Modded Minecraft – SPPAAACCE!

Yeah, it’s been three weeks.

It’s taken me that long to blast off.

I saw over at MassivelyOP that Syp wrote a little article about Wynncraft, a free MMO made from Minecraft and a lot of modded love. I vaguely entertained the thought of checking it out… a thought that lasted until 25 seconds into the trailer, and the cheerful advertised feature of NEW ITEMS with walls of multicolored text, NEW DUNGEONS and NEW QUESTS with NEW REWARDS.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure this appeals to quite a few people, primarily the ones playing most MMOs, so it’s probably the right message for the right audience…

…but it really kinda hit me that I’m no longer in that audience.

Uhh, no more rainbow text incrementing numbers on items that get better and better please. New dungeons mean nothing, nada, to me. -More- quests?! To fetch one item or another or kill mob XYZ? For cosmetic rewards?

And to do this with a flock of too many players, all going at speeds and a pace faster than I likely can manage? Nah.

It’s great that some people managed to mod Minecraft towards how some players like their games, MMO-style, but modded Minecraft to me is always going to be a personal playroom where I can progress at my own pace, and not feel embarrassed by the far more ambitious builds of other players.

It’s where I can ignore the stated goals of the modpack, to amuse myself for a night or two, ad-libbing a modest chicken farm.


Without having to worrying about crashing a server or impacting someone else’s gameplay performance.

Chickens lay eggs. A vacuum chest from Ender IO sucks up the eggs.

An item conduit, also from Ender IO, passes the eggs in the chest along to a vanilla Minecraft dispenser.

Rather than set up a complicated, bulky and messy redstone circuit vanilla-style (which I barely understand anyway), a Redstone Clock from Extra Utilities does exactly what I want it to do and no more – emit a one tick redstone pulse every second.

This triggers the dispenser long enough for it to chuck out an egg.


Thrown eggs either crack and vanish, or hatch into a baby chicken.

Voila, ever-increasing numbers of chickens.

Every so often, I wander over, notice that the entity count in the area has risen up to the 100s, and manually flick a lever, that turns on the Minefactory Grinder hidden in the hole in the dirt at the back, powered by a simple Stirling Generator from Ender IO.

The grinder culls all the adult chickens, leaving only the babies, and stores feathers and chicken meat in a chest, while pumping out the essence (liquid XP, essentially) into a portable tank.


The extra essence is handy for powering an autospawner/grinder I finally got off my arse to build.


I remain absolutely tickled by the ghast, squished into the little cube space.

The cobblestone monstrosity on top is my very lame attempt at building up some free essence by provided a dark space for mobs to spawn. It doesn’t work as well as I’d like.

For one thing, it’s very small, mostly because I -hate- building this type of structure.

For another, I was experimenting with conveyor belts instead of vanilla water to push mobs, and it doesn’t seem to work as well. The occasional mob falls, but not in terribly high quantity.

Then there’s all the land area around me, which also provides ample space for mobs to spawn on the ground, instead of the defined cobblestone area.

I actually had a creeper accident once from a mob that snuck up behind me, and I had to dig a small moat/wall to fend off future explosions.


RIP plans. Effing creepers.

The actual structure of the autospawner I kinda like, though it’s very cheap and flimsy. At the time, I didn’t have the materials for more blast-resistant materials or glass, so I made do with what was available. ie. Cobblestone.

A 9×9 internal cube of air, framed by walls, and a Minefactory Reloaded Auto Spawner in the middle. You set it to spawn specific mobs, by placing a Safari Net of the mob in question inside, feed the machine Redstone Flux power and Essence, and badabing, mobs appear.


A Grinder at the front chops them down, one by one, storing their drops in a chest, and pipes/conduits pump the essence into a holding tank, which feeds back into the Auto Spawner.

It does cost more essence to spawn mobs than is produced by the grinder grinding them, so that’s where the spare chicken essence comes in handy.

