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How difficult should it be to find ore deposits?


GoRoos
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I've generated three worlds on default settings - so 100% ore "concentration."

In each of them, I've propick sampled literally hundreds of chunks across tens of thousands of square blocks of area and never seen anything above "Decent." Rarely can I actually find a deposit using the other propick mode, even when spending hours looking.

Additionally, I can be in a mountainous chunk looking up at a giant quartz deposit, and quartz never shows up on the propick output.

Am I missing something?  Does it really take DAYS of gameplay to find single deposits?

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That's odd. Usually it doesn't take anywhere near that much effort.

I mean, don't misunderstand - it does take effort, and that is intentional by design. I usually expend multiple ingame days on prospecting. But not multiple RL days/playsessions, or multiple worlds. I've had one single world out of the many I've played that acted incredibly stubborn and just didn't yield any copper worth mentioning in a kilometer radius around my base, and the best cassiterite I found was "decent". But in return it showered me in gobs of bismuthinite and sphalerite, and early surprise results like sulfur (which I had never found any of before). There is always some ore around, and if it's not the ore you need right now, traveling generally takes care of it.

It's also important to have the right methodology, though. If you just move from chunk to chunk, that's going to take forever. Skipping a few chunks each time won't make you miss ore; most zones of abundance are at least half a dozen chunks across, and often larger.

I recommend two approaches, depending on whether you run VSProspectorInfo or not.

  • With the mod, pick a chunk to start in, and prospect it. Try to make the first sample you take be roughly in the middle of the chunk. After you have a result, pick a cardinal direction, such as north. Walk north and skip three chunks. Prospect the fourth chunk you enter, again trying to start in the middle. Then walk another four chunks, prospect. Another four, prospect. And so on. Eventually, when you're getting like a kilometer or more away from your base, return to your starting chunk, and do the same thing towards the south. Return to your starting chunk again later, and then walk four chunks to the east. Prospect that chunk, and then go north again. And south. Drawing a parallel line of samples to the first line. Then another parallel line another four chunks over. And to the west as well, of course.
  • If you don't use the mod, the methodology is essentially the same, but you align yourself to coordinates instead of chunks. Pick a starting coordinate where X and Z are both divisible by 40, such as 280/y/-960. Any will do, so long as it's divisible by 40. Prospect that exact block. Now, walk 160 blocks north, and prospect that exact block. Walk another 160 blocks, repeat. Then to the south. Then parallel lines, as above.

In both cases, you're drawing a large, sparse search grid that covers a lot of ground very quickly. And in both cases, the number 4 is important. 4 chunks, or divisibility by 40. Why? Because that lets you refine your search very easily.

Once the ore that you're looking for pops up in your results during your sparse grid search, keep paying attention to it how it changes with every grid step forward. As long as the abundance keeps increasing or stays the same, keep moving forward with your large steps. Once it starts decreasing, stop and return to the previous step. From there on out, you will halve your step size: prospecting every two chunks instead of every four, or prospecting every 80 blocks instead of every 160. Look in each cardinal direction from your current best result to find the direction in which the abundance increases, and keep going until it decreases again. Then return to your new best result, and halve your step size again. Now you will prospect every chunk, or every 40 blocks, continuing to look for where the abundance increases. And if it stops increasing? That has a 99% chance to be the absolute local maximum. There's no sense in searching any further.

You can then decide if the peak you have found is good enough to dig, or if you'd rather return to your large grid search in hopes of finding something better. There's a lot of experience that goes into making this call, based on knowing how various ores generate. For example, when I'm looking for cassiterite, and I encounter a "high" result, I will typically just dig there if I know that the middle rock layer is igneous. Even "decent" might be good enough in that case, if I can't find anything better. But if it's sedimentary or metamorphic, I'll not bother trying, and just move on and look for a higher result, or perhaps a different region of rock strata. For native copper, meanwhile, it doesn't matter what the rock makeup is. Each ore has its own little quirks.

 

4 hours ago, GoRoos said:

Additionally, I can be in a mountainous chunk looking up at a giant quartz deposit, and quartz never shows up on the propick output.

Quarz does not show up on the propick. That's related to how quarz generates.

The technical reason is: the propick queries the ore map, which is an internal noise map of ore abundances specific to your world seed, and computes its output to you from what that ore map contains. This by extension means that it can only show you what the ore map contains. And quartz is not generated based on abundance on the ore map. It's spawned in through a different mechanism at world generation. Quartz is really more of a geological feature than an ore.

This is not a problem in gameplay because there is so much of it. Stumble across literally any speck of quartz anywhere, and you will have enough for your entire playthrough.

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