So my 6-year-old is a Minecraft maniac. We play together constantly and have gotten relatively deep into the game. It's an amazing game and I think the overall effect on him is positive. But while you can make impressive contraptions and circuits with redstone, it seems like there is kind of a limit to how far you can take it. Minecraft lacks simple logic gates as primitives for example, or registers, and doesn't have resistors or capacitors or most other standard components. You can kind of simulate these but it's arduous. Aside from user-contributed mods, are there any 'official' EE extensions to Minecraft or other fun world-building games that have this?
Check out the FTB packs as mentioned in the comments. Look for packs marked "tech". They usually contain "automation" type of mods. This could include things such as the ability to grow, harvest and turn canola seeds into bio-fuel to power an automatic mining system.
You can also compile your own mini pack to enable specifically things such as redstone logic circuits and whatnot. I HIGHLY advise checking out "CompuCraft". I'm not sure if it is updated to the latest version of MC, but if not it may even be worth rolling back to whatever version of MC it supports. It enabled players to construct little robots called "turtles" and then program them IN GAME in a real language called Lua.
Also check these individual mods out:
- Project Red
- Redstone Paste
- Super Circuit Maker
- Wireless Redstone
- Integrated Circuits
- Practical Logistics
I haven't used all of them, but many have been in the packs I have played.
You could even grab a modpack from the FTB list, and then add another mod in yourself although you'd need to be aware of the crash potential and check for conflicting IDs.
The FTB forums may also be a good place for more specific advise.
For general additional content and a GREAT challenge (plus it acts a guide to how to use some of the most common mods), it may be worth playing through a "Skyblock" map with your son. Its not focused on tech per say, but they are just great fun. You start (generally) with a block of dirt and a sapling hovering over a void world. Everything can be slowly acquired from the sapling. Trees yield wood for a bigger platform, leaves can be composted for more dirt, dirt can yield stones, etc.
Regarding "official" mods - I don't believe there are ANY. Microsoft now own MC and thanks to the LARGE and active modding community, I don't think they plan to dabble in it. I also really hope they NEVER choose to. Generally any mod with a decent quantity of reviews, maybe something with a wiki, anything featured in a mod-spotlight on youtube, etc; will have had enough people using it that it would have become obvious if there was some sort of security concern. Many mods are also open to contributions and maintained through github so they get checked by many people.