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Minecraft on Steam Deck Guide with Prism Launcher (and gamepad support)

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Prism Launcher has been released for Minecraft, rising from the ashes of the controversy with PolyMC (that you should no longer use). Here's all the info on it, plus a fresh Steam Deck Guide. I won't reiterate what happened with PolyMC, see the previous article on that, and please keep the comments focused on Prism and the Guide.

What is it:

Prism Launcher is a custom launcher for Minecraft that was forked from MultiMC. It allows the creation, and management of multiple installations of the game, or "instances" rather, each having their own separate mods, resource packs, settings, and more. While originally being forked over packaging/redistribution concerns, Prism Launcher brings new and exciting features developed by the community for the community. Furthermore, Prism Launcher is still just as true to its roots as ever in providing a project that vows to never bring hostility to those looking to fork, redistribute, or repackage, so long as the terms of our license are respected.

Basically, it gives you lots of features the official launcher doesn't have, along with really easy modding and it's great to use on Linux / Steam Deck too!

Here's a little guide video showing a fresh install, along with how to get gamepad controls thanks to Controllable and some extra tips:

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Text Guide:

  • In Steam Deck Desktop Mode -> Open Discover and search for Prism Launcher, then install it.
  • From the KDE Plasma Menu, find Prism, right click and select Add to Steam.
  • Open Prism, select Manage Profiles and go through the process to add your Microsoft Account.
  • Then you can select Add Instance, and pick whatever Minecraft you want to install.

For Gamepad Support:

  • Hit the Edit button with an Instance selected.
  • Go to Mods on the left panel, select Download Mods.
  • Select CurseForge on the left, then search for and install Controllable.

That's the basic setup done.

However, if you wish to have Prism load a single instance, you can add this to the end of your Steam Launch Option in the Properties window of Prism: -l *instance name*

Additionally, if you still wish to show the launcher, say you wish to pick from multiple instances, you may want to have it close automatically once you're playing Minecraft. Find those in the main Settings, select Minecraft on the left and down the bottom are two tickboxes to control this behaviour.

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About the author -
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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Cabbidachi Oct 21, 2022
Lets hope this can continue its existence without any controversies. I wanna enjoy Minecraft with proper instance management and not throw all of it away because of some crazy person lol.
kudlaty Oct 21, 2022
This only works with the Java edition, I guess?
drlamb Oct 21, 2022
Quoting: kudlaty

Correct, as far as I'm aware this is still the only way to play the bedrock edition on Linux, with some caveats.
Motschen Oct 21, 2022
Some tips for people looking to increase Minecraft's performance/Steam Deck battery life:
- When creating an instance, select CurseForge on the sidebar and search for "Fabulously Optimized"
- Select the latest version and install that.
Doing so will download a carefully curated selection of mods designed to significantly boost performance of the block game.
Since Fabulously Optimized uses the Fabric modloader under the hood though, the Controllable mod won't work, since that only runs on the Forge modloader and is therefore incompatible with Fabric.
Instead, you can use MidnightControls, which already comes bundled with Fabulously Optimized and just needs you to activate it in the Controls Options screen.
This controller support mod also makes GUIs much easier to navigate, as instead of moving the cursor like Controllable does, it cycles between the screen's buttons. Though I'm a bit biased on that, as I'm the current developer of MidnightControls
kudlaty Oct 21, 2022
Quoting: drlambthis is still the only way to play the bedrock edition on Linux, with some caveats.
Very interesting, I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the pointer!
rstrube Oct 21, 2022
This is fantastic! I was just looking for a guide like this as I just went through the process of getting GDLauncher setup on my Steam Deck (which is also worth checking out especially in light of the PolyMC debacle). Thanks for providing this! Running Minecraft on the Deck is a fantastic experience once you get things setup with all the performance mods.
rstrube Oct 21, 2022
@Liam One thing I would recommend considering for your guide is the "Fabulously Optimized" mod-pack from CurseForge (rather than just the controller mod).

This includes 44 mods, including the mod which supports controllers. It also installs several performance mods (Fabric based, etc.). It strikes a great balance in keeping vanilla look and feel, adding performance, and adding controller support. The main benefit isn't FPS (since you'll run at 60fps) but battery performance is much better.

Last edited by rstrube on 21 October 2022 at 7:17 pm UTC
1xok Oct 21, 2022
I still use MultiMC. I think Prism is derived from it. What makes it better?

I haven't dealt with it much. In fact, most of the time I just use the Minecraft default launcher from Mojang. But in MultiMC the management of mods is easier.
Liam Dawe Oct 21, 2022
Quoting: 1xokI still use MultiMC. I think Prism is derived from it. What makes it better?

I haven't dealt with it much. In fact, most of the time I just use the Minecraft default launcher from Mojang. But in MultiMC the management of mods is easier.
The developer of MultiMC has a…colourful history on open source and their thoughts on it. Repeatedly shutting down talk on packaging, and just generally being quite an arse.
PixelDrop Oct 21, 2022
Still seems like it has a ways to go. Trying to move my PolyMC setups over to Prism has just an endless mess of errors for everything except my rarely used Vanilla instance and my super lightly modded hardcore instance.

Everything with a lot of mods is a nightmare of errors thus far. Which is confusing because it's the same version of Minecraft, same mod launcher version, same mod versions, and same java version.
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