Mood Gaming Snippets: Faking Industry

Most of early March seemed to be themed around feeling a sense of industry, of incrementing numbers and progress.

Mar 11 – 19

Crusaders of the Lost Idols

Total time spent: 6h 8 min

Had a whole series of virtual meetings for work lined up, yet felt antsy about insufficient gaming time. All work, no play, Jack becomes dull boy, all that jazz.

It hit me that the perfect game for such busy periods was an idle game. Set it up, it runs by itself, pop back in to check on it from time to time.

I already had a favorite idle game, so it was just a matter of cranking it up…

Not played since 673 days ago.

Welp, that’s quite a big consolation boost of XP that got converted into some 894 idols of progress when I reset it for a new run.

Wound up steadily playing through the first two tiers of some St Patrick’s day holiday event before interest petered out.

Mar 14

Minecraft: Peace of Mind modpack

6h 4 min of working on the Immersive Engineering mod. Set up a little platform to build the multi-block machines.

Rapidly glass’ed over the lava pool for fear of falling in.

Progress was slow.

Honestly, I dislike the Immersive Engineering mod, hence why I’ve rarely tinkered with it until forced to, by a modpack that lacks more convenient options. It always struck me as deliberately clunky and less efficient – you have to save up a bunch of materials, figure out how to construct a laundry list of building blocks, put those building blocks together in a precise fashion following the manual to finally make the multiblock. All that, for not very much gain. Or the same gain that in other mods, just requires you to build one compact, convenient block.

This is doubtless, by design, so that it provides both an in-between progression option and for it to feel more ‘realistic’ and ‘immersive’ because you can see a giant machine cranking away as the final result, as opposed to a cold impersonal square box. But I’m a simple person with a simple brain and overcomplicated things get to me.

Mar 15 – 18


Total time spent: 7h 36 min

Apparently, immersive engineering was not ENOUGH industry. To soothe this need to chain a bunch of boxes together to crank out widgets, I decided to give Factorio another go.

Factorio and I have… not quite a love/hate relationship, it’s not that strong… more of a like/dislike relationship.

I like the idea of Factorio in theory. I dislike actually learning about how precisely it wants me to link things together.

I like linking things together haphazardly. I dislike boxing myself into a corner while doing so. (And heaven forfend that I have to tear things down and start over.)

I dislike the distraction of nasty alien enemies spawning to take apart my designs while I’m barely working out how to get by in the first place. But I also fear the boredom of just sitting there staring in peace at intractable machines (if I customize the game to take them out.)

I think reading a guide and copying someone’s beautifully optimized designs are pointless – even if it is a mathematically superior, efficient, optimal end point. Why play a game for yourself and remove the enjoyment of discovery and puzzle solving, if you’re just going to follow someone else’s instructions from point A to B?

Yet I’m probably not ever going to progress beyond a certain point if I just try to figure it all out by myself. Simple brain, and all that.

Suffice to say, Factorio and I are still figuring out how to get along.

My big progress step this time around was getting past the ‘perfection’ block of desiring things built just right the first go and opening up to the possibility of iteration – yes, tearing things down and starting over. (Brrr.)

Somehow, building in iterated phases in Minecraft Peace of Mind had opened up a space in my mind to just say, “well, it’s a first draft, we can clean it up as we go along.” Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, good enough is good enough, and all that. Games can be toys. Factorio is my toy. I am going to build MY way and enjoy the process.

I tweaked down the alien spawns so my calm wouldn’t be as frequently eroded while figuring out my slow way through the perplexing machinery riddles. (I might have actually taken it too far, as I had nothing attack, and I managed to just stroll over to any uncovered alien nests and assault rifle them into bio-goop.)

I tweaked up the quantity of ores in each spot so I wouldn’t be forced to move my whole setup away too soon. (Tear down in parts to improve is one thing, tear the -whole- thing down is maybe too much open-mindedness to expect at one go.)

Composite base screenshot, in case you’re wondering how I doubled myself

It wound up a rather pleasant time.

I had to re-learn most of the whole thing from scratch. There was some amount of tear-down, but I finally figured out that given the progression tree, this is rather to be expected.

I still have unapologetically a spaghetti conveyor belt sort of base – gives it character! – but it’s mine, and it works, more or less. If it’s a reflection of my brain, so be it.

It started out semi-automated, I tend to like to still have a manual touch here and there. Then as it got more tedious, I just patched in more automation over time.

Have I cornered myself where the science labs are concerned? Probably. I figure it can be moved later, if I ever get around to it.

Red and green science are at least cranking, at the moment.

The next step, after casting around and realizing I didn’t have much else to attempt, was either oil processing or figuring out vehicles / trains.

It was there where my brain overloaded. New concept. Didn’t quite even know where to begin experimenting. I got about as far as walking over to where the oil was shown on the map and haven’t quite gotten back to the game.

The map says there’s oil, but all I see are forests and trees in the world. I have to a) figure out how to get the oil out of the ground, b) figure out what needs to be done at the local oil processing base area, c) semi-guard it with turrets, d) figure out how to get oil by products nearer the main base, or vice versa…. Nope, way too much to process.

Mar 18 – 21

Minecraft: Peace of Mind modpack

Total time spent: 8h

Went back to Immersive Engineering and got more machines built, including the whole fermenter, squeezer chain to feed a diesel generator for RF power.

Energy storage is a problem in the Peace of Mind modpack. I’m used to building a big battery or energy tank for holding and storing energy until needed, but the only energy storing thing I can find appears to be a High Voltage Capacitor from Immersive Engineering, and it doesn’t store -that- much energy. I would have to build a huge massive block of them to store what I want.

The other more convenient energy generator/storage option are high level solar generators, but we’re talking immense amounts of iron, redstone and raw materials to build those.

No idea how accurate the spreadsheet is, but it looks/feels about right. I attempted my own spreadsheet and got about 30% of the way into the effort before I thought to Google and see if anyone else had already done so to save me some trouble.

We’re talking 11k glass (aka 11k sand) for the best one. And way more iron than I can mine up manually, at the moment. We would have to automate this. But automation also requires resources, and power.

It’s a bit of a circular puzzle without the more convenient mods I’m used to.

