Minecraft

Mod of the Week: Galacticraft, for Minecraft

Christopher Livingston at

Sometimes everything just isn't enough. You give gamers Minecraft, a randomly generated world that is essentially infinite in every direction, and what do they do? They mod in a craftable rocketship and blast themselves right off that world to find some new ones. Galacticraft, created by Micdoodle8, lets you break the chunky bonds of gravity, launch yourself into space in your handcrafted rocket, build an orbiting space station, and land on (and dig up) the moon.

I had every intention of crafting my space program by myself in Survival mode. I even started by crafting an oxygen mask (so I can breathe on the moon) using eight panes of glass and an iron helmet. Piece of cake. I moved onto the next bit, the oxygen gear, so I can fill my mask with Minecraft air. That's when I started to realize this may not be an endeavor for a single Minecrafter with a column due at the end of the week.

Breathing is important, but will I still be able to snorfle down steaks through my space helmet?

To craft oxygen gear, I need oxygen pipes and an oxygen concentrator. The pipes just take some more glass panes, but the concentrator takes steel ingots, tin ingots, an air vent and a tin canister. The vent and canister will also need to be crafted from base components, and then I'll need oxygen tanks and an oxygen compressor to fill them. All this just to breathe? I don't value my lungs that much.

So, I decide to jump into Creative Mode to speed the process up a bit. While I think this mod would be great on a crowded server filled with people working together, it's just going to be a bit out of reach for me to accomplish on my own in a day or two, and the server I used to haunt, I'm sad to discover, no longer exists.

Buzz Aldrin is cool, but can he lift a rocket over his head? He can? Oh. Withdrawn.

Galacticraft adds a ton of new recipes, objects, and materials to build with, plus a NASA workbench where you can put your rocket together using a nosecone, an engine, some fins, and a bunch of heavy plating. After building the rocket and placing it on the launchpad, it's a simple matter of climbing aboard, hitting the space bar, and discovering that you don't have any fuel.

After fueling the rocket, it's a simple matter of climbing aboard, hitting the space bar, and blasting off! So long, Planet Minecraft! I'm aiming for the moon and I'm determined to get there before Ian does!

Hey, villagers! DON'T TOUCH MY STUFF WHILE I'M IN SPACE

During the launch, you can control your rocket, spinning it slowly around and even flying it horizontally, meaning that even if you don't want to go into space, it's still a great way to quickly travel around the Overworld.

I think I need directions. Does anyone know which way space is?

After a minute, the world fades from view, and I'm in space. If you've got the right materials with you, you can craft an orbiting space station, which is essentially a simple floating platform you can add onto to create a real home away from home, complete with a nice view of the stars, the sun and moon, and the world far below. Note: if you fall off the space station, you will fall all the way back down to the planet. So, tread carefully, remember you're in low gravity, and pack a parachute.

HAL can't lock the pod bay doors, because I don't have any! Ha ha! I should probably get some, though.

Then, it's off to the moon! When you arrive at the moon, you appear well above it, inside a lander that is plummeting toward the lunar surface. Hit the retro-thrusters to slow your descent, and land smoothly and safely on the Minecraft's moon, complete with chunky little dunes and craters.

It's Minecraft's moon, all right.

When you get out of the lander and start walking around, don't forget to turn and take a picture of your very first footprint. Yes. Yes. Your square little feet leave square little moon footprints in the dust. SQUARE LITTLE MOON FOOTPRINTS. I think that's about the coolest detail ever. You can also plant a flag, if you've crafted one.

SQUARE. LITTLE. MOON. FOOTPRINTS.

I'm on the moon! That is cool. A whole new world to explore. Still, this is Minecraft, and even the moon has Creepers and Zombies lurking below the surface. It only takes a few short minutes of digging before I find a small dungeon filled with the usual brand of pests, but enjoyably, the monsters are all wearing oxygen tanks and masks.

In space, no one can hear you scream. Also, only redstone torches work. No oxygen, see.

After some exploring, collecting a few moon blocks, and jumping around in low gravity, I fuel up another rocket and blast myself back to earth.

Houston, we uh.. we didn't have any problems. So you guys can chill.

Installation: Head here for the download. Scroll down a bit and you'll see links, in blue, for the latest build of Galacticraft and Micdoodlecore (you will need both). I used versions 1.6.2 for this write-up. BE CAREFUL ON THE DOWNLOAD PAGE. It's one of those that you have to wait a bit to get the download you actually want: in the upper right corner you will see a timer that says "Please wait 6 seconds..." Wait for six seconds, then click "Skip" and the actual download will begin.

You will also need the latest build of Minecraft Forge Universal. Once you've got that installed, drag your Galacticraft and Micdoodlecore folders into your minecraft "mods" folder. When prompted, choose "Load Basic Components." There is also an installation video that's probably easier to follow than what I just said.