Mine "upwards" (create stairs?)

Howdy, I’m trying to expand my mineshaft upwards but can’t seem to get miners to do so from “under”; do you have any tips to get the workers on the job beside mining from the top of the mountain?



You seem to have to mine downward, or from the side, if you want to work in solid rock. Two issues:

  • One, the miners not wanting to deal with stuff above their heads. Hearthlings can mine 4 blocks above the surface their standing on. However, they can’t mine directly overhead, and to mine a block that’s 4 tiles up, it needs to have an openning already adjacent to it, so they can ‘mine from’ that side. When you are digging out a normal ‘m’ 4x4 tunnel, you bring that top slot with you. But trying to mine ‘upwards’, you can’t create that ‘seed hole’ on the level above. (sorry if that’s confusingly phrased - hard to figure out how to put it)

  • Second, there’s the challenge of issuing the order to mine the ‘floor’ between levels (unless you order it from an external edge, where you don’t have to rely on Slice view). When mining ‘down’, you can manually indicate the floor tiles with ‘n’, or if you mine with ‘m’ down, it makes a 5x4x4 (5-tall) mining order, rather than its usually 4x4x4 (4-tall) order. Mining ‘up’ provides neither of those options.

I wind up throwing up a ladder outside the mountain somewhere, making a sacrificial tunnel inwards from there (filled with a door, or sealed with slabs, as needed for aesthetics/security), and then mine the staircase down. Since shorter stairs are easier to plan out, I wind up making a bunch of those tunnels, so that each segment I have to mine from the top down isn’t overly long and is easier to align properly.

Edit - substantially revised the first point’s explanation - they don’t mine overhead due to consistant access mechanics, not ‘magic’ mining layers or unpredictability.

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Also, in your picture, those blocks marked to be mined can’t be accessed by your hearthlings cause they can’t fit in there. They need at least 3 blocks tall of space, and there is only 2 there. The one block that got mined from that row was because they mined from the side of the stair.

I believe this is kind of a creative problem the devs should look into. @sdee @jomaxro can you please take a look at this? Question: If I understand it right, now digging upwards is impossible. Am I correct? Will this be possible in the future?

let me refer you to this thread I made:

the hearthlings can only mine blocks within their reach, if you imagine this is a 5x6 wall of blocks this is what they will mine,
||xxxx|[] 2 deep
||xxxx|[] 3 deep
||xxxxx|| 2 deep
||xxxxx|| 1 deep

The issue here is (slightly) different, because it’s about reach and access.

For a side view:

Above is your normal hearthling (the H blocks, standing 3 tall as they do) in a normal 4-tall cooridor. The 'O’s and 'V’s are solid blocks (floor, ceiling, and deeper wall), and the Ws are the normal 4-high solid wall of spots that hearthling would mine as a normal corridor. The Xs are open space.

Now if we were trying to dig up from here, we’ll move the hearthling to the next stage:


Now the hearthling has mined out the top three Ws to use as a first step. This exposes the Vs as the next available chunk of ‘wall’ to mine. At the top I’ve replaced 3 Os with As and Us, because these are the spots that matter for ‘digging up’.

The hearthling cannot mine U - they cannot mine directly overhead. Instead, it still mines the tiles ‘next to’ it, which here are the A tiles. If U is a clear space instead of a solid wall, then the hearthling could mine out both A tiles. If U is still occupied by a block, the A tiles are not mineable. That’s what I’d meant by ‘access’ mechanics/requirements in my earlier post.

As for the linked post, my understanding is that’s two other kinds of hearthling behavioral issues (I haven’t checked these out carefully yet, though).

  • One, that hearthlings seem largely unwilling to ‘mine down’ into a ‘m’ placed 4x4x4 mining block - they will mine down into the down-mining-specific 4x4x5 one, and they will continue mining out a 4x4x4 if you dig a tiny trench in the top, but they don’t seem willing to mine down into an untouched, exposed 4x4x4. This one is inconsistent, though, so it may be more ‘common misbehavior’ than actual functionality.

