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Minecraft Ham Radio Project "RadioCraft"

Thanks to a generous grant from the ARRL Foundation, PART has undertaken a project to add amateur radio to the popular online game Minecraft. PART member Lucas, W1BTR, is leading the project and is assembling an international team of developers. You can read the project proposal here, and get the latest news about the project here.. We expect to see RadioCraft on-line in late 2023.

What is Minecraft?

Minecraft is a "sandbox" game that lets players construct and explore virtual worlds. An old video that describes the game can be found here. Although this video doesn’t touch on the complexities of the game such as redstone, it’s a good overview. The Wikipedia page describing Minecraft can be found here.
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The RadioCraft Mod

RadioCraft is a mod to enable simulation of ham radio in the Minecraft game. We envision game players being able to build and operate a variety of radios on HF and VHF, with customizable antennas, and realistic simulations of propagation, QRM and QRN, diurnal solar effects, and band conditions. Eventually we'll be able to simulate the full range of ham radio activities including phone, CW, APRS, VHF repeaters, and even fox hunting.

Our goal is to use this simulation to introduce the world-wide Minecraft gaming community to ham radio and then get them licensed so they can participate in the real-world hobby.

RadioCraft Development Status

RadioCraft development began in January 2023 with the award of the ARRL Foundation grant. We're aiming for an operational demonstration at the New England Division HamXposition in late August 2023.

Our progress so far is:
  • January 2023: Hired developers and began work.
  • February 2023: First radio designed.
  • March 2023: Voice chat operational. Performed a successful stress-test with over 100 radios in a gaming environment.

RadioCraft Development Screenshots

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Single radio being used in the game. The player is holding a Redstone torch.

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Multiple radios in place for the system stress test.

Versions of Minecraft

There are two versions of Minecraft: Bedrock and Java (as well as a couple of variations of those like Minecraft Education edition or Minecraft Raspberry pi edition).

Bedrock is a lighter version of the game written in various languages for smartphones and tablets, consoles, and even your standard Windows 10 computer. It’s somewhat simplified and doesn’t have nearly the same support for modding as java does.

Java edition is written in, you guessed it, java. It’s made primarily for PCs and is a ton of fun to mess around with. It runs on Windows and Unix systems (including MacOS) or pretty much anywhere you can install java. It is easy to mod, and has a slightly larger feature-set compared to Bedrock.

How To Install Minecraft

First, you’ll want to make sure your system can handle Minecraft. It’s strongly recommended that your system has a GPU. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy, anything stronger than say a GTX 1050 will get you by, and worse hardware will be okay too. CPU wise, you can get by with most relatively recent CPUs. If you’re not sure, you can send an email here and we'll review your PC specs and let you know how it should run. The game will also want some RAM. I recommend a system with at least 8GB, although 16GB is the norm these days.

There are plenty of guides on how to install Vanilla (unmodded) Minecraft available online, as well as guides on how to set it up for mods. However, instead of just pointing you towards one of those, we can walk you through setting it up with a program called MultiMC.

MultiMC allows greater flexibility in versions and other complicated stuff, but don’t worry you don’t really have to understand any of that right now. We'll soon have a script available to download for you Windows folks which will do most of the work for you.

This video walks through setting it up.

How To Play Minecraft

This video guides you through your first play-through of Minecraft.

This video talks about Minecraft redstone, an advanced feature of the game that is kind of like electricity in real life, but also really not. This video is a great intro to it, although if you’re new to the game you should get a feel for the basics before diving into redstone.

One note on the above video: redstone torches won't burn out if they’re turned on and off too often, but will burn out if they are turned on and off too rapidly for an extended period of time.