Diary: Surviving A Minecraft Modpack Crash Landing

Crash Landing is a Minecraft modpack where you play the sole survivor of a shuttle accident, stranded on a dry, dusty planet with just a small amount of water and food and no real supplies. We sent Duncan Geere to cope with its blazing heat, barren landscape and hostile denizens.

I don’t go to the city any more. As my shuttle careened through the atmosphere of this godforsaken planet, I spotted some ruins and enjoyed a flicker of hope that there might be something left of the civilisation that built it.

There is something left, but it’s terrifying.

Let’s back up for a moment. Crash Landing is nothing like the Minecraft you know. It’s a collection of mods that add a million new worries to the vanilla survival experience, and pushes the solutions to those troubles far up a lengthy tech tree on a specially-designed map. For example, one of the first things you’ll notice are that the blazing daytime sun gives you heatstroke and dehydration. Unlike normal Minecraft, water doesn’t infinitely replicate – meaning you’ll need to find alternative solutions to keeping you cool and hydrated.

Night-time offers a respite from the heat, but fills the world up with monsters far worse than the normal game. Spiders annoying you? Try flying, poisonous, invisible spiders. Or bow-equipped zombies riding on top of ghasts. Or endermen that steal your weapon and teleport off into the night. Or cluster-creepers that explode in a shower of tiny mini-creepers.

My first days in Crash Landing were spent trying to put out a million tiny fires, metaphorically and – thanks to a fuel leak from one of the broken engines – literally. While shearing leaves off trees in a desperate attempt to extract their water, I’d start getting hungry and need to run back to the shuttle to munch some zombie flesh, salted to take the grim taste away. Then another problem emerges – a mod called Spice of Life means that you can only eat a particular food five times before you start getting diminishing returns from it. One food source becomes useless fast, and by the time I craft something different to eat, I’m out of water again.

The climb out of Maslow‘s gutter is slow, but tremendously satisfying – as you lift your burdens one at a time. My earliest nights were spent with the door firmly boarded up, sifting dust to gather the minerals inside. Redstone, iron and other metals accumulated slowly in my chests as I listened to the howls and moans coming from outside. The sand piled up in front of my windscreen meant that I only knew it was daytime when the moans turned to screams as the sunlight roasted the flesh of what was waiting outside.

Eventually, I scraped together enough resources to make a cobblestone generator. That was my first milestone – I was able to erect a wall around the crash site that gave me a bit more space to work in. The interior of the shuttle, even when you remove some of the obstructions, is still pretty cramped – and the machinery inside is hot. A semi-automated water system followed soon after, as well as a small farm. I was slowly starting to become self-sufficient.

That’s when I had my first encounter with the city. There are certain things you can’t craft with what’s around your camp. To get a smeltery up and running, I needed some seared bricks – and the quest system that guides you through the mod suggested they might be found in the ruined city that lies about 500 blocks south of the crash site. I stockpiled some water and some food, and at daybreak I headed south along the ruins of a road.

What I found was far worse than any of the horrors of the nights I’d experienced so far. The office buildings, with desks and bookcases, looked derelict as I approached, but turned out to be full of monster spawners concealed from sight by hard-to-destroy industrial blocks. From them, blazes, creepers, and – worst of all – giant zombie pigmen poured forth to punish me for my intrusion. I barely got out with my life.

This is probably a good time to mention that Crash Landing is a hardcore mod. One death means game over – your world is deleted. Thankfully there’s a mod called Sync in the pack that offers a get-out-of-death-free card. You can create clones of yourself and swap your mind between them – if one dies, you simply shift to another. The quest system offers two options here – an easy route, where you get the ability to clone yourself at the start of the game, and a hard one where you have to build it yourself. The resources necessary mean that I’d highly recommend picking the easy option. But even that’s not all that easy – creating a new clone requires power and time, and neither are easy to come by at the start of the game. If you die twice in quick succession, it’s over.

I learnt fast that the best way to approach the city is a blitzkrieg. Get in, get what you want, and get out. I found that wearing armour will dramatically increase how hot you get – and therefore your water consumption – so I went in naked, sprinting through the streets to an industrial building near its centre, and found what I was looking for – a partly-intact smeltery. I harvested the blocks I needed, but when I turned round to exit, I saw a crowd of zombie pigmen close to the door. I pillared up to the roof, but one had a bow and knocked me from my perch before I could break through to the roof. My unarmoured body was dead before I even hit the ground.

