Opinion: Why I think some mod authors should think twice about their new content

Discussion in 'Mod Discussion' started by frederikam, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. frederikam

    frederikam Well-Known Member

    Please read the entire post before posting!

    This initial post has been rewritten to cover most of what people has been asking me as of this writing.

    When I started playing Minecraft in early beta, I quickly got into the mods Buildcraft and Industrialcraft. These two mods works very well together in harmony. Industrialcraft delivered the machines and Buildcraft delivered the transport functionality. I later was introduced to a wide variety of mods, like Forestry and EE2. These two mods also adds unique functionality and works very well with the other mods.​
    I then get introduced into this new mod called ThermalExpansion, and what it had at that point was a few machines like the pulverizer and the furnaces (and a few other). Most content was fine but what started to bother me was the fact that the pulverizer and the furnaces was much like the furnaces and the macerator from IC2 in that they do the same processes, but they run on MJ instead of EU. What I liked about both EU and MJ was the fact that they were used for different purposes. MJ was for foresty and buildcraft processing as well as several farms, while EU was more used for IC2 processing. It bothered me that you could do this kind of processing for both types of energy. As suggested lower on this page by Vauthil, and I agree with him, that it would be neat to see TE introduce a completely new type of energy, so we can preserve that kind of different functionality between MJ and EU, although that might seem like a lot of work. And to clarify I do like the rest of the content that this mod adds.​
    I later get introduced to another relative new mod called Modular Power Suits, and while I like the fact that it's modular, it's just not as convenient or satisfying to use as the quantum suit. The quantum suit is expensive, or rather it requires a lot of infrastructure to make. One way I'd say to attract users is to add items that instead of keeping a balance, tips the balance over to it's own side, making it seem "better", while it may cast a shadow over things that may gameplay wise is better and more satisfying. While it may have some nice features like integrated tools added by other mods, it's cheap and doesn't encourage me to set up a mass fab like the quantum suit does. It doesn't have same movement as I prefer in IC2. Then there's again that thing about MJ-EU integration that bothers me a bit, id rather see it integrate one type of power possibly decided by a config option. I decided I didn't quite like this mod when I tried it myself in singleplayer.​
    And this doesn't say that I'm insulting any mod authors, I'm just saying some should consider the balance and interaction with other mods when they're adding new content. That's my opinion at least.​
    To clarify and sum everything up, this is pretty much what I'd expect from an item:​
    • The item should be balanced in comparison to existing similar items added by other know mods, for example balanced around setup complexity (I'm thinking how factorization handles the balance of the tripling functionality), price and required infrastructure that's required to use the item (IE how much work a quantum suit or redstone cube takes to make). Different tiers, or maybe the item could be restricted to dungeon chests and Etc.​
    • It should be stable.​
    • It should be efficient in terms of computer power.​
    • It should be different from what other similar items added by other mods, IE how TE handles processed items or generated liquids. Why have two different mods have a block each doing exactly the same?​
      • A good exception to this is to have items improving that mod, for when it's played with no other mods or very few. IE have some kind of ore doubling method.​
    By the time you have read all above you might have asked yourself "Why doesn't he just avoid using that item?" and "Why does he even complain about this?". Well for the first question I'd say it kind of bothers me while I'm playing on online servers, especially when working in the same workspace as others, because I can't justify why they shouldn't use xxx item while they intend to use that item. It also bothers me that some authors may take these wrong steps of making their mod super powerful in comparison, in order to try convincing people that this is just better and more powerful. As for that other question that I just made up, I really like to get my opinion out here, this opinion is starting to feel contained for too long, although I just started to go into the depth of why I dislike some of the content out there. This is a very controversial topic I'm presenting for you here and I'd not want it devolve into something that better should be locked, like the countless gregtech threads, that's just an example of what happens to controversial topics. With that said I encourage you to keep this thread clean, feel free to post here, but there's no need to insult me or anyone else for that sake. I'd encourage you to share your own opinion too about this topic. This topic is getting long so I hope I covered everything in proper English.​
    Eyamaz, CovertJaguar and ff255away like this.
  2. SpitefulFox

    SpitefulFox Forum Addict Mod Developer

    Well, that's cool. Your opinion is completely valid and I respect that. It's good to have free exchange of ideas and opinions without having to deal with bullying or censorshi-

    You're wrong, and this thread is terrible.
  3. Vauthil

    Vauthil Professional Lurker Retired Staff

    Leave the moderation to the moderators, thank you. If you want to use a forum as a soapbox for providing your opinion, you have to be willing to accept that other people have opinions and that they'll share them too. If you want full control of the flow of discussion, I suggest acquiring a blog and moderating the comments yourself. Moderation staff isn't here to make sure you have a platform to give speeches without dissent.

