Let's talk about IC2

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ShneekeyTheLost

Too Much Free Time
Dec 8, 2012
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This is a mod that has been around since the dawn of minecraft modding. Back in the day, you installed ML/MLMP/Forge (which wasn't what is is today), then dropped in Buildcraft and IC2, then decided what addons you wanted to use. It was that ubiquitous. Of course, it was also a royal PITA back then, before even the Technic Launcher existed. We had MagicLoader, and I think MMC was around in some form or another, but that was really about it.

So. Why was this mod so enormously popular, and what positive things can we take away from this mod?

First off, it literally invented an ore refining process beyond 'put ore in a furnace'. Every single ore refining process from every single tech mod out today stems from this one innovation.

However, it did that because it NEEDED such a stupid amount of metals to get going that you pretty much needed ore doubling to get anywhere with it. So while it increased your ore production, it exponentially increased your ore consumption, which ended up in actually requiring MORE mining, rather than less. So it didn't just go 'lol, let's do 5x ore processing', it balanced what it gave you with what it consumed to create your manufactorum. This is something that certain tech mods these days should take a more serious look at revisiting.

Second off, the tools and armor. In particular, let's talk about the drill. It goes through both pick blocks and shovel blocks, but consumes energy, and the energy storage it had was decidedly finite. So either you wore a batpack (which means no chest armor), or you were coming back up out of the mine every five minutes or so to recharge it. Again, this was balanced. It also required a significant quantity of resources to create, and a certain amount of infrastructure to support the creation and usage.

That drill, that one tool, was a simple, elegant, and profoundly useful tool. Probably the epitome of 'useful but balanced tool' that I have ever seen any mod produce. The chainsaw was another good tool. It was an axe, that could shear sheep. My kid never stopped giggling when I would sheer sheep with a chainsaw. But with old-school Forestry, by the time I could get a chainsaw, I already had a tree farm going, so it didn't have such an enormous impact on my play-style as the drill had.

If I had ever wanted any tool that TiCo never was able to provide me, it was a tool which could go through both pick and shovel material equally. Given access to a drill, I would actually forego TiCo pick and shovel for it. I'd still use TiCo for other tools, however, so it would still be viable. But I never did get a good replacement for the IC2 drill.

Now let's talk about some of the design concept that are perhaps more open to question.

There was the power system, which had both a lot of very good things and some less good things about it. Overall, it was positive back in the day before the advent of RF. Back then, there were two main types of power: MJ from Buildcraft and EU from IC2. Everyone used one or the other. There were several means of converting one to the other, although typically there was some understandable loss in the conversion process.

EU introduced an excellent concept about energy loss over distance, which was, in and of itself, not a bad thing. The other thing it introduced were packets and voltages. Energy loss was per packet over distance, so while higher voltage lost more power per block, due to the fewer packets involved, it actually ended up more energy efficient over the long run. The 'explosions on too high a voltage' thing was on the punitive side, but it was the price for doing business back then, because there were no alternatives. These days... I think this is a feature best left in the past.

However, the IC2-ex branch used these days completely changed this, and I feel it was not for the better. I honestly feel, and will provide cogent arguments for, replacing EU with RF in IC2-ex, since they've done away with the one feature that made EU so amazing. After all, they've gone to a calculation matrix which is very similar. You can build in energy loss in the RF API, you can even build in explosions if powered by the wrong conduits with the RF API. You can do everything the IC2-ex brach does with EU with the RF API, and do it with more efficiency and compatibility. Bluntly, I'm not going to install a single mod that runs on its own version of power which I then have to convert to the power used by every single other mod in my pack. Either go back to the packet system or go with RF. The current system is the worst of both worlds.

