Minecraft (Hexxit) – The Curse of the Albatross – 4. Metal Interlude

It feels like weeks have gone by, though I stopped counting the sunsets a while back, or the painful re-awakenings from dying, though thankfully there have been much more of the former than the latter.

I scarce know where to begin.

Perhaps with the smeltery, whose materials I brought back from Weisferd, along with extra clay to form more seared bricks.

smeltery1

Assembly took a little time, especially the strange pipe-like casting channels which seemed to fit nowhere and were eventually set aside to be dealt with later.

Figuring out how to best put it to use took considerably longer.

In one of my early experiments, I melted down a block of gold ore to find that it had produced sufficient molten metal for 2 ingots.

smeltery2

Turning on the faucet to a casting table led to a pool of molten gold on its surface.

smeltery3

When it cooled, it had formed a square blank cast of absolutely nothing at all.

It was only then that I realized that I should have placed whatever I wished to make an imprint of onto the casting table to form a mould around.

Cue more precious ore into the smeltery, this time with a sacrificial iron ingot smelted from the old cobblestone furnace on the table.

ingotcast1

On cooling, I was pleased to find that I had indeed formed the ingot cast I desired.

ingotcast2

The iron ingot that it had formed around was even still salvageable.

ingotcast3

Ready for casting.

The casting basin next to the table was trickier to figure out, mostly because I failed to use sufficient quantities of ore to produce enough molten metal at first.

When I stopped being miserly, I realized it would form solid blocks of metal when cooled.

Hacking them apart would only form 9 ingots of the metal, which seemed rather wasteful of the smeltery’s efficiency in producing twice that amount of molten metal. Casting ingots would be the better option.

smeltery4

Thus, a modest extension was created, with a single button press forming 3 ingots at a time.

One still had to pick up the ingots from the tables by hand, so I saw no need to scale up further, at least for now.

I had no driving ambition to be a metal tycoon in this land, at any rate.

Figuring out how to form alloys for the metals took a length of time as well, primarily because of a misreading of the ratios in a book I had found.

Somehow, I had been convinced that aluminium brass involved 3 parts copper to 1 part aluminium, when it was the other way around, resulting in strange separated layers of all three metals in the smeltery to be decanted.

Perhaps the bronze recipe was to blame, for that involved copper:tin in a 3:1 ratio as well.

Then there were the mining expeditions into the depths to harvest enough ore for the smeltery.

shade2

That shade with the purple glowing eyes dogged my footsteps.

It would appear in the dark, and watch, as zombies advanced and skeletons sniped and creepers snuck up from behind.

It would allow me to get close, and then vanish, further into the shadows.

shade3

Was it leading me somewhere in particular?

Was it leading me into a trap?

shade1

At last, after fending off one too many enemies at my back, I could take it no longer.

shade4

And I took aim at the strange creature with my double-arrowed bow.

shade5

As one might expect, I hit absolutely nothing at all.

Two seconds later, there was a blood curdling shriek behind me and I stumbled forward as a blast of unearthly cold washed over my back.

My armor took the brunt of the blow, and I swung around with my enchanted sword and heard another furious echoing scream.

shade6

Again it vanished and back to the front again, just out of reach.

I had wounded it this time, I was sure, and I flung myself forward.

shade7

With entirely predictable results.

My cries of “Come back here and fight!” and “Coward!” rang unanswered through the tunnels, and I saw it no further during that trip.

(The smeltery in the Tinker’s Construct mod reminded me in a really good way of A Tale in the Desert.

There was a very similar sort of extending a crafting system into a more elaborate, slightly more simulationist mini-game activity.

And driven by the desire to create drawbridge blocks for sliding doors for something I wanted to build, I had to keep at it until I understood enough of how it worked to produce the required alloy components.

Later, I found out that it could also produce clear panes of glass by melting down glass blocks and then letting the glass flow out onto the casting tables. These could further be colored by dyes to produce some nice tinted glass panes.

Sure, I could have just cheated and spawned all the blocks I wanted, but spending the time in learning and construction was half the fun and makes the resulting building feel much more like an accomplishment.)

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