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Is current prospecting mechanics (1.5.1.6) satisfactory?


Is current prospecting mechanics (1.5.1.6) ok?  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. Is current prospecting mechanics (1.5.1.6) satisfactory?

    • Yeah, great! <3
      4
    • Too complicated, ruins fun :(
      18
    • Too easy and shallow, make harder! :)
      1
    • Do we need it at all? Remove altogether please ;D
      1


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For me personally the current prospecting mechanics it a bit too hard, grindy, vague and complicated.
Mostly I speak about bronze ores like tin, zink, bismuth, because they are mid-game and should be easy enough to get.

It is not ... controllable ...  Not much fun. Takes too much efforts and doesn't return anything reliable.
First you need to do the complicated prospecting with all distance measurements and digging to stone. And bloody not-block-centered grass keeps disturbing your distance counting :) And bloody mobs at night. :D

And then you don't get anything guaranteed, just some probability, so you just kinda have to remove all chunk's stone to get the ore. If you want guaranteed results. :(
You can spend days trying to find a decent reading, and than you give up and try to do shafts at poor readings and after 2 shafts kinda give up finally. :D

Also it is quite unpleasant to spoil the plains (easiest terrain for probing) with all the probing holes and signs.

Surely some people understand the current mechanics better and found it quite fun. If the majority thinks so, it is awesome.
Maybe just an improved Wiki description will do. It is quite good atm, but still requires reading few times and digesting all the info.
Maybe there should be some general guides of ore presence, not requiring the complicated propicking. E.g. ore depends from biome. So you can narrow the area you should probe.

Unfortunately I can't propose a better mechanics. TFC' one was quite fun, I enjoyed long exploring runs, spamming propicks. But yeah, it was too casual and shallow. Too "magic".

Maybe we can invent better mechanics, so the general approach and complexity will not be harmed, but become more reliable and fun to play.

Please share your ideas and thoughts and vote in the poll, to help the developers see the current situation.

A previous topic with some info: here.

 

Edited by heptagonrus
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Right now I think the main issue is understanding the value of prospecting. Right now players come with the assumption that the prospecting pick locates veins of ores. They have been lead to believe this from other games with prospecting. However, that isn't what the prospecting pick does. The prospecting pick tells you where you should look for veins of ore. This can be very discouraging when a player does all the proper prospecting to hone in on a VH deposit, digs their shaft expecting that they have already located the ore, and then finds nothing. I too started playing this game with that expectation and it was a very frustrating experience which lead to exploring the game files to figure out how ore generation worked. If I did videos, I would make a tutorial so that players would know what to expect.

I like the fact that prospecting does not locate ore veins. That would make it too simple. The parts I don't like about prospecting is the combination or needing rocks to break and that those rocks must have a gap of 3 from each other as well as the ore distribution for everything but gold, silver, and copper.

The first dislike is because I end up having to punch 4 holes through the dirt or walk around rock outcroppings or tunnels and often by the time I get the fourth reading I don't remember where the first block was broken.

I dislike of the ore distribution is because you can't predict it. Most ore can literally spawn just about anywhere so your ability to target your search is left to, it's likely it's somewhere within this 32x32 by 200 absolute height chunk. At least copper is so common you don't have to look very hard for it. Gold and silver I know are found in quartz layers which because they are so big, are so easy to find and then it's just a matter of following the layer.

Some suggested improvements. I get the reason behind breaking multiple rocks is to weed out false positives and false negatives. I would rather have each time I break a rock it gives me a result I can't fully trust. It gives me the freedom to break another rock right by it to get the same result, move on, etc. I would also be fine with the next results accuracy depending on the distance from the last result. If took doing the exact same thing that we are currently forced to do in the game to get a 100% accurate result I'd be fine with that. What I hate is my tool refusing to tell me the result until it has more information.

The second improvement is changing how ore spawns. I'd like to see more ore spawn like gold and silver does. In specific types of rock so it's easier to locate ore horizontally or maybe slight color changes in the stone so you know when you are close. Maybe even when ore spawns it spawns close together vertically so if you find one deposit, locating the rest is easier(I like this idea the most). Anything that helps limit it from likely within this 32x32 by 200 height chunk. For instance, putting sulfur near lava so when you hear the lava you know you are close. I'd even be okay with late-game prospecting technology using chemicals. For some IRL examples here's a goblet that can do advanced analysis based on what's in it and what light is shined on it. That would be cool as dungeon loot. 

