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refrigeration, ice box, and ice houses


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Since we just had a devlog icebox, I thought I'd drop some ideas about how ice box and storage might work.  I would hope that ice boxes would require ice to function, and, hopefully ice storage is in itself a mechanic.  I don't know if there is a feel for 'when' in the tech tree ice boxes should be thing, but it's a factor to consider when designing the recipe and process.


For ice harvesting, presumably lake water will freeze in winter.  This could be simply mined via a pick of course.   irl ice saws were used, so the saw itself would be another possibility, or even an ice-specific saw, though that would probably be a bit much.  The process could be drawn out (hence making ice box refrigeration more significant) by making the harvesting of each block - in raw block form - perhaps require a right-click-hold harvest method, like harvesting a corpse.  This would allow it to take a quite awhile.   The block could still be straight broken with a pick, fast, but then you get nothing (or ice chunks, but they can't be stored long-term)


Once harvested, an individual block could be highly encumbering, slowing the player immensely.  Making it very attractive to have a cart of some kind to move the ice.  I would further suggest the stack size in player inventory be limited to 1, and hotbar only, if not offhand slot only, but that's kind of getting into the inventory discussion.   Suffice to say, I'd like to see ice blocks be not easy to move in quantity.  Even more interesting would be if a block could be placed, and then 'pushed' by the player in-world causing it to slide along in real space.  This might be faster than carrying by hand, but cannot climb at all.  Only go down.  If a block falls more than 1 block, it shatters into nothing.  This would allow the player to have a subterranean ice house, and just slide the blocks in.  

Once in the ice house, the player needs to properly store them.   Once temperature is above freezing, the blocks should melt pretty fast, UNLESS they are bordered on all 6 sides by either another ice block, or a hay block.  This would give use to hay blocks.  If bordered on all sides by ice blocks, the block does not melt at all.   This makes high volume storage better than thin layers.   If bordered by some hay blocks, then the ice will melt.  The more hay blocks the faster.  I don't know if this would potentially cause tick lag though.   To remove a block, the player removes a hay bale, an pulls out a block of ice.   Harvested ice blocks would need to be different from natural ones, so the stored ones don't require the saw to remove.  The player then replaces the hay bale.  The whole blocks is still hard to move though, so at that point the player can perhaps break the ice block into chunks, for easy transport.   Since chunks can't be stored long-term the same way as blocks, the player should only break up ice blocks as they need them.


The actual food storage would happen in the ice box.   I think the ice box should be a 2 block tall assemblage, like the bloomery.  One half is for the ice, the other for the food.   Storage should be less than a normal chest by a column maybe.   The construction could be very simple (2 chests plus some straw bales) but presumably this will be one of the best food storages in the game, so I'd instead go for something more involved.  For one, metal lining.  So several sheets of metal.  Copper, bronze, or even stainless, depending on the desired tech gating (Yes I know stainless is a very modern metal, but given the chromium and such it's clearly being angled for).  Galvanized steel would also be a possibility.   The insulation material I would suggest as perhaps wool or some other animal hair, or perhaps alternatively cork, if cork trees were a thing.  Mineral wool could also be used - interestingly it is drawn from slag, so might tie in with the metal refining mechanic.  Even the wood case (if one is required) could perhaps be made of milled lumber, requiring a sawmill (so not just regular planks).   A combination of metal sheets, insulation material, and milled lumber would I think make it a pretty involved item to make.  

How often the player needs to stock the ice would need to be carefully balanced.   Too often and they won't be practical, too little and they'll be OP.  Offhand I would think the ice should last 2-3 days at minimum, so that the player doesn't absolutely have to be on time every day.  But possibly longer yet even, if you want to allow some slack for the player to go exploring for several days.   But then again, maybe they need to construct an automated ice delivery system to deal with long absences? 

Anyway, that's my initial thoughts.   Make ice boxes expensive, possibly higher tier, and make ice not trivial to harvest and store.  

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I suppose that introducing food decaying will make ice boxes (along with other ways to preserve food) a necessity.

In future, if extreme cold will be a thing that can affect the player also igloos building will be a thingh.

I will appreciate if walking on the snow will seriously slow down the player or make the food saturation decrease faster unless snow shoes or skis are worn. They can be either craftable or lootable in dungeons. 

Also using sledges to transport verious items through icy or snowy terrain would be an interesting addiction. 

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