Mod Spotlight: Diseasecraft

Diseasecraft is a mod that doesn’t put in extra biomes, extra ore, or extra machines. Instead, it adds in extra effects and uses vanilla mobs to inflict these effects. With one small exception, this mod can easily fit into any vanilla game. Despite tweaking a seemingly small section of the game, it drastically affects gameplay and can quickly spiral into a death knell for players who make a mistake in Hardcore mode. Originally crafted during ModJam4, it provides a surprising amount of entertainment despite its limited amount of features. 

The current diseases are Influenza, Rabies, Malaria, Pneumonic Plague, Yellow Fever, Bubonic Plague, and Parkinson’s. Oh, I forgot to mention Shrek Rabies. How could I forget a completely normal disease like Shrek Rabies? Most diseases are contracted in a way you would expect—you catch Influenza from humans and former humans, Rabies from wolves, and so on. The mod keeps track of things such as biome and height to determine whether you are susceptible to hypothermia or are in a w arm environment where mosquitoes could be lurking. Currently, the only custom mod is a clever recolor of a vanilla one—a rat! Despite dealing no damage, these rats can inflict the Plague. They are also the only visible difference from vanilla you will find in this mod. 

If you’re caught without medicine, you could be in serious trouble. There are three different kinds of medicine: Acetaminophen, Chloroquine, and Carbodopa-Levidopa. Each cures a different disease and calls for its own recipe. Just as it is in reality, messing up your medications can have disastrous effects. If you don’t use a correct amount of sugar to balance the side effects of the medication, you might end up even worse after you take the medication. 

Another interesting quirk of the mod is that you can isolate these diseases and wage biological warfare on other mobs and players. You can extract the disease from an infected mob with a Chemical Extractor and use it to inflict pain on your enemies. Certain diseases (such as Parkinson’s) have no cure and can be deadly, and inflicting a player with it is equivalent to cursing them for the rest of their lives. The only way to remove it is by dying, so I imagine that Hardcore players will either love or hate this new risk. 

The mod makes a few mistakes that are expectable in a quickly constructed ModJam entry. Nonetheless, since they remain in later versions, I just want to point them out. First, you can catch Parkinson’s Disease, presumably by exploring too much. Parkinson’s Disease is certainly serious, but it is not contagious, and the cause is still unknown. There are some studies that point to the cause as excessive exposure to fertilizer chemicals (making the disease more prevalent in farmers and human frugivores), but these studies are not close to revealing the full cause of the disease. Exposure to tilled ground, or even a small chance upon eating apples, would make slightly more sense than regular gameplay. It is also by no means curable, despite having a medicine in the game. On the other hand, the Bubonic Plague has no medicine or cure, despite being a completely treatable disease, and Rabies is listed as curable, despite having a 99.99% fatality rate. 

Despite those little medical nitpicks, the way that the diseases and symptoms are delivered is very clever. While the mod makes use of some pre-existing conditions (Nausea, Slowness, etc.), it also invents brand new ones. Jitters, vomiting, and butterfingers are some of the more clever ones. Despite getting the specifics of the disease wrong, Parkinson’s Disease syndromes perfectly mimic the real disease. Some of the diseases are mere inconveniences, while others render the game unplayable. 

With its most recent update, you can now create your own diseases, curses, and blessings to run with the mod. It allows the use of JSON files to create custom diseases and cures. There are several diseases currently being developed (anyone else excited to see what Insomnia will do?), and the mod developer is taking suggestions for official diseases. And no, they are not going to put Ebola in any time soon, so don’t bother to suggest it. I am personally hopeful for Chickenpox. 

While it does have a few glitches here and there, Diseasecraft manages to take a small concept and apply it in a big way. Despite the fact that most of its features are already implemented into the game as poison effects, it manages to make the game feel completely different—and much, much harder. If you are ready to take on Diseasecraft, you can download it through the Curse Client. If you enjoy it, be sure to thank mod creator MitchellbrineTheCreator over on the official Diseasecraft 2 thread!

TheMinecraftHippie made a great video spotlight if you'd like to see the mod in action. You can watch it here.

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