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Starting Guide for the first-time TFC player

6 posts in this topic

Well, hello there. I'm assuming that the fact that you are reading this guide means you've probably figured out that there are a *LOT* of differences between vanilla Minecraft and TerraFirmaCraft. Perhaps you've tried once or twice and found yourself frustrated by some of the differences, or perhaps you've seen someone do a Let's Play and realized just how fundamentally different it is before actually trying to play. Either way, TFC is not very forgiving of ignorance, and the last guide I'm aware of was written several versions ago. So I thought I'd take a stab at it and help you survive and thrive in TerraFirmaCraft!


Before we begin, I will be linking extensively to the amazingly designed and updated wiki. I would strongly suggest browsing it before starting your serious playing in TFC. There's just too much information that is valuable that I simply can't cram into a single guide!


Day 1: Scrounging and Shelter


First and foremost, punching trees is no longer effective, so to make your first tools, you will need to pick up sticks and stones. Now, once you have a small pile of rocks, right click with the rocks in hand, and it brings up the Knapping interface. You are going to want the following:


* Axe. This is actually the most critical first-tool to make, because it is necessary to chop down trees. Your axes will wear down pretty fast, so you will want at least a couple.

* Knife. This is used to cut tall grass into straw. It CAN be used to make Thatch, however it isn't nearly as useful as a building material any more since things can walk through it, so it isn't absolutely critical on your first day, but is probably an early tool to use. If you are clever, you can get two knife blades out of a single knapping if you know how.

* Shovel. Your bare hands might be able to break dirt, but that doesn't mean it is the most effective use of your time. This is also needed for Clay, which we will get into at the moment.


These are your beginner's tools that you will be using for the immediate future.


Now, one of the major differences between TFC and Vanilla is that most blocks are now affected by gravity, so you can't just build yourself a dirt hut any more, and a 9 x 9 out of cobblestone will simply not work. So your best early-shack material to use is simply logs. Which means you need to get to chopping!


Punching leaves is also a potential source of sticks as well as saplings, so you probably want to do that as well.


Chopping down a tree is also very different. First off, you chop the bottom of the tree, and the whole tree comes down. The time it takes and the durability damage your axe takes depends on the size of the tree you are cutting down. Some trees, notablly Sequoias, are so large that you can consume an entire axe trying to chop one down and only make a dent in it, causing a rain of as many logs as your axe could get before expiring. However, when you do so, the leaves immediately vanish with no chance of dropping saplings or sticks, so punch those leaves before chopping down the tree unless you care more about the logs than about sticks and saplings.


You will also notice a pair of bars at the bottom of your screen. One is for food, the other is for fresh water. You can drink water with your hand by right-clicking FRESH water (the water with cattails, not the one you find seaweed in) and you can generally find some kind of edible things around somewhere, typically in the form of Crops. Now, breaking crops before they are fully mature only returns the seeds which, while valuable for sustainability, are not immediately edible.


You may also, in the course of picking up stones, find some kind of nuggets of ore. The ones you are immediately wanting are: Native Copper, Malachite, Tetrahedrite (all yielding Copper), Bismuthite (for Bismuth in the making of bronze), Cassiterite (Tin for making bronze), and Sphalerite (Zinc for making bronze). If you find a plethora of silver and gold,  you CAN make a bronze with it, but you probably won't want to right out of the gate because silver is fairly rare and the black bronze it makes is used in steel production later on down the line. Still... it's an option.


Ores that are completely worthless include: Galena (lead), Gypsum, Jet, Pitchblende, and Platinum. If you see any of these, just chuck them (unless you have additional mods that make use of them).


Ores that you need a lot of tech to work with (not immediately useful, but store and note the locations of) include: Hematite, Limonite, Magnetite (all iron-bearing ores), the aforementioned gold and silver, and Garnierite (Nickel, although I don't believe it will ever be found on the surface). If you find Graphite or Kaolinite, it is not immediately valuable to you but is going to be absolutely critical later on.


If you find a collection of a certain type of nugget, you may wish to mark that spot (either use F3 and jot down the coordinates yourself or use one of several minimap tools that permit waypoints) because odds are good that somewhere below the surface is a vein of that particular ore. Also mark any exposed veins of minerals you might encounter.


