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Learning Python with Minecraft – An Explanation

One of the amazing features of the Raspberry Pi when it first came out was that it came with a free version of Minecraft that had the ability to be interacted with via Python. Players could place blocks and create functions to make elaborate structures.

Minecraft was then purchased by Microsoft. While it has grown in many ways, the free raspberry pi version ceased development. Luckily and Minecraft grew, so did the ability to mod it, or create APIs that allowed for scripts and players to change the ways the Minecraft world behaved.

One of the Mods that was developed was RaspberryJuice. With this mod and the mcpi python library, players who have access to the appropriate server can use python with Minecraft in ways that weren’t possible on the Pi. We run one of these servers at STEAM Lab as part of our Python in Minecraft class, but you can also set one up on your own computer.

Sometimes one of the hardest bits of learning to program is coming up with a project that really makes you want to learn. Being able to add your own touches to Minecraft by programming a turtle to create Mt. Vesuvius, making flowers bloom wherever you walk, or designing your own parkour course can create just this motivation.

Over the next few months, I’ll work on posting some of the content I’ve created for our class for those who would like to work through it at home on their own server. In the next post I’ll provide some links that demonstrate how to set up your server and install your python libraries.

I encourage you to think about signing your kiddo up for the class though. Our world is a truly beautiful mess of colored wool towers and parkour course as kiddos try out the new material. The weekly meetups turn into a bit of a python-less free-for-all of just playing and laughing, but I have office hours for answering all of their python questions.

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