New Dig-tool Feedback

I’ve had a bit of a play around with the new dig-tool and I have some feedback.

Posting a screenshot for reference, to assist my communication.

Give Hearthlings more reach when mining? See the BLUE scribble on my image;
Currently they can’t dig up or any other block that isn’t adjacent to their feet? I keep getting in situations where they wont complete a dig- that is right in front of their faces and they will just stand their and look at it until I build row after row of ladders to get them going again (maybe the scaffold system could be used in mining?).

This was a 6x6x6 dig, layed out with the new tool on an untouched-flat wall - the order in which the Hearthlings tackled it led to this void-situation where work wouldn’t continue; you can see my ladders in an attempt to get it going again - you really have to micro a dig as large as 6x6x6 or any dig that includes blocks ABOVE the Hearthlings face.

Digs should default to “Suspended”?
Trying to remove some proposed dig with the new subtract-dig-tool (which is very nice) can be tricky. When you make a mistake and before you can fix it an eager Hearth-ling has dug it up!

Sure you could pause the game, but when playing with friends (new multiplayer is awesome!) it’s not always fun to be constantly pausing and un-pausing the play.

More control over the slice-view?
Being able to adjust the number of voxels per slice would be a massive compliment to the new dig-tool, currently trying to build underground can be tricky- with the Hearthlings in-ability to dig up, digging down becomes the only option to allow for the “3-voxel” scaffold space required for a building to be valid (more on this below). The fixed slice interval means your build can get stuck awkwardly between slices and the top of your dig marquee can also be lost to this slice-cutoff.

Building underground? See the RED scribble;
Plenty of things I like about the new dig-tool (the transparency is great also the visibility of the dig size) but I’m still finding it really difficult to do any sort of building underground.

As I mentioned already the Hearthlings need this 3-voxel space above a build (since they build down towards their feet? - not sure on this one) but if they cant walk across the top of a build is seems to become invalid. This means all underground builds must have this empty space above them and you can’t build any wall, flush up to a cave ceiling.

See the WHITE scribble; There also seems to be an issue where a build will become invalid if the Hearthlings can’t place the first block from the side adjacent to them. In this corridor, was dug out a 1 deep 4x6 hole and filled with slab via the build-tool - it fails validation 100% of the time, until you grant access to one of the slabs via a horizontal face.

That was a bit wordy I apologise, hopefully I was clear.
I’ve been loving the game and most recently the updates have been rapid and rewarding - keep up the good work!


Expanding Hearthling upwards reach when digging and/or allowing them to independently construct scaffolding (great idea!) as needed would really help with drawing full utility from the new dig tool. I’d been hoping to be able to dig upwards as well as downwards in my “let’s not destroy the WHOLE landscape in order to supply the village with clay, stone and metal” mining operations, only to discover my Hearthlings (sadly) would have none of it. It also ended up making the roof above a downward-sloping tunnel needlessly complicated.

I also feel like having the OPTION to snap to the old 4-grid might make some things easier to plan out. It’s great to not be forced to go by the grid or laboriously select the excess voxel by voxel, but it did make it easy to do things like make parallel plateaus or make two tunnels the same length.

Im not a computer guru. I play the games that are simple to use and have an easy curve for learning. This new minning tool is a pain in the rear to use. It is not user friendly, there is no click and go if your not mining on a level that allows for the splitting of the land, good luck trying to line these things up. I understand that for some this might be an very nice improvement but for those of us that are not engineering programming gurus, its a setback that makes me just want to go find a new game. its not fun.


I like the new mining tool but I definitely agree with all the points presented here!
Especially defaulting digs to “Suspended” and building underground.

As for the slice-view tool, it could follow the digging tool on this new era of “mousewheel” control and allow us to move it meter by meter / voxel by voxel if using the mousewheel :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the feedback! We really appreciate it. As I mentioned in another thread, we’ve wanted to make the mining too more powerful for a while now, but we sacrificed a bunch of simplicity in the process. We’ll take another look next week.