    That said...
    Knock it off. This is not at all constructive, even as a sardonic jab. frederikam kept his commentary non-personal, I expect people replying to as well.
    Delnaga, Flipz, casilleroatr and 3 others like this.
  4. NTaylor

    NTaylor Active Member

    I would like to start by pointing out that you named more mods you consider innovative than that you dont in your post, that is just something I noticed. (Also that you named NEI as innovative when in reality it was designed as a 'better' TMI/Recipebook combining the features of the two)

    As response to what you actually said, innovation is kinda hard. Coming up with a completely new concept in the slew of mods that exists is difficult which puts us sort of in the situation that you describe. For every mod that adds a new feature seven more will exist that already have something similar.

    Occasionally we do get something new that brings some nice things to the table, Thaumcraft can quite nicely fall into that category for instance but coming up with something like that is not at all something that happens overnight.

    However after saying that most mods don't have many innovative features part of the trade off there is that part of the reason they are required to copy a few features from other mods is that them features are then used to reach the new innovative features that the mod in particular adds. Thermal expansion for instance added its way of storing and transporting MJ around but while sitting in the middle of a hundred other mods it kinda required its ore processing stuff to allow you to get onto its tech tree. On top of that if thermal expansion had not added its ore processing method because IC2 had something that does that, then you would realistically require IC2 in place to get yourself enough ingots and such to fully utilise thermal expansion, but what about the people that dont want to play with IC2 that kinda limits what they can do if every mod were to only try to innovate as they would miss out on features because only one mod would have them.

    As for what you said about MPS I kinda agree a little but the tradeoff is meant to be you overclock it a ton then it costs a lot of power. Though you dont often see that especially when you play like I do and dont make an MPS suit till I can afford the HV capacitor for an elite battery.
  5. SpitefulFox

    SpitefulFox Forum Addict Mod Developer

    You're right. I apologize for hypocritically introducing my own brand of bullying to the mix.

    As for a legitimate response,

    As a whole, a lot of tech mods do definitely seem very homogenized. You see one Ore Doubler or power furnace, you've pretty much seen them all.

    On the other hand, it's hasty to only look at a mod in the context of a modpack or in comparison to other mods. Unless a mod is specifically written to rely on another mod's API, it's very likely a mod will be written first to stand on its own as a whole, complete mod, and then secondarily to mesh with other mods in a modpack. Thermal Expansion may feel like "the other IC2" if you compare the two or assume they'll both be in the same modpack together, but if you look at the mod as a whole, you'll see how it's all written to be completely self-sufficient even when other mods are not present. Same goes for any other mod adding an ore doubler. They have a specific vision for how their mod works, and if that vision includes lots and lots of ingots, they're probably going to want an ore doubler. It's better to bring your own to the mix instead of expecting players to have access to IC2.

    This seems like kind of a random unrelated pot shot. What does the balance of MPS have to do with innovation? o_O

    Anyways, I do agree that innovation in mods is nice. Minecraft is all about being able to do whatever you want, and more things to do are always nice. :)
  6. Belone

    Belone Active Member

    I'm afraid I'm forced to disagree with you frederikam, at a rather fundamental level. I don't see two mods having similar features as non-innovative. (A real world example that just jumped to mind are pyramids, the Mayans and Egyptians - as well as several other cultures, but we'll keep it simple - both built pyramids, you wouldn't describe either of those cultures as non-innovative would you? OK they may never have met and not known what the other culture was doing but still...)

