Understanding Networking as It Relates to Minecraft
- “Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it.”
- –Alan Perlis, American computer scientist and first recipient of the Turing Award
What You’ll Learn in This Chapter:
- How TCP/IP networking relates to Minecraft multiplayer
- How to view your computer and router IP settings
- How to put your home-based Minecraft server on the Internet
- How to use a friendly hostname for your server instead of an unfriendly IP address
I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but Minecraft is being used all over the world, every day, as an educational tool. Gaming as a teaching and learning method isn’t exactly new; however, Minecraft is such a rich and varied game that you can approach not only gameplay, but the game itself in many different directions.
One of my goals in writing this book is to generate interest in my readers, especially my younger readers, in systems administration. The IT field has been spectacular to me since I entered it in 1997, and there’s room for you too!
If you’re interested in discovering the magic of computer programming, developing Minecraft mods might be just the ticket to get you started. In this chapter we cover computer networking (a huge topic) in the space of only a couple dozen pages.
By the end of the chapter, you not only will understand what you need to do to put your Minecraft LAN server on the public Internet to host external players, but also will know the “hows” and “whys” behind your configuration. And who knows—you might discover that you have enough passion and aptitude for server administration that you might want to make a career of it!
Revisiting Our Test Network
I want to share another network diagram with you that shows the topology we’ll be working with. “Topology” is a networking term that simply refers to the physical arrangement of computers and associated devices on a single network.
You can see the topology in Figure 4.1. Let me describe the major working parts:
- Workpc1 is a Windows 8.1 desktop computer that hosts a vanilla Minecraft server. The computer receives its IP address from the cable modem.
- Win8 is a Windows 8.1 laptop computer that, like Workpc1, obtains its IP address from the cable modem.
- The cable modem is directly connected to the Internet. The device has an Internet-connected IP address and an internal, private interface that connects to Workpc1 and Win8. The router (because that’s actually what the cable “modem” is) performs Network Address Translation (NAT) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) services on behalf of Workpc1 and Win8.
FIGURE 4.1 The home-based network that we’ll use as a case study in this chapter.