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How to find ores


MrGR0-22
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Like, I have a world that I can´t get from the copper age to the bronze age, It´s my first and most played world, I simply can´t find any zinc or tin. What tips do you guys have for me to finally find some zinc or tin? So like, I made a prospecting pick, but I don´t know how to use it properly, so I need help to find a better way or to know how to use it, because I follow the tutorials but I don't have any success.

 Sorry for the english, it´s not my first language, and thanks in advance.

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For me to get my first bronze tools, I had to pan through a stack of gravel. Additionally, exploring caves can yield lots of metal. In order to use the propick effectively, I recommend enabling the alternate propick mode. The default mode tells you the likelyhood of an ore being within the triangle (after testing 3 points) and the alternate mode tells you if there are any ore actually there within 6 blocks after testing 1 point.

Edited by Maxwell Ellington
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11 minutes ago, Maxwell Ellington said:

For me to get my first bronze tools, I had to pan through a stack of gravel. Additionally, exploring caves can yield lots of metal. In order to use the propick effectively, I recommend enabling the alternate propick mode. The default mode tells you the likelyhood of an ore being within the triangle (after testing 3 points) and the alternate mode tells you if there are any ore actually there within 6 blocks after testing 1 point.

Oh, Thank you, I think this will help, and I will activate the the alternate propick mode. Real thanks, I will let you know if it worked for me, thankyou one more time.

Edited by MrGR0-22
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Note that (as with any other ingame commands to change the world settings) you will need to quit and re-enter the world after using that command before you can switch to the new secodnary mode.

Also, it is just a tool you need to learn to use, not a magic solution. If you start walking around the world with the secondary mode active and search at random, you will more than likely not find anything, because that is not what it is intended for. Prospecting is a player skill that you must learn through practice, no matter what modes are available to you.

A common good practice for ore search goes like this:

1.a.) Determine whether the ore can even exist where you currently are. Not all types of stone can carry all types of ore. If you try to search for cassiterite in claystone, you will have a bad time. To find out what stones you need, open the handbook by pressing H, then search for the nugget of the ore you want - for example "nugget (cassiterite)" for tin. Click that entry. Look for "obtained by breaking", where you'll find a number of items. Mouse over them. The tooltip will tell you the stone types these nuggets can be found in.
1.b.) If you do not know what stone types you have where you are, you'll need to dig a shaft down and check. There are almost always three layers of stone below the surface; sometimes there is a narrow fourth layer, but not always. Find out what your local three main stone types are. Can at least one of them spawn cassiterite (tin)? Or alternatively, can at least one of them spawn sphalerite (zinc) and at least one bismuthinite? If your answer to either one is "no", you will need to move to a different part of the world where there are different kinds of stones. But I doubt that will happen.

2.a.) Once you know what you want to look for, select the primary mode of the prospecting pick, and decide on a grid pattern. Using a systematic search pattern is far more likely to yield results than taking samples randomly. The primary mode requires you to break three blocks a certain distance apart from each other, but always gives you a result for the first block you broke. So only the first block you break matters for your pattern. You could decide to check every 100 blocks, for example. That is a nice and easy to remember pattern. Ingame, hit V to bring up the coordinate display in the upper right. Then start somewhere that's a multiple of 100 in both the first and the last number. For example 200,x,200. (The middle number is your altitude, which does not matter.) Prospect that particular block (and break two others near it to get your result). Now, move 100 blocks over in one direction, for example to 300,x,200. Prospect that particular block. Move 100 blocks again. Rinse, repeat.
2.b.) Each time you prospect, make a map marker with a summary of what you found. Something like "poor zinc, decent bismuth, no tin, high borax". You can include the percentage numbers or not - they help a little, but it's extra work. You can limit yourself to only noting cassiterite, sphalerite and bismuthinite for now, if tracking everything feels too tedious. But on the other hand, tracking everything might later help you find iron, or something else you're looking for.
2.c.) EDIT: There's actually a mod that does that for you, if you are willing to go into modding.

