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Help finding Cassiterite with Prospecting Pick


Xuhybrid
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So i wasted a ton of time today hunting for ores besides Copper. Mostly found Iron (Hematite) and nothing else was above 0.1% (Very Poor). Eventually found some Tin (Cassiterite) on the prospecting pick and dug down for 2 full picks worth, deep into unstable area and still couldn't find anything... Is it meant to be this tedious? I ran around 7 different biomes and did sampling for a couple hours without finding anything...

So i guess what i'm here for is, do you have any tips?

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approximately what radius in blocks did you search?  'Biomes' don't really have anything to do with it.  Generally speaking, you might have to cover a pretty good distance (2k blocks or so) to get a broad coverage.  And you need to be aware of what spawns where.  Broadly speaking you'll run into 2 types of area: those that have a decent thickness of sedimentary stone, and those that are igneous top to bottom.  The t2b igneous zones will have only ores that spawn in igneous rocks.  Areas that have a sedimentary top layer, you'll also be able to find stuff that spawns in sedimentary stones (coal, salt, borax, lime, lead, etc).  Sedimentary zones will always have an igneous layer or two beneath, so you'll get the broadest variety of propick readings in these areas.  Rarely you might find metamophic layers, which have a couple unique ores that aren't yet used, and marble.  So not necessary for advancement.  If you're looking for specific ores, it will help for you to look up what stone types they can spawn in.

It is entirely possible to have fairly large zones with few or even absolutely no ore results on the propick.  Such areas shouldn't be more than a few hundred blocks in diameter, I think.  Personally I try not to put much effort into setting up a base until I've found an area that has a some decent chances at something good (or has good traders). 

In the early game, I would suggest especially focusing on propicking cave mouths.  If you get good results (usually tin, bismuth, or zinc in the early game) then go explore the cave.   Blind-mining in shafts from the surface can be a dicey proposition unless the readings are decent or higher, depending on the ore.  Ores that spawn in huge veins (coal, iron, deep copper) will have much better chances with blind mining.  Blind mining for very small deposits like cassiterite and bismuth is much harder, though not as bad if you have the node search mode activated on the propick.

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When prospecting, you're receiving data about two things: the probability of ore generating in the area you prospect, expressed in words, and the amount blocks in the area likely to be that type of ore, out of all blocks in the area, expressed as a number.

As an example, a reading of "decent native copper (9.2)" means there is a middling chance for copper to spawn, and on average, 0.92% of all blocks in this area will be native copper ore blocks. (Note the usage of the per-mille sign versus the percent sign %.) The reason you have both is that spawn chances differ from one ore to the next; a "decent" reading for native copper is a much higher spawn chance than a "decent" reading for cassiterite. Additionally, different ores spawn veins of different sizes. Even a very good spawn chance doesn't have to result in a lot of blocks if the veins are small.

Because the numeric amount is contingent on all of these things, I personally find it useful to ignore it and just go by the wording in most cases. If you want to know where to dig, then the words will tell you that. You ideally want an "ultra high" cassiterite reading, regardless of what the numbers say. If you cannot find one, then "very high" is the next-best thing. "High" after that, and so on. It depends entirely on you what kind of minimum probability you are willing (or desperate enough) to accept.

So how do you find it? Well, ore spawn chances are not random. They change slowly over large distances, forming peaks and valleys just like a terrain map. If you get any reading of cassiterite at all, that's a start. The next thing you have to find out is in which direction the reading becomes better. This is something the numeric indicator could help with, at least for an individual ore, but in the case of cassiterite it is always so small that it almost never visibly changes. You'll just have to make do with finding where the wording changes from "very poor" to "poor", and so on.

Here is a map I once made with the help of a spreadsheet, showing cassiterite readings from my prospecting done in that world over a hundred hours of playtime. It illustrates what I mean. You can roughly make out two very large, circular** areas, towards the center of which the concentration of cassiterite increases. The numbers are ingame coordinates, which gives you an idea of just how large these areas are. I found an "ultra high" reading under the lake in the lower left, and if I needed more, I could have continued prospecting in the upper middle, where another hotspot appears to be nearby. You'll also notice areas where no cassiterite is present at all. That's normal.

(**They look elliptic, but that's mostly because the boxes of the spreadsheet are not squares, which distorts the dimensions.)

So you must look for the centers of these circles, where the concentration reaches its local maximum. It's not guaranteed that there will be an "ultra high", but perhaps you can make do with whatever it is you happen to find.

One you have your reading, that's where you dig. Go downwards, not sideways, because ore generates in the shape of horizontal discs. And if you reach the bottom of the world (or exit the valid stone layer) and have found nothing? Then move 20-ish blocks to the side and dig down again. Keep making shafts around the hotspot until you find something. If you have the secondary mode of the prospecting pick toggled on, it can help you out while digging those shafts by detecting the presence of ore you just barely missed.