While you are running around, you might or might not actually see clay. Grass now grows on clay blocks, and it spawns inland as long as there is enough rainfall in the area. You can now recognize a patch of clay by the Goldenrod flowers. You're going to want to make note of any you see, because this will be a very important resource for you in the near future.


If you see any animals, mark their location, but you aren't ready to do much with them just yet unless you want to kill them for food. Keep in mind that domesticatable animals DO NOT RESPAWN, so killing all the cows now means no milk for you later.


You probably want to overnight near a place with fresh water if possible, because your water bar runs dry pretty fast.


You do *NOT* want to go playing with the mobs. Combat has changed significantly from vanilla. I don't care if you were able to take down a wither bare-handed and unarmored in vanilla, you still do not want to engage in combat at this stage of the game, so you will need to build some kind of shelter for yourself before true night falls. Not only has damage values changed significantly, but there are now three damage types. Note that skeletons are now IMMUNE to piercing (such as Javelins and Knives, which are your typical first-day weapons) and resistant to cutting (from an axe), so you don't have any weapons that are likely to do more than inconvenience them. There are dark skeletons that somewhat resemble wither skeletons that spawn. While they don't cause the Wither effect, they DO throw javelins at you, which do even more damage than the arrows from the regular skeleton bows, making them exceedingly dangerous. Creeper explosions are pretty much a guaranteed kill.


So, to recap:


* Pick up sticks and stones from the ground

* Punch leaves to get both sticks and saplings for re-planting

* Punch any fully mature crops for eating on the go

* Use Knapping to make an axe and chop down trees

* Build your first hut out of dirt (first level) and logs, preferably butted up against a cliff face to reduce your material consumption and hopefully near fresh water.

* Pick up any copper, bismuth, tin, or zinc you find as nuggets lying around.

* Make note of any sources of Clay (easily recognizable by the Goldenrod flowers growing on them)

* Make note of any animals you see.

* Make note of any places that have lots of surface ore, and what that ore type is.

* Don't go playing with mobs, you'll put your eye out


Well, that's pretty much your first day there. Best get busy, you've got a full day ahead!


Don't be surprised if your first randomly generated seed ends up killing you on the first day. Depending on your spawn, you can get really unlucky. Nip on over to the forums and check out the Seeds forum for a good starter seed if you are getting tired of such things as being dumped on an ocean-locked island with no fresh water or stuck in an arid place that has no clay. TFC can be pretty cruel about not providing you all the resources you need if you are unlucky. Just remember, if you aren't having !FUN! (in the Dwarf Fortress usage of the word), you haven't had the full TFC experience!


Stone Age


So, this is going to be largely more of the same, except that you already have some kind of shelter, so as long as you don't wander too far, you don't have to worry about having enough time to cut down enough trees to make one. You've probably already noticed that you can't make planks yet, that won't come for a bit. Now we are going to introduce you to a few new mechanics you're going to become familiar with.


First, is that Clay is used much like Knapping called Clay Forming. Keep in mind that this consumes 5 clay per attempt, including failed attempts, so you're going to need a good bit of clay now. Make a shovel, and find some Goldenrods, you're probably going to want about a stack to start off with.


The things you will immediately want:


* Small Vessel. This is able to store four small items including seeds and fruits and veggies and sticks and saplings. You particularly want to store your food in small vessels because it gives them a reduction in Decay. You're going to be using these throughout your career.

* Water Jug. They do break, so keep a spare on you, but they let you carry around water so you can wander further from home.

* Ceramic Molds. These will be used to usher you in to the bronze age, so their use is going to be tied to how much copper and other resources you have found so far.

* Stone Bowls. These are used in making a Gold Pan if you are having trouble finding enough copper. If you have found plenty of copper, you can skip these.


Now, making the clay items doesn't mean they are immediately useful, you need to fire them in a Pit Kiln first, which takes straw and logs and time.


