The Grand and The Unified (About modded Minecraft) 6

So, if you have ever done anything regarding Minecraft Modding you will know that most of the mods use a thingy called Minecraft Forge.
I’m calling it a thingy here for multiple reasons that don’t really matter.

So, this happened recently.

asie, who is the Better Than Minecon founder person guy, former dev of Buildcraft and a friend of mine, has sort of fortified this weird opinion about something like that in my head. Which, to be clear, I had that opinion before. He just made clear to me that, yes indeed, it is a valid and totally logical opinion to have. So thanks.
See, I do the Actually Additions mod, that uses Redstone Flux and Tesla as power systems.
They’re both part of what I call the unified mess in modded Minecraft.

Because what it comes down to is exactly that: A bunched up mess of multiple mods using multiple power systems but sort of really the same and then there’s some that don’t and, really, it’s all a big giant mess. Here’s why:

The Balancing Problem

Now, this is probably going to be pretty obvious to most of you.
See, whenever you make something like a game or a mod, you want it to be balanced. What this means, at least to me, is that certain resources are harder to get than certain other ones. These harder-to-get resources should be harder to get, because they serve a bigger, better, more advanced purpose.
Something like diamonds in Minecraft are harder to get because they mine blocks faster than something like stone, which is way easier to get.

But this is where the problem comes in.
If I want the Item Repairer in Actually Additions to be harder to get, I can make its Crafting Recipe harder. Simple enough. But then, once you have the thing, it should still be hard to use. This can be accomplished by just making it require more power than, say, a normal furnace.
Great. Just make it require 2000 RF/t and we’re golden, right?

We’re not.
Why are we not? Well, because of the unified mess. If, say, a fictional, totally made up mod called Huge Reaction Chambers came in and made a power gen device that is really very easy to create, but that creates tons of power, the balancing of the Item Repairer will be completely broken.

And how do we fix this problem? We don’t. We can’t.
Well, except for just making a seperate power system, but I’ll get to that in the next point, which is:

The Convenience Problem

Way too many people in the modded Minecraft community seem to be of the opinion that the easier to use something is, the better it is.
So lots of people who don’t like Botania say “I don’t like Botania because it has a seperate power system and I can’t just connect my Steam Engines to it.”
Which, in my opinion, is a really stupid approach to a game.

In my opinion, a video game shouldn’t even need to be convenient. It should be fun. And a mod like Botania, who has innovative features and a simple, yet fun and different power system, sure is fun to me, even if it isn’t the most convenient of mods.
This brings me, swiftly, to the next problem:

The Why Make Different Mods If No One Is Even Going To Play Them Problem
Don’t judge me, I couldn’t think of a better title.

Botania only succeeded because it is a different genre of mod. See, Minecraft Mods, at least in my opinion, can be devided up into three categories:

  • Seemingly realistic but not really realistic tech mods with the unified mess 
  • Magic mods
  • Utility mods

And yes, I do consider Vazkii’s Psi a magic mod.
And I consider Actually Additions not a utility mod (anymore), but, sadly, a seemingly realistic but not really realistic tech mod with the unified mess.

But here’s the problem: No one makes an innovative and special mod like TerraFirmaCraft, or people make them but they just don’t really get any attention, it seems like.
There is rarely any mods that just hop out of the system and do something that is neither the first, nor the second, nor the third category.
I think most people, including me, are, prior to making such a mod, worried, that it is not going to get any attention.

Because, let’s face it, no one is going to include TerraFirmaCraft or GregTech in a modpack without it being the centralized mod every other thing revolves around.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it sort of is, because people want attention. Everyone does.
That whole don’t care for what people tell you and just do your thing doesn’t really always work. You know, half the time, at least to me, it feels like it’s one of those things that’s a great concept but at the same time can never be actually made reality.
And most people just don’t want not to be noticed and recognized and popular. That’s why they’re not doing the thing. Because they, in a way, don’t even want to do it themselves.


So, to conclude this mess of a blog post:
I don’t think the new Forge Energy system mentioned at the beginning is a good idea, because it will just encourage more of the same.
And even though there is a great markdown file on how you shouldn’t have to use the new API, there is still going to be social pressure. To use a term from the Hello Internet Podcast here, Cheer pressure is still going to be a thing.
People are still going to make modders use the new power system because it’s going to be so simple and everybody is going to be using it eventually, so why don’t you, you idiot?
Come on, use the new system already, or I’ll just STOP USING YOUR MOD!!

Which is, just by the way, the weakest threat ever. If a modder cares for one singular person to stop using their mod, they should definitely change the way they think. Seriously. I’ve been through that myself. And it’s stupid.

Anyway, pressure is still going to be a thing. So the new API is just going to be pushing people into using the new system and making more of the unified mess, there is going to be more of The Grand, and there is going to be more of The Unified.
And people are going to have to accept this.

No individuality. No new concepts. No nothing.


Addendum: Yes, I am going against what Actually Additions is here, because I am unhappy with the fact it is using the unified mess. But I can’t really change it anymore now because it has become one of the core things of the mod, so I’m just pushing it to the side and ignoring it. Which might not be the best thing.
Also, I might be totally overstating everything I said here, but I usually do with everything. So it’s fine.

