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Logical Mechanics

Milo Christiansen

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So, I am sure everyone agrees the game needs some kind of action-at-a-distance and logic system right? Here is my proposal for how that should work.

The system will have two parts, mechanical power and linkage rods.

Linkage rods:

The first and simplest part is the linkage system. Adjacent items can be linked with simple metal rods. Flip a lever, it pushes or pulls a rod, and activates a door or whatever. There should be rod blocks that allow extending these "signals" over short distances, better quality metals should allow longer distances.

Linkage rods would need to be able to turn corners and such, but in general they are for short range use. Basically the equivalent to basic redstone.

Mechanical Power:

Since linkages will be fairly limited, real logic will be done with mechanical power. There will be at least two special gearboxes: One attaches to a linkage and activates the power flow when triggered, the other attaches to a linkage which it then activates when powered. There may need to be more than just those two, but I think the majority of needs should be handled with just them.

Since every circuit of any real complexity will need at least a little mechanical power, I propose some kind of simple power source that is too small to power any real machines, but can still turn the gears needed for a logic system. Something made with a temporal gear perhaps?

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I'd propose basically 3 kinds of power:  animal, wind/water, and combustion(steam).   I'd propose that the power systems should put out a defined amount of power, and machines should take in a defined amount of power, so that a given power source can only power so many things.  I gather that rotarycraft had this kind of power conservation system?

For linkages rods is good, but rope and pulley would also make sense in many cases.  These would be low tech.  I would propose a higher tier of linkages - pneumatic/steam/hydraulic linkages.  Out of VS's timeline perhaps, but I think well worth it.  If we're being honest any kind of self-powered minecart is also well outside the timeline.  I would envision this system having 'hidden' tubing to connect the trigger and target.  The player uses a 'wrench' tool or some such on the target, and the game determines the distance in blocks between the two, and subtracts a number of tubes from the player's inventory.  These are installed 'hidden' in between.  If someone breaks the target (shift-wrenches it?) then they get the tubes back, and the two items are de-linked.

I was planning on doing a pretty in-depth post on this stuff, but I just wanted to drop some basic here, and maybe broach the topic of pneumatics etc, as that may be controversial.

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I like the idea of a progression system. I think first of all that we have a lot of other things that need to be coded into the game before we should consider Mechanical Power.

An example of what I mean when I say progression.

First Update to the game we introduce a need to grind grains in order to make bread. We also introduce the Wood Log Pestle and handle, so the player is able to grind the grain. The process is slow and time-consuming.

Second Update, we introduce the manual stone grinder, It requires more tech to make it but is somewhat faster than the pestle.

3rd Update we now introduce domesticated horses or donkeys and the possibility to build a big stone grinder. 

4th Update introduces the Water Wheel with all the Rods and Shafts, but it can only power one device at a time.

All that slow progression helps the Developer to spread his coding time into many other areas of the game, instead of trying to create a finish Mechanical Power system all at once.

I like the idea of creating a challenge and a simple solution for the player and then slowly add more options on how to handle that problem.

For example for Mining:

As I proposed before make all metal ores too heavy for the player to carry up even 1 block.

The first solution is to have a domesticated animal pull the weight up with a simple rope. The same animal is also capable of carrying the load to the base.

The second faster solution is to build the minecart, again pulled by animals, not Magical "Red Stone"

Later this same cart can use a system of pulleys and belts to connect to a mechanical Power source. IE Water Wheel.

I like the idea of Stem Power, but think it should be the last thing to be added to the game in terms of Mechanical power and it should only be available for the players that have climbed all the way to the Top of the Tech Tree.


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