Minecraft TFP: Charcoal and The Inability to Decide What Next

Terrafirmapunk continues to hold my attention.

I would make a terrible lumberjack, as deforesting the area below (the sparse tree covered area, as opposed to south and east of it) saddled me with an immense sense of guilt.

deforested

For whatever reason, I find it extremely difficult to terraform an environment to my liking, as contrasted with a lot of Youtube video creators and streamers who seem to have no qualms whatsoever.

It is strange, because there’s no climate change implemented in this mod pack (though the idle thought struck me that someone ought to, in an ECO-esque vein) and objectively, I’m playing singleplayer so there’s only one person, me, that can be affected by the resource supply and there’s probably way more trees in a procedurally generated world than I can ever hope to use.

Maybe it’s laziness and self-preservation at work – I just don’t want to denude my surrounding area and then be forced to venture even further off for resources.

Anyway, this area is quite far off from my main base – taking half a day to get here – so I talked myself into “I’ll build a tree farm closer to my base later” and then bit the bullet and went axe maniac on the trees without collecting any saplings.

logs

This time-saving maneuver yielded a ton of sycamore logs in a day or two.

These were promptly carted home to be burned up.

Yeah.

*nervous twitch*

Well, specifically, they went into my first charcoal pit.

charcoalpit

A charcoal pit in Terrafirmacraft is a multi-block structured formed by covering a bunch of log piles with other blocks so that the burning log piles have no access to air while forming charcoal.

Apparently, you can simulate this by tossing a whole bunch of dirt onto a mound of log piles, but given dirt’s susceptibility to gravity in Terrafirmacraft and dire warnings on the wiki that any logs uncovered by shifting/falling dirt/cobblestone and exposed to air would go up in flames, possibly ruining the whole batch…

…I decided to make a more permanent structure out of smooth stone.

Deciding on a size was a bit tricky without wiki guidance.

One wiki demonstrated the smallest possible pit – basically one log pile covered on all sides – but I figured after all the effort involved in making charcoal, that was going to be way too small.

Another wiki suggested that it was traditional to do a 5×5 bottom layer and then a 3×3 layer and then cover it all, but in my mind’s eye, that seemed like it was going to form a gigantic pyramid with a ton of wasted cover blocks.

So I started with a 3 x 3 square, digging into the dirt, and while digging, it struck me that I could sink this 3 x 3 pit further into the earth to pile logs into.

I ended up with a 3 x 3 x 3 cube, which I then covered all exposed faces with smooth stone except for the final two blocks so I could jump into the pit to load it up with logs, logs and more logs. charpit

It was dark by the time I got the whole pit loaded up.

moonpit

Jumped out, filled the rest of the gap with logs, tossed in a lit torch to light the pile, and closed it up with stone.

charcoalsmoking

It was smoking merrily, but not covered in flames and burning up, so I figured all was well and walked off to let it cook away for 15 Minecraft hours (or 12.5 real life minutes, give or take).

Truth be told, it was a while before I remembered to check back on it, but when I finally came back to a no-longer smoking pile of stone and cracked the top open…

blackgold

…Terrafirmacraft’s black gold stared back out at me.

Huzzah. The trees died for a good cause.

charcoalmining

Each cube is basically about 4-8 charcoal layered together, from 16 wood logs in a log pile.

All this charcoal is necessary for the next step up the technological tree – the forge.

forge

This tiny unassuming structure involved quite a bit of effort to construct.

tinyforge

The forge block itself is 7 pieces of charcoal, lit with a firestarter.

forgeui

It has a UI of its own, which tracks how hot the forge fire gets, and where one can load in metal ingots and other metal objects to get hot enough to work on an anvil, or weld together into double ingots, and if it gets TOO hot, it goes into the danger zone and melts and is lost for good.

The forge must also be properly ventilated. Leaving it open to the sky works for ventilation, but any rain or snow immediately extinguishes the forge. Not such a great idea.

So instead, a chimney is best constructed around it for ventilation, creating an L-shaped passage for air to vent over the forge, while the forge remains safely covered and immune to the effects of precipation.

The use of stone bricks was mostly aesthetic, but involved chiseling rock into bricks (metal chisel tool required), the creation of mortar by sealing sand in wooden barrels filled with limewater (which is in turn made by sealing flux with fresh water, and flux is made hammering fluxstone – 4 specific types of rock: marble, limestone, chalk or dolomite) and assembling them in a crafting window into stone bricks.

By itself, the forge only heats up to around red-orange temperatures. To get the temperature to rise higher, a bellows is needed.

Creating a bellows requires lumber and leather. Lumber is fairly easy once you have a saw and some logs. Leather, on the other hand, is an extended process of soaking.

Raw Hides are soaked in limewater to turn them into Soaked Hides.

Soaked Hides must be placed on a log turned over sideways to make a Leather Rack, which is then clicked on with a knife (all 4 x 4 portions must be clicked) to create Scraped Hides.

Scraped Hides are soaked in fresh water to create Prepared Hides.

Prepared Hides are soaked in tannin to turn them (finally) into Leather.

Still, as forge add-ons go, the bellows was piss easy.

bellows

The anvil was interesting. There are a number of tiers of anvils.

A stone anvil is tier 0, made by right-clicking a specific type of igneous rock with a hammer. It’s good for only one thing, welding copper ingots together into copper double ingots.

Basically, you heat up the ingots in a forge until they get to a “Can Weld” temperature, then chuck them into the anvil before they cool off, and click the Weld button in the anvil UI. Oh, and there has to be a hammer and flux inside the anvil already.