There’s a Quantum Quarry that I sort of can run for a while before I have to shut it off to get more power built up. It digs up an immense amount of stone and dirt, but not actually much more ore than my more manually operated Orechiid.

The other thing to perhaps attempt is the Immersive Engineering Excavator, but it eats exactly the amount of power the Diesel Generator produces (so I had to get that up and running first.)

I got as far as making the core sample drill and sampling two chunks of ground, but the actual Excavator multiblock has yet to be built. Too intimidating a bill of materials and all that.

It got boring. Not enough progress.

There’s a gap in time where my time tracker on the PC doesn’t seem to reflect much gaming. I suspect this is when I turned to the Switch for portable comfort. More on those games in another post.

Mar 26 – 29

Minecraft: Ocean Outlast modpack

Total time spent: 11h 33min

This was a modpack that always showed up as a featured modpack on ATlauncher, which I’m now using to load up Minecraft.

The cover picture looked soo attractive and pretty.

The idea seemed cool. Basically, skyblock – where you generate most of your own resources – but set in an archipelago, with islands and ocean all around.

It started out well. I threw in my standard shaders and texturepack because I’m now spoiled and can’t do the original pixelated Minecraft any more.

It chugged a bit while loading up all the mods, and I had to tweak down the render distance, because I was concerned with my aging computer’s ability to cope.

What eventually broke me was the underwater ocean.

Ocean Outlast has a Better Diving mod that makes the underwater much richer, almost a direct copy of Subnautica stuff. It looks great.

If I could actually see it, that is. My shaders turn underwater almost pitch black. I have to hold a torch in order to light up a local area. Putting lights under the ocean didn’t work, it only lit up dimly a radius of 3 blocks. Night vision didn’t work.

A good part of the last two days were spent experimentally editing shader files ad nauseam, trying to hit upon the appropriate settings to solve the problem.

I actually got rid of underwater fog and turned it crystal clear (was able to see kelp a long distance away – making the computer chug even more) and looking into the water from aboveground was insanely beautiful – like the world’s most pristine tropical beach filled with a riot of colorful coral (RIP my computer).

But the light itself remained stubbornly broken. It seemed tied tightly to the actual Minecraft light levels. Jump into the water and light levels turn to 0 numerically. On top of the underwater light, light levels were 12. Walk a block away and it drops to 9. Two blocks, 6. One block, 3. Anywhere else, zero. Nil. Nada.

So I had the option of dropping my shader and going with boring ol’ Minecraft ambient style light, or leaving the shader on and attempting to light the ocean every 3 blocks… or finding another shader… or giving up…

After what seemed like 20 restarts of the modpack in one day and its super-slow loading time (it’s very mod heavy, and even opening the quest book makes it chug), the last option seemed like the best way to get rid of the problem for good, by removing the folder entirely from my life. (Hence, the lack of pretty screenshots.)

Perhaps another time, with a stronger computer, and maybe some other shaders.

Having dropped it, I veered into another modpack, Skyfactory 4, which I played briefly ages ago, and decided to start a new world. That one’s going fine. But that’s a tale for another day.

A Funny Thing About Valheim & More Peace of Mind

Haha, made you look.

Nope, still not on the Viking bandwagon yet. Quite content to wait out for more development, as I’m just not in the mood for wrangling with annoying monsters in my building sandbox yet.

But it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy reading and watching other people enjoy Valheim, and recently, one of my favorite irreverent Youtubers Josh from Let’s Game It Out got his hands on Valheim.

For those not in the know, he basically makes a living playing games WRONG. Very very wrong. Gamebreakingly framerate droppingly wrong. So destructively wrong that it’s a delightful paean to every Explorer/exploiter type who pushes the game boundaries of rules and has wholesome gleeful fun feeling out the game world’s absurd limits.

It’s hard work being gloriously absurd, but it’s also hilarious and joyful to be reminded that these games are toys and fun can be had in different ways. Even and especially ways completely unintended by the designers. It’s like getting a toy for your cat and realizing the cat is happier sitting in the box that came with the toy and batting around the wreckage of what -was- the toy.

Well, this -was- Valheim, supposedly verisimilitudinous dead Viking simulator.

As a closet game pyromaniac, I love the campfire thing the most. Some of us just like to watch game worlds burn.

On a *cough* brighter note, enjoying the whole video has refined my appreciation of Valheim’s aesthetic to “Okay, I quite like the pixelation of the world, it’s quite close to Minecraft… it’s just the player character model I still can’t stand.”

No worries, I’ll wait. It’ll keep.

Back on a Minecraft front, the great Pam’s Harvestcraft 83 crop types farm facility is finally done.

Work-in-progress shots:

Second floor skeletal structure going up.
40 crop farm plots… and then 4 extra more when I realized the total number of Pam’s Harvestcraft crops is 83, not 80.
Filling in all the holes – glass roof, fertilized dirt for the crops to grow in, labeled Bibliocraft fancy signs in alphabetical order for each crop.
Second floor with crops all in and beginning to grow.
The finished product, from one angle…
…and another.

Certainly, it’s one of the more massive builds I’ve ever attempted in Minecraft. Feels pretty good to see it done.

Almost feel like doing another big building project. Almost. We’ll see.

In the wake of these things – a big completed goal – I started casting around feeling that usual sense of aimlessness. Drawing a blank, I just went for a short term goal, actually finding an Ender stronghold and an End Portal and popping over to see what’s up in the End.

Possibly one of the more infuriating things I tried.

One is supposed to start with a bunch of Eyes of Ender to toss into the air and follow to the stronghold.

Fortunately, by this time, I had some Ender Lilies growing on End Stone provided by Astral Sorcery mod transmutation, and I’d figured out Blaze Rod creation from compressed Netherrack, so I had no shortage of Ender Pearls and Blaze Powder. I stocked up on about 36 Eyes of Ender and started hurling them into the air.

About 20 eyes later, following at a slow crawl, this not only felt boring but also wasteful. Then I got a bit smarter and said to myself, maybe I should attempt triangulation.

I marked my start point on the Antique Atlas, followed an Eye of Ender and marked where I ended up. Flew on ahead in the extrapolated direction and tried it again. Still one long straight diagonal. Rinse and repeat until I hit a point where the Eye of Ender flew backwards somewhere rather than forward. Aha!

