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heptagonrus

Metal progress branching

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What if different types of ore of the same metal require different extraction/processing?

E.g. native copper - just grinding and smelting. Some tetrahedrite - some initial process to separate different metals in it and then use them.
Some malachite would require a specific carbon monoxide treating by using some specific firepit/bloomery setup.

It may depend from the type of rock this ore was found in. Idk, e.g. sedimentary-hosted ores would require addition of some acidic element while smelting, 
metamorphic - an alcaline element, etc.

This might make ore processing a bit more variative and interesting. When you found a new deposite of ore, it is not just a trivial thing to smelt it like all the ores you had previousely.
Maybe some types of ore would require you to have a supply of domesticated animals, some drops from them, but in return you will get drastically more ore.

Ofc this would require lot of developers' work and drastic recipe expansion. :(
Also some implementions can simply increase complexity of ore processing without giving much in return. :(
Definitely not worth it unless the idea is improved significantly, with more details and fun.
 

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My question would be if this is intended to increase difficulty of initial metal climb, or to provide further options later down the tech ladder?  Like initially you just get copper from the copper ores doing the simpler smelting, but later, maybe once you have iron and can make some specialized machinery, you start getting extra metal ore, or small amounts of other material?   I think you'd need to be careful not to make the initial copper/bronze rungs of the ladder too hard.  Beyond that, I guess I'd be interested to know more specifics.

Another alternative might be for certain additives to speed the melting time.   That way the additives (which could be finite, like flowers) are a bonus, rather than a basic requirement.  That way if they run out the character is not roadblocked.

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My initial idea is to provide more options at the same level of tech ladder. Just add variety so the world/player experience would be more diverse.
Ofc it would be better to make such system about bonuses, not about obstacles.

Edited by heptagonrus

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Of course, I like this idea. Come on. It has Tony Liberatto written all over. 
I do not think it would be about adding difficult to the process, I see it as adding more steps and making metallurgy as a more engaging and immersive process. 
 So the player gets copper nuggets and makes his/her first pickaxe. But the copper in the rocks needs to be processed before it can be smelted. 
I have no idea what is actually used for ore processing, but I think is not just use a pickaxe and smelt it. In the minimum, no matter the ore it needs to be ground and washed. 
I do know some ores are cooked to burn out impurities before they are melted. 
Again, I do not see this as making it harder, I see as adding features and making the process more complex.

 

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Found anoher explanation angle: in other words, the idea it to continue the world diversity into technology diversity.

Ores are in different rocks, they look differently. Why not continue it and process them a bit differently. Not hard to achieve usually, but just to give more personality to each of ore type by source.

Same can be e.g. with trees. Currently tree products - logs, planks - are mainly different by colors and burn time. Maybe add other qualities, e.g. durability/strength, so choice of wood for building will actually influence structure size or possible architecture variants.

Strength would be especially useful for collapsable building model, like that TFC2 feature iirc, but I am not very eager to see it in VS tbh.

Maybe planks, fences, ... from different wood would be more resilent to future damage sources, but for now for axe, i.e. time to break it, making an impression that one wood is stronger than other. 

Cons are that it might be annoying to play, too routine and time-consuming to code and kinda useless in game.

Pros could be that it might improve feeling of the wood, players would start to think in terms hard/soft wood, i.e. "I should make inner decorations in soft wood, but outer fence and core supports in hard wood".

I.e. instead of MC way of thinking "what unusual block I can use here to improve decoration value", people might start to think more constructive, which material is better where because of its functionality, not just looks.

Maybe various blocks would have some perks. Hmm, hard to think of something attractive right away ... Maybe hay blocks exposed to sky have a small chance to turn into ... compost after a rain. So the hay roofs will need attention and force people to improve them with time, replacing with wood.
Weak stones, like chalk cobble, might break if too many blocks above it. Some insects may appear on specific soft woods. Animals may like to lick some stones.
Some stones may poison dirt or destroy adjancent wood.
Having more specific (or expensive) blocks in one area may atract more merchants ...

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Again I like this kind of reasoning. It enriches the game experience. 
As for trees and wood types, they could also affect tool durability and efficiency. After all not any wood is good to be used for a tool handle. Some weapons, like a bow, need a strong but flexible kind of wood. 

