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22-02-2017, 10:36 PM #1
My military industrial complex: the Gregtech mod for Minecraft
I thought maybe I'd reduce the clutter in the "What Are You Playing Now" thread by talking about my Gregtech 5 Unofficial experiences here for a while. Which may or may not be a mistake; people may stop reading if it's not part of the general thread.
It does, however, make me feel more comfortable with dumping a few screenshots to illustrate what's going on.
I put together a platinum-group processing facility. This washes certain specific ores with nitric acid to produce a tiny pile of platinum group dust. 9 of those make one full-sized dust, which can then be centrifuged for stuff that's nearly impossible to find otherwise, like irridium and osmium.
So far I've got a grand total of one (1) Osmium dust. At some point I'll do a mining run for more of the appropriate ores.
A while later I decided to make an implosion compressor.
This machine takes gem dusts and makes gems. This is important because I need emeralds or olivine for etched crystal chips for the more advanced electronic stuff. I've long since run through supply of both, but I had a stack of olivine dust.
The thing about the implosion compressor is that it requires TNT or industrial TNT, which are somewhat complex to make. Fortunately, a big part of the process is making nitric acid, which I'd already done for the platinum group processing.
Initially I was using a process that's a little more efficient, but which requires more machinery. It did, however, require sugar and small amounts of plastic. The plastic was no trouble, but I rapidly discovered I had no interest in harvesting sugar cane in large quantities to make TNT. Particularly since I needed a lot of TNT. So I converted to a simpler process that uses more toluene, which I refine from cracked heavy fuel. More heavy oil use is not a big deal, since my drilling rig provides enormous amounts of it, and the railroad shuttles it back to my base automatically.
As a side benefit, I can also use the TNT for my seismic prospector instead of dynamite. Dynamite's easier to make, but I don't have to use as much TNT, and the TNT production's more automated. All I have to do is press a button to start a run that converts 32 buckets of toluene to TNT. I only have to do that much because I don't want the process to run continuously - it would eat a lot of oil if I allowed it to run until the output chest is full.
22-02-2017, 10:46 PM #2
I can add your previous Gregtech posts to this thread, if you think it's a good idea.
22-02-2017, 11:16 PM #3
My current headache is Nether Quartz. The routing controls for trains eat enormous quantities of it. Each switch that can recognize a train requires 32 Nether Quartz to make. Making the railway for the oil rig consumed pretty much my entire stock.
Ore generation in Gregtech is unlike vanilla, which I've mentioned before. There are little pockets of Nether Quartz scattered around the Nether, but the real concentrations are in big, scattered veins.
I find mining in the Nether problematic, due to Ghasts and the maze like structure of the caves. Finding veins can be a pain, and mining it's dangerous if it's at all exposed to a large space where Ghasts can spawn. What I ended up doing was fining a Nether Ore vein with the seismic prospector, and building a mining rig instead of mining by hand.
Mining rigs have a couple of advantages over mining by hand. They're theoretically automated, and they produce about 3x as much ore as hand mining does. Once my drill reaches the Nether Quartz vein, I should have a lot of it.
Building stuff in the Nether has its problems due to the pockets of lava. I got about halfway through the project and discovered I hadn't hollowed out a big enough space, and I had to do some mining I consider risky. Generally I prefer to create a trench between the blocks I'm mining and anything I care about, because if I hit lava, it pours into the trench and stops. Some of the blocks I dug out might have resulted in lost machinery if I had bad luck with lava pockets.
Hit lava while expanding I eventually did, but fortunately after I'd managed to push the space out enough that I had a safety trench.
My problem right now is that the drilling rig requires a steady supply of drilling fluid. That requires stone dust, lubricant, and water to make. It'd be better if I could make it on site, but it's the Nether, so there's no source of water. So I'm running back and forth with a stack of drilling fluid canisters, which I find annoying. It means the rig isn't remotely automated, since I'm only getting maybe 2 stacks of ore before it exhausts a trip's worth of fluid.