Located the spot the Eye of Ender gravitated to. Dug a 2×2 mineshaft down to bedrock and found absolutely… nothing.


More wiki reading pointed out that a) the Eye of Ender is not as kind as to lead you -directly- the End Portal, nor does it b) lead you to the entrance of the stronghold. No, it c) leads you the CENTER of the chunk the stronghold ENTRANCE is in.

So the center is at 8,8, and the entrance is usually, says the wiki, at 4,4.

So I hit F3 to bring up all the debug coordinates, shifted myself away from 8,8, located 4,4 of the same chunk and dug straight down again.

This time I hit the entrance, and proceeded to explore the stronghold. Fairly peaceful exploration, of course (yay! peaceful mode!), except there were over a dozen rooms with no End Portal in them, one giant ravine that tore straight across the stronghold breaking up its structure, and what might have been the start of a mineshaft set piece. Aka, one super disrupted stronghold architecture.

It got to the point where I was getting extremely lost and decided to mark every single room I’d been in with a white cobblestone block and a torch laid on top of it.

Soon I wound up with what seemed like the whole place explored and no End Portal room.

More third-party website reading suggested that the End Portal room was probably hidden behind some walls, as might happen if other set piece features got layered on top of it.

So there were a few options left to me.

I could give up and try to find another more cooperative stronghold, but I’d have to wander off far enough that the Eyes of Ender didn’t lead me back to this one.

I could dig up every last adjoining wall of the stronghold and basically turn the place into a gigantic square quarry hole in the ground until I found the End Portal room which was -probably- there.

Or I could cheat and turn on /gamemode spectator to ghost through walls and peek at the various structures in the world.

Guess which most simple option I decided to go for.

Observe, all the rooms with lighted torches and a whitish block under them. My absolutely legit wandering exploration of the stronghold. Zero End Portal room.
Turning around 180 degrees. Well, EFF ME, look where that dang portal room is.

It was indeed surrounded by solid rock on all sides, except one entrance leading out to hitherto unexplored stronghold rooms, all completely cut off by mineshaft spawn disruption.

It was SO close to my initial two borehole mineshafts, except that I had gamely just followed the entrance and went off exploring the rest of the stronghold in the completely opposite direction.

So I just pickaxed myself a new entrance to the portal room and popped over to the End.

Where I found out the Ender Dragon still very much exists in Peaceful mode. Whoops.

One hasty escape via the Home teleporting Inventory Pet (best mod and best pet ever), I went back armed with lots of glass bottles to collect Dragon’s Breath and a Terra Shatterer sword and Crystalline Bow from Botania to make quick work of the Ender Dragon. It’s kinda unfair when you can also fly around with an Angel Ring. All good. I already did the suffering in other less well equipped Minecraft game worlds.

So that was that, I had one more Dragon Egg, popped over to the End Islands to collect some Chorus Fruit and am now having a gigantic case of the What Nows?

I suspect the answer will lie in trying to go down another mod that I’ve been avoiding for fear of its overly complicated tech progressions. There aren’t that many mods left in Peace of Mind, alas. Magical Psi looks fiendishly complex. Astral Sorcery seems only a little less so. Botania is always intimidating. Solar Panels is the simplest but requires ridiculous amounts of resources. I would love a Quantum Quarry but that requires tons of RF power and this modpack lacks my usual suspects for generating tons of power.

All signs point to giving my best go at Immersive Engineering. We’ll see. Probably take things more leisurely from now and might start exploring other things in my games library.

Minecraft: Peace of Mind – Projects & Wanderlust

This is possibly one of the most spread out bases I have ever built in Minecraft.

In most other modpacks, they turn into little square walled up or glassed up compounds, compact underground rooms or cobblestone rectangular islands in the sky, limited both by the reluctance to light up every square inch of space to prevent mob spawns and the laziness to hand build excessively large barriers between the outside and safe insides.

In the Peace of Mind modpack, one literally has peace of mind to sprawl out and claim territory.

It was shortly made easier by me finally going deeper into the Extra Utilities 2 mod and crafting an Angel Ring, which gives creative mode flight at the cost of a type of passively generated resource called Grid Power. Besides setting up a bunch of Water Mill blocks to passively generate it (all they need are water touching all four sides), I lucked into a loot chest item offering me a Dragon Egg. (Normally only attained after defeating the Ender Dragon on the plane The End. No idea how it works in Peaceful mode, I haven’t found a stronghold with a portal to The End yet.)

One Dragon Egg Mill later, I now had a passive generation of 500 GP plus the 100+ from the Water Mills. Way more than the 32 GP required for the Angel Ring. So zooming around in speedy flight constantly was pretty much on the 24/7 menu.

It made it much easier to travel around and explore. Lots of visits to floating slime islands in the sky, and discovering other interesting structures with treasure chests inside.

This pirate ship was very cool. Normally, I gather it would be full of hostile pirates. In peaceful, all I found was a blue parrot chilling out near the ship’s wheel. Snapped it up with a golden lasso to take home. (Hmm, come to think of it, I haven’t taken it out of my backpack yet. Oops.)

It even had functional “cannons” in the form of dispensers loaded with fire charges, and an oak button alongside each one. It gave me a bit of a scare when I hit one of the buttons, not really expecting anything to happen, and then a loud BANG fired off next to my ear and I saw a ball of fire leaving the vicinity of the ship and soaring over the horizon. Then I investigated the dispenser inventory and put two and two together.

A strange druidic looking grove / oasis in a biome of crystal forests and trees. It’s probably two mods stacking on top of each other. I think the Crystal Forest comes from the Plants mod. The structure itself seems to be from the Recurrent Complex mod. It’s oddly fitting. Like something smote this entire region of land, turning it crystalline, except for this little protected grove still green and growing.

I spent an immensely long time searching for slime trees on floating islands. For some reason, the most populous color was a purple slime sapling, which was Goal Number 2 in my quest book. Goal Number 1 was a blue slime sapling. It was practically nowhere to be found. Spent days flying around, checking every island, seeing only purple trees. Finally stumbled on one.

Then Goal Number 3 was an ORANGE slime sapling. Spent even MORE days flying around tearing my hair out.

I eventually got suspicious and went, hang on, let me check the name of this orange slime sapling. Magma Slime Sapling? Waitaminute… Magma. Lava. Are you telling me this sapling is found in the Nether, rather than the Overworld I’d been scouring for literal Minecraft weeks?