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Ya I do wish the wood part of the game could be a bit more involved.  Right now anything made of wood comes in only two tiers: non-plank, and plank.  The only real difference is whether you have a saw or not.  Wood is extremely easy to get, so no matter how many planks a thing costs, it's still basically free, once you have a saw.   This makes it hard to have meaningful wood-based technology, since it's so easy to get the wood.   I'm getting off topic but I guess since the OP is participating in this wood discussion it's ok?  

What I would very much like to see is beams, that you can only get from tall trees.  So you have to have a tree that contains, say, 6 blocks in a column, minimum.  This pretty much automatically excludes acacia as a viable beam tree, and most birch too I think.   After you find such a tree, you use an adze on the blocks while they're in the tree.  This changes them to stripped trunk blocks.   Now, when you fell that tree, The game notices there's a column of 6 stripped blocks, and from that you get a beam rather than logs.  All the other stuff drops as normal.   So, you can get up to 4 beams from a really big oak.   Beams stack only to 1, and slow the player to a crawl.  The player needs to have a wagon or something to move them efficiently.  So what you get is beams as a new crafting component, that is much harder to get than normal logs.  Beams can be use, for instance, to craft water wheels, water wheel trip hammers, the beams for animal-powered querns and such.  Maybe down the road, ships (12 blocks in a column makes a mast?).  All the results of beams need to be the same heavy, so that the player doesn't just craft them after cutting, and avoid the transport part. 

I think this would bring another level to wood tech.  Along with perhaps having to spend some time chiseling out cogs.   Down the road finished lumber made in a lumbermill could be used for better chests, beds, etc

I do also like the idea of further processing options for ore, such as pulverizing it to get better returns.  But I think it should be based on machinery.

Edited by redram
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Another diversity idea, from a proud member of Obsidian Lovers Society.

In the end-game all ancient stone tools are obsolete. For some of them it may be fine, they are not too beautiful, a mundane stone showel - who cares, right? The size of the shovel head is so small that yoy can't fit the stone beauty into it.

But at least one stone is very pretty - obsidian. I love to knap it and have on tools because of color contrast. Looks great even when knapping, in contrast with voxel grid lines.

But current obsidian perks are too minor and have some value only at stone age - why would you make a obsidian spear if a bronze one is much better?
Or knife?

But maybe it can have other perks, making it still interesting in end-game. Still having a low durability, obsidian tools may e.g. have

  • much higher harvesting speed for knife. Want to harvest cattails superfast but expensive - make 4 obsidian knives.
  • much higher damage with lower durability. One-shot one-time-use spear? You can easily kill a wolf, but in the long run a sword or a metal spear is much more versatile

Maybe other stones will be ideal for specific tasks, e.g. for quick digging muddy gravel.

Maybe to get these advanced perks a better processing would be required. E.g. if you knap with stone - you get ordinary tool/weapon head. But if knap with a metal tool, or polish after ordinary knapping - an additional perk is added.  (Ofc the polishing/sharpening was discussed in great detail in other topics.)

[Update:] It is a shame that a nice knapping voxel interface is used only in early game and never after. It is quite beautiful and satifactory, all the sounds and voxels and particles. It would be nice to use it later in the game.

Edited by heptagonrus

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I don't have time for a detailed response, but I wanted to say that I love the ideas being tossed around here. 

@RedRam, I kinda like the idea of having to transport logs slowly, but I think that most people would not consider that an element that adds fun to the game.  Having to transport them by cart is a very interesting idea, but that would be an entirely new game mechanic.  I can't imagine how that would work without being very awkward (like minecraft horse awkward), but it could potentially be a good alternative to massive inventories.

@heptagonrus, I totally dig your ideas in your main post, but also your thoughts on stone tools.  I like it when items have tradeoffs, rather than being straight upgrades.  Irl, obsidian knifes are far sharper than a razor, but dull far more quickly.  I imagine them wearing out super fast in game.  The idea of tools having a chance to break has been tossed around as well.  Personally I think stone should 1) be very effective when new, but that 2) effectiveness quickly drops off as it wears, and 3) at any point in its wear cycle it can be re-flaked to restore it's effectiveness, but only a certain number of times (maybe three repairs).

