AE2 for Newbies (A Reference Guide for the Rest Of Us) There have been massive overhauls and changes to Applied Energistics when it updated for 1.7, just about everything you used to know about it is now different, and there's new mechanics that need addressing. For the most part, consider it less an update and more a whole new mod that just happens to have a similar graphics artist and basic idea of 'store stuff on disk'. Materials you will need Like before, this mod is very iron hungry, redstone hungry, very gold and diamond hungry, and introduces Certus Quartz. You're also going to need power to run your system on. New in this edition, however, you're going to need four different Press Plates. These are ONLY found in Skystone Chests which are only found in the middle of meteors. If you can't find a meteor on the surface, you may need to dig around a bit to find one. There's also a compass you can use to find them, however it means you have to remove every last piece of Skystone from a meteor, or the compass will just point back to it. Joy. AND there's four different plates, BUT only two of them are found per chest. And no guarantees the next chest has anything unique. Skystone currently has only one use: the ME Controller. Now, if you are on a multiplayer server, once all four have been located, you can copy them easy enough. But if you are playing single player, finding them all can be a royal PITA. Getting a charge out of quartz Before we can actually make anything in this mod, we're going to need Fluix Crystal, which you might remember. However, the method you use to get it is very different. Now you need to make a little pool of water, then drop a Nether Quarts, a Charged Certus Quartz, and a Redstone into it. Wait... a charged what now? Yea, the old Certus Quartz you used to know and love now comes in two varieties: normal and charged. The charged stuff is WAY more rare, and it is the ONLY one you can use to make Fluix with. Which means you're going to need to get lucky and find it. Now, there is a way to charge certus quartz, you use the Charger. However, it requires two Fluix Crystals to make, so you'll need to find at least a little bit of charged certus quartz as worldgen. Now, the Charger can accept power from your ME Network, from any power supply, or from a hand-crank if you are really desperate. There's also a way to extend your quartz: make it Pure. I'll warn you right now, this is going to be a royal PITA for you early-game, because it takes for-flipping-ever to do. Basically, you put a certus quartz dust combined with a sand to make a pair of certus quartz seeds. Then you put the seed in water and wait. And keep waiting. Then wait some more. Careful, don't let it despawn! Then wait some more. For several hours. Now, there's a way to speed things up a lot, called a Crystal growth Accelerator, however it's expensive both in terms of material cost and most particularly in energy drain. You will want to be able to turn them off when not in use. Stamping out Circuits Okay, so now we've got the crystals and other materials we need, let's get crafting! Oh, before we can, we need to do one teeny tiny little... umm... humongous project. You remember earlier I told you about those dang presses that might take a bit because they are RNG-based chest loot? Umm... yea, you're going to need all four before proceeding. And we need to build the machines that use them. Namely: the Inscriber. The four different plates correspond to four different materials they are made of. Logic Press + Gold = Logic circuit Calculation Press + Pure Certus Quartz = Calculation circuit Engineering Press + Diamond = Engineering circuit Silicon Press + Silicon = silicon circuit. To make a Processor, you take the material circuit on top, the silicon circuit on the bottom, and the redstone in the middle in an Inscriber. Typically, when automating this process, you have one Inscriber per plate, plus another inscriber for making the processors themselves, for a total of five Inscribers set up. However, you can start off with just one if you are low on resources. Steve's First ME Network Now then, I have some good news, and some bad news. The good news is that you don't actually need a Controller to start up an ME Network! The bad news is... once you get to the point where you need one, it is going to get very complicated. But for now, hey... not too shabby. You're still going to need power it, and for that, you need a Power Acceptor. For that, however, we get introduced to something new: Quartz Glass. Certus Quartz Dust and Glass in a checker pattern. Combine it with glowstone dust to make Vibrant Quartz Glass which will emit light! But the Power Acceptor itself just needs four Quartz Glass, four iron, and a Fluix Crystal. It'll accept just about any ol' kind of power, including EU, MJ, RF, and Joules from either Mekanism OR the identically named Joules from RotaryCraft. Now that you've got that, we're going to need some storage. For this, I'd STRONGLY recommend an ME Drive. The reason for this is due to the number of channels, which is something we haven't covered yet. Suffice to say, if you have more than eight channels, you need an ME Controller. And, unfortunately, each ME Chest is going to be its own independent channel, which pretty much makes ME Chests even LESS useful than they were previously. I wasn't a fan of ME Chests before, but this pretty much makes them impossible to use for any practical purposes. For this, we need some ME Cable, which means now we get to be introduced to Quartz Fiber. Three quartz glass in a row makes four quartz fiber. And yes, ME Cable is now significantly more expensive than it used to be. Quartz Fiber by itself can also be used to break up networks to avoid overloading channels, but still share energy. We'll get into that when we start talking about channels, but for now, just know that it can be useful for things other than ME Cable. The ME Drive takes up one channel. This will be important later. It is used to store the storage cells, but by itself doesn't