Checked third-party wiki. Yes. That would be a yes.


So I went to the Nether to look for my orange slime sapling. At least I could fly now. Which is pretty much the only way to happily traverse the Nether.

Imagine my surprise when I found a biome hitherto unseen, and found an interesting mob… courtesy of Mystical World mod.

They’re like typical Minecraft ocelot cats, except LAVA, so practically on fire. Fortunately, they don’t exactly set anything around them alight.

Instead of fish, they like blaze rods.

I really wished I could take them ALL home.

But I didn’t even have a golden lasso with me at the time, and I flew over goodness knows how many netherrack islands surrounded by lava to get there. (The plan was just to teleport bampf back home with a Home Inventory Pet, which kindly does so at the cost of an ender nugget.)

I did, however, have one gold ingot with me, and the Peace of Mind modpack allows you to make blaze rods out of smelting compressed netherrack (in lieu of fighting a million and one Blaze mobs.)

So I embarked on a massive mini-project to make a netherrack furnace to burn up even more netherrack for blaze rods. Charcoal and crafting table generously provided by some Nether trees nearby. Getting string for the lasso (gold nuggets + string + 8 experience levels) was insane.

Made a wooden crook out of sticks to smack tree leaves, which coughed up a silkworm egg. Put the egg on leaves and left it to grow over time. Eventually, the silkworm got fat enough to cough up a silkworm cocoon. Made a spindle out of more wood plank and sticks. Silkworm cocoon + spindle = 9 silk threads which could substitute for string in the golden lasso recipe.

Finally victorious, I crafted ONE golden lasso.

So one lava cat came home with me.

Some day, I’ll be back. With a lot more mob moving tools.

The big project of the last blog post was my aboveground farming facility. Progress has been gradual. I kept finding a lot more other things to do and get distracted by.

Added the second floor, and then a cantilever roof.

Kept tweaking it.

Added a bridge over a small gap I kept falling into or having to go around, before the Angel Ring days. Added some cream white polished sandstone stairs. Subtracted most of the blue glass railings holding the glowing blue water fall in place.

Experimented with arch-like walls for the rooftop garden, as planned in the previous post, out of a cheap wood material… and ultimately decided they looked too thick and heavy. Didn’t quite work out as hoped. Better as a ground structure perhaps.

Went for a more rooftop urban farm style aesthetic. Poles cut with ArchitectureCraft’s saw (same mod as provides the arch blocks.) Glass chiseled for an iron fence pattern to simulate a sort of greenhouse-like frame.

More experimentation with lighting. The Paper Lanterns from the Quark mod look surprisingly good with my current shaders. A close runner up was Rustic mod’s iron chandelier, but that felt a little more medieval.

Haven’t decided what to do yet with all the torches littering the place. That’s to be addressed at a later time, if ever.

There’s supposed to be one more floor to go, stacked on top of this one. We’ll see how that goes. Every floor is an experiment.

On a non-aesthetic and far more functional front, these were the other distractions from the pretty building project. I really wanted better storage options, and the Refined Storage mod essentially provides an unlimited ‘wireless’ inventory, as long as the proper infrastructure is in place.

It meant a side trek into providing enough Flux power for the Refined Storage. Which meant generators of all types. From thermoelectric generators which provided passive power based on the difference between two blocks next to them (packed ice and uranium in this case) to solar panels, which passively provide power when there’s sun around. To active power generators like a culinary generator (power based on food fed into it) to furnace and nether star generators (combustibles and nether star respectively.)

I automated the culinary generator to eat cooked apples and cough out power, but got lazy with the other two. The passive power generators seem to be enough for now.

I had to figure out the goddamn cabling to transmit power between blocks. This modpack is pretty much missing all my usual stalwarts like EnderIO. It was pretty much a choice between Extra Utilities (blocky, takes up space, energy transfer nodes were so costly on redstone, which I was desperately short of) and learning this other advanced mod called XNet. Which essentially combines all cabling into one. Transfers items, fluids, energy, you name it, through the same cable.

Downside: Never used it before, and a heck lot of configuration required per block connected to the network. (Obviously, with a one cable system, you have to tell it what exactly you want it to transfer – energy, items, et. al. and whether to input or output and so on.) It was okay… just…different.

Refined Storage has its own cabling to deal with. Wireless transmitters only work in a 16 block radius range, and have to be connected to the cable network where your storage system is hooked up. So for a real life day or two, it was just digging out little cable tunnels all across the vast expanse of my base, and sticking a wireless transmitter every 16 x 2 blocks, to basically blanket the base in a field where I could click my little remote and access my storage network at will. (I haven’t even reached my farm facility and kitchen yet, that’s going to be yet another project.)

Then there was Botania.

The main driving need pushing me further into this mod that is designed to be machinery and automation-complex (just with flowers) was to re-stock my metal and redstone, which was rapidly diminishing from the above struggles with power and storage mods.

It’s fiendishly annoying, in the sense that every last accomplishment with this mod needs to be a mini-automation project of some kind. By design, I’m sure, but it’s time-consuming, when you want item A, and realize you need B and C in place before A is even on the table.

Item A, in this case, is the Orechid flower, which turns stone into ores, given a steady supply of mana.

Crafting the Orechid flower requires one to push all the way into opening an Alfheim portal. Which means b) enough mana to open said Alfheim portal, and c) a mini-automation project to feed every last generating flower that provides said mana. That’s just crafting the flower. Then you need d) enough mana to power the flower, and e) since you’re already doing all this work, how about something simple that puts the stone in place for you?

Once upon a time, Botania had simple passive mana generation flowers called the Daybloom and Nightshade, which provided mana in the day and night respectively. Folks who didn’t want to deal with more complex automation chains just scaled them up on a massive scale. This was an intolerable state of affairs to the mod author, and so… we no longer have said passive mana flowers.

So now the simplest way to get mana is to make a ton of Endoflame flowers, and set up some kind of chain that makes burnable stuff like Charcoal for them. The charcoal goes into a hopper, which links to an open crate which drops the charcoal where the Endoflames can snap it up. In order to not drop all the charcoal at once, a pressure plate is linked to a redstone chain which stops the hopper from dropping more charcoal when a piece of unconsumed charcoal is sitting on the pressure plate.

