With these blocks, players can manipulate the world around them, building and destroying structures. As gameplay in Minecraft is so open and unguided, players often set their own goals and play the game as they see fit. An example of this is the Minecraft minigame, Spleef.
The five game modes in Minecraft are Survival, Creative, Adventure, Spectator[Java Edition only] and Hardcore[Java Edition only].
In the level.dat file, Survival mode is
gametype=0, Creative is
gametype=1, Adventure is
gametype=2, and Spectator is
gametype=3. Hardcore is Survival with the addition of
hardcore=1 (for Survival and Creative,
hardcore=0). This knowledge allows hacking to change game modes by editing the world's level.dat. The command
/gamemode can be used to switch between these. For example,
/gamemode creative puts the player into creative mode.
In Java Edition, a player with operator permissions on a server or cheats enabled is able to open a GUI by pressing F3 and F4, which then allows the player to cycle through the four available gamemodes available with
/gamemode by pressing F4.
In Bedrock Edition, the gamemode can also be changed by quitting the world, going to Edit World, tapping either Creative or Survival, and then returning to the game if cheats are enabled. Hardcore cannot be set using commands.
In this mode, players have to gather all their materials to build, craft items and tools and gain experience points. There is a health, hunger, and armor bar, an inventory, and also a oxygen bar when underwater, suffocating,[BE only] or in lava.[BE only] If a player runs out of hearts (health), the player dies and returns to the spawn point. Upon death, the player emits smoke, loses all experience and items, and a death message. Maximum reach is 5 blocks.
The player has access to an infinite amount of almost all blocks and items available, and can destroy them instantly. Players are invulnerable, unless they fall into the void,[Java Edition only] and do not have health, armor, or hunger, and can fly. The player has access to items not available in Survival mode, e.g. spawn eggs. The player cannot see command blocks if they look through the creative GUI - they need to spawn command blocks with the
/setblock commands. Max reach is 6 blocks.
Players can interact with objects such as levers and buttons, and can interact with mobs. However, they can break blocks only with tools having a CanDestroy data tag, and place blocks only if the block they are holding has a CanPlaceOn data tag, making this mode good for adventure maps. Max reach is 5 blocks.
In this mode, which plays in the same way as Survival mode, the difficulty level is permanently set to "Hard", and when the player dies, the only choice is that the map must be deleted, or the player is sent permanently into spectator mode.
Technically, Hardcore is a game mode modifier rather than a game mode. However, without cheating, it is possible to get only "Hardcore Survival". To obtain "Hardcore Creative" mode, the player must edit the game world with external tools, or opening to LAN, and turning on cheats. There is almost no visible difference between "Hardcore Creative" and "Non-Hardcore Creative". Because of this, "Hardcore" usually refers to "Hardcore Survival". On a server, a player who dies gets put into spectator mode, while all other players remain in survival mode. When looking at a hardcore singleplayer world, the gamemode is "Hardcore Mode!" and the color is red.
Hardcore is not technically a game mode as it cannot be enabled with the
When in spectator mode, players can clip through blocks, enter the perspective of other entities by left-clicking on them, and are invisible to all players and mobs except for other spectators. The player can't interact with blocks, entities or their inventory. When in third-person mode, they look like a transparent, floating head with no body. The player can use the scroll wheel to adjust the speed at which they are flying, unlike flying in Creative mode.
Table of game modes
Below is a brief summary of the different available features in each game mode.
|Premium account||Required for multiplayer[a]||Required||Required||Required||Required|
|Respawn after death||Yes||Yes||Yes||After death either delete world or respawn in not changeable Spectator Mode||Yes|
|Block placing/breaking||Yes||Yes||No, unless the player has a CanPlaceOn data tag||Yes||No|
|Maximum amount of blocks (so far)||Partial[c]||Yes||No||Partial[c]||No|
|Cheats||Preset to no, but changeable||Preset to yes, but changeable||Preset to no, but changeable||No||Preset to yes, but changeable|
|Available in Bedrock Edition||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Can phase through blocks||No||No||No||No||Yes|
- The demo allows gameplay of only the Survival gamemode without a premium account, and only in singleplayer. This does have a time limit though.
- In Creative or in Spectator, health is still there but hidden from GUI, the player can show this by falling into the Void.
- In Survival, there are methods to obtain unlimited amounts of specific renewable resources such as logs, cobblestone, and water. In addition, the vast map area allows one to gather plenty of anything with enough effort.
- Hunger mechanics are implemented, but kill the player only if the difficulty is set to hard mode and do not affect players on Peaceful.