One complication is that a lot of the systems around terrain visualization and manipulation affect performance a lot because, well, there’s a LOT of terrain, so we’re somewhat constrained on what we can easily change. If we have to make tradeoffs, how would you rank the following in order of importance to you: surprise in ore finding mini-game, ability to make caves primarily used in slice mode, ability to make sculptures out of terrain, ability to resize height of mining tool, ability to preview what future mined regions will look like, ability to undo, ability… other?

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This new mining tool is very tedious for me. Making quarries on even ground and tunnel networks is very difficult and confusing now. i want a tunnel to start on the same level as the ground (or the block i’m pointing at), not dig 4 blocks down. It was simple and easy to use before, now it requires too much time and finesse for me to enjoy. (and slice does not make it any easier)

Just got home for the day, and turns out I got some replies! Gleeeee!

This is only the second time I’ve engaged on this forum and I’ve gotta say, you are all a pleasure!
Moving on- I’d like to expand a little on some of the things I mentioned and also reply to @sdee questions, massive post incoming!

TO NOTE: I’ve ranked the following out of 10 according to my opinion; I’m not trying to speak broadly for anyone else or make any assumptions on how they play the game. I will preface with how I play the game and what I like most about it, and then hook in why the things @sdee mentioned are or are not of any interest to my case.

HOW I PLAY: I like to build aesthetically, form before function. I might have spent more time in the building editor’s, creating templates then I have actually running the simulation- but doubtful :blush:
Once my town is built I tend to run out of steam, and op to start a new town and a new game. Prior to the new building tool, 100% of my builds would be built using the voxel slab tool as anything else was never accurate or finite enough for my taste. I’ll attach some screengrabs of my most recent playthrough. This whole build was built using brand new templates created with the new build tool these past few weeks.

0/10 surprise in ore finding mini-game
Not really interested in this at all, in fact I would be happy for the ore to not be visible in the terrain at all, and just be a random by-product of mining; Feels that way already to me, I don’t dig specifically to find any one type of ore, in fact I always find that I have enough of everything from building a single strip mine near my town. Without naturally spawning cave-systems or treasures underground, I rarely feel the need to venture underground.

3/10 caves in slice mode
Building cave-systems with the slice tool doesnt really intrest me at all. As a few people have mentioned, I’m happy for my mines/tunnels to all be on level ground.

However if the number of voxels viewed per slice could be adjusted?
For example; 6 per slice (typically a room is at least 5 voxels tall with the 6’th being the next floors, ground; at least in my builds). In this example, you could stamp out 4x4x6 areas knowing you could build a room in the space later if you wished. Let me elaborate…

Perhaps the vertical depth of the dig marquee could be fixed to the number of voxels being viewed currently via the slice-view? So if you were viewing 4 voxels per slice, you would get a 4x4x4 dig out of the tool.

This raises some questions about the upper limit on voxels per slice vs how high the Hearth-lings can dig up above themselves(somethings they yet can’t do at all). *see scaffold solution suggested in first post.

3/10 ability to make sculptures out of terrain
I don’t think this has ever even occured to me really… Something like say, Mount Rushmore- where something is carved out of the terrain-face? If I were going to build something like that, I would dig the area clear and build it from voxels.

I think the ability to do this, would be an added by-product of implementing the “scaffold-when-digging-up” solution I mentioned in my first post. So +6 if that’s the case.

7/10 ability to resize height of the mining tool
I think I covered this above when talking about the slice-view.

10/10 preview what future mined regions will look like
I really dig- hahah… get it? sigh - the recently implemented, Transparent Mining Preview - its good yah!

Though I haven’t used it to “Search for ore” as some people have commented, I’ve just never had to go looking for ore in any of my games? Bit at a loss here haha. Strip mine OP?

5/10 ability to undo
This would be super handy, though defaulting the dig to “Suspended” as I mentioned before would also give you the breathing space to amend mistakes.

10/10 wont build underground again
Id just like to finish up with my recent experience trying to build underground-

As I’d mentioned at the start I like to build pretty towns and never really went underground for anything other than a strip-mine. Recently with the new multi-player however I started playing with a friend who has always been big on the Dwarf Fortress/Gnomoria dig-digging. So of course he gravitated to the mountain-base.

