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Visual prospecting


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So thinking back to my first usage of the prospector pick, I felt that it was very out of character for the game. You're reading chat messages on percentages performing a slightly strange triangulation ritual to locate ore. While the mechanic itself wasn't all that bad, the execution could use a bit of work to fit into the game.

So I have two ideas in regards to the prospector pick:

  • How about having the prospecting pick show something more visual on impacts with rock surfaces?

It would show which ores are the closest and most common by using ore-appropriately colored particle effects, instead of a digital read-out. It might require a few passes to be logical to players but it would probably be less out-of-character for the game. It should also be fairly trivial to implement.

To give an example, at a mountain that contains nearby copper and deep iron, when walking around tapping spots you would get ~8 particles per hit (sometimes more or less), four particles are common rock, three are copper and 1 is rustic iron; If you were to hit the same rock again, you might just get 8 rock colored particles with no ore particles, or you might just get 8 rocks and 1 copper. The next hit in the exact same spot, you might get 2 rock, 4 copper, and still no iron. You could never be definite about a single prospecting attempt, but you could guess roughly which direction to go and what was the most common in that area after several prospecting attempts.

  • At the same time, it might be a good idea to think about having the prospect pick capable of dropping a nugget (rare, and perhaps impossible for deeper ores) rather than be a complete loss tool?

I think it would be a fun surprise when your prospecting results in something tangible from time to time (maybe gemstones of questionable value), even if it was a really rare event. Obviously you'd not want players just hitting the same rock to get copper, but it should either be rare enough - or pull from a fixed area-pool so it cannot be repeated.

There are probably better ideas around, maybe having the prospect pick function like a chisel and micro-blocks fall to the ground for you to sift through (another prospecting step? :D) or whatever, but colored particles should easy and effective to implement, while being a bit more lore and aesthetic friendly. It shouldn't be hard for new players to decipher while playing either; you hit things and stuff happens.

Let me know what you think, or if you have a better idea about visually prospecting for ore.


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My preference would be to rework ore spawning & prospecting entirely, I'm not a Roomba, I do not enjoy blindly stumbling around the ground until I bump into something relevant.

I would love having visual indicators (they can be subtle) on the surface if there are ores around, with rarer and much larger veins, the prospecting pick could then serve both to tip players off about these signs and to further narrow down the actual location of the ores when used on/near those signs.


If a rework isn't an option getting rid of the percentages in favor of something like this would be an improvement though, spreadsheet-ish data does feel out of place.


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