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    • Crysyn

      Only help if you can be helpful

      Hey All, A topic has come up of late in the IRC channel in regards to the general feel of the forums and the community that supports them. Things have progressed further than I would have liked with out this being addressed more publicly because I would much rather have snubbed this out sooner rather than later.. but I have been busy. Here is the general rule I would like people to follow: Wheaton's Law "Don't be a dick." Those of you from the IRC channel know that this is the only rule I ask people in there to follow and we generally have a good and lively time chatting about all manner of things. This is basic rule that just about everyone understands and I am going to expand it to the forums from here moving forward. If you can not help people in a helpful and polite manner then I simply ask you to stop. Now I generally take a back seat to moderating the forums as I like to participate in the suggestions forum fairly heavily at times and would rather do so as a forums user than a moderator. But I am also fairly well known for being the person who constantly puts their foot down and so I am stepping up and doing so on here. If you find yourself unable to respond to a message politely then I ask that you do not respond. This mostly focuses on the increasing level of hostility found within the Suggestion forum as well as the Server forum. I do not care if this is the 30th some odd time you have seen someone make the same suggestion. Or even if the new post on an older topic is one entry above the old one. I expect the members of this forum to respond politely to the user, new or old, and point to the older topic if it applies and even go the extra step to suggest they either add in new information or to summarize the outcome of the previous discussion based upon the new post's entry into it. That is what we are here for, that is why I close most topics instead of deleting them, so that they can be found and referenced down the road. The next topic is the slew of derailment attempts I have seen as of late. If you want to have fun and joke around that is what the off topic forum is for and pretty much anything goes there. I do not expect to read a suggestion thread and have to go through 3 pages of image memes people have shot back and forth. Quite simply this is a waste of my time to read and then have to clean up. Now for the summary. I am going to start taking a more active role, especially in policing the suggestion forum, and handing out warn levels to people whom I see doing this. These will be indiscriminate and applied not to just the first person who derails or is impolite on a topic or response, but to everyone whom follows the lead of that person. As I do not like doing things with out giving you all warning this post shall serve as that warning. If you have a desire to bring this topic up with me then I invite you to do so on the IRC channel. Lets raise the level of quality and grow the community. Let us not descend into the quality often found on the minecraft or league of legend forums. There is simply no need for that here. Be passionate about things, just do not be abusive.
    • Kittychanley

      Offline Servers

      Recently I've seen a few server listings showing up on the first page of the Servers forum that have been closed for an extended period of time, but have recently gotten a reply from a new member who didn't realize the server is offline. To help prevent this from happening in the future, it would be greatly appreciated if you could use the report function on the original post of any servers that have been confirmed as offline, so that the topic may be locked. If you are the admin of a server and plan on taking the server offline, please use the report function on the original post of your topic to let the TFC Staff know that the topic should be locked. If you are the admin of a server that has a locked topic, and would wish to bring the server back online, please use the report function on the original post of the topic to let the TFC Staff know that the topic should be unlocked. As always, please remember to follow rule #3 of the servers forum and update your topic title to contain the version of TFC that the server is currently running. You can do so by editing the OP, and then clicking on "Use Full Editor."
PaoloEmilio

Bronze bloomeries? Iron furnaces? That ain't be believable

59 posts in this topic

There should be tradeoffs to make, as in real life; this, if you ask me, is a hallmark of good game design.

Options are good game design. Currently we do have a few:

[*]We can just work fine with copper, because it is highly available and easy to forge. Downside is only the lower durability/protection value.

[*]We can upgrade to bronze, which is only slightly more difficult to make as you need tin (or other bronze combinations), but twice the durability, increased damage and protection is absolutely worth it if you do have the resouces.

[*]We can go for wrought iron, for again even higher durability and slightly higher damage/protection. But the creation process is slow and drains a lot of coal. In addition I first need to pile up a huge amount of bronze to get there.

[*]We can go for steel, which again gives higher durability, damage and protection and is much easier to smelt than wrought iron and in larger quantities. The only drawback is the almost insane amount of resources required to get there.

[*]We can go for blue/red steel, which gives crazy amounts of durability, very high damage/protection, but gathering all the different resources is very difficult, and mixing them properly lots of work and requires planning.

If you go through that list, you see that copper, bronze, wrought iron and red/blue steel offer options. A decision between easy to make/gather vs strength and durability and features (lava/water buckets). Steel does not offer any options. It is far superior to everything before, pretty easy to make and only requires iron. The only downside is the tedious amount of work you need to put into creating the blast furnace. If you think about it, this is basically the only reason to actually have a tech tree, because if you could smelt iron to steel in a bloomery, you wouldn't need wrought iron anymore. Or if you could smelt iron to wrought iron in a crucible, you wouldn't need copper/bronze anymore. Both are only balanced by the huge amount of resources you need to pile up to be able to create them, which is what I currently - from a pure game design perspective - consider the flaw in the system.

In comparison red/blue steel requires you to have basically every resource availabe in the game, you need to have solid knowledge about the alloy and smithing system and you need to come up with a system to produce it efficiently. All this is kind of a meta-game that entertains the player. Steel is smashing a hammer on the anvil for countless hours, offering no challenge, no risk and no skill-checks beyond the initial few tries to figure out the correct sequence of buttons on the anvil. This shows very well what happens if you try to balance something just through an amount of resources required: it feels boring, it is not believable, it creates problems in the system, because you need to balance all income, and it is especially not fun.

Maybe if that is fixed, and there is no longer a need for an enforced tech-tree, then suddenly the possibilities that arise from that might end up in an even better game.

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Another necro... but this is also something that has bothered me.  And I think I have a solution that will satisfy everyone and make the balance in the game more nuanced.  The drawback to my suggestion is that it would require mechanisms as suggested in this thread (which would be awesome!!!).  But first, I'd like to clarify some things which are relevant to the design of my suggestion which will be spoilered for the sake of keeping things sane...

First off, let's understand something about some of the advantages bronze has over iron IRL.  Bronze's constituents require a MUCH lower melting temperature and can be isolated from slag much easier than iron can from their respective ores.  Bronze could be easily cast into stong, durable tools, which facilitated quicker and (less relevant to the game) larger scale production.  Iron required a lot more work (and in some aspects, more resources) to be made into a useful tool for the most part.  It is NOT necessarily true that bronze was superior to wrought iron, especially in cases where steel or case-hardened iron things were made as part of the forging of the wrought iron into things. 

There is good evidence to suggest that ancient and medieval peoples in Western Europe were well aware that iron could be melted in the bloomery, but the issue is that if you do this you get pig iron.  Pig iron is MUCH inferior to bronze as a tool metal and in many cases is comparatively useless (and is sure as hell useless for weapons).  The Chinese smelted iron into pig iron using blast furnaces to melt iron very long ago and used it at the same time they used bronze.  And they did indeed make pig iron implements, presumably where the inferior quality of pig iron over other metals may have not been an issue.  Pig iron was used to get wrought iron or similar through separate processes of decarburization.  There were at least two methods, with one yielding malleable forms of cast iron that could be re-melted and cast, or forged.  This was basically cooking whatever cast pig iron (including cast tool heads or whatever) under oxidizing conditions (i.e. exposed to air) for a long time (several days) until it wasn't brittle anymore.  There were differences in length of time of heating and cooling and stuff... but that is beyond the scope of this post.  The other involved re-smelting the pig iron and working it with a hammer to yield wrought iron, which would then need to be carburized through forging OR could be melted together with pig iron at a kind of blast furnace to get liquid steel which could be cast at least into ingots.