Edited by Stroam
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I would have voted for an option - "good, but should be improved" if available. ^_^

I  do like the current system, because I seem to find the ores I am looking for, decent amount of times. I would most likely find more if I would be marking my readings, but I take the lazy way out: if the deposit is decent, high and very high I go look for the caves underneath.

However I would like to have an extra tool or two, that narrow down the search. Some time ago we discussed the drill mechanics that would help to verify if the ore player is looking for is really there. As well as something that lets players find deep caves, besides exploring only.

 

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HaHa!  3 replies in two minutes!

I like it currently, though from the beginning I've warned that it's probably too complicated for the majority of players.  What I like is that it takes real skill and effort, as opposed to TFC's very casual method.  Also it allows you to know what to expect in a whole chunk, as opposed to in a 25 block radius.  I think in an SMP environment it would create a real distinction between prospectors and more casual players.  All that said, I totally get it if it has to be changed to appeal to more players.

The ore thread you linked to Heptagonrus, at the end I talked about some other possible methods for ore detection.  The core drill would be very good, but rather late in the tech tree.  Certainly too late to help with bronze.  The compass I think would work pretty good, and probably be available earlier than the core drill, but only would work for iron, so not useful for bronze. 

Since the issue seems to mainly be with bronze, perhaps one possible solution is to increase the number of deposits of cassitterite and bismuth, but reduce their size.  Try to make it so they're more likely to show up naturally in cave walls, but not as large.  Right now caving gets you the biggest 'bang for your buck', but it's also very hit and miss because you can find an area with a good chance of ore, but few to no good caves, or having good caves but none connect to the surface.  There's also the factor that caves may get progressively harder as more and more enemies and content are added to the game.  It may not be as easy as it is now to just dive into a cave and explore it all, especially at copper tech level. 

Another solution would be to have merchants sell some of the constituents of bronze.

Or, allow panning/sluicing for bronze components.

Or, add another, more direct detection method - a 'dowsing rod' of some kind.  Probably made with copper wire.  You could even add more exotic components such as some pieces of (clear?) quartz.  You can find quartz nuggets on the ground so they *are* available to copper tech.  These should perhaps have extremely low durability (5 uses?) so that they are annoying enough to make that the player will abandon them asap.  They could perhaps work like a dowsing rod, so they dip when ore is within X blocks below the player.   Or, they could return a text indication in one of the six directions:  'you detect something to the east' - this would make them more useful in caves.  These would only work on bronze components.   The prospecting pick is still needed, because dowsing rods don't have enough uses to allow them to be spammable.  You still need to propick for a good deposit, and preferably find the center.  But the dowsing rod would remove some of the randomness.

Edited by redram
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Btw. Since propick doesn't tell how much ore remained in the chunk, would it be a problem for a big multiplayer server?

Probably many people would not bother placing signs or mark mines, so when you get a good reading there is a very good chance there is not much ore left, since people hunt good readings.
So players would prefer to travel far from spawn, increasing world size. Ok, servers often have pre-generated maps, so scratch that.
But still people would be frustrated to get a good reading and waste time trying to find ore which is long gone.

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1 minute ago, heptagonrus said:

Btw. Since propick doesn't tell how much ore remained in the chunk, would it be a problem for a big multiplayer server?

Probably many people would not bother placing signs or mark mines, so when you get a good reading there is a very good chance there is not much ore left, since people hunt good readings.
So players would prefer to travel far from spawn, increasing world size. Ok, servers often have pre-generated maps, so scratch that.
But still people would be frustrated to get a good reading and waste time trying to find ore which is long gone.

I think if the ore has been mined out of an area there's be physical evidence in the area such as a mine shaft, large chunks taken out of cave walls, etc. In other words, you'll know. Also on multiplayer servers, there's a good chance you'll be able to trade with other players for what you need which is a good thing. 

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Ya i think the only way there would not be evidence on a server is if the person did not claim the chunk, and so was mining 'secretly', with a hidden entrance and then branching out underground.  And that's very possible and honestly I wouldn't put it past people, because even after you'd 'finished' with an area, a devious player would try to leave the area still attractive, to waste other players' time, leaving the sneaky guy more time to find other actual good deposits.  Even then though, I don't think it would take long trying to do a few shafts of your own to run into the old player's tunnels.  I don't think anyone is so devious they'd take the time to fill in their entire mine with raw stone.