Waking up in my clone in the base, I was faced with a dilemma – rush back with a sync clone incomplete and grab my things before they despawn, or wait for the new clone to be created and risk losing everything I’d collected. It was getting dark, so I opted for the safe route. In the morning, another backup clone was complete and I retraced my steps. I reached the smeltery, and saw to my delight that my possessions had been locked inside a gravestone rather than scattered on the ground. I broke it, got my things, and fled.

Over the following days I built up my base, including a high tower that I can climb to get a vantage point for the nearby area. Crash Landing also includes hang gliders, so my lookout tower doubles as a nifty point to glide to the city from. I revisited it a few times, tempted by the chests full of loot, but every time it was a struggle to make it out with my things without dying more than twice in the process. The ends never quite justified the means.

I now have an extensive base, with a huge farm producing food, a byzantine resource-gathering setup that pulverises cobblestone into gravel and sand before sifting metals out of it, a ‘hot zone’ with a smeltery and power plant, and even a machine that automatically replaces my empty water pack with a full one when I walk next to it. Most of it is made possible with perhaps the most complex mod included in the pack – Steve’s Factory Manager – which is enormously powerful but has to be fully programmed before it’ll do anything. I’ve got ample food stocks, all the water I need, top-tier armour, and an array of lethal weaponry.

But still I don’t go to the city any more. I think I’ll await rescue where I am, thanks.

If you want to try eking out an existence on the same dry, dusty planet, you’ll need the Feed The Beast Launcher – then you’ll find Crash Landing under the ‘third party packs’ section. Good luck.

30 Comments

  1. Enef says:

    Crash landing is definetely one of the more brutal mods out there but also a lot of fun. Though i die to quickly to get to the point you got to!

    I also loved Agrarian Skies and Material Energy 3.

    Minecraft modded is by far the most enjoyable experience i’ve had in gaming in a long time.

  2. eggy toast says:

    Minecraft….Feed the Beast….Duncan….

    Is this a Yogscast guest appearance on RPS?

  3. Blackcompany says:

    I am all for survival sims and hardcore gaming. But this sounds more like it punishes you for playing than provides a survival sim experience. Diminishing returns on food; dehydration just from the sun; hordes of monster spawners. That…does not sound all that fun. But to each their own, I guess.

    • Ryuuga says:

      I think all these complications make more sense when you’ve played many variations on modded minecraft any number of times, as a way of upping the difficulty, keeping it fresh, introducing new challenges, and so on. I do know that some mob mods make much more sense when you’ve also got various weapons-and-armor mods installed. Without some proper challenge, all those weapons and all that armor is mostly overkill..

      • Blackcompany says:

        Good points. I hadnt thought about a good many of those things. I tried to love Minecraft and badly wanted to. I personally cannot get into it for the most part, but hey, if this sort of thing keeps it fresh for fans, more power to them!

    • Duncan Geere says:

      I exaggerated it a little here for effect. It’s HARD, but once you learn a few survival tricks from experience, it’s not sooo bad. Give it a try sometime!

    • spamenigma says:

      Too many games make things too easy, no penalty for death. Some of us are from the days of Speccy, C64, Amiga, Atari ST… and recall the more common lack of something called ‘save’ and the need to start from scratch upon total failure. Them were the days *wipes tear*.

      Played Crashlanding and its harsh but worth it. Its all about the challenge, and a bit Edge of Tomorrow (many other films exist) having a re-do on your day trying to do things differently… More packs like this pls!!!

  4. cyrenic says:

    So it sounds like this would be a tough mod to start out with if you’ve never played one like it before.

    Is there a mod like this that would be a good starting point if I’ve only played vanilla minecraft to this point?

    • Duncan Geere says:

      I’d recommend Agrarian Skies – it’s a little more gentle, but has a lot of the same mods as Crash Landing so you’ll find things familiar if you switch over later. Plus it’s pretty popular, so there’s a lot of good starter guides for it. You’ll find it in the Feed The Beast launcher under third party packs as well.

    • Orful Biggun says:

      I’ll mention one other which isn’t much at all like Crash Landing, but does share the SkyBlock format and lots of its mods with Agrarian Skies (critically, Crowley’s Ex Nihilo stuff which is what eventually provides the player with stone, dirt, sand, gravel, ores/ingots, seeds, water, etc).

