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Cooking and baking tiers, tools, and process blocks


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So I wanted to post some ideas for the general progression of baking/cooking, and adjacent items.  Basically how the heating of various things all currently done in the firepit might be separated into more specialized processes.  Because not everything currently doable in the fire pit really makes sense there.  I'll mention from the start that I'm a progression-focused guy, so my suggestions will disadvantage stone age stuff, because I like there to be an encouragement to move on.  This will be a bit incomplete because it came to my attention that this stuff is apparently being hashed out right now, so I needed to post what i had.

HEATING MECHANIC - I'm assuming that at some point we're going to get a switched-up heating mechanic, that is more along the lines of finishing everything at once, rather than one-by-one.  What this does I think, is allow for a more bloomery-like non-GUI mechanic in many cases, because you don't need an output slot for the one-by-one items.  Just have a visual indicator the stuff is done, and the player knows it's all done, and they can shift-click it out or whatever.  Now, on to the small tools.

COOKING TOOLS - First, the basic tools.  And by tools I mean things the player can carry around (not process blocks).  What are the cooking tools the player will need to make most cooked items? I'm not an expert here so make suggestions and I'll add to the list.  I'm generally going to suggest that higher tier material means it holds/prepares more stuff, but instead/in addition they could have lower durability.  And I do think it'd be nice if, regardless of those two factors, copper tools heat noticeable faster than all other materials.  That would give copper a nice minor bonus throughout all ages.

POT - your basic soup pot, as might hang from a tripod or fireplace ceiling, over the cook fire.  Clay pots might hold 4 servings of stew, copper pots 8, bronze pots 12, iron pots 16.  And a cast iron cauldron 64 (must be hung from solid block).  Used to boil water, cook soups and stews, prepare herbalism/alchemy things. 

FRYING PAN - made from copper and up.  Can be used anywhere from firepit to iron stoves.  Eggs and bacon, pancakes, crepes.

PAN - your typical sauce pan.  Copper and up.  Can be used from bronze top stoves and up.   Used to make sauces and boil vegetables and eggs.  I know there's currently one of these in clay already in game.  So maybe it's clay and up.  But I think a clay pot would be a better stone age catch-all cooking tool.

BAKING PAN - copper and up.  Used for casseroles, cakes, brownies, etc.   Requires a cast iron or better stove, due to temperature control requirements of associated foods.

KETTLE - Copper and up.  I'm thinking cowboy style, but could also be round style or whatever.  Can be used on fire p its and up. Tea and coffee.

BUNDT PAN - copper and up.  used to make fancy cakes or jellos with hole in middle. 

'DUTCH' OVEN - cast iron only.  Specialty tool used for roasts, maybe barbecue.  'Dutch' needs to be replaced with a more world-neutral term.

CAULDRON - Very large for hanging over fires.  Needs a solid block to support above.  For extremely large amounts of stews, and herbalism/basic alchemy.  If able to be cast from clay, mould should be single use only. 

This list doesn't include stuff that's not related to cooking, like simple mixing bowls, or butter churns, or whathaveyou.  So now, on to the actual set-piece process blocks.


FIREPIT - the current only tool we have for cooking.  In the future I think this should be limited too cooking meat on a spit, and maybe single implements, such as pans or pots.   The crucible can remain, but firepits should not accept coal, so that would make the crucible on the firepit only really good for lead or other low temperature metals.  I'd also suggest torches be made with grass and stick in the grid, rather than current method.   Maximum meat stack size perhaps 16.  I also think it would be fun to have a revolving array of four spits, and each spit can hold a stack of 16.  The player either has to manually turn it, or hook it up to automation.  The firepit can perhaps also cook simple clay items (bowls, ingot molds, flower pots) but not tool molds or anvil molds.  Those must be pit kilned.

CLAY OVEN - the clay oven is for baking, basically.  Bread etc.   Perhaps 8 bread max in one stack.  It has it's own clay forming recipe, on the order of the anvil.  It may be multi-part.  Perhaps having a body that is it's own recipe, and then also utilizing a large clay pot, that when placed beside it becomes part of it?  I feel like it'd be best as a multi-block structure.





