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Cave In's and Wood Mining Support beams

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Cool idea, but I was curious as to how you imagine the mechanics would work?  Would this mechanic only apply to naturally spawned blocks?  It would be worrisome if my house collapsed because I didn't include enough structural elements.  I suppose a structural support mechanic could work a bit like the light levels from a torch, meaning they make blocks stick together if they are within a certain hemisphere.  Anyway, I look forward to your thoughts on it.

 

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16 hours ago, Soliton said:

Cool idea, but I was curious as to how you imagine the mechanics would work?  Would this mechanic only apply to naturally spawned blocks?  It would be worrisome if my house collapsed because I didn't include enough structural elements.  I suppose a structural support mechanic could work a bit like the light levels from a torch, meaning they make blocks stick together if they are within a certain hemisphere.  Anyway, I look forward to your thoughts on it.

 

The TFC system is more of a magical aura generated by horizontal support beams within which stone/earth isn't affected by gravity or the collapse triggers the player causes by breaking blocks. Other blocks aren't affected by the system at all unless they're below a cavein in which case they generally get destroyed or burried.

It works fairly well for manually dug out mineshafts but turns into a weird abstract art with pillars and supports if you try to properly prevent collapsing a natural cave.

 

It doesn't work so well with the amount of natural caves imo, and ore veins in vintage story are way too small to bother with building mines.

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TFC's handling of natural caves was deeply flawed and really ruined caving in that game.  I would assume vintage story would rectify that so that natural caves do not have collapse danger, from picks at least (ore bombs are another matter), but only areas the player has mined out.  I would think it should be simple to do.   I think Tyron and Saraty do not really enjoy the whole mining support thing from TFC though, so it's not been priority.  It'd also be much less meaningful in VS, given that the ores generate all on one level, often just one layer thick.  So you'd be doing a lot of extra supporting an mining for a relatively thin band of ore.  As opposed to TFC, where ores deposits were typically 3 12-20 blocks tall, requiring many 3 block tall galleries.

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Given what you said about how ore veins spawn their doesn't seem to be a strong utility (playability?) of having a support beam mechanic.  I supposed this could be addressed by changing the spawn nature of ores to change them from isolated pockets to more of a regional resource.  In other words a significant number pockets would form (at a variety of vertical levels) around a center point, but those center points would be very rare within the overall world generation.  This could drive the players to create more complex mines to ensure they extract everything, as they know the next ore cluster could be a very long way away.

That being said, your response was about support beams your comment about gravity piqued my curiosity so I looked up it in the wiki.  Please correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like gravity is a server side property that is universally applied to all entities of that type.  If true then there couldn't be a local exception to that property that would cause adjacent blocks to a block being updated to fall as if effected by gravity. 

In other words I had wrongly assumed that cave-ins could be approximated by momentarily changing the gravityFactor property (see reference below) of a random number of blocks within small upper hemispherical radius of the broken block.  The mechanic of the support beam would have been then to suppress that momentary change within a similar volume.  

Reference:  

Passivephysics Adds physics to the entity. waterDragFactor = 1, airDragFallingFactor = 1, groundDragFactor = 1, gravityFactor = 1 Universal

 

Thank you for your comments and helping me better understand the game.

Redram, I didn't notice your reply until after I submitted my comment.  Let me think about what you said a bit.

Edited by Soliton

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I don't think it's of any direct benefit to the player.. rock fall generally isn't beneficial to people in real-life either. In-fact I'm sure that's the last place I would want to be, ever.

It's mostly reinforcing the games survival mechanics, as mining is extremely dangerous (rock-fall, explosive/noxious gases, water, even hazardous materials) and the current mining systems in Vintage Story just don't reflect this. If we don't feature rock collapse, I feel we need some other mechanic to spice up mining from time to time, or to make it more thoughtful (both the preparation for mining and the actual task of going about it). To be clear I don't hate the existing system, it allows you to spend more time finding things but at the same time there's just nothing interesting mechanically about mining yet.

Wood support mechanics also interest me in Vintage Story because then perhaps we can have our own saw mills and the like for creating nice looking mine shafts while having more involved carpentry and woodworking in the game for trade. Conversely requiring wooden supports preventing you from mining anything is its own issue, as it could push back early mining (desireable in some respects though) and would restrict players to raiding bog marshes for iron and the like. I guess support mechanics & collapse could be strata or depth related so that copper is always mine-able, but there are probably better ideas around.

On 8/20/2020 at 1:51 AM, redram said:

TFC's handling of natural caves was deeply flawed and really ruined caving in that game.  I would assume vintage story would rectify that so that natural caves do not have collapse danger, from picks at least (ore bombs are another matter), but only areas the player has mined out.  I would think it should be simple to do.   I think Tyron and Saraty do not really enjoy the whole mining support thing from TFC though, so it's not been priority.  It'd also be much less meaningful in VS, given that the ores generate all on one level, often just one layer thick.  So you'd be doing a lot of extra supporting an mining for a relatively thin band of ore.  As opposed to TFC, where ores deposits were typically 3 12-20 blocks tall, requiring many 3 block tall galleries.

