Minecraft Forge vs Fabric, which should you use?

Posted on January 04, 2020 in minecraft

The Minecraft modding ecosystem massively changed with the release of Minecraft 1.13. Due to a long update cycle of Minecraft Forge, a few projects popped up to replace it in the meantime. Fabric, Rift, and a few other projects all provided a lightweight mod loading framework in Minecraft Forge's absence. While the other projects did not gain a foothold after Minecraft Forge became available, Fabric has cemented itself as a significant modding platform in the community. It has now been a while since 1.13 released though, with the Minecraft 1.15 release having just happened as of writing. Is Fabric still relevant?

What are they?

To first explain which you should use, I'll first explain what they are.

What is Minecraft Forge?

Minecraft Forge is a modding framework for Minecraft that provides an API and mod interoperability helpers. Doing this allows for large modpacks to work coherently, with duplicate items and blocks acting like one. Forge also does a lot of work for modders, making it easier to do common tasks such as create new blocks, entities, or listen for various events. Due to Minecraft Forge being more extensive, it also takes longer to update, especially as the developers of Minecraft Forge are also the people who update MCP (Mod Coders Pack). MCP doesn't matter too much to users, but it is the platform that allows Minecraft Forge to modify the base game.

What is Fabric?

Fabric is a lightweight mod loader for Minecraft. While it does provide an optional separately-installable API, the primary purpose is to set up a fundamental environment in which mods can manipulate the game. Unlike Forge, Fabric does not offer any interoperability layers or helpers. The small goal of Fabric allows it to update very quickly, to the point they generally release for every Minecraft snapshot version. Although Fabric for snapshot versions exists, there is no guarantee that mods will work. Fabric also makes fewer changes to the game and is, therefore, less prone to bugs.

So which should I use?

Comparing the two platforms is not as simple as saying you should use one over the other. There is a tonne of factors here, such as what platforms the mods you want to use are available on, or if you wish to use a lot of mods that add content. If you're going to do something simple like using WorldEdit in singleplayer, Fabric is probably your better option. If instead, you want to play with multiple mods that all add blocks and items, Forge is better suited to what you're doing. The most significant factor in the decision should always be the platform of the mod. Not all mods exist for both Minecraft Forge and Fabric, so you often do not get a choice. Mods which are much more suited to Forge, such as ones that add tremendous amounts of blocks, will most likely not provide a Fabric version.

So the answer, as is generally the case, is that it depends on what you're doing. One platform isn't better than the other; they both have strengths and weaknesses for different circumstances.

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