3.a.) Once you have prospected a bunch, going both north/south and east/west, you will be able to use the map to mouse over the markers you've made and look for patterns. Does moving east/west make the cassiterite concentration go up or down? Does going north/south make the sphalerite concentration go up or down? This is why you use a steady grid pattern: it lets you identify trends. It'll be easier to see these trends if you recorded the percentages, but it also works with just the words poor/decent/high and so on. Follow the trends. Prospect more where it looks like the concentrations of the things you want are going up, but keep to your grid pattern for now.
3.b.) You're hoping for an "ultra high" reading, but it's not guaranteed that one will exist. Perhaps "very high" is the best the current area will give you. Or even less. Once upon a time I was so desperate for iron, I made do with "poor" being the best reading. It's up to you. The higher the reading you can obtain, the higher the chance that you will actually find ore in the following steps. Once it looks like you're getting a decently high reading, it might be worth to narrow your pattern and search every 50 blocks instead. Identify and map out that hotspot where the highest readings are. Note that not all the things you want are going to be high in the same area. If you need both bismuth and zinc, you'll need to identify hotspots for both.

4.) After you've found a hotspot, go home, and fetch ladders. A lot of ladders. Like, at least two stacks if you're playing with default world height. More if your world is higher. Sticks can be obtained in large quantities by making some copper shears and running through a forest trimming the trees.

5.) Vintage Story spawns ores as horizontal discs. Thus, much in the same way you're shooting an arrow at the front of a practice target and not at the side, you'll be digging from the top down to have the best chance to hit an ore disc. Hence the ladders. Pick somewhere on top of your hotspot, and dig straight down. To prevent you falling into a cave, you'll make the shaft two blocks wide, and stand in the middle while digging left, right, left, right. This way, you will always have solid ground under your feet even if you break through the ceiling of a cavern. If that does happen, you'll have to find a way to continue downwards; this might involve fighting mobs, lighting up the area, and building walls around your ladder. Or you could give up this shaft and dig a different one a couple dozen blocks off to one side. But if you hit a cave with the first shaft, chances are the whole area is full of holes, and any shaft you dig will eventually hit one. Might as well grit your teeth and fight for your shaft. Additionally, you could later start exploring these caves starting from the shaft you dug, using it as a safe retreat.

6.) As you dig down, you will go from one stone layer to the next. Pay attention to what stone you are digging through. Can this stone type carry the ore you want? If no, continue digging until you hit the right stone. If yes - well, now is finally the time to activate the secondary propick mode. If you used the command like Maxwell supplied it in his post above, you'll have a search radius of 6. That means you will want to break a block with the propick every 12 blocks (twice your search radius) that you go down. Keep doing this as you dig deeper. Now, one of three things will happen.

7.a.) The first possible result is, you find nothing, even if you dig as deep as you can. This can happen even with an "ultra high" reading, but it is very unlikely. If you must make do with a lower quality hotspot, the chance of this happening obviously goes up. If this happens, you will have to dig another shaft some 15-20 blocks away from your first one, and repeat the exercise. When I was looking for iron at a "poor" hotspot, I needed four shafts.
7.b.) The second possible result is, you dig straight into a disc of ore. Congratulations, a winner is you!
7.c.) The third possible result is, your prospecting pick secondary mode spits out a reading for ore, but you do not find it by digging further down. This means that there is the rim of a disc of ore within 6 blocks of your shaft, but you narrowly missed it.

8.a.) If it's the third case, you now need to triangulate where that vein is located. Take prospecting readings along your shaft both upwards and downwards in narrow steps (say, 3 blocks, half your search radius) until you can no longer detect the ore on both ends. This lets you identify the exact middle point - the altitude of the disc.
8.b.) At that altitude, dig a horizontal tunnel into the side of your shaft, six blocks deep. Take another reading. Is the ore still showing up? If no, do the same on the opposite side of the shaft.
8.c.) If the ore reading still shows up (or you went to the opposite side), you now dig a tunnel perpendicular to the first one. Again, go six blocks in both directions and take samples. Does the ore still show up?
8.d.) If you've made it here without finding anything - honestly, you should have run into that disc long ago. Try digging up or down a bit where your prospecting readings are the highest, maybe the terrain shape has twisted the vein into a non-disc-like shape. This happens sometimes.