So, why even bother with pig iron?  One big one is if you don't have as cheap of access to bronze.  That was mentioned in a previous post.  ALSO, from my understanding, another reason to bother is if you are getting a LOT of iron ore (which required the kind of political cohesion and economic infrastructure you saw in China at the time... which is part of the reason why they bothered with blast furnaces).  With the blast furnace it can be economically advantageous to make large amounts of pig iron instead of having to rely on comparatively small-batch bloomery processes to get workable wrought iron.  Just take this pig iron from this large-scale production and decarburize it.  Plus, you can cast pig iron much like you cast bronze.  ALSO, you can re-meilt the pig iron alongside wrought iron and, if you are able to keep the temperature high enough for long enough, you can actually get steel from this, which can be cast at least into ingots if not implements.
 
Also, it is worth noting some cultures may have skipped the use of bronze altogether, independently discovering the use of iron and inventing bloomery processes without ever making bronze (as far as we can tell).

ANYWAY, on to the suggestion!!!

 

If you look at the designs of blast furnaces and bloomeries (and cupola furnaces which I will consider just another blast furnace), they are essentially the same darned thing.  Both require tuyeres for air to be forced in (though for bloomeries, it didn't have to be at the bottom... but some did), both ideally use charcoal as their fuel and carbon source (if we are talking about period furnaces), and both have collection of something molten at the bottom.  The biggest difference between the two is temperature.

I suggest the following:

  • Do away with the distinction between bloomery and blast furnace blocks.  Just have one block called a furnace block. 
     
  • Do away with the metal requirements altogether for this furnace block.  Replace with fire clay bricks or appropriate stone as an alternative.  Incorporate the tuyere in the recipe. 
     
  • Do away with the metal requirements for the tuyere.  It should be able to be made at least out of fire clay, if not also stone.
     
  • Do away with the restriction of metals that can be smelted within the furnace.  Furnaces could also be used as higher-capacity kilns for making bronze and copper alloys... and perhaps casting things into larger molds in the future of the game's development?  :)
     
  • Replace the pig iron ingot -> high-carbon steel ingot anvil working recipe with pig iron ingot -> wrought iron ingot
     
  • Have a new kind of iron called "cast iron"... how to make this will be detailed below...
     
  • The bloomery would essentially be built just like the blast furnace including bellows, but can have the crucible omitted from the bottom.  In fact, there would be no distinction between a bloomery and a blast furnace for the purposes of coding.
     
  • The only thing that will determine whether a blast furnace operates either as a bona fide blast furnace or a bloomery (with respect to iron) would be the temperature achieved during operation.
     
  • With normal operation (single person powering the bellows intermittently), the blast furnace operates as a bloomery (with respect to iron), achieving bloomery temperatures. And it can make wrought iron as normal... but any crucible below the furnace block would collect slag (which could be a new thing in the game!) or nothing at all...
     
  • To function as a blast furnace, the bellows should operate faster and for greater duration.  In order to do so, the bellows should be linked to a mechanism of some sort that transfers power from something like a waterwheel or even a windmill.  Alternatively, perhaps animal power or human power could be used attached to these mechanisms, but that is contingent on how mechanisms work.  This makes sense since to get the temperature necessary for melting iron in a blast furnace, it requires a continuous and powerful blast of air.  This would allow for:
    • making and cast pig iron into ingots, toolheads, etc. which would be collected in the crucible or whatever receptacle below the furnace block
    • either decarburizing pig iron toolheads, etc. to make them into useable (i.e. not breaking after few uses) cast iron toolheads etc.
    • this would require heating the cast pig iron objects up at low heat (above 700 degrees C) for several days exposed to oxidizing conditions (basically having airflow over the heated item)
    • this would yield items that are made of "cast iron"
  • Re-smelting the pig iron and repeatedy hammering and heating the pig iron into wrought iron
    • this would be an alternate way to get wrought iron other than from an iron bloom...
    • this would require hammering a pig iron ingot in the presence of a forge on an anvil to make a wrought-iron ingot... so, in other words, we would be doing away with the pig iron ingot -> high-carbon steel ingot recipe and replacing it with this
  • Re-melting the pig iron in the presence of wrought iron in the furnace would produce high-carbon steel which could be collected in the crucible and then later forged into whatever you want
    • this would require heating the pig iron and wrought iron up at high heat for several days!!!  This would require bellows to be powered continuously!!!
    • The resulting steel could be cast into ingots OR into molds for tool heads and the like. Forging of steel ingots would be required for certain things, notably armour and swords which should not be able to be cast
  • Making higher-tier metals using the same recipes as normal... but perhaps they could use longer times in the furnace

So, here is how my suggestion would play out.  With the exception of requiring bronze for furnace construction, things would be pretty much just the same up until you get to the point where you can make wrought iron.  The time, effort, and huge amounts of fuel needed to make a "blast furnace" that operates like a bloomery and the requirement of forging to make anything out of wrought iron should be enough of a resource burden to make bronze preferable as a material to make stuff out of before using wrought iron.  In fact, really, the game is already like that.  The requirement of bronze to make a bloomery block as things are now is really not at all needed (realism aside).  I can understand why it is like that, but I think it is superfluous (not to mention, the entire idea of progressing out of a "Casting Age" is absolutely ridiculous... Forging is always less desirable than casting if it can be avoided both in real life and in this game, especially if you could re-use the molds).  Regardless of the requirement of bronze for a furnace block, I will preferably use bronze to make stuff most of the time since it takes a lot less work (provided I can easily enough get tin and copper) and fuel to cast stuff than forging.  This is already a believable balance.  

The push for wrought iron and the use of a bloomery would come from warfare (or possibly resource availability...).  Having a bloomery (blast furnace without mechanized bellows) is fine until you want higher tier alloys or want to make cast iron things instead of spending time forging.  Progressing to anything past wrought iron would require either getting enough people and/or animals to continuously operate bellows for several hours or days at a time, or getting stuff set up for exploiting water or wind power to do the same.  Not to mention, you would need to have a lot more charcoal and other resources to accomplish this.

In this way I feel things would be more believable and would still maintain gameplay balance. 
 

 

Edited by Andeerz
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  • Do away with the distinction between bloomery and blast furnace blocks.  Just have one block called a furnace block. 

     

  • Do away with the metal requirements altogether for this furnace block.  Replace with fire clay bricks or appropriate stone as an alternative.  Incorporate the tuyere in the recipe. 

     

  • Do away with the metal requirements for the tuyere.  It should be able to be made at least out of fire clay, if not also stone.