But kind of part of the thing is, once you find a deposit zone, it's pretty large.  You could spend an extremely long time mining the entire thing out.  Unlike TFC where it was fairly standard to claim a deposit, spend a few days exploiting it, and then unclaim it.  And really TFC had a similar issue in that people only really ever exploited the surface deposits detectable with propick or by nugget.  Caving was just too unrewarding for the most part, imo.  So I think a lot of ore was 'wasted' in the ground there as well, and people got by.  Though ore deposits were, on the balance, larger in TFC by quite a lot.  But I think that was another detriment to the economy.

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One of the first things that I noticed and love about the VS propick was the fact that it gave readings on a list of ores. I disliked the TFC way of showing results for only one ore, so many times when you were trying to narrow down on one ore you would start to get readings for Galena or Jet, and it would completely ruin your scanning.

Once again my idea is to get as close as possible to real life ( guarded the proportions to the fact that this is a game and is supposed to be fun.)

When you analyze the soil and measure the different ores in it's composition you can narrow to an area where that ore has a high concentration. There is still no warranty that you will actually find that ore, it may just be so diluted in the substrate that there is no way to Extract it. Also if you test the area close to a mine you will get the same results even long after the mine was exhausted. If you got good readings but someone found the ore before you it is just bad luck.

two things we could change in the existing mechanic:

  • Change ore generation to follow the concept of ores only spawning on specific rock types. That part was right in TFC, if I am looking for a specific ore I like to know to look for a specific rock type.
  • Change the requirements for 4 different spaced raw rocks. I think it makes sense that it requires to break stone and not dirt, but maybe it could work with just one or 2 down? Not really sure what would work better. Because of the distance requirements, and in an attempt to center on the spot with the highest probability, I always ended up digging horrid strips usually 2 blocks dip to reach rock, they really ruin the landscape. Around my base, I cover them up but in a Multiplayer server not all the players would do it and for sure not far from their bases.

So far I have found all the ores I was looking for. There was a small learning curve, but not too hard once you understand how it works. Ores are so abundant, that many times when looking for something I always ended up finding something else even if not what I was initially looking for. So no wasted time.

I cannot complain about the TFC propick, once I learned it was easy, even though we had a ton of people complaining in the forum that they could not work it out.

 

 

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Adding few ideas I remember from Discord and such.

  • Give player one-time "magic" ability to find a good ore area, one per ore. Can be a ritual or dungeon loot. Can be mid-game expensive but affordable.
  • Tyron's variation: buy this info from a merchant
  • I don't like that when I find a poor reading, I never know is it an edge of an area with high reading in the center, or a center of a poor area. Even shifting propicking few chunks each directions doesnt help sometimes (maybe I'm dumb yet), it can still give poor reading, very slowly increasing.
    It would be nice to know if this initial poor reading is a part of potentially high density field and I should start localizing it, or just forget and move away.
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I have a couple of problems with / thoughts on the prospecting mechanic at the moment:

  • Vintage Story, similar to TerraFirmaCraft, encourages people to dig vertical shafts, possibly even worse than TFC. While I don't know a perfect solution for this, I think it's pretty important to encourage building actual mines that will be in use for a while. In my opinion, a lot of problems could be solved with limiting how much and what the player can carry, requiring carts and primitive elevators to get resources back above ground.
  • Finding and excavating ore veins in TFC was always a mixture between excitement, grind and chore. Different quality ore veins probably added to that. Some of them are so big and you get so many resources that you could choose to leave the vein alone until you need more, which could be quite some time. If the veins are too small, doing anything more than digging straight down, mining ore manually, then carrying it up yourself, is multiple times less efficient.
  • The current prospecting pick mechanic breaks immersion (heck, it requires chat to be open) and isn't something a player can figure out without looking at a wiki and even then I'd say some players might have trouble.
  • Right now I feel like ore veins in VS is in a place between TFC and Vanilla Minecraft. They're rare enough that caving and digging around randomly doesn't yield me many ores, so it's not really fun, especially with lacking content underground. But they're not large enough that I get the same "jackpot!" feeling I got from TFC either.