Another thing the IC2-ex branch introduced that I don't particularly approve of are the hammer and snips. More specifically, what I don't approve of is that they only have a hundred uses each before they expire entirely. This is the mod which gave us the drill, and now you are giving us a tool with the least durability of any tool in existence other than vanilla gold? Seriously? From a realistic perspective, one of the hammers in my forge is over two hundred years old, and is used quite frequently. Handle's been redone once in that time. This is just a blatant excuse for resource bleed for the sake of resource bleed, and entirely silly. At least increase the durability of the tools to somewhere around 512. When I spend more time re-making tools that keep breaking on me, in a mod most well known for creating indestructible tools, than I spend time making the machines... you know you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Mind you, there are some things the IC2-ex branch did right. The processing system needed an overhaul, and they did a pretty darn good job of it. It is complex, but it is able to be automated. Eventually. There are now more types of energy generation other than 'charcoal', 'lava', and 'nuclear'. And more than one type of nuclear energy production as well. Mind you, I'm not a big fan of how they kept swinging nerf-bats at things like the CRCS/DDoS systems. They should be encouraging large overly complex HAYOish systems, not slapping them down by implementing kludgy code to make things only able to cool in the same reactor they got heated up in (which is asinine, in my opinion). However, it's not like you can actually transmit that kind of power anymore either using IC2-ex, so there's no real point in implementing the nerf in the first place. Which is another source of grumbling on my part.

So yea. IC2. It pioneered the technological frontier for modded minecraft. It had a lot of good ideas. It still has some that can be looked at. However, it also needs to either un-fix some things done to it, or just start over with a cleaner API, and also tweak a few things, before I'd be willing to touch it again.
 

RenzosNips

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implementing kludgy code to make things only able to cool in the same reactor they got heated up in (which is asinine, in my opinion).
Is this really a thing? Like.... what? I can't even describe how dumbfounded I am by this.

Anyway, on topic, I agree with most of what you said. I haven't used IC2 in... years now? Which is weird to say. But I never really found a replacement for the drill, it really was a great tool. As for their armor, I liked the tiers they had in place. Quantum has nice features, and it did take a while to get to. And having to switch from a batpack to armor, and vise-versa early was a good design choice.

I was actually glad when that April Fools announcement hit (although since it was a couple days before, I thought it was real). While not everything needs to use RF, the IC2-ex powernet is a disaster. They could easily implement exactly what you are talking about with RF, and they would be all the better for it.

Although for the 5x multiplier, Mekanism does it well. It is a long, involved process to get there, and while the base recipes for many of the machines are too cheap (I remedy this with Minetweaker), you use a ton of resources and time to get there from the baseline of Mekanism's 3x (Which... yeah, isn't hard to set up with base recipes). IC2-ex actually added another step in their processing chain, which is great. It's what I love about Mekanism's processing.
 

Chocohead

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This is just a blatant excuse for resource bleed for the sake of resource bleed, and entirely silly.
To encourage the usage of the Metal Former. If you've got a hammer that you can use 500 times you're just not going to make a metal former, especially as cells no longer need it either.
slapping them down by implementing kludgy code to make things only able to cool in the same reactor they got heated up in (which is asinine, in my opinion)
People were designing reactors that relied on uranium heating up coolant cells, then moving them over to a fluid reactor to exploit the fact they allow greater output, so instead of coming up with a creative design for the fluid reactor, it's just a design to pull heat from a 60k coolant cell and a single block reactor with uranium around them. The designs were really not that any fancier, just a standard fluid reactor setup with some form of item transportation to and from a normal reactor.
Mind you, I'm not a big fan of how they kept swinging nerf-bats at things like the CRCS/DDoS systems.
With the newer 1.8 branches there's an new iridium reflector, and the old reflectors now last 3x as long. There's also talk of a new condensator as well as the fact there's a machine to automatically inject redstone and lapis into condensers in a reactor without having to remove them, making CASCUC reactors much more possible again.
 
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Celestialphoenix

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Tartarus.. I mean at work. Same thing really.
The 'explosions on too high a voltage' thing was on the punitive side,
This was also a perfectly fair mechanic. The power system itself was very easy to understand and use- so any and every explosion was the direct result of the player screwing up. This lead into some more interesting designs given the need to use higher voltage systems/generators later on.
Machines getting destroyed, even when using the correct tool [wrench] was a little harsh- yes it encouraged the use of the electric one over bronze, but the electric would have been used extensively anyway due to it consuming power [cheap/free] instead of metal.

To encourage the usage of the Metal Former. If you've got a hammer that you can use 500 times you're just not going to make a metal former, especially as cells no longer need it either.
Its more the extra non-stackable item to shunt around. I'd rather just craft 2 [or 3] ingots directly a plate. You'll still want a metal former, because its a more efficient use of metal. (I know iron is cheap, but most players tend to be greedy hoarders).
 

