PART of Westford, WB1GOF is proud to announce an exciting new project, funded by a generous grant from the ARRL, melding the worlds of gaming and ham radio. The youth outreach project, headed by PART member Lucas Elliott W1BTR, aims to add functioning ham radios to the top-selling game Minecraft via an addon called a “mod.”
The project aims to create a java mod for the java edition of Minecraft. Written for Minecraft Forge 1.18, the mod will add ham radio as a craftable and useable item in the game for those who have installed the mod! The mod will feature simplified propagation and solar weather, dozens of antenna types the players can build themselves, numerous radios, repeaters, signal tracking, and more!
Most young adults haven’t even heard of the ham radio hobby. Minecraft is the best-selling game in the world. With over 140 million active users, reaching just 0.05% of the active player base would introduce ham radio to 700,000 potential amateur radio operators. The player base is made up of explorers, tinkerers, and builders; the perfect demographic for ham radio! This mod aims to introduce Minecrafters young and old to the concepts of wireless technology and amateur radio. TL;DR: Our biggest goal is to expose as many Minecrafters to the ham radio hobby as possible!
The project has been funded by a $22,000 grant from the ARRL. Thanks to the generosity of the league, Lucas will be hiring developers to curate the mod. Most of the features and specific mechanics of the mod are already laid out, and experts have reviewed the goals and confirmed the validity of the project.
The mod fills a hole in the existing Minecraft mod community. There is currently no realism-focused communication mod available for current versions of Minecraft. The ham radio mod will not only fill this need, but it will do it in a way that fits within Minecraft’s style and gameplay.
The development will start in the next couple of weeks. Developers have been selected and a few more details are being ironed out before we officially start development. A functioning version of the mod is expected to be released by late June of 2023.
Details on the mod and its features can be found on this site, with specific features and details laid of the mod laid out in the proposal document on the homepage.
The project is running under the WB1GOF Part of Westford club. There is a page dedicated to getting Minecraft set up in preparation for the mod and for prospective players to become familiarized with the game located here.
The project also has an active Discord server, where development discussion and planning is taken place. This is also the best place to receive updates, see some behind-the-scene action, and offer suggestions or become involved as a playtester!
To join the discord click here: https://discord.com/invite/EDbExcX
We will be needing playtesters! There is currently no playable version of the mod for testing, however, we expect to have a proof-of-concept ready in the coming weeks. When this happens, updates will be posted on mcmod.w1btr.com as well as on the project’s Discord server.
A warm thank you to the ARRL who brought this project from an idea to reality with their generous grant. Thank you also to ARRL staff: Steve Goodgame K5ATA, Bob Inderbitzen NQ1R, Mike Walters W8ZY, Fred Kemmerer AB1OC, Phil Temples K9HI, and Kristen McIntyre K7WX for their support for the project and for offering their advice.
Within the PART of Westford Club, a big thanks to George Allison K1IG, the club President, for his hard work and support, as well as to members Alan Martin W1AHM, Geoff Feldman W1GCF, and Bob Glorioso W1IS for their help as well.