Perhaps another way around this would be pre-existing mine structures players can find, and other things to guide the player that are outside of their control (such as Tyron's "buy info from merchant" idea). What about... spawning smaller ore veins only in exposed stone, allowing for caving to be a bit more fun; but increasing the size of deep veins to be more like TFC, to encourage semi-permanent mines to be built..?

Edited by copygirl
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I do agree that making ores show up in caves more would help a lot, at least for the bronze stumbling block.  If it's possible for the world gen to go through caves and place small bronze deposits exposed in the cave walls in bronze ingredient bearing areas, I think that may be the best solution, versus just increasing the number of bronze ingredient deposits, but reducing their size, to increase the chance they show up more.  That might make it too hard to hit them blind-mining, leaving the small cave deposits the only option.

The merchant is an option of course, but feels like a crutch to me.

One thing that I think would help the prospecting mechanic a lot is maps.  Right now you either have to take hand notes, take piles of screenshots, or place signs everywhere, showing what you propicked.  If you don't you're never going to remember where all your results were.  To me this works heavily against the propicking experience being enjoyable.  I think if players could have a map that tracks their propick results, by ore, it would help a great deal.  I really do think this should be a very high priority mechanic.  Since we can see by the survey results that most people don't really enjoy the current mechanic, and yet it's one of the very first things a new player is going to have to come to grips with.

With regards to ore veins, TFC2 was going to have long snaking veins that traveled an extremely long distance.  But they were also generating 4k square blocks of map at one time.  I don't know if VS worldgen would allow for long snaking veins.  Long veins, like max of 4 blocks in height and width, but going for scores if not hundreds of blocks, would contribute to encouraging a minecart style of mining.  The other thing long veins might do is increase the chance of them hitting caves, making cave exploration more valid.  Not sure how it would work with the ore density mechanic though.

This minecart-encouraging-scenario is a very old discussion, and a hard balance to strike.  You basically have to make ore so tedious to carry that a minecart is more attractive.  But by the very nature of that, you're making mining into a real grind, and I'm not sure it'd be good for gameplay.  Also, ore deposits can be quite widely spaced, and the nature of tracks makes them extremely unattractive over long distances.  I know VS has wood tracks in assets, and the idea is for travel to be slower on them.   I'm not sure that's enough though, unless ores are extremely low stack limit, and possibly only fit in the hotbar.    You have to strike a balance between not requiring the early game player to not have to set up a minecart network, but also making it attractive for the later game player.  Then throw in the cart option - which does not have a track infrastructure requirement, and now you also have to try to make minecarts attractive late game vs just carts.

I honestly think that making carts and minecarts desirable for mining is not a good way in the current setup.  Mining is too omnipresent, the player has to do too much of it.  I think it's a nearly impossible balance to keep fun.  I think it would be better to make minecarts and carts attractive for moving certain process blocks under the current regime. 

Edit: I do think there's things that can be done with the nature of ore and the overall game progression, but this is already pretty OT so I'll save that for another post.

Edited by redram
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The prospecting system is an integral part of the mining system and it is dependant on the ore generating system.

I know it sounds like I keep insisting on the same thing, but it is because I believe it affects just about everything in the game.

Add a lot more stone types, have ores to spawn only on certain stones.

I am no geologist, an I maybe be wrong, but I do not believe we have any place in the world where you can dig down and find Gold, Silver, Copper, Bismuthine, Cassiterite, Sphalerite and so on and so forth in the same place.

That in itself would make the player to first look for the specific rock type when trying to find an ore. That limits the results in the pro pick, most of the times it will be just one, sometimes 2 but never more than 3.

Making the veins bigger is an idea that I like,  but more than that I think we could make the result per block broken a lot bigger.

Let's, for example, make the player only able to carry ores in a box or barrel on his back. Whenever the player breaks an ore it automatically goes inside this barrel bypassing the player inventory.

Now, while carrying this barrel the player is unable to go Up. Cannot use Ladders, stairs or jump. Also cannot sprint.

Now the player has a reason to build and use a minecart, as the only way possible to have the ores to the surface. Later on, the player can build a simple elevator using either mechanical power or animal traction.

As a bonus for all this work that one barrel full of ore should yield once processed the equivalent, let's say 64 ingots.

It's a lot of work, but it is not grind, because it involves a lot of different steps.

