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Chisel-styled Immersive Mining


Omega Haxors
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Recently, chiseled blocks have been optimized to near mathematical perfection, which opens up some interesting possibilities. As it stands right now, mining is in a very boring state. The most efficient way to play is to be deep underground and prospecting, which often leads to hours on end of digging tunnels. Sure you can discourage this by reducing the mining speed, but all this is really doing is increasing the amount of time one has to grind and making fingers sore. Another option is to lower tool durability, but with how easy tools are to make, this is meaningless to balance and just adds extra tedium. Core to the problem is the rudimentary system.

What mining needs to be, is more meaningfully challenging. Instead of holding left click and waiting for blocks to go away, it would be far more interesting if you had a spear-like swing with your pickaxe that broke off chunks of a rock. These rocks would fall to the ground (as entities) and harm/knockback any (unprotected) creatures in the way, so care has to be taken when mining upwards. Upon landing, the player can strike the rocks with their pickaxe to break them into smaller chunks, or they can be moved out of the way with a shovel. Once the stones are broken down, the player can then right click with an empty hand to pick them up, right clicked with clay to create a cobblestone block, or dropped on the ground to create/add to a pile. Since stones cannot be magically voided out of existence, only moved, one must landfill any stones they relieve which makes large tunnels not impossible but strongly discouraged. Unless they were to set up a minecart system to get rid of the stone, making a tunnel serves very little purpose which encourages caving and exploration over grinding. Not only that, but the constantly changing environment as you mine keeps things interesting as you may need to plan out how to obtain hard-to-reach ores.

There's an element of skill as well. Breaking stone from the center takes the longest but produces the smallest stones which are easier to deal with. The fastest way to clear out stone is to take out the corners and relieve the center, though this produces a large rock one must dodge! Without a doubt, setting up a bomb is the fastest way to clear a *large* area of rock, converting it to dust which can be collected with a shovel then sifted. Clearing out mines becomes mechanically realistic as explosives allow for quick tunneling similar to real life.

This system promotes the following:

  • Exploration/Caving
  • Logistical Systems
  • Protective Equipment
  • Explosives
  • Slower Paced Gameplay
  • More Interesting Gameplay
  • Reduced Grind
  • New Combat Opportunities
  • Different Mining Tool Types
  • Immersion
  • VR-Support
  • Moving Away from Minecraft Mechanics
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I'd also like to see a more immersive method to clear rocks and this proposal provides a very nice direction. I pondered about this for a bit and I think I may be able to add some concrete ideas on how to get this implemented and more acceptable for all who may oppose this.

First, indeed define just two ways of interacting: 'chopping hits' (the same action used to now break an entire block, but with reduced impact volume, so a series of hits, but with reduced time span to adjust for reduced impact volume, see below) and 'heavy swings' as proposed above (which could be simulated by a few slower, but harder strikes). And second, restrict the number of 'break lines' from bare rock to a very limited number, as to ensure we get optimal immersion at minimal extra cost. Think 'chop off a face, edge or corner' versus break the core / remainders of an entire block. Dividing a block of rock for the purpose of breaking it with a pick or prospecting pick (see below), could be done by defining a limited number of functional actions which will result in breaking of 27 possible block parts (predefined chisel areas) that can be affected by a single action (either chopping hit or heavy swing):

  • The 8 corner parts, each being 8x8x8 pixels in size and upon breaking they give a 'default chance' to drop a single piece of rock (the 'default chance' being equal to current chance for full block divided by 64 (= 4x4x4)).
  • The 12 central edge parts, each being 8x8x16 pixels in size and and upon breaking they give a double default chance to drop a single piece of rock.
  • The 6 central face parts, each being 8x16x16 pixels in size and upon breaking they give a quadruple default chance to drop a single piece of rock.
  • The core part, being 16x16x16 pixels in size and upon breaking, which will only be possible with a heavy swing, and upon breaking this gives an octuple default chance to drop a single piece of rock.

Either chopping hits or heavy swings will result in more than one part dropping, dependent on where the hit is aimed at. This results in these 4 functional actions:

  • 1. Chopping hits with a pick on a corner will result in dropping of the corner part and 3 edge parts connected to it, resulting in a 7-fold default chance of dropping a piece of rock.
  • 2. Chopping hits with a pick on an edge will result in dropping of the edge part, the central face part connected to the face where the pick aims at, and the 2 corner parts connected to it, resulting in a 13-fold default chance of dropping a piece of rock.
  • 3. Chopping hits with a pick on a face will result in dropping of all 9 parts of that part of the block, resulting in a 16-fold default chance of dropping a piece of rock.
  • Chopping hits on a corner, edge or face part with already part of the neighbouring parts removed will simply result in less parts being broken.
  • 4. Heavy swings will be able to break the core part of a rock and results in dropping the core related drops. To keep it simple, this will also result in breaking and dropping of all other remaining connected parts.
  • Note that with this proposal, either breaking a face or an edge of a rock block will already result in exposing the core, so players will only need to chop off a face or edge and then take heavy swings at the core to clear an entire block and harvest its drops while the time that takes isn't longer than it is now.