I'm seriously thinking about running a rail line up to the rig, which is going to be a headache for a couple of reasons.
Nether Portals are train-unfriendly. There are ways to get single carts through, but not trains. There are some Rube Goldberg solutions involving moving single carts through. I've also read that Mystcraft portals are train friendly. I need to do some experimenting in my Creative testbed world to see what works, but it's going to be a bit complicated any way I handle it.
Not running trains through the portal just means I'm hand-carrying drilling fluid through the portal. Which is a shorter distance, but still tedious. I've made 4 runs so far and the drill head has only moved one level down so far - 50+ to go.
I've got a choice of running a simple, un-automated track to the mining rig using single tank carts and booster rails, or running electric track with electric locomotives. The single cart solution's much easier, but means I'd still be hand-carrying nitro diesel fuel to the mining rig, since a single-cart rail handles a single cargo type well enough, but it's difficult for it to handle two.
Automating multiple train types with electric locomotives is much easier. All empty tank carts look alike to the track logic, but locomotives pulling carts can have individual names and destinations, so the track switches can route them correctly. That's how my oil rig trains work - one is the Heavy Oil train, one is the Nitro Diesel train, and the switches know where those go.
The problem is that while the electric locomotives work well, the track's annoying. Since it's electrified, it does damage when I step on it. Not a lot, at least not if I'm in full armor, but enough that I don't like walking near it. Probably what I should do is dig a new, separate tunnel for the train, and leave my existing tunnels for myself. Rather than what I did with the oil rig, which is to use the existing tunnel for the train.
22-02-2017, 11:17 PM #4
22-02-2017, 11:29 PM #5
22-02-2017, 11:40 PM #6
One side project I'm running in connection with the mining rig is a lava pump.
Gregtech has pumps that can absorb liquid at long distances, rather than just blocks adjacent to the pump. This means it actually consumes source blocks when pumping. Many mods have "pumps" that provide infinite liquid, either water or lava, if they're over a source block. I much prefer Gregtech's system - the infinite liquid feels like a huge cheat, even if it's pretty much in tune with Minecraft's odd system of liquids. Particularly if the liquid has some resource value, like lava.
Infinite water doesn't bother me so much, since water has limited utility, but I still use Railcraft's water collecting tanks. They provide a decent, but finite amount of water, and collect more when it's raining.
Anyway, back to lava. It can be used to generate energy with heat exchangers and Stirling generators. After it's used for energy, the cooled lava (now called "Pahoe Lava") can be centrifuged for some valuable minerals, principally tungsten. That's really my main interest in the lava - the energy is a beneficial side effect.
Gregtech's support for lava's kind of limited. There are some big multi-block structures that can use it, the Large Heat Exchanger and the Large Steam Turbine, but those are really big installations, that don't work if you're not drawing 5000+ watts regularly. The Large Steam Turbine requires that you run it continuously to get any kind of efficiency, and it produces a lot of power. And eats a lot of steam - the Large Heat Exchanger / Large Turbine pair is really intended for nuclear power plants. They work with lava, but will run through it very quickly.
For small, low power lava installations, I have to revert to some legacy machinery from IndustrialCraft. Which is annoying in other ways since converting IndustrialCraft power to Gregtech power involves jumping through some hoops.
Since I wasn't sure if pump-provided lava power would work, I built it as a supplement to a diesel generator. Which is good, because it mostly didn't work.
The pump uses many of the same mechanics the Oil Rig and the Mining Rig do. Which means it extends a working head at the end of a length of pipe. Unlike the other two, it turns out it does not drill through rock. So I had to build a spiral stair around the pump head, digging out blocks for it to extend.
The other thing is that the big sources of lava I thought were below my site were in fact just a couple of lava falls. Those look big, but only involve a single source block. When my pump head finally hit bedrock, I'd accumulated a total of 4 buckets of lava.
There was a fair-size lava lake near the bottom of the shaft. I tried digging a trench so the lava reached the pump head. That somewhat worked, since when the Gregtech pump detects Minecraft's "flowing" liquid cells, it traces them back to the source block and sucks up the source block. Except that it stopped after sucking up just a couple of lava source blocks, because the lava lake in general was too distant.