Copper age doesn't bring any big advancements in set pieces, but does allow a variety of new cooking tools, although only the pot (which they already could make a clay one of), frying pan, and kettle can be used on the firepit.


BRICK STOVE - This is a stove made of brick, with a flat bronze top.  It is for cooking up to four dishes at once, in pans, pots, or whatever.  Also perhaps grilling meats in small stacks (smaller than firepit - 4 maybe).   Cannot be used for bread




BRICK OVEN - next step up for cooking bread.  Can cook fancier breads perhaps, and more of them -  perhaps up to four stacks of 16, so you could cook several kinds at once.  It could be a large multi-part structure utilizing brick blocks and a chimney or two. Similar to the bloomery, when broken it returns many fewer bricks than went in, so place wisely.  It could also be similar to the TFC bloomery in that it requires the player craft a main process block (the TFC bloomery doors) and then have a body of brick or other non-flammable blocks around a chamber.  Maybe a combination.  Since bricks are low tech, there probably needs to be at least a process block of bronze to make it bronze tech.  That or the oven has to be built of fire bricks.




WROUGHT IRON STOVE - This stove is a multi-use tool.  It can cook four dishes, four different meats (slightly larger stacks of 8 ), and even cook bread.  It can also cook more fancy baked goods.  Cookies and cakes perhaps.  You could start to get into cooking that requires exact temperature control - if you try to bake those cookies in a brick oven, they'll burn at 600 degrees.  The cast iron stove has a draft control, so you can set it for the proper temperature.  Only accepts firewood for fuel, nothing else.  Depending how fancy you want to get, there could be individual pieces crafted on the anvil and put in the grid, or assembled 'live'.  Or, just 5 iron sheets with a door and some iron legs, so only the door and legs, or even just he door, have to be anvil crafted.   Estimated iron cost 700+


image.thumb.png.c12e7d7074c4bb2de4ee912d9620f7f4.pngNo back, just the base part


CAST IRON STOVE - The cast iron stove is even fancier than the wrought iron, and would make use of casting technology.  Ideally each piece would be cast and assembled in person, for maximum time taken, but could also be grid crafted.   It would be a 4-6 part multiblock consist of half bases and half backs.  Basically can cook 2-3 times as much as the wrought iron stove, and can also cook especially large dishes such as roasts.   Also has warming cabinets above that are used for special recipes.   Only accepts firewood.  For simplicity of crafting, just have two types of blocks - backs and bases.  The player arranges them and they turn into the multi-block.  Or for really complex, have each piece be different and crafted on its own.  Estimated iron cost 2800+. 




Bonus style points if we can porcelain enamel or nickel coat the iron stoves.

INDUSTRIAL OVEN?  None of the above really lend themselves to automation, so we may need an oven that is automated, for the top tech tiers, perhaps?  This could be steel tech, or cast iron.  These may perhaps use separate burners and processing areas.  Depends on a lot of design elements.  Iron cost 10k++??



Yes, I know this picture is not an oven.  But it's basically what I have in mind in terms of a chamber above a heater


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These are great ideas.  I have been thinking about this as well.

Early ages the foods would be weak in nutrients and saturation since foraging was time consuming and often groups would go a long time without proper balanced diet.

Agriculture was a great advancement to our civilization and led to less time foraging and allowed people to develop skills.

I was thinking the current food system is too easy and you never starve. So when these advanced cooking principles are added then the forage foods and basic cooked meat should be reduced to 10% of the nutritional value unless prepared in some way like a stew.  Either that or add some additional buffs to prepared food like strength, speed, natural defenses, immunity to poison, etc that degrade over time.


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Ya, as far as food benefits and stuff, there's previous posts that might be better for that.  I was kind of trying to focus on the tools in this post because, well, I wanted to help make some of the models.

On food system, cooking, taste, and general beneits

Food/Hunger Overhaul

But it's definitely all related.  It's such a large topic it's hard to have a comprehensive discussion without walls of text.


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Nice, I was looking forward this post! 