    I think mods having similar features is a good thing, it gives us more choice. I personally have dropped IC2's 1.5.2 version from my server and server modpack because I don't feel it's necessary and I have choices over other methods of ore processing. I may pick it up again in 1.6.2 as some of the new features look interesting though.

    However an important reason I would use a mod and include it on my server is that it (even if it's features are available in other mods) it does other some unique features. Take Forestry and MineFactoryReloaded as examples, based on your argument you would say these two aren't innovative since they both have auto-farming, however I wouldn't exclude either from my server since Forestry adds bees and trees, whilst MFR adds a brilliant auto-animal breeding system. Whereas whilst stalking the TechnicPack forums I happened upon a mod that is basically Soul Shards with different recipes, I had a play with it but decided against adding it since it didn't actually add anything new (as far as I could see).

    I realise my point is very disjointed and oft-times contradictory, so I'll offer a conclusion. Mods that add nothing new at all, I agree are non-innovative, mod's that have similar features but add whole new elements (such as both TE and MPS which you named) are innovative and should not be discouraged.
    Whovian, frederikam and SpitefulFox like this.
  7. Hydra

    Hydra Popular Member

    So you don't like some mods and because of your dislike they're suddenly not "innovative"? That kinda disquualifies yourself from having a nice objective discussion now doesn't it? It's basically a rant against a couple of mods. Well, if you don't like them, don't bloody use them! And just like your "What if every mod had a Gregtech version?" topic you seem just to be out trolling for attention.
  8. Vauthil

    Vauthil Professional Lurker Retired Staff

    Injecting my opinion here.

    I think you're making an error in qualifying "innovation" as a single-axis value along the lines of "does it add new stuff?". Thermal Expansion is an excellent example of how this viewpoint is a tad myopic: while many functions in Thermal Expansion machines could be said to be duplicates of functions found in predecessor mods, they do it better at the very least by the subjective value of superior use of computing resources.

    The obvious analog mod to compare with here is IC2, so let's look at that: yes, IC2 did a lot of this stuff itself a long time before TE came along. However, let's look at the reality of it: IC2 has been essentially coasting for a long period of time, patching up stuff to a point of nominal compatibility with new Minecraft releases (and I say nominal to qualify things like the fact that I haven't reliably heard an IC2 sound since Minecraft 1.2.5, although "error in channel method 'stop'" has burned many megabytes of console logs in a valiant attempt at trying anyway). The already computationally expensive EnergyNet has progressively gotten less reliable and more console log spammy as it announces that even some of IC2's own machines don't use the calls properly.

    Thermal Expansion not only introduced the machines, but it introduced methods to run that don't require you hook your computer to a nuclear pump station to adequately cool it. It introduced automatic item movement that doesn't require me to already have an assembly table going or otherwise dump redstone engines everywhere (or, if you prefer, Redpower2 filters and suchnot, another culprit of resource issues). Redstone conduit allowed me to run a sprawled MJ-powered industrial complex without flipping out over the quirks of BC energy pipes (at the time another computationally expensive item to run) or messing with all the up-stepping and down-stepping of voltages it would take to efficiently run such a setup with IC2. I don't grudge the use of MJ anyway, after all, would you have preferred yet another esoteric energy number to track alongside MJs, EUs, Factorization Charge, and Blutricity? MJs were open to use, the others aren't options.

    While TE wasn't crazily ambitious with the "add new shinies" aspect of innovation, here's where it innovated:
    • It showed that you can develop server-friendly devices and machine code (besides machines themselves, remember conduits and liquiducts). Look at the new generation of mods that tap into that idea and tell me it doesn't have an impact.
    • It innovated in the little details. Colored side auto-pull/auto-eject input/output. Redstone control for each machine right there in the GUI. Crafting recipes that require infrastructure that doesn't just boil down to "make complex items and smash them together".
    If that isn't innovation, then well and truly your definition of innovation is "give me more shiny at whatever cost". If you want a mod ecosystem where people get to rush a mound and claim it as "their" territory and then let it fall apart when their interest has waned in maintaining it, to the detriment of everybody wanting to just play the game, then making that the measure of innovative activity is the way to go about it. I personally reject that definition, though. I would remind you that the Latin root from which "innovation" and "innovative" comes is innovatio, which means renewal or alteration. The very core of innovation is improvement, not mere inventiveness.
    Whovian, Dex Luther, Eyamaz and 12 others like this.
  9. frederikam

    frederikam Well-Known Member

    Thanks, the reason I made this thread was because I wanted to be heard without having to deal with bad pointless discussions. At first i was really worried how the forum would take this thread at first.