Chocohead

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Its more the extra non-stackable item to shunt around. I'd rather just craft 2 [or 3] ingots directly a plate. You'll still want a metal former, because its a more efficient use of metal. (I know iron is cheap, but most players tend to be greedy hoarders).
Before your only option was to have to use a furnace, in many ways it's nicer as you can get plates instantly rather than having to wait and use some kind of fuel in the process if you want to.
 
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KingTriaxx

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I always liked the explosions. (Okay, not when they blew up in my face.) It was a reason to actually pay attention to what I was doing with the power. Now I just pump as much through the lines as I can manage to generate.

I've seen some versions of Immersive Engineering that convert directly to IC2 when plugged in, but it might be an Infinity only thing.
 

asb3pe

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IC2 might have been "a thing" back in the day, when modded minecraft was just spreading its wings... but I think we can see by today's "modern" standards (lol), the mod doesn't have much variety - that's its greatest weakness. But IC2's greatest strength - processing power and speed - that has never wavered. I tend to put the mod down at times myself (meaning, I criticize the mod instead of praising it), but when I am forced to use IC2 - as has been the case in the "Infinity: Evolved" Expert mode modpacks - I rediscover that processing power and speed, and I revel in it. My only regret is they went "easy-mode" and turned off machine explosions. LOL We learn thru our mistakes, we learn the hard way! It's part of life, don't turn it off!

But in terms of that missing variety... well, Gregorius T (bless him) has solved that part of IC2. Just run the GregTech mod atop IC2, and you'll have so many machines to play with, it's just phenomenal. A mod that is lacking in variety suddenly becomes THE mod that has the MOST variety. Couple that with Greg's added worldgen (i.e. vastly increased number and variety of ores in a unique and perhaps more realistic method of spawning)... ah well, I'm either preaching to the choir with my words, those who already know and appreciate the GregTech Intergalactical mod... or I'm wasting my words on those who already and forever dislike the mod and the mod author. LOL (Greg is a very polarizing figure in the modded Minecraft community, for those who don't know the history, it is quite volatile. haha)

Edit: Need to add a discussion about electricity in GT, Greg went back to the old IC2 concept of voltage and current (again, realism in the mod), with power loss over distance transmitted, and it works fabulously, just like the OP was reminiscing about. So if you liked the old IC2 power concept, GT is your mod!

And so it goes. My two cents, for whatever two cents might be worth these days. Not much. :D
 
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Inaeo

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As a player without a nostalgic attachment to IC2, I can objectively say that IC2-exp is more annoying than useful unless a pack has been centered around it or Minetweaked to require substantial infrastructure to open other mods. I can't help feeling that the mod is trying to waste both my time and resources by forcing me to craft multiple low durability tools and making my machines break if I decide to move them. In fact, the machines breaking when I try to move them is probably my biggest gripe (I move sensitive and complex machinery regularly, and have yet to see one fall to pieces because I didn't use a power tool).

I liked the idea when I first started playing that there were a number of different power systems which operated independent of each other (forcing the player to build infrastructure for each mod in a pack), but as the power systems faded away and merged into RF, IC2 seems to be stuck in an age gone by. I'm sure that the unification to RF has made us lazy enough to never go back to the old ways, but in some respects (particularly modpack creation) a unified power system has been one of the biggest gains since I jumped into modded MC.

I agree that many mods base their tech tree off ore doubling without a necessary sink for those materials, which is something that should be addressed for the sake of balance, but balance is only obtainable in a vacuum or ultimately modified (Minetweaked into oblivion) pack. I like the idea of tech tiers, which improve yields and give access to previously unobtainable resources, which few mods have copied. Armor and took tiers, as well, are a good idea, which too many mods skip over.
 

Chocohead

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making my machines break if I decide to move them. In fact, the machines breaking when I try to move them is probably my biggest gripe (I move sensitive and complex machinery regularly, and have yet to see one fall to pieces because I didn't use a power tool).
That's gone now in 1.8 anyway, and there's a config option to completely remove the need to wrench them.
 