I'm going to move the pump so it's more-or-less directly over that lava lake. We'll see what happens.
22-02-2017, 11:45 PM #7
23-02-2017, 11:42 AM #8
It's a really fascinating read, Gus, especially for people like me who don't have the patience to do such things (I even found Factorio slow and boring, so...) but I have a question : ultimately, what are you going to do with everything you produce ?Any sufficiently advanced troll is indistinguishable from a genuine kook.
23-02-2017, 02:41 PM #9
"What's it for?" is a very relevant question.
Since this is Minecraft, there's no real win condition. What keeps me playing is that there's always one more convoluted production line that looks interesting to me. Sometimes it's difficult enough that it becomes a long term goal, and I have to build several intermediate things in order to reach that goal.
While the oil rig has definite utility, and it eliminated the need to manually gather fuel, building it and the automated electric railroad was an interesting goal in itself. The thing uppermost in my mind right now is building a set of distillation towers. I don't need the increased fuel-processing efficiency, but building them, finding room for them, and finding a way to balance their output is an interesting challenge in its own right.
Recently I spent some time in Creative mode learning about fluid-cooled nuclear power plants. I'm not sure I'll pursue making one of those. They're unique because they involve a matrix of internal components, parts that go inside a single block rather than a series of Minecraft blocks. The problem is that while I understand the principles, the actual behavior's rather abstract and opaque. There's no way to see heat flowing from internal component to internal component, and existing recipes always seem to be better than my experiments. Following someone else's blueprint blindly is not interesting to me.
Sometimes a secondary goal takes on a life of its own. The Nether Quartz was my goal for making the mining rig, but automating resupply of the mining rig in the Nether seems like an interesting problem. It leads to interesting places, like a Nether rail system for long distances. If I ever really need such a thing, which I might not.
There's a central progression to the mod centered around the electric blast furnace. There are 7 tiers of heating coil, from cupronickel to naquadah alloy, each producing higher temperatures and unlocking more powerful metals and alloys. That's kind of bland and linear, but the steps along the way have sometimes proved interesting.
What doesn't motivate me is better gear. I don't much like Minecraft combat, and doing something like defeating the Ender Dragon is not something I care about. I might do it eventually, but only because there are some ores in The End which aren't available anywhere else. There's some better weaponry and armor available, and I keep meaning to make some of it, but so far I'm still running around in steel armor wielding a blue-steel (+2 damage) sword.
23-02-2017, 03:49 PM #10
I can relate, although you seem to have concentrated on a few core modpacks (railcraft and gregtech?), I like to go for the bigger curated modpacks with sometimes hundreds of mods for more options (also more problems with getting things to work together and finding documentation). Building rails in the nether is something that never occurred to me, but I did set up a lava bottling(bucketing) plant there once and transported the lava to the overworld with the Ender Chests mod. Not sure if that's relevant for you.
23-02-2017, 04:07 PM #11
- Join Date
- Dec 2013
I've been reading your posts in the "What are you currently playing" thead with increasing interest and now that you opened a new thread specifically for this I hope you don't mind answering a few questions about things I've been wondering:
I've been thinking about getting back into Minecraft for a while now but the last time I played (I used one of the FTB packs geared towards harder (production) difficulty, don't remember the name right now) the different mods included in the pack were lacking structure. Often you could use one mod to get stuff done way more easily than using a different one, some had no real benefits at all. What I'd like to have it something like Factorio, where you have a kind of mostly structured progression. The longer the better. So, do you think GT5U would fit the bill?
As I remember, GregTech originally was a very specific update to IndustrialCraft with the goal of making the recipes harder and hence increasing longevity and the need for automation. In your description other mods are included as well, though, like Forestry. So am I correct in assuming that the mod pack you are using is basically a beefed up pack of several building and industrial mods?
