extrabiomesxl – add-ons and mod focus

The following is cross-posted from my original post at the EBXL dev blog.

We’re kind of awash with ideas and plans here at EBXL headquarters. And it’s getting to be a problem. See… we want to provide all of these features, but in so doing we risk damaging the focus of the mod. Eventually every large mod has to choose whether or not to stick to their original plan or go the kitchen sink route and start implementing tangential features that stray further and further from the core.

My strawberries are a good example of this dangerous border territory.

Is it appropriate for a biome mod to provide decorative flowering plants? Of course. Is it appropriate for those plants to also be useful? Absolutely. But how useful? How many systems can they provide before those systems start to get in the way of what was previously largely aesthetic?

It doesn’t make sense not to provide edible plants here and there… but it also doesn’t make sense to inundate the player with 30 new types of fruit and a system for mixing custom beverages out of them. Strawberries themselves are appropriate for inclusion in the mod, but certain features that I wanted to implement with them were not.

But I AM going to write those features. And I’m going to write lettuce, onions, and tomatoes too… I’m just not putting them all in EBXL Core.

When we release our 1.7.x build of the mod, we will be introducing the concept of official EBXL add-ons. These will be mods developed by the team that implement things that we want to see but also realize that some people may not – so we aren’t going to force them on you. The main mod will continue to provide all of the functionality that it traditionally has – but it will also serve as a launching point for any add-on mods that we release.

In general, these add-on mods will be released separately from the main mod, and should maintain compatibility with a number of EBXL Core versions. Add-ons will also typically increase the complexity and difficulty level of the world in various ways.

Right now, we have 2 submods that we’re talking about implementing – with numerous other ideas that haven’t quite yet been categorized.

Farming Add-on

The first add-on we will release is (for lack of a better name) EBXL Farming. It will eventually grow to be a fully featured food mod with interesting crops and even more interesting ways to use them.

Strawberries will remain in Core, and we will be joined by a handful of other edible wild plants. They will, however, not be farmable. So I will be nerfing Core’s wild strawberry plants and removing the seed recipe. Seeds and reliably renewable sources of custom food will go into the add-on. The add-on will also be adding a lot more edible plants that don’t fit in the main mod.

Similarly, the chocolate recipe will remain in Core. It’s honestly something that Mojang should have implemented themselves in vanilla. But since they didn’t, we’ll provide the recipe ourselves out of all vanilla components. And we’ll continue to provide a recipe for chocolate covered strawberries. But those recipes will just use the vanilla 3×3 crafting grid.

The add-on will introduce new cooking mechanics. This means new machines/tools/etc… that are outside of the scope of the main mod. If you install the add-on, it will optionally disable any vanilla-style cooking recipes that we add to Core in favor of more interesting ones.

If it sounds like I’m being vague, well… maybe I am. The full scope of the farming mod is just a bit too big for this post. I’ll go into more detail when the time comes. But one other thing I will mention is that you won’t need to run electrical wires from a generator in order to can your strawberry jam. Our machines will remain relatively low tech – no plugs involved.

Fantasy Add-on

The second add-on will be EBXL Fantasy (also for lack of a better name). This is were biomes that don’t exist in the real world will go. Like the old Forgotten Nature (Trees++) crystal forest. We’ve not forgotten about it, but crystal trees just don’t fit in a mod that tries to base everything on reality.

I have no clue what else might eventually actually go into this add-on, but we’ve got a laundry list of features that may change the behaviors of existing biomes. Like wasteland. Something will probably happen to it in the fantasy add-on. Probably.

If all goes well, the farming add-on will ship its first public build within hours (or days – but not weeks) of our public 1.7 release candidate. Fantasy is still way out there – we are still just in the planning phase there.

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