There are a lot of different ways to install Minecraft mods. Some people prefer to use Minecraft Forge, while others find it easier to just install the mods manually. In this blog post, we will show you how to install Minecraft mods without using Minecraft Forge. We will also provide a few tips on how to make the installation process as easy as possible. So, if you’re looking for a way to install mods without using Forge, then keep reading!
Technically yes, but it’s a bit more nuanced than that, so let’s start at the beginning.
When you mod Minecraft, the fundamental thing you’re doing is adding code to the game and/or changing existing code.
You can do this without Forge 1.12.2 or similar, directly changing the code of the game, and early Minecraft mods did exactly that. The problem with this approach is that mods that directly change the game are reasonably likely to interfere with one another, and every modder has to reinvent the wheel for basics like adding blocks to the game. But yes, you can run such mods without Forge because they don’t need Forge to run—but most modern mods require Forge to run.
To solve this compatibility problem, you use a modloader, a special kind of mod that directly changes the game, but that doesn’t do much itself except load other mods into the game and provide utilities for code interacting with elements of the game in a standard way so that mods don’t interfere with one another. Forge is such a modloader. Instead of interacting directly with the base game, mods written for Forge use code that tells Forge how to load their content into the game. It’s still possible for Forge mods to change base game code where necessary—this is called “coremodding”—but it’s discouraged because it risks incompatibility with other mods. Coremodding also requires writing code that rewrites Java bytecode at runtime when the affected classes are loaded, so it’s a bit more difficult to write than your average Java (I’m a chronic understater). Anyway, mods written for Forge require Forge, so no, you can’t run those mods without it.
There exist other modloaders beside Forge. Since Minecraft 1.13, Fabric has become a popular alternative modloader. Fabric and Forge are incompatible because they both directly change the game code in the same places and thus interfere with one another, just as mentioned earlier. Anyway, yes, you can run mods developed for Fabric using Fabric instead of Forge.
In short, the answer is largely “Yes, but…”.