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Master Builder Utility & Tech Mods
The Best Mods in Minecraft?
By Triumph Books LLC
Triumph Books LLCCopyright © 2015 Triumph Books LLC
All rights reserved.
The Many Kinds Of Mods
When someone makes a mod, they're actually going in and writing computer code to make changes to the game, which then needs to be loaded into the game's regular code. Because of this, mods can vary greatly in all respects, from how many changes they make and how big those changes are, to how big the files in the mod are and how they get loaded into the game's normal code.
It's useful when getting an idea of how mods work, what they can do for your game, and just generally what mods are out there to separate them into different categories. We've done this in three different ways to help introduce you to the world of mods, first by breaking them into sizes, giving each mod a complexity rating, and also by separating into categories by what they add. There are almost as many types of mods as there are mods themselves (of which there are thousands), and the lines can blur for some between the categories (like Thaumcraft, which adds items but does enough with systems to be included in that category) but most of them fit under one or more of these definitions:
Mods of Different Sizes
Size is an important factor when it comes to mods, because a mod's size typically determines two things that players need to know: how difficult the mod will be to install, and how much it will change the vanilla game. How much it changes the game is something that matters quite a lot. Sometimes players are looking to change the entirety of their game, while others just want a little tweak. This is even more important when trying to mix various mods together in one game, something we'll talk about more in the next chapter.
The sizes of mods:
Tiny mods: Tiny mods are ones that make minimal, barely noticeable additions or changes to the game. Utility mods are often tiny mods, adding just a little change to the Heads Up Display, as are mods like our Odd Mod Spotlight mod Second Screen, which adds a very lightweight system that lets you chat and see data on your Minecraft server from another device. One very notable and desirable feature of tiny mods is that they are often so lightweight that they are very easy to run at the same time as other mods. In fact, they're so easy to install with other mods that tiny mods are often put in modpacks with many other, often much bigger mods.
Small mods: Smaller mods usually tweak or add just one small thing or segment of the game. For instance Fex's Random Stuff Mod just adds a bunch of items. Playing with small mods usually doesn't feel all that different from the regular game, there's just a little more to do or a few more entities to interact with. Small mods often work together very well as well, similar to tiny mods, if not quite so easily.
Mid-sized mods: These are mods that make either one significant change or a few smaller changes together. An example of this would be the ICBM Mod, which really isn't a very large mod, but it does add items, a new set of crafting recipes and a new way to do combat. Mythical Creatures is another mid-sized mod, really just adding mobs and a few items, but adding a ton of mobs that are very different from the regular ones and which can make a big difference to the game.
Big mods: As opposed to small mods, you'll notice when you load up a game with a big mod. They tend to change large parts of the game significantly, making it a mostly or entirely new experience. As an example, one such mod is the Tinkers' Construct, which takes the regular method of crafting tools and items through a Crafting Table and makes it much more complicated, adding multiple types of crafting stations, tables and forges and making players use Patterns and build each individual part of the tool they want. Another example is the Aether mod, which adds an entire new dimension in the sky. These mods are ones which can't be ignored in a game.
Full conversion mods: Full conversion mods are big mods that are the most noticeable, because they change the game in huge ways, usually so much so that the objective when playing them is something new. This category includes mods like The Crafting Dead, which aims to turn the Minecraft world into a zombie apocalypse wasteland. It includes guns, advanced zombies and new systems for thirst, whether you can be seen or heard, temperature, and even whether you're bleeding. Even cooler, it also adds in new specially generated maps that simulate the world of a zombie apocalypse. Though you can (and should) build in The Crafting Dead, the goal is much more about surviving zombie attacks and living in a much harsher world than it is about mining and the like, making it a full conversion of the game.
Modpacks: The biggest of all, modpacks are groups of mods that have been put together by players and/or mod creators in curated packages so that they all load together. These are the best place to start out when it comes to mods, as they are usually very easy to load, and they give you the chance to experience many of the best mods right away. Additionally, mods can be very picky about working together normally, but modpacks are specially put together so that they just work without you having to do much of anything. That being said, stacking mods very quickly changes the game heavily, and some of the modpacks can get a bit intimidating with all of their many, many new things (for instance, FTB Infinity with over 100 mods).
Mods of Different Types
We've organized our book based on a way of looking at mods, which divides them by type. We did this because knowing a mod's type is what tells you the most about a mod, and by "type," we're referring to the primary thing that each mod actually does.
It should be noted that many mods actually do a few things, and some of those things might fit in another category other than the one the mod is listed in with this book. The line between mods is often quite fluid, and it's easy to put many of these mods in multiple categories. Quite a few mods out there do quite a lot, but we've categorized mods as we have based on the main thing that they are known for and do.