No, I did not think this up.

My brain was burning already, considering the tedium of making more than one Endoflame, let alone how to power them. So I ripped it off a five year old Reddit thread.

My main contribution was to just add an Analog Crafter before this entire process to turn the Charcoal into a Block of Charcoal, which would hopefully feed the Endoflames for a little longer and produce more mana.

Still. It’s not enough mana. It’s never enough. Is it?

So the next generating flower that I could conceivably bear to automate was the Gourmaryllis. Which eats food to produce mana. Cooked apples are a thing in this modpack, I knew, given prior culinary generator experiments.

It’s never simple with Botania though. If you feed the flower the SAME food all the time, you get fast diminishing returns. You HAVE to alternate foods.

So someone else’s clever solution (very much not mine) was to put a Hovering Hourglass that can be configured to any interval you like, and have that trigger an Animated Torch, which basically triggers a redstone pulse on one side before rotating in the opposite direction.

This redstone pulse activates a dispenser block, which pops out the requisite food to feed the Gourmaryllis.

Again, my only contribution was to figure out what alternate food I could feed the flower, with the least amount of extra automation chain required (hooray for Applesauce, which just requires apples and a pot that is not used up).

That, and cursing and swearing while I laid pipes all over the place trying to connect up machinery to each other.

So the source of it all is a huge array of apple saplings in hopping bonsai pots, which produce Logs, Sticks, Leaves and Apples into various chest inventories. All that gets sucked into a consolidating storage made out of Storage Drawers. The logs and sticks go into furnaces to be made into charcoal to power the Endoflames. The apples get processed into Cooked Apples (via furnace) and Applesauce (via Analog Crafter) and then go into the dispensers. Which feed the Gourmaryllis.

(Gourmaryllii? I have two of them. Mind you, managing some kind of round robin distribution of items into the dispensers was another problem altogether with Extra Utitilies’ transfer pipes. Ended up settling for an Item Filter that only allowed one stack of items in the first dispenser.)

The Alfheim portal itself needed its own two personal Mana Pools. I was a bit leery of trying to fuel the whole thing with just the mana from my main pool. So I ended up with some more backup Endoflames and a separate redundant charcoal system, so that the mana pools could be maintained. (If you don’t, the portal closes, and then re-opening them eats up way more mana than just keeping the portal open.)

I refuse to go down the Bore Lens rabbit hole with Botania again, after prior attempts at a tree farm in older modpacks. Adjusting how the mana spreaders aim, just to cut down trees properly, was an exercise in frustration. I don’t think there’s any other machinery that automates tree chopping in Peace of Mind, so I made only a semi-automated Munchdew system.

Basically, after hand collecting a bunch of leaves produced from hopping bonsai pots across the rest of my base, I chuck them all into a chest near the Munchdew. Another hopper/open crate passes the leaves to a Rannuncarpus flower (it of the orange yellow hand petals), which places the leaves on a glass roof for the Munchdew to steadily attack and produce mana.

I suppose some day I can figure out some kind of import/export bus from my storage network to feed leaves into said chest. (But I worry there aren’t enough leaves just yet.)

It has just occurred to me while writing this that I could make a lumber axe for a Mechanical User to chop down actual trees. And a hopperhock to pick up the pieces. And maybe Autosmelt on the lumber axe to turn it into charcoal directly. But timing it so that the Munchdew gets to eat the leaves first would be something to solve. Meh. Whatever. Problem for another day. Frickin’ Botania.

The bottom line is, there’s enough mana steadily accumulating now to actually run the Orechid I made, post Alfheim portal, every now and then.

I bring over some stone, and toss them to the Rannuncarpus on each side of the square grid. They place the stone for me. The Orechiid in the center does its noisy thing and slowly converts the stone to ore. I run around wild with a pickaxe for a while.

(Well, actually, it’s a pickaxe with Silk Touch, so I get the ore block itself. Then I bring the ore blocks over to a Crusher, which doubles the metal ores and gives me more return from the Redstone ores instead of just mining them outright.)

I’m sure it’s not as complex as it could be.

It’s complex enough for me.

Minecraft: Peace of Mind – What Would You Do in a World Without Zombies?

The latest hotness that has taken the gaming world by storm since Among Us and Phasmophobia appears to be another Early Access game by name of Valheim, where you play a Viking in a somewhat low-poly procedurally generated world and wander around, chopping down trees, building settlements and fighting monsters.

I wouldn’t know.

I’ve been busy playing in a somewhat low-poly procedurally generated world, wandering around, chopping down trees, building settlements and NOT fighting monsters.

(Nothing against Valheim, but between Early Access, the slightly glitchy low-poly aesthetic and general leeriness of popular bandwagons… I’ll wait. Seems to be one of those games where it’s the community aspect of possible multiplayer feeding the acclaim, and while solo singleplayer appears to be functional and possible, it feels like waiting for a couple balance passes might only improve things and the overall experience over time.)

Somehow, I managed to miss the entire do-you-want-to-be-a-Viking bruhaha because I thought I’d do a little bit of digital spring cleaning. One thing just led to another.

See, it started by learning that the Twitch launcher for Minecraft was going out of commission.

Seeing as I was an extremely reluctant user of it in the first place, when years ago, Twitch/Curse basically ate the Feed the Beast launcher up in a monopoly, this sounded like the perfect opportunity to jettison the software out of my system for good.

Except, I also had years of built-up modded Minecraft instances to preserve and back up and salvage. Some trial and error research later, I settled on ATlauncher and started the process of transferring directories and testing if they started up.

It was not without a sense of irony that I realized most of these modpack instances were ancient, relying on Minecraft 1.7 versions as their base. Vanilla Minecraft has jumped nearly ten versions since then, hovering between 1.16 and 1.17 now. (I’m not even sure I would feel familiar in it any longer.)

Idly, I decided to check out the Peace of Mind modpack – it caught my researching eye while Rakuno was first delving into the game, but didn’t have time to try out then.

The conceit of this particular modpack is that it is purpose-built for Peaceful mode in Minecraft, allowing a player to learn and tinker with mods in peace, without having to lose nights huddling away from zombies and hearing the annoying “sssSsssS” of a creeper about to force a very grumpy rebuild of parts of your base.

