MolCraft | Molecules in Minecraft
Last updated on 4/11/2016 Print this page
Minecraft is a fabulous tool for exploring structures of
buildings, landscapes and even anatomy. So why not molecules?
part of an undergraduate project, students in the Department of
Chemistry at the University of Hull (and supported by the
Royal Society of Chemistry) have
populated a Minecraft world with structures of proteins, chemicals
and even some chemical history.
You can download the MolCraft and run it
locally on your own machine, explore the world via our server, or
use the schematics of the molecules to populate your own worlds
Whatever you do with it, please share your results with the
Minecraft community and let us know what you are getting up to via
email or twitter using the hashtag #MolCraft.
- A licensed copy of Minecraft
- More than 4GB of RAM
- Download the MolCraft
- Start Minecraft
- On the home screen click 'Options'
- Click on 'Resource Packs'
- Then click 'Open resource pack folder’
- Navigate to the folder above (called .minecraft on
- Open the 'Saves' folder
- Move MolCraft folder to this 'Saves'
- Start Minecraft and select 'Single player'. Then select a world
Join the server
Server address: molcraft.nitrous.it
- Start Minecraft
- Select 'Multiplayer'
- Click 'Add server'
- Input the server address
- Click 'Done'
- Select the server and click 'Join server'
Remember to follow safe internet practice whilst in the
Do not ever give out any personal information about you. That
includes real names, locations or anything else that could be used
to identify you.
How we built MolCraft
Protein structures are stored in the protein database. We
figured out how to port these into Minecraft. It is a process that
involves a number of pieces of software, all of which are free.
workflow is detailed here. If you can figure out a quicker way
please let us know!
Other molecules were built with the free software Avogadro and
then ported into Minecraft using a similar system.
What am I looking at?
Chemists often build ball and stick models of molecules to help
visualise them. The balls represent atoms and the sticks are bonds
between them. By convention different atoms are represented by
certain colours. We’ve stuck to this colour scheme by using dyed
||Black or dark grey wool
Proteins are long thin molecular chains with many branches coming
off them. If we showed you all the atoms in the chain and the
branches then it would just look like a right mess. So instead
we’ve used another convention, where a ribbon represents the chain
and all the individual atoms are not show (unless they are
What can I do in the MolCraft?
You can just explore and read the info about the molecules. But
there are also a whole load of treasure chests dotted around filled
with goodies, puzzles and quiz books. Some are easy to find, others
are fiendishly difficult. If you locate them all then you’ll
probably have learnt a fair bit of chemistry along the way!
MolCraft is available in the EDU world library
for use in schools. If you are a teacher and want to use it then
get in touch and we can provide you with more supporting
In the press
MolCraft has been featured in the following
BBC - Minecraft used to
teach children molecular chemistry
A Minecraft world built for exploring chemicals
CNET - Included in the
'Social Shot round-up and the
'Social Shot' video
Hipertextual - A great idea: to teach
biochemistry in Minecraft
Molecules meet Minecraft in a world built for science class
Scientists built this molecular playground in Minecraft to teach
Gizmodo Japan - Kids, learn
Popular Science -
Explore chemistry like never before, inside a Minecraft world of
This Minecraft world teaches kids the basics of
The Conversation -
How Minecraft could help teach chemistry's building blocks of
The Guardian -
UK university aims to teach biochemistry to children using
Royal Society of Chemistry -
Molecules for Minecraft fans
University of Hull -
Students create virtual reality world to teach scientists of the
Minecraft is (c) 2009-2014 Mojang AB
Hull Chemistry Students: Joesph Haywood, Thersa Thirkill, Daniel
McConnell, Jonathon Medcalf, Peter Webster, Connor Dallas
Joel Mills, Minecraft in
The work and running costs is supported by a public engagement
grant from the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Tel: +44 (0)1482 465103
Interested in being updated on up and coming events? Sign up
to join our network here.
Faculty of Science and Engineering: @HullUniScience
Mark Lorch, project lead: @Sci_ents
Joel Mills, Minecraft in education consultant: @iLearningUK
Mark Lorch, project lead (left)
and Joel Mills, Minecraft in education consultant (right)