This is the start of a series of blog posts written by individuals of the team discussing work they have been doing for Seed of Andromeda. One thing we’ll be doing is focusing on specifics to give you a more in-depth feel for where we see Seed of Andromeda going, and so that you guys can give us more specific feedback in return.
It is also the start of a new Community Spotlight series we are starting, where we dedicate a video to exploring the awesome things you guys have been up to producing content for the community! The video is embedded at the bottom of this blog post if you want to check it out.
Today I’m here to talk to you about how mining will work in Seed of Andromeda. We’ll talk about a few different methods for mining, tools for the job, some ideas for automation processes and other ways to delegate the job.
Firstly, however, a quick cover of the premise of mining in Seed of Andromeda. Ore blocks won’t just break into a perfect ore block that is formed into one ingot, instead ore blocks will contain the main mineral it appears to contain as well a chance of containing smaller amounts of rare minerals. How the block yields these depends on your mining technique of choice!
Methods of Mining
There are two methods of mining that are currently intended to be implemented into the game: what we call gross and fine mining techniques. The gross mining technique is one that most of you will be familiar with; hitting a block with a mining instrument damages it, causing it to yield a portion of its material. As it yields this material, the block will emit chunks in the form of particles, which can be picked up as pieces of ore, fragments of stone or precious minerals. Eventually, after yielding so much material, the block is destroyed and the remnants are released as one last amount of chunks.
The other method, fine mining, allows you to obtain the entire block as a whole. This process is a bit of a mini-game; you take a chisel to the block, and attempt to chisel at exposed edges, “disconnecting” the two blocks adjacent at that face. This chiselling has a chance of success based on the skill of the character doing it, and the quality of the tool used. If an attempt at chiselling fails, the block sustains some damage instead. Once all faces have been disconnected from any other adjacent blocks (supposing the block isn’t destroyed first), the block is retrieved as a whole, which can then be used in construction, smelting and so on. A block obtained in this manner will yield a slightly larger amount of material if used in some refining process to obtain the contained minerals.
In both cases, it is likely, due to technical limitations, that damage to blocks will not be persistent and, on unloading of chunks - or over some time period - they will end up returning to normal form.
Tools of the Job
The task of mining is one that should not be a prime focus for the player in Seed of Andromeda. This is because there will be far cooler and more awesome things to do over the course of the game - exploring the world, meeting new NPCs, creating new technologies and so on. That said, early on mining will be very small scale (in fact, the scale idea extrapolates to almost all processes in the game), and progress in scale as technologies are developed and NPC communities form. Initially, therefore, the player will need some personal tools in order to go mining. The first tools we have in mind are simple pickaxes, chisels, hammers and so on. While progression of scale is possible, there will also be progression within each scale. In the case of these handheld tools, the progression would be in the form of improving the tools with hardier materials. Eventually changing from physical to energy-based tools (chisels could be replaced with laser technologies).
Beyond the personal handheld tools described above, there will also be a possibility to automate the mining process. Developing the necessary technologies, you will be able to make use of robotic instruments to mine, even transport and refine, minerals from the ground. This would start off with machinery, like in the film Interstellar, where the machinery require oversight by some character. As the technology develops, the machinery would become more able to maintain itself throughout its automated operations.
Scaling Up Operations
There are two ways to scale up operations (bar getting a Time-Turner and mining away for days overnight yourself!), the first is for characters, player or computer controlled, to work together in larger numbers to get a greater amount of material together than could be obtained separately, through the use of the same infrastructure (the same mines, refineries and so on). Please note that we do not condone the enslavement of real human players for a mining task force. As our NPC AI develops, it may be the case that it is possible for NPCs to form such mining groups without player intervention, and mines will be found in and around NPC settlements. Another option would be to scale up the number of automated mining devices used in your mines, which would quickly lead to you having to find a way to actually use all the material you get hold of!
So, that’s our current direction for mining, I hope you enjoyed reading! I realise that I didn't touch on ore generation, however that will make for a blog post of its own. Make sure to give us feedback in the comments, or on the forums! Any thoughts are welcome, and we’ll take them all on board for when we come to implementing mining into the game!
Apologies in advance for the audio quality and rambling. This is the first in the series, so we will aim to improve and we now have Jeremy helping out with the production side of things, so that will hopefully make things go a lot better in the future too! Let us know what you think in the comments below and on the forums.
Matthew (PsychoticLeprechaun) - Designer & Web Developer