Blog: Bright Ideas

Back for More Minecraft: Why One Summer of Modding Just Isn’t Enough

Minecraft isn't like anything else. It's part computer game and part art project, part technical coding and part pure creativity. And its possibilities are as vast as a big, blocky ocean. But you still might wonder: Why would I send my kid back to Galileo for another session of modding when they just did that last summer?

To answer that question, we got the behind-the-game scoop from Justin Alle-Corliss, the returning Mod Design with Minecraft instructor at Galileo Summer Quest Oakland. 

Justin at the Galileo HeadquartersJustin isn't who you might imagine teaching a coding class. A writer and photographer with an M.A. in English, Justin was teaching through the Institute of Reading Development when he learned how excited his students were about Minecraft. It captured his imagination not only as a teacher interested in his kids, but as a student of English as well: "When you're writing, you can build anything your mind can imagine with words on a page," he explains. "In Minecraft, you can build anything your mind can imagine on the screen. It's a game where anything is possible."

That "anything is possible" spirit was on full display last summer, when campers in Justin's class built an array of imaginative mods, including a Parkour Mod with an obstacle-filled course, an Apocalypse Mod made of burning lava blocks and a Candy Mod featuring some hopping-mad cotton candy. And the creativity wasn't limited to his campers—Justin got so inspired he even wrote a Minecraft poem (more on that later).

But what does another summer of Minecraft at Galileo Summer Quest make possible that mere modding at home doesn't? Here's Justin's take:

  • Special extras and cool challenges: Returning campers can take their mods to the next level, using their advanced skills to get more creative with code and access options like making a lightning sword, creating a whole set of armor and adding effects to food. Whether they're building on an existing mod or starting fresh with a new one, "we help returning campers use their ideas and knowledge from last summer to focus more on creativity and craftsmanship, rather than just getting the basics to work."
  • Balance and mentorship: We offer a well-balanced environment kids might not get working in their own rooms—one that provides a good mix in terms of both gender and kids' levels of experience with Minecraft. The latter creates "a great opportunity for more advanced campers to experience mentorship, using their skills to help out a camper who is just getting the hang of Java coding."
  • The company of other modders: "Working on a mod at home is certainly satisfying, but it is often such a solitary process. Being in class gives kids valuable hands-on experience learning new lessons with instructors who can help them right there. You get to turn to your partner and say, 'hey, check this out!' and have a laugh. It's a collaborative environment where kids get to talk, share ideas and get feedback to improve their work."
  • The fun of camp: Because camp is more than just your major, we make sure campers' coding is complemented with plenty of non-screen time—to talk as a group, share presentations and head outdoors for activities. "You're coming to camp. So you get the fun culture of Galileo, the integration of the innovation approach and the chance to give and get support from kids who love the same stuff you do."

So there you have it—there's nothing quite like Mod Design with Minecraft at Galileo Summer Quest. But if you're still on the fence, check out the Minecraft poem Justin wrote. How could a game that inspires this kind of creativity not be worth another deep dive this summer? 

Modding Minecraft
A poem by our Galileo Summer Quest Lead Minecraft Instructor, Justin Alle-Corliss

package mymod;

import mymod.poem,.MyPoem;

/*     MOD INFO */
    @Mod( modid = "mymod", name = " Vitality Mod", version = "1.0")
    @NetworkMod(clientSideRequired=true, serverSideRequired=false)    

public class Main {

/*    PROXY INFO */
    @SidedProxy(clientSide = "mymod.proxies.ClientProxy", serverSide = "mymod.proxies.CommonProxy")
    public static CommonProxy proxy;     

/**    

* DECLARATION SECTION

* *********************************************************** */

//  DECLARE THE POEM
/** Vitality is a code
a rough ribbon in a sandbox
where you can create dinosaurs and
instantiate your dreams instantaneously
fly freer than the fullest of sails across
a sea of gooey marshmallow and lava ore
build a glass castle with water slithering
softly out from the uncovered balcony
where the old blue infinity pool chortles,
“Oh it is JUST a GAME” of us, of you
who knew that painting 16x16 pixels
could make me as powerful as
Picasso color cubing Guernica
Is just a game to you because
You are only just living mine */  
public static Poem MyPoem_1;

/* ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ */    

    }

@EventHandler    

    public void preInit( FMLPreInitializationEvent event )

{

/**    

* LOAD SECTION

* *********************************************************** */

//  LOAD THE POEM

/** Vitality is a code you
craft painfully up and down turned
around inside out of the picture boxes
hanging on one corner word and pulling
it towards another word delete del
ete is Wolf’s favorite meat, so throw
it out, pick it up, kill your Creepers,
revise, edit, reset perspective, vivre.
Erase period Retype it to see new
choices. Playing the game with set
parameters (2040, 3, 3.0F, true, "MyPoem_1")
you’ll miss the finer gems buried
under 116 layers of dirt, coal, iron,
and gold. Is not what you’re after
the diamond in the tutorial is the:
Crash.

Toubleshooting;
I always wondered why they call it trouble shooting.
I never shoot my trouble, but if I did here’s what I’d do:

  1. Isolate the issue
  2. Ask myself why
  3. Never give up */

/** itemID, healAmount, saturationModifier (f), isWolfsFavoriteMeat, Texture Name */
MyPoem_1 = new MyPoem(2015, 18, 20.0F, true, "MyPoem_1").setAlwaysEdible().setCreativeTab(CreativeTabs.tabPoem);
GameRegistry.registerPoem(MyPoem_1, "MyPoem_1");
LanguageRegistry.addName(MyPoem_1, "Poetry"); 

/* ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ */    

    }

@EventHandler    
    public void preInit( FMLPreInitializationEvent event )
{
/**    

* RECIPES SECTION

* *********************************************************** */

//  POEM RECIPE
//** Vitality is a code you “recipitate”
from simply complex dreams, cracked
valleys of deadening thoughts in spaces
are important – you can deletespacesto
make your recipe work in any directional
column, but remember just in “variety
is the spice of mod” to add variance
to those colors we ever so slightly
change their value to hue we feel
inside because death is clearly alive
under 116 layers of dirt, coal, iron,
and gold. Is not what you’re after
the diamond in the tutorial is the:
Crash.
Who knew that writing letter by letter
could make you as powerful as
Shakespeare playwriting
The Tempest
Is just a game to you
because
You are only just living ____
craft */

   GameRegistry.addRecipe(new PoemStack(MyPoem_1, 1), new Object[]
{
           "SSS",
           "SSS",
           "SSS",
       'S', Poem.imagination,

   });

/* ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ */    

    }

@EventHandler
    public static void postInit( FMLPostInitializationEvent event )

    {

    }

}