      Sky Factory can be described as “heavily modded SkyBlock” … however, the learning curve isn’t nearly as aggressive as the other two modpacks, nor are you on anything like a clock (other than hunger which, as in vanilla, can be vanquished for good early in game).

      Sky Factory is very free-form, open, and open-ended without any quest progressions or “story” to speak of. No quests to follow, just do your own thing at your own pace: process, build, automate, etc. The challenges here are that a) you start with so very little, and b) you are quite limited by living/building in the air, with no earth beneath your feet.

      To each his/her own, I just wanted to mention it because some players might like to start with something like this.

      Sky Factory is part of the AT Launcher (Minecraft + modpack launcher similar to FTB).

      • Duncan Geere says:

        I find modpacks that don’t have HQM can feel a bit aimless – unless you’d played a lot of mods and recognise them individually, you don’t always know what’s possible so you end up just faffing about and not really achieving much in terms of the tech tree. But perhaps that’s my relative inexperience talking!

        • Orful Biggun says:

          > But perhaps that’s my relative inexperience talking!

          No, I agree with you. And if you don’t know the mods at all, yeah, any modpack can be a bit overwhelming, especially without something pushing you in the right direction. Perhaps not such a great recommendation for a beginner!

          I knew at least something about most of the critical mods, except for Crowley’s, so to me Sky Factory was nice in that I could experiment with things, create my own goals and solutions to challenges along the way, and overcome obstacles in one of many possible ways (given the variety of mods there are often several ways to skin any given cat).

          Bottom line for me was that it’s a much slower paced and relaxed game (as is vanilla SkyBlock). Maybe that’s the key: some of us, at times, enjoy being aimless for a little while? :-)

  5. Spacewalk says:

    Sounds like hell on earth.

  6. Harrington says:

    “…I only knew it was daytime when the moans turned to screams as the sunlight roasted the flesh of what was waiting outside.”

    Gosh that’s a nice line. I’m sold.

  7. Martel says:

    Does this, or any of those like this (I see you mention Agrarian Skies in the comments) provide a good 2-player coop experience?

    • Duncan Geere says:

      YES! Very much so. And setting up a server on a home network is really easy – there’s a ‘download server’ button in the FTB launcher. I’ve been playing Crash Landing with my girlfriend, and it’s great – you can divide the responsibilities a bit. There’s a good series on YouTube of Direwolf20 playing Crash Landing with Pahimar, too.

  8. Jetsetlemming says:

    So I tried this out, and died (of thirst, I think?), and it deleted the world you’re supposed to use for it. How do I get that back? I don’t see any options in the launcher for deleting and redownloading the pack, or anything about verifying the install or something like I’d try in Steam.

    help :(

    • drewdupe says:

      Just hit ‘create new world’ and it should load up another one. It will be the same as the world you lost.

      • Duncan Geere says:

        Yep. All new worlds are the same, so just start up a new one. Top tip for thirst management – use the camelbak you get near the start with water in a crafting grid to fill it, then wear it like armour – it’ll keep you topped up with water more efficiently than drinking out of bottles.

  9. Heliocentric says:

    Minecraft falls apart once you have a skyway set up, although hang gliders are an interesting variation.

    If only a requirement for structural support (a block must be below or diagonal?) could be integrated. Certain materials could have less strict requirements but floating blocks would act like sand.

    Having to throw up a scaffold to build a bridge would be great.

    • Synion07 says:

      If you really want that, check out EnviroMine. It’s the mod with the thirst, heat, sanity and quality of air meters, but all of it is fully configurable.

      It also has a gravity option which acts mostly like that, you cannot have floating blocks (except some “magic” blocks) and you must make supports for your buildings and for caves if you plan on mining.

  10. tehfish says:

    Wow, enjoying this a lot.

    The difficulty level is rather insane, makes my agrarian skies save look like easy mode in comparison :)

    • tehfish says:

      Hmmm… really struggling to get past day4-5, keep getting camped by spiders on the roof of the shuttle at night, i then run out of gun ammo before i get enough resources to make a torch to put up there D:

      • Justin T says:

        Try to make a protective area around the door, So its easier to get to the roof.

  11. Justin T says:

    I Downloaded the “Server” and files, how do i use it now? Does it Require forge and that? Orrrrrr? What? Plz Help I REALLY want to use this mod pack. (Inspiration From Skydoesminecraft) :D