     

  • Do away with the restriction of metals that can be smelted within the furnace.  Furnaces could also be used as higher-capacity kilns for making bronze and copper alloys... and perhaps casting things into larger molds in the future of the game's development?  :)

     

  • Replace the pig iron ingot -> high-carbon steel ingot anvil working recipe with pig iron ingot -> wrought iron ingot

     

  • The bloomery would essentially be built just like the blast furnace including bellows, but can have the crucible omitted from the bottom.  In fact, there would be no distinction between a bloomery and a blast furnace for the purposes of coding.

     

  • The only thing that will determine whether a blast furnace operates either as a bona fide blast furnace or a bloomery (with respect to iron) would be the temperature achieved during operation.
    • Re-smelting the pig iron and repeatedy hammering and heating the pig iron into wrought iron
    • this would be an alternate way to get wrought iron other than from an iron bloom...
    • this would require hammering a pig iron ingot in the presence of a forge on an anvil to make a wrought-iron ingot... so, in other words, we would be doing away with the pig iron ingot -> high-carbon steel ingot recipe and replacing it with this
  • Re-melting the pig iron in the presence of wrought iron in the furnace would produce high-carbon steel which could be collected in the crucible and then later forged into whatever you want

 

 

I'm guessing that you're fairly new to TFC? Because everything I've just quoted was back in like B77 and has since been removed from the game for balance reasons.

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I am new.  And that is interesting that it was removed in B77.  I will check that out!  However, I wonder if the requirement of mechanized bellows and more extensive smelting times would have changed the balance and actually made these things worth keeping in.

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It was removed in B78, so if you want to see how it used to work, you'll have to look at B77 or earlier. A good example would be to compare different seasons of TerraFirmaCrack. In the latest season, it was a week before any of the teams really had any steel items. In prior seasons, most teams had steel by the end of day 1.

 

Also, we try to stay away from extensive time requirements as the only bottleneck on a system, because it doesn't add anything interesting to the game. Waiting around for something to finish is nothing but tedium, and does not make for good gameplay. We aim to pick timeframes that take long enough that the player doesn't get instant satisfaction, but at the same time include options in the config files for those who feel the time required is still too much.

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True.  Time constraints aren't good as the only bottleneck, particularly if they are too long.  BUT!!! I think requirement of mechanization to achieve high temperatures is a believable requirement for making steel.  Then again, I can accept that as the game is, making wooden mechanisms probably wouldn't take all that long and increase time and resource investment to get a blast furnace as per my suggestion only marginally.I think it shouldn't be too out-there to have certain recipies call for lengthy times of at least a day to do things.  Making charcoal takes 18 in game hours... why shouldn't decarburization of pig iron?  Or co-fusion of pig iron and wrought iron?   This doesn't just translate to having the player waiting around.  I agree that waiting alone is rather poor gameplay.  But extended times would translate to requiring more fuel, which could be interesting.  There should be a bigger fuel cost for making iron than bronze and copper alloys, as this was one of several crucial factors that generally delayed use of iron in certain cultures as well as the casting of actual steel until well after the Bronze age.  I feel this is a more believable way to balance stuff than just arbitrarily adding a metal to a recipe that doesn't make sense.  That said, I do accept that it might be impossible to make things balanced as well as they are now by empoying my suggestion no matter how time and fuel requirements are tweaked.  Plus... the current fuel requirements from a realism standpoint aren't too far off assuming one unit of iron ore is the same mass as one unit of charcoal.However, there are other factors that could be introduced into the game, though it may risk metallurgy becoming too complicated.  Among these is the composition of the iron ores affecting what can be done with them, as well as the effects of different fuels and smelting processes on the results of smelting.  For example, the use of coal for smelting iron cannot (at least not easily) yield useful iron or steel, since the introduced sulphur and other impurities make any resulting iron virtually unforgeable.  Coke on the other hand burns much more cleanly.  As does charcoal.  Also, certain iron ores of particular compositions cannot be processed using certain iron and steel-producing techniques.  Then there is also the composition of different clays being important for the performance of refractory materials necessary for furnaces. And another possibly relevant factor is the growth rate of trees.  It is extremely easy to make a perpetual source of charcoal at the moment with minimal effort.  No need to secure new lumber sources.  Just plant saplings as you chop down its parent and every 10 in-game days you have forests as good as new and fuel virtually for free.  Just a thought... 

Edited by Andeerz
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I don't understand the point of arguing about this. Its been stated a number of times, and is evidently obvious in numerous aspects of the game. Realism / believability, whatever you want to call it isn't the objective of the game. If it was, the height of a tree wouldn't affect how much your axe wears down, or how the player starts out as a hunter gatherer, but there are no herds of anything (and I cant make tools from bone), or how you cant use a rock to break another rock, when you certainly can in real life (assuming relative hardness factors and whatnot). It just seems that any argument about a mechanic of the game, which makes people play the game the way the dev's want them to play, which is based on it not being realistic / believable is doomed to fail.

 

Just sort of an after thought, the whole 'philosophy' of TFC in general is open to interpretation. I've been hanging around the forums for long enough to know with certainty that things like "TFC is meant to be believable" and "TFC is an SMP oriented mod" are laughably absurd. I've yet to see people really agree on what TFC is supposed to be, and what its supposed to portray. I get that its supposed to be a little "man vs wild", but imho its whatever the devs want it to be and nothing more. Always has been.

 

 

 

 

 

This made my day. Especially the "TFC is meant to be believable and TFC is an SMP oriented mod are laughable absurd. I've yet to see people really agree on what TFC is supposed to be" part.

 

 

This. A million times this 

 

 

 

 

 

For the whole

 

Another necro... but this is also something that has bothered me.  And I think I have a solution that will satisfy everyone and make the balance in the game more nuanced.  The drawback to my suggestion is that it would require mechanisms as suggested in this thread (which would be awesome!!!).  But first, I'd like to clarify some things which are relevant to the design of my suggestion which will be spoilered for the sake of keeping things sane...

First off, let's understand something about some of the advantages bronze has over iron IRL.  Bronze's constituents require a MUCH lower melting temperature and can be isolated from slag much easier than iron can from their respective ores.  Bronze could be easily cast into stong, durable tools, which facilitated quicker and (less relevant to the game) larger scale production.  Iron required a lot more work (and in some aspects, more resources) to be made into a useful tool for the most part.  It is NOT necessarily true that bronze was superior to wrought iron, especially in cases where steel or case-hardened iron things were made as part of the forging of the wrought iron into things. 