  • Two, miners seem to mostly consider accessibility in terms of individual designations. ‘m’ mining works smoothly because all 4 heights are considered one ‘mining job’, so it can see it needs to mine out a 3-high hole in front to reach the rear blocks of the designation, and queues that part for later. When they are individual designations per z level, like with ‘n’ mining, that system fails - if the hearthling is mining (e.g.) the top level, after it mines out the front 4 blocks it can’t reach the 4 behind it. Nothing else in that top-level designation will let it reach those other blocks, so it labels them unreachable and ignores the designation from then on. While not very desirable, at least it’s relatively consistent - most of the variability in shape seems to come from which blocks they chose to mine first. Though sometimes it feels like they make that “can I ever reach the back blocks?” judgement /before/ actually getting to the mining site, so even if it’s accessible by the time they get there, if it wasn’t when the took the job, they might still skip it…

You can test point 2 this semi-straightforwardly by designation a corridor to be dug with ‘n’ and seeing how badly they do … then designate out a matching corridor, again with ‘n’, but then (in some distant part) overlap it with an ‘m’ designation, so the 4 heights become one blob. The miners should have a much better time with that version, even though it’s the same shape you’re asking them to mine.

heh, I probably should’ve posted this in that other thread instead of here :stuck_out_tongue: But @Albert’s tweaks for next patch may already consider point 2.

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the problem with the AI really is just making sure they allow themselves space to move around to build in an optimal way. this means building stairs and placing objects in a very specific order and then only using scaffolding when absolutely necessary. right now they don’t really do this, they just place blocks randomly and scoffold anything and everything that is out of reach instead of “nerdpoling up” or building stairs so that scaffolding is not necessary at all

Adding @albert; he was looking at something like this. :smiley:

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Edit - Before posting this, I made several mining experiments to try and confirm this behavior wasn’t a one-off or fluke or controlled by something else. All my trials were consistent, so I posted this. Of course, in the time since, much of my mining premised on this behavior has failed. Gah >< I’m leaving the content as-is, but whatever is true, this description is at best only a part of it, and possibly just flat-out wrong.

Original post:

It appears this is only partially true. For individual, 1-block ‘n’ designations, it’s still accurate. But if that overhead and/or surrounded-in-solid-blocks designation is connected to a designation on a block you can reach, then you can mine out the overhead block.

For example, in a 3-high tunnel, designate one of the roof tiles (ie, 4 from the floor) to be mined. Hearthling won’t touch it. Now drag a designation from one of the tunnel walls so that it goes below the existing roof designation and merges with it (you can drag the mining designation through open air if you start it someplace valid). Now the hearthling will mine the roof tile.

You can see two completely-surrounded overhead tiles are marked for mining. The one on the left, designated only on the overhead tile, won’t be touched. The one on the right, where the designation contains a height-4 rooftile as well as a height-3 wall (shown to be a shared designation by the cursor highlighting), will be completed.

(to be clear, the left one’s problem is not that it’s a single tile - a bigger patch of purely inaccessible overhead tiles would fair the same)

I don’t know if it’s a 3013 change (maybe part of the ‘n’-minings-now-merge, if it was always true for 'm’s) or just something I’d overlooked, since isolated testing is most straightforward with 1x1x1 ‘n’ designations.

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I think they do need to be able to mine up. It’s done commonly in real mining, think sappers mining into a castle from below, and something we need in Stonehearth.

yeah I think hearthlings should be able to reach (maybe mine 1 less than this in each direction) as high as the doors, so 6 blocks high, plus 1 - the floor they are standing on, and maybe 5 blocks side to side without really having to move, and they should also be able to move past an obstacle that is only 2 blocks high - this frustrates me so much that the hearthlings themselves are so limited before you even add in AI quirks

It’s kinda weird that we have this problems now.
Hearthlings had the technology to do that in v15 but apparently forgot how to swing their pickaxes overhead.
You could however create a one block stepping stone in front of the stairs which would enable them to get rid of the overhead stuff.