He would plan his base with no value in aesthetics the opposite of myself, function over form. No carpets, no painted walls, no decoration, just whats required to get the job done (often a workbench and a bunch of
). Long story short, he inspired me to try blend the two styles and build a mountain-holm of my own, it was this challenge that led me to posting this thread. It just was not possible, without a whole bunch of compromise and a hand-full of console commands. Even this compromise led to underwhelming results.

It’s just not viable to build underground currently (from an aesthetic front) and I’m not sure if it was ever part of the StoneHearth vision, but hopefully my feedback is of some help to someone.

That was real wordy, my apologies- but hopefully if anyone reads it all, thanks!


Surprise in ore finding care level: 0/10: i really cant be arsed, if i accidentally find ore, and i need that ore i keep digging, otherwise i randomly make tunnels because the more you dig the more ore will fall anyway. you dont HAVE to find the veins to get ore.

ability to make caves primarily used in slice mode care level ??
not even sure what you mean with this, but if you set it to 4x4x4 it works like the old one, and that works just fine.

ability to make sculptures out of terrain: 0/10, just give me the option to “build” terrain in the builder.

ability to resize height of mining tool: 7 or 8 /10.
much better then having to use the 1x1 tool and cut layer after layer.

ability to preview what future mined regions will look like:
4000/10, best feature. i’d like to be able to plot out the mining, and then build in that plotted out-ness. i’d like to even see it be pushed into the build tool, but thats just me.

ability to undu: ctrl-Z please? prety please? 15/10 needed right now. i was doing it sub consciously now and noticed it did not work. and it should help people understand the new features by trial and error.


One problem I ran into last night:
You can’t place ladders against a block marked for mining. This is a (minor) problem, because that block was a floater far from any other block that the hearthlings couldn’t reach.

Solvable by removing the mining zone, placing the ladder on the block, then re-marking it for mining. Not a huge deal for one block, but could be really irritating if it’s a larger/more complex area that’s not reachable.

TL:DR; we need to be able to place ladders against blocks marked for mining, even if we can only see the mining zone outline.


surprise in ore finding mini-game, 0/10
Plenty of ore. I’ve never had a problem finding what I need.

Ability to make caves primarily used in slice mode, ?
Slice mode is really weird It’s great for a quick and dirty mine, but for making pleasing interior areas, it stinks. Xray seems better? Maybe a New view needs to be developed.

Ability to make sculptures out of terrain, 7/10
I don’t know why this would go away. Right now you’d have to do it piecemeal if say you were going to carve Monkey out of pinkrock on the summit of your mountain because the visualization isn’t great. I don’t know if this would be better or worse, but I think we need ghost gridlines in the mining region so we can count better. I think it should be able to be toggled on/off.

Ability to resize height of mining tool, 7/10
I think we can already do that.

Ability to preview what future mined regions will look like:8/10

I think that’s the whole point of the new miner. I also want to be able to see planned mined regions in the builder view and vice versa. If I want to plan out an organic looking house over a series of streaming waterfalls I need to be able to match up what I’ve planned to dig with what I’m building because if what I built is already in the way of the dig, I’m going to have to allow for head/digging clearances for my Hearthlings.

ability to undo and suspend at beginning: 10/10
These need to happen. Making a mistake and having to start all over because you misclick because you can’t see what you’re cutting away is frustrating. Suspend is important because we now have multiplayer. I don’t want to hold up everyone else to keep my overzealous hearthlings from mining straight away every mined selection. Being able to drag/unselect an already zoned dig is equally important.

I’d like to add also: Camera view from underneath, especially in X-ray mode would be a godsend.


Yes, what @SpeedDaemon said about the ladders - it’s a pain to try to manually place ladders to let the Hearthlings reach to dig out blocks, when they can’t be placed against a block marked for mining.