That same mine can be used as many times as needed, and one player should not mine it all out. First of all because he/she does not need it. Even if is a hoarder one it has 3 piles of the same ore what would it do with more?

In the case of iron at least I know that when mined it needs to be crushed, washed and cooked before it is smelted. So adding all those steps would have more uses for mechanical power. 

 

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With regard to separating stone-ore types like TFC did, that's a way to go.  TFC did it poorly in that some stone types have very few desirable minerals, or just basically copper, which was useless after awhile.  This is bad as it creates 'dead zones' in an SMP environment, where nobody wants to settle.  It also makes settling on a dynmapped server pretty easy, as you can find the stone type you want on the dynmap, and go settle in that ideal location, confident you'll find the ores you want (in TFC, mostly nickel or graphite).  I was a bit skeptical of VS's 'ore everywhere' strategy at first, but what it does is make all locations theoretically valid.  No single location is going to be too far from any ore you want, really.  As opposed to TFC where you could easily settle in 1000 block dead zones of copper other junk.  I feel like the ore-everywhere thing makes propicking far more important, because you don't have the easy way out of going by stone type.  If VS did move to such a system, it would need to be very carefully balanced so that no stone type is a wasteland.

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I see your point of view, although because of the alloy system for black/blue/red steel, the player always needs all the different types of ores. 

I looked at the TFC wiki and the Metamorphic is the poorest of the rock types, but it is also the one that has Graphite with a few exceptions.

One thing to remember is the 3 layer stone world generation. SO even if the top layer was not ideal, many times the 2 bottom layers were rich in the more desirable ores.

Another argument is to promote traveling, trading, and commerce. If the p[layer has access to all the different minerals it can ever need around his Base there will never be the need to travel or trade.

I can't really recall any Dead zones in my TFC servers, a place where no one wanted to settle. Maybe it happened, but not on the Darkagecraft servers.

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Even with colored metals, the nature of TFC's ore made a lot of metals so you only really needed 1 deposit and you were set pretty much for life.

TFC's worst offenders were Diorite (tin and gold only - both only needed in very small quantities), Phyllite and slate (both having just copper and zinc to be of interest).   Once you found graphite though, because nothing you made with it ever wore out, you could add Schist to the list.  Also quartzite and marble if you didn't need redstone or laps (though at least marble was flux).  Once you found the 1 silver deposit you needed, cross off Gneiss.  Gabbro was uninteresting after you found one nickel deposit.  What could easily happen is that you settle in a copper bearing area for the early game, but later find yourself having to travel ages to get the iron you needed for the late game.

Basically the best stone types in TFC were sedimentary because A) they contained iron, and your colored steel were *at least* 71% iron.  And B) they were always on the surface, so the easiest to access all that sweet iron and C) saltpeter.   If TFC had been as fuel-heavy as VS, then the coal in sedimentary would have made it even more desireable.   Second layer was hit or miss as to whether or not it would show nuggets, but if it was gabbro or gneiss great, because you really only needed 1 silver or nickel nugget to be set for life.  And third layer?  I guess if you loved caving and having to shore up miles of cavern.  As I understand it there was absolutely no difference in the way ores generated based on depth, so that was a non-factor. 

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I think in the end it is probably a difference in playstyle. I just loved to travel, to see new landscapes and mountain and oceans. I would never settle down in a place just because I think there is a great chance of finding a specific ore there.

I usually have my bases at the beach for easy access to ocean and boat traveling. If is possible I will travel some distance to have my base facing west over the sea, just for the sunset view.

I want to be closer to Spawn, so is easy for other players to see my base, and come for trading. 

Do I have to travel 1000 blocks to get to my iron mine? That's Ok, I will also pick up some other wood type or a different rock type that is not available close to my base.

For you to have an idea I had Teleport disable in all the Darkagecraft servers, at one time we had 4 servers with some different options, the initial server run for 2 years from Aug/2014 to Aug/2016. We focused on roar building, traveling and trading. What I am saying is that I know I am not alone, but maybe you too are not and there are others that agree with your ideas.

I for myself would prefer to have different ores spawning on specific rock types in a way to force the player to travel and explore. Maybe we can agree to disagree.

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Oh, I'm not disputing that some people love the hardcore style.  That's certainly a fact.  But there's also no disputing that the teleport enabled server on Happydiggers had literally about 10x or more the active players of the hardcore server(s) at any given week, and probably 50x the settlements.  This despite the hardcore servers having more generous limits on animals and crops. 