 

Edited by Streetwind
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22 hours ago, redram said:

approximately what radius in blocks did you search?  'Biomes' don't really have anything to do with it.  Generally speaking, you might have to cover a pretty good distance (2k blocks or so) to get a broad coverage.  And you need to be aware of what spawns where.  Broadly speaking you'll run into 2 types of area: those that have a decent thickness of sedimentary stone, and those that are igneous top to bottom.  The t2b igneous zones will have only ores that spawn in igneous rocks.  Areas that have a sedimentary top layer, you'll also be able to find stuff that spawns in sedimentary stones (coal, salt, borax, lime, lead, etc).  Sedimentary zones will always have an igneous layer or two beneath, so you'll get the broadest variety of propick readings in these areas.  Rarely you might find metamophic layers, which have a couple unique ores that aren't yet used, and marble.  So not necessary for advancement.  If you're looking for specific ores, it will help for you to look up what stone types they can spawn in.

It is entirely possible to have fairly large zones with few or even absolutely no ore results on the propick.  Such areas shouldn't be more than a few hundred blocks in diameter, I think.  Personally I try not to put much effort into setting up a base until I've found an area that has a some decent chances at something good (or has good traders). 

In the early game, I would suggest especially focusing on propicking cave mouths.  If you get good results (usually tin, bismuth, or zinc in the early game) then go explore the cave.   Blind-mining in shafts from the surface can be a dicey proposition unless the readings are decent or higher, depending on the ore.  Ores that spawn in huge veins (coal, iron, deep copper) will have much better chances with blind mining.  Blind mining for very small deposits like cassiterite and bismuth is much harder, though not as bad if you have the node search mode activated on the propick.

I would say i went around 500 blocks in each direction around spawn but literally all the biomes with different top soil/generation patterns had chert sand/gravel and dirt with chert stone top layer. I was aiming to get Tin since it's simpler for alloy so i'll look up which stone they spawn in, since i might need to travel much further. All the cave mouths i prospected were majority Hematite, which is nice but without bronze it's not too useful atm lol.

21 hours ago, Streetwind said:

When prospecting, you're receiving data about two things: the probability of ore generating in the area you prospect, expressed in words, and the amount blocks in the area likely to be that type of ore, out of all blocks in the area, expressed as a number.

As an example, a reading of "decent native copper (9.2)" means there is a middling chance for copper to spawn, and on average, 0.92% of all blocks in this area will be native copper ore blocks. (Note the usage of the per-mille sign versus the percent sign %.) The reason you have both is that spawn chances differ from one ore to the next; a "decent" reading for native copper is a much higher spawn chance than a "decent" reading for cassiterite. Additionally, different ores spawn veins of different sizes. Even a very good spawn chance doesn't have to result in a lot of blocks if the veins are small.

Because the numeric amount is contingent on all of these things, I personally find it useful to ignore it and just go by the wording in most cases. If you want to know where to dig, then the words will tell you that. You ideally want an "ultra high" cassiterite reading, regardless of what the numbers say. If you cannot find one, then "very high" is the next-best thing. "High" after that, and so on. It depends entirely on you what kind of minimum probability you are willing (or desperate enough) to accept.

So how do you find it? Well, ore spawn chances are not random. They change slowly over large distances, forming peaks and valleys just like a terrain map. If you get any reading of cassiterite at all, that's a start. The next thing you have to find out is in which direction the reading becomes better. This is something the numeric indicator could help with, at least for an individual ore, but in the case of cassiterite it is always so small that it almost never visibly changes. You'll just have to make do with finding where the wording changes from "very poor" to "poor", and so on.

Here is a map I once made with the help of a spreadsheet, showing cassiterite readings from my prospecting done in that world over a hundred hours of playtime. It illustrates what I mean. You can roughly make out two very large, circular** areas, towards the center of which the concentration of cassiterite increases. The numbers are ingame coordinates, which gives you an idea of just how large these areas are. I found an "ultra high" reading under the lake in the lower left, and if I needed more, I could have continued prospecting in the upper middle, where another hotspot appears to be nearby. You'll also notice areas where no cassiterite is present at all. That's normal.

(**They look elliptic, but that's mostly because the boxes of the spreadsheet are not squares, which distorts the dimensions.)

So you must look for the centers of these circles, where the concentration reaches its local maximum. It's not guaranteed that there will be an "ultra high", but perhaps you can make do with whatever it is you happen to find.

One you have your reading, that's where you dig. Go downwards, not sideways, because ore generates in the shape of horizontal discs. And if you reach the bottom of the world (or exit the valid stone layer) and have found nothing? Then move 20-ish blocks to the side and dig down again. Keep making shafts around the hotspot until you find something. If you have the secondary mode of the prospecting pick toggled on, it can help you out while digging those shafts by detecting the presence of ore you just barely missed.