I don’t personally care very much about the ore veins - they’re occasionally nice when visible on the outside mountain face if I happen to need that particular ore, but other than that they’re more trouble than they’re worth. Mostly because I feel compelled to try to follow them and that ends up throwing off whatever neat tidy plans I had for digging that surface. XD

Would also, now that I think about it, be nice to be able to “toggle” visibility of mining regions from old style (can’t see through unmined blocks) to new style (unmined blocks marked for mining are visible but transparent) to just plain hiding the unmined blocks, possibly tinting the surfaces touching them to mark that the block is currently not accessible. I think the mining zone getting difficult-to-impossible to see through when moused over is a graphics setting issue, but with it doing that it’s not like the transparency is actually very useful for continuing to plan out the mining zone anyway.

One way to address the issue @Koituu is describing with it being confusing to assign mining zones when the “bottom” of your mining designation will move depending on where you point your cursor, might be either having the snap-grid be toggleable as I previously mentioned, or otherwise having something like what some image editors sometimes use for positioning, where you get to… basically select on a stylized cube where you want your cursor to be relative to the mining zone. (Any of the corners, center of any of the surfaces, center of any of the sides, or center of the cube - might need to reduce the number of options or set X/Y/Z orientation separately to make it more user friendly, otherwise you could end up with a stupid number of bits to click on on your stylized cube.)

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This is my personal feedback, so I apologize if I repeat something somebody else has mentioned already.

  • Its easier to use for somebody with better space perception if that makes any sense. I’m a painter and I’ve spent a lot of time learning how things morph and look like in space. I see how it could be difficult for some people to pick up on the new system quickly.
  • it’s not really clear where the box is being put and what area it might take out, so I often accidentally set the zone a few voxels below the surface when I did not want to. An indicator, like a line, might be useful, to show you’ve gotten the box lower than the surrounding ground level.
  • I figured it’s easier to use if you have an exact perception of how big the next zone which you’re going to mine is. I mean, this wall of the mountain was a 3x3 on the top with a 10 hight. The max height the tool allows for is 8, so I’ve first set a zone with 8, and then changed the size to be 2. If you’re willing to plan ahead and use it like this it works well.
  • All my miners got stranded while mining at one point. I think it should use some type of a scaffolding technology while in progress. This is when one of them was still stuck and nobody wanted to go and mine anything next.
  • I’ve had one stranded floating block which they had to mine next to proceed with the rest of the area… The problem was, the block was floating like 7 voxels off the ground and two from the edge of the mountain. You can’t place a ladder on the zone, so I placed multiple ladders onto each other to reach it.
  • When finishing, one of the workers fell down from the block that got mined under his feet and fell through the ground. He eventually got out on his own.
  • I’d like it if you were able to drag down a 1x1 mining box, not just horizontally.
  • There’s not a way to have a selection box that’s just one voxel deep but very wide. It took me a while to get used to dragging it. The dragging did not work vertically so I got confused about what dimensions to use on what occasion and how to work with the tool.
  • Removing selected space you do not want to mine is confusing. It requires to learn selecting a block that is not up for mining first and dragging from it. It kind of makes a little sense - I want this area to be exactly like this one after the work is done - not mined. But again, it requires you to think about the dimensions of the tool you need to use to delete the selected area.
  • The tool stretches outwards way too easily when using it to stretch just horizontally while facing the area directly. For instance, I wanted to subtract a strip of voxels inside a more intricate mining area, but pulling to the side stretches the box towards me, deleting selected voxels which I want to keep marked for mining.
  • I think we would benefit from a back button.
  • Now you’ve given me these tools so I expect to be able to carve out statues from mountains. I want the hearthlings to be able to figure out how to mine, and how to get to the next block they are supposed to mine.
  • And this is another reason why we would benefit from scaffolding. This is how many ladders I had to place to mine this area out.
  • The reach of the hearthlings was inconsistent. i don’t know why they were able to reach the middle block on top of some cubes and not on others.
  • The mining area tool’s precision is dependent on the middle block of the whole bunch. I don’t know… It’s just something to get used to.

Edit: I’ve read how people are not being interested in ore finding. I personally find it really satisfying to locate an ore vein for each of the metals. Especially gold… Yes… Getting over a hundred peices of gold ore blocks from a vein is so satisfying… It’s mine… Mine. MINE! It would feel so uncontrolled and sad if you just had to mine forever to get a supply of anything.
“Iron? Ech… it’s silver again… Iron? Ech… Tin… Iron? No? God! I’m never going to finish my weapons!”