At the moment, changeover of mobs is handled manually, by me chopping a two block high hole in the glass after the mobs have ceased to spawn and running inside to change safari nets.

(It does occur to me now that I could easily set up an item conduit chain triggered by a redstone lever to pull out the existing safari net and push another safari net in… I guess that’s a project for another time.)

This is what I find fun in modded Minecraft. I set up some very simple machines, with lots of manual input gaps in between, and then slowly improve them over time, perhaps finally achieving full automation one day.

It’s very modest “programming,” but I like that I have full control over the various iterations. It’s -my- machine. If I played in a server with other people, there would be other people’s machines (which I might be able to use, but not set up according to my brain’s logic) and that would push the pace to a group progression pace, rather than solely mine.

Here’s the other thing I LOVE playing around with:


Buildcraft Quarries.

These things apparently can play havoc in multiplayer servers, causing lag from chunkloading or flowing water (allegedly) but in singleplayer, it’s mine, ALL MINE, to dig gigantic rectangular open pit holes in the ground.


I just love watching them go.

They set up a rectangular frame around the area you specify with landmarks, chunk load everything for you, and then the quarry head moves systematically back and forth like a dot-matrix or 3d printer, except it digs out cube by cube EVERYTHING.

Screw branch mining. Forget about manually chopping out stairwells and teeny tiny tunnels.

Just RIP IT ALL OUT OF THE EARTH, cobblestone, dirt, ores and more.

It’s a hoarder’s dream.

Again, I started modestly, powering the quarry in the overworld with an improved windmill, some solar power, and pulling out the excess dirt and cobblestone from the chest into some compacting drawers.

Then I added the tiny Big Reactor, and the quarry went WHOOSH with a sudden influx of 1000+RF/tick.

To avoid making too many gigantic holes where my base was, I graduated on from using the overworld and moved on over into Aroma1997’s Mining Dimension, a flat grassy dimension solely for the purposes of mining.


The compacting drawers became Deep Storage Units, capable of holding 2,000,000,000 of one type of item. (Next project: add more DSUs for gravel, limestone, andesite, diorite, the works.)

Several gazillion distractions later, I did eventually start in on the Space Program.

It was very different from how I normally play modded Minecraft.

Instead of just winging it and building simple stuff and then iterating on it as the whim takes me, I found that I had to start planning a lot.

Y’see, the problem was, once you go into space and land on the Moon, the issue becomes the title of Klei Entertainment’s new game. Instead of “Don’t Starve,” it becomes “Oxygen Not Included.”

Well. Crap. Spending all that effort to build a rocket, refine enough fuel to blast me into space and to the moon would SUCK if I promptly suffocated to death 30 seconds later in low gravity.

So I needed to learn about the machines the Galacticraft mod provided to solve the Oxygen problem. Everything from portable oxygen gear, to Oxygen Collectors that collect oxygen from leaves, to Oxygen Sealers that would only work if inside a sealed room, had to be researched and then built painstakingly.

Oxygen-providing machines need power to function. So now I needed to think of ways to create sustainable power while on the Moon.

Solar power was one avenue I went up explorimg for a while, scaling up to some four Advanced Solar Generators from Mekanism feeding the maximum capacity Capacitor block that held 25mil RF.

Then between one wiki reading and the next, I learned that on the Moon, day for like half of the moon phase, and then it becomes night for the OTHER half. For a real world hour or so.

Uhhh… Visions of the moon base failing and running out of power and oxygen just as the world got dark and evolved creepers and zombies started spawning across the land flashed in front of my eyes.

Multiple redundancies sounded like a good idea. Culinary generators? From wheat? I’d have to grow them. Generators fueled by charcoal? From trees? That would be grown? Hmm… I needed something cheap, compact, and sustainable.

The first moon base would be really small, so as not to tax the Oxygen Sealer, and consume too much oxygen…


A couple days of Google research later led me to this beauty.