Edited by Streetwind
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10 hours ago, Maxwell Ellington said:

The default mode tells you the likelyhood of an ore being within the triangle (after testing 3 points)

Streewind kind of covered this but I just wanted to make a focused reply, that this is not actually how the primary mode works.  The primary mode references ore density maps that are made on world gen, and the first spot of the 3 that you break, is the one that it is giving you results for.  The subsequent two required samples are just to make it a non-trivial operation.  As opposed to say, TFC where you could just spring around at a dead run right clicking sampling everywhere.   The subsequent two samples don't need to be in a triangle, all 3 can be in a straight line up, or down, for instance.  They just have to be spaced out is all.

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Streetwind, a video showing how to do those methods would be a huge help to most folks here. I can understand basically how to do would you showed but until I see it done I have difficulty applying it, make sense? Even if it was a short video but something that was done in survival mode would be amazing!

 

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@EMSpara - This is not my video, so I don't claim any credit for it. I also cannot guarantee it shows the steps exactly as I described them. That said, it does follow the same general approach: use the primary propick mode in a grid pattern, use the map to take notes and identify hotspots, dig downwards at the hotspot, and use the secondary propick mode to triangulate the position of a vein.

 

Edited by Streetwind
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Yeah I watched this one, and though it is instructional, for some reason I find something in it lacking. It's still a good video, I just am still a bit lost on the subject. Maybe I will have to make a world and switch back and forth and play with the propick to see if I can figure out how to do it. I am looking for a simple way to try to find them. Maybe should I clear the dirt away from an area to search, search an area that I can dig down through after getting decent readings, and then climb back up via dirt blocks or ladders if it did/didn't pan out? Is a 9x9 area decent to search and then dig down the middle of it? Just not sure.

 

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Depends what you're searching for.  bismuth and cassiterite occur in smaller discs, but some ores occur in extremely large discs.  If you're searching for cassiterite and using the secondary mode at a range of 8, you could probably dig every 24 blocks and have a high chance of finding any cassiterite.  You don't need to dig every 16 in such a case, because cassiterite almost never occurs in a single block size, so you'd be very unlikely to miss it, probably.  But again, this pattern will depend on the secondary search radius you select, and also on the ore you're searching for.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/6/2020 at 3:13 PM, Maxwell Ellington said:

Command to enable alt propick

/worldConfig propickNodeSearchRadius 6

and I believe the F key switches the modes.

This info needs to appear in the propick instructions on both the H information menu and the propick page on the wiki otherwise its unplayable for new players. The hot cold thing dies not work at some low percentages. 

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On 9/10/2020 at 1:55 PM, redram said:

Depends what you're searching for.  bismuth and cassiterite occur in smaller discs, but some ores occur in extremely large discs.  If you're searching for cassiterite and using the secondary mode at a range of 8, you could probably dig every 24 blocks and have a high chance of finding any cassiterite.  You don't need to dig every 16 in such a case, because cassiterite almost never occurs in a single block size, so you'd be very unlikely to miss it, probably.  But again, this pattern will depend on the secondary search radius you select, and also on the ore you're searching for.

Day seven hunting for the tin under my base. Even switched to creative to tunnel with my fist. back and forth, up and down 8 block intervals. Nothing??? I'll keep trying.

EDIT:
OK now I've found it and its a big deposit but that was hard and now I'm out of copper. 

Edited by wesley Bruce
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  • 7 months later...
On 9/6/2020 at 10:24 AM, Streetwind said:

2.a.) Once you know what you want to look for, select the primary mode of the prospecting pick, and decide on a grid pattern. Using a systematic search pattern is far more likely to yield results than taking samples randomly. The primary mode requires you to break three blocks a certain distance apart from each other, but always gives you a result for the first block you broke. So only the first block you break matters for your pattern. You could decide to check every 100 blocks, for example. That is a nice and easy to remember pattern. Ingame, hit V to bring up the coordinate display in the upper right. Then start somewhere that's a multiple of 100 in both the first and the last number. For example 200,x,200. (The middle number is your altitude, which does not matter.) Prospect that particular block (and break two others near it to get your result). Now, move 100 blocks over in one direction, for example to 300,x,200. Prospect that particular block. Move 100 blocks again. Rinse, repeat.
 

 

i cant go 100 blocks. it says range to far or something. did the dev changed the prospick? or did you change the range by command?

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