I recently got asked some questions about big projects and decided that it would be interesting to get feedback on my response to see what other people think. so here it is
Well if I had to make a list
Smarter Mine Zoning?
A way to select the very top block of a section of ground, like a magic wand in paint that simply finds all blocks connected together at the same elevation and makes a selection that you can then drag to adjust the edges and select an area downwards, at a selected depth. This would be helpful by allowing me to save time and also save me from going outside of a desired mining area by accident using the single block selection tool which would require me to adjust my design causing more work.
-Mostly because there is no way to fix removed terrain. Turns out that this causes a lot of problems within the game because a user interacts with it and expects something that is predictable and this is unnatural it causes unpredictable problems because it removes an expected option to a solution of a mistake.
Mining Larger Chunks?
Instead of 1 block at a time, stone and ores could be somewhat physics based dependent upon where the hearthling is standing and the direction they are relative to where they are mining.
Simple Block Physics?
I think this would be required for any kind of collection device to function.
So (correct me if I am wrong here on the numbers, but the reasoning should be sound) if you have a hearthling that is 3 blocks wide and 4 blocks tall, and can reach 5 blocks in every direction then they have 25 different directions the hearthling can interact in. Now if you think about it while a hearthling can interact within that range, they will turn and only interact with things within their sphere of influence and they have a similar range of motion to humans. So 25 goes down to 3x5 + 5x5 + 3x5 for the three blocks below and above them that is 5 blocks wide and whats in front of them 5 blocks high and wide so thats 55 blocks.
Now this is just mirrored left and right unless you want to take into account being left handed or right handed. Really then it is 2x2 + 2x2 + 2x5 + 11 which is all the blocks on the left or right side as well as the ones in the center line. Basically things waist height, 2 blocks high and near center will break off in bigger chunks because more force can be applied. Now this could also depend on the terrain as well. How many blocks are connected to this block when it is mined? Then take the position of the hearthling to get the force applied and just subtract the resistance of the connected blocks in an area around it and you get the number of blocks that will break off in a large chunk. This is more to do with game mechanics and physics if you also wanted to take into account the striking angle of the hearthlings pick that could vary from hearthling to hearthling but it doesn’t need to be nearly that complicated.
Tools for Specific Jobs?
And I don’t mean like class tools, I really mean structures that perform a function of speeding up tasks that can be operated or maintained by very few people. Think mechanical structures like windmills, watermill now that water physics is a thing (infinite waterfall loop possible?), sawmill, dams, aqueducts, pipes, water pumps, water silos, grain silos. I understand that they do not need to be on the same scale but they are all necessary for any kind of future proofing so that a little labor now will mean less labor later and this provides security. Some of these things can definitely be built by a single person in a relatively short period of time based on the current need, while others could take a lifetime with only a few people that have basic tools or at least be very limited in its effectiveness or efficiency as a result.
Now what would all of this be for?
Something like a simple wind powered thick leather belt, that I can put on a track and mine out the bottom 2 by X? blocks of a stone wall, that can then be put in place below the shelf, so that when I mine the stone above it they fall onto the belt and are fed into a container that can be moved along and emptied at the end of the track so that I only need 2 hearthlings that to do the work of many more. Even if it would take me a week to build it because the time invested would pay off the longer you used it. This is what I had hoped the engineer class would be, not magical turrets.
As far as the details of each thing I mentioned, it would require a for more game mechanics to even be worth adding to the game, like moisture content of grain when stored, water having a weight that can hit a collision box to physically move and power something much bigger than it, because of momentum, water volumes not remaining static when touching different blocks etc.
There is a lot of things that could be done, but really I am not sure what the best solution is or if its within the scope of what direction the game will go in, because currently its so vague.
I know there is a population limit of 25 right now and its planned to max at 50 even though 200 may be possible in the future. The question is how viable is it to do some of these things and does it make sense for that small of a population? As far as it being viable, I’m not sure, a lot of this is complicated stuff as it is. However it does make sense that these things would be used even with a small population and I would say its even more important because the population is so small. Things like this are what modern society and convenience are really based on.
Bringing that challenge to a small virtual world could be interesting all on its own without any of the other gameplay elements because it requires you to think critically and I think thats what makes the game so interesting as far as building things go. You have to know of a need that you currently have or will have in the future, survey the map, choose a location to excavate, design your construction, gather the materials, construct it, and use it all while learning what worked and what didn’t. Right now this is very much limited because the game does not have things like this that impact hearthlings or interact with the terrain or world around them.
To add to this
A simple way to add simulated wind would be to create an updraft at the edge of any block in the world that is stronger for a longer vertical surface and weaker for shorter ones and this would dissipate into the empty air after a short distance. with this you can manipulate the terrain so that your windmill has “better” or more predictable airflow than it would otherwise.
Adding to this again. The wind effect on the edges of blocks could depend on temperature of the ground vs. time of day. For colder biomes at night this would create a down draft, and during the day it would even out. For hotter biomes the updraft would be stronger during the day than the night. For more sandy biomes specifically it could flip from updraft to downdraft as deserts do not retain surface heat for very long, most of the heat is radiated/reflected.
I would really like to see something like this in a video game, simply because I have never seen it done, probably because its basically liquid or aerodynamics physics, but again I don’t think it needs to have insanely complex math to fake it since the game is based on cubes in my mind it would be a good idea to take advantage of that fact for things like this as I imagine it would be easier to do it in this type of world than in others.
Think of a scout putting on a glider, jumping off a cliff and riding the updraft along the edge to scout faster and land safely on the ground below.