There are a lot of fun things to do in vanilla Minecraft, such as setting up farms for useful materials and then automating them. Engineering and tech mods take it many steps further, adding new types of power, circuitry, futuristic technology, and more efficient automation.
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Some of these mods add huge systems and factories that will overhaul every aspect of the game, whereas others simply make the vanilla game more fun and efficient. From nuclear factories to what is essentially the internet, however much you want to delve into engineering, there's a mod for it.
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10/10 Refined Storage
Late-game players may rely on an Enderchest full of Shulker Boxes to store their most used and precious possessions, but what if you didn't need to ransack the End to gain access to this level of storage? Refined Storage offers early to mid-game players a huge network of storage that can be opened up anywhere in the world. The player can craft Disc Drives, Grids, and Controllers to connect chests to one another while storing away thousands of items.
It can even be used as a built-in item sorter, with prioritized items being put onto certain Discs first. For use around your base Cables can be crafted to connect all of this together, but over long distances Network Transmitters and Receivers mean all your possessions are right in your pocket.
9/10 Tinker's Construct
This mod is part of a lot of larger modpacks as it offers so much customization without impeding the rest of the gameplay. Tinker's Construct introduces loads of new ores and other materials which can be smelted in the added furnace. Casts can be created, stenciling heads of tools and handles, meaning players can mix and match parts to create their ultimate tool set.
Each material comes with its own traits, both positive and negative, such as Pigiron which can drop Bacon when the tool is used, or Blue Slime which can spawn Slimes. There's even an optional Boss, the King Slime, which has a chance to spawn on the floating slime islands that litter the skies.
8/10 Applied Energistics 2
Applied Energistics 2 is an expensive mod in terms of in-game items such as Gold, Redstone, and Diamonds. You will also need to devote a lot of time to mining meteors to uncover Skystone Chests, which hold four Presses, each required to craft the Circuits you'll need. Eventually, after a lot of resource gathering, you'll have access to machines that will not only sort and store thousands of items, but can even be programmed to automatically craft entire factories using them.
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That's right, once you've done the initial legwork, Applied Energistics 2 will take it from there, even working well with other mods that introduce other new items to cook your meals, and Thaumaturge your crystals. You'll need to be ready to take a small course on coding and wiring a computer, as you'll basically be living within the circuitry.
7/10 Red Power 2
There are four basic modules to this tech mod, each offering different kinds of engineering. The Core module is necessary to play any of the others, as it introduces a lot of the blocks including Alloy Furnaces. There is a Digital module that furthers the vanilla Redstone, allowing much more elaborate construction involving Redstone signals. This includes one-block logic circuits for those that are already versed in coding.
Engineering doesn't just apply to machines, as Red Power 2 demonstrates with bioengineering. Your crops will benefit from the work you put into their regulated environment, and more sorting systems will make food storage easy. With this mod, you can improve the output of literal volcanoes, because relying on fossil fuel is so last century.
6/10 Thermal Expansion
The Thermal Series is a set of mods built upon the original Thermal Foundation mod, which adds ores and machines that are necessary to the rest of the pack. Thermal Expansion is the main mod that works off of the Foundation, allowing the production of energy in the form of Redstone Flux. A lot of this mod involves automating processes, such as incredible crop production while retaining fertilizer, creating potent potions, and it will even pick up items after itself, keeping the factory floor tidy.
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What makes Thermal Expansion different from the rest is how easy it is to get into from a new world. There are tiers to each machine, like Pickaxes, and as you progress naturally through the world, higher tiers with more perks become available. The Redstone Flux energy can be used to power items in your inventory too, wirelessly charging your gadgets.
5/10 GregTech 6
Rather than simply adding in some ores and overpowered tools, GregTech goes many steps further, completely overhauling vanilla Minecraft. This mod changes textures and recipes, and adds quality of life fixes to improve the overall Minecraft experience. Similarly to the Thermal series, GregTech has a tiered system of Ages, starting from foraging and leading up to electricity.
The later stages aren't for the faint-hearted, as GregTech goes into pretty advanced Geochemistry, relying on real-life processes including Presulfate Washing and Magnetic Separation. Being a farmer isn't any simpler, as Bioengineering allows you to create new seeds and hybridize them.
4/10 Industrial Craft 2
What's the point in bringing Minecraft to the Industrial Age if you can't have a jetpack? Industrial Craft has got you covered, with a range of jetpacks that even come with added benefits like recharging your power tools or shooting pellets from the sky. Other super cool gadgets include Night vision Goggles and Hazmat Suits which, when put together, protect against all environmental dangers.
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Alongside run-of-the-mill automation, Industrial Craft 2 has added a little robot to do all your mining for you, able to distinguish between blocks and dispense the ones you asked for into an item sorting system. There are even eight different ways of naturally generating power (such as solar and thermoelectric), as well as teleportation pads for you and other mobs. Good thing this mod has coffee and beer so you can sit back, relax, and watch your industrial revolution do the work.
One of the best put-together mods is Mekanism. From its accessible tiered systems of technology to its robotic pet companion, Robit, Mekanism makes getting into technology in Minecraft a breeze. The main crafting GUI you'll need to make is the Metallurgic Infuser, and from there the recipes for various machines are pretty straightforward. It does bring realism into the game, requiring you to deal with atoms and gases, but in a way that won't melt your brain in the process.
Some of the awesome machines that can be built include SCUBA suits, Atomic Disassemblers, Walkie Talkies, and more Jetpacks. Machines work together best in factory-like configurations, encouraging players to create warehouses of their own design. Also, Robit will pick your stuff up for you, and can be used as a Furnace and Crafting Bench!
2/10 Immersive Engineering
It's always reassuring when there's a manual and a big hammer when starting something new, and that's exactly what Immersive Engineering has. The Engineer's Manual is there to walk you through the machinery and cool toys that await you. The hammer is useful for configuring groups of machines and forming multiblocks. If you feel like you need a bit more support, there are a group of new villagers with useful loot and trades ready.
The mod is easy to access regardless of when you get into it, with different levels of complexity and power to work through. Some end-game objectives to grind out include a working Revolver, as well as a Gun Turret and Chemthrower Tower, for when you really don't want any visitors!
1/10 Ender IO
Ender IO is a technology mod with a little bit of magic sprinkled in, or whatever it is that powers the End. A lot of the draw of this mod is inspired by Endermen, teleporting items, players, and mobs across dimensions. Aside from automating a lot of processes and smelting news ores, Ender IO also adds Obelisks, each with a unique ability such as storing large quantities of experience, or disabling teleportation in an area.
Other unique additions within this tech mod are Powered Spawners, to make farming enemies and their loot incredibly efficient, as well as new potion effects, Epic Squid and Wither Cats.
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