19 hours ago, redram said:

I'm generally going to suggest that higher tier material means it holds/prepares more stuff, but instead/in addition they could have lower durability.  And I do think it'd be nice if, regardless of those two factors, copper tools heat noticeable faster than all other materials.  That would give copper a nice minor bonus throughout all ages.

I think I favour size to be the main tool in determining how much food fits inside. It's more believable, gives a visual clue of what to expect, but also has a major downside - why would anyone ever make a small pot if you can go straight to big one that cooks three times the amount of meals?

Durability sounds good to me when it comes to clay pots. Although, in rl they kinda last forever compared to quite some new, shiny, now-day kitchen gear (lol) let's assume clay breaks after x amount of uses so there is a reason to progress to metal. Now I see little need for bronze tier kitchen gear because I'm not really sure what the advantages are compared to copper or iron. I do like the idea of copper pots to cook your meal faster. Let's assume higher tier metal does not increase the size of the servings - what would be the driving force for me to move to iron pots compared to copper?

20 hours ago, redram said:

This is a stove made of brick, with a flat bronze top. 

Would bronze age brick stove be 1 or multi block structure? If it's one block, then looks like I could reuse / tweak the stove I made already made with exchanging the plating from iron to bronze.

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Could a flat piece of stone become a cooking surface for primitive cooking before clay pot? Such stone could be made using knapping mechanic or / in addition they could be found lying around just like any other loose stone but more rare.

A single flat piece of bread could be baked on it before player has gathered enough clay to progress to the oven. Flat bread would be smaller in size and less nutritious. Single fish and piece of meat could also be fried on the stone. But not entirely sure is there any advantage over hanged fish or meat? 


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I love this discussion about cooking and cookware. I think we are just at the point when some of those will be introduced in the game.
As always I ask for realism in favor of empty tech metal progression.
There is no reason whatsoever to think that food prepared in a clay pot would have less nutrition or satiation value than food prepared in an Iron Cauldron.
High tier metal tools do not always equate to a better end product.
Clay is breakable and heavy.    ( We need a weight system in the game )

Copper Pans are actually a bad idea. What we think are copper pans in our modern kitchens, are actually lined with stainless steel and or other metals. IT is actually a modern invention. 
Not saying copper was not used, but it had a whole bunch of problems. Copper is toxic, so preparing any acidic food in a copper pan will poison you. 
Also, copper oxidizes very fast, so it requires more maintenance than clay.
All I am trying to say is that We do not need to make the game to be exclusively about a metal tech tier progression. 
Cast Iron Pots are better than clay in the sense that they are more durable. But that is it. They not even actually lighter than clay pots. Fodd cooked in  cast iron will not be more nutritious, satiate more hunger, or taste better. 

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Fair enough on size, the process blocks would be the main sinks anyway.  I think you could make size a factor by perhaps putting it into the heating equation.  So effectively the cook has to heat up the tool as well as the food.  Then you might want a smaller pot it you're only cooking small amount of food.  No sense in heating up a huge cauldron if you're only making four bowls of stew.

But within the scope of my suggestions, it kind of would only factor in on pot vs cauldron which...I see cauldron somehow did not get in my list.  But everything else basically makes different stuff, so there'd be no size question.

I don't think it's a big loss to have bronze cooking tools be kind of left out.  Bronze is already an oddball metal.  Maybe it can be important in anti-corrosive uses or something later.  Naval hardware.  I don't think copper toxicity is all that big a deal.  Tomatoes aren't even in VS to begin with.  It's hard to separate the 'health propoganda' from reality in google searches, but it appears to me that the list of acidic foods is pretty short, many aren't probably going to be in the game, and we can just shrug that off.  The heating properties of copper, otoh, are well known.  And if you want to get that detailed, let the player tin the inside of the pan.  We have tin too.  Acid problem solved. 

As for the driving force to upgrade to iron, idk, unless maybe iron cookware is easily cast, while copper has to be smithed in a complex fashion?  Irl the driver is in large part that iron is way more common - hence cheaper - than copper.  But the game is the opposite.  Maybe cast iron has the special quality that when the durability gets low, you just melt some fat in it, and it's completely healed?  Whereas copper wears out?  I think that would set up a somewhat tough choice between copper and iron.

