Mods / Black Sand

Category: #Tweak
Author: OmegaHaxors
Side: Both
Created: Sep 11th 2022 at 3:36 PM
Last modified: Sep 23rd 2023 at 5:05 AM
Downloads: 2591
Follow Unfollow 27

Latest file for v1.18.10: 1-click install

Remember that Primitive Technology video? Of course you do. It was awesome.
The guy pulled black sand out of the river and made it into an iron bloom.

This mod adds the ability to pan for Black Sand which you can convert into Magnetite through the use of a magnet.
It won't let you get iron any sooner game (since you need the iron to make the magnet) but it will give you a good supply of it later.

This mod adds Black Sand and Black Iron to the game. It's low-quality iron so it's only slightly better than copper, but it's much more commonly obtained from panning. A 50% chance to be exact. (Copper nuggets are 15% for reference. It's 3x as common.) First you get some while panning, then you put the black sand into a bloomery, and after breaking the bloomery to get your bloom you smash it with a hammer and a mold in your crafting grid and you will have some low quality T2 Black Iron tools to play with. This patch is going to be used for ELR to solve the problem of needing lots of copper for cables and not wanting to choose between copper chassis in an already copper-heavy mod or gating machines behing late-game progression. This mod brings iron to the early game, solving the problem once and for all, and more importantly does so without disrupting the game's native balance and progression. Since it's works as a standalone mod, anyone can download or use for their own crafting.

EDIT: Please note, the recent version is horribly broken and I don't know why or how to fix it. The gameplay still functions but the textures are all missing and the falx is completely missing a model. Eventually I'll get around to finding out a way to deal with that but for now here it is. Older versions had a Stone Hammer and a Wooden Anvil but those have been removed in favor of allowing the player to cast Black Iron directly in the crafting grid.

I have added the ability to craft a magnet out of magnetite nuggets and a temporal gear. You can use this and 4 black sand to create a single nugget of magnetite. It's not much but it does finally add a renewable source of iron to the game. Because you already need to have found and extracted magnetite (a pretty rare ore in its own right) this option only exists for players who have already reached the iron age. Using this method isn't as good durability per material compared to making black iron normally, but iron has better stats and can be upgraded to steel. If you have a means of making steel that kind of blows everything out of the water with its really high stats and 3x durability bonus over iron.

Thanks to MCRusher for finding a workaround for the broken textures. It won't fix all of it, but it will fix most of the issues:
"I managed to fix most of the textures by creating an assets/game/textures folder and then moving the item and block texture folders to that folder"

The mod has been stripped to its essentials because the old system was overcomplicated, unbalanced and broke a lot. Now you craft a magnet and can extract 1 nugget of magnetite out of 4 black sand. For batch processing you can make a super magnet which can craft multiple times at once but at the cost of only being able to do so 1000 times before breaking. You can recharge it to restore its durability at the cost of 1 temporal gear, but if you let the durability go down all the way you lose the super magnet and have to make a new one. Sadly this is a limitation of the engine. That being said you practically have to be trying to break your magnet with how much durability you have to work with.

Version For Game version Downloads Release date Changelog Download 1-click mod install*
v3.1.0 266 Sep 23rd 2023 at 5:05 AM Show Install now
v3.0.0 464 Apr 5th 2023 at 12:02 AM Show Install now
v2.1.0 390 Nov 8th 2022 at 12:40 PM Show Install now
v2.0.0 345 Oct 9th 2022 at 8:08 PM Show Install now
v1.2.0 296 Sep 20th 2022 at 4:50 PM Show Install now
v1.1.1 246 Sep 12th 2022 at 6:48 PM Show Install now
v1.1.0 186 Sep 12th 2022 at 6:20 PM Show Install now
v1.0.1 207 Sep 12th 2022 at 4:39 PM Show Install now
v1.0.0 191 Sep 11th 2022 at 3:39 PM Show Install now

26 Comments (oldest first | newest first)

💬 NethanielShade, Sep 29th 2023 at 11:00 AM


Oh wow, making a list and shuffling it every time is genius. Makes way more sense than just going down the list. I didn't know that that was how the game works but it makes total sense, thanks for the explanation.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Sep 29th 2023 at 10:54 AM

I did simplify a little bit, the actual algorithim used is a little more strange in how it does things.
What it actually does is make a list of every drop and then shuffle it, then go down the list rolling each and every drop until it lands on a successful roll. If none of the rolls succeed then it will treat the entire loot table as having failed and you get no item, hence the null drop. This does mean you do have a slightly lower chance of getting the rarer items as the black sand has a much higher chance to succceed, but in practice this is very little as it needs to show up above the rare item in the shuffle in the first place for it to make a difference and the chances of it landing on another item are much higher. Not really important just a note to other modders not to set their drop rates too extreme or it will actually start snuffing out other drops.