There is good evidence to suggest that ancient and medieval peoples in Western Europe were well aware that iron could be melted in the bloomery, but the issue is that if you do this you get pig iron.  Pig iron is MUCH inferior to bronze as a tool metal and in many cases is comparatively useless (and is sure as hell useless for weapons).  The Chinese smelted iron into pig iron using blast furnaces to melt iron very long ago and used it at the same time they used bronze.  And they did indeed make pig iron implements, presumably where the inferior quality of pig iron over other metals may have not been an issue.  Pig iron was used to get wrought iron or similar through separate processes of decarburization.  There were at least two methods, with one yielding malleable forms of cast iron that could be re-melted and cast, or forged.  This was basically cooking whatever cast pig iron (including cast tool heads or whatever) under oxidizing conditions (i.e. exposed to air) for a long time (several days) until it wasn't brittle anymore.  There were differences in length of time of heating and cooling and stuff... but that is beyond the scope of this post.  The other involved re-smelting the pig iron and working it with a hammer to yield wrought iron, which would then need to be carburized through forging OR could be melted together with pig iron at a kind of blast furnace to get liquid steel which could be cast at least into ingots.

So, why even bother with pig iron?  One big one is if you don't have as cheap of access to bronze.  That was mentioned in a previous post.  ALSO, from my understanding, another reason to bother is if you are getting a LOT of iron ore (which required the kind of political cohesion and economic infrastructure you saw in China at the time... which is part of the reason why they bothered with blast furnaces).  With the blast furnace it can be economically advantageous to make large amounts of pig iron instead of having to rely on comparatively small-batch bloomery processes to get workable wrought iron.  Just take this pig iron from this large-scale production and decarburize it.  Plus, you can cast pig iron much like you cast bronze.  ALSO, you can re-meilt the pig iron alongside wrought iron and, if you are able to keep the temperature high enough for long enough, you can actually get steel from this, which can be cast at least into ingots if not implements.

 

Also, it is worth noting some cultures may have skipped the use of bronze altogether, independently discovering the use of iron and inventing bloomery processes without ever making bronze (as far as we can tell).

ANYWAY, on to the suggestion!!!

 

If you look at the designs of blast furnaces and bloomeries (and cupola furnaces which I will consider just another blast furnace), they are essentially the same darned thing.  Both require tuyeres for air to be forced in (though for bloomeries, it didn't have to be at the bottom... but some did), both ideally use charcoal as their fuel and carbon source (if we are talking about period furnaces), and both have collection of something molten at the bottom.  The biggest difference between the two is temperature.

I suggest the following:

  • Do away with the distinction between bloomery and blast furnace blocks.  Just have one block called a furnace block. 

     

  • Do away with the metal requirements altogether for this furnace block.  Replace with fire clay bricks or appropriate stone as an alternative.  Incorporate the tuyere in the recipe. 

     

  • Do away with the metal requirements for the tuyere.  It should be able to be made at least out of fire clay, if not also stone.

     

  • Do away with the restriction of metals that can be smelted within the furnace.  Furnaces could also be used as higher-capacity kilns for making bronze and copper alloys... and perhaps casting things into larger molds in the future of the game's development? :)

     

  • Replace the pig iron ingot -> high-carbon steel ingot anvil working recipe with pig iron ingot -> wrought iron ingot

     

  • Have a new kind of iron called "cast iron"... how to make this will be detailed below...

     

  • The bloomery would essentially be built just like the blast furnace including bellows, but can have the crucible omitted from the bottom.  In fact, there would be no distinction between a bloomery and a blast furnace for the purposes of coding.

     

  • The only thing that will determine whether a blast furnace operates either as a bona fide blast furnace or a bloomery (with respect to iron) would be the temperature achieved during operation.

     

  • With normal operation (single person powering the bellows intermittently), the blast furnace operates as a bloomery (with respect to iron), achieving bloomery temperatures. And it can make wrought iron as normal... but any crucible below the furnace block would collect slag (which could be a new thing in the game!) or nothing at all...

     

  • To function as a blast furnace, the bellows should operate faster and for greater duration.  In order to do so, the bellows should be linked to a mechanism of some sort that transfers power from something like a waterwheel or even a windmill.  Alternatively, perhaps animal power or human power could be used attached to these mechanisms, but that is contingent on how mechanisms work.  This makes sense since to get the temperature necessary for melting iron in a blast furnace, it requires a continuous and powerful blast of air.  This would allow for:
    • making and cast pig iron into ingots, toolheads, etc. which would be collected in the crucible or whatever receptacle below the furnace block
    • either decarburizing pig iron toolheads, etc. to make them into useable (i.e. not breaking after few uses) cast iron toolheads etc.
    • this would require heating the cast pig iron objects up at low heat (above 700 degrees C) for several days exposed to oxidizing conditions (basically having airflow over the heated item)
    • this would yield items that are made of "cast iron"
  • Re-smelting the pig iron and repeatedy hammering and heating the pig iron into wrought iron
    • this would be an alternate way to get wrought iron other than from an iron bloom...
    • this would require hammering a pig iron ingot in the presence of a forge on an anvil to make a wrought-iron ingot... so, in other words, we would be doing away with the pig iron ingot -> high-carbon steel ingot recipe and replacing it with this
  • Re-melting the pig iron in the presence of wrought iron in the furnace would produce high-carbon steel which could be collected in the crucible and then later forged into whatever you want
    • this would require heating the pig iron and wrought iron up at high heat for several days!!!  This would require bellows to be powered continuously!!!
    • The resulting steel could be cast into ingots OR into molds for tool heads and the like. Forging of steel ingots would be required for certain things, notably armour and swords which should not be able to be cast
  • Making higher-tier metals using the same recipes as normal... but perhaps they could use longer times in the furnace

So, here is how my suggestion would play out.  With the exception of requiring bronze for furnace construction, things would be pretty much just the same up until you get to the point where you can make wrought iron.  The time, effort, and huge amounts of fuel needed to make a "blast furnace" that operates like a bloomery and the requirement of forging to make anything out of wrought iron should be enough of a resource burden to make bronze preferable as a material to make stuff out of before using wrought iron.  In fact, really, the game is already like that.  The requirement of bronze to make a bloomery block as things are now is really not at all needed (realism aside).  I can understand why it is like that, but I think it is superfluous (not to mention, the entire idea of progressing out of a "Casting Age" is absolutely ridiculous... Forging is always less desirable than casting if it can be avoided both in real life and in this game, especially if you could re-use the molds).  Regardless of the requirement of bronze for a furnace block, I will preferably use bronze to make stuff most of the time since it takes a lot less work (provided I can easily enough get tin and copper) and fuel to cast stuff than forging.  This is already a believable balance.  

The push for wrought iron and the use of a bloomery would come from warfare (or possibly resource availability...).  Having a bloomery (blast furnace without mechanized bellows) is fine until you want higher tier alloys or want to make cast iron things instead of spending time forging.  Progressing to anything past wrought iron would require either getting enough people and/or animals to continuously operate bellows for several hours or days at a time, or getting stuff set up for exploiting water or wind power to do the same.  Not to mention, you would need to have a lot more charcoal and other resources to accomplish this.

In this way I feel things would be more believable and would still maintain gameplay balance. 

 

 

part, it's great to see a long in depth suggestion. I love reading them and its so great to see us ( the community) coming up with something neat.