Ender IO’s Stirling Generators are one of the cheapest to build starting generators, but upgrade fairly respectably when kitted out with an Octadic Capacitor upgrade. They can burn solid fuel like vanilla furnaces, coal, charcoal, and -lava buckets-, while not consuming the iron bucket itself.

Minefactory Reloaded has a Lava Fabricator machine. A bucket of lava in a Stirling Generator produces more than enough RF for the fabricator to make a bucket of lava. Ding ding ding!

An Ender IO Fluid Tank is capable of auto-filling buckets of lava, if an empty bucket is piped into it.

Some item conduit tweaks later, the iron bucket automatically goes into the Stirling Generator when full of lava, and gets spat back into the Fluid Tank when empty, whereupon it fills up with lava again, and pops right back into the Stirling Generator, in a loop that produces excess power once the whole system fills up with lava.

I built lots of prototype machinery in the overworld to test. There was a grand checklist of items – Power, Oxygen, Food, Wood, Base Materials, etc – I’d have to bring to the Moon, because the moon wouldn’t have any of this stuff.

I was getting more paranoid than NASA.

I even backed up my save (hoorah singleplayer) before I started blasting off, just in case.

It was a good thing too, because a stray zombie jumped me 5 seconds into the countdown, and managed to kill me, JUST as the rocket blasted off (without me) into space.


Lesson learned: Do not blast off at night, without any fences to keep mobs at bay.

Paranoia rewarded. One backup save retrieval later, I slept in a bed to switch it to daylight before blasting off.


The Space Astronomy modpack is pretty nuts. First time seeing this menu, ever. Lots of planets to visit, requiring higher and higher tiers of spaceships. You can make a space station too, orbiting the overworld…


…but it’s the Moon landing we’re headed for, this first go around.


My first ever moon base, a very modest rectangular room made up of stone bricks and concrete blocks. (Brought the bricks just in case the concrete wasn’t recognized as a solid block by the Oxygen Sealer.)

The “airlock” is basically two solid blocks of moon dirt on the left side, leading into a shallow tunnel, sealed with another two solid bricks as the outer door.

There are actual proper air lock blocks and controllers in Galacticraft, but they require meteorite iron, which can only be found on the moon.

There’s oxygen in the room, as indicated by the torches staying alit.

It was rather unnerving the first time around, because I realized through actual firsthand experience, that the vanilla Minecraft torches would not stay lit in an oxygen-free environment. (Well, duh, in retrospect.)

There was a lot of building in the dark and stumbling around placing initial blocks, while praying no mobs snuck up.

Fortunately, the redundancy in planning worked, and the lava-fed stirling generators produced enough power to keep all the oxygen machines topped up for good, and then some.

There was a small amount of panic at the discovery that the Oxygen Collectors were not collecting as much oxygen as tested in the Overworld, because there isn’t oxygen in the atmosphere to collect.

My elite gas tank that I prefilled with 512 buckets of oxygen was diminishing to the 400s as I worked.

Apparently, I needed a lot more plant material around, so I grew lots of wheat and a few oak trees to shear more leaves (yay, I remembered to bring shears) to line the space near the Oxygen Collectors.

Some more tweaks and repositioning of input and output to the gas tank and pressurized tubes later, I was finally getting positive inflow of oxygen to send the gas tank numbers rising, instead of falling.


All in all, things went well, all the essentials were stabilized, even without needing me to set up the solar power generators. Likely those will have to go on the outside, when I construct the rocket launch pad to get back to the overworld.

The major thing I missed in my plan though, was LIGHT.

I had no clue the torches would extinguish without oxygen. This makes mining for moon ores nigh impossible right now. I can only walk the moon’s surface during the day, looking for fallen meteors for meteoric iron.


No finding the moon dungeon for me.

Soon, it’ll be time to build the rocket launch setup back (yes, I remembered to bring fuel, and a fuel loader… I think) and I will need to think on the light problem.

Glowstone torches work, apparently, but glowstone is really annoying to come by. Grrrr.

On the bright side, at least I’m not dead before the moon base got set up and stabilized into sustainability.