With that in mind, here are the primary categories for each type of mod:
Utility mods: These are mods meant to be useful to the player in some specific way, making gameplay just a little easier or more informative, and they're usually very small. Utility mods do things like add a better map to your interface, tell you the exact amount of daylight/night left, or make it easier to find friends. They also tend to work with other mods easily, as they're often among the tiniest mods that are out there.
Item mods: Item mods are those whose primary purpose is to do just what the title says and add a whole bunch of items. Some items mods also add in some systems, like Still Hungry's new cooking system on the Stove, but these are usually very simple and not the primary objective of the mod. Items mods are pretty popular among the categories because they don't require a lot of learning of new things and are very controllable by the player. Think of it as adding more toppings to a pizza: there's just more to experience, and the overall flavor is just that much more complex and exciting, but it's still pizza at its core.
Land and biome design mods: The world around you in Minecraft is already pretty complex with its many biomes, but it can always get more interesting! These mods are those whose point is to make the land more complex or otherwise change it. Some add new biomes or dimensions, like Twilight Forest or ExtraBiomesXL, while others do littler tweaks like Mineralogy's new way of distributing rock.
Combat mods: More items to fight with, ways to fight better, and new ways to fight! Some people don't care much about combat in Minecraft, choosing to build, because the basic system really isn't very extensive. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone that some people have really wanted better combat in Minecraft, and that's exactly what combat mods provide. Some do this heavily, like Mine and Blade's new system of weapon holding and items, and some just add a little to basic combat, like BetterPvP.
Mob mods: Who doesn't want more cuddly (or not so cuddly) creatures to play with in their Minecraft world? Mob mods are actually surprisingly few, perhaps because it can get pretty crowded pretty quick if you overdo it on creatures (which is also hard on your computer), but the ones that do this well give Minecraft a fuller feel, making the world feel like a place where things are constantly happening, and there's a potential friend or foe around every tree.
Building mods: Many mods add blocks; in fact a majority of them do. Because it's so common, and so many mods that do so belong more in another category, that's not what we mean when we talk about building mods. Instead, these are mods that do the building for you, making it much quicker to create structures. This isn't a highly common type of mod, but they are out there.
Adventure enhancers: We use this term to refer to those mods which all have in common the fact that make "fantasy and adventure" part of Minecraft more detailed and complex. That's not really a technical term of course, and this is a pretty wide category of mods, but we think it makes sense to group these mods together. That's partly because the sense of going on an adventure in a fantastical land is such a big part of Minecraft's charm, so it makes sense to focus on these mods as a category, and they also just work very well together. Some of our favorite mods fall into this category, as do many of the most downloaded mods on the internet.
Magic, tech, and crafting systems: Another of the most popular mod types, these mods add new systems of doing things, giving players something to learn beyond basic crafting and Redstone. Sometimes this is just one small system, like the Railcraft or ICBM mods, but sometimes it adds so much and/or is so dang complex that it makes figuring out Redstone wiring seem like child's play, like Thermal Expansion or Applied Energistics. Engineering-types, those that like the idea of super-fancy bases with a lot of automation, figuring stuff out, and learning a new way of thinking are often the kind of people that end up loving the mods in this category.
Visual mods: We do love Minecraft's iconic, pared-down, pixely look, but mods give people the chance to change up the way the computer represents a Minecraft world onscreen and do it their way. Sometimes the vision of Minecraft's visual mod creators is a massive change to make the vanilla world look beautiful, such as the way Shaders reconfigure and heavily enhance the lighting system in Minecraft, and sometimes it's as simple as adding a way to take awesome screenshots.
Modloader packs: Modloaders are programs that you can use to launch big modpacks, which are collections of many mods. These loaders make the modpacks load smoothly without much input from the user (at least, that's the idea), which greatly cuts down on the work you have to do to mix mods. We've separated some mods from the biggest modloaders out there because many of the world's most popular modpacks are held under the umbrella of the two big modloaders, the Feed the Beast loader and the Technic loader, often exclusively. This is great for us players, as it means that the experts working for these loaders keep track of everything for us, making sure all mods work, are up to date and work well together. Loaders are both a great place for new mod players to start out, as they make it easy to get them going, and for mod veterans, as many of the best and most complex mods are in this category.
Mods of Different Complexity
As we've mentioned, not all mods are equal. Some do a lot but are pretty simple, others are small but complex, and there's everything in-between. Because of this, we've added a little scale to this book that quickly tells you how complex a mod is. This is more of a general guideline to give you info on what to expect, and not a hard-and-fast technical rating, as people will often vary on what they think is complex from person to person. The idea is to let you know at a glance whether adding a mod will take a lot of learning, or whether it will be a quick and easy addition.