This could be combined with the code needed to achieve part of this proposal by @Quentin Preik.

The prospecting pick can then be used in a more immersive manner as well. Taking a sample will become either the result of hitting a corner, edge or face. Those picks should ofc not be effective in breaking the core of a block btw.

As this will require increased usage of picks, durability adjustments will be needed. It may be worthwhile to make durability loss also a 'chance function' in dependency of the volume of rock broken, using the same maths as used for the drop calculation.

To make this immersive way of mining more acceptable, and even more immersive, a chance of ore nuggets dropping from each face and core part breaking could be added, using the same maths as used for the drops of pieces of rocks and for the prospecting. This is proposed in this thread and the notion was triggered by @Omega Haxors himself.

Finally, I expect that with the reduction of the number of 'parts' (predefined chisel areas) and the available time the game has to calculate the effect of the possible block interactions (during the player interaction sequence), the impact of this on game performance should be limited.

Of course, it could be made more sophisticated by making all described block parts drop individually and successively, but that will come at the cost of player convenience, as they will have to re-aim their pick each time a part is broken and dropped.

 

Edited by AlteOgre
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On 6/10/2020 at 10:29 AM, EreticKB said:

Reduce grind -> Increase grind.

Because you still need break many stones, but an every stone block will needs more actions to break.

There's more actions yes, but since you would need to approach each action in a different way (depending on many factors such as where the rock decides to fall, and the size based on where you hit it) there is less monotony in the actions performed. Imagine it like an obstacle course: it may take longer to get to the end, but it's a lot more interesting than simply walking directly forward.

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On 6/10/2020 at 7:29 PM, EreticKB said:

Reduce grind -> Increase grind.

Because you still need break many stones, but an every stone block will needs more actions to break.

 

22 minutes ago, Omega Haxors said:

There's more actions yes, but since you would need to approach each action in a different way (depending on many factors such as where the rock decides to fall, and the size based on where you hit it) there is less monotony in the actions performed. Imagine it like an obstacle course: it may take longer to get to the end, but it's a lot more interesting than simply walking directly forward.

 

1 minute ago, EreticKB said:

There is no many differences between one type click mining and five type click mining after 1000 blocks. But 5000 clicks still more grind than 1000 clicks.

 

Eh, so, not if the net time for a player to break an entire block (this lasts a perceivable duration already atm!) is hardly or not affected and it only takes two consecutive actions of aiming and hitting to clear one block instead of one. In that case this concept idea will make mining much more immersive without it leading to unacceptable inconvenience and without it affecting the 'grindy' feel. If you'd then add the (small) chance of getting drops upon breaking rock blocks in agreement with the prospecting mathematics, the inclination for players to just mine long tunnels will be discouraged and they may be encouraged to use local prospecting instead, exactly as intended with the first post. Let the implications of my proposals in the post above sink in for a bit and then reconsider the 3 quotes above.

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While the breaking of the block may be solvable in the same time as before, the rubble and getting rid of it makes the whole process take a lot more time. Things that are already really grindy in the game, like quarrying for smooth stone, would become unbearable for most players.

Mining efficiently for ore in Vintage Story is significantly different from what you describe, as prospecting above ground and looking for caves in or rich areas or digging straight down is the best way to mine, not building endlessly long tunnels underground.

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I think if you want this implemented you'd need to reduce the complexity a little. Perhaps hitting the block anywhere should result in the same mining speed as we are used to, but hitting randomised (but textured or colored?) weaker parts of the block would break it faster, or give additional chance to get rewards (or cause collapses I guess!).  Alternatively we could always split the mining system up between pick and a hand auger drill (or steampunk machine) for shaft mining as it was before for those long tunnels.

Right now mining isn't very interesting or dynamic so I'm in favor of anything to increase complication and/or reduce the monotony of mining, including Omega's ideas. I don't mind if we have to haul rubble or whatever from the occasional collapse or gas vent, mining should be a dangerous activity in the first place.

Edited by Magitex
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  • 2 weeks later...

Increasing drop rates could completly eliminate any argument for increased grind. I like the idea of creating a different mechanic for mining. If this combined with a better ore spawn that favored prospecting and the development of long term mines for "IE much larger deposits" That have to be properly supported and developed would be fantastci! 

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4 hours ago, MICHAEL CAMPBELL said:

Increasing drop rates could completly eliminate any argument for increased grind.

No, they wouldn't. Getting enough rocks or ore is not the problem, but building tunnels either for aesthetic purposes or to even get to said ore.

I also don't see any gameplay reason for the chisel style mining, it doesn't offer any interesting challanges nor enables other interesting interactions in both Omegas original suggestion or AlteOgre's more refined one.

I however like the "rubble" idea, think breaking stone would create gravel (which is effected by gravity) instead of dropping stone, which can be picked up with a shovel or destroyed by hand for stones. There would be a real gameplay effect with it which would balance the added grind and I feel it would be very fitting for the Wilderness Survival playstyle, however probably not the default one.

