Updated October 12, 2023

Minecraft "Better Than Adventure" Mod - Brief Overview + World Tour

Minecraft in an Alternate Universe

Videogames September 5, 2023

Before I describe my initial experience with this mod, I should probably explain what this mod even is.

Better than Adventure (BTA) is a mod for Minecraft beta 1.7.3, which is a version that was released way back on July 8, 2011. Beta 1.7.3 is an update pretty well known in the Minecraft community as the last version that felt like "classic" minecraft. More specifically, it was the last version before major game-changing additions would be added that fundamentally changed the way the game was played. Beta 1.8, known as the "adventure" update, introduced sprint, the hunger bar, new food types, stackable foods, revised world generation, and more.

Even though the more "classical" alpha & beta period (2009-2011) only lasted for a small fraction of Minecraft's total existence, there is still a fairly sizeable subsect of Minecraft players that regularly play or visit beta 1.7.3. While nostalgia certainly plays a part, many who play beta 1.7.3 today do so because they prefer the style of gameplay that was present before the adventure update.

What does all of this have to do with this mod?

BTA aims to sort of act as a fork of beta 1.7.3. BTA is what Minecraft's future could have looked like in an alternate universe. The mod features some quality of life changes and fixes that would be introduced in future versions of the game; such as being able to place upside-down stairs and shapeless crafting. Despite bringing many new features and convenient changes to the game, the mod still expertly maintains that classic playstyle that older versions of Minecraft possess. Most foods do not stack, your health will not regenerate on its own, and the lack of sprint makes it more of a challenge to escape a crowd of enemies.

Many features that have been added were cut features that were once planned by Mojang during the alpha/beta stages, such as quivers. Some additions, such as labels or flags, are reimagined iterations of nametags and banners.

Labels prevent despawning and give entities names, but the name is always displayed regardless of if you're looking at the entity or not. To me this makes the entities feel more like an NPC in an MMO, which is fitting for the more fantasy-style design of the classic era. The labels are also cheap, craftable items; unlike nametags.

Featuring Ducky, the weird duck that spawned in my yard.

Both banners and flags are player-customizable decor. Flags, however, have a much more in-depth customization. Instead of spending dye on preset patterns that can be overlayed (like with banners), dyes are used to choose the color of your paintbrush, which is used for drawing directly on the flag (sort of like paintings in Rust!). A dynamic wind feature is present as well, which blows the flags and clouds in different directions. As far as I know, this is the only thing that the dynamic wind does. As you can see, I've made great use of this feature:

Pictured: the cool flag on my roof

Signs have been given a useful upgrade. There are some built-in common symbols or large words that you can choose to put onto a sign. For example, you can choose for the sign to be a large arrow pointing in a direction, the words "mine" or "farm", or specific mob faces. While ascii art is charming and all, these symbols serve as nicer-looking alternatives for repetitive sign indicators.

Path blocks have also been added, as shown below.

Using the sign symbol feature to mark my mine entrance.

An ancient indev feature that makes a return is isometric screenshots, which is a really cool way to photograph your world. It's very customizable too, allowing you to set the time of day, and adjust the position of the camera. It's in engine, which is neat.

Isometric screenshot showing the front of my house.
Isometric screenshot showing the backside of my house.

I don't intend to go into too much detail on every single feature of the mod (read the forum post for more details), as it's honestly a really pleasant experience discovering and learning the new features and stuff for yourself. However, there are some more obscure things that you might want to consult the mod's wiki for. Pressing the "R" key ingame gives access to a recipebook, which gives you vague ideas of what you might be able to craft. Items and blocks in the book are blacked-out until you discover them. It might be fun for you to infer what else is in the mod based on what you see in my screenshots.

Here are some more pics of the outside of my house:

A "boots on the ground" shot of my front entrance.
Chimney-side of the house (right of front entrance).
Another view of the house's left and backside.

I don't plan for this base to be my permanent residence, but it's a decent area close to spawn that's served me well as a starter area. Plenty of trees and animals, with decent mines below. I plan to make a ranch of sorts, probably with a cherry tree orchard that I can harvest in the spring and summer. Here are some screenshots of the house interior:

Entering the living room from the front door.
Putting on a record.
Second story lobby. Ceiling chests above trapdoors, for storing valuables.
Current contents of the main valuables chest.
My bedroom, featuring a walk-in closet (stores armor and tools).
Returning downstairs, here is my storage room, which has a door leading into the sideyard.
Entering the sideyard from the storage room. The door on the cliff-side is my vegetation cellar.
The inside of the vegetation cellar.
The chest in the vegetation cellar room, if you're curious.

Useful tip: leather boots prevent crop-trampling in this mod. In vanilla beta 1.7.3, you would normally place fences beneath the soil to prevent trambling. The hitbox of old fences is just barely tall enough to go a pixel or so over the tilled soil's hitbox. So, you're able to walk on top of the soil, but you can still plant seeds and destroy crops with your hands. This mod adjusts the fence hitboxes to where they seem identical to the modern game's fence hitboxes, so that old beta bug can't be exploited anymore. I think this change is pretty reasonable, as it still allows for a way to not trample the crops while giving leather boots a purpose.

Something else that's good to know and isn't really explained anywhere, is that you need to break tall-grass with a hoe in order to gather seeds.

The mod introduces seasons as well, which I believe affects crop cycles. Crops grow slowly or not at all in the winter. Cherry trees begin to bear cherries in the spring and I think that they continue to do so into the summer.

Beyond my base, here are some things that I've stumbled across in the surrounding region while mapping:

A pit in a labyrinth. Be careful; these can lead places, but can also just be full of very deadly spike traps.
The ruined halls of a labyrinth.
All kinds of books in here. If only I knew how to read :(
Yet another dangerous trap which can be found within labyrinths.

I believe that the BTA terrain generation is the same as it was in beta 1.7.3, but with new biomes. If you don't like it, there are different world types you can do (similar to indev). You can generate floating island worlds, eternal winter worlds, alpha-generation worlds, and more.

Trudging through some marshland.
A cow that was brutally slaughtered shortly after this photo was taken.
Natural sponge!
Some islands closeby to my continent.
A limestone overhang.

There is surely much more to explore in this world, and I'm sure that there are many things that I have yet to discover in this mod. I'll be sure to continute playing on this world until I'm bored of it. It is likely that I will make more posts in the future documenting my continued misadventures.

Here is my world seed, for anyone who is interested: 3982651240944974991.

I bought the game during the adventure update, back in September of 2011. While I've been following and playing damn near every update since then, I've always delved backwards to the old alpha and beta builds on occassion.

Old lets plays from that era, like from Noobsniper and the Yogscast (check out their Shadow of Israphel series, god damn that shit slapped), is what brought me to discover Minecraft. Playing those older versions feels right at home. While nostalgia is definitely a factor in my enjoyment of old beta, the simpler gameplay style and the darker, lonelier vibe is beautiful to me in a way that I don't think I could describe with words. I'm just trying to survive and build cool shit in strangely empty and vibrant world.

Playing the BTA mod has been a very refreshing Minecraft experience. It retains what I like about playing beta 1.7.3, while also adding some new twists and flavor that adds to the experience. It's been fun discovering the mod's various additions. I feel like I'm experiencing a true successor to beta 1.7.3.

There are also some multiplayer servers around for BTA which I am certainly going to hit up at some point.

I can't recommend BTA enough. If you're looking for a new Minecraft experience, this mod will give provide your fix. If you've tried this mod out, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on it. Check out my contact page and send me an email!