Modpack Development

The curation, configuration, customization, and synchronization of mods into collections called modpacks is an often-overlooked area of player creation. In the case of Minecraft, modpack-making is a significant activity in the modding community; it allows less technically skilled people to participate, yet it encompasses a high degree of know-how and creativity.

There almost 90,000 mods listed in the Curseforge repository, and over 1600 pages of modpacks organized into a variety of mod and gameplay genres that emphasize different styles of play, different kinds of worlds. The top ten modpacks share more than 15 million downloads between them. With extensive tweaking, these packs can embody the narrative and gameplay visions of the modpack makers, in some cases becoming discrete game experiences in their own right.

We refer to this kind of player-centric design practice as mod choreography — a term which evokes the knowledge and skills of the choreography in bringing together disparate elements in the creation of a new experience. Just as with modding, there is art and craft to mod choreography, and it remains one of the most accessible pathways for players to shape play experiences for themselves and others.

In general, modded Minecraft servers tend to run these choreographed modpacks for communities of players. As a result, modpack design can be as much about creating communal play experiences as about personal play preferences. Often modpacks are made by and for player groups and communities as a means of extending communal interaction around a platform that everyone already knows. In this way, modpacks may remake game experiences and produce a kind of iterative sharing and collective memory for server or LAN-based play.

Some of the first research-creation projects of the TAG Minecraft Bloc involved the collective making of modpacks to explore various themes, ideas and affordances of collective Minecraft play experiences and smaller and larger scales.

List of TAG Minecraft Bloc modpacks, with descriptions and links