💬 NethanielShade, Sep 29th 2023 at 10:28 AM


Interesting, so if I'm understanding right, then every time you get iron sand, you would have instead gotten nothing from that pan with vanilla panning? Therefore you get more items while panning with this mod, and it doesn't affect the vanilla distribution? Was not aware of that.

As for the texture, yeah not my best work, but I literally made each texture in about 5 minutes with the pen tool in photoshop. I just made them for myself, and I don't know how to make texturepacks for this game so I'm likely not going to do that, I was just offering to send the textures your way if you were interested in them.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Sep 29th 2023 at 9:34 AM

Fun fact on point 1: It's actually based on the real life distribution of iron against copper. Due to the way the game handles loot pulls it feels like the iron drops are taking away from the rest of the loot table but that's not actually the case. When the weights don't add up to 1 it fills the rest of the loot table with air (zero) so the only drop the black sand is taking up is the null drop. It's just the chance of getting a null drop is actually way higher than you would think so it feels like you get black sand every time but I did run tests and it is in fact not snuffing out the rest of the drop table. Balance on how much sand you obtain wasn't really something I was aiming for because if wanted to tone down the iron yeild it's easy enough to adjust how efficient the extraction process is through the crafting recipe and the few times I did tone down the sand drop rate it just felt bad constantly getting nothing.

As for point 2 I feel like it's on the right track but feels a little too flat. Give it some texture using an editor and layers to bring out its potential. Also worth knowing that you can release your texture changes as a resource pack so that other people can download it. Yes, you can make resource packs for mods, pretty cool huh? It works just like a resource patch for the base game, only with the modid as the domain. I believe you put them in game/modid/ then continue like you would normally with a resource pack.

💬 NethanielShade, Sep 28th 2023 at 7:52 AM


I'm a fan of this mod in it's current state, nice and simple, no added complexity. I had two gripes with it and made my own version for my own use, but I'm willing to share this version with you if you're interested.

Change #1: I changed the chance of black sand from 0.5 to 0.1. Even though 0.5 sounds really low, I was getting it almost every single pan, and ending up with far more black sand than anything else from panning. I suspect 0.5 == 50% chance, which is very high.

Change #2: I created a more "lodestone" like texture for the magnet and a cube-shaped texture for the super magnet more reminiscent of neodymium magnets. No offense to you, but I wasn't a big fan of the textures you had and they felt unimmersive.

Other than that, once again, good mod, I am a fan of it. Cheers.


Edit: Here's a picture of the two textures I made, if you're interested in them I can send them your way.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Sep 23rd 2023 at 3:54 AM

- No i'm not going to do that. Magnets are made out of the stuff that magnets produce, so it would add literally nothing to the game but extra frustration.
- Sorry I forgot that I made it require temporal gears. Still, point still stands i'm going to try and find a less unfun way of implimenting such a thing.
- The magnet being single-use is a byproduct of old design which I should strive to get rid of. I'm going to try a few things and see if I can do this one for you.
- The thing that's fun about VS mods is that you can just modify the files in the mod itself. Config files are only needed for compiled mods, which this is not. It's no harder than modifying a config, plus you get to learn how the internal engine works. Win win for everyone. Ultimatly changing a config is the same as changing a mod which is the same as changing the game itself.

EDIT: Okay, update time.
Added a super magnet. You get 1,000 uses per temporal gear before it needs to be recharged. Those who prefer the old system can continue to use the ordinary magnet.

💬 Guy50, Sep 17th 2023 at 8:42 PM

Hello, Im using your mod and in enjoying it but i have some suggestions:

- Please add durability to the magnet so it doesnt become too OP.
- The black sand to magnetite recipe only allows to make one nugget per craft (its annoying), so could you add some type of bulk craft recipe?
- Maybe could you add some config file for some aspects like the chance of black sand or the durability of the first suggestion i gave.

PD: english its not my first language, sorry if something is badly written. Hope its readable.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Apr 5th 2023 at 12:04 AM

Complete redesign. I have removed all the black iron tools and just left the abliity to convert black sand into magnetite with the use of a magnet.
This should accomplish all three goals I originally had in mind without unbalancing the early game or constantly breaking like the old mod did.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Dec 9th 2022 at 9:41 PM

That's actually remarkably helpful, thank you for finding that out!!
Sadly it's an unacceptable solution since it requires file manipulation, but i'll add that to the main post so people can modify their game to use the proper models and textures.

💬 MCRusher, Dec 8th 2022 at 8:04 PM

Hey so I managed to fix most of the textures by creating an assets/game/textures folder and then moving the item and block texture folders to that folder


the spear and longsword (Which I don't think exists in 1.17) and their heads are still broken, but everything else seems to be properly textured now.


Maybe you'll find this helpful idk.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Nov 8th 2022 at 12:42 PM

Small update. Textures still broken (sorry) but now you can convert 4 black sand into a magnetite nugget.
However, in order to do this you first need 14 nuggets of magnetite and a temporal gear. You craft those into a magnet.
This magnet can be crafted alongside 4 black sand to create the magnetite nugget. The magnet is not consumed.

