How Should Underground Resources Be?

I’ve seen many games do this differently. Minecraft has small pockets of ores scattered randomly with rules to include rarity etc. Other games might have stone randomly drop different resources (Timber and Stone for example). I think there are a few (very few) that generate underground resources like actual resources, where veins of a certain ore may become centers of a towns economy. Iron might be sparse while the more expensive (but less immediately useful) might be abundant in droves.

Personally I like the idea of my town becoming a bustling lumber town because of all the ancient trees, or a mining town because the iron is plentiful. So my vote would be put to bigger less common veins.

What are everyone else’s thoughts? What would you like to see in how underground resources are placed/dispersed?


I prefer the minecraft approach, having veins scattered across the landscape… it makes the experience of searching for/revealing the resources feel more rewarding…


I’d recommend looking at this article, where we’ve covered this issue in comparison to several other games.

Just to throw my two cents in, I’m in favor of finite resources underground, but I still sort of like the occasional chance to find some sort of mystic “node” that replenishes itself or provides a small trickle of resources over time (partially because of the ‘city-builder’ focus, if we’re only going to focus on singular-city games for quite a while).

Having the chance to mine ores randomly in stone might also be interesting, but there’d have to be an offset to discourage players from simply strip mining and banking on these chance resources to never have to challenge themselves with other areas for resources or deeper mines.

Lastly, I agree with the larger, rarer veins, but only so when we have the capacity to set up these outer towns and outposts efficiently in Stonehearth’s interface. Stable resource centers will encourage setting up networks of transportation and hauling, which will help the city builder essence in the long run.


Each type of resource have a rarity value, and random dispersion throughout the map with higher concentrations based on the area being mined.

If a map were to have a material break down of something like this:

  • 10% Water
  • 40% Dirt
  • 50% Stone

Then you would find a larger amount in the harder to mine material over the easier one. I think it would be cool if we were able to pan for gold in rivers that wash the material down the stream as it cuts through the mountain side and carries it down into the river bed. The amount of material would be much smaller than if you have to dig through the side of the same mountain.

The same percentage model could be used for the ore and gem types with maybe a total of 20% - 30% of the entire world (map) material being made up of precious materials.

A 25% resource distribution could look something like this:

  • 2.5% - Rare Gem
  • 5% - Common Gem
  • 2.5% - Rare Ore
  • 5% - Medium Grade Ore
  • 10% - Common Ore

I would think that gems would be be mostly contained in rock, or very deep under the surface as they usually require some heat and / or pressure to be formed. Perhaps you could break into a cavern that has naturally occurring quartz stalagmites.


I think I’d prefer the Minecraft model, albeit on a larger scale - ie veins of several dozen iron ore voxels rather than 3-4, etc. That’s not to say you couldn’t add in a small chance of getting gems etc outside of ore veins etc, but in general I’d prefer to have to hunt for iron if I want it, rather than say “well if I strip-mine enough of the landscape I’ll get enough” through getting the iron from regular stone etc.

Outside of the mechanical aspects, I think such veins add character etc to the game: you can’t have the Kingdom of Erebor without rich mithril veins after all, and it’ll add a nice bit of colour to the underground world too, which is one of those small-but-important details to consider IMHO.


Absolutely in favor of little things like this. I’m a bit tired of only finding ores in the absolute depths of the world, where “Ore ‘X’ can only be found beyond a world depth of ‘Y’”. This was blatantly apparent in Minecraft, where it always seemed that players would dive down to that particular range of Y-values to maximize their diamond output–I sincerely hope Stonehearth tries to mix it up and try to limit mathematical exploiting of ore generation.

Please note, it’s not like I hate Minecraft when I say this–many games do this, like Starbound, which I am personally looking forward to. I think larger, more long-term veins of minerals would go a long way to break the “mine, then move on” pattern seen in a lot of these games–mainly because they rely on these random, small pockets of minerals in the game world to avoid obscene leveling-up. There’s obviously going to need to be some balancing if done in contrast to this way, but if done well, it could seriously change how we view resources and sustainability in games in general.


I’m just gonna repost what I put on the Permanent Mining Nodes Vs Strip Mining thread, because I still enjoy this idea.


I haven’t seen a game with the same scope or aims as stonehearth, so perhaps the best approach would be a mixture of all those types plus I love some of the other suggestions on the thread like geomancers being able to influence the earth to a mystical patch of earth that will regenerate ore.

In a game I played ages ago (Zeus master of Olympus) you can create a temple for Hephestus or Hades and they would give you an infinite copper or silver node, the temples are very hard to build and take a long time so it felt like there was a good balance there.


Indeed. In reality you can find ore veins in every level of the Earth’s crust - what matters for IRL mining purposes is:

  • Ease of access
  • Rarity of the ore
  • Quality of the ore

What would be nice to see IMHO is something like this:

“Okay, I’ve started up my new game of Stonehearth, now let’s go look for some ore… oh wow, I’ve found some gold really close to the surface, and some more deeper down. The closer vein is lower quality and the deeper one higher quality*… hmm, which do I go for first?”

*Not set in stone - you might get lucky and find the high-quality one near the surface instead :slight_smile: .


hmm… forgot all about that thread! is a merge in order, perhaps?

Eh… there might be enough gap in idea to not merge but if you do I can see why.