Flat stone could be a cook surface, sure.  I'd probably lean toward knapping unless they have other uses, otherwise in-world stones will just be clutter mostly.  And I'd probably also suggest limiting it to igneous stones.  If flat bread is inferior to sourdough, I'd say allow it to cook several flatbreads.   Who would honestly bother for just 1 bread?  But I also think it'd be good not to cheapen the clay oven and bronze stove too much, so maybe it only does bread, or if it does do meat, a smaller amount that spit roasting.  That is unless of course meat can no longer be cooked on the campfire?   The clay oven really will just take time - it's stone age tech.  I guess a lot might depend on the benefits of bread and other things you cook on that stone, vs the firepit.  If I can cook 16 meat at once on a firepit why would I bother cooking 1 flatbread at a time, even for double satiation?  It might set up an interesting choice if I had to sit there and turn the spit manually, in the same fashion as the quern, the entire time the meat was cooking.  Whereas the flatbread might auto-cook.  There's going to be a lot of cases like this.  It might be useful to come up with lists of food, the tech required, and try to figure out what the advantages and disadvantages of each are.  But that will also require nailing down the overall benefits of food in general (hitpoints, satiation bonuses, fatigue regen, etc, from those linked topics).   I mean, there will always be people who will cook everything for the fun, but it'd also be nice if every food had it's place.

I don't recall ever suggesting food cooked in higher tier metals should have different nutrition or other properties.    I don't think anyone was suggesting that.   I agree that doesn't make sense.

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I still dislike the concept of separating what food can be made where.
All the fancy foods you can think about were created using rudimentary cooking methods. 
And actually taste better in a wood stone stove. 
I at least prefer a pizza made in a real wood oven. No electric oven can get even close to that.
Having a modern stove and oven in our houses is more convenient, but the end result is not better.
The progression should be:
Clay oven: uses more wood because it does not retain the heat efficiently. Also, it has durability.
Stone oven, better than the clay in wood consumption, also has higher durability than clay. 
Brick Ovens are much better, no durability.
But anyone of those will bake bread, cake or whatever you want the same way.

Have you ever used a clay casserole? I have, and everything you can make in a copper or iron or aluminum casserole you can also make in a clay casserole. There is no difference in the dish.

The progression should be about combustible consumption.
How fast it cook or bake the food.

Let's have in mind that cast iron requires a Blast Furnace and Molds. That's where the word cast comes from. 
As for wrought iron, it would need to be worked in the anvil. 
That's what the end result would look like.

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I think we can try and achieve a very nice balance between realism and fun progression based cooking mechanics. I'm kinda hooked on idea about clay -> copper -> iron kitchen pots, because each of them could fulfil their niche into progression tier realism and gameplay wise. 

Clay pots:
+ vast amounts of material avaliavbe
+ early cooking
- low in durability
- no heat bonus

Copper pots:
+ heat bonus
+ good looking
- middle durability
- harder to get material

Iron pots:
+ durability can be restored / no durability
- no heat bonus
- expensive material

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On 8/23/2018 at 12:09 AM, tony Liberatto said:

( We need a weight system in the game )

If, then not just a system alone, but also mechanics to support it (for example transport options for  heavy stuff). Basically it's already completely unrealistic if player is able to carry a single cubic meter of pure rock in his inventory. But that is probably another topic. :D

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Okay, first realism

Cooking in the old days was all about temperature control. Could not set a burner to medium low nor an oven to 350. Firepits irl don't heat evenly unless you wait for coals then spread it out evenly. Even then if you use something that heats up fast like copper it will still cook uneven if there's no liquid because the part touching the food heats up more slowly than the part that doesn't. Even then it takes a lot of practice to get the temperature just right so the outside of the food isn't more cooked more then the inside.

Because temperature was so difficult to judge and maintain baking was usually not done using firepits hence flat bread.

The firepit in VS gets hot enough to melt copper and bronze. See the break in realism?

Back then the clay they used was not of uniform consistency from impurities to different thickness in places because they were pinch pots. Through repeated use the uneven heating and cooling would weaken them until they shattered if you didn't break it by heating or cooling it too quickly. Unglazed pottery would also suck up moisture which made the pottery more sensitive to temperature changes.

