In this post, I will give some pointers how you can make a skyblock modpack/game yourself.
I will use the classical SkyBlock map for basics, it is a very basic map with few dirt and few sand block, two chest, and one bedrock. It sounds great, well? Also this article tells you about playing under Minecraft 1.7.10 and only with that. I will describe some mechanics too what is mostly works with older/newer versions of the game but mods that I describe is choosed from 1.7.10 modpacks.
Anatomy of the skyblock
The first thing what we have to consider is SkyBlock is not prepared to provide a modded Minecraft experience. It is a vanilla skyblock survival map without any support for creating non-vanilla items or blocks. Both Overworld and Nether are an empty dimensions, Nether will spawn a Nether portal if you reach it, but that’s all. What does it means?
- We do not have any worldgen. And under worldgen I not only mention just ores, minerals and special soil blocks (podzol, mycelium, etc.) but flowers, trees, dungeons, and some other things.
- We do not have any mobs. Nor hostile, nor passive mobs. Vanilla mobs are mostly spawnable, they can spawn automatically if neccessary environment is provided or they’re “craftable”, so you can spawn them manually (like wither).
- Because the points above, we have a very limited possibility to access mod-provided things. Mods that using vanilla metals and minerals are usable (except valuable things like diamond, emerald, glowstone and redstone) but nothing else. Also we have a very limited access to mod-provided mobs, especially if they’re not spawn naturally but generated during the world generation (like Witchery’s Coven Witches, villagers, etc.)
In the following points, I will describe how can we break out from these restrictions with few, well-choiced mods.
Enhanced vanilla experience
Some people does not want much more than vanilla can provide. They’re happy with killing zombies and creepers, growing plants for food, growing trees for building.
However, skyblock maps have some limits what can affect the fun of the game. First thing is the old respawning bug with SkyBlock map.
If you do not play under Hardcore, and die on the SkyBlock, the respawning could be tricky, because you have a big chance to spawn above the void as the starting dirt island is very-very small and game may or may not able to find it.
The mod I recommend you to solve it is the AdminCommandsToolbox. It provides a small set of commands to help you in working with normal maps but we install it only for one command: /setspawn. We can pass a block-based coordinate for this command (that you can see in F3 screen) to set your spawn point regardless you have or do not have a bed. With this command you can avoid the “falling loop” and you can spawn exactly where you set your spawnpoint. As I know it does not override the mechanic how beds are working but if your bed is vanishes/breaks, you’ll spawn on the specified point.
The second thing can frustrate you is the very basic abilities of vanilla to work with inventories. If you already played with some modpacks you may love how you can collect things from crafting tables, how to pick/put items one-by-one from/into inventories or just sorting the content of your chests.
The mod what is powerful enough to provide these functions is the InventoryTweaks. In skyblock maps, I recommend you to turn on the function what provides items automatically to your hand, for example replaces broken pickaxes with a new one. The config file is describes how you can do it but as I know the default setting is ‘on’.
The last thing is the recipes. There is a very few people who can remember all recipes, including vanilla ones if they’re not used in everyday. For example, can you recite how boosted tracks or dropper can be made without checking it in the wiki?
There is two mods what can provide a help you, the NotEnoughItems and the TooManyItems. These mods provides a sidebar at right side of the inventory screens there you can browse all existing items/blocks in the game and you can check their recipes (NEI also provides a way to check usage of the item in other recipes).
If you want a vanilla experience, you can choose any of them. Both NEI and TMI can serve the vanilla recipes effectively, so the choice is depends only on your taste.
However, if you want include other mods into the game, I strongly recommend you to use NEI. It became an industrial standard in modded Minecraft world, most mods (if not all) provides multiple different integration with NEI.
Keep in your mind, NEI requires CodeChickenCore mod, do not try use NEI without that.
In this section I recommend mods that mostly do not require materials which is not obtainable in the vanilla skyblock.
If you want more foods than available in vanilla Minecraft, I recommend you to try out Pam’s Harvestcraft, especially with Spice of Life. The former provides a much more plantable food sources (seeds are obtainable via bonemealing grass block and punching tall grass) with some enhanced processing mechanic, the latter one enforces you to eat different foods via drastically decreasing the saturation of the overused foods.
The only thing you can not use in skyblock is the soybean because it requires a presser for getting tofu, and presser is built from two pistons. The redstone dust is unobtainable or very hard to obtain in skyblock (witches can drop it, but there is a very small chance to spawn witch in a non-swamp and non-magical biome). However, all other tools are made from iron, wood and stone, so it’s very easy to craft/use them. It also does not use gold, so you do not enforced to travel to the Nether if you do not like it.
The last mod in this section I recommend is the Chisel mod. One stick and one iron and you can make very beatiful buildings from cobblestone and oak planks. Definitely worth it!
For modded experience the first problem we face with is lacking modded metals and minerals. In vanilla skyblock you can obtain iron (from zombies) and gold (from zombie pigmen) and some coal (from wither skeletons), but nothing else. No redstone, no diamond, no emerald. And nothing modded metal, like copper or lead.
There is only one mod to help us: the Ex Nihilo mod. If you played with Agrarian Skies or just watched a video from it, you can remember to the sieve that you can use from obtain ore-like stuffs from sand or gravel, a hammer to make gravel/sand/dust from cobblestone and the small silkworms that can infect leaves to make string obtainable more easier than killing spiders.
Unfortunatly, there is no Ex-Aliquo for 1.7.10 yet, so Thaumcraft integration is really missing, there is no shards available and as I know quicksilver cannot obtained via sifting sand.
As I wrote in the introducion, there is no worldgen in the skyblock. You can now spawn some things manually (mobs, seeds, metals and minerals) but for example Botania flowers are missing, Witchery witches does not spawn naturally, and dungeon loot chests - where you can obtain some uncraftable resources - are completely missing. I encourage you to add some mods that provide Overworld-like dimensions, for example Twilight Forest or some mining worlds, so the mods become able to spawn their worldgen-based stuffs. The best two mod for this task is the Twilight Forest and the Mystcraft. Twilight Forest adds some adventures too, so if you’re bored in harvesting cobblestone or sifting sand, you can jump over to that dimension and kill a Naga or just fight with kobolds for a bite of wheat.
I think nobody assumes how SkyBlock map powerful is and how much possibility are hidden in that. It can keep your interest up with providing different ways to obtain resources than usual. In a void world, you have to plan how you want to build your base, how you can organize your stuffs. It helps you to think out of the boxes where you always close yourself.
Missing quests and quest rewards makes obtaining rare or uncraftable resources
very hard, but with good balancing you can get not only additional dimensions but
additional fun too. Twilight Forest makes it hard enough to provide a way to
enjoy finding valuable resources and keeps you out the boring
“explore mineshaft/kill/loot” cycle. MystCraft worlds are usually hard to live, and if you’re unlucky enough to get some decay in the world, you can run for your life to avoid getting closed in an endless falling cycle.
If you want to try out something really different, try out skyblock worlds. Modded or vanilla - it depends on your taste but I recommend you to give a chance for both. Modded skblock is fun, and most modpacks can run a skyblock map (you only need Ex Nihilo to get additional ores) so you can try out your favorite modpack with a skyblock map.
Only one warning: keep in your mind, most mods and most modpacks are not balanced to live on a skyblock map. If you find it too hard, or do not enjoy finding a way to build things from a limited resources, keep away from skyblock maps because they require strong problem solving abilities.
The most importan thing is enjoy the game and not to suffer from it.
Have a nice game!