    What I was trying to say that I don't want this thread to devolve into a lame discussion thread where people trow arguments back and forth for no reason, and in the end the thread just get locked.
    Yeah I forgot that NEI's concept was based somewhat on TMI's- and RecipeBook's concept, yet NEI still makes something quite unique. And I agree with that mods should add their own way of standing alone, like have some kind of ore doubling process (like in Thaumcraft). Another example is that TE is aiming at balancing ore gen at itself without any mods using the forge lexicon. But what I'm talking about is more directed at the more complete FTB packs.
    Again I like how most mods are made to be able to stand on itself, but again I'm talking more directed on the FTB content. What mod would be complete without an ore doubler? But the thing is you could make a maintain-less ore quadrupler for the silly price at some stone and wood. It'd be overpowered and cheap and in that aspect it's better. But would this be any fun to play with? I doubt it. That's how I think MPS changes FTB in a negative way.

    You get a good point with that soulshards mod that doesn't add anything new. And again I'd have to use the same example as I just explained SpitefulFox, that with the cheap quadrupler.

    I must say here that I'm not out for attention, clearly I just wanted to get my opinion out! And I know I could just step away or entirely disable a mod or it's content, but it still bothers me that it's there, and it seems like mod developers are taking a step in the wrong direction. I'd rather have more content that I'd actually use. If I was out for trolling people I would have just made one of those Gregtech discussions by myself instead of writing a long screed!

    I may have failed getting my point out in my initial post. My point is not that every aspect of a mod should be unique. My point is, that what players really need (in my opinion) is new stuff, that's either follows an entirely new concept or gameplay mechanic. Items that keeps itself balanced with everything else, items that's not a better choice just because it's "overpowered" compared to what already exists in the modding community. As a human, I can feel the need to take the most powerful item despite the fact that's it's not as satisfying to use in the end, compared to that other thing that I'd much rather want but is less powerful. For instance the pulverizer produces extra material, where the macerator is more satisfying for me to use. In the end satisfaction is all that matters.

    When it comes to the how I think EU and MJ should interact, an entirely new type of energy would have been nice, considering that you can't convert it to EU or MJ. That'd solve one of my complaints, yet it feels like a lot of work over the fact that TE already has introduced a new type of cable for MJ. When it comes to the rest of TE I'm pretty much satisfied with that content. When it comes to conduits and cubes they are balanced, require some infrastructure to make (Which is good, that encourages me to make things besides a crafting table) and it's only a little more powerful than the buildcraft conduits, because of less energy waste over distance, which to me is a minor detail.

    Your point about the meaning of the word "innovation" is good, I looked it up myself and I can only agree with you, although it still covers point pretty good. To sum everything up, what I want from an item is:

    1. The item either does something different in comparison to similar items, or comes up with a new concept.
    2. The item is balanced, either balanced by complexity (like with that Factorization is doing with tripling ores), cost and/or required existing infrastructure (above mentioned quantum suit and redstone conduits and -cubes).
    3. The item is stable. This one is very obvious.
    This post got a bit long with those quotes, I snipped most of them.
  10. Hydra

    Hydra Popular Member

    The problem is that because of your opinion you attach certain definitions onto mods which are simply rediculous. Just that you're accusing TE for not being innovative is completely rediculous. Just because it added a BC version of the macerator and furnace it's not innovative? Because it didn't add a ton of different machines, a BC power net that actually works well, a liquid piping system that actually works well, configurable inputs/outputs on machines, machines handling liquid input/output, solutions to lag inducing cobblegens, nether pumps, smart engines, BC storage and cross dimensional transportation of items, liquids and power?

