of a free version of the wildly popular game Minecraft for the Raspberry Pi. My teenagers and their friends are somewhat obsessed with the game, so the chance of drumming up a bit of interest in software and hardware development by joining the two worlds seemed too good to miss.

So as not to interfere with any of the other partially completed raspberry Pi projects I have on the go, I decided to use completely fresh Raspbian image. It looks like there is a new “2013-02-09” version available for download. I prefer torrents for this sort of thing, but there seemed to be no active seeders when I tried, so I ended up downloading the archive. I burned it to SD using Win Disk Imager as usual, then popped it into the Pi and booted it up. A quick ssh to run raspi-config, and I was ready to install Minecraft. It is easy to find a server on

Installation was actually surprisingly simple.

    1. download a tarball from here
    2. extract the application from the archive using tar -zxvf minecraft-pi-0.1.1.tar.gz
    3. go into the newly extracted directory using cd mcpi
    4. run the application by typing minecraft-pi


This was all well and good, and indeed did result in a running Minecraft game. Unfortunately, not one I could use.

As I have mentioned before. I run my Raspberry Pi machines “headless” and connect to them either by ssh over ethernet or by using a serial port. I don’t usually have anything else connected.

This is a big problem for minecraft, which (presumably for reasons of graphic performance) bypasses the X display system and writes directly to the video hardware. Once I plugged in a screen, the Minecraft splash page was visible, but without a keyboard and mouse connected to the Raspberry Pi itself I could not make it go any further.

I don’t have a spare keyboard and mouse to hand this evening, but tomorrow we have scheduled a day of computers and Minecraft, and I have planned to pick up a whole bunch of bits to help with that.

I’m working on another build but this one is to make minecraft look as good as possible, not a portable or lesser version. I read an article on factschronicle that had reviews on just about the best ray tracing graphics cards. It’s a major investments, but I think I am going to go for it. I’ll keep you guys updated on it.

One Comment

  1. Did you ever get you RPi minecraft running headless. I’ve just come across this hitch also. I was planning to leave my Pi hidden away and let the kids use MobaXterm to access it to run Minecraft.

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