As for TFC's mining and support system, ultimately I think it merits a look but I also get the feeling the developers don''t want the game to become more tedious than it is already. If nothing else I'm hoping we can get some nasty surprises when digging our perfect tunnels sometime in the future, explosive or otherwise.

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4 hours ago, Magitex said:

It's mostly reinforcing the games survival mechanics, as mining is extremely dangerous (rock-fall, explosive/noxious gases, water, even hazardous materials) and the current mining systems in Vintage Story just don't reflect this.

We have drifters, locusts, lava, water(falls), temporal instability, falling sand/gravel, falling to death in deep holes, ... And if you make mining and cave exloring too dangerous and/or slow, it just becomes annoying for a lot of people, maybe even to a point where they might completely avoid caves/mining, meaning it destroys this whole part of the game for them.

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If mining supports make it into the game, I'm sure they will have a config toggle, just like so many other things.  It is possible to have the mechanic for those that like it, but not force it on those that don't. 

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9 hours ago, junawood said:

We have drifters, locusts, lava, water(falls), temporal instability, falling sand/gravel, falling to death in deep holes, ... And if you make mining and cave exloring too dangerous and/or slow, it just becomes annoying for a lot of people, maybe even to a point where they might completely avoid caves/mining, meaning it destroys this whole part of the game for them.

I don't feel like these are quite the same thing as mining hazards themselves, but I get your point about it being too annoying - which is probably why it hasn't been added yet.. it needs a lot of thought on implementation.

Right now, to me it just feels like mining in Minecraft and I don't feel like it's interesting or engaging as an activity. I want to have to set up new camps and mining sites and otherwise make serious preparations for it, thinking about structural integrity or noxious gases etc when digging like miners typically would. At the same time, I'd rather not have drifters spawning in man-made tunnels because it often feels like a bit of a gotcha when they just pop up in front of you.

 

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On 9/2/2020 at 6:34 AM, Magitex said:

I don't think it's of any direct benefit to the player.. rock fall generally isn't beneficial to people in real-life either. In-fact I'm sure that's the last place I would want to be, ever.

It's mostly reinforcing the games survival mechanics, as mining is extremely dangerous (rock-fall, explosive/noxious gases, water, even hazardous materials) and the current mining systems in Vintage Story just don't reflect this. If we don't feature rock collapse, I feel we need some other mechanic to spice up mining from time to time, or to make it more thoughtful (both the preparation for mining and the actual task of going about it). To be clear I don't hate the existing system, it allows you to spend more time finding things but at the same time there's just nothing interesting mechanically about mining yet.

Wood support mechanics also interest me in Vintage Story because then perhaps we can have our own saw mills and the like for creating nice looking mine shafts while having more involved carpentry and woodworking in the game for trade. Conversely requiring wooden supports preventing you from mining anything is its own issue, as it could push back early mining (desireable in some respects though) and would restrict players to raiding bog marshes for iron and the like. I guess support mechanics & collapse could be strata or depth related so that copper is always mine-able, but there are probably better ideas around.

As for TFC's mining and support system, ultimately I think it merits a look but I also get the feeling the developers don''t want the game to become more tedious than it is already. If nothing else I'm hoping we can get some nasty surprises when digging our perfect tunnels sometime in the future, explosive or otherwise.

Let me define what I mean by benefit to the player. What if you took all the enemies out of a hack n slash style game? It would be kind of boring. All the drops would come from breaking boxes. The progression system gets thrown off as dealing more damage to boxes doesn't help. The benefits of adding an enemy for the player is more action and a progression system in the form of better weapons and armor. By adding different types of enemies the benefit is variety to keep the user from getting bored. By identifying the benefit to the player it informs if something is worth the effort and if it even belongs in the game.

Here you propose the issue is that mining in VS is boring. The solution you are proposing is cave collapses and reinforcements. If every rock needs supported like in TFC it adds a constant task on top of a constant task. I don't feel that is your desired result. I think what you really want is variation added to the constant task of mining to make it less boring. In order to accomplish that variation needs to be added to the task in such a way that it doesn't form a discernible pattern. With all of that in mind I would like you to refine your suggestion in a more detailed way that addresses your core complaint.