Could you provide a short guide on where to get it and the best/easiest way to install it? Naturally I googled it but I found several versions with different amounts of "might be unstable" and for different versions of Minecraft/Forge, so I'm a little confused. Since you seem to have a nicely working version I - and surely others that might want to try it - would appreciate that info.
Thanks and keep on building!
23-02-2017, 06:18 PM #12
For example, a big step up for me was when I transitioned from the bronze-based Coal Boilers to a single Large Steel Boiler, because you cannot feed the bronze-era boilers automatically, and they also produce ash which must be cleaned out by hand - you can't extract it automatically in any way. The Large Steel Boiler, on the other hand, is automation-friendly, expects you to feed it fuel automatically, and can be turned on and off with Redstone logic. Which I do, regulating it based on my steam storage.
I'm getting something of a Factorio-like experience now, but that didn't really happen until I hit 512-volt tech and had enough material wealth that I could afford dedicate individual copies of machines to specific tasks in an assembly line. In the early stages of the Steel era I often tasked a single machine to do several different things, since I couldn't afford a second one.
I still hand-carry around a lot of stuff. Wires, insulated cables, metal plates, pipes - those things I generally make on an as-needed basis, carrying the material to the machine and picking up the results later. The power plant and ore processing are heavily automated, as is plastics, Teflon, and TNT. Electronics I've automated to a limited extent.
I'm not playing a modpack. I'm playing a set of individual mods that I've chosen. A "home rolled" modpack, I guess you might call it, with about 30 mods. Gregtech has a very definite, planned progression to it, which is why it's much more interesting to me than most other mods or modpacks. Where most mods are "add this feature," Gregtech is essentially a total conversion, changing the game into something else.
Where most mods make Minecraft easier, Gregtech makes the early game harder, re-writing some vanilla wood crafting for example so you get less if you don't use tools. I have that complicated production line for Industrial TNT because you can't make TNT with the vanilla recipe if Gregtech is installed. There are a lot of mods w
Gregtech does not include Forestry. It requires Not Enough Items and IndustrialCraft 2, but otherwise includes nothing. It does have built-in support for a fair number of other mods. For example, I build all my Railcraft items using Gregtech machinery.
Some things I've added or modified myself, using Minetweaker 3 and a Gregtech-specific addon for Minetweaker. I re-wrote the electronics recipes for Railcraft to use Gregtech electronics, rather than the vanilla-like recipes where the color of wool you used (yellow, green or red) altered how a circuit behaved.
If I were to start Minecraft afresh, I'd take a stab at "Material Energy / Natural Capital.". It's advertised as "factorio like," with a definite progression.
If you're still interested in Gregtech specifically, I'm playing 5.09.28pre. 5.09.27 is available here. There's a link to the "in development" versions. I'm running .28pre instead of .27 because .27 has a bug in Titanium production that's fixed in the pre-release version, and .26 has a bug that prevents the Seismic Prospector from working correctly.
This requires Minecraft 1.7.10. Gregtech 5.10 is for 1.10.2, and it's highly unstable, and not remotely finished. Gregtech 5.09.xx continues to advance, 5.10 doesn't supplant it.
The other mods I'm using are:
Nuclear Control 2
Projected Red: Base, Integration, Lighting
Simple Fluid Tanks
Thermal Dynamics (requires Thermal Foundation) - for certain pipes only
IC2 NEI Plugin
Xaero's World Map
23-02-2017, 06:51 PM #13
On the progress front:
I spent some time experimenting with Nether portals. Not only are the train-hostile, they're minecart hostile. Minecarts will materialize in different places depending on what's happening on the far end. Trains decouple as they go through a portal, making the jump one piece at a time - locomotive, chest cart, chunkloader cart in my test case. My attempt to automatically re-couple the cars on the far end failed because the carts ended on different tracks.
I learned on the (relatively dead) Gregtech forum that Gregtech has some high-capacity fluid cells. The basic cells cost 2 tin and hold 1 bucket. The "large steel fluid cells" cost a double-density steel plate and 2 steel rings, have to be made in a 128-volt or better Assembly machine, and hold 16 buckets each. They only stack in groups of 16, not 64, but still a stack of these things is 256 buckets, not 64, and the material cost (2.5 steel) isn't that much higher.