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Actually, stone knives last for a long time. If used properly they lose micro flakes and sharpen themselves. The problem with stone knives is not that they get dull, but that they break easy and are heavy. 
A metal knife is lighter and it will not break if you drop it. Metal knives do get dull very fast. 

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On 11/21/2018 at 6:52 PM, Exscorbizorb said:

I kinda like the idea of having to transport logs slowly, but I think that most people would not consider that an element that adds fun to the game.

Not "logs", "beams".   Logs would remain as they are.  Beams would be a special resource used only for machinery or wooden items which one wants to be somewhat hard to get. Harder than logs and planks, which are very easy to get.

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So ok, to swing things back to metal processing.  I'm curious, how some of the more casual players such as Ashantin or @Airawould feel about a more extended processing chain.  I think that not alienating the more casual player base is an important concern.  So I don't know if some of this would only occur in survival mode, or what.  So for the more casual players, I'm wondering, how would you feel if you could no longer make a tool out of every 4 surface nuggets you pick up off the ground just being tossed in the crucible?   My understanding is we're going to get graded ores similar to TFC anyway, so that'll be a good time to incorporate this nugget idea. What if those nuggets were worth only 10, or even just 5 units?    Now you have to gather 10 or even 20 pieces.  20 Seems like a lot to me, but maybe the 5 unit nuggets are easily processed, like Tony says - just toss in the crucible.  So maybe it's a mixture of 10 unit nuggets that have to be processed, and 5 unit ones that don't, that one finds atop the ground initially.   All the ores  - 10, 15, 25, 35, or whatever - have to be broken down into the 5 unit pure nuggets.   Does this sound like too much?  Personally I'd like to see more of a processing chain, though mainly because it would enhance the machinery end of things, and give more reason to build interesting devices.  So the above is my TL/DR question, but below is going to be my extended scenario, if you care to read.

EXTENDED EXPLANATION

I'll say to start, that I don't think the quern should be involved in ore processing.  Querns are made to grind grain into a fine powder, not to smash up rocks.  The 'tiers' of processing could look as follows:

Hammer - Your basic method is hammer the nuggets out of the ore.  So in this case you can place 1-4 ore on top of a block of igneous stone.  One mechanic might be to swing away at it with a hammer just as with picks and axes, till they break and release the nuggets.   Or, another mechanic might be that you have to place the ore and actually break away the gangue (gangue is the unwanted stone around the metal) until you have just the metal left, at which point the nuggets pop off.  The latter method would be code intensive, but I think the same mechanic could be used to process iron blooms, for instance.  This would only require a basic stone hammer, which would perhaps be the only stone age tool where flint offers no advantage over other stones?  This method would be kind of tedious, which sets up demand for the next step.  You'll probably mostly want to make tools with this method, rather than  lanterns and ornamental stuff.

To go along with this early stage, when the player is searching for 10 and 5 units at a time, it may be necessary to incorporate another way to get them, such as panning, sluicing, or maybe even Stroam's fire method to mine actual ore blocks without using a pick.  Just to give the player other options if they don't want to have to roam around to find the stuff (maybe the area is very wolf infested?). 

Monjolo - From a recent discussion on discord iirc.  Basically a slow water powered hammer.

image.png.341e46e45e551af11b555bd13fc982ce.png

In terms of assembly, it could require a beam or two, a trough, and a metal cap (so 2 metal tools plus cap).  If beams are encumbering you'll still probably need a beast of burden to move the beam to your place, though not to power it.  This would either be before or after Horse Mill.  Depends on how easy it is to set up. If any falling water can be used, then pretty easy (maybe too easy), so before horse mill.   But if the world had naturally generated waterfalls (with mist spray at the bottom!) that were the only way to get it to work, then it may be so niche that it could be higher than the horse mill.  Or similar tier anyway, but very slow. Or perhaps if the player can construct aqueducts or something, from a natural river.  The beam part should probably wear out over time.

