Thaumcraft's research system provides a "pacing" of character advancement. To learn how to craft successively more powerful devices, the player must collect research points with a Thaumometer, and use the collected points to research new technologies. These research points carry the same aspects as used for essentia or vis -- for example an Ignis research point represents knowledge about fire.
NOTE: Research data (i.e. aspects collected, Thaumonomicon entries, etc.) are stored in files named after your player's Minecraft name (<playername>.thaum in the playerdata folder of your world). As of February 4th 2015, players can change their Minecraft names, however Thaumcraft 4 does not provide any method of tracking these name changes. Changing your Minecraft name will thus reset all your research, however it can easily be restored by replacing and renaming the .thaum file for the current name with the .thaum file for the old name, so there are no unfixable issues with name changes and Thaumcraft. Before doing this, keep a backup of your world saves (which automatically include the playerdata folder with the research data) to prevent any fatal errors. See this FAQ page for details.
Before you can build most thaumaturgical items and blocks, you first need to discover how to do so. There are several steps in this process:
- Exploring the world and examining blocks, items and creatures with a Thaumometer.
- Taking the research points you gathered from the first step and expanding your aspect knowledge with the research table.
- Using the aspects and points you've collected to discover practical knowledge and recipes with the Research Table.
You can't perform research without research points, and the best way to gain research points is by exploration and examining objects in the world. (You do start with a few points in the primal aspects: about 16 each, give or take.)
The first thing you will need to do is construct a Thaumometer. By pointing the Thaumometer at various things, and holding the right mouse button you will start examining them. The process does not take long, but your movement speed is reduced and you can't do much else while scanning. When your scan is complete, the Thaumometer will display what aspects the object contains. In the bottom right of the screen you will also see a summary of the aspects and research points you discovered. You can scan many different things: blocks, mobs and other entities, nodes, and even dropped items.
For most things (mobs, entities, or items) you will gain research points equal to the target's aspects. For a node, you will gain points equal to about 1/10 of the node's strength in each aspect. The very first time you discover an aspect, whether by examining something or "at the table", you gain triple the number of research points you would have normally. This implies that for materials which come in both "pieces" and blocks, such as coal or iron, you will do better by scanning the block first.
Early on, you will often not be able to learn from your chosen object of study, because it has aspects you can't understand. Specifically, to scan something you need to know at least the component aspects for each aspect contained in an object. For example, something with Bestia can only be examined if you have already learned Bestia, or at least Victus and Motus. If you lack the knowledge needed to scan something, you will be informed, and usually given a hint about one of the aspects you need to learn.
Most objects and creatures can only be successfully scanned once. Afterwards looking at the same thing through your Thaumometer will show its aspects without delay. Furthermore, once you have scanned an item or block, you can quickly see its aspects in any inventory, by pressing "shift" while pointing to it with the cursor.
Your Thaumonomicon will automatically keep track of the items and blocks you have scanned. Not only will all the aspects you discover be listed with their combinations in the "Aspects" topic, but beneath each aspect's entry, you will see a summary of all known blocks and items containing that aspect.
You can also use your research table (see below) to combine research points directly; this can let you discover new aspects, and you will need to do this at least once: The (necessary) example from the Thaumonomicon is that Aqua (water) and Terra (earth) combine to form Victus (life). (There is nothing in the game that contains Victus, without also containing some aspect which requires Victus to discover.)
Note that there is a soft cap to the number of research points you can accumulate in total, and in each aspect. (These values can be changed in the configuration file.) When you reach this cap, you will start getting fewer points than you might expect. When this happens, you need to use up some of those points, by researching topics from your Thaumonomicon, and/or combining low-level aspects into higher compounds.
Some objects and creatures will also reveal special insights when scanned. In current versions of Thaumcraft, the research topic in question will simply be unlocked in your Thaumonomicon. There are also few objects which have no aspects, for one reason or another.
As you proceed with research, you will use up research points in various aspects, and eventually you will find yourself short of some key aspect.
- If you need more points, your first recourse should be "scan more stuff" -- not just items and resources you've picked up, but also everything you craft. Especially remember to scan "intermediate" craftings (wand cores, thaumium, and suchlike) before you use them up. Nodes are particularly good sources for points, as you will find them scattered throughout the world (and other worlds as well).
- For primal aspects, you can research and build a Deconstruction Table, which consumes items to give you research points. This is somewhat time-consuming, and you get at most one point of a primal aspect per item. Aspect-heavy items are most likely to give you points -- crafting tables and wool are particularly productive and cheap.
