What I learned while creating a Modpack – Part 2

When creating a new modpack a few mods come in really handy. They are not meant for the players’ enjoyment BUT they help you turning a possible mess into a better “product”. Here are my favorite mods for modpack makers:

  • World Stripper
    Don’t worry, it’s not NSFW. It’s a very handy tool that allows you to remove all stone and dirt from the chunk you’re in with the press of a key. This is very helpful if you want to make sure ore generation works as intended. Personally I used a separate world for this purpose, but theoretically you can use it in a world you intend to play in. As easily as the mod removes block, it can restore everything to normal again. Very handy and a must-have for all modpack creators.
  • UniDict
    It’s not uncommon that several mods add the same kind of ore. Quickly you end up with various kinds of Copper for example, but the copper from mod A doesn’t work with recipes for mod B. UniDict solves this issue and makes the two ores compatible with another. For me it worked pretty much out of the box without even having to mess around with configs.
  • Custom Main Menu and Resource Loader
    You want to create a snazzy custom main menu like you know them from those fancy FTB modpacks? Then CMM is your friend. It has a bit of a learning curve, but there are countless examples available which make things easier. Resource Loader is needed to add textures etc. outside of a resource pack, which is necessary if you want to display a custom logo, buttons or background.
  • Custom Starter Gear
    I really don’t like starting Minecraft by punching trees. Especially if your modpack is supposed to have an engineering focus, you might want to let players start with access to a few tools and probably all the manuals needed. Custom Starter Gear allows you to customize what the players start with.

These are some of the mods I really like as a modpack creator. Is there anything I missed? Please let me know in the comments below!


WolfPack – Major Update!

Over the weekend I extensively overhauled WolfPack. This is also why I made a jump to version 1.10 to reflect these changes. So what’s new?

We played WolfPack extensively over the last few days and realized that there are better alternatives to certain mods we included. We also encountered a couple of bugs which needed fixing.

Exploding Reactors Servers
A major one was Iskallium Reactors not working well with Flux Ducts from Thermal. I made the mistake of connecting Flux Duct directly to the Power Tap and this sent my server into a crash loop, I could only remedy be removing the mod. Instead of Iskallium Reactors I now added Extreme Reactors which also has a bit more complexity and is fun to play with. Please note that this change was made in version 1.11. WolfPack 1.10 still includes Iskallium Reactors.

During the week I often watch YouTube videos about Minecraft mods to get inspired. And so I learned about Inspirations, a mod which adds a couple of vanilla style mechanics and items to the game. I especially like the included bookshelves, since they have the same functionality as Giacomo’s Bookshelves, but look and work way better.

Astral Sorcery and MystCraft
Two big additions to the modpack are Astral Sorcery and MystCraft. I have been looking to play with the former for a while now (I am called the Stargazer for a reason), but haven’t had the opportunity. Now it’s part of WolfPack and after we have finished building our current base, I’ll probably look into it.
MystCraft was inspired by the classic video game Myst and allows you to travel to new dimensions using special books. It has some similarities to RFTools Dimensions, but is more magical in nature. We thought it fits the theme of our pack perfectly, so it’s now in.

Ambientsounds 3 vs. Dynamic Surroundings
Dynamic Surroundings is an awesome mod that adds a lot of atmosphere to the game. BUT if it doesn’t work correctly it can quickly turn Minecraft into a nightmare. In my case it seemed to play a weird biome sound everywhere, and in a very short loop. After a couple of hours I wanted to throw my PC out of the window. The alternative was turning the biome sounds off completely, but then Minecraft feels a bit too bland. So I looked for alternatives. Ambientsounds 3 doesn’t have the fancy visual effects, but its sounds are AWESOME. They also seem to play well with the biomes mods like Biomes O’ Plenty and Abyssalcraft add.

MrCrayFish’s Vehicle Mod vs. ViesCraft/ViesMachines
After playing around with it for a while I decided to give MrCrayfish’s Vehicle Mod the boot. It’s obvious that the mod is still in early development and it was frustrating to use in Survial. ViesCraft on the other hand has great documentation, works pretty well, and the airships have an awesome Steampunk look. Since we also have jetpacks via Simply Jetpacks 2, I decided to remove MrC.’s mod.

Minor Changes
I addition to that we added a few options for Thermal and Tinker’s with Thermal Solars and Thermal Tinkering. My wife requested
Illuminations(Fabric) and Respawnable Pets, so they got included. Last but not least, MeeCreeps is out, since it didn’t work for some reason.