On 6/16/2020 at 9:57 AM, Magitex said:

I think if you want this implemented you'd need to reduce the complexity a little. Perhaps hitting the block anywhere should result in the same mining speed as we are used to, but hitting randomised (but textured or colored?) weaker parts of the block would break it faster, or give additional chance to get rewards (or cause collapses I guess!).  Alternatively we could always split the mining system up between pick and a hand auger drill (or steampunk machine) for shaft mining as it was before for those long tunnels.

Right now mining isn't very interesting or dynamic so I'm in favor of anything to increase complication and/or reduce the monotony of mining, including Omega's ideas. I don't mind if we have to haul rubble or whatever from the occasional collapse or gas vent, mining should be a dangerous activity in the first place.

I really, really like the "weak spot" idea. It doesn't make mining any more grindy, but even lets you mine faster (less grind) if you don't just blindly break blocks but pay some attention to where you are mining (more engaging). There could even be different types of weak spots to offer some diversity and player decision making: Break the block faster by hitting the crack or slower but have a chance to get a gem or nugget by hitting the glittering spot?

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I feel like stone dropping gravel would just double the amount of blocks I need to break without any gameplay benefit.

Weak spots sound like a fun idea.


In general mechanics focussed on the ore blocks don't have much space right now, your time is mostly spent searching for ore. Out of the current options exploring caves to find veins is a lot more fun than blindly (even w/ propick) digging through rock.

Additional mining mechanics would first require a different prospecting system + much larger ore veins I think.

 

 

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I read over the OP some time ago, and the general idea has been rolling around in the back of my mind for a while.  I too would like to see a more immersive mining mechanic, but not necessarily vastly more time consuming. Slowing things down some is fine by me. Grinding it to a snail's pace would be problematic.

I agree with some of the comments that the original idea sounds good, but could use simplification.  After some thinking on it, I offer this. It is not really anything new, just what I hope comes across as a simplified idea based on previous suggestions.

Mining out blocks:
Instead of click/holding on a block with a pick-axe to mine it out, let us take swings at it.  Each strike has a chance of breaking off a chunk of the block.  As chunks are removed, the block we are swinging at loses a chunk out of it and it lands in our inventory if we have space for it.  Better quality material pick axes have an increased chance of breaking off a chunk of stone.  Pick axe material type would still determine what could be mined.  Swing speed of the pickaxe would be the same regardless of the metal the pick is made of, but mining out a block would become much faster as better pickaxes would yield chunks of stone more often.

Add cave in mechanics:
Single tile wide tunnels could have a very low chance of caving in, but the possibility is there.  Also, allow the chance that the stone you are cutting on could break free and "roll" out at your feet, breaking into pieces and possibly causing damage if you are standing too close to it.  When this happens, other blocks could collapse as well, resulting in a cave in that could be small or large, and do further damage if you do not retreat in time.  All collapsed blocks break into pieces, allowing you to gather them up for use or to discard.

As a tunnel is made wider, chance of random cave in's increases significantly, even when you are not working in the area.  Active mining increases the chance of a cave in if there are no reinforced mine walls nearby  Mining upward into the ceiling would have high chances of cave-ins if not reinforced. Mining into the floor would have almost no increased chance of cave-ins.  Plan your work progression accordingly. 

Support pillars would be needed to prevent caves-ins on wider tunnels and open mine areas. Not sure what they should be made of. Carve four large beams from a block of wood using an axe, and add large spike nails perhaps. Three beams and a few metal spikes craft a support beam.  Support beams could be applied directly to a stone block, turning the stone block into a reinforced stone block.  Reinforced stone blocks do not collapse, and protect ceiling tiles in a radius above it out to a certain point.  Three to five tiles perhaps, meaning you could have six to ten non reinforced tiles in between reinforced pillars in a mine system.  Another option would be to let support beams be actual beams that are placed on a tile, supporting any roof tiles above it in a 3 to 5 tile radius, or more, if deemed necessary.  If the latter option is deemed the better one, add wood beams cut from a wood block, and wedges also cut from a wood block. One large beam and a few wedges craft a support beam that can be placed one on top of the other as high as is needed, but must span from floor to ceiling to be effective.

Personally I like the idea of both options being possible- a block of uncut stone could be reinforced, allowing for high, reinforced pillars in open mine areas, or the support beam could be placed in an open area to add support to a ceiling.  If both options were in the game, make support beams stand two tiles high at crafting, and prevent them from being able to place on on the other.  Reinforced stone pillars would have a wider radius of support, while support beams standing alone would have a much smaller area of effect.

Just some thoughts after reading over this suggestion and comments.  However it plays out, I'd love to see a more realistic and immersive mining experience brought to the game without making it feel bogged down in "grindy" type mechanics.  Slower mining is fine if it is more interesting- I'd prefer slower, more dynamic mining over faster but ultimately more simplistic, "mine-crafty" type game play.

Humbly submitted,
~TH~

 

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