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My Minecraft (Early) 1.7.10 Mods Of Choice

I feel the need to write another entry just to put the previous bit of whining behind me a little sooner.  The trouble with that last entry is, even if it is a fair guess that "Minecraft with Civilization-level purpose to your activities" is what PC gamers need, the implementation is easy to botch, and even a good implementation will not necessarily be well-received.

"But I thought you wanted whining!"
I apologize; I was desperate.  Fact of the matter is, I am sitting here at the end of another one of my weird reverse weekends and wading in thick dissatisfaction.
  • I tried to play Borderlands 2 again, but that was a bust - it might be the best Diablo to go down the first person shooter branch, but it's too damn long for the run-and-gun gameplay to sustain. 
  • I played a bit of the Planet Explorers demo, hoping it might already be Minecraft with Civilization on top.  I was heartbroken to find more questing and long travel times.  It's bad enough this game thinks it's an MMORPG: it does not have to ape the worst parts of the genre.
Aside from that, I mostly wasted my time on message boards and watching videos on YouTube or Twitch.

I really need something to do with my free time.  I mowed the lawn, even though it was not that bad yet.  I looked into SDL as a potential platform for development (nah, I am avoiding getting elbow deep in C++ if I can help it).  Yet, I did not quite manage to get myself to do anything too useful this week; I mostly sat around engaged in listless behavior.  For all the good it did me, I might as well have cleaned house... or gone back to work!

Just now, out of desperation, I've finally decided to give Minecraft another try.

In doing so, I discovered that version 1.7.10 actually has some pretty great mods available for it, including BuildCraft, ThaumCraft, and even the long-slumbering IndustrialCraft!  But my personal mix uses none of those.  Aside from the usual necessities (e.g. Tree Capacitor, Inventory Tweaks, Waila, and Not Enough Items) my core mods are:
  • Applied Energistics 2 - This mod eliminates inventory bloat in the most awesome way possible: by allowing you to digitize them for easy access.  This circumvents the need for most of what BuildCraft does.  If you have seen the Yogscast "Hole Diggers" Series, you should have a pretty good idea of the awesome things AE2 is capable of.  Unfortunately, the crafting CPU has yet to make the jump to Minecraft 1.7.x, but crafting is still made a relative cinch via ME Crafting Terminals importing instructions from Not Enough Items.
  • Mekanism - This mod has surprised me by moving from vestigial to essential.  The power generation and distribution methods are unparalleled, providing universal electricity better than the mod literally named that.  The ore refining is hardcore (with up to 5x yields possible), and it has some other cool things like jet packs and assistant robots.  There's also some really cool item transfer in the form of pneumatic tubes, although Applied Energistics 2 might have made that redundant.
  • Steve's Carts 2 - When it comes to performing all sorts of harvesting tasks, and even some automatic crafting, this mod is perhaps the most fun way to get it done.  Mining with mining carts is much more fun than most mining machine blocks from other mods.  Foresting and farming via customized mining cart is great.  If anything, you might just feel a tad too empowered by what these carts are capable of!
These three mods alone provide just about every bit of factorization I am likely to ever need and without excessive world bloat.  Yes, you will see far more substantial looking mod packs on the likes of Feed The Beast, but my philosophy is less is more: I want a pack of mods that adds some real meat to the game without too much fluff.

Now the only trouble is the same trouble I always had with Minecraft: I need a purpose.  That Civilization-level reason for needing all this factorization is still not there.
Of course, he was undoubtedly referring to serving real people and not artificial ones...
For the time being, I am trying to fill this void with Millenaire, which is a mod that generates of intelligent non-player character villages that build and expand autonomously.  It is very close to what I want, but not quite there, for a few reasons:
  • Eventually, a village completes.  In order to provide a worthwhile goal to the player, that should never happen.  Maybe the villages should have to rebuild and maintain themselves.  Maybe there should be higher tier improvements that are massive resource sinks.  Whatever the case, a village should never be done... it just stagnates!
  • The NPCs do not particularly need to eat and food, although it helps with population growth.  Thus, your assistance is limited to the production of construction materials... which is much better than nothing, all things considered.
  • Given that this is a very ambitious mod, it has an unfortunate history of corrupting the game.  The most common form of corruption is that the Millenaire village just stops functioning, becoming a ghost town.  That's a bit of a bummer when you have a personal stake in their improvement.
If this is the closest I can get, maybe I need to find a better solution than Millenaire
Villages such as these are built automatically in Millenaire.
One thing a person could do is just build standard Minecraft villages manually, by placing the blocks.  This essentially serves the same purpose as meeting the village's needs by selling them the blocks, and is also great for mod compatibility because the stock villagers will not do anything to blocks that might break them.  Unfortunately, standard villagers have no real needs, even with an enhancing mod such as Minecraft Comes Alive installed.  Something about trading with Millenaire villagers just feels better than building villages by hand... probably several somethings.

I guess what I want to do is marry the cool factorization mods in Minecraft with something that actually needs that much production.  Sure, I could be playing a city builder game, but that just does not have the same cool appeal of doing it yourself that Minecraft does.  Dwarf Fortress-inspired games like Rimworld are too impersonal... I want to keep that first person immersion.  Games like Planet Explorers and Factorio come close, in their own ways, but are not quite there.  I probably just need to get off my lazy butt and try to make something myself.  Instead, it seems I have ended up using the last few hours of my last day off this week to blog about my conundrum.

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