Edit 2: I just had to, I’m so sorry :’)


Thanks for letting us know what is working and what isn’t working–I love all the X/Y scoring, this is especially helpful to let us know how much or how little you appreciate something.

When I said “make caves primarily used in slice mode” I meant something like this pic, original posted by @jonzoid a million years ago:


This pic is in xray mode, of course, but when I play, I sometimes make tunnel rooms decorated all cozy, which you can only really interact with in slice or xray mode.

Edit: yes, this pic is still one of my hands down favorite monday morning surprises :smiley:


surprise in ore finding mini-game ?/10
I won’t rank this, cuz… unlike others, this don’t bother me. When I play, I use the slice tool and seach for the ore with the cursor. Some ores can be found just with the cursor (Yellow border), so… Idk xD, this don’t bother me.

ability to make caves primarily used in slice mode 5/10
If I understood correctly… I think the slice vision need an upgrade. I think every 1 instead every 4 would be great (or maybe u could put a number).

ability to make sculptures out of terrain 0/10
I agree with @Wouter_Sikkema


ability to resize height of mining tool 10/10
To me is one of the best features implemented. When I saw this, I was like “OH MY ***** ODIN”

ability to preview what future mined regions will look like 10/10

Now I can see how it will be… awesome!

ability to undo 7/10

Using the CTRL to undo is very satisfying. But, needing to select a layer before and draw to undo certain part is complicated :rofl:

ability to underground building 2/10
I LOVE to have a Dwarf Fortress. But that 3-above-voxels that the hearthlings can’t build make me "Oh… really? :expressionless: "

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Perhaps one possible solution would be to leave the old “4x4 chunk” mining system which is actually interesting for more simple extractions/mineholes/etc as a “dig tunnel” tool with a very specific icon (like a tunnel entrance) and then override the old “voxel by voxel” (small pickaxe) dig tool that also existed with a general “Mine” tool which is the new tool after a couple of improvements here listed.

So you basically have the old system still in for more simplistic/relaxed gameplay and designs and the new tool for all the advanced possibilities it brings. Besides, for those that used the “1x1” tool as a “chisel” for fine details, it can still be like that if you just bring down the new tool to 1x1.

That way we could keep the functionalities of all 3 tools within 2 icons;
I would, however, let the “Dig Tunnel” command inherit some new features of the new tool like the dug area preview, undo and such.

Oh! And finally - about the ore finding mini-game… I’ll confess it never bothered me until I read this thread :joy: and now I think of it and it makes sense… I never really bothered with looking for ores because you can literally get plenty of ores on regular rock…
So maybe a tweak to that would be welcome?
Although it surprises me that no one created a mod for ore reduction (or removal as a whole) from rocks yet - wouldn’t be too difficult


I agree the new mining tool is very hard to use, the highlighted 3D area badly represented.

I HONESTLY really don’t know how and why some people think the new mining tool is hard to use and complicated to understand. There is some issues? Yes, like the new builder has/had. But, the new mining tool is extremelly better than old one. I can do things now that in the old one I couldn’t do.

This new tool and the improves on the new builder made me back to play the game.

Congrats devs!!

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I agree with this, but I’ve also found there’s been a few times where I would’ve preferred to be able to use the old one. So I also agree with some of the people wanting to keep that as well - I think I can settle with some redundancy here. After all, there might need to be more mining tools anyway. Stairs would be amazing!


One thing I have noticed: because more organic tunnels and shapes are now possible, sometimes hearthlings dig themselves into a corner, standing on a single block with air below it, and they refuse to look down, take out that block and fall down, maybe enable them to take out the floor they are standing on if it drops them down?

A sort of “if trapped and can’t path, but block below you is marker for mining, mine it.” affair


The new miner probably does something similar to the builder, where it uses some type of algorithm to set the order of the blocks in which they get mined… or rather, it should use something like that. Now the order is set not be very flexible and you get these situations where a hearthling gets stranded and nobody continues mining because the block that has been generated to go next is also unreachable.