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In Minetest, a subgame (also called “game”) is intended to be a complete gameplay experience which works out of the box with Minetest. Technically, it is essentially a collection of mods. “subgame” is a technical term; in practise, a subgame could be a complete game, a sandbox, a puzzle, something-in-between or something completely different. After installing Minetest, “Minetest Game” and “Minimal development test” should be available on Minetest's main menu. When a player starts a subgame, all the mods packaged with that game will be used.



To give you an impression about the variety of possible subgames in Minetest, here's a screenshot gallery of many subgames:

Finding subgames

The main place to find subgames is in the Minetest Forums. Almost everyone who creates subgames posts it in the forums:

On other webpages you can find a different look on subgames if you find navigating the forums hard. Those pages are usually incomplete.

On servers

You can also “find” subgames by just joining a highly customized server. While many servers host Minetest Game or (most likely) a modded variant of it, some servers host other subgames as well. Because of the nature of Minetest, every server can be unique. Joining a server is a good way to quickly explore the possibilities of Minetest without needing for a manual subgame installation.

Subgame examples

Main article: List of Subgames

This is the default subgame in Minetest. It's a simple sandbox without any goal. It has some biomes to explore, 6 ores to mine, a simple farming system with 2 farmable plants, different trees, and more. You can use boats and carts for faster travel. There are no computer-controlled enemies or animals, so the gameplay is very peaceful. It has all the blocks and items and most other stuff you find in this wiki.

A mix of the “voxel sandbox” and the role-playing game genres which takes place on Middle Earth from the Lord of the Rings triology by J. R. R. Tolkien.

A space simulation near the planet Saturn. You control a small space ship and can fly in all 3 dimensions (just like in space) and mine for ores in asteroids, do package deliveries between space stations, upgrade your ship or combat enemies. It is very different from the other subgames.

This is another mostly sandbox game, but a bit more challenging than the others. You start on the volcanic planet hades with large lava seas and a very rough terrain and barren terrain formation. Go mining and use your crafting and building skills for terraforming to turn the land into a beautiful habitable land.

This subgame is not intended for playing, just for testing and development. It is not a game.

See the Minetest Forums for a more complete list of subgames.

Installing subgames

Usually subgames are distributed in Zip archives (other archive formats such as .tar.gz are of course possible, too). Follow these steps to install a subgame from an archive:

  • Get the archive which contains the subgame
  • Extract (or unzip) the archive into the the games sub-directory of Minetest. The location of this directory depends on your operating system:
    • GNU/Linux: $HOME/.minetest/games, where “$HOME” refers to your home directory.
    • Mac OS: $HOME/.minetest/games, where “$HOME” refers to your home directory.
    • Windows: into the games directory found in the main program folder in which you have installed Minetest. It is the directory containing the directories like bin (which in turn contains minetest.exe), builtin, client, doc, fonts, games, locale, mods, textures, etc.

The subgame should now be installed and be found at the next Minetest start.

Now you can start Minetest and the subgame should have been found by Minetest. You can select the new subgame in singleplayer mode by clicking one of the icons at the bottom or by creating a new world.


To help you finding the correct location, here is an example directory listing to help you make sure that the subgame was installed into the correct directory. In this diagram, the subgame directory is located at “<SUBGAME>”. After installation, the directory tree should look more or less like this (note that some files or directories are optional, but all directories must be, if present, in the corrent position of the tree):

├── bin/
├── builtin/
├── (other uninteresting directories)
├── games/
│   ├── <SUBGAME>
│   │   ├── mods/
│   │   │   └── (usually a lot of mod directories)
│   │   ├── menu/
│   │   │   └── (some PNG files)
│   │   └── game.conf
        └── (same directories as for the subgame above)

Note that the directory name of the subgame does not matter; you can even change it after initial installation. But renaming the subgame directory afterwards is not recommended because Minetest won't find the existing worlds for the subgame anymore.

You also can use the environment variable MINETEST_SUBGAME_PATH to define the location of the games directory, but this is usually not required.

Creating subgames

Minetest subgames are in the games/ subdirectory. To create a new subgame, create a new folder in this directory which has a name without spaces (use "_" in place of a space if you want). Within this folder create two more folders and two files.

  • The mods/ folder is where the subgame's mods, the actual content, will go.
  • The menu/ folder holds some details needed by Minetest's main menu.
  • The game.conf file is used to define the subgame's name which is displayed in the Minetest main menu. Open this file with a text editor and add a single line: "name = your subgame's name here"
  • Optionally you can add a minetest.conf file which allows you to set the options Minetest will use. This file can override a number of default options.

Any other files and folders are ignored by Minetest. It is suggested that at least a readme.txt should be added to describe the subgame and give its author(s) and version.

Menu folder

The menu folder allows you to provide images that will be used on the main menu.

  • background.png, if present, will be used as a background replacing the default clouds animation. This image will be re-sized to fully fill the Minetest window.
  • header.png, if present, will show the header image, usually some stylized text, in-front of the background.
  • icon.png is a 48² pixels image that will be used in the game selection list to identify the game.

Mods folder

Any mods and mod packs needed by the game should be added to this folder. Make sure each mod's dependencies are met or the game will crash.

Minetest will look for texture files with specific names. If these are not found in any of the mod texture folders, an error will be raised and dummy images will be created.

  • crack_anylength.png
  • heart.png
  • player.png
  • player_back.png

Details of file and folder structures within a subgame

This example has the default subgames Minetest Game (directory name “minetest_game”) and Minimal development test (directory name “minimal”) installed and shows a possible structure of an own subgame in “my_game”:

    ├── minetest_game/
    │   ├── game.conf
    │   ├── README.txt
    │   ├── menu/
    │   │   ├── header.png
    │   │   └── icon.png
    │   └── mods/
    │       ├── some_mod
    │       ├── some_other_mod 
    │       └── …
    ├── minimal/
    │   ├── game.conf
    │   ├── menu/
    │   │   ├── background.png
    │   │   ├── icon.png
    │   │   └── …
    │   └── mods/
    │       ├── some_mod
    │       ├── some_other_mod
    │       └── …
    ├── my_game/
    │   ├── game.conf
    │   ├── minetest.conf
    │   ├── README.txt
    │   ├── LICENSE.txt
    │   ├── menu/
    │   │   ├── background.png
    │   │   ├── footer.png
    │   │   ├── header.png
    │   │   ├── icon.png
    │   │   ├── overlay.png
    │   │   └── …
    │   └── mods/
    │       ├── LICENSE.txt
    │       ├── some_mod
    │       ├── some_other_mod
    │       └── …
    └── some more subgames