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Yeah. Teleport is popular among players, but it is a personal and server owner choice. When you define the game to have any and all ores spawning everywhere you make possible for a player to have a base with all his mineral needs in a small radius around. So Teleport or not the player has no reason to travel, explore or even trade.

This is a game design choice that I don't like. 

 

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  • 1 month later...

 Currently thinking how we can make the act of prospecting more enjoyable/transparent and how an ore density map would look like ingame. 

I suppose any kind of in-world overlay on the blocks would be too much visual noise. 

Maybe instead of probing 3 times within 16 blocks you have to probe between 16-32 blocks which would also reveal a larger area or densities, in some kind of way, hm...

I guess the most straightforward way is to implement something like journeymap into the game and have the ore density overlays in there

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The ancients didn't dig down to find ore. They found it close to the surface and followed it down. Perhaps the solution is not to change prospecting but to change ore spawns to make them easier to find.

This can be done in a few ways.

You could have a leader deposit closer to the surface letting you know to follow the pattern of that vein whether it wanders like a snake or is kinda like a column.

You could make veins spherical so you are just as likely to hit it vertically as horizontally.

You could restrict the vertical range more. 

Edited by Stroam
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@TyronBy leader ore I don't mean loose ore like copper that you pick up off the ground. I mean a vein that starts at the top of the rock layer just below the soil.

Something that would be revealed if hushing were in the game.

Edited by Stroam
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If copper is a soft ore and breaks apart easily then no, it is not counter-intuitive because the harder ore requiring the higher tier pickaxe to break due to it's hardness wouldn't fragment and litter the surface.

Having locusts near ore deposits in caves will also help players track down ore in caves and if the vein is like a string that wanders through the rock instead of discs then it's more likely it'll hit a cave.

These distributions are much easier to find

Quote

Harder Ores
This one's easy to describe. It won't necessarily be easy to play. I wanted ores like in TerraFirmaCraft or with COG, but I also knew I wanted them to be precisely anything but. The first problem was that ore was too easy to get in quantity. The second was that it was damn near impossible to find. Harder Ores fixes both. Happy prospecting!

1

http://reasonable-realism.wikia.com/wiki/Ore_Distributions

and here you can find the github

https://github.com/Draco18s/HarderStuff/tree/master/src/main/java/com/draco18s

and another thing you can do is instead of having loose ore indicators. You could have flower/plant indicators.

Edited by Stroam
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Personally I really like prospecting the way it is.  I really like the multiple block to get a sample requirement.  It makes it something much harder to do on the drive-by.  Prospecting feels like a real task to me right now.  Something you need to set out to do.  As opposed to TFC where you just sort of skipped through the landscape waving your propick from side to side.  I would leave the propick as-is, but perhaps add the dowsing rod I mentioned above.  This would detect ore only below the player, and only within a limited range (10-ish blocks?).  It would also have fairly low durability, making it a chore to make and carry (especially if it doesn't stack).  This would give the player a broad but indirect option, which basically gives them an idea where to start the more direct but limited option; dowsing.  Dowsing perhaps does not work while wearing metal armor, btw.

I do think that one of the best things that would make prospecting better would be a map.   I think this would make it much easier for the player to zero in on ore deposits.  I talked about it quite a lot in this thread.  The current scheme requires that you either memorize (impractical), place signs (annoying and also tips off rivals while saving them work) or screenshots (hard to search).  You can also hand-write a rl map if you're ambitious. 

I still think a good solution would be for caves to have small deposits of the ores present in that area.  This would, I think, help the player get past some of the bronze hurdles.  Or, if deposits had less ore units per block, but more blocks per deposit, and were strung out more, that might help them intersect caves more often without requiring special cave-wall ore generation.  Perhaps they're not necessarily directly adjacent but sometimes have regular stone interspersed.  This would allow them to be strung  out even more without jacking up the ore yield.   Also, making ore sometimes appear in diffuse clouds like TFC would make ore easier to find from the side, rather than basically requiring tons of surface shafts as it does now.

Edit: In summary, I think the propick mechanic is fine.  But I think several other mechanics need to be changed/added to make the overall ore finding situation better.

Edited by redram
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