The world was not large enough for both of us!
Techguns has some really fun elements, but it can also be terribly frustrating. We already reduced the spawn rate of gun-wielding mobs, but they are still way to common for my tastes. The GUI elements added by Techguns also caused some problems when using Quark backpacks, so I decided to deactivate the mod on our server. Future versions of WolfPack will not include this mod.

Server Packs
Currently there are server packs for versions 1.05, 1.06 and 1.07 or WolfPack. Since the interest in our pack is still pretty limited I will probably not release any server packs for the newer versions. If there are more than say 100 or 200 downloads of one of my packs, I might bring them back, but at the moment it just doesn’t feel justified.

Last but not least …
There is now (actually since 1.07 or so) a new logo and custom menu screen (see above), which IMHO looks way better than the original one. I hope you like it as much as we do. If you have any questions, advice or requests, feel free to comment below!

What I learned while creating a Modpack – Part 1

Creating a modpack can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. Especially with the Twitch client slapping together a modpack is extremely easy. Create a custom profile, give it a fancy name, pick the version of Minecraft and Forge you want to use. Click create and voilà there’s your modpack.

Ok, it’s still missing a few parts, like mods for example. But we can quickly remedy that. Click on “Get More Content” and you get a searchable list of the mods available on Curseforge.

Installing mods is as easy as clicking on “Install”. Twitch also automatically installs all necessary dependencies. Nifty!

What mods you choose is totally up to you. You can pick mods you enjoyed playing with in other modpacks, or try to follow a certain theme. But I highly recommend reading the descriptions thoroughly. Some mods don’t work well with others, or have known issues you should be aware of before you install them. After you’ve picked a handful of “must-have mods”, you should start the Profile and see if its running. If Minecraft crashes and burns checking the crash log might give you some insights. You can find it in the following folder: \Documents\Curse\Minecraft\Instances\<name of your pack>\crash-reports

If it does not crash, you should create a world and play around with it for a while. I highly recommend playing in Creative first and check if everything you installed is available and working. Fly around a bit and check if all the biomes are being generated correctly. Usually this is also the time when you noticed things like ores which are not spawned in the world, or that multiple mods spawn multiple versions of the same ore. This happens a lot, especially when you’re into tech mods.

Lession learned: Creating a custom modpack is not as hard as it first seemed, but the devil is in the details.

In the next part of this series I’ll recommend a few mods which came in very handy while creating WolfPack. Stay tuned!

WolfPack 1.06 and 1.07

Yesterday I uploaded WolfPack 1.06 to CurseForge. Unfortunately I wasn’t really paying attention and a couple of bugs crept in. When creating a server pack, I missed deleting OptiFine from the server’s mod folder. This meant that the server pack was rejected, so I’ll have to upload it again. Bummer. But I’ll probably just wait until 1.07 is ready.

The other issue is that while exporting the modpack I entered the wrong version number. So 1.06 is shown as 1.05 in the Twitch client. This bug is annoying but luckily doesn’t affect gameplay at all.

So, what’s new in 1.06/1.07? I added MystCraft which is a great fit for the exploration aspect of the game. It allows creating new dimensions by crafting special books. I also included Aroma1997’s Dimensional World, because it makes mining so much easier. Construct’s Armory is now also a thing and it’s a lot of fun. Creating an armor is now a much more involved and interesting process.

1.07 will also see the addition of Extra Utilities 2, since it has some great blocks and items which will come in handy with building a mob farm. The new update should be available later today and this time the server pack should also work as promised. Stay tuned!

Update: I totally forgot to mention that I made some changes to the Main Menu and Logo. Check those out below:

Stargazer Industrial: Upcoming Changes

When I came up with Stargazer Industrial I planned to focus mainly on McJty‘s mods like XNet and RFTools. After playing the pack for a while, I realized that I was missing certain things. There was no ore-doubling, no RF-powered smelting, no special tools. While I love what RFTools offers it doesn’t really help with the early game. I also want to do tech stuff and not worry about mobs all the time. So I am changing the focus from McJty‘s mods to mods I want to learn more about. I also want to add mods that will allow me to play on peaceful.

