I had one of my proudest moments recently when my 11 y/o son came up to me and said “Dad, I need an IP address”. A few minutes of to-ing and fro-ing ensued before I finally understood that he wanted to play Minecraft Multi-Player and he needed a server setup to do it.
As an old geek who stopped playing games circa the Quake era, the whole Minecraft thing has passed me by but there appears to be a huge number of people playing it. The stats on the front page are pretty shocking: 8,217,028 people have registered and 2,275,989 people bought the game. That’s at €20 a pop!
I spent 10 minutes reading up on the basics of multi-player and spent another 10 minutes deploying a free server on Digital Mines and installing the required software. There are now several people happily playing away every day on the server.
If you want to do the same, it really is very easy.
- Sign-Up for an Account on Digital Mines (you can start with a Free one)
- Once you get your login, go there and click “Add New Server”
- Accept all the defaults and just give it a name like “MyMinecraftServer”
- Click Deploy
- Wait a few minutes until the control panel tells you the server is ready
- Yes you now have your own server
- Connect to the server using the instructions here. It looks fiddly but once you do it for the first time, it’s just a double-click after that in the future.
- Once you are connected, you are going to type some Unix commands in that window. Don’t worry, just copy and paste them one by one and you’ll be fine:
- sudo add-apt-repository “deb http://archive.canonical.com/ maverick partner”
- sudo apt-get update
- sudo apt-get install -y sun-java6-jre
- mkdir minecraft
- cd minecraft
- wget http://minecraft.net/download/minecraft_server.jar
- nohup java -jar minecraft_server.jar nogui &
That’s it, you now have a live Minecraft server!
Now give the Public IP Address of the server to your friends and you can all play in Multi-Player mode.
Note that the free servers should work fine for a few friends but don’t have the welly to host a large number of people. If you find it is too slow for your needs, you can sign up for one of the paid accounts and split the costs between your friends.
In the next post about Minecraft we’ll tell you how to make sure it is backed up so you don’t lose all your hard work.
If you have any questions on the steps above, just leave a comment.