The next mechanic I wish to introduce you to is the Firepit. If you have killed anything, you will need to cook your meat here. Just don't forget about it, if you burn it then it will become inedible. This is also how you make torches, at least to begin with. You can right-click a stick on a lit torch to make a single torch, or you can put a stick in a fireplace to get two. Remember that torches now go out after a while and need to be relit by right-clicking with a lit torch. Rain will immediately put out torches and firepits. Firepits also need wood on the left to burn.


Your general goals at this stage of the game are:


* Find and secure various food sources. Store the seeds for the next planting time. If you encounter any fruit trees, an axe can be used on the branch to have a chance of getting a fruit tree sapling. These take some time to grow, but are an excellent long-term renewable supply of food. Likewise with berry bushes. Watch out for Decay.

- Don't kill any cows, pigs, sheep, or chickens yet. These all have uses down the road, but do make note of where they are. You can pen them in if you like, and you can shuck grains with a knife to make refined grains that will cause them to follow you like the vanilla wheat mechanic, and if you feed them, you can start the process of Familiarization.

* Secure a store of copper and either tin (Casseterite) or both zinc (Sphaelerite) and bismuth. You are going to need LOTS of these. it takes 10 nuggets of material to make one ingot.

* Make clay vessels and a couple of water jugs for quality of life and early storage.

* If you find any Jute, don't harvest it until it is mature. This will be needed to make rope for leads for moving animals around.

* If you can't find enough copper around, you can try panning, but it is going to be a slow and tedious process.

* Improve upon your shelter as necessary for quality of life. Just don't forget that both the firepit and the pit kiln WILL set your log cabin on fire, so they should probably not be inside.

* Take note of any Flux stone you might find.

* Don't play with the mobs. Seriously.


Run around and explore your area, hide from the mobs, and build up your resources.


Entering the Bronze Age


You technically can craft tools out of copper, but I highly advise against it. Bronze (or Bismuth Bronze) requires no additional work to get started with, produces a superior tool, and will stretch out your copper (you will eventually need 16 copper ingots for your first metal anvil, so economizing on copper even at this stage will be important).


Your first tools are going to be done using a casting method, by putting a specific number of nuggets into your small vessel and putting the filled vessel into a pit kiln. You can fire some of the molds at the same time. I would advise, for your first tools, the following:


* Saw. If not the very first, then most likely the second tool you want. This is enormous for quality of life and advancing beyond your hovel stage.

* Pick. Since one cannot be made of stone. Mining is VERY dangerous. I would strongly advise reading up on Support Beams and the cave-in mechanics before starting to mine.

* Prospector's Pick. This is used to help you find ore veins. Your best bet is to look around until you find the borders around where you are finding the ore, then start roughly in the middle of that area, but this requires a guide all to itself.

* Chisel. This is required to make smooth stone which is required for grain processing for for bread. It is also useful in making bricks and carving into blocks. This will be after you get a Saw and Pick.


If you absolutely insist on making a weapon, I suggest a Mace, not a sword. If you go back to Damage Types, you will notice that if you have a piercing and a crushing, you are going to have a nice day against just about everything. More importantly, skeletons are a major threat, and are immune to piercing and strong against cutting, so a crushing weapon is going to be handy. Hammers CAN work as a crushing weapon, but they take double durability from being used in such a fashion, and are best kept to stone hammers used for an anvil. A hammer generally does less damage than a mace of the same material would do, all other variables being equal. I wouldn't exactly suggest making a weapon at this early stage of the game yet, but if you are itching to get your combat on, a Mace makes a very good compliment to the weapons you already have (stone javelins). Just remember that you are pathetically weak and easily killed without access to armor you can't make yet.


The Saw is one of the single most important tools you will make because it does so much for you. First off, with a saw, you can finally make Lumber and Planks and then you can make your Crafting Table so you have access to all nine crafting slots. This also nets you access to Barrels, Chests (and you can put vessels in chests to further maximize storage capacity), and all of the crafting recipes you couldn't do in your piddly 2x 2 crafting square. As far as quality of life goes, this is huge. However, if you are starving for metals, you may wish to make a pick first so you can get the metal to make the saw.


Barrels means you can soak jute fiber to make rope so you can now start leading animals around and putting them in pens more efficiently. Barrels also can be opened to catch rainwater, can be used to make tannin and limewater for leather production, booze, and... well, go take a look. It's pretty important for you.


