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In Minetest, “subgame” is basically just a fancy term for “game”, but it does not have to be. It is intended to be a complete gameplay experience which you can run in Minetest. It is not a mod, but an independent game. Each subgame is different, sometimes even wildly different. As Minetest is a game engine, the support for subgames is one of the core features of Minetest.

The default subgame for Minetest is Minetest Game, but it is by no means special or even the “gold standard”. The community has created many other subgames to explore.




“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 in Minetest's main menu. A subgame is essentially a collection of mods and a few extra files (mostly for the main menu images), but packaged together to provide a complete product which can be used out-of-the-box. 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:

Subgame examples

Main article: List of Subgames

This is the default subgame in Minetest. It's a rather 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.

User manual

Using a subgame

Assuming you already have a few subgames, here's how to use them:

  1. Start Minetest
  2. On the subgame icon bar (4), click on the subgame you want to play. (On the first start, Minetest Game is pre-selected)
  3. Create a new world by clicking on “New”
  4. Enter a world name, select a Map generator and hit “Create”
  5. Click “Play Game”

Here's the annotated singleplayer menu of Minetest, in this example the user has installed tons of subgames:

Main menu

  • 1: Subgame banner: Usually this shows a text logo for the current subgame. It's “Minetest Game” in this case
  • 2: Icon of Minetest Game: This is the icon of Minetest Game, the default subgame
  • 3: Subgame name: Name of the current active subgame
  • 4: Subgame icon bar: Each icon represents a subgame, click on an icon to select a new subgame, click on the arrows to scroll
  • 5: List of worlds: Valid for the currently selected subgame only
  • 6: Basic settings

Finding subgames

The first subgame you probably already have is Minetest Game. Finding it is trivial. ;-)

The main place to find other 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.

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.

Playing 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.


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.

See also