TL;DR: In Nodecore you craft things in the world instead of a crafting table GUI. But it's a lot harder to craft and smelt stuff in Nodecore than in Minetest/Minecraft. Nodecore encourages you to build ways to make crafting stuff easier for you.
Have you ever wished you knew what to try to build with mesecons, or redstone in Minecraft? Have you ever created a new world, chopped up wood, built a nice house, mined deep underground with torches, loaded up ten furnaces to smelt various things at the same time, made diamond tools, and then thought "Hmm, what should I build with mesecons/redstone? A clock? Tic tac toe?"
In Nodecore, life isn't that easy. You can't stick a torch on a wall and expect it to burn forever. There's no magic furnace blocks with inventory spaces for fuel, ore, and the resulting ingots, you have to smelt stuff using open fires, and then replace the fuel for the fire when it burns out, and then place down the next thing you want to smelt after the first thing gets smelted. Everything is made to be more tedious and frustrating. Even mining stone and dirt takes longer and is riskier. And your inventory is restricted to your hotbar, and there are no chests, so whenever you go to chop trees or go mining you have to bring the right tools for the occasion.
Everything is much harder in Nodecore... unless you automate it, somehow.
The entire game of Nodecore is sort of like mesecons/redstone. Every voxel interacts with other voxels in interesting ways. In fact, the only way to craft stuff is by placing items next to each other in the right way, there's no crafting table because you craft stuff in the world. I built a furnace that autoloads fuel and dumps ash using just cobblestone, sand, and gravel. Yes, you can build furnaces in Nodecore. And everyone's furnace is different. Some are really basic, because they're still learning the game. Others built by pros are huge factories that have digital logic circuitry (made of glass) and they can stick fuel here, glass or ore there, and flip a switch (which is actually just a door that can also be used to make wheels and gears) to turn it on by igniting the fuel with concentrated light or something. People have also made various machines for crafting other things, such as aggregate, at the flip of a switch.
You can chat with other Nodecore players on Discord and IRC, rooms on both platforms are bridged to each other. The Nodecore multiplayer server is announced on Minetest's server list, and the in-game chat is also bridged to the Discord and IRC rooms. What will you build?