Minecraft Forge Handshake

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This page documents the current Minecraft Forge protocol, including how to connect to servers running Minecraft Forge and what changes it makes to the vanilla protocol, for Minecraft 1.7.10, 1.8, and 1.9.

Largely based off of Pokechu22's work on getting Minecraft Console Client to connect to Forge servers.

Changes to Server List Ping

When forge is installed, the Server List Ping changes with an additional modinfo. Example:

{
    "description": "A Minecraft Server",
    "players": {
        "max": 20,
        "online": 0
    },
    "version": {
        "name": "1.8",
        "protocol": 47
    },
    "modinfo": {
        "type": "FML",
        "modList": [
            {
                "modid": "mcp",
                "version": "9.05"
            },
            {
                "modid": "FML",
                "version": "8.0.99.99"
            },
            {
                "modid": "Forge",
                "version": "11.14.3.1512"
            },
            {
                "modid": "rpcraft",
                "version": "Beta 1.3 - 1.8.0"
            }
        ]
    }
}

So, to test whether forge is installed, look for the modinfo key and then a type of FML

The modList contains each installed mod's version and ID.

Warning.png The key modList has a capital 'L', unlike any other key in the ping result!

This is injected in ServerStatusResponse by calling FMLNetworkHandler.enhanceStatusQuery().

Connection to a forge server

Attempting to connect to a forge server without making any changes results in getting immediately disconnected with the message "This server requires FML/Forge to be installed. Contact your server admin for more details.". This message is displayed in FMLCommonHandler and is injected in a modified 0x00 Handshake packet.

If \0FML\0 is added to the end of the server's address (where \0 is a Wikipedia:null character) (again, in the 0x00 handshake packet), the server will not immediately reject you. However, you still will not complete the connection.

This occurs because Minecraft Forge has an additional set of handshakes (for determining mods and block IDs), that must be completed before the server allows logging in.

Forge handshake

Forge's handshake occurs in the middle of the normal login sequence, right after 0x02 Login Success is received by the client.

In addition to the normal packet debugging for the server, if -Dfml.debugNetworkHandshake=true is passed to the forge server, some more information about the current handshake status will be outputted.

Huh.png The following information needs to be added to this page:
Why does it send the CompleteHandshake packet to itself? How does it keep synchronized (especially near the end with the ACKs)?
  • S→C: REGISTER forge's plugin channels: FML|HS, FML, FML|MP, FML, FORGE (yes, FML is there twice; technically, it does not need to be there twice but that is the way that Forge sends it and sending it that way will act more similar to forge)
  • S→C: A ServerHello packet is sent on FML|HS including the player's dimension (0 if it's the first login)
  • C→S: REGISTER the plugin channels: FML|HS, FML, FML|MP, FML, FORGE.
  • C→S: A ClientHello packet is sent on the FML|HS channel.
  • C→S: A ModList packet is sent.
  • Server checks that the mod list is compatible. If incompatible, the player is disconnected with an explanatory message. Otherwise, continue.
  • S→C: A ModList packet is sent.
  • Client checks that the mod list is compatible. If incompatible, it disconnects. Otherwise, continue.
  • C→S: A HandshakeAck packet is sent, with the phase being WAITINGSERVERDATA (2).
  • S→C: A series of RegistryData packets is sent, with hasMore being true for all packets except the last.
  • Client reads and stores each RegistryData, continuing reading until hasMore is false. Once hasMore is false, it checks whether it has all of the needed blocks/items. If it does not, it disconnects. Otherwise, continue.
  • C→S: A HandshakeAck packet is sent with phase being WAITINGSERVERCOMPLETE (3).
  • S→C: A HandshakeAck packet is sent with phase being WAITINGCACK (2).
  • C→S: A HandshakeAck packet is sent with phase being PENDINGCOMPLETE (4).
  • S→C: A HandshakeAck packet is sent with phase being COMPLETE (3).
  • The server sends a "CompleteHandshake" packet to itself. (Not sure why)
  • C→S: A HandshakeAck packet is sent with phase being COMPLETE (5).
  • The client sends a "CompleteHandshake" packet to itself. (Not sure why)

Definitions

Minecraft Forge uses an additional type not covered in data types for some things -- a varshort. This is essentially the same as a regular short, except that if the top byte (what is normally sign) is set, it is followed by an additional byte. This allows forge to retain backwards compatibility but extend the length of certain numbers -- the varshort is only used in places where, in vanilla Minecraft, the sign bit would not have been set. It is implemented in ByteBufUtils.

