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How to Use MCEdit to Speed Up Building in Minecraft

mcedit

MCEdit is a powerful third party program for editing Minecraft maps. MCEdit has many tools and filters for editing and building, and can speed up the building of large or complex Minecraft creations.

Installing and Launching MCEdit

MCEdit can be downloaded from their website or compiled from source from their Github repository. MCEdit Unified is the version that supports 1.8+, which is what most Minecraft players are playing on.

Once you’ve got MCEdit installed, you should open it and get a black screen with a bunch of buttons.

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The two buttons of interest are “Create New World” and “Quick Load”. The “New World” button will auto-generate a new world for you, and the “Quick Load” button will open up one of your Minecraft worlds. Just make sure you don’t have Minecraft open at the same time as you’re editing a world, or MCEdit will crash.

Navigating MCEdit

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Once you’ve got MCEdit open and running, you should see your Minecraft world from the perspective of where you were when you logged out. Navigating this world is a little complicated, but easy to get used to. Anyone familiar with 3D editing programs and CAD programs like Blender should find it intuitive. You can use  W, A, S, and D to move forward, left, backward, and right, respectively, and I, J, K, and L to look around. Left shift will lower the camera and Space will lift it up, much like flying in-game.

Selecting and Modifying Regions

First, make sure the first item in the toolbar is selected. This is the selection tool, and you can quickly select a region by clicking two blocks. The resulting region will be highlighted with yellow and blue blocks at both ends. You can resize this region by clicking and dragging on the region’s faces. If you click the “Nudge” tools for each color at the bottom, you can move each one block by block. The nudge tool is the most precise way to select a region.

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The left hand toolbar contains tools for modifying your selection. The first is “Nudge”, which is similar to the nudge tools for selections except this tool moves all the blocks in the region with it. Keep in mind that whatever you move it into will be destroyed. Undo is your friend.

The next tool is “Deselect” which does exactly what it says it does, clears the selection. “Select Chunks” will select all the chunks that your selection touches, from top to bottom. “Delete Blocks” removes all blocks in your selection, as does “Delete Entities” and “Delete Tile Ticks”, respectively. “Analyze” will show you a report of all the blocks in your selection and what percentage of the whole they make up, which isn’t extremely useful.

The next few tools are the powerful ones. “Cut” and “Copy” both copy the blocks in the selection to memory, and “Cut” removes them from the world as well. “Export” will save this copy to your hard drive as a schematic file, which is very useful for large projects or sharing individual buildings with other people.

“Paste” opens up its own menu, and will let you add whatever you copied (or imported) to your world. The E, R, F, and G keys will rotate, roll, flip, and mirror your selection, and the buttons on the side will do the same.

Toggling “Chunk Align” will only let you paste your selection in the same spot in a different chunk. “Copy Air” and “Copy Water” will toggle the pasting of empty air blocks and water blocks. “Copy Biome” doesn’t do much other than update the biome data of the surroundings to match whatever you’re copying. “Update Command Block Coords” and “Update Spawner Coords” will preserve data when copying command blocks and spawners.

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Brushes

MCEdit’s brushes are an easy way to quickly build from within the program. The main brush is the “Fill” brush, which just paints blocks in the shape of spheres or squares.

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Filters

Filters are where MCEdit really shines over the in-game alternative, WorldEdit. Filters are custom scripts and commands designed to do various tasks. MCEdit comes with a bunch by default, but you can also find many community made filters online. One of the great built-in filters is “Forester” which creates trees for you. You can use it to create hundreds of small trees or a few really big ones.

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The options for this filter are pretty straightforward. For example, you could select a large square area, set the “Tree Count” to 1, “Tree Height” to 40, “Branch Density” and “Trunk Thickness” to 4 and press “Filter”, which generates an awesome looking, very large tree. With MCEdit you could create entire forests filled with these trees!

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MCEdit is a fairly complex tool and takes a while to master. Still, even using it for basic things is better than placing blocks by hand. Also, many custom filter repositories exist, dedicated to improving MCEdit’s capabilities. The most notable of which are SethBling, Brightmoore, and TexelElf. Between these three, there are hundreds of awesome filters that are worth checking out. If you really want to get into it, you can dissect all these various filters to find out how they’re written, since all the filters are just Python scripts.

Anthony Heddings is a tech writer and student at George Mason University. When he's not playing Minecraft, he's configuring his Minecraft server. He's @anthonyheddings on Twitter.

  • Published 01/2/16

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