It sounded rather relaxing. Not being a gamer who particularly thrives on challenge, achievement, boss mob difficult fights and all that jazz, this was a positive, rather than a negative.

I lasted about a minute.

For whatever reason, my eyes just felt spoiled staring at the basic 16 bit textures and the overall pixelation factor. Try as I might, I just couldn’t re-adapt to it.

Well. There are solutions for that.

So I chucked in the Soartex Fanver texture pack, and SEUS Renewed shaders, along with the appropriate Optifine version to run it. (Wow, I’m now on Minecraft 1.12 – such progress!)

Ah. Much better.

It took a while to get into the right frame of mind.

The area that I spawned into was pretty much generic forest, bordered by a bit of bogland, and it just didn’t feel like a place I would be happy setting up long-term camp in.

Instead, I went wandering.

The Peace of Mind modpack couples Biomes of Plenty with Mystical World. Between those two major mods, a couple of minor secondary mods and my general unfamiliarity with Minecraft 1.12, it made for a lot of cool stuff to stumble upon.

Like the cutest owl ever. Apparently, may be tamable one day, in a future version of Mystical World. Look forward to that day.

Yes, that is a blue cow. I have no idea why it is blue.
Not quite Kurobuta pork…

There were a lot of varied buildings and structures, whose exploration was very low stress, since all the mob spawner blocks spun around wildly but remained completely non-functional in Peaceful.

I found myself reflecting on the role that hostile mobs played in ordinary Minecraft and other ‘normal’ difficulty survival games. Yes, they did crank up the tension and provide an obstacle to overcome – something that Peace of Mind distinctly lacked and felt noticeable enough to reflect on.

Yet, I also knew that if the mobs were there, I would have been fixated on the mobs instead of the architecture and maze-like structures. It would have been a game about weapons, armor, gear, spamming attack and diminishing sacks of hitpoints, and getting through enough of them fast enough to surround all available spawners with torches to stop the spawning. I would have hacked through walls, tunneled beside existing structures and generally created my own Swiss Cheese circumvention just to neutralize all spawners, leaving not much of the original building to admire by the time I was done.

Instead, without hostile mobs, it was more a quiet thoughtful puzzle. Have I been down this particular corridor branch, or stairwell? Should I leave a torch to mark it? (But I’m running low on that resource.) What’s in this room? What’s up that ladder? Have I looted this chest? How do I carry it all? What do I leave behind?

Interspersed with the ruin exploration and treasure looting game were moments of admiring scenes of natural beauty.

Walked into this in the middle of a vast desert and said, “Wow, this looks like an oasis.” Sure enough, F3 declared it an Oasis biome.
So much salmon and cod in this river, just clumped up in a big group. Courtesy of the Just a Few Fish mod, which has a special fishing pole you can bait with seeds and catch them too.
Flower field. Literally. There is a biome for it.
Desert and Outback biomes. The hills! They’re full of terrracotta.

I honestly don’t know how I picked a place to set up base camp.

I think I was just stuffed full of things and HAD to put down some chests to divest myself of some encumbrance.

I’d lost the forests some time back and try as I might, could not find them again. (Alas, poor Journeymap mod, I relied on you too much. Peace of Mind lacks that, choosing instead the more immersive Antique Atlas mod, which requires you to craft a book before it creates a Gameboy-sprite-like map for reference.)

Somewhere between a desert and a savanna, I realized the acacia trees were pretty much it for the foreseeable miles and chunks around me.

So chests went down. Crafting tables, furnaces, and an assortment of other things followed in time.

Home is where the decor just naturally accretes.

It’s dark at night, so lights need to go up.

There’s a deep ravine really close by, so railings are required to prevent accidents.

The ladders with which I originally climbed down into the ravine are on the opposite side, and it’s really annoying to keep going around, so guess I need to put in an elevator block for convenience.

The elevator block needs to be clearly marked, so heck, why not put in a floor design.

As for why I put the Tinker’s Smeltery and tool stations into the ravine in the first place… I don’t really know. Probably for lack of space on top.

I’d considered digging deeper and making my usual underground dwarf/hobbit halls, but Seus Shaders and that orange-yellow glow from torches, man. Still not for it, after all these years. (I might tweak the color of the torch light again, soon.)

I would miss sunlight and day when it’s lit by Seus. So part-time surface dwelling is still a must.

If there’s one thing truly challenging about Peace of Mind, it is about learning to develop, on one’s own, a focused interest and self-motivation in a web of scattered threads and possibilities and potentialities.

In this, it feels more different than the usual modpacks I play.

In Skyblock and Stoneblock types of modpacks, there is a tech progression, usually based around Ex Nihilo where there is a linear early game of growing trees, sieving blocks, dealing with ores, making a mob farm and so on.

In TerrafirmaCraft-like modpacks, the progression is from Stone to Bronze age, moving from knocking together pieces of rock to being able to smelt and forge metal.

Peace of Mind has a quest book and plenty of quests, but almost immediately, it allows you to branch out laterally into… pretty much any mod you want to explore. Astral Sorcery? Botania? Psi? Immersive Engineering? Inventory Pets? What have you? Do a few unlocks and go for it. Except you may have to find the requisite materials among the world itself, which might require a whole lot of progression elsewhere.

Without a convenient lava generator from Ex Nihilo, looking for lava meant digging down to Y level 12 as per Vanilla Minecraft and scooping out buckets… or maybe venturing to the Nether. Is now the time for a Nether journey? Who knows. Up to you.

The Nether is still very much a hazardous place, even without hostile mobs. You can still die from lava damage. From falling. From falling into lava. From stepping on blossoms that burst into flame and brambles whose thorns stab you when you tread on them.

It is still infuriatingly impossible to locate a Nether Fortress when you need one.

Especially one which actually contains the Nether Wart which you need for some mod or another.

Granted, it is a little more peaceful to wander its corridors without incessant Blazes getting into your face and Ghast screams.

It turns out that when challenge is lacking in the form of moaning monsters, one creates different sorts of challenge for oneself.

I could have made a rectangular cobblestone walled courtyard, studded with torches every 7 squares, with a two-deep moat around it, before filling it with the machines from various modpacks. But why would I do that here? The functional purpose of such a structure is to have maximum safe space with the least resources, away from zombies and creepers.