- As noted above, compound-aspect research points can be made by combining aspects in the research table. Be warned this can cost a lot of points; you only get one point of the combined aspect for a point each of the components, and some aspects take many combinations.
- By putting bookshelves and crystal clusters near your research table, you can get "ghost points" -- bonus points that can only be spent when you're otherwise out of that aspect, and which regenerate over time. (See the table's page for details.)
Your Thaumonomicon contains many icons for research topics. Some of these topics represent special abilities, but most indicate recipes for items you can craft. Some topics start off darkened and unreadable, while others are hidden completely . As you scan key items, and perhaps in response to other events, more of these topics will be unlocked and others will appear.
While a few topics will be known and readable from the beginning of the game, most will require some investment of research points and effort to actually learn the information and render the topic readable. Only after learning the topic, will you be able to read the information within it.
There are a few topics that are marked as "forbidden research", which can be seen by the dark pulsing aura surrounding the icon. Researching forbidden topics will cause your character to gain warp. Some of these topics, such as Research Mastery, are required(if not, fairly necessary) in order to proceed with the game. Fortunately, small amounts of warp are not very dangerous, despite the unnerving effects you will experience. In fact, the "voices in your head" will grant you genuine knowledge, in the form of occasional free research points, making it useful when you are lacking points of a certain aspect.
By default, most of the research icons ("primary" research, with round or squarish icons) will require playing a minigame to actually gain the knowledge, but some of the secondary researches (hexagonal icons) can be bought "up front" for research points. By editing the configuration file, it is possible to choose "hard", "normal", or 'easy" mode for research. Normal is as above, hard mode requires the minigame for all research, while easy mode lets you buy all researches directly, avoiding the minigame entirely. Note that the names are slightly misleading: In easy mode, you will actually use more points for the research, with less flexibility for what aspects you need -- but you avoid the minigame. Conversely, hard mode requires the minigame even for secondary researches, but if you are reasonably skilled at the game, you can get them at a bargain, for fewer points of simpler aspects. For simplicity, the rest of this page (and wiki) will assume you are playing in normal mode.
To research topics, begin with your Thaumonomicon and (for primary topics) some paper, and click on the desired icon. For primary research, one piece of paper will be used, and you will gain a "research note" for the topic, which you can then insert in the research table for the minigame. For secondary research, you will see the aspects and numbers of research points you need, and if you have enough, clicking on the icon will immediately spend the points and learn the topic. Once you have completed the minigame for a research note, it will change from a flat page to a tied scroll.
Once you have the completed research note, you can put that in your hotbar and right-click it to gain the new ability or unlock the recipe(s) that it represents. If you have, and wish to use, the Research Duplication ability, you must do that before you activate the note for yourself.
There are a few key research topics which affect the research process itself, and appear at the beginning of the game. Nearly all players will need at least Research Mastery, despite the warp.
- Research Expertise lets you hover over an aspect icon in the research table, and see the aspects that compose it. It also gives a 25% chance to recover a used research point when taking it back (that is, it was a mistake) from the note in progress.
- Research Mastery is forbidden knowledge (minor). It also increases the chance of recovering a research point to 50%, and gives a 10% chance that placing a point will cost nothing. It requires Research Expertise. (Note that you do not gain warp by combining aspects.)
- Research Duplication: Allows you to duplicate a completed research note, but only before learning it yourself. This is meant for multi-player games, but note that it is still available in single-player -- and there is a point in the late game where you need to have completed all available research, to get the next topic. In multi-player, it's primarily useful for carrying another player "on your back", for example a friend who is having trouble with the minigame. It requires Research Mastery.
The current minigame, introduced in version 4.1, requires a fair bit of knowledge about the aspect system. Note that while some pages here show examples for solving the research notes, these are only suggestions, and it's always possible to solve notes in a different way. In particular, you will generally want to use whatever aspects you have (or can make) more research points for. The "Cheat Sheet" section below also offers some useful resources.
- When you click a primary-research icon in the Thaumonomicon while carrying paper and scribing tools, you will gain a "research note".
- Placing this into the research table will reveal a grid of hexagons, with aspect symbols arranged around the edges. If any of the aspect symbols are shown as question marks, you need to discover what aspects they are before you can deal with this note.
- To complete the page, you need to place research points of various aspects on the grid, by dragging them from your stocks on the left side), to connect all the original aspect symbols. Two aspects will only connect if one of them directly contains the other.
- The path can fork, and the connections can be in any order. You can go both ways in a given path, moving from a compound down toward its primals and then back up to a different compound. You can always check in the Thaumonomicon for what aspects combine to make a compound, and unlocking the Research Mastery topic will let you see this by hovering over it in the research table itself.