 

Interesting. I didn't find anything worded above Poor unless it was copper, so i'll be going off that in future. I did notice the Cassiterite started getting better readings in one of the biomes i searched, but if generation works like that, it makes it easier to play hot and cold. Prospecting pick mode? F i assume?

Just curious but do you prospect a 5x5 area (minimum)? Would you recommend looking for Tin or perhaps another resource for alloy?

Thanks for both of your in depth responses.

Edited by Xuhybrid
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Correct. But remember that you have more than one layer of rocks, just like Redram said. If there's granite below your chert, you can still find cassiterite in that.

Also, if you have good readings for iron ores, then try and at least find a vein, even if you cannot mine it yet. With an iron mine ready and waiting, you can practically skip the bronze age entirely if you get just 1,000 units of any kind of bronze. 100 for a pickaxe that can mine iron, and 900 for an anvil that can handle working iron. True, bloomery iron is a bit annoying to work with if you don't have a windmill and helvehammer set up (which also needs bronze or better), but at least it's better than being stuck with just copper.

1,000 units of tin bronze is a mere 16 cassiterite nuggets. Alternatively, the same amount of bismuth bronze can be achieved with 20 nuggets of bismuth and 40 nuggets of zinc. In both cases, copper fills out the rest.

Check out the types and inventories of traders you have found; there's one type that sells nuggets. He'll typically have at least some bronze ingredients. If not, check back every few days. In order to obtain rusty gear currency, sell stuff to traders, explore ruins, or slay the stronger kinds of drifters underground (surface drifters do not drop them).

 

Edited by Streetwind
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27 minutes ago, Streetwind said:

Correct. But remember that you have more than one layer of rocks, just like Redram said. If there's granite below your chert, you can still find cassiterite in that.

Also, if you have good readings for iron ores, then try and at least find a vein, even if you cannot mine it yet. With an iron mine ready and waiting, you can practically skip the bronze age entirely if you get just 1,000 units of any kind of bronze. 100 for a pickaxe that can mine iron, and 900 for an anvil that can handle working iron. True, bloomery iron is a bit annoying to work with if you don't have a windmill and helvehammer set up (which also needs bronze or better), but at least it's better than being stuck with just copper.

1,000 units of tin bronze is a mere 16 cassiterite nuggets. Alternatively, the same amount of bismuth bronze can be achieved with 20 nuggets of bismuth and 40 nuggets of zinc. In both cases, copper fills out the rest.

Check out the types and inventories of traders you have found; there's one type that sells nuggets. He'll typically have at least some bronze ingredients. If not, check back every few days. In order to obtain rusty gear currency, sell stuff to traders, explore ruins, or slay the stronger kinds of drifters underground (surface drifters do not drop them).

 

True, i did find Granite and Peridot beneath the surface when i dug a shaft deep enough. But if i want to search caves for example, i'm not going to have any luck finding Tin in a Chert surface cave. My trader is selling a bronze pickaxe but that feels kinda cheap, skipping progression my first time through.

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2 hours ago, Xuhybrid said:

Just curious but do you prospect a 5x5 area (minimum)? Would you recommend looking for Tin or perhaps another resource for alloy?

You mean the spacing of the 3 spots you have to take to get a reading in the first propick mode?   The area encompassed by the blocks you break is irrelevant.  The reading you get is specific to the block column of the first block you break.   The subsequent two have no effect on the results, they just allow you to get said results.  People often also erroneously assume that the propick is giving you readings for 'a chunk'.  This is also not what it does.  It takes single block column from top to bottom of world, reads the thicknesses of all the stone top to bottom, it extrapolates those heights as if an entire chunk were full of those levels, even and flat, and the results are based on that, combined with an ore map value.  It ignores caves and player-dug voids - it considers only the original world-gen thickness of the stone layers.  So if there are large caves in the chunk, it's reading won't be totally accurate.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone know if the secondary portion of the propick density search results are documented anywhere?  All the documentation talks about the meaning of the first part, where ores are listed with their probability text as well as their density ‰ value, but often after that, more ores are listed with text like 'miniscule amounts'.  That portion of the output doesn't seem to be documented anywhere.  What does it mean?

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It just means that there is technically a chance for the ore to spawn here, but it's so small it's negligible. Think of it as a reading below "very poor".

Sometimes you can use it as a way to identify where a spawn area starts or ends - if there's a miniscule reading, then there's gotta be a higher reading in one of the possible directions. But this only works for rare ores like cassiterite. Common ores like copper will be spawning all over the place, so a miniscule copper reading is more a sign of "better search somewhere else".

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