So here’s what I am planning:

  • More Tech mods
    • EnderIO is another tech mod I love and I am sure XNet and Conduits might work great together
    • Tinker’s Construct is awesome and makes mining so much easier (I love hammers!), so I will probably add TC and a few addons
    • I just tried out Psi for the first time while playing WolfPack and it’s awesome. Building spells is like a game in itself!
    • For power creation I already have Deep Resonance, but that doesn’t mean I can’t also play around with NuclearCraft, so it’s going to be added.
    • OpenComputers is extremely exciting, and it might help with some automation.
    • I am still trying to keep the pack small, but a few additional mods like Chisel, and Inspirations will probably be added.
  • A Peaceful World
    • I am currently looking for various mods that help me with playing on peaceful. I faintly remember that there was a mod that added recipes for mob drops, but I don’t remember the name. I think I’ll have to search for a while…
    • Since I am no huge fan of farming and cooking in Minecraft, I’ll probably don’t add anything that makes hunger a thing in peaceful. There will also be no farming mods.
  • No punching trees
    • Punching trees is the Minecraft trope, but I want to play with cool machines ASAP. I will add a mod that allows me to create a customized starter kit for the player containing all the necessary manuals, a bed, perhaps some kind of satchel, and a set of tools (at least Iron), so that you can immediately start working.
    • Speaking of trees, Dynamic Trees is an interesting mod, which I tried before. Since it had some compatibility issues, I threw it out, but I might give it another try.
  • A few mods will not make the cut
    • Woot doesn’t really make any sense in a peaceful world, so it will be removed
    • The Lost Cities is cool, but it doesn’t really fit the theme of the pack. It’s probably a better fit for WolfPack.

So there are a lot of changes coming to Stargazer Industrial. It will get a bit meatier, and a lot more peaceful. Stay tuned!

Side Project: Stargazer Industrial

As if I didn’t have enough on my plate with the WolfPack already, I decided to start a second modpack. It’s called Stargazer Industrial* and focuses mainly on tech mods created by McJty like RFTools, Deep Resonance, and XNet. It’s way more lightweight than the modpack I created with my wife and is much more focused on technology.

I don’t have any big plans with this modpack yet, but I will probably add, remove, and replace mods quite regularly. I think we’ll see where the road takes us.

*) At the time of this writing the modpack hasn’t been approved by CurseForge, but it should only be a matter of hours. If the link above doesn’t work, just try it again later.

Next step: Server Pack

Since the WolfPack modpack has now been approved on CurseForge, I should start working on a server pack. Sure, you can start a single player game and open it to LAN, but this is no option if you want to play with friends who are not also flatmates. This should in theory be easy enough, but the devil lies in the detail.

I’ll probably refrain from making any substantial changes to the modpack until I got a proper server up and running, so updates may be slow for a while.

Creating your own Minecraft Skin

When I decided to create my own modpack and upload it to Curseforge I also decided to change my Minecraft avatar. Up until then I used a skin I found on the net, but I wanted something more personal.

After a bit of googling, I found SkinCraft, an awesome Flash-based tool which allows you to build your own skin even if you have no artistic skill whatsoever. Skin Creator allows you to build up your skin layer by layer.

There are various Pre-Made layers for the face (eyes, ears, mouth, etc.), hair, clothing (including jackets, vests, coats, skirts, trousers, shoes, etc.), and accessories. You can change the color of all the components and rearrange them as needed.

Of course you can also draw your own skin by hand. When creating custom components, shows the current skin in the background that you can easily draw over pixel by pixel. The full skin is also always shown in full 3D. Nifty!

The tool allows you to export your new skin as PNG file (which you can then upload to your Mojang account), or as a text file, which allows you to reimport it into SkinCraft if you want to make any changes. Of course you can also import an existing skin and make some changes to it. It’s a really powerful tool. If you are a “serious” Minecraft fan, you really should try your hand at creating your own skin!

The Journey Begins

Welcome to Lord Stargazer’s Minecraft Shenanigans. I recently created a Minecraft modpack with my wife called “WolfPack – Technology & Exploration“, which turned out much better than I first thought. It was also the first time I took some care to make sure everything works as it should, making careful changes to various mods’ config files, instead of just throwing a couple of mods together and call it a day.

Since last night the modpack is available from Curseforge.com and to my surprise has already been downloaded by a couple of users. Wow! I love to talk about stuff I am excited about, so it’s no surprise I decided to start a blog about my Minecraft shenanigans. At the beginning I’ll probably focus on what I’ve learned about making one’s own modpack and I’ll promote the hell out of WolfPack.

After that we’ll see where the road leads us. I am interested in making my own mods, BUT I don’t know Java and so this might be an uphill battle. I’ve heard there are a few good tutorials around, so there’s that.

Until then, please stay tuned for further updates on WolfPack and my various other ramblings about modded Minecraft.