- Try for repeating loops of primals and common compounds (Arbor, Metallum, Bestia, etc.) whenever you can.
- There are several sequences that can turn a two-aspect loop into a three-aspect one, for example, Aer->Motus->Aer can be expanded to Aer->Motus->Volatus->Aer. Likewise with Terra/Vitreus/Metallum, Terra/Victus/Herba, Aqua/Victus/Limus, or even Humanus/Instrumentum/Fabrico. This is often useful for getting the right length for a path.
- Minimize the amount of aspects you combine, and try to use up your commoner aspects for that. (Each combination gives you 1 point for 2).
- The Research Helper linked below is useful for figuring out paths. If it tries to lean on an aspect you're scarce on, there are several tactics you can use:
- Any time it offers a loop, (say, Aer->Auram->Aer) you can replace the middle with any eligible aspect you have a lot of (in this case, perhaps Arbor).
- In the research helper itself, you can disable that aspect, or use this handy trick to "force" a path toward a different aspect: Pick the first icon on either or both ends yourself, then use the helper to compute the resulting shorter path.
By way of example, here are completed research notes for the meta-research topics described above. Remember that any research note can be completed in a variety of ways, depending on what aspects you have available.
Normally when you run out of an aspect, it will be darkened in the table list. However, it is possible to get "ghost points" for various aspects, indicated by a "shiny" marker on the aspect's icon. If you run out of an aspect with a ghost point, you will be left with an unnumbered icon. You can use this one more time before it fades, and when you do so, it will eventually recover and reappear. Ghost points allow your research to proceed slowly, even when you've used up all points for a key aspect. You can also use them for combinations, letting you slowly accumulate points of a rare compound. Of course, you can also earn more points by the methods described above, but note that ghost points are only usable when you otherwise have zero points of that aspect.
A ghost point will be given in an aspect, when an example of that aspect exists somewhere near your research table - for example, placing a water source block nearby will give you ghost points for Aqua. Having a lit fire (or placed Nitor) nearby will grant ghost points for Ignis.
Ghost points can also be obtained by placing crystal clusters and/or bookshelves near your research table (within 9 blocks or so). Crystal clusters will give a gint for their element, and a mixed crystal cluster will provide one of the primal aspects at random. Bookshelves can give any (eventually, all) of the other aspects, but it will take time for them to "cover" all the aspects, depending on how many bookshelves you have. (Putting your research table next to your enchanting-table library makes a good start.) Note also that ghost points are figured separately for each research table, so it is possible to get extras by maintaining two or three such tables together.
Spoilers and Cheat Sheets
Several lists and webpages may be useful in research:
- A online Research Helper for the new minigame, (all 4.x versions) which can help you work out paths.
- Research Quickstart to find aspects quickly:
- The table below may also be helpful:
Aspects and Compounds
|Aspect||Made of||and||Component of|
|Aer||Primal||Arbor, Auram, Lux, Motus, Sensus, Tempestas, Vacuos, Volatus|
|Aqua||Primal||Limus, Venenum, Victus, Tempestas|
|Bestia||Motus||Victus||Corpus, Humanus, Pannus|
|Humanus||Bestia||Cognitio||Fabrico, Instrumentum, Lucrum, Messis, Perfodio|
|Ignis||Primal||Cognitio, Gelum, Lux, Potentia, Telum|
|Instrumentum||Humanus||Ordo||Fabrico, Machina, Meto, Pannus, Telum, Tutamen|
|Mortuus||Perditio||Victus||Corpus, Exanimis, Spiritus|
|Motus||Aer||Ordo||Bestia, Exanimis, Iter, Machina, Vinculum, Volatus|
|Ordo||Primal||Instrumentum, Motus, Permutatio, Potentia, Sano, Vitreus|
|Perditio||Primal||Gelum, Mortus, Permutatio, Vacuos, Venenum, Vinculum, Vitium|
|Terra||Primal||Herba, Iter, Metallum, Perfodio, Tutamen, Victus, Vitreus|
|Vacuos||Aer||Perditio||Alienis, Fames, Praecantatio|
|Victus||Aqua||Terra||Bestia, Fames, Herba, Limus, Mortuus, Sano, Spiritus|
- In older versions of Thaumcraft, players needed to carry a set of scribing tools and some paper, to receive research notes ("insights") from key scans.
- In versions leading up to 4.2, several aspects had their composition changed, and two (Saxum and Granum) were removed entirely. ( Others were changed more recently, such as Cognito and Telum using Ignis.)
- Also, the minigame changed drastically. For the older minigame, see the page for Research 4.0.