Usual recipe stuff...
For starters, I'm mostly down to recipe handling now. Ensuring everything can be properly smelted in the Better Beginnings appliances (which replace Vanilla furnaces) and Better with Mods appliances. There are also a few cheap recipes that needed rewriting as they simply allowed bypassing other inferior items that should be used before hand. This will probably always be an ongoing thing, particularly with each new Alpha release that introduces new mods and therefore more recipes.
Finite Water sources has been updated. Prior to this, water was a finite liquid meaning infinite water sources were no longer a thing. I liked this, but it wasn't perfect. Now, water sources are still finite, except for in Beach, River and Ocean biomes. This means small bodies of water found in forests and other land based biomes are still finite, but large flowing rivers and oceans are infinite; which makes sense. Living near rivers is a sensible choice.
Tree felling in Minecraft has always bugged me. If it wasn't slapping trees with your bare hands, it was floating logs, if wasn't floating logs it was Insta-tree-felling mods that drops the entire tree as items in a single swoop. Boring. Lame. Unrealistic. Not Hardcore.
Trees are now affected by gravity. In other words, once you've taken out the bottom, watch out. That things coming down. This adds an element of realism, danger and extra work to collecting timber.
I've been experimenting with an Alpha mod that adds an encumbrance system. Ignore the '500' limit in the screenshot; it isn't final. As it stands, going into encumbrance causes an 'Encumbered' negative effect which greatly increases the rate at which you burn saturation and become hungry.
The idea is to prevent the player from being a free roaming pack-mule and to add more importance to eating. There are numerous ways to carry large amounts without baring the burden yourself. They currently include Backpacks, Storage Boats, Carry Chests for Wolves and Horses and of course, Minecarts.
Speaking of Minecarts, there are some new auto-unloading functions for Minecarts to make shipping large quantities of ores and stone easier when properly set up on a decent track.
Let's talk alpha
Okay, this is the bit you're all waiting for so I want to take a moment to explain the Alpha and how it works. I have briefly explained this in a few places such as discord, but not everyone may have seen it so I'm going to repeat it here.
The Alpha will not contain everything you've seen on the posts via twitter. When I create larger projects like this, I tend to do it twice. Which sounds strange, I know.
I create a test version, and an in-dev version. The test version is the one I throw all new mods into that I think look interesting. From here I can mess around with it, see if it breaks something, or doesn't play nice with another mod. If that is the case it gives me the opportunity to disable features via its config that may be the culprit of the issues. If all else fails, I can simply remove it without worrying about anything.
If the mod works fine, I then move it over to the in-dev version and only then begin re-writing recipes to deeply integrate it with everything else.
Naturally this means the first alpha will not host everything we've seen, or want, in Banished 2. Each Alpha released will introduce a new mod, complete with its deeper integration and any fixes from the previous alpha.
It's because of this I recommend to not record any Let's Plays during the alpha, as each revision may add new features that require fresh chunks/new worlds. Leave that to the Beta.