really do much. So now we need some storage. Generally, I suggest 4k storage cells. It can only store 63 items, just like any other storage cell, but it lets you store more stacks of the same items. But if you just want to make some basic 1k cells, that's certainly a viable option, at least early on. You start off making storage cells by making Storage Components, the most basic storage part there is. Four certus quartz and four redstone around a gold processor. Now, to make a 4k disk, you need a Storage Segment, which is three of these, and a Pure Certus Quartz processor, plus some more redstone around a quartz glass. Okay, so now we've got some storage and the drive to put the disks in. Now we need to access it, which brings us to another significant change, and one which I am really in favor of: the ME Terminal. This isn't a block anymore, it's a multipart facade that goes on cable. More importantly, you can use a View Cell to filter what each individual ME Terminal accesses. And yes, you can upgrade them to ME Crafting Terminals. Do keep in mind that every Terminal also requires a Channel. Channel Surfing Okay, I've mentioned Channels several times already, promising I'd get around to it. Well, here we go. I'll try to explain it as best I can. When you think of ME Cable, don't think of it as one big cable, think of it as a bundle of cables, including one power cable and eight data channels. Anything which stores or accesses information on the network eats up a channel. So a Disk Drive? Takes a channel. A Terminal? Takes a channel. So does the ME Interface and any of the Buses. This is a stealth-nerf to the Storage Bus, which otherwise let you store a ridiculous amount of stuff 'off grid' in a Barrel or DSU and just hooking up a Storage Bus to it. And really, this is probably a good thing, because it was a little too good before, if ya know what I mean. Now, as long as you are running 8 channels or less, you're not going to have a problem. This actually lets you set up a lot of little ME Networks that do their own thing separately pretty easily, which is actually kind of cool. You can now afford to have a small little ME Network take in everything from your farms, a separate ME Network take the proceeds from your ore refining, one for your thaumotorium... and because it doesn't require a separate processor, you aren't being penalized too heavily for it. The only problem is that they won't really talk to each other. But if you want to start doing any kind of real automation, or use off-grid storage, you're going to find yourself running out of channels in a hurry. Now, you can keep tabs on how many channels are being run through any given cable by making it a Smart Cable. It is made by combining covered cable (cable + woold) with one glowstone and one redstone. It'll tell you how many channels you are using by counting the lines that light up. Very useful. You can also color cable and covered cable. This lets you run systems adjacent to each other, yet not interconnected so they don't try to share channels. This will be very important as you expand your ME Network to ensure that you don't get any crossed wires. The ME Controller can be built as a multiblock. Each FACE can provide its own channels. So for example, if you have an ME Cable facing all six sides, you can have a maximum (assuming no one cross-connects) of 54 channels from a single ME Controller. Not too shabby. Two ME Controller blocks make a 1 x 2 multiblock structure which has a total of ten faces, or 80 channels with regular ME Cable. And so forth. There's three rules with regards to ME Controllers: Thou Shalt Not have multiple ME Controller blocks that are not connected to each other, for they will bicker and shut down your system. Thou Shalt Not build any controller structure that would extend more than seven blocks in any direction, for seven is the number of counting, and the number of counting shall be seven. Thou Shalt Not have more than two controller blocks adjacent to any controller block, for to do so would obviate adding another ME Controller block anyway. Still not enough channels? Well, there's a solution to that. It's called Dense Cable. Take four covered cables, combine with redstone and glowstone, and you get a single dense cable. If you hook it up directly to an ME Controller face, you get 32 channels out of that face rather than 8. Gets kind of expensive, though. But hey, if you have a lot of automating running down a line, you can use it to split sub-networks off of. Now let us talk about P2P Tunnels. Previously, they were used to transfer fluids and energy and stuff through the ME Network. And it can still do that. However, now it can also carry something even more precious: channels. Each P2P tunnel can carry up to 32 channels! So instead of using Bundled Cable, you can run regular old boring ME Cable, with a bunch of P2P Tunnels directly attached to the ME Controller, and have 8 * 32 = 256 channels on the other side!!! Each P2P tunnel does eat up one channel down the line, but the result is certainly worth the effort! You use Memory Cards to attune P2P tunnels. You can only have one 'input' tunnel, however you can have multiple 'output' tunnels if you want. Another trick for conserving channels is that you can frequently create a self-contained sub-network that doesn't draw channels from the main sytem, then send the outputs to the main system through an ME Interface. While you won't be able to access anything from that sub-network directly, if it is set up to simply output the results to the main system you can effectively have a whole sub-network for the price of one channel. For example, if you have eight different machines being sent items for processing, you can pipe the outputs to an interface and they don't actually have to be on your main network. A tree farm is a self-contained system that never really needs to have any external input, so you could tell it to send any surplus materials back to the home system and not eat up all the channels locally. Odds are you won't really need