If Minecraft has gotten too easy for you, the gigantic Thermal Expansion mod by KingLemmingCoFH will make it feel less like a game and more like an engineering class. Thermal Expansion adds the concept of energy to the Minecraft world as well as eleven machines, new transport pathways, and tesseracts which are essentially teleporters.
Unless you’ve seen this mod before, prepare to be confused.
Energy is now a tangible component in Minecraft that can be stored in stationary or portable tanks and transported through pipes. Power, or Minecraft Joules (MJ), is created through the burning of solid fuels and water in a steam engine or lava in a magmatic engine. Both can overheat if enough energy is not being consumed, but it’s more likely with a magmatic engine because it produces energy twice as fast.
MJ are then used to power various new machines to manipulate items through different energy states (metal ores pulverized into dust, building blocks melted into lava, or lava into water and rock to name a few). These machine essentially apply energy to build up or break down items into their component parts, which can be used again for different crafting projects. The real challenge lies in arranging the equipment so everything runs smoothly without making your engines explode.
Tesseracts were also recently included and they function as teleport devices with the ability to send items, liquids, and energy over a frequency to a uniquely tuned receiving block. This allows the player to move massive quantities of material completely across a world for large scale projects. While liquids and items are transferred point for point, energy transfer suffers a 25% loss between tesseracts.
Thermal Expansion is the perfect mod to manipulate all the material at your disposal to create some truly intricate systems of resource control. One its own, this mod gives you the power of real-world machines to change the states of matter of your materials. When combined with Buildcraft mods, it is possible to create giant automatic mining machines that dig out large quarries of terrain all the way down to bedrock.
Despite its complexity, the Thermal Expansion mod is one of the most useful additions to the Minecraft world. While its probably easiest to use this mod in creative mod, some truly daunting possibilities lay in wait for a multiplayer survival experience.