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Minetest Installation and Review

In my previous post, I wrote about installing Minecraft under Linux (well Ubuntu and LinuxMint anyway), however there is a game similar to Minecraft I feel worth mentioning about.

Minetest is an infinite-world block sandbox game and game engine inspired by MineCraft. It’s free and open-source. It supports both survival and creative modes along with multiplayer support, dynamic lighting, and an “infinite” map generator.


Minetest is in the Ubuntu repositories, however it’s an older version. You can get the latest version by installing the developers PPA.

To install it, hit Ctrl+Alt+T to open terminal for running commands, then:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:minetestdevs/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install minetestc55


Minetest is not just a Linux only game, there is a Windows version of it as well (I took a few screen shots from the Windows version for this article, don’t kill me. I am forced to use Windows at work and it was a quick thing while I was on break).

The first question you may be asking is “Why would I install this instead of MineCraft?”

Well, let’s look at the technical aspects. MineCraft runs under Java. Not only is Java going under some major security flaws at this time, it also seems to be a little sluggish on some machines (your mileage may vary, but on my machine MineCraft tends to slow down while runnnig under OpenJDK 7 or the official Java put out by Oracle/Sun).

Minetest uses OpenGL and Lua and is designed to be simple, stable and portable. It is lightweight enough to run on fairly old hardware. It currently runs playably on a laptop with Intel 945GM graphics. Though, as for the CPU, dualcore is recommended. My laptop has a dual core processor and is using the Intel 965GM graphics so it runs rather well.


  • Walk around, dig and build in an infinite voxel world, and craft stuff from raw materials to help you along the way.
  • Simplistic Modding API that supports many kinds of additions and modifications to the game.
  • Multiplayer support for tens of players, via servers hosted by users.
  • Voxel based lighting with gameplay consequences (light caves and buildings with torches)
  • Almost infinite world and a beautiful map generator.
  • Runs natively on Windows, Linux, OS X and FreeBSD.
  • Supports multiple languages, translated by the community
Start your game all right here.

Start your game all right here.

When you launch the game you are presented with a pretty basic screen to start. You can jump into an adventure more or begin a creative mode to build your world. Click New to start a new world and which ever mode you are in. You can also start up or join a server so you can do a multiplayer game if you so choose.

There are mods and textures that you can install which I know mods show up in the configure screen, but not sure about the textures. I haven’t really stretched out to play with those extras just yet. However all the information about them is available at their website inside the Wiki.

As usual we have different modes of play, creative mode, adventure mode with damage and adventure mode with no damage (great for those who tend to create tall structures and seem to fall off at the highest point, not saying it’s me, but I am guilty of it too).


When you open the inventory screen, you will see what you have in your inventory, what is in your hands, and a crafting area. Unlike MineCraft where you have to craft a table to do your crafting, Minetest has it all right here ready to go.

Here is the inventory screen for “Adventure Mode” as you see I pounded some sand for the example.

Choose your items, craft it all here too.

Choose your items, craft it all here too.

When you are doing the adventure mode you have finite amounts of items. Just like in MineCraft, but here is where things get a little different. For finite materials, MineCraft caps it off at 64 items per slot, Minetest caps it off at 99. More materials in a slot is a good thing in my opinion.

Also it’s less slots taken up by items in your on-hand inventory which if you ask me is helpful when gathering materials to build large structures. I tend to build a extremely high tower on top of my home so that I can find it easy if I die and respawn in MineCraft. And while playing this I do the same thing out of habit when in adventure mode.

For crafting recipes, Minetest does not have as much as MineCraft does, but this game is still in development and is community driven which means I won’t be surpised if we see more recipes coming in a future release. For a complete list of crafting recipes, check out the wiki.

Get creative. All the items and infinite amounts

Get creative. All the items and infinite amounts

In creative mode you get infinite amounts of materials just like in MineCraft. When you are clearing areas to do your creation you have the one punch remove like MineCraft does, and it does not go any higher than 1 item in your inventory. I am a sucker for creative mode on both games and will post my creations sometime later.

In this screen you can choose what you want to build with and what you want to retain in adventure mode, put into the Inventory Slots (and yes you can add 99 of something into there as well although it’s a little tedious to do it (i.e. a lot of clicking) but you can). I personally like throwing a bunch of items into a chest too so I have a lot of things to work with in adventure mode.

The inventory control functions a lot like MineCraft’s so not much different going on here.  However a couple of the items in the inventory system made me laugh. Nyan Cat makes an appearance with a block to form the rainbow beam. For my daughter I made it wrap around one of the towers for her home when I first played this in creative mode.


Seeing that this is more or less a clone of MineCraft it functions much the same. However when night falls you don’t have the problems that makes MineCraft stand out. No Zombies or other baddies that are hellbent on killing you while you play. Not that it’s a bad thing, I rather enjoy not dying or blowing up while I am trying to build my house, but I kind of miss that tension sometimes.

Minetest is a very peaceful game overall. It’s great that my daughter can play this without any baddies killing her character or making sounds that could cause nightmares. But I haven’t run across any animals yet either, which with MineCraft, it was nice to have a farm or aquarium for our homes.

As with any mining game, things do get repetitive. Mine, craft, build, repeat. Even though it was repetitive, I still enjoyed playing the game.

The nice thing is that it has a server built-in so you don’t have to load another application to act as a server if you want a multi-player  game.

It is definitely worth checking this game out especially if you have an older machine and want to play a MineCraft-like game. The game is still being development so let’s hope more comes to the game.

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