Confession time. I have a lamentably slow P4. Once upon a time, it was a beast of a PC; in this age of i7s, a 2.4 Ghz P4 is laughable. Even secondhand laptops beat it by miles. But that doesn’t stop me from playing Minecraft packed with juicy mods.
The usual advice for running Minecraft is to set everything to Fast, turn off smooth lighting and set the render distance to short. It’s good advice, except for the fact that it totally ruins the Minecraft experience. The scenery is nowhere near as beautiful as it should be. Shadows advance block by block, giving a terrible jigsaw effect in mines. Even worse – you can’t see the sun and the clouds, which are absolutely essential in Minecraft.
Here’s a short list of what you CAN do to enjoy the Minecraft experience without crippling the game’s beauty.
- Update your Java version. Get the latest install package – it’s free, folks – and it really helps. Yo get a simple installer that takes care of the install process; it’s pretty much click-and-double-click.
- Update LWJGL. LWJGL, the Lightweight Java Game Library, is what Minecraft uses to render graphics. For the non-techies among you, it’s the code that MC uses to display your world.
Minecraft does not ship with the latest version of LWJGL, so get the update at http://lwjgl.org/. You’ll get a zip file. Unzip it.
Now make a backup of your .minecraft folder. Navigate to the “jar” folder in that LWJGL folder you got; you’ll see a lot of .jar files inside. jinput.jar, lwjgl.jar, lwjgl_util.jar; these three files are what we need. Copy them and paste them into your .minecraft/bin folder, overwriting the files inside.
- Now return to the LWJGL folder, and open up the “native” folder. Select your OS: if it’s Windows, open up the Windows folder, copy everything that you see in it into the .minecraft/bin/natives folder. Done? Good. Starup Minecraft, and shut it down again if it runs.
- Get OptiFine. Seriously.
OptiFine is a Minecraft mod – don’t worry, it affects only graphics – that vastly speeds up Minecraft’s graphics. Gains of 20 FPS are not uncommon. Even better, it allows a hell of a lot of fine-tuning; rather than just Fancy and Fast and so on, you can tweak each and every graphical setting. OptiFine is so good that people wait for it to update before getting the latest Minecraft version.
Once you’ve got these up and running, open Minecraft and head over to the graphics. Set the render distance to normal. [Far is too much, Short is too little]. Keep the smooth lighting. Set the graphics to fast. Set the performance to Max FPS. Turn off mipmapping. Go to details. Turn off fog. Set the trees, grass and clouds to fast; especially the trees, they’re the ones that lag the most. Turn off the stars in the sky – they’re not vital. Go to animations, and turn off the smoke animation. Don’t touch chunk updates.
You can keep the view bobbing. On some older PCs, turning on “Advanced OpenGL” actually helps. On mine, it just causes lag whenever I turn. Advanced OpenGl essentially renders only what the player sees, so when you turn around it’s got to be re-rendered. My CPU whines each time I do this.
Now – the last step: if you’ve got any mods, go ahead and install them. I run the entire Yogbox mod set [Millenaire too] with a few modifications and additions. My default Minecraft runs painfully slow, lagging with every step; this one runs smooth and workable, even at night. And it’s just as beautiful.
Hopefully this helps you out. Your system should run MUCH faster now. If you need even more, reduce each of the settings in your graphics one by one – keeping the view distance intact. Enjoy!
About the author:
Yudhanjaya Wijeratne is the Editor of IndieGraph and a self-confessed Minecarft addict. When he’s not digging out indies, he’s making more of them over at 4250.