Modding is the lifeblood of Minecraft. From the very start, modders were a part of this community and helped grow Minecraft to the juggernaut it is today. This is why I am greatly saddened to see it withering away for the past few months. Now is the time for Workbench.
If you don’t know what Workbench is, it’s the codename for Mojang’s modding/plugin API. It has been planned since Alpha, it was announced and detailed in 2012, and we know a lot about it:
- The Bukkit team is helping, but the API is not based on Bukkit
- It will allow mods without editing the minecraft.jar
- It will make things much easier for users by making installation simple
- It will make things much easier for modders, things like adding new models and animations
- It will integrate with a new version of minecraft.net where users will be able to find and install maps and mods/plugins
The entire vision for the API was presented at Minecon 2012 at a lengthy panel with the entire team working on it, including Jeb, the lead developer of Minecraft.
So, where is it?
We don’t know. And therein lies the biggest problem Minecraft currently has. There was tons of build-up in the form of major changes to the game’s code that were supposed to make way for the API. We had resource packs added as a stepping stone to the modding API. We just had to wait a bit for them to get it right.
And, surprisingly, that wasn’t such a big deal – because Forge was a thing. It did many of things the modding API was supposed to do, and it did the job well, allowing modding to grow even in the absence of an official API and all the fancy bells and whistles that come with it.
And then it was delayed and delayed, time and time again, until it simply disappeared. The website was shut down, the github page as well. The project was seemingly abandoned and I honestly cannot find any official information as to what happened to it.
Even then, the modding community did not fade. I’m assuming people just kind of hoped for the best and took advantage of what was already there. Mojang had a lot of consumer goodwill because the people working there were involved with the community, and, simply put – cool. We trusted that Mojang would get there.
And then, the Microsoft acquisition happened, and all that goodwill was lost. I cannot say whether or not that was justified, since we don’t know that yet, but I can understand why people were afraid that the core Minecraft experience will be abandoned in favor of more profitable efforts (pocket edition, console editions, etc). Everything pointed to it, and people were skeptical – modders started leaving the community. Then, 1.8 hit and it received little to no mod support.
The modding community is slowly turning into a barren wasteland. Mod updates are rare and new releases too few and far between. It’s a sad state of things, but it is the state that we have. The only way to gain back consumer trust and truly bring modding back to its former glory is to release Workbench this year, as soon as possible.
I do not have any knowledge of the inner workings of Mojang and how much control Microsoft has, and I honestly do not care since it doesn’t matter to us as consumers as long as the support the game gets is good. This is a plea to Mojang and Microsoft both – to Jeb, Dinnerbone, and whoever else can help finally make it happen: Workbench 2015.
We’ve been waiting for it for so long that a Yogscast song poking fun at how long we’ve been waiting is over a year old:
Please, make it happen. Make the modding community as great as it once was and breathe new life into our favorite game.
People won’t care how it’s done. It can work through minecraft.net, it can be a part of a Steam release (which I still support, 3 years later) and integrate with Workshop. Heck, you can make it run through Microsoft Outlook – as long as it works and is available to everyone, it will be good. Fun will be had.
End the mod drought.
Stop the bugs and incompatibilites.