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How to Add Datapacks to Your Minecraft Server

Datapacks are a feature added to Minecraft in the 1.13 and later versions that allows the game to be altered in many ways, without using Mods or Plugins. Datapacks are a completely normal part of the "vanilla" Minecraft game now, and do not permanently alter the game's code.

Datapacks are currently only available for the Java based version of Minecraft.

The Datapack system has been steadily improved since its addition in the 1.13 version of Minecraft, and many new things can be added now. These include things like:

  • Advancements

  • Dimensions

  • Loot tables

  • Recipes

  • Structures

Datapacks also include support for new "Functions", "Predicates", and "Tags". These are used by the game to control new content added by the Datapacks.

  • Functions can run commands, and be used for things similar to scripting in a way.

  • Predicates are used to trigger reactions, like receiving an advancement, or changing the loot a mob will drop (like a burning mob dropping cooked meat instead of raw meat).

  • Tags can be used to group items and blocks, and assign them properties. Tags are used frequently by Functions, to control what they affect.

The "Vanilla" Datapack

Minecraft in version 1.13+ automatically includes one Datapack called "vanilla", This is actually part of the normal game files, and should always be present. It contains the basic loot tables for the game, and all the basic advancements.

It's possible to disable "vanilla" if you want (using the Datapack commands mentioned below), but without loot tables you don't get any items or resources. If you chop a tree, you don't get any wood, animals and monsters don't drop anything, etc. It's going to be a really boring crafting/building game without anything to craft or build with!

Installing Datapacks

On a dedicated Minecraft server, Datapacks are added inside the "world" folder. In world folders created in Minecraft version 1.13 or higher, the game will automatically create a datapack folder.

Simply upload Datapacks directly to this datapack folder. Datapacks will be automatically loaded the next time the server is started (if the Datapack is compatible and works correctly). There are also commands for reloading Datapacks while the server is still running. There is a section later on in this article.

Datapacks usually come in the form of a .zip file, though they can also just be a sub-folder that is placed inside the datapack folder. If a Datapack comes in .zip format, do not unzip the file, and just leave them in the .zip format.

Resource Packs & Datapacks

Some Datapacks are set up to require special resource packs, and the author of the Datapack should have instructions on where to download the resource pack required.

Datapack Basegame Versions

Datapacks will often list a specific version of Minecraft that they were made to work with, but that does not mean they won't work with newer versions of Minecraft.

Depending on what a Datapack does, it may still work. You can always test the Datapack by adding it to a server, and see if it loads and works.

Where to Find Datapacks

Datapacks are a relatively new feature to Minecraft, so there isn't a centralized place to find them yet. But sites that normally only handled Mods or Plugins before, are beginning to add Datapack sections as well now.

On Curseforge (one of the biggest sites for mods and other things for Minecraft), the Datapacks are often included in the "Customization" tab.

A view of the customization tab on the curseforge site

Authors often include [DATAPACK] in the title or description.

a view of a datapack listed in the customization tab of curseforge

Datapack Loading Order and Commands

Datapacks load in a specific order, and that order can possibly affect how they work. Changes added by one Datapack can be overwritten by others loaded later on. The author of a Datapack may specify what order their Datapack needs to be loaded in. The last Datapacks loaded actually have higher priority then ones loaded first.

There are a series of commands for controlling the activation or loading order of Datapacks. These commands can be entered in the light grey bar at the bottom of the "Console" tab of the Nodecraft control panel, or in the in-game chat.

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