     Some (especially) good parts:

          Honestly: I like almost everything you wrote, but some extra good things are the idea of using other people or animals to crank the bellows to get a higher heat, and I am under the impression that the animals would provide the progression, because to develop a system and tame the animals to be able to work the bellows this would require labor and exertion which would be the balance? 

 

Some parts I'm not sure about about

Edited by bilbobuddy
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Your impression is sort of correct.  I was envisioning the use of people or animals to crank the bellows with greater force, frequency (and through this getting higher temperatures in the furnace) as a possibility, but that the main way would be to use a waterwheel, wind power, or (if steam engines ever get introduced) steam power (this would obviously not be the first way to do it) to drive the needed blast of air into the furnace.  All of this would of course require some sort of system of mechanisms to make it in the game as linked to in my post.I think this could lead to my suggestion being balanced (if by balance we mean taking as long to get wrought iron and steel as it does now), but I don't think it would be able to do so alone.  The requirements for constructing mechanisms would ultimately be wood or other materials available early on (or at least they should be!!!), so it might not add much more to any construction requirements, though it might be significant if the requirements for building effective waterwheels and windmills require some specialized materials (only if they are believable, of course!!!)... like vegetable or animal fats for lubircation, pitch or tar for sealing water paddles.  I really need to look into this...  And if there are nuanced requirements for placement of waterwheels and windmills in terms of how strong the water current or wind needs to be to achieve a certain output (thus possibly necessitating something like the Streams addon and that one weather mod bundled with Technofirmacraft), then I am pretty darned confident that the mechanisms might be able to provide a bulk of the balance.  However, there is the problem that at the scale this game generally operates (with the exception of huge servers), blast furnaces would probably be the only thing machines would be useful for...  that is for another thread, though, and I think that can be addressed.   I do think that reasonable time requirements could help in addition to mechanisms (like 3+ hours to smelt ore into a bloom in a bloomery, and 18+ hours to co-fuse pig iron and wrought iron to make steel), but I would not be surprised if even then it wouldn't be able to get the desired balance.  The fact that people can carry insane amounts of weight at one time, mine, chop trees, and make a lot of other things quickly, etc. (among a lot of other things), as well as the extremely easy access to ore of smeltable quality (which is guaranteed of all iron ores) make it such that full progress through the game in terms of technology can occur in a matter of a week or two with a few people (provided they know all the necessary recipes, reactions, etc.) even with the oddball material requirements for blast furnaces and bloomeries. I am actually not against being able to build anything no matter how advanced in a short amount of time, nor am I against being able to build anything primitive in a long amount of time, so long as the reasons for this are believable within the context of the game.  The bronze and iron requirements for furnace construction are pushing it, though, since I feel that it might be possible that more believable options for balance have yet to be explored... which is why I made my suggestion as it is.  I could throw in weight and how the inventory works as well, but that is for another suggestion and I know the dev team has heard enough about it.

Edited by Andeerz
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It was removed in B78, so if you want to see how it used to work, you'll have to look at B77 or earlier. A good example would be to compare different seasons of TerraFirmaCrack. In the latest season, it was a week before any of the teams really had any steel items. In prior seasons, most teams had steel by the end of day 1.

In build 77, I see that bloomeries and blast furnaces require bronze and wrought iron respectively.  So I presume you meant B76 instead of B77.  Also, in the previous versions there was no requirement for fireclay.  So it was similar to what I was suggesting, but not quite, and I think the requirement of fireclay alone would make it harder (but not near as hard as it is now) to get steel at least as it was back in pre build 77 days.  And the time and resource requirements for many reactions as well as the entire pottery system have changed since those early seasons of TerraFirmaCrack you refer to, no?

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In build 77, I see that bloomeries and blast furnaces require bronze and wrought iron respectively.  So I presume you meant B76 instead of B77.  Also, in the previous versions there was no requirement for fireclay.  So it was similar to what I was suggesting, but not quite, and I think the requirement of fireclay alone would make it harder (but not near as hard as it is now) to get steel at least as it was back in pre build 77 days.  And the time and resource requirements for many reactions as well as the entire pottery system have changed since those early seasons of TerraFirmaCrack you refer to, no?

 

Ah, my mistake. I forgot that the blast furnace was added in 77, and then overhauled to be even more expensive in 78. I thought it wasn't added until 78.

 

While there have been changes such as the pottery system that require time, realize that there are config options for all of those that a player can change so the process completes almost immediately.

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Ok... I am posting this mainly for the sake of anyone else who has the same itch as me and the OP of this thread about bloomeries and blast furnaces... The following is a result of intensive reading on the matter, and I am rather confident I correctly interpreted what I researched.  I can provide sources if needed, and I assure you they are darned good ones.

 

I do not believe there is any practical way to realistically make the player follow a "progression" from copper to iron use.  And this is probably the same conclusion the devs of TFC came to.  And here is why.  IRL, if you can smelt copper, you can smelt iron using pretty much the same technology with rather simple (though non-immediately-intuitive without modern knowledge of chemistry) tweaks and altered expectations about the final product.  And if you can work copper, you can work iron using the same techniques.  And in virtually all places where copper alloys are useful structurally, iron can be, too, and is largely superior to copper alloys in terms of strength, durability, sharpness, etc. if we are talking about typical historical bronzes and wrought irons.  Only when we are talking about extremely low carbon contents in wrought iron do we see the best bronzes perform better than iron in terms of hardness and strength, and those kinds of wrought irons were very rare (as well as largely undesirable for most applications).  So, in response to a previous post... iron did NOT get used after copper because bronze was somehow superior to wrought iron early on.  That was likely never true.

From what I gather, people generally used copper before iron mainly because copper-containing ores were more obvious (malachite was pretty!), and the smelting and forging processes of copper and its alloys were much more forgiving than those of iron.  To get useful iron requires more control over smelting conditions (especially temperature!), with different iron ores (even of the same type differing only in small amounts of impurities!!!) requiring different conditions that could only be determined empirically.  There is a fine line between getting slag with any iron being uselessly and inseparably embedded within it, getting useful iron, or getting seemingly useless cast or pig iron (which was virtually impossible to work... unless you REALLY knew what you were doing).  In other words, if a neolithic furnace operator finally found out how to get good iron blooms from hematite from a nearby ore vein and taught another furnace operator from a different area how to smelt hematite, if that person used hematite from a different source with the same techniques, it had a good chance of not at all working, yielding only slag or practically useless pig iron, or even yielding wrought iron that was much different in forging and structural qualities.  This likely explained why it took so long for iron working to become established in civilization. Also forging iron generally leads to larger loss of metal than copper and bronze since iron needs to be worked hot, often in oxidizing conditions... and there are other differences, but these are probably not relevant.  And in general, fuel consumption, achievable furnace temperatures, and ore availability really had little to nothing to do with the relatively late arrival of iron working compared to copper and bronze working for what it is worth.  Nor did use of bellows or animal power.