ShneekeyTheLost

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That's gone now in 1.8 anyway, and there's a config option to completely remove the need to wrench them.
No it isn't. DW20 in his last episode lost a machine to wrenching and just got back the machine block.

Honestly, I'd love to see destruction of the machine (i.e. converting it into a machine block) instead of an explosion which not only destroys that machine but a bunch of other stuff in the area. It'll still punish you for having the wrong voltage, but it won't be as punitive.
 
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zilvarwolf

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They're using an ancient version, things like the UU bug were fixed nearly 2 weeks ago
To be fair, with Dire's recording schedule the latest episode could have been recorded more than two weeks ago.

Removal of the machine destruction mechanic and the earlier removal of machine explosions MIGHT put me in a frame of mind to give IC2 a fair chance again. Those are, imo, punitive and stupid mechanics and as far removed from realism as most political commentary.

Rolling back to the OP though, I remember it a little bit differently. Yes, you'd make a mod with IC2 and Buildcraft, and then start throwing kitchen sinks at it, but the one thing I remember most clearly is that there were something like 5 mods that used EU, and everything else used MJ. Everything.

Even back in the 1.4 days, you'd get compact or advanced solars, quantum armor, and you were largely done with EU. Everything else was MJ or tried to make a unique power system (and inevitably coded for MJ within a month or two). IC2 was, at least in the circles I traveled, unpopular even back then.

Heck, once Lemming released the first builds of TE, I was utterly done with IC2. The only thing I'd use it for was ore processing by that time, because all of the 'interesting' mechanics were found in MJ mods (forestry got a lot of my attention, as I recall).

I didn't realize it at the time, but railcraft's steam was another power system that gained a lot of traction, but you don't hear much about boilers anymore either. I know I stopped using them, largely because the infrastructure to keep them running started impacting server performance for my friends. :) Plus boom. Always the really, really strange boom.

IC2 seems to appeal to people who feel like they're better at setting things up than the rest of us (because, seriously, you've NEVER misclicked where a machine goes down? Losing ## minutes of your life having to rebuild that stupid machine (and possibly everything around it) because you lagged, or twitched, or the game just lost its damn mind, or you just messed up and put it in the wrong place is not fun to many people...and we tend to stay away), or people who have a lot of nostalgia, or people who UTTERLY overbuild everything and want a machine that can put out one or more operation per tick.

If you're not one of those people, you might find yourself gravitating elsewhere.
 
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ChemE

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I for one really enjoyed the IC2 power system and the attendant explosions that came as I learned what I was doing but then I LOVE the big complex tech mods like Mekanism, GregTech, and RotaryCraft/ReactorCraft/ElectriCraft. I would like this mechanic and the power loss over distance implemented in RF which is tantamount to punching the easy button as it is.
 
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KingTriaxx

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I liked the machine destruction and explosions. Yes, they were frustrating, but they at least added something interesting. Buildcraft also did it, though I notice most people gloss over it now. Engines exploded, and so did power pipes. Rotarycraft still does it if you try and run too much power through it's gearboxes.

Of course, the Gravitool, and Prototype Omniwrench boths solved a lot of issues. The former had a much bigger battery reserve, and the latter didn't have a loss.
 

ChemE

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Yes, RoC and ReC are still highly punitive on level with GT and ReC is probably much more so since you can corrupt an entire world with radiation from failed reactors.
 

Chocohead

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but the one thing I remember most clearly is that there were something like 5 mods that used EU, and everything else used MJ. Everything.
That would mean everything was about 3 mods. There was the large addon set for IC2 that used EU, Forestry, Railcraft and Buildcraft that used MJ and that was pretty much it for power using mods excluding Redpower's charge. Even by 1.4.7 you had TE using MJ and MFR that could take either but that was it. It's only relatively recently that mods taking power opposed to fuel was a normal thing.
 

Pyure

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EU introduced an excellent concept about energy loss over distance, which was, in and of itself, not a bad thing. The other thing it introduced were packets and voltages. Energy loss was per packet over distance, so while higher voltage lost more power per block, due to the fewer packets involved, it actually ended up more energy efficient over the long run. The 'explosions on too high a voltage' thing was on the punitive side, but it was the price for doing business back then, because there were no alternatives. These days... I think this is a feature best left in the past.
Agreed for the most part. I enjoyed the classic eu system when I was able to work my brain around it. For some reason I find the GT system much easier to follow, and it accomplishes much the same thing.