Horse Mill - The horse mill would be a vertical millstone which rolls around a central column, powered by an animal.  The general idea of the look would be this:

image.png.a65ea9343af903034cebccc455783c4a.png

This would allow unattended ore processing.   It would however have several potential costs:  You would have to capture and domesticate a beast of burden (horse, donkey, ox, etc).  Depending on how the rest worked, you might also have to obtain beams (as described above), and the base stone might be made of raw stone blocks.   So if both those are true, you'd need to have a pick, and an adze.  If it were taken further and you have to carve the 'trough' out of the raw stone, you might also need a metal hammer and chisel.   So that's potentially 3-4 metal tools.  Not to mention the leather and/or rope needed to harness the animal.   And there could also be a cost in that to make the animal work, you have to feed it.  The grindstone should probably also wear out, with those made of sedimentary rock wearing out faster than others.  Further, if beams are an encumbering item as I suggested above, the player will also need the beast of burden to move the beams, and maybe a wagon.  That or they settle near the tall trees.    It would also be historically accurate to use this kind of a mill to press grapes or olives.

Stamp Mill - The stamp mill is the next tier.  I've talked about it before in another thread.   I would look something like this:

image.png.5826216f1b7cefd890b46979407bdaaf.png

As mentioned in the other thread, the stamp mill would require even more infrastructure, in the form of several beams, metal caps on the beams, and either a windmill or water wheel to power it.  The windmill and waterwheel would presumably require even more beams, plus canvas for the windmill, and who knows what else.  The water wheel would be limited to rivers.   The metal stamping caps would need to be replaced every so often, and trying to stamp iron with copper caps for instance, will wear them out very fast.

Iron Age Methods - In the iron/steel ages, the player gets into ball mills, jaw crushers, and cone crushers.  I won't get too much into those, but suffice to say I think they could be used to process ore faster, and even reduce it further - to granules, and again to grit, which might make the smelting faster, or give bonus metal, or produce less slag.

These same machines could also perhaps process flux stones, chalk, and other stones that are not ores in the normal sense.

None of this really addresses the suggestion of requiring some chemistry of course.  Still a bit skeptical on that stuff.  Machinery tie-in is probably weaker, and it might start to get confusing for newbs.    I do think the notion of processing ore down in order to be smeltable might enhance the machinery part of the game though, giving more use in the wood era than just grinding grain. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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@redram While I generally like the idea of more involved metal/ore processing, I think your way of essentially having three machines that accomplish the the same thing needs some streamlining. Since there will be a mechanical power system, I think the "crushing device" should utilize it, requiring a lot of torque (maybe based on ore type), the speed reflecting in the speed of the crushing operation. I think a powered hammer (like the monjolo, but not water driven) would be the best representation of a crushing device, as it would look more spectacular than the stamp mill. Maybe have different material hammer heads for some additional progression gating or alternative uses (axe head to turn it into a early game wood processing device, before a mechanical saw which would require iron or steel). Keeping the powered hammer GUI-less would also be something easily possible, as the hammerhead could always smash on a block in the world, so any block (or item) at that location would be crushed, which could make for some interesting automation solutions involving pistons and perfect timing. On another topic, the horse mill shouldn't be a device, but an early game producer of mechanical power. 

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@Erik  Sure, there's other options for machines.  I do think the water mill hammer would be more appropriately used to refine iron blooms, as that's a better approximation of it's historical use.  I laid out some examples to give some detail, and because I think it's easier to give an opinion when you have specifics.  But I think the larger question is, would requiring processing of ore to use it at all - using either a tedious hand method, or machines that are non-trivial to make - make the game too grindy for some of our players?   As opposed to making processing optional, as proposed in that other thread, in which case the processing nets you bonus ores, but you can still just use the basic ores directly in the crucible.  Thing is, I don't know if people would go to the trouble if the machinery is optional, unless the machinery is also easy to make.  They would if the bonus was high enough, but I think one would want to avoid being too inflationary.

 

Edited by redram

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@redram Game design > Historical accuracy/realism

Why should there be a water mill hammer, when there is already a waterwheel? When there is a power system, ideally machines would use the power system and not going for a combined machine-generator approach. That would also make the machine way more flexible and realistic in a sense, as it didn't matter what exactly powered the mechanical hammer, as long as it would get enough power.

On the larger question: I think crushing ores for extra returns should be optional. As it is in modded minecraft, most players like to put in that extra effort, even if optional (There is a reason almost every tech mod has some form of ore duplication). Some things however, like iron blooms, should require that extra effort of either smacking it with a hammer (a lot) or building a mechanical hammer that smashes it. This is both good on a game design and realism part, as it forces the player to progress, without overwhelming him. Some things could even require a strictly mechanical hammer, supplied by a very high torque, like rare endgame geodes containing endgame metals for endgame steels or alloys (This would be an interesting and somewhat believable way to introduce metals like aluminum or titanium).