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I’m personally in favour of larger veins of ore, say 30-50, with a wider distance between, as opposed to occasional pockets of say 6-8 ore. In terms of balance, as long as there is sufficient demand for the metal, finding so much in one go won’t be such a huge deal. In fact, it encourages a more tactical approach to how you spend, accounting for the potentially long time between finding veins, compared to the slow but steady trickle of finding small pockets, where you just build whatever is needed at that moment.

Larger veins would encourage exploration and discourage strip mining; by putting a much larger distance between veins, a search grid of every second 4x4x4 space creates unnecessary work and increases the time it takes to find a vein. Conversely, a wide search grid more efficient in terms of finding veins, but it also quickly carries the miners further and further from home, increasing their travel time. This means mining becomes a more active task for the player, by necessitating things like the creation of rest stops with beds, food, tables and chairs in order to increase efficiency, as opposed to strip mining, which is more of a passive “set and forget” approach.

More underground exploration plays into having underground dungeons etc. as well, because it makes it more likely that a player will stumble upon one. It also means that because it takes longer to find veins, finding one becomes a more noteworthy event, as opposed to something that happens every few minutes, and thereby goes more or less unnoticed.

I like the old RTS style where you have a fixed place and mine the limited resources for a long time.

But the game is not RTS so, i think a better solution is to make big ore veins that have more than 1 ore per voxel but takes really long to mine

actually, it is (in part)… :smile:

Stonehearth is a game about building and conquest in an epic, fantasy setting. The game is equal parts sandbox, RTS, and RPG.


I can tell you from my experience building my Blacksmith and Ores mod here that the mechanic currently in the game is the “random chance based on the material type” sort of method. Meaning, that for a given ground material that is being mined (grass, dirt, rock, etc.) there are a set of weighted values that determines the random chance of a given result. Whether this is temporary or not I’m not sure but I’d wager that if ore-like ground types are added to the world generation then the random chances are still there but just much higher for the particular material that is the primary consistency.

I personally like this method over the other ways as this method is much more suitable to both the gameplay and visual style of Stonehearth. Plus it’s super easy to change the materials that the world produces simply by altering the mining loot table instead of having to regenerate all of the world terrain. Therefore the special rock that is an “ore vein” is simply called “Ore Rich Rock” (or something similar) which would yield higher percentages of metal ores and lower percent of plain stone when compared to normal rock.


Wow, I didn’t know it was even possible to location that sort of script yet in the coding. They hadn’t really mentioned it in any of the posts or streams so far.

While a bit of random chance to find ore amidst all your stone mining/terraforming is a good idea to break up the monotony, I can’t say that’s how all mining should be; ore veins can commonly be seen by the naked eye, so while there is the possibility you’d find some by accident in stone, I assume most early mining techniques (sort of fitting Stonehearth’s Medieval/Renaissance atmosphere) involved finding these veins, then once that was cleared, mine around it hoping they’d get lucky and find more.

If ore in regular stone ends up playing a big role in mining, I feel that it should occur most frequently by actual veins to replicate that sort of natural occurrence.

That’s a reasonable concern. Don’t forget though that Radiant’s building Stonehearth to be heavily ‘mod-friendly’, so I’d be surprised if they didn’t add a means to alter ore and vein occurrences.

As for regenerating all the terrain… yeah, that’s a big problem I always saw with Minecraft whenever new things like quartz and the -ite stones were added. At the very least, when Stonehearth playthroughs become long enough (and stable enough) to branch alpha and beta versions, perhaps these ores can at least be acquired through trade or events if you’re not ready to start fresh. Ores just happen to be one of those things that seem to demand an update in these sorts of games…

I do like this idea, however; sort of a ‘mystery’ vein or strata that can give you a little of everything. My geological experience is limited, but I would guess most veins aren’t purely one useful substance like copper or ferrous oxide (iron ore), and numerous ores and useful metals could potentially overlap, given the right circumstances.


How about underground “biomes”? You could have random chances of finding different ores depending on the Biome you are in. For example, (assuming we have a chance for ever voxel you break to get something) say your underground biome is iron. You would have something like a 20 percent chance of getting stone, 40 percent chance of nothing, 20 percent chance of iron and 10 percent other gems and 10 percent other ores.

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just going to toss @Tom’s comment from the A7 blog post in here as well…

In the near term, future Alphas will add resources to mine for (ore, gems, etc), as well as underground content to discover, like caverns, monsters, etc. Further out, we’ll add new mining tools like the ability to mine out individual voxels.


Something I did not see here, but thought would be nice is a proc system.

Potentially there will be the limits of what the game can do and to beat the curve for a while, why not add in the prospect of RNG. As a Mason or whomever will be designated for the primary stone remover/digger have their skill directly affect what they can extract from the earth. Then there can be no real cheat engines or x-ray patches for diggers looking for nodes.

The RNG gods will protect the most vital substances from ruffians and continue to reward those who work hard. This is not to say that it is completely anticitiant on the Mason. One could easily have it a base RNG with modifiers for environmental modifications like Depth (including heights like mountain ranges), Tools such as implements that would heighten the capacity for a worker to find rare lewt and lastly Skill which was obtained from classes.

Just trying to toss out ideas that do not include adding in entire systems and hoping to keep the final build silky.


Becoming a town based on specific resources makes trading all the more useful!