In other words, Black Iron is still very much an "early game iron" method, but this opens up a late-game use for the stuff.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Oct 9th 2022 at 8:08 PM

The previous version was a smoldering mess, here's a slightly less bad version.
Removed Flint hammer and Wooden anvil. Now you produce Black Iron tools using molds.
You get the mold back when you use it, but it now costs 20 durability on the hammer (to knock off all that slag)

I don't know why, but the textures are horribly broken in this version and I haven't been able to fix it.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Sep 30th 2022 at 2:32 AM

Had some time to play it, the redesign is going to have two major changes:
Add a small bloomery which is cheaper and can only do a single bloom.
Cast iron: Remove the stone hammer and wood anvil and allow the iron to be casted.
Probably a lowering of the stats somewhat, and the ability to upgrade to proper T4 iron.

💬 l33tmaan, Sep 24th 2022 at 2:51 PM

Gotcha, I'm hearing "don't download this right now".

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Sep 24th 2022 at 7:23 AM

Really depends on a lot of things.
The brutally complicated engine code of ELR has been taking up most of my time.
My losing interest in the game combined with personal drama is also a big deciding factor.

I can tell you when it won't be updated, and the answer to that is before they rework adding new metals to the game to be much easier.
Really the way it is now, a lot of it is tedious busywork which I can justify for a patch, but not for a full and proper release.

💬 l33tmaan, Sep 24th 2022 at 4:14 AM

How 'later' are you thinking about? I love mods that add more early-game options.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Sep 24th 2022 at 2:56 AM

Finally had a chance to playtest it and it does a great job reducing grind in the early game without being overpowered.
I think I would probably nerf the selection of tools you can make from black iron, it's a bit overwhelming to suddenly have access to so many.
Would also make a smaller and cheaper bloomery which takes the same amount of time to process but could only make one bloom at a time.
Then I will add some method to either purify black iron up to normal iron, or allow you to use black sand to produce normal iron that way.

Overall the mod gets the Haxorian Seal of Approval and I will be using this mod as a base for future mods that I make in the future.
Later on I'm going to rewrite the entire thing as a code mod to have full compatibility with other mods plus add some mechanics.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Sep 20th 2022 at 4:50 PM

Now has a modicon
Improved compatibility thanks to a trick discovered by TeacupAngel#2584

Should no longer break on pretty much every mod pack now.
EDIT: Seems to still break a lot. Oh well. I did what I could.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Sep 20th 2022 at 4:01 AM

No excuses. Get to it.

💬 PhoenixMastM, Sep 19th 2022 at 10:22 PM

If I had the time or the programming knowledge I would. Unfortunately I don't.

I know it aint easy to make mods, but I didn't claim this to be easy, just that it was possible. And you can always just say "thanks for the suggest, not gonna do it".

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Sep 18th 2022 at 5:15 PM

That sounds like a cool idea, you should program it.

💬 PhoenixMastM, Sep 17th 2022 at 4:53 PM

Should be able to code in the ability to use either Borax or Lime as a flux to re-smelt the ore into T3/T4 iron as well, technically speaking that sand is just Magnetite that's been placered out into the rivers. Most iron, even the low quality impure stuff you find in the rivers, can be purified with smelting, flux, and a buttload of carbon (charcoal or black coal, lignite would not work).

You could set it up so that it would take about 1000 bits of shite iron, with maybe 20 units of lime/borax and 20 charcoal to produce 1 iron ingot. Time consuming, and somewhat expensive, but could be worth it if you're not having luck deep in the pits.

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Sep 13th 2022 at 7:33 AM

Due to the limitations in the patching system, and the size of the patch, it isn't likely to be compatible with a lot of mods that also rely on patching. There's literally nothing I can do about this, over half the patch is just working around game/patching limitations. Until the core game learns to handle multiple patches you're just going to have to disable mods until it works. From what I hear there's work in progress for such a system, and i've also petitioned for a better system for handling adding new metals which should be implimented soon. When that happens, i'll rewrite the patch and it will likely be far more efficient and less likely to break. This much more of a political statement on the horrible state of JSON modding than anything.
Malus rboys2

💬 Malus, Sep 13th 2022 at 4:10 AM

I must not be lucky either, not only are the handbook textures missing, black iron itself (and it's sand from panning) do not seem to exist. I've panned about 600 blocks and gotten a bunch of nice shinies, but not a single bit of Black Iron.

💬 rboys2, Sep 13th 2022 at 2:07 AM

In my world it would seem everythings not textured?

💬 OmegaHaxorsAuthor, Sep 12th 2022 at 4:41 PM

Finally fixed the glitchs. Turns out it was a fundemental error with how JSON parsing is handled.
Now that I understand the glitch at hand, I was able to work around it. Mod is now fully functional.

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