Feed the Beast, also known as FTB, originated as a custom challenge map for Minecraft that made heavy use of many mods. It played very similar to a type of map known as Sky Block, where the player is started in a void world with only a small platform, and must overcome a series of challenges. Because FTB included tech mods, it was possible to use the various custom blocks and items to keep track of the challenges and the player's progress, as well as automatically give awards after each challenge was met.
The map was then adapted to allow multiple players to compete against each other in a race to complete the objectives. This version gained large popularity after being live-streamed on Twitch.TV with Direwolf20 vs Mattabase, both very well known users of the mods included in the map.
As the map was released to the public, it became apparent that it was very difficult to distribute the map file, mods, and configuration settings to those interested in playing it. At some point a decision was made to combine all of the mods into an easily distributable pack, as well as create a launcher that would stream-line installation.
The map went through various iterations, including the bedrock map - known for the challenge and reward structure made of bedrock. However most players that refer to the FTB map, truly mean the pyramid map, known for its large basalt pyramid that included various rooms that listed a set of items the player had to create in order to solve each challenge. That version was then updated to a harder version, known as FTB Insanity, which took many players 50 to even over 100 hours of play time to fully complete.
The modpacks are centered around mods built on the Minecraft Forge platform. They initially focused on mods of a technical theme, such as IndustrialCraft 2, BuildCraft, and RedPower 2. However, it then expanded to other genres, such as magic mods like Thaumcraft and Mystcraft.
The initial modpack was released as a beta in November 2012. It stayed in beta status for some time because of the necessity for mod authors to update their mods to Minecraft version 1.4, where everything became server based. This process proved a long road for a few of the mods that were core to the pack.
Other versions of the FTB Modpacks were created, including FTB Lite, which slimmed down the list of mods to assist new users learn the ins and outs without being overwhelmed. A Magic World pack, which focused on mods of a magical nature, was also released.
Many modpacks have since been released, and have been updated to the 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, and 1.8 versions of Minecraft. All of the modpacks featured on the FTB Launcher can be found on the Modpacks page. Mods included in the FTB modpacks can be found in the Mods Category.
The launcher was released as alpha during a livestream by Slowpoke101. The number of downloads quickly overwhelmed the server, leaving many users frustrated. After resolving the server issues, a beta version was released. A website, feed-the-beast.com, soon followed.
The main features of the launcher are:
- Automatically downloading a list of FTB modpacks and approved 3rd party modpacks.
- Automatically downloading all mod installation files and creation of the Minecraft instance.
- Full distribution support from all developers of the mods included in the modpacks.
- A planned set of config files, assigning unique ids to all mod blocks, items, dimensions, creatures, enchantments, and liquids, preventing overlaps that cause Minecraft to crash and were the frequent bane of users trying to manually install mods.
- Automatically downloading featured maps, such as the Feed the Beast challenge maps.
- Supports downloading of pre-configured server instances, making it very easy for admins to host the mods on a server.
Now that you know a little bit about Feed the Beast, head over to the Getting Started page to learn how to install the launcher, choose a modpack, and begin playing!