To this end, we've rated each mod from 0 to 5 Diamonds, with 0 being the least complicated, and 5 being the most complicated mods or modpacks that there are.CHAPTER 2
How To Install Your Mods
Right, so here's the one tricky bit when it comes to mods: Installing mods can be a bit of a pain.
Mods are just plain fun, once you get them installed, that is. We think that the experiences in modded Minecraft are as good as any others in gaming, bar none, and a lot of people out there agree with us.
That being said, getting a mod installed can (but won't always) take a bit of work.
Typically it's not hard at all. Most Minecraft mods are loaded the same way, and you just have to learn it once to get it forever. Those kinds of mods go through the Forge program, where you only have to worry about making sure all mods are for the same version of Minecraft and that you put the mod into the correct folder.
Sometimes, though, it takes a little doing. Each computer is different, and each situation is unique when getting a mod working, both for the computer and for the mod. This book and this chapter can guide you to a point, but it's so different from one mod to the next that you always want to read the mod's instructions on its page and follow them to the letter. Luckily almost all mod creators include detailed instructions at the mod's link, and we've included the links to every mod in this book, so you should be able to easily find each mod's specific installation instructions.
Sometimes even that isn't enough, though, and there's always the chance that you might have to ask for help in the Minecraft Forums or on the mod's page. Don't hesitate to do that, though remember to remain polite. This is also part of the mod culture; mods are made by fans, so they're rarely an exact science, and getting mods to run is a traditional part of the experience for all games, and all gamers seeking to mod them. Each mod has an online presence somewhere, and if you have the time to invest in it, you will be able to get almost every mod running on your own rig.
The hope is that you'll be able to avoid doing too much work for a mod, though. A little instruction in basic mod installation will be all you need 80% of the time, and that's what we've got for you here.
Where to Get Mods
We've included a link to every mod in this book (except for the ones that go through a modloader, which don't require a link), but in general when looking for a mod, there are four locations at which you'll find most mods:
Planet Minecraft: The prime directory of all Minecraft creations, including maps, texture packs and, as is most pertinent to this book, mods. The vast majority of mods have a Planet Minecraft page that has a link to download them, info about the mod, photos, and/or video of the mod and a comment section. Not all PMC profiles are kept totally up-to-date, however, though many are.
The Minecraft Forum: The Minecraft Forum is the other primary website where mods keep a major presence, along with Planet Minecraft. Though they are a bit less formal of a project-holding site, in that the entries for the mods are just forum posts (though often well-structured and heavily informed ones). At the current time it is more common for a mod to have an up-to-date, well-crafted Minecraft Forum post than a good Planet Minecraft post. Often, though, the big mods have both. In this book you'll find more Minecraft Forum links than any other, and you won't go wrong from following one, when it comes to getting mods working.
The Curse Page: The Curse company is extensively involved in online gaming, and they have a major presence within the Minecraft community. Not only does the Minecraft Wiki, the prime repository for Minecraft knowledge online, fall under the Curse banner, Curse also hosts downloads for many Minecraft mods. A lot of the big mods have a Curse page in addition to a PMC and/or Minecraft Forum page. Though these don't have the comment section interaction or the pure Minecraft focus that the other mod links have, Curse pages are very reliable and consistently updated, and some mod creators consider their Curse page to be the best one to share with potential users.
Individual Mod Creator Pages: Mod creators don't make a lot of money doing what they do. They work on a game that already makes its money separately, and the only way they get compensated is from user donations or from getting hits on their mod links. By far the best way to support mod creators is to use their own website to download a mod, as it will directly reflect on hits on their site and will direct you to the download link that pays them the most, both of which earn them money. Not only that, but creators' websites always have the up-to-the-minute download info, updates and guides to mods, so they are always preferable when it comes to getting a new mod.
The rule is this: Google it, and try to find the personal page for the mod creator. If you can't, go with PMC, the Minecraft Forum, or Curse. Avoid most other sites at all costs, as few good mods have no presence at the main sites, and there are definitely sites out there with some dubious downloads on offer.
Forge: The Program That Makes Most Mods Work
The first step to getting Minecraft mods going on your computer is to install the Forge mod loading program.
Excerpted from Master Builder Utility & Tech Mods by Triumph Books LLC. Copyright © 2015 Triumph Books LLC. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsThe Many Kinds Of Mods,
How To Install Your Mods,
Odd Mod Spotlight,
Magic, Tech, And Crafting Systems,