    I think calling Thermal Expansion uninnovative is just insulting to the mod maker. He's incredibly talented, incredibly friendly and also the first mod author who understands the need for mods to be friendly on server CPU usage. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but in this case I think you're better off not sharing it with anyone.
    russjr08, SonOfABirch and Skyqula like this.
  11. Mero

    Mero Active Member

    Here is my Opinion on this subject.

    I don't like IC2. The only machine that I have any use whatsoever for is the macerator. Sure you could say but what about the powered furnace to cook all the macerated ores you just made. Well, I can just as easily make charcoal from the tons and tons of logs I will be cutting down or running in a forestry farm. Powered furnace really isn't necessary.

    I don't and have no desire to use anything out of IC2. I have done it before and none of it interests me at all.

    Why should I be forced to use IC2 and it completely separate and useless power system, to me, when it can be done with power that I can and will use for every other Mod that I USE.

    Other than the pulverizer replacing the macerator, I don't use anything that duplicates anything in IC2.

    Why should I be forced to use a Mod that offers nothing to me?
  12. frederikam

    frederikam Well-Known Member

    I'm trying to stay that it pretty much broke the balance between EU and MJ. You'd want to do one thing with one type and something else with the other type. And I'm not even mentioning all other content! I'm only mentioning two blocks, What I said was directed at these two blocks only, which was available at that time.

    And this is just an opinion, I'm not trying to insult anyone here! You're telling me that I should not share my opinion, that'd make sense if it was total whiny and invalid. It's not. I'm fine with you sharing your opinion, but I personally feel insulted by this. I mentioned in the bottom of the initial post that I was trying to insult anyone here. Again I'm just trying to get my opinion out after several months of playing with some of the latest mods.

    Also I should correct you that TE is made of a team, not a single man. More precisely KingLemming, Zeldo and Cynycal.

    You shouldn't. That's up to you. That's your opinion and that's absolutely welcome here.
  13. Greevir

    Greevir Well-Known Member

    You're not "forced" to use any mod.... Why can people not understand this?
    russjr08 and frederikam like this.
  14. NTaylor

    NTaylor Active Member

    He is not saying anyone is forcing him to use IC2 currently but he is saying that if all mods simply stuck to adding 'innovative' new things that no other mod had done he would somewhat be forced to use IC2 for its ore processing and armour features as that would not exist in any other mods when he doesnt like that in particular. That is a point that is completely valid and fits within the constraints of this discusion... that is if I'm correct as to what he means that is just how I understood it.

    Probably interest you to know that the 1.6.2 branch of IC2 has brought quite a few changes to a lot of the way it does things including some new ore processing methods so you may wish to take a look at that.
  15. Mero

    Mero Active Member

    Then what is the issue with other mods adding in similar functions? Why should only one mod have a single function and no other mod should have it.

    Why shouldn't there be a MJ equivalent of the macerator?

    Except for the armor part. I don't like the quantum armor or any of the equivalent. Simple enchanted diamond armor is more than enough for me.

    I really won't use anything from IC2 except for the macerator and I don't because I have options with the power system I actually do use.
  16. ShneekeyTheLost

    ShneekeyTheLost Too Much Free Time

    I'm going to have to go with Vauthil... Thermal Expansion was enormously innovative. It just wasn't in a direction you immediately recognize.

    One of the most subtle, and in my opinion, most valuable innovations that Thermal Expansion brought is computer resource optimization. The mod is lean and mean, it does so much, but it doesn't introduce lag. It is far less laggy than any of the alternatives available, and is enormously useful to a server. Likewise, machines like the Aqueous Accumulator perform the function of something like a Pump with 4x Redstone Engines (at roughly the same cost) over an infinite water source, but does so with far less strain on the computer because you don't have to keep calculating the water flowing/source block every time it pumps, and it also a lot more stable in case server lag causes multiple water source blocks to be sucked up and you no longer have an infinite water supply, which has historically caused all kinds of troubles (DW20 season 3 had all his power generation blow up because this happened to his pumps providing water to his combustion engines on more than one occasion).