to access your Thaumatorium materials outside of your Thaumatorium, so you can keep that a completely segregated system while still storing all your various thaumic components on disk. It's Auto-crafting, Jim, but not as you know it Auto-crafting in AE was absolutely amazing. It got hit with a huge nerf-bat. But it still has its uses, so let us go over it. First off, automating ANY kind of crafting requires a minimum of one Crafting CPU. Yes, even auto-crafting using ME Interfaces require this to be hooked up somewhere. The CPU needs to be a Cuboid, and must be created using either Crafting CPU or Crafting Co-Processing units. Basically, any sort of auto-crafting job requires a certain amount of processing power. The more complex the recipe, and the more of that item you are wanting, the more CPU it takes to make the job. It can only perform one task at a time, the Co-Processing unit gives it the ability to process one additional unit per unit simultaneously. Crafting using other machines is about the same as it always was, except that it will eat up CPU and processing cycles while it is running, and it requires the Crafting CPU to function. So a slight nerf, but otherwise business as usual (although don't forget that each Interface requires its own channel!), not too bad. But what if I just want regular old crafting recipes auto-crafted? Well, for that, we look to the Molecular Assembler. No longer a multi-block structure, this stand-alone device has two modes. If you put an Encoded Pattern into it, then it will be able to craft that one pattern independently. Kinda boring, but if you just want one item auto-crafted, it doesn't need the CPU in this mode. The other mode requires you to place it adjacent to an ME Interface, and you can NOT put an Encoded Pattern into it. Basically, any of the Encoded Patterns in the attached ME Interface can use the Molecular Assembler to perform that crafting task. This is not an instantaneous task, it now takes time to craft. However, you can have multiple Molecular Assemblers attached to a single ME Interface as a load-sharing program. For example, if you have five MA's attached to an Interface, and you ask for 20 torches, and that interface has an Encoded Pattern that knows about Torches, it will send one crafting request to each of the five MA's attached to it and they will all produce it separately. So it will run 5x as fast as one that just had a single one for large jobs. However, if you just wanted one diamond pick, it would still only use the one MA for the task. Since the Crafting CPU can only perform a single task at a time, there's a reasonable limit to how many Interfaces are used in this way at any given time. However, you can tweak the performance of your crafting system by making a honeycomb of MA's and Interfaces, and if you set up your recipes properly, you can get some good optimization. For example, let's take the old Buildcraft diamond gear recipe. Which requires a lot of sub-combines. Now, you could put all of the sub-combines into a single ME Interface, since each successive recipe requires the ingredient from the previous one. However, if you wanted to set up, for example, a couple stacks of torches and a couple stacks of bread being made with three wheat each, then if both of these recipes are in the same ME Interface, you're going to hit a log-jam, because the ME's are going to be too busy making torches to make bread. But, if you have a Co-Processor in your CPU arrangement, and you decide to build two Interfaces, each with their own separate set of MA's, then they could run parallel. Of course, you don't often make both torches and bread at the same time. So you could have one interface with one, one interface with the other, and you could share an MA. Now, that MA is either going to be making torches or bread, however you 1) save the cost of having to make another MA, 2) still have load-sharing capability, and 3) if you do make them in bulk at the same time, only one MA is going to be occupied with one or the other recipe. So when making your crafting wall checkerboarded with Interfaces and Molecular Assemblers, try to make sure that anything you are likely to be requesting in bulk at the same time not be adjacent, however any serial or sequential building can all be done from the same ME Interface. You can also have multiple ME Interfaces with the same recipe if you are really worried about speed of bulk orders. Upgrades In AE, you upgraded a basic bus to a fuzzy or precision bus when you wanted it to run stacks at a time. In AE2, however, this is handled differently. There are various Upgrade Cards you can craft and slot into various components. For example, if we wanted to import five specific items, we'd want to put a Capacity Card upgrade into that import bus so it can handle more than one unique item. If we're wanting to add the capability of using fuzzy logic, then you'd add in a Fuzzy Card. You can put an Acceleration Card into a bus to make it process more things at a time, or into a Molecular Assembler to make it craft faster. Upgrade Cards aren't cheap, but they can be used quite effectively. In Conclusion It really is a different mod from the predecessor, isn't it? Yes, there's been some nerfs, but let's be fair... they probably needed to happen. It requires a lot more thinking to set up a good ME Network, and some things you used to hook up to your main system because 'why not' you'll find can often be put on their own separate channels. Once you get your head wrapped around the new system, I think you'll agree that while it is a bit more challenging to play with, it's also a lot more engaging and fun to play with as well. I really think a good balance has been struck here. And if you are having trouble finding your press plates, and you just 'happen' to end up in creative mode and have them 'mysteriously' appear in your inventory... eh, who's gonna know? Who knows, maybe someone with Minetweaker will create expensive but fair recipes for them in the mod pack you play on. Just sayin'... it's an option.