If a machine isn't useful it shouldn't be in the game. The players will build useful machines even when they are optional, as long as progression renders them not obsolete. Making machines optional at first and later required for progression helps smooth out the progression curve.

In most cases it isn't (or better shouldn't) even that hard to build the machines, but they shouldn't be the easy solution to all problems (looks angrily at EnderIO conduits), but pose their own problems that the player can either live with or fix via (hopefully interesting) automation. This should obviously encourage automation, but I don't think automation should be required for progression, just highly encouraged.

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4 hours ago, Erik said:

Why should there be a water mill hammer, when there is already a waterwheel?

The hammer part should be separate from the waterwheel, connected by the shaft/sprockets we already have.   I was not suggesting it was an all-in-one deal.  I call it a water mill hammer to try and distinguish it from what will eventually probably be a large number of hammery machines. 

Regarding your earlier comment about the horse mills being a power device, that's all well and good and I've suggested exactly that before.  But the particular mill above has a very specific way of attaching the animal to the millstone.  To try and separate the animal power from the mill, I think could end up looking a bit off.   You'd have a vertical shaft, with a horizontal shaft sticking out, and a giant mill stone, but no logical connection except directly from the top or bottom.  It could be done though if one is willing to ignore the visual incongruity.

4 hours ago, Erik said:

On the larger question: I think crushing ores for extra returns should be optional. 

Ok that's fine for bonus metal, but what about the notion of *requiring* processing just to use the ore at all?

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48 minutes ago, redram said:

The hammer part should be separate from the waterwheel, connected by the shaft/sprockets we already have.   I was not suggesting it was an all-in-one deal.  I call it a water mill hammer to try and distinguish it from what will eventually probably be a large number of hammery machines

Why should there be a large number of hammery machines?

45 minutes ago, redram said:

 Regarding your earlier comment about the horse mills being a power device, that's all well and good and I've suggested exactly that before.  But the particular mill above has a very specific way of attaching the animal to the millstone.  To try and separate the animal power from the mill, I think could end up looking a bit off.   You'd have a vertical shaft, with a horizontal shaft sticking out, and a giant mill stone, but no logical connection except directly from the top or bottom.  It could be done though if one is willing to ignore the visual incongruity.

It doesn't exactly have to be that animal mill, just some form of animal mill (just for energy generation, not for milling).

54 minutes ago, redram said:

Ok that's fine for bonus metal, but what about the notion of *requiring* processing just to use the ore at all?

Progression should come in small steps, not all at once. The player can only craft a hammer when he has metal, so it is essentially needed to skip the crushing on the first batch of ore. The ability to get more out of ore is something very desirable, so most players will make use of it when they have ore, it will feel like they archived something, because they progressed. When the player would need to crush the ores in the first place with some stone hammer, it wouldn't be a rewarding progression step, the player wouldn't get more ore for his work, because there is no way to get less ore. What remains is doing a lot of things to archive a simple task. This can overwhelm or confuse some players, because they wonder why they can't smelt their ores, which is bad.

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I, of course, love the idea of having a very complex and immersive way to do Metallurgy.  

The main thing is to reward the player for each extra step that is required for Metalworking. So now the player needs to crush the ore, but tools have double the durability. So we keep rewarding the player for each extra step. 
That is what I did for the primitive tools in The Neolithic Mod. They require branches instead of sticks and all tools require some cordage, but they have a lot of extra durabilities.

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19 minutes ago, tony Liberatto said:

The main thing is to reward the player for each extra step that is required for Metalworking. So now the player needs to crush the ore, but tools have double the durability. So we keep rewarding the player for each extra step. 

That is what I did for the primitive tools in The Neolithic Mod. They require branches instead of sticks and all tools require some cordage, but they have a lot of extra durabilities.

Extra durability compared to what? Sure, making things harder also makes them more rewarding, but rewards are measured in relations. Only when there is a way to get fewer rewards, the rewards will truly feel more rewarding. When the player things it was his decision that have him better rewards, the rewards will feel even more rewarding.