As an interm solution, it's working for me for now. A stack of those things lasts much longer, though it's still not completely hands-off, as my oil rig is. I also added a chest buffer so I can leave multiple stacks of drilling fluid canisters to process, instead of just one.
Alternative mods that should allow cross-dimensional automation are Mystcraft and Enhanced Portals 3. While I haven't tried either on hands-on yet, I've seen enough to think they both make it too easy, actually.
The issue is distance. When you place a normal, vanilla Nether Portal, it has a definite corresponding location in the Nether. I'm oversimplifying, but I can't just plop down a Nether Portal in my home base and have it connect to the mining rig, which is 140 meters distant from my Nether base. In fact, if I put a portal at the rig, it'd end up 800 meters distant from my base in the Overworld, according to the vanilla rules.
The Mystcraft and Enhanced Portal mods let you create portals that link anywhere you want, in any dimension. The "standard" solution to my problem with Mystcraft would be to create a direct portal with 3-4 tiles of track on either end. Need multiple supply lines, like drilling fluid, nitro diesel, and mined ore? Just plop down 3 separate portal pairs, no reason to get fancy with routing.
This removes what I feel is a legitimate problem by cheating. I'm not interested in magic solutions to my problem where the stuff I need to move just teleports where it needs to go.
I'm still thinking of experimenting with these mods in a Creative world. If I go ahead with one of them, I think I'll implement a totally arbitrary house rule: I have to follow the vanilla rules for portal locations. It's deliberately handicapping myself, but what I want is essentially a corrected version of the regular Nether portal, one that allows trains reliably. Since no mod offers that, I have to improvise.
That, or just tough it out, supply the rig by hand until it clears out all the Nether Quartz, and abandon cross-dimensional mining once I have what I want.
23-02-2017, 11:36 PM #14
Don't really have anything to add... but I wanted to say that I appreciate your posts and have been reading all of them even while you were in the other thread. Thanks for doing the write-ups! Loving living vicariously through you since I don't have the time/patience to do this on my own.
24-02-2017, 02:15 AM #15
24-02-2017, 03:07 AM #16
24-02-2017, 09:01 AM #17
- Join Date
- Jan 2013
Re your Nether Portal/train problem: it sounds to me like a workable solution might be trains from your base to the Portal, trains from the other end of the Portal to your mining rig, tanks getting filled/emptied at either end, and an occasional foot trip through the Portal to bridge the gap.
Sure, you'll still need to do manual work, but you do get to automate everything on either end of the Portal.
24-02-2017, 11:21 AM #18
- Join Date
- May 2013
It is always great to see someone especially passionate about a game put their time into posting a tread about it. Even if the casual passer by has no interest in that particular game, spreading the joys of video-gaming and how they can be so much more that sexy looking face-shooters (not much to write about there), is important to the general wider gamers education about 'life' and things outside their normal spheres of interest.
For example i love Minecraft, it might be one of the best games ever made, but i just can not get into any of the 'post industrial' stuff, vanilla or modded.
For me Minecraft IS 'Life in the Woods' (plus a day/night time lengthening mod+some extra 'survival' content mods) and nothing more (or less!). But just seeing what people can do in Minecraft, even outside my particular interests, is nearly always amazing. Good job Gus :)
Last edited by ZakG; 24-02-2017 at 11:23 AM.
24-02-2017, 04:29 PM #19
I'm not sure whether the distances are too great to maintain these connections but I'm quite sure the minimum distance between your base portal and the mining rig portal is substantially less than 800 meters.
24-02-2017, 04:34 PM #20
Pretty sure there still is an area that you can put the portal in the Nether and still have it connect to the gate that's already built in the overworld... that said, if you don't have a portal in the overworld, then it's an 8:1 correspondence for distance traveled in the overworld versus the Nether.