With no zombies and creepers, the functional purpose of structures that I build should be to be aesthetically pleasing to me in some way, and possibly challenge my limited architectural skills to go just that little bit further.

I wanted a place to put the Cooking with Blockheads mod kitchen, and before I even felt happy putting down those blocks, I would up with a not-quite-rectangular (it’s sort of hexagonal, a little bit) building that developed a pink color scheme by chance (eucalyptus wood is pink, and that’s pretty much the only other tree in this biome besides acacia.)

Pink pillars (I was testing the ArchitectureCraft mod, which allows for varied different shapes besides square blocks) necessitated pink stained glass to accompany them.

It was dark at night, and torches would have ruined the aesthetic. Hmm, what’s this other mod that has Glowing Colored Water? How does it work? Can I actually get infinite glowing water if I make infinite water pools with two buckets of glowing water colors?

Answer: Yes. Yes, you can.

Before I knew it, I had glowing pink fountains cascading down the sides of the building.

Seus Shaders, man. Frickin’ awesome.

And yes, I need glass walls, because I love looking out at the world.

The new project is a farm building.

I thought I’d start small and loft it upward in a vertical farm stack once I figured out the basic layout, but even the first floor is getting a mite ambitious in terms of the resources and effort to build.

Experimentation with ArchitectureCraft window frames have suddenly turned into some sort of decorative design.
Eventually, I need to do something about the base and foundations to make the building look less ‘floaty’

Then I started calculating just how many 3×3 farm plots I was going to need to get one of every type of Pam’s Harvestcraft crops… Spoiler alert: some guy on Reddit made a plain flat massive farm containing 8×10 rows and columns of 3×3 farm plots. Aka 80 squares.

I’ve got only 4 squares on this one floor.

No way I’m making a twenty floor building.

*Emergency siren* Change of plans. Change of plans…

How else can I arrange 80 squares so that I don’t have to stack twenty floors? How can I not make it a plain ugly rectangle like I usually make?

Do you know how to tell when you’re both obsessed and have very probably bitten off a lot more than you can chew?

Answer: When you turn Microsoft Excel into graph paper and start brainstorming little pixel designs.

Little pixel designs that, by the way, are 4-6x larger and more in-depth than the one tiny square box that is already taking forever to decorate to satisfaction.

This is turning into a PROJECT.

Follow the mod questlines in the quest book? What are those?

-Not- Not Playing Boundless…

…aka the one where I wind up down the slippery slope of “how did I do this to myself again?!”

Regular readers will recall that I am not a builder by nature, and have no intention of constructing anything even remotely similar to the player monuments I have been happily screenshotting, perfectly content to admire from afar.

I was going to keep my home base / camp as small as possible, and keep it mostly functional. Square rectangular box? Underground hidey hobbit hole? No problem.

Except there was one itty bitty little issue.

The next upgrade to the functional machines that I was idly considering slowly accumulating as an incremental long term goal simply wouldn’t fit.

The next step in crafting progression are power coils and advanced power coils. Given the current prices in player shops and the ability of veteran players to leapfrog past new player bottlenecks, I was giving serious thought to just buying the advanced power coils slowly, one at a time, off said player shops.


Power coils (and the advanced version) are blocks that need to have a 1 block air gap between them and the machine they are powering. They then shoot a little colored laser beam at the machine they’re affecting.

The machines themselves comprise of 4 blocks, which can be arranged in any fashion, as long as they connect.

Up to 24 power coils can be connected to one machine. The machine also needs to be powered by an electrical wire equivalent – spark cable lines that will eventually connect to a spark generator.

I am not terribly good at this sort of spatial math.

I watched a Youtube video of some suggested Power Coil Placement ideas. I looked at screenshots I had taken of other players’ bases to see how they did it.

I wasn’t quite convinced about the top/down placement in the screenshots. It seems there were much less than 24 coils, and not much room for future expansion if needed.

I tried drawing some layouts on paper, only to realize that I’m not great at drawing squares, and keeping track of things in three-dimensions on a two-dimensional sheet? Forget it.

Now…where else could I actually build things in three dimensions, and mutter to myself while basically sketching out a prototype?


Yep, Minecraft Creative Mode. Super flat world. Wound up near a village and a ton of bored green slimes.

I’d just grabbed the nearest modpack I had already installed, that might conceivably contain similar-ish blocks. It just happened to be Stoneblock, which has a number of tech mods included.


The four blue workbenches simulate the Boundless “machine,” which I crinked up into an “L” shape.

The T shaped dynamos surrounding it are the future “power coils,” in a 2×3 arrangement on all four sides, that should be 24 quite handily.

Instead of burying the “spark line” or sticking it on the ceiling (Boundless, unfortunately, lacks modded Minecraft covers or facades to hide wiring), I put it low to the ground at the back of the machine. I figure this will create a little 1 block crawlspace behind each machine, where I can hop over the spark lines, in case I ever need to access the back of any machine.

Of course, I couldn’t stop at one. I had to figure out how each machine group of blocks would fit together, both for easy access and for expansion if needed.


Leaving two blocks of space created too claustrophobic a corridor, so I tried three blocks of space in between and that seemed a good enough compromise.

I didn’t want to make massive builds in Boundless, after all, and each 8 x 8 plot of land in Boundless has to be bought with cubits (which, granted, a large quantity of are generously given free to each character, enough to build -massive- constructions, as we’ve all seen in past screenshots.)

And why stop there? Now I had to figure out just how many corridors of two row machines I might need, in order to accommodate multiples for industrial factory processing.


Presumably, the corridors can also be extended down the end, or I could build a new floor on top of the old one when it becomes necessary.

(It would just be really annoying if I had to climb up and down multiple stairs when I make stuff, so I eventually need to position the correct machines next to each other.)

Finally, I decided an array of 12 machine groups should be enough for now. It would probably take forever to earn enough for so many power coils anyway.


So how big a base was I going to need to fit this entire contraption in? Enter lots of block counting measurements and the convenient Minecraft sign to help me keep track of numbers.

Theoretically, the whole thing would fit in a space 33 blocks long by 14 blocks wide or thereabouts, and about 5 blocks high. Each Boundless plot is 8 x 8 x 8 though.