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Kinda of a convoluted way of saying it. But I think I understand your point.
In the case of a mod, the player has an easy comparison, Vanilla tool versus Moded tool. 
When the change is made in the Vanilla, the player does not have any initial point to compare with.

Well, it would still work for the existing players of a previous game version. All I am saying is that at the same time that we add extra work to make the tool we need to make them last longer, otherwise, the player will end up spending all his/her time just making tools. The more complex we make metallurgy, the more the tools need to increase in durability and efficiency. 

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I don't have much to say regarding the details, but to give my opinion as a casual player, I'd be totally fine with more complex metalworking - IF and only if the stone age tools were made more durable and useful, so it wouldn't be a nightmare of constantly remaking tools every few minutes until you finally get a metal one. I'm all for more immersion. But if the copper age is more difficult to enter, the stone age needs to be more fun and less of a slog. (In fact, as I've said before, I think the stone age needs to be more fun and less of a slog even as things are now.)

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You should try The Neolithic Mod. We made all Stone tools to require cordage, cordage itself can be made of 3 different materials, Leather strips, sinew or sisal fibers. But we made stone tools to have as much durability as Vanilla copper tools. 
As I have been playing the game and mod for the last 3 weeks, I feel like they still need more durability. We will probably increase it, but I want to start some work on the metal tools, just so they do not get behind.

There are some aspects of the Game itself that need to be addressed before we can do much as a mod. The main difference between stone tools and metal tools is about the weight of the tool itself, so, we need to have fatigue in the game. As in how much energy it costs a player to use a stone tool, versus a metal tool.
The truth is that a stone knife is as sharp or more than a metal knife. The stone knife is heavier and it will break if dropped. If properly used, a stone knife will last for years.

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On 11/30/2018 at 4:56 PM, Erik said:

Why should there be a large number of hammery machines?

Well, maybe not 'large'.  But more than one certainly.  The problem is 'trip hammer' is a general term that covers all powered hammers, regardless of power source.  Looking about a bit on wiki, it looks like 'helve hammer' might be the best term for the wooden-beamed sort that a water wheel would power.   Followed by 'power hammer' for the rotary spring-assisted type, and possibly followed by 'steam hammer', if we ever have a reason to get that big.  Then there's planishing hammer, which is a specialize hammer.  Lots of potential hammers.

On 11/30/2018 at 4:56 PM, Erik said:

It doesn't exactly have to be that animal mill, just some form of animal mill (just for energy generation, not for milling).

Sure that's fine, that can exist.  But that doesn't mean there can't be a purpose-made vertical rolling millstone setup that incorporates the animal, rather than requiring a bunch of connections that will ruin the quaint feel of it.

On 11/30/2018 at 4:56 PM, Erik said:

The player can only craft a hammer when he has metal, so it is essentially needed to skip the crushing on the first batch of ore.

Just allow there to be a stone hammer.   Frankly it makes a lot more sense than a stone shovel.

Edited by redram

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The stone hammer is probably the first tool ever made. Just a round stone that fits the palm of the hand and can be used to crush, break or simply hammer stuff. We do already have stone hammers in The Neolithic mod, and the first tool is a hand hammer. A hammer without a handle. The player uses it to beat sinew and sisal into fibers to make cordage. 
Thinking better now, the hand hammer was the tool that was used to knap flint into knives and axes. 

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9 hours ago, redram said:

Well, maybe not 'large'.  But more than one certainly.  The problem is 'trip hammer' is a general term that covers all powered hammers, regardless of power source.  Looking about a bit on wiki, it looks like 'helve hammer' might be the best term for the wooden-beamed sort that a water wheel would power.   Followed by 'power hammer' for the rotary spring-assisted type, and possibly followed by 'steam hammer', if we ever have a reason to get that big.  Then there's planishing hammer, which is a specialize hammer.  Lots of potential hammers.

I meant gameplay reasons, how it would benefit gameplay, not realism.

9 hours ago, redram said:

Just allow there to be a stone hammer.   Frankly it makes a lot more sense than a stone shovel.

While stone hammers did exist, they aren't very useful or safe for crushing ores and they would also go against the staged progression I outlined, making crushing ores less rewarding.

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