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6 thoughts on “The Grand and The Unified (About modded Minecraft)

  • ChaoGirDja

    Hum.. Ich bleib mal deutsch 😉
    Ich frage mich an dieser Stelle ganz im Ernst: Warum interessiert es dich, ob irgendjemand einen suber dupa imba Energie-Mod schreibt? Jetzt dich persönlich, wie allgemein Gesprochen.
    Wenn “dein” Mod deinem empfinden nach in sich geblanced ist und ein Teil der Balance in den Energiekosten steckt, dann ist doch vollkommen in Ordnung.
    Wenn jetzt jemand anderes das doof findet und lieber extrem viel Energie mit extrem wenig Aufwand erzeugen will… Dann ist das doch auch vollkommen in Ordnung.
    Es gibt nur einen Punkt der nicht in Ordnung ist: Wenn andere sich beschweren, wenn durch diesen super dupa imba Power-Mod “dein” Balancing nicht mehr stimmt. Natürlich stimmt es nimmer, wie könnte es auch?
    Aber ist das “dein” Problem? Nein, natürlich nicht.
    Meiner Meinung nach, kann darf und sollte man solche, pardong, Deppen, getrost ignorieren. Die maximale Verbeugung ist mEn ein entsprechender Hinweis in der Mod-Beschreibung. Und für Pack-Bastler eine Anpassbarkeit der Energiekosten in der Config.
    Diese gejammert hat mich seiner Zeit schon bei EE2 extrem genervt. “Jeder” jammert der Mod sei IMBA und sowieso und überhaupt. Aber kaum einer davon hat den Mod mal “Vanilla” gespielt. Hätte er das, dann wüste er schwer die High-End-Tear Sachen zu bekommen sind. Insbesondere in SSP…

    Deswegen sage ich zu diesem ganze Thema:
    Leute ihr baut eure Mod und andere bauen ihre Mod. Wenn sich davon 2 beizen und der einem dem anderen sein Balancing zerdeppert, dann ist das halt so. Selbst wenn es absolut absichtlich passiert (siehe BigReactor oder Advanced Generators (potentiel auch Modular Systems) “gegen” vor allem Thermal Expansion und EnderIO. Aber auch so manch anderen RF-Mod.), ist das kein Grund deswegen gleich die Flinte in’s Korn zu werfen. Oder die Idee von Fork, die Energiesysteme zu Vereinheitlichen und damit besser “umrechenbar” zu machen, zu Verteufeln.
    Man macht einfach weiter wie bisher. Nur das es jetzt für andere einfacher ist, einen Mod zu schreiben der das eigene Balancing zerdeppert. Aber das war es dann auch schon. Gemacht wird das, bei hinreichend “Fame” jedenfalls, so oder so (ja, es gibt einen Mod der aus Botania-Mana RF machen kann und umgedreht).

    • Ellpeck Post author

      Wenn das so einfach wäre. Die Leute kommen dann aber zu dem anderen Mod hin und sagen “Ey das ist voll unbalanced!!”, nur weil ein anderer Mod die Balance kaputt macht.
      Deswegen will Vazkii auf keinen Fall RF->Mana in einem Addon-Mod sehen. Weil die Leute sich dann bei Vazkii beschweren würden, obwohl er nichts dafür kann. Und sowas nervt.

      Aber danke für deine Meinung :3

      • ChaoGirDja

        Wie gesagt, es gibt so eine Mod 😀
        Und ja, solche Deppen gibt es leider immer wieder.
        Einfach drüber lachen und sie ignorieren. Schont die Nerven und die Kreativität 😉

  • Danny

    I have mixed feelings on this topic. But ultimately, I think the burden has to be placed on the modpack developer. Big kitchen sink modpacks that pack in as many mods as possible are almost inevitably going to be unbalanced. As an individual mod developer, there’s really nothing you can do to prevent other mods from breaking the balance whether or not there’s a unified mess. Like @ChaosGirDja alluded to (from what I understood with my very limited understanding of German), even Botania’s balance can be breached.

    I personally would find it annoying if I had to set up a separate power system for each mod I used. That’s one of the reasons I’m not a fan of IC2. It just doesn’t add enough unique benefit for the amount of work it requires (though there are mods to integrate IC2 with the “unified mess”). Mods like Botania and Thaumcraft are different because they are like full games within the game. They’re packed with unique content, an engaging progression and an immersive backstory that justifies the power systems.

    The one problem with those mods though, is that once you’ve completed the progression, you’re done and you move on. Mods like Actually Additions are staples that you continue to interact with throughout your game play. That fits really well with my game play style. Minecraft means different things to different people, but for me, it’s all about freedom to explore and to express creativity. While I really enjoy the progression of building infrastructure and solving problems and setting up automation, in the back of my mind, it’s all a means to an end. The end is freedom to express myself in a world that I can manipulate to my liking.

    The great benefit of the unified mess is that I have the ability to put together a build that both benefits from multiple mods and benefits my progression within multiple mods. Consider my Empowered Oil setup. That build involved Actually Additions, RF Tools, RF Tools Control, Ender IO, Storage Drawers, Refined Storage, Hopper Ducts, Immersive Engineering and probably some others I’m forgetting. And, it’s going to benefit all my mods that use RF, thus making it well worth the effort. If I had to use a different power system for each of those mods, that build would have been a nightmare, and it would have been a lot less valuable.

  • LD50

    While I agree that the induction of the RF api into forge proper brings with it a lot of problems, I think a lot of those balance problems are solvable (and that by solving them we might even get the unified mess into a better state than it is now). I think a good example of this is what extrautilities 2 is doing in their new versions for 1.10; they have a bunch of standard stuff running off of RF, but the more powerful systems run off a power system internal to the mod. I bet there are other solutions out there too that just haven’t been thought of.

    I don’t know if the ease-of-use improvement is worth the balance implications, but it does make it easier for a new mod author to get into modding, and I hope that ultimately this decision pays off.