Okay, this is bugging me enough that I'm about to abandon my playthrough, but I thought I might at least nose around and see if it's possible to get a quick patch, or be instructed in how I might try for myself.
For a couple of reasons, I'm not seeking help directly from the makers of TerraFirmaCraft. For one, I found a thread from 2015 that says this is planned behavior (specced for servers, not solo players), and for two, I figure they're busy doing everything else for that mod's current build, and they don't need to cater to me and my little annoyance from the 1.7.10 build.
But, it annoyed me enough to come back to these forums for the first time in ages, so here we are.
Basically: TFC includes a mechanic where forests re-grow themselves. So that players on servers don't run out of wood. Which is understandable.
I am a solo player with growing wood piles in three separate bases -- wood piles taller than my actual buildings, and that's after I turned a giant chunk of it into enough charcoal to last me for an in-game decade. Trees are poking up faster than I can chop them down. Saplings have become more of an enemy than the actual mobs are (well, aside from that dang bear cub). I've debated about setting the whole place on fire. The forest is growing like... well, the OP from that thread made it picturesque:
...creeping willow forests, where you return from a mining trip and suddenly wondering if you've arrived at Helm's Deep by mistake, or wake up in the morning in your house, look out the window, and realize how Saruman felt.
For a stronger picture of how this is affecting me: I once played two different runs of the same world seed, one with (IIRC) Biomes o' Plenty and one without. And during the second run, long after the first, I came across a place that looked very familiar. It was a place I'd established a base in the first playthrough, and the land shape was the same, but the foliage was all different due to the mod build. It felt eerie, like I'd traveled through time and come across the ruins of what was once my home, long enough that the building had worn down to rubble and only the landscape was left, overgrown with fresh trees.
Now imagine that same feeling, but from week to week, whenever I return home after a mining trip or head out on an expedition. Places that I've already explored feel unfamiliar because of how much the forest has changed. I lose all sense of relative location. I once got multiple-days lost to the point where I spent the night in a panic tower in the middle of a pond, then turned around in the morning and saw I was right next to one of my major bases.
This has become disconcerting enough to have turned enjoyment into wholesale annoyance. I might abandon Minecraft to go play Skyrim again.
I just want to turn off that one mechanic -- or alter it a bit so it's more realistic and not so much of a joy-killer.
Thing is, although I have a background in hobbyist coding, I have no skill with Java. Now, I'm hoping that someone is willing to make me a patch, but I'm willing to try the DIY method; I think if someone pointed me at the right section of code, it's possible I could work my way through it, change some settings or comment out some details, and thus get what I want.
Turning the auto-saplings off altogether would solve my problem. So would drastically reducing the frequency (like 1/256th of the current amount).
Turning the mechanic into spreading forests would also solve my problem:
Version A: When a sapling tries to spawn, it checks if there's nearby tree foliage (say, within 16 spaces of the chosen space).
Version B: When a sapling tries to spawn, it picks a nearby piece of tree foliage, and then picks a random spot (at least 4 spaces away, no more than 16), checks if it's on grass or dirt and open to the sky, then plants the sapling if the spot is suitable.
Could be either "no tree, no sapling," or just a drastically reduced spawn chance (so the whole "birds carry saplings to random places" mechanic remains, but is rare).
A third option would be creating a config section about the sapling-spawning mechanic, so I could play with the numbers and figure out for myself a decent balance for my playstyle. Some options I could see being useful (depending on how complicated you care to make it):
Overall Frequency (0 = never). I don't know what the current TFC frequency is, but that should probably match a number like 100 or 1000 or maybe 50, thus allowing a player to easily put in twice, half, or a tenth of the current amount.
Seasonal Frequencies (percentage of Overall Frequency). Setting them all to 100 means that season doesn't matter. Setting Winter to 0, Spring to 100, Summer to 50, and Fall to 10 means that saplings are rare in the autumn and never spawn in the winter, but there's an explosion of new saplings during the spring and about half as many show up during the summer.
Sapling Limit Per Chunk (or Biome): A new sapling checks the whole chunk (or biome) to determine if there's already enough saplings; if it has the maximum number of saplings, no new saplings will spawn.
Spawn Range from Parent Tree: Default is 0 (can spawn even where no trees exist, don't even look for trees). I'd set it to 16 (spawn only near existing trees). Could also have a minimum distance setting (Default 4?) of how close they can spawn to existing trees, thus how thick the forests could get.
Auto-Sapling Growth Modifier: So if I plant a tree, it pops up at whatever the base rate is, but if the game plants trees, it's at X% of normal. So 100 means the forest expands as readily as my tree farms, while 50 means that the forest grows half as quickly and 5 means it takes twenty times as long for an auto-sapling to grow as it does for my carefully cultivated tree farm to grow.
And these, possibly:
Transplanted Tree Growth Modifier: If 100, foreign trees grow at the same rate as native trees. If 50, they grow half as fast; if 200, they grow twice as fast. Slower trees would be like "this soil isn't suitable for them," while faster trees would reward players for seeking out new sources of wood. Setting this to 0 means that trees can only grow in their native biomes.
Transplanted Tree Reproduction Modifier: If 100, foreign trees generate saplings at the same rate as native trees. I'm not entirely sure how this mechanic would work, especially given the next ideas:
Saplings Match Parents: The percentage chance that a sapling matches the nearby trees. Example: It's set to 70, and the biome allows Pine, Cedar, and Ash, but there's only Pine and Cedar in the nearby area. The new sapling has a 70% chance of being Pine or Cedar, and a 30% chance of being "random native tree." So it's got a 45% chance of being Pine, a 45% chance of being Cedar, and a 10% chance of being Ash even though no Ash trees are nearby. If this is set to 100, then if I harvest all the Pines in that biome, new saplings will never be Pine, and I must go elsewhere to find Pine wood (or bring back new Pine saplings to re-seed the forest).
Foreign Sapling Rate: The percentage chance that a sapling spawned near a foreign tree will be foreign. If it's 0, then transplanted trees do not reproduce (but can be the "nearby tree" for native saplings to sprout from). If it's 100, then any saplings spawned near a foreign tree will be foreign saplings. Setting this low requires players to trek out to gather foreign wood; setting this high rewards players who want to locate the resource once, bring it home, and enjoy the bounty (and maybe reduce or eliminate the spawn chance of native (boring) trees -- I could see planting a ton of foreign saplings just to get rid of all the excess Pines).
Anyway, those are just some ideas. Main thing is, I need this behavior to stop or at least be restricted to "rarely" (like each biome might produce one sapling a week, that might be fine) or "spreading forests" (so I could make plains and set up paths through the woods without having to maintain them like some manic lawn-care specialist). If anyone's able to help me with this, I'd be much obliged.
My YouTube channel is currently on hiatus, but I hope to get back to it at some point. Content is fairly random, but can be enjoyable, and is mostly game footage (mostly random Minecraft clips) from my nephews and me. Most popular MC vid so far is the one Vechs laughed at on Twitter!