 

So, let's say we make TFC as realistic as possible **in terms of structural and smelting properties of the different metals and their ores** and do away with the bronze and iron requirements for whatever smelting furnaces.  Overall, if you know what ores iron comes from and know how to smelt copper, for the purposes of the stuff we use iron for in TFC (swords, hoes, axes, armour, etc.) there is NO need to use copper or bronze.  You would want to go straight to iron.  For the record, fundamentally speaking with regard to gameplay, I am not at all opposed to this... I don't see much gameplay value (well... really, originality), at least not in this game, in forcing progression through "tiers" of materials that essentially only differ quantitatively and not qualitatively in terms of their utility.  Right now, the only things that justify the existence of copper and bronze are just unbelievable and arbitrary recipes for the bloomery and blast furnace blocks, as well as arbitrary requirements for tools of certain tool metals to work this or that metal.  Inelegant.  I mean, it does extend gameplay considerably, but it feels rather hollow.  Perhaps I feel this way simply because I know too much about this stuff from previous real world experiences which spoils things for me...  :(
 

In sum, the only (IMO) practical way to force or encourage progression from copper to bronze to wrought iron is to deviate from realism.  However, that might not mean deviating from believability.  As I mentioned before, I think the current recipes for the bloomery and blast furnace do not satisfy believability... and IMO, neither do the differentiation between bloomery and blast furnace, and the inability to use bloomeries as smelters for copper ores.  I will suggest the following possibilities instead, which could possibly work to encourage copper->bronze->iron progression in some combination in the absence of the balancing mechanisms we have now:
 

  • Make iron ores much harder to get somehow.  Perhaps make copper and alloying elements much more plentiful than iron (I think this is not necessarily unrealistic if certain assumptions are made about the world!  In any case, this is believable)
     
  • On the same vein... make iron be located in stone that is too resilient to be reliably mined using "lower tier" metal or stone tools.  This might be too much of a departure from reality for me, though...
     
  • Make bronze better than wrought iron in terms of base strength and durability values, but perhaps introduce some novel (and realistic) ferrous metallurgy and forging processes that can be used to make wrought iron better than bronze depending on the player's mastery of forging and/or smelting
    • I have some ideas for this worked out... including a simple way to tie in carbon content to wrought iron with its characteristics (which would obviate making a separate designation for "steel"), and doing things like cementation, decarburization, loss of material during forging, etc... but in its simplest form, just make the positive effects of forging skill or whatever affect wrought iron with greater magnitude than it affects copper or bronze.
    • And perhaps applying the same thing to steel, but make steel's basic qualities as good as bronze or only slightly better
    • This simplest form would favor gameplay where forging skill is a main (though soft) bottleneck in "progression", though I could see this being not quite in keeping with the focus of the game.  Hmmm...
  • Make copper and bronze able to be cold-forged (i.e. without bringing to "working temp") to a large extent before becoming too brittle to work and needing to be annealed through re-heating (this is realistic... heating to working temp should still make forging the metals easier)
    • This wouldn't affect much, but is a nudge towards copper and bronze use, since working them would require less fuel generally
    • I have an idea for representing work hardening (which happens as copper and bronze get worked cold)... having the metal working progress bar in the anvil's interface shrink in overall size as the metal is worked more, with this being undone upon annealing.  The smaller the overall size of the bar upon completion, the higher the strength but lower the durability (to a point).  And (realistically) it makes work hardened metal more likely to break while forging.
    • This again makes the forging skill a bigger factor in progression.
  • Make forging not a lossless process
    • Tie temperature of forging of the metal to the how much more it can be forged
      • For example, working iron (and copper and bronze to a lesser extent) at high working temperature leads to loss of material through oxidation.  Repeated heating and working can eventually lead to too much metal loss to make a complete product.  In reality, this is much less of a concern for copper and bronze than for iron, which requires much higher working temps than copper and bronze (which can be cold worked!) and therefore more skill to shape without losing too much metal.
      • This could be represented by having the metal working progress bar in the anvil's interface shrink in overall size depening on how much and how long the metal has been worked at a given temperature.  This cannot be undone.
      • Alternatively or additionally, this could be represented by units of metal left in the object being forged.  If the amount of metal units falls below a minimum, the object is lost (though maybe recoverable as an unshaped ingot or scrap?)
      • Ultimately, this makes copper and bronze easier to work with and (for the inexperienced) much more efficient to use since these materials lose a lot less metal while being forged, and virtually no metal while casting.  If loss of metal extends to the refinement process of iron blooms (which would be realistic and would further boost the importance of forging skill), this would further increase the relative utility of copper and bronze early on.
    • This again makes forging skill likely a bigger factor in progression
  • Make the walls of the bloomeries (and blast furnaces, if the devs are insistent on them) able to become fatigued and destroyed depending on temperature and length of use, and making different blocks of different materials have different abilities to resist this
    • Essentially this is introducing durability to the structural blocks of bloomeries and blast furnaces
    • Perhaps different kinds of clays with differing refractory properties could be introduced, with fireclay being the best.  Using plain stone blocks or clay would be the worst.
    • Combined with the lower temperature required for copper ore smelting than for iron, introducing these new clays and materials with differing refractory properties could favor copper and bronze use until good enough refractory material in enough quantity could be obtained to make smelting furnaces good enough to smelt iron efficiently (as in, you won't have to re-make your furnaces all the time to get large amounts of iron).
    • With this suggestion, the bottleneck in "progression" would be obtaining and making good enough clay... but this already is pretty much a bottleneck, and not a very big one.
    • This isn't a realistic way to balance bronze vs. iron since pretty much the same kinds of refractory technology were used for processing both metals often times.  But it seems a lot less arbitrary than the current balancing mechanisms!
Edited by Andeerz
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Andeerz your suggestions are fascinating, you seem to be very knowledgeable about metallurgy in general. I wish the developers could implement some of those suggestions you've made to make the game more "believable" or even use someone like you for advise on all things concerning metallurgy.

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Imo it seems the devs are going for a more history-oriented approach to metal progression. Copper, then bronze, then iron, etc.. etc..

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Andeerz your suggestions are fascinating, you seem to be very knowledgeable about metallurgy in general. I wish the developers could implement some of those suggestions you've made to make the game more "believable" or even use someone like you for advise on all things concerning metallurgy.

You flatter me. :) But i am not at all an expert and all i did was delve into some of the archaeological literature and an excellent book on the subject. In fact i have never smelted or forged a thing in my life! Some of the things I said are broad generalizations, so they may not be true in some instances. And some of the things i said are contentious still. But i think i am right.

Imo it seems the devs are going for a more history-oriented approach to metal progression. Copper, then bronze, then iron, etc.. etc..