To help counteract this a bit they made them extremely thick and heavy which also had the benefit of cooking more uniformly. Pottery spinning also helped make pottery more uniform in thickness. Modern pottery is more refined, has minerals added to strengthen the clay, and a hardened enamel better than past glazes, which fills in the pores to make it easier to clean and stops moisture from getting into the clay. 

Speaking of moisture, rocks asorb it too making rocks likely to break down over time as well except in dry climates. Even then extreme heat still breaks rocks, example: fire setting.

Hunter gatherers we're actually more healthy than farming societies because they ate a much more varied and nutritious food but they spent more time finding it. Hunter gatherers issue was getting enough calories while farmers had issues with nutrition because they focused on farming high calorie foods to feed a surplus of people. Herders were somewhere between but had difficulty producing goods because they were always on the move.


Redram is right about copper and tin being difficult to find anywhere close to each other. If they had been iron and then steel would have taken a lot longer to develop and the only hurdle for developing iron and steel was knowledge. You didn't need copper or bronze. Obviously this means you have to invent hurdles if you want players to go through each tier.


I will make a second post on my thoughts on a reasonable cooking tier system in a second post.

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I have read other articles with the same conclusion, but this one states the same thing. Is a common misconception that hunter-gatherers spend a lot of time looking for food. All the researches agree that they actually have more free time than farmers.

"In Hadza-land nothing is wasted or killed unnecessarily, but they eat an amazing variety of plant and animal species (around 600, most of which are birds) compared with us in the West. My other lasting impression was how little time they spent getting food. It appeared as though it took just a few hours a day -- as simple as going round a large supermarket. Any direction you walked there was food -- above, on and below ground."

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They spent more time per person looking for food considering in farming societies a lot of the people spent no time farming. They often traveled following a herd or were on the coast and fished where there's plenty of food. It is true in places like the tropics there was plenty of food which made it more difficult to form large civilizations which is why Africa was very slow to develop new technology compared to the ancient tech Giants of China, middle East civilizations, and various civilizations in and around Europe. Also war was between larger civilizations helped spur technology development because farmers don't need much metal but armies do.

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Ohh. I am in no way diminishing the benefits of farming. The first thing is the fact that there is a clear physical limit to what can be carried around as a nomad.
As people settle down they were able to build bigger and better. Kind of hard to go traveling with a forge on your back.
But the life of hunter-gatherer was not so hard as some think. recent studies show that they were usually healthier than ancient farming societies. They had a much more diversified diet for once and were actually taller and more physically stronger.
The one thing ancient farmers had as an advantage, was food security. They were able to stockpile food for the winter. But because of monoculture, they tended to eat much of the same thing. 
All in all, I do not believe we need to worry so much about the in-game time that the player spends as a Gatherer. That is what? 5 minutes? maybe longer if he/she cannot find the best place to settle. 
But with so much emphasis on rushing towards high tech metals, I feel most of the times as the lone voice asking for stone age content. And when I talk about Stone Age I am not talking about Hunter-gatherer,  just a settle down player building a basic base with a farm and animals.

As for the Cooking topic, I insist that as hard as it was for people in the Stone Age to cook without the benefit of metal pans and pots, they were able to make as much food as they wanted and it was as carefully cooked and nutritious as anything we make today. The problem arrives from the movie's depiction of stone age people as semi monkeys grunting around a fire. 
People forget that Stone Age civilizations build cities here in America with a population that varied from 200.000 to 300.000 people.  The same was true for ancient European civilizations, like the one that builds Stonehenge. 
Those people ate well, they had to. And the rich and noble ate even better. 
Tech progression makes for tools that are faster and more durable. The end result depends a lot more on the person making it. Believe me, I will never be able using an electric oven and stove to get even close to the dishes that my grandmother did on a very primitive wood stove and oven, using only wood spoons and clay pots. 
I could agree that a modern pot made of metal distributes the heat evenly and makes cooking easier, but someone that knows what they are doing and pay attention will achieve even better results.

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