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What it comes down to is simply that everyone has different tastes.  Nobody is wrong or right here, in broad terms.  I loved mining supports in TFC, for the verisimilitude they provide.  They made my mine look like a mine.  Verisimilitude is a fairly strong theme in VS.   Other people just found them (and the cave-in mechanic in general) a nuisance.  These are simply opinions.  However the great flaw of TFC's cave-in system was that it would cause cave-ins in natural caverns you hadn't even seen yet.  It could destroy ore, and just generally ruin the cave landscape.   And there was no way to avoid it.   That is objectively bad, to have a bad result the player has not power to stop.    However, the important point is, you can make this system a config option, so that those who don't like it can turn it off.  There's really no argument against it at that point, other than that it take's Tyron's time to make the system in the first place, and you (generic third person you) might want to see that time spent elsewhere.  But that's a very weak argument.  If you like it use it, if you don't flip the switch.  Everyone's happy.

In a similar but opposing vein, TFC had a seeded random smithing system.   VS has opted for a defined 'sliding blocks' puzzle system.   You can't really put a config switch on that without literally building two separate systems.  That's an unreasonable expectation, and so a choice must be made.  These kinds of choices are more impactful to the game.  So really it isn't necessary to have an argument about collapse mechanics ye or nay, because they can be easily made a config.  There's no reason not to have them, other than the opportunity cost of dev time.  Details of exactly how it works would be worthwhile discussing though, because every little mechanic within the general collapse mechanic can't be a config, and the TFC system can be improved upon.

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Let me preface this by saying I'm not strongly wishing for anything -- as a fellow programmer, I'm more than aware of the cost of writing more code! And also aware that configurability is not panacea -- I'd rather see it as a fully opt-in mechanism, such as a mod one has to install or otherwise ignore and be unaware of.

However, I am also someone who greatly enjoyed support beams in TFC, both because they provide verisimilitude and because they have a reason to exist in terms of mechanics. Overall, when I played TFC the support beams added to my enjoyment and assisted my suspension of disbelief.

At the same time, I must admit I was never convinced the cave-in mechanic was as good as it should be; as previously mentioned, the inevitable self-destruction of caves is a very unfortunate side effect of the TFC implementation, and I would love to see it somehow avoided in any theoretical re-implementation. That said, I haven't given it much thought beyond "it should be better", so no suggestions come to mind yet.

Regardless, I would like to support the idea of having structural supports that are meaningful to gameplay in some way.

I have a few specific points to make in response to the above, as well:

On 8/19/2020 at 4:35 PM, Soliton said:

In other words I had wrongly assumed that cave-ins could be approximated by momentarily changing the gravityFactor property (see reference below) of a random number of blocks within small upper hemispherical radius of the broken block.  The mechanic of the support beam would have been then to suppress that momentary change within a similar volume.  

To clarify how it works in TFC: the Minecraft engine has the same limitations (with good reason!) -- simple blocks like stone are all one instance, therefore all stone is either always or never affected by gravity. TFC's implementation is to replace the blocks that should collapse with cobblestone blocks of the appropriate material; cobblestone is affected by gravity and leads to the observed behavior (of a cave-in). The support beam effectively cancels the cave-in mechanic's effect: if a block at position X,Y,Z would have collapsed (i.e., turned into cobblestone) but it is within range of a support beam, then it is simply left alone.

3 hours ago, redram said:

There's really no argument against it at that point, other than that it take's Tyron's time to make the system in the first place [...] But that's a very weak argument.

Please don't forget the time spent maintaining the code that makes the system work: bug reports, related code changes -- it all adds up, and opposing it is a similarly weak argument of "I kind of liked having that mechanic". Overall, I'd rather spend a modder's time than Tyron's, if anyone felt up to the challenge.

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4 hours ago, Narc said:

Please don't forget the time spent maintaining the code that makes the system work: bug reports, related code changes -- it all adds up, and opposing it is a similarly weak argument of "I kind of liked having that mechanic". Overall, I'd rather spend a modder's time than Tyron's, if anyone felt up to the challenge.

Oh don't get me wrong, Tyron's time is super-important.  It's just that I'm sure he is quite aware of the opportunity costs and maintenance costs or whatever, he doesn't really need other people trying to use his time as an argument, especially if they're not coders.   When I called it a weak argument, what I'm saying is that it doesn't really add anything to the conversation about the actual topic.  It's kind of a deflection, to me. 

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Ah, I understand - in that case, I agree with you completely. We can't really estimate the cost from here, and it's not our call to make regardless.

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Just made an account to offer my 2 cents (the game looks pretty interesting so far! I might have to try it out). Falling blocks and using support seems like it could (potentially) be really cool, though TFC's version of it could definitely be better. 

This seems like it'd be a great project for modding, though it'd be awesome if it was implemented in the game. I'm not a terribly experienced programmer yet, but I do find this kind of thing fun so I might look into it if I decide to get the game and I also end up liking it.

I think a good, (though perhaps idealistic) way to do support and blocks falling is to make every block have a "support" value for how well they can support things. I don't know how plausible that'd be, I have a rough idea of how it could maybe be implemented but I have no idea how to make sure it doesn't eat up too much performance or if it's even possible with how the game is set up. Maybe with some tinkering it can be done in a realistic and fun way though!

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