What i am trying to say here is that it is not possible to go for a "historical" progression. What we have now forces the use of one metal before another using arbitrary game mechanics completely divorced from anything "historical" and, in my opinion, believability. The "historical" reasons for using copper and bronze before iron seem to have to do with development of technical knowledge more so than development of material technologies different from those needed to smelt copper. I believe it is very likely that throughout the entirety of copper smelting history, smelters quickly found iron to be smeltable as well. Iron ore was almost universally used as a flux for copper smelting and there are some curious artifacts out there that suggest useful iron was occasionally smelted and worled during copper age times. But because of how variable the smelting conditions were for smelting iron ores (and forging iron from said ores), even of ores obviously of the same type, it was extremely difficult to get iron smelting happening to any appreciable amount until well into the bronze age when enough knowledgeable people and resources came together to stably establish techniques and know-how. This is not something that can be modeled in the game plausibly, at least not while keeping things in spirit with what seems to be the vision of the devs for this mod. So, if we want something more believable, we need to think of stuff perhaps akin to what i have suggested. Otherwise, i see no reason to even have copper and bronze at all. Might as well invent more mythical metals. That way arbitrary requirements for making them can more easily be believable.
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Minecraft uses a tier system for progression. Pretty much every single mod out there also uses this same tier system where you have to make and use one material before you are able to do the next. TFC is a mod for Minecraft, and therefore will always follow and use a tier system for progression in which a player must create an anvil out of one metal before they may progress onto the next.

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True, and well said...I will see if I can think of something more along tier-based progression.

 

And perhaps ideas such as mine would be best implemented in an add-on or mod-mod.

Edited by Andeerz
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Tiered progression is a normal gameplay mechanic in many games. The problem is that gameplay borrows from real life and so there is not the same progression of knowledge through experimentation, trial and error and dumb luck. Even if the game isn't based on real life the coding of an organic system without hard coded progression points in it is more than a little challenging and would also reduce the replay value and likely lifespan of the game as the min/maxers would quickly break the balance of any multiplayer server type game.

In reallife there were likely a lot of reasons that the various metal ages existed. Some based on knowledge, some materials, some cost benefit, etc. So there are historically/less believable tech tiers that have material bottlenecks to force a flow of progression.

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Yes.  But I wonder if these material bottlenecks couldn't be more logical and intuitive.  And is it really that important that progression in metal use apes history?  Do we really need to have bronze and copper in this case?  Why not have iron be the tier one metal and have additional made-up alloys or metals or what have you?  This way whatever forced progression there is could actually make some sort of sense.Right now the material requirements that force the bottleneck make little logical sense, even if we ignore realism and history.  One can melt bronze at a rather low temperature, much lower than what is achieved in a bloomery.  So there is not much logic behind why a bloomery block would make sense with the current recipe.  Nor does the blast furnace configuration make much sense for similar reasons.  However, I am at a loss as to how to replace these bottlenecks while keeping progression as slow as it is now...The anvil requirements, on the other hand, make some sense, I guess, and are an intuitive thing for a player to follow regardless of what prior knowledge they have.  But that is not a very big bottleneck on its own. 

 

This also highlights an issue I have with the crafting system in general which might be best mentioned in another thread: you NEED the wiki or some metagamey mod like NEI to figure out most recipes and game mechanics in this mod, more so than even in vanilla Minecraft.  Even if the material requirements are intuitive, the placement in the crafting grid often times isn't.  And a material you would expect to work in a recipe sometimes doesn't.  And there is really no way for me to see how someone in the game could discover many of these recipes and game mechanics on their own.  The game is not informationally "self contained" in a manner of speaking in that you cannot really play the game in a fun way without refering to things outside the game.  The metal progression stuff is a prime examples of this and is why I have such a big problem with it.  It would be nice if, as much as possible, playing the game in a fun way could be doable with only information conveyed entirely within the game.  Part of achieving this is making recipes and progression make sense.In any case, I love TFC and am probably not going to belabor this stuff anymore.  I think I have said all I can say from this end, and acknowledge that this all boils down to preference in gameplay and design philosophy or whatever.  And that this is what add-ons are for.  :)

Edited by Andeerz
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For those who don't want to reference the wiki, we strongly encourage the use of NEI and the TFC NEI plugin that allows you to very quickly look up not only crafting recipes, but smithing recipes, barrel recipes, loom recipes, etc. There have been multiple addons that have already been created for those players who wish to stay "self-contained". TFC is a massive mod as it is, and we're not going to spend the time developing something that another mod or addon has already done a great job of implementing. There are modpacks out there that use HQM or other 3rd party mods to guide the player throughout the entire progression, giving hints along the way of what you might need to do for the next step. It is not feasible to expect a game to be so intuitive that a player can go from start to finish without having to look at least one thing up. Especially considering when it comes to crafting recipes, it's limited to a 3x3 grid. We already stray away from multi-process crafting where you have to craft components that you then use to craft the final product because honestly it gets annoying and tedious quite quickly from the player's prospective.

 

Also take into consideration players who do not share your knowledge of the history of metal progression. We have a good chunk of players who are still in grade school, there's essentially no system that could feasibly be implemented that would be so intuitive even they could figure out the history of metal progression without some help.

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There have been multiple addons that have already been created for those players who wish to stay "self-contained". ... There are modpacks out there that use HQM or other 3rd party mods to guide the player throughout the entire progression, giving hints along the way of what you might need to do for the next step.

Ok... so maybe I'm not done yet... This is something I like discussing. Ultimately, I think that the 3rd party mods you mention, as good as they are, are band-aids.  They make the act of looking up external information less inconvenient and take away less from gameplay.  But they don't make it any less necessary and do nothing to make recipes and game mechanics make any more sense or more believable.  Whether or not this is a good, neutral, or bad thing is a matter of opinion (and I think it is bad).  If anyone cares to read why I think this, then look here.

In what I consider to be an ideal game, metagaming and breaking the fourth wall are kept to an absolute minimum.  Ideally, all one needs to know to be able to begin playing the game and learn all other aspects of it (including basic controls) is pressing a few obvious buttons within the full setting of the game, not requiring any departure from immersion in the game experience (no tutorials, hint boxes, etc.).  In other words, ideally, one should be able to learn to do anything in the game through simple observation and logical interaction with the environment using basic everyday knowledge.  An excellent example of this is Megaman X (which admittedly is a MUCH simpler game than Minecraft, let alone any sandbox/survival game... but, still).  All you need to do is press right at the beginning, and the rest comes through interaction with the environment with minimal trial and error with the limited number of buttons on the control pad, all while staying within the game and advancing meaningfully through it!Now let's take TFC.  Let's pretend you are completely naive to TFC and minecraft, and only know the basic controls.  It is immediately obvious that the goal is to survive by maintaining HP, hunger, and thirst meters at optimal levels.  And pretty much anyone would immediately gather that fire, water, food, and shelter are necessary for this.  And one will quickly find out that there are hostile creatures that need to be avoided.  And by just simply moving around and clicking to punch things in the environment and interacting with the crafting grid, sometimes you can get food and water and pick up rocks and dirt, make cobblestone, and place cobblestone and dirt with limited success.  So far, this is fantastic!  But that and forging (which for the most part I think is quite nicely done!!!) is just about all in TFC that a player can learn on their own barring a few accidental clicks to make a firestarter in the crafting grid, or to access the knapping interface and using trial and error to figure out how to make simple tools after finding out the crafting grid doesn't work with rocks for this purpose.After that, you need to be told how to do things outside of the game's setting (whether it be by third party mods or a wiki or something) to do just about anything else you may think to do... unless you are content with brute-force trial-and-error with no rhyme or reason.  There are few additional things that can be readily discovered through simple observation and logical interaction with the environment using basic knowledge .  This is absolutely tragic, in my opinion, and is poor game design!  Sure, the wiki, NEI, and those other mods exist that help out, but they are simply band-aids.

