How to build your own world with Minecraft

Minecraft is a game about a world full of blocks. You can mine these blocks to dig holes or build castles or canons or whatever you want. It’s about high mountains, vast seas, and deep deep caves. It’s about exploring all the nooks, crannies, and hidden places in a randomly generated world. There are skeletons, zombies, lava, waterfalls, dark holes that reach the abyss, and mountain tops higher than the clouds. It lets you build a cute little cottage and plant trees around it, or build yourself a castle in the sky, or a 16-bit processor.

Truly there has never been a game quite like Minecraft.

At the moment it’s still in Alpha, but the single player is quite stable and the multi-player works too.

It’s written in Java and it will run on every OS. Here’s how to get it going in Linux:


1. You’ll need Oracle/Sun’s java to run it. If you’re using Ubuntu 10.10 or newer then it’s already installed on your system.

2. Go here and buy a copy of Minecraft.

3. After buying a copy of Minecraft you can download a copy of it here and put it in its own directory (i.e. ~/minecraft)

4. If you have problems running it, or you get some memory errors then do the following:

  • make a text file in the same directory as “Minecraft.jar” and name it “”
  • give it permission to execute  by opening up a terminal and navigating to it (cd ~/minecraft) then using chmod: chmod ugo+rx
  • now open the .sh file and punch this into it:


java -Xmx1024M -Xms512M -cp Minecraft.jar net.minecraft.LauncherFrame

  • save and close the .sh file. Now whenever you need to run Minecraft just run the .sh script instead

If you really get into the game you might want to run your own server. You can do this by using the SMT version of the server.

Server Setup

1. Download “minecraft_server.jar”  (do not use the free version).

2. put it somewhere convenient (like ~/minecraft_server)

3. Make a .sh script to launch it just like you did in step 4 for the Minecraft client and put this in it:


# the minecraft server directory should be  something like ~/minecraft_server, if so then just replace the stuff below with that


java -Xmx1024M -Xms1024M -jar minecraft_server.jar nogui

4. run the minecraft server in a terminal by launching the script. You can also start the script in something like a startup script (i.e. ~/.fluxbox/startup) by invoking this shell script because the “cd” command will launch java from the same directory as the minecraft server .jar (if you change the minecraft server directory then you’ll need to change it in the script too)

tower on top of a hill (on my own server)


Q: I want to modify my server or set up specific ports for my firewall to use. Where do I go for answers?

A: Try the minecraft wiki or the Minecraft forums for now because any information I gave you would be out of date when the game releases. The forums are  here, the wiki is  here.


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