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Simple Additions to Water for more Interactions and Immersion


Silent Shadow
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A lot of depth (haha) could be added to the game with the addition of some simple water mechanics.

Currently water only does six things (that I can think of):

  • Water flows destroy grass stalks growing on grass blocks (but does not spawn dry grass to pick up)
  • Irrigate nearby farm blocks.
  • Carry items along its flow at a rate depending the item's weight.
  • Floats or sinks items depending on their density.
  • Severely lowers the light passing through.
  • Extinguish torches (and maybe fires?).

I like these interactions for the immersion they offer, but there could be more for players to interact with.

I think the following additions should be easy to program in and would add some more complexity for players to explore:

  • Have some blocks be water permeable. Have water occupy the same space as, and be able to flow through, the small/open blocks like grates, fences, crops (currently they block water), leaves, trapdoors, etc. This would add more to the immersion of the world and make building underwater look way better.
  • Have some blocks be able to toggle this property. It would be neat if the "water permeable" property of some blocks could be toggled. This could be something like a floodgate for players to control the flow of water, or desert quicksand that players could normally walk over when dry, but after getting wet (say from the rare rains) they would sink into if not careful. You could also make dirt tiles (not grassy tiles) become mud tiles and behave like gravel and sand until drying out.
  • Make it so water that the player places with the bucket evaporates after some time. This way players can still have a quenching tub in their smithy or to irrigate fields for a limited time, but natural water sources are much more valuable and have to be built around for projects like permanent field irrigation. Players could build wells as a construction (like how the cementation furnace or pit kiln are recognized.) if they wanted a permanent source of water.
  • Have some crops interact differently with water, mainly being able to be harvested simply by flooding (rice or cranberries) while other crops (rye, spelt, most vegetables, etc.) be destroyed or damaged (similar to heat damage) if flooded.
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Great features, I would love to see all of them in game, as soon as possible. 

My approach to water would be based on a mod for Minecraft, that I used to play around with a lot, some years ago:

https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/finite-water-control

 

There are many different technical setups to accomplish a more realistic ecosystem and water cycle. My personal favorite is the water reservoirs count, which keeps track of how big the water reserves in a small pond or lake are and lowers water level with decreased water amounts. Rain fills it up, hot, arid weather drys it out.

To balance this, I would suggest a system for water seeping into and from soil and espacialy gravel, based on the difference between water level and surface height, so that overflowing lakes don't flood the whole area, but also don't dry up completely, unless the player wants them to.

Rain could spill small puddles of water, which you could collect by digging a hole. These should fill up to 100 liters per block and should dry up through seeping and evaporation relative quickly, depending on size and weather/climate.

Players would be forced to transport water by chutes and mechanical power, or fill up their reservoirs manually with buckets, where 10 Buckets should be a good amount for one water block. No permanent water source blocks anymore, anywhere but in the small waterfalls at the sides of mountains. These could be replaced by a stone block, that generates water constantly, but the game should check if the water kann seep away quickly enough to not fill your whole valley in a day or so. 

 

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