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Last modified on Dec 24, 2020 in Mods
Minecraft, from a technical standpoint, is a marvel. Infinite world generation, complex cave ecosystems, dimensions, flying, and much more. While it seems simple enough, coding these sorts of features is an immense and challenging task and optimizing them for performance even more. The fact that Minecraft runs so smoothly is a testament to the care Mojang put into it.
However, it isn’t infallible. As a consequence of all the big features, Minecraft does have a tendency to slow down, especially on lower-end PCs, and this increases exponentially when you add mods into the equation.
OptiFine, as it describes itself, is a Minecraft optimization mod. It lets Minecraft run much faster while looking better at the same time, enabling far more in-depth customization of performance and graphical settings and optimizing them at the same time.
But that’s not it. Alongside its customization suite, OptiFine comes with support for HD Texture/Resource packs to spruce up the look of your game, as well as — much more importantly — the ability to load shaders.
Shaders are essentially little graphical programs that are added on top of the Minecraft game, making it look far prettier in just about every regard. Ambient occlusion, depth of field, procedural waves and waving of flora — even more advanced techniques such as volumetric lighting are a thing shaders can do, and it’s no wonder they’ve become an incredibly popular thing — and OptiFine alongside them — in the Minecraft community. You can find out more about Shaders over at our What Are Shaders? (WIP, but I assume it’ll be complete before this guide, so link to it) guide.
If you’re sold and would like to give OptiFine a shot, you can follow this guide to add it to your Minecraft game.
To add Optifine to an unmodded Minecraft game, you will first need to install Forge, the mod loader that will load OptiFine for us. If you’re unsure how to do this, we have a handy guide on installing Forge right here.
Once you’ve got Forge up and running, you’ll want to navigate to your Minecraft installation folder:
If you have already installed Forge and mods, then all you need to do is add the Optifine Jar file you downloaded into the mods folder. If not, you might need to create a new folder and name it mods. After that, drag-and-drop OptiFine’s .jar file and place it into this folder.
And that’s it! Once you’ve put OptiFine’s .jar file in the right spot, it will load the next time you start Minecraft with your Forge profile.
If you’ve already got a modpack setup and running on your computer and would like to add OptiFine to it, that’s totally possible and quite easy. It’s similar to adding OptiFine to a fresh installation of Forge; only here, we’ll be using our modpack app to locate the proper folders.
And that’s it! Once you’ve got Optifine’s .jar file in the correct place, it will load alongside your regular modpack.
With OptiFine up and running on your system, take a peek at the updated Options menu of your Minecraft game. Once you head into the Video Options, you’ll notice a large number of new changeable settings, grouped up into multiple menus.
Hovering over each option will bring up what that option changes and what it’s for. Some options increase performance, some decrease it, some have conditions applied to them — but it’s all laid out very clearly and concisely.
At the start, OptiFine’s features come already pre-optimized for an experience that will be optimal for the largest number of players. If you ever feel like tweaking the settings, be sure to do so gradually — don’t make gigantic changes all at once. By changing things little by little and seeing how they change the performance of the game, you save yourself the trouble of having to go through your summary of changes, one by one, to find the setting that’s been causing you performance issues, and that you accidentally turned on alongside all the other ones.
My server is crashing!
OptiFine is a client-side only mod, meaning it only needs to be installed on your computer in order to run. Installing it on a server, for which it was not designed for, is going to cause performance problems, if not outright crashing.
Minecraft, if you want it to be, can be as simple to use as installing it and pressing Play. However, every player should be aware of all the free and painless-to-use options at their disposal to make their gameplay experience smoother, and OptiFine is a perfect example of this.
Making the game both prettier and better-performing at the same time is no small feat, and that it adds support for robust Shader customization is as impressive. Installing it is quick and easy, and using it even more so — so why not check it out?