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Minecraft Spotlight - Improved First Person

Welcome to another Minecraft Mod Spotlight! This time we will cover Improved First Person, an animation mod developed by Zaggy1024.

This mod, as its name says, replaces the first person animations with new, more realistic ones to improve your first person experience.

A floating hand while holding no item, weapons floating in the air and a bow in the right hand instead of the left one... those are all things of the past! Originally, you could see only a small part of your character's body. With this mod however, almost the whole body will be visible. Also, because running with one hand is quite odd, your character will now move both their hands when making a run for it.

  1. Download and install Minecraft Forge.
  2. Download Improved First Person from here.
  3. Download the required Render Player API from here.
  4. Locate your mods folder (Windows: %appdata%/.minecraft/mods,Unix: ~/Library/Application Data/Minecraft/mods).
  5. Place both .jar files into there.
  6. Enjoy your newly installed Forge mod!

We also had the chance to interview Zaggy1024. Continue reading to learn more about the development process behind Improved First Person!

How did you get into Minecraft?
I don't remember exactly how I found out about it. I think I'd just heard people talking about it and decided I should try it.

What server do you play on, and would you like to tell us more about it?
I don't really play Minecraft regularly anymore, because I've played vanilla Minecraft to the point of killing the Ender Dragon quite a few times (sometimes on private multiplayer servers with my siblings). I used to play on a server with factions, which was pretty fun. I also played for a bit on a server with ComputerCraft installed, but I didn't stay for long.
If I was to choose a server now, I'd probably look for one that's got a few good mods installed (not a big modpack), has friendly admins on it, and perhaps also has a whitelist (griefers are a pain).

What made you decide to become a modder?
Basically, I had gotten bored with vanilla Minecraft, and because I already had experience modding games that were made for modding (basically games where all the content is separate from the game code, often in XML), and programming experience, I just thought I'd see how hard it would be to mess around with modding. After a while, I got a pretty basic item in the game (a quiver, which is now in a much more advanced form in my mod, Better Archery).

What inspired you take over this project?
It was a mod that I had played with before, and thought was something vanilla Minecraft ought to have. The original author had stopped working on it, and I had some ideas of things that could be added to the mod (like some minor changes to make seeing below you easier).

How did the community respond to the mod’s new release?
Because the Kes5219 had already posted an update to the latest Minecraft prior to the new release, there wasn't a big initial response, but I've gotten plenty of posts on the thread, some saying that they liked the changes I'd made. A lot of the other posts are about crashes and bugs, of course.

Did you come across any problems during its development process and, if any, how did you solve them?
The mod is a coremod, meaning the changes to the code of vanilla Minecraft are made while the game is loading, which can lead to a lot of complicated issues that are hard to fix. Often, something will work in my development environment, but not in the compiled game, because the game as it is when people download and play it has all the names in the code changed to be unreadable (this process is called obfuscation).

What was your favourite development tool for this project?
Eclipse is, in my opinion, a really great tool for modding Minecraft, because it gives you a few useful tools that allow you to more easily navigate vanilla Minecraft code to figure out how things work and how you can do something. (For those that use Eclipse, the tools I use most for this are "Type Hierarchy", "Find References", and "Find Declarations". These are all in the right click menu in the code editor.)

Have you learned anything new from this project?
I've had to learn quite a lot of technical things about game programming from it. I also didn't know Java when I first started modding (though I did know C#, which is similar), so over time, I've learned many things about Java.

What stage of Improved First Person's development process did you enjoy most?
The most fun thing in making any kind of mod is seeing some idea you've had in your head work in-game. Since Improved First Person is a visual mod, it can be even more rewarding than adding new items to the game, since most items are just 2D sprites.

And what is your favourite aspect of the mod itself?
It just feels way cooler to be running in-game and be able to see your arms and legs swinging, rather than just the disembodied hand in vanilla Minecraft.

Are you currently working on any other mods?
I've been helping work on a rather ambitious project called Genesis, the goal being to add a prehistoric dimension to Minecraft with ancient biomes, animals (dinosaurs, of course), and plants.

In addition to Minecraft, have you ever released any custom content for other games?
I've done some various mods for other games, such as Glest, a real-time strategy game. I basically just mod any game if I find it fun, it supports modding well, and I think of something that would be cool to add to it.
I also helped out on another real-time strategy game called 0 A.D. as an animator.
I've never really done anything so complicated in any games other than Minecraft, though.

Aside from your own projects, what are some of your favourite mods from other authors and why?
I really like to play with the Somnia mod, which makes the world simulate while the player sleeps, making farming a lot easier, as well as making the game seem a little more real. It also makes sleeping out in the open in the dark a little more dangerous, because it's possible that mobs may come and attack you.
Having done some animating myself, I enjoy the quality of the animations in the Animated Player mod, though I do wish the mod's author had made the mod more compatible with other mods that people make to modify how the player looks (including Improved First Person), by making it use the Render Player API.

Do you have any advice for other upcoming modders?
Firstly, don't try and start modding Minecraft with little or no programming experience, and if you do, don't come to the modders with experience for help. Most modders are probably not programming teachers, so this won't work out well.
Secondly, start with something simple. You should probably stick with something you can base off of existing code, like a simple item or block, so you don't have to go asking for help with every little thing. Work your way up to the complicated stuff.

Reaching the end of the interview, we would like to thank Zaggy1024 for taking the time to answer our questions and of course for developing the mod in the first place!

Improved First Person is a great mod that makes the first person animations more realistic. Once you have this mod, your character will actually hold their weapons and run with both arms.

Thanks to MadPixel for the Minecrafter font.

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