Rotarycraft is a tech mod by Reika that focuses on the production and use of mechanical, rotational energy. Instead of making lava generators, cables, and batteries, you make steam engines, AC electric engines, and, eventually, ethanol or jet fuel powered engines and turbines that output not electrical current but rotational energy measured in force or torque (Newton-meters) and speed (radians per second), which when multiplied produce energy (Watts, kiloWatts, and megaWatts). This rotational energy can be stored in coils of different sorts, but rather than storing the energy, mainly what you are intended to do is transmit this energy through shafts, clutches, gearboxes, flywheels, and other assorted mechanical blocks to the energy’s destination machines.
Rotarycraft, played on its own terms, is the thinking player’s tech mod. Electricity, or anything like it, is technically excluded from Rotarycraft (see Reika’s response to the question of including electricity in Rotarycraft on his FAQ “In short: no. In long: no, no, no, no, no. In very long: To change the power system into electricity is to discard the core of RotaryCraft.”). It is true that Reika has made an add-on mod called Electricraft whose sole function is the conversion of mechanical energy to and from electricity and the transference of that electrical energy via cables. However, Electricraft is essentially pointless if you have another tech mod (like Thermal Expansion or Industrial Craft 2) installed, since there are machines that convert to and from the power systems of these mods. And, like Reika says, to convert everything into easy and unrealistic electricity-like power systems misses the point of Rotarycraft. This leads to my main point.
Most of the YouTube videos and forum posts you come across that tell you how to do something in Rotarycraft usually start this way: “Make a Magnetostatic Engine and set its output to ….” Now, look, I know that the Magnetostatic Engine is technically a part of Rotarycraft, but it’s one of a number of machines Reika has graciously put into his mod for integration with other mods and energy systems, in this case RF (meaning, usually, energy coming from Thermal Expansion). As such, in my opinion, to start any Rotarycraft project with “Make a Magnetostatic Engine” is essentially cheating. If you want the benefits of Rotarycraft without the effort, fine, I guess, but the mod loses a big part of its appeal when you circumvent its (admittedly, at times, frustrating) built-in tech tree and game balancing by using Thermal Expansion’s comparatively easy early and middle stages. Because let’s face it, while Thermal Expansion is a brilliant and very fun mod, balancing isn’t exactly one of its strong points. Getting to the point where you have essentially limitless energy isn’t particularly difficult or time-consuming when playing with Thermal Expansion.
It seems to me that people who power their Rotarycraft machines primarily with Magnetostatic Engines are also people who haven’t taken the time to try and understand the whole point of Rotarycraft as a mod. It’s not simply another tech mod, like Industrial Craft 2, Thermal Expansion, or Mekanism. It’s an alternative to the standard tech mod. It requires you to think mechanically and mathematically and to consider the relationship between the two elements of energy (force and velocity) rather than simply reducing energy to a stored quantity, accessible and modifiable in a GUI.
It’s probably clear at this point that I am thoroughly enjoying my time playing with Rotarycraft and trying to make the mod work without having the luxury of resorting to other tech mods to ease the learning curve. In the next several posts, I want to highlight things I’ve been building in Rotarycraft. In each case, I’m sure there are better or more elegant solutions, but these are solutions that I have come up with in response to the challenge presented by Rotarycraft, and that’s what has made them so satisfying.