The ceiling was no problem. A 16 block wide building would make things awfully cramped and leave no room for other storage or decorations, so 24 block wide it would be, or three plots. As for the length, well, 32 was a nice number, but I didn’t want to lose any wiring or symmetry, so heck, 40 blocks or 5 plots long it will be.

Wow. Starting from a dinky little 2 x 2 plot base, I’d now be sticking an additional 3 x 5 base right next to it. That was quick.

Then it struck me. Since I was already -here- in Minecraft Creative mode, why not do some color tests and plan that too?


I knew I wanted to explore the gradients of green and turquoise I had seen in the world that reminded me of GW2 necromancer colors.

It also so happened that black was a rock in ample supply on the first Aus server world I started with, so that would be a good color to use too.

I am not an artist. I was basically going to build a rectangular box. A flatted factory for my machines. But I could make it a box with a pleasant gradient of greens.


Boundless has gleam blocks that provide light. Since I’m already here, I may as well work out just how many spaces per “light” block I’d need to create something symmetrical.


Of course, I’d need windows and doors, because I cannot imagine being cooped up in a Minecraft or Boundless building for too long without being able to look out at the scenery and horizon outside.


You know, I’d better light the interior as well. “Fluorescent” lights for the factory.

Bonus, I could use the lights in the roof as floor lights when it comes time to expand upwards and build an additional floor.



Yep, planned interior looking pretty good.

Back over in Boundless, the first decision I was going to have to make was what -texture- of block to use.

It had to be something cheap and easy enough for a newbie to make, no multi-step elaborate marble or concrete recipes for moi.


The three basic rocks are sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic, and they all have rough hewn stone textures. So those wouldn’t exactly be very nice for what I had in mind.

After going through a bunch of wiki links and mostly choking on the high recipe cost of the extremely decorative blocks, I decided that “refined metamorphic rock” and “refined sedimentary rock” were relatively presentable and -actually- doable.


The conversion was still going to be mine out 18 rocks to convert into 50 stone (4 min 10 sec x 6 times), and 288 stones (25 min) for 50 refined rocks. Essentially, 108 rocks for 50 refined rocks, with some leftovers.

I’d pulled out over 5000 rocks in roughly 30min of flailing away underground with a 3×3 hammer on a T1 world, so it didn’t seem too impossible. The trick would be getting the right colors though.

Each world sports different colors of rock. I spent even more time clicking away at the Worlds tab on the third-party Boundless Crafting website, trying to figure out which world had the shades of green I wanted. Then I figured out going the reverse route by checking out the item, which then shows which planet to get it from.

But but… surely the colors on a web browser and the colors in-game don’t quite match. Neither was I convinced that this other player spreadsheet summarizing the planets and color info exactly replicated the colors.

Nothing for it. I was just going to have to adventure to each world, and yank out some rock color samples. Self-assigned quest time!

That turned into a series of mini-adventures in themselves.

Midway through the quest to dig mini potholes in various worlds, I walk through a portal to the planet Gellis… to find myself standing in a museum of ALL blocks.


You could probably hear my jaw drop a mile away.

All the types of ice.

Wandered it for at least half an hour, taking screenshots aplenty.

One of the gleam corridors.

Even more gleam. So shiny.

Stone. All the textures and things you can make from rock and stone.

There was a brief pause where one attempted to cut and paste from various screenshots to see if I could cross reference colors that way.

Nope. Still didn’t look good enough. Onward to the next planet!


More jaw-dropping. Also at player creations.

I had to expand windowed mode back to full ultra-widescreen for this one. The music soundtrack that suddenly started while I stared at the landscape and the two planets slowly drifting across the sky gave me chills. Most of the portals were closed and the place uninhabited, remnants of a community that had moved on. It felt like walking in ancient ruins, on an alien planet.

Then I get to the edge of town and gasp, because this is a -floating- city in the sky and the planet is below. Way below. How on earth am I getting down to where the rock is?! All the portals are closed…

I run around town, looking for open portals and find nothing. I stand on thin floating black roads, afraid to touch the empty spaces because there -could- be absolutely clear glass protecting me from a drop… or there could be absolutely nothing but air and a long long plummet. Then I see it. Do you?

Yeah, there’s a water elevator a la Minecraft that flows down. Right in the center of the tree.

Going down it was a trip because it alternated between running out of air if I stayed in the center, and plummeting through air if I moved out to grab a breath. I did end up smacking right into the ground at the final bit, but was near enough to not die from the fall damage.

If I ever get strong enough, I would love to build a base on this T6 planet, Malurialakrib. It’s got all the shades of green I love. It’s even conveniently an Aus server planet, so I’ll get 80ms ping. Sweet. Now if only I could figure out what to do about the extremely lethal wildlife pests…

Some hours later… I eventually wind up at home base with all my geologic loot.


Impromptu color palettes are assembled, for an audience of one.


Less favored colors get hammered out of the running. I hem and haw some more.

This won’t work. I need to see them in my planned building format as a solid wall…


Ok, strike out the rightmost column, that one is too dark at night.

Oh yeah, it’s night. I also came home with a bunch of colored gleam. LIGHT TEST.


They’re all so very pretty.

But the highest contrast one with the tinge of blue is closest to what I have in mind, so that one wins for now.


Still indecisive on the exact color arrangement of the green gradient wall… eh… I think I’ll go for the glowiest on the left.

But do I put them light to dark, or dark to light?!

A thin strip is not working, I think I need a bigger wall sample…


Hmmm…. I still don’t know!

Oh wait, I need to knock out some blocks to simulate the windows…


An extreme amount of dithering later, over which two in-game days pass, I eventually settle on one.

Only to realize that the work has just begun.

First, clearing out all the natural landscape in the new plots, digging out soil and rock. (The pink shows the boundaries of the 8 x 8 plots.)


I started laying some basic flooring in basic black stone, for lack of anything better… and I’ve run out about a third of the way through.

Now I have to go mine more black rock, go back to the planets to collect more green rocks, turn those into refined rocks, and start laying them, one block at a time.

This should keep me busy over this weekend and most of next week… and I’m not even earning any extra coin by doing so, beyond some along-the-way feat/achievement completion rewards.

However did I get down this rabbit hole again?