7 copper double ingots, or 14 copper ingots, can be used to make a Tier 1 copper anvil. Yes, that’s quite a lot of copper to be melting.

If, like me, you lack a particular resource to make a crucible, which fits over your forge and allows you to melt ores into liquid alloys, that’s a LOT of copper to be loading into a pit kiln to be fired and melted with 8 straw and 8 logs every go.

After you get a Tier 1 copper anvil, you can finally blacksmith copper tools on your anvil, instead of having to pour melted copper into fired clay molds, and you can weld Tier 2 bronze ingots into double ingots.

I repeated the whole sordid pit kiln story to make bismuth bronze alloys – which it so happens are the only metal resources near my base besides iron ones – copper, bismuth and zinc – and got my Tier 2 cute green bismuth bronze anvil.

What nearly made me cry was finding the resources to make the crucible.

This is apparently a known and possibly intended roadblock / bottleneck in Terrafirmacraft.

A crucible is made with 5 pieces of fire clay. Fire clay is made from clay (easy peasy to get), kaolinite powder and graphite powder.

It so happened that in my wanderings, I found a vein of exposed kaolinite, so one of the resources was lucked into.

Graphite, though, stubbornly refused to be found.

I prospector’s picked a bunch of places to find mostly nothing at all. I stumbled into no graphite deposits laying around, signaling more graphiite to be found underground. I read forums about Terrafirmacraft sometimes requiring wandering 10,000 blocks away to locate resources and moaned.

Fortunately, I was not playing Terrafirmacraft classic, but Terrafirma-punk-.

Terrafirmapunk includes Ex Nihilo as one of the mods in its list, and Ex Nihilo is a mod intended for skyblocks and generating resources out of nothing.

In this case, Ex Nihilo has been somewhat modified, so it wasn’t as handy as it usually is, but one of the modified recipes included graphite as a 3% chance drop from sieving a particular kind of gravel.

It so happens that my home base is right on top of this particular type of rock (gneiss) in which it is possible for graphite veins to spawn, but blah, there were no graphite veins I could find… nor was it that super-easy to find the right type of gravel.

There -are- gravel beaches that spawn, but the two beaches that I explored were made up of claystone and chert – which when sieved in an Ex Nihilo sieve, did -not- produce graphite. *cry*

So I was left with the only source of gneiss gravel I could find.

pockmarkedpond

My local pond.

Yes, nearly half of its gravel has been dug up, denuding it of cattails and leaving ugly stone outcroppings behind.

(I suppose I can get around to chiseling them into smooth stone and mining those up eventually too, making the pond one layer deeper instead.)

Stacks and stacks of gravel were then hand-sieved every Minecraft night (holding right-click on a sieve with gravel basically)

gneisssieve

Yielding an enormous assortment of random junk and artifacts in the desperate search for graphite (3rd row from the top, 1st item, gray blob next to the red/gray blob which is kaolinite).

And I needed 5 pieces of graphite to create enough graphite powder for 5 pieces of fire clay.

Suffice to say, I was prepared to dig up the entire pond and then move on to a neighboring one. I was that desperate.

Fortunately, pond dredging efforts managed to cease halfway through the destruction, thanks to lucky RNG.

Now that the forge is more or less feature-complete, I suspect I’ll be sitting back to enjoy and reap its rewards a little, while starting work on the next tech tier – a bloomery for iron, finally, because my particular world seed has a decent amount of exposed limonite (iron) veins that I have been able to do nothing with until now.

The other thing that I have been trying to get started on is the desire for a new aboveground base, which is to be more organized and spacious.

The problem is location, location, location. I just can’t decide.

I don’t want to move off too far yet, away from all my conveniences, but I’m outgrowing my little clay cavern.

I’m also addicted to the zombie killing that provides pretty delicious loot, from all the mobs attracted by light and standing right outside my tiny fenced off perimeter, but it’s a great big waste of time that I could be doing other things with, if I was ensconced safely in a big ol’ base away from a fenced perimeter.

Then again I don’t actually have permanent light that I could create a big ol’ safe zone with, unless I wander around and search for lots of pumpkins for jack o’ lanterns or make chisels and mine particular types of stone to make lamps with.

Nor do I have a nice flat piece of land around to build said safe house in, unless I terraform, which would require a lot of metal tools.

Then there’s the trees that I’ve planted nearby. I don’t want to leave those either. Or bulldoze too many of them down, because quite a few are fruit trees and they’ve just started flowering after patiently waiting an entire season for them to mature.

fence1

So I’ve ended up vacillating and in a strange compromise solution, started to create fenced areas and planting light sources to extend “my territory” from the original white aspen fence mini-square…

fence2

…through a grassy boulevard surrounded by my painstakingly planted trees…

fence3

…towards the flattest part of the nearby land that is still relatively near a freshwater source.

Where I might or might not build the next building. I dunno. I really haven’t decided yet.

I need more lights. I need building tools and building materials. I need to figure out how to make a nice zombie trapping moat, rather than resort to an ugly wall.

That pagoda structure in the distance is actually a roguelike dungeon underground, in which I’ve explored some and died plenty. There are a number of chests I still need to loot in there, a spider spawner that could be converted into a grinder for string, unexplored corridors and a deep cellar filled with really nasty mobs in which I need much better armor and weapons before venturing…

…and I’ve been thinking of taking apart the structure on top so that I can reuse the materials, except it’s all made of wood and flammable, so maybe I shouldn’t – or maybe I could use it for my animal pens/stables – except I’d really end up with BBQ’ed pork if it accidentally lights up from a forge incident… so maybe I shouldn’t.

Oh, decisions, decisions.

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