Buckets are also useful for liquids. Keep in mind that a wooden bucket will not permit you to move source blocks, but can be used to fill barrels and use various other liquids. It is also used to milk cows that have become domesticated through familiarization.


The Chisel is probably going to come after both the saw and the pick, and probably after the prospector's pick as well. This enables you to make the Quern which is used to make flower for bread and making sandwiches. In addition, the chisel is also used to do microblock shaping of blocks for aesthetics. It is also used to turn stones into bricks to make brick blocks for building. Now you can make a building that is fireproof to bring your pit kiln and firepit indoors!


Now is also when you probably want to work on your Forge, which also probably means you'll want to make a Charcoal Pit at this point.


In conclusion


So, by now, you are able to get livestock going (once you find them) and crops going, hopefully you've found a few fruit trees to start an orchard, and also have a tree farm going for sustainable living. Sounds to me like you're no longer needing my assistance. Go on, have fun, explore everything TFC has to offer. Read up on other guides for more detailed information on mining and prospecting and other useful skills, read up on the changes to Agriculture and Food Preparation. Once you have enough materials, you can start learning the basics of Metalworking. Enjoy yourself!


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Note that large vessels exist and should also be in the first-month inventory. And probably make some, as you can process leather on stone age.


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Note that large vessels exist and should also be in the first-month inventory. And probably make some, as you can process leather on stone age.

You probably aren't doing a whole lot of hunting in the stone age unless you are killing animals you probably want to be breeding later on instead. By the time you get animals familiarized enough for breeding and the babies have fully matured, you're probably already in the bronze age unless you have been horribly land mulligan'd.


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Large clay vessels are still useful, for carrying water or especially items on your back.  The early game can involve a lot of wandering and every bit of extra inventory helps.  Also, it's *14* copper ingots for first anvil.


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Here's a list of corrections for your post:

  • You don't need a shovel to get clay. You can break it with your hand and it gives you the same amount.
  • "Most blocks" actually are not affected by gravity. The only general blocks affected by gravity are dirt, gravel, sand, and cobblestone. There are a few other weird blocks like ingot piles and charcoal you can consider to be affected by gravity, but that's an entirely different mechanic.
  • The time it takes to chop down a tree has absolutely nothing to do with the size of the tree. It's the same as everything else where it is only dependent on the tier, and therefore efficiency of the tool.
  • Gypsum, Jet and Pitchblende are minerals. You cannot find minerals laying on the ground like you can nuggets of ore.
  • Garnierite can be found on the surface. All ores and minerals can be found on the surface, as it spawns all the different stone types.
  • A stone hammer does crushing damage, and is a good early weapon to use against skeletons.
  • Creeper explosions work the same way as in vanilla, in that the closer you are to the explosion, the more damage you take. So if you manage to hear the hiss and start backing away, it isn't likely the explosion will kill you.
  • You are more than welcome to kill any pheasants and deer that you come across, as they will respawn. Having a good source of meat starting out is helpful, and the deer will give you hide. Bears also respawn, but you're going to have a bit more trouble killing them in the early stages of the game.
  • Failed attempts do not consume clay. Clay is only consumed when a valid shape is done and an item appears in the output slot.
  • The number of nuggets per ingot is configurable, and has been changed in many modpacks. It's much better to say that there are 100 units in an ingot, and you can hover over the ore to see how many units it will give.
  • The fire pit cannot set blocks on fire. It only sets players and mobs on fire.
  • Anvils are made with 14 ingots, not 16.
  • You can soak jute in a large clay vessel, and can be used to catch rainwater and all that other stuff you're listing for barrels in the bronze age. The only thing vessels really can't do is booze.


I'd like to also point out the quite extensive stone-age guide on the wiki that is up to date:


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You probably want to add in how to make a charcoal pit, as that's something you'll want to be making before you start doing metalworking by forge.  If you wait until you get to the metal age to make charcoal, you're going to be spending a lot of time cutting down trees and just sitting around and waiting for the charcoal to be done so you can start making some stuff.


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