    The second is less subtle, and I'm honestly surprised you didn't catch this one: it's the customization tab, and the ability for machines to 'pass off' to one another without needing pipes between them. This provides amazingly compact designs with zero pipes at all. For that matter, simply being able to output directly to an inventory is a massive headache-saver. I could only wish other mods would realize this and take up the torch. Well, Mekanism has, sort of, at least as far as customization of which side translates to which slot, with the Configurator.

    While we are at it, the redstone tab is another wonderful gem. Ever had a compact build that you had troubles with because one item needed a redstone signal to function, but that same redstone signal also shut something else off? I remember back in the beta days with IC2 myself, and I remember how many times my MFE/MFSU/LV Transformer got shut off when I tried to apply a redstone signal to my Induction Furnace. This is exceedingly frustrating, and really hampers compact builds. Again to the rescue, you can simply tell a machine to either invert what the signal means or just ignore a signal all together and just keep on plugging regardless of redstone signal or lack thereof. This is doubly amazing on the engines, particularly the early-tier engines that are going to be throttled by providing fuel, and you'll just want them running whenever they have fuel rather than also needing a redstone signal.

    Also, if the only thing you are using your Modular Powersuit for is emulating a Gravisuit... you are failing to utilize 99% of the mod's content. It isn't the mod's fault you aren't utilizing the content already there. Also, expense changed greatly over time, I think you were using an earlier version, because those recipes got a lot more expensive. There were options for TE equivelant recipes and even GregTech compatible recipes which were VASTLY more expensive than Gravisuit for the same functionality. However you clearly missed all the other utility the suits provided. Honestly, I never did build the jet packs or the flight control circuit. I was too busy with everything else you could do with it.

    By contrast, ComputerCraft is not very innovative in my opinion. It's simply opening up a LUA shell within Java. Exceedingly boring. Okay, fine, you can crash your computer by setting up a Grey Ooze scenario with self replicating nanobots turtles. But that doesn't make it entertaining.
    Lord Wumbo, Whovian and Skyqula like this.
  17. WTFFFS

    WTFFFS Well-Known Member

    Thermal expansion has a block generator that was the main reason I used it in the 1.2.5 era, the Glacial Precipitator no other mod I have found allows you to make block ice. The magma crucible is one of very few lava generators, the only other current ones I can think of are the MFR lava Fab and Forestry bees both of which work on completely different principles in 1.2.5 you could add the condensor from EE2.

    The only machine I missed from IC2 in my last world which was sans IC2 for quite a while and I missed this machine enough to actually put IC2 in was the Induction Furnace currently nothing provides smelting at that speed (EnderIO Furnace maybe but I have only just started looking at that mod and for innovation check it out accessing any machines GUI from within render distance with 2 items, hows that for innovation but it also does liquid\power\redstone transfer\lighting so i guess by your definition it isn't innovative at all)

    MPS yup once fully upgraded you are a god no two ways about it, but fully upgraded is also not that resource friendly with TE recipes it's doable with gregtech fuck right off by the time you can you won't bother or you will just because you can.
  18. Hydra

    Hydra Popular Member

    Why? You're not making any sense. Why would EU have to be used for something else than MJ? It's both an energy system. What you actually use the energy for is not relevant.

    You're making no sense whatsoever. So now it's just two blocks that are not "innovative" while the whole rest of the mod is? Some wierd definition of innovative you have. In your book a mod is innovative if it only adds stuff that has never ever been done before? Good luck with that!
  19. King Lemming

    King Lemming Thermal Expansion Dev FTB Mod Dev

    Sorry that those machines bugged you a bit, although even the very first iteration of TE had 8 machines. At the time, the Pulverizer didn't even double ore - that's what the Smelter was for. That didn't change until TE 2.0.

    I'm not sure when exactly you picked the mod up, but when I started writing TE, a large part of the goal was to get people using MJ again. There wasn't any impetus to compete with IC2, ore doubling is just sort of a necessary thing unless you want to make your world gen ridiculous.
  20. Malexion

    Malexion Active Member

    You pretty much accomplished that goal, though a faster version of a furnace/pulverizer hybrid, multi-block or otherwise would always be appreciated ;)

    There was also a mod out there that let you generate MJ from damming up a river, its not really outside the box but it was something different for a change.

    Edit: Emasher's Engineer's Toolbox had that block.

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