Discriminator bytes are the way that Minecraft Forge allows sending multiple messages on one plugin channel. They aren't part of the original specification, but a similar concept is used with the MC|AdvCdm plugin channel (used for command blocks). That packet decides whether a block location is being sent or an entity ID (minecart command blocks) is being sent based off of the value of the first byte in the packet.

In the same way, forge uses the first byte of the plugin message to specify which packet to use. It uses FMLIndexedMessageToMessageCodec to automatically switch the value.

Discriminator bytes change depending on the channel: 0 for FML|HS means something different from 0 for FML.

FML|HS Packet structure

FML|HS is used to perform the handshake. Discriminator bytes are found in FMLHandshakeCodec.

ServerHello

Starts the handshake.

Channel Bound To Field Name Field Type Notes
FML|HS Client Discriminator Byte Always 0 for ServerHello
FML protocol Version Byte Determined from NetworkRegistery. Currently 2.
Override dimension Optional Int Only sent if protocol version is greater than 1.

ClientHello

Response from the client to the ServerHello packet.

Channel Bound To Field Name Field Type Notes
FML|HS Server Discriminator Byte Always 1 for ClientHello.
FML protocol Version Byte Determined from NetworkRegistery. Currently 2.

ModList

Contains a list of all mods installed on the server or client. Sent from the client to the server first, and then the server responds with its mod list. The server's mod list matches the one sent in the ping.

Channel Bound To Field Name Field Type Notes
FML|HS Both Discriminator Byte Always 2 for ModList
Number of mods Varint Number of mods below
Mods Mod name Array String Name of the mod
Mod version String Version of the mod

RegistryData

Huh.png The following information needs to be added to this page:
Explain exactly what registries are, and figure out what Substitutions and Dummies are

The server sends several of this packet, one for each registry. It'll keep sending them until the hasMore value is no longer true.

Channel Bound To Field Name Field Type Notes
FML|HS Both Discriminator Byte Always 3 for RegistryData.
Has more Boolean Marks whether another RegistryData packet will be sent after this.
Name String Name of the registry for this packet
Number of ids Varint Number of ids sent below
Ids Name Array String Name of the thing
Id Varint Numerical id of the thing
Number of substitutions Varint Number of substitutions sent below
Substitutions Array of strings Each substitution
Number of dummies Varint Number of dummies in the array below. May not be present in older versions of forge; check if there still is data remaining in the packet before continuing to read data.
Dummies Array of strings Each dummy?

HandshakeAck

Confirms that the client is able to use the settings sent previously.

Channel Bound To Field Name Field Type Notes
FML|HS Both Discriminator Byte Always -1 (255) for HandshakeAck
Phase Byte The current phase, which is the ordinal (0-indexed) in the FMLHandshakeClientState or FMLHandshakeServerState enums (if the server is sending it, it is in the ServerState enum, and if the client is sending it, it is the ClientState enum).

HandshakeReset

Causes the client to recomplete the entire handshake from the start. There is no payload beyond the discriminator byte.

The normal forge server does not ever use this packet, but it is used when connecting through a BungeeCord instance, specifically when transitioning from a vanilla server to a modded one or from a modded server to another modded server.

Channel Bound To Field Name Field Type Notes
FML|HS Client Discriminator Byte Always -2 (254) for HandshakeReset

Differences from Forge 1.7.10

Forge for Minecraft 1.8 made some changes from the 1.7.10 version.

The most important thing to keep track of isn't (entirely) a forge change. In 1.7.10, plugin channel packets are length prefixed, while in 1.8 they are not. However, forge makes some more changes to the server to client packet (but not the client to server packet): Rather than using a short for the length, a varshort is used. Due to the way that varshorts work, this is backwards compatible, but if this is not accounted for you may receive forge packets that seem corrupted as there is an extra byte that appears seemingly randomly.

Warning.png While it may seem like you can get away with not handling varshorts, on servers with lots of mods (EG FTB), this will appear.

Additionally, in 1.7.10 the registries packet is instead "ModIdData":

ModIdData

Contains numeric ID mapping for blocks and items.

Huh.png The following information needs to be added to this page:
Again, what are blockSubstitutions and itemSubstitutions?
Channel Bound to Name Type Notes
FML|HS Client Discriminator Byte Always 3 for ModIdData
Mapping length VarInt Length of the following mapping
Mapping Name Array String Name of the block/item.
ID VarInt Numeric ID of the item.
Block substitutions length VarInt Length of the following array
Block substitutions Array of strings Block substitutions
Item substitutions length VarInt Length of the following array
Item substitutions Array of strings Item substitutions