I never think big explosions are a good thing in a mod, but I think wirefires (which can consume lots of wires but no machines) is completely fair.

However, the IC2-ex branch used these days completely changed this, and I feel it was not for the better. I honestly feel, and will provide cogent arguments for, replacing EU with RF in IC2-ex, since they've done away with the one feature that made EU so amazing. After all, they've gone to a calculation matrix which is very similar. You can build in energy loss in the RF API, you can even build in explosions if powered by the wrong conduits with the RF API. You can do everything the IC2-ex brach does with EU with the RF API, and do it with more efficiency and compatibility. Bluntly, I'm not going to install a single mod that runs on its own version of power which I then have to convert to the power used by every single other mod in my pack. Either go back to the packet system or go with RF. The current system is the worst of both worlds.
That IC2 hoax was funny because it raised a lot of dismay and hollering, but it also exposed an awful lot of "woo, about time." The truth is, IC2-E eu is functionally the same thing as RF, except that the wires don't restrict your throughput properly. The version Player is working on shows every indication of being complete vapourware at this point. They need to either:
a) abandon player's damn version and get someone else to write it
b) adopt Greg's version which does what they want anyway
c) actually consider doing RF, even though they've committed fully against this.

Mind you, there are some things the IC2-ex branch did right. The processing system needed an overhaul, and they did a pretty darn good job of it. It is complex, but it is able to be automated. Eventually. There are now more types of energy generation other than 'charcoal', 'lava', and 'nuclear'. And more than one type of nuclear energy production as well. Mind you, I'm not a big fan of how they kept swinging nerf-bats at things like the CRCS/DDoS systems. They should be encouraging large overly complex HAYOish systems, not slapping them down by implementing kludgy code to make things only able to cool in the same reactor they got heated up in (which is asinine, in my opinion). However, it's not like you can actually transmit that kind of power anymore either using IC2-ex, so there's no real point in implementing the nerf in the first place. Which is another source of grumbling on my part.
I also like a lot of the new ideas. The new "forms" of power are cool, eg heat units, kinetic energy, etc. But, jesus, the interfaces are absolutely horrifying.
I can't tell you the number of times I've watched an IC2-e walkthrough and people cannot get simple machines to work because they don't realize you need to match certain faces of blocks together. The block GUIs need to be more informative about a) what they're receiving/sending, and b) which sides do what. The blocks themselves need to be more obviously textured so that you know which side is a receiver vs a sender.

And jesus the wrench mechanics are brutally out of date. GT wrench mechanics are absolutely amazing. You can never do the "wrong" thing with a GT wrench. It always does what you'd expect it to do, and you never "accidentally decide to totally unscrew and dismantle a machine" when you really just wanted to turn it around. WTF is that.

IC2 needs to switch to GT wrench mechanics immediately if they ever want to be taken seriously again.
 

zilvarwolf

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That would mean everything was about 3 mods. There was the large addon set for IC2 that used EU, Forestry, Railcraft and Buildcraft that used MJ and that was pretty much it for power using mods excluding Redpower's charge. Even by 1.4.7 you had TE using MJ and MFR that could take either but that was it. It's only relatively recently that mods taking power opposed to fuel was a normal thing.
Hah, that's funny. Memory certainly plays cruel tricks on me, I guess. I remember having much larger MJ infrastructure and many, many more reasons to use it.

Part of that recollection could also be how I viewed the mods. By and large, I remember IC2 as being something that gave you ore processing, and then everything after that was just a means to make more things that were part of, or directly benefited IC2. There weren't auto planters, tree farms, quarries, or really anything that interacted with the world. MJ tended to be the carrier for that, with forestry, buildcraft, and MFR giving you fun new ways to actually put that power to use.
 

malicious_bloke

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I remember using IC2 back in the day because before TE came out it was basically the only mod with power storage.

The ridiculous extents you could overclock the machines to was also useful when AE became a thing and I didn't want my automated systems being bottlenecked.

It's a good mod, it's just that since IC2e came out, the rest of the mod landscape has gone forward while IC has been essentially treading water.