 

It is not feasible to expect a game to be so intuitive that a player can go from start to finish without having to look at least one thing up. Especially considering when it comes to crafting recipes, it's limited to a 3x3 grid.

 I am not convinced that it isn't feasible (but, difficult? yes!), even for a sandbox survival game with crafting.  What makes you think so?  But, let's say I agree that it isn't.  It still doesn't change that (at least in my opinion) it is at least not ideal to have to separate yourself from playing the game and have to look things up to do stuff.  And it doesn't change the fact that it isn't one thing, but many many things you need to look up to do a lot of what you can do in TFC, and that, regardless of having to look stuff up, some of the recipes for things don't make sense within the context of the game's setting and the information the game conveys to you, or at least are not at all obvious/logical regardless of specialized real-life knowledge (i.e. bronze bloomeries). 

Also take into consideration players who do not share your knowledge of the history of metal progression. We have a good chunk of players who are still in grade school, there's essentially no system that could feasibly be implemented that would be so intuitive even they could figure out the history of metal progression without some help.

In any case, in this game's current iteration, those grade schoolers (and ANYONE who plays this game for that matter) still need help (in the form of 3rd party mod or wiki or let's play, or what-have-you) to progress in metal-working technology regardless of its historical/real-life accuracy or inaccuracy.  Knowing what I know is completely besides the point.  And no one is learning anything (at least nothing accurate) about the history of metal use in the current system, to be sure.  Not that this is an objective of the game. However, I do think it is feasible to make a system intuitive enough that whatever metallurgy system (or any aspect of the game), regardless of historical/real-life accuracy or inaccuracy, can be figured out just through simple observation and interaction with the environment, even by grade schoolers.

Edited by Andeerz
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I'm not quite sure how you feel crafting is so bad. In general I find TFC far more organic in its crafting. The mechanics of the knapping and clay are very organic. Within the square you must make the shape or inverse shape of the item you want. The anvil mechanics are great, especially compared to vanilla and other mods.

Pit Kiln, fire pit setup are something you'd likely look up, but it is possible to discover them on your own if you have a concept of the real life equivalent. Barrel recipes are something you'd need to look up, but in real life you'd need to be taught how to do it or have a lot of trial and error.

Yes the blast furnace and bloomery aren't historically accurate, however as has been stated, believability will always be sacrificed for gameplay and the reason it is needed for gameplay has been explained.

The vanilla 3x3 crafting grid is limiting, but the devs have done well here to have sensible patterns, to follow vanilla conventions or use vanilla recipes. Bricks make sense, thatch follows vanilla conventions and ladders are vanilla.

The comment of feasibility is also about time management. There are 3 devs (1 of which is inactive) and a few people who are fairly active contributors. All these people do this in their free time for fun. They choose to focus on developing new features (now TFC2) and bug fixes, not introducing an information module that can already be served by third-party addons.

Lastly I don't understand how starting with iron as tier I and progressing to made up alloys is better than using real alloys in a historically accurate order, using the inaccurate(ish) bloomery and blast furnace.

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I'm not quite sure how you feel crafting is so bad. In general I find TFC far more organic in its crafting. The mechanics of the knapping and clay are very organic. Within the square you must make the shape or inverse shape of the item you want. The anvil mechanics are great, especially compared to vanilla and other mods.

 

Knapping, leather, and clay... I actually like the general concept, if not the execution.  It is the crafting grid I really have a problem with since often times the recipes are not something intuitive.  And the anvil mechanics are a FANTASTIC example of the kind of stuff I am talking about that I think is good.  Everything about forging you can figure out without anything external to the game.  Some may find aspects of it gimmicky, but if there is going to be a way to represent forging in a videogame, that is exactly the way to do it.

 

 

Pit Kiln, fire pit setup are something you'd likely look up, but it is possible to discover them on your own if you have a concept of the real life equivalent. Barrel recipes are something you'd need to look up, but in real life you'd need to be taught how to do it or have a lot of trial and error.

 

Pit Kilns I agree you could discover them on your own... but... argh!  I have a suggestion in the works, but more of a suggestion for an add-on or completely separate mod that would tie together ALL heat sources with a universal or near-universal interface so that any kind of smelter, furnace, kiln or fire could be built with the same mechanics but behave differently in an emergent way by virtue of how you put them together in the world.  Which opens up a world of possibilities for emergent crafting and stuff and being able to discover on one's own how to master fire in a straight-forward way... much like how one can with forging if they are patient with it...  but that is for another topic.

Anyway, the pit kiln is something I do like in principle.  Fire pits are exactly the opposite.  Though even a kindergartener would have in their head that wood or sticks ought to be used to make a fire in the game, there is absolutely nothing intuitive about how you put them together to make a fire.  The first instinct of the player is to either try to make something in the crafting grid (which with sticks will likely yield a fire starter... that is an example of a good recipe and independent discovery!) or to try to right-click with sticks on the ground.  The second instinct is to shift-right-click.  None of these work... but how does one make the leap to use "q" to drop the sticks on the ground when that is normally just used for discarding stuff to pick them up later?  And then one needs to figure out to put not 1 or 2 but 3 sticks on the ground while standing just far enough away not to pick them up.  Then you might figure out that you need to use a fire starter at that point.  At least it took me looking things up in the wiki to figure that out and I am a veteran Minecraft player.

 

As for barrels... those have a darned good crafting recipe that you don't really even need to look up.  Putting lumber in a U shape in the grid makes sense and would conceivably be one of the first recipes a person would try to make a container of some sort.

 

 

The vanilla 3x3 crafting grid is limiting, but the devs have done well here to have sensible patterns, to follow vanilla conventions or use vanilla recipes. Bricks make sense, thatch follows vanilla conventions and ladders are vanilla.

 

I agree they have done well to have sensible patterns, or at least patterns that are as sensible as possible.  And some of the recipes are absolutely fine!  I just question whether or not the crafting grid should even be kept as a game mechanic if so many of the recipes need to be looked up and are not intuitive.  Why not just have it like Terraria at that point where once you have the stuff needed to make something, the option to make it appears?  In any case, I much prefer things like how we have knapping and clay and leather and stuff!  To me, that is what the crafting grid should have been!

 

 

The comment of feasibility is also about time management.

 

You are completely right.  And I should have acknowledged that in my previous post!  Sorry...

 

Lastly I don't understand how starting with iron as tier I and progressing to made up alloys is better than using real alloys in a historically accurate order, using the inaccurate(ish) bloomery and blast furnace.

 

Well... the order is not necessarily historically accurate.  I mean, it is in general.  But development of iron working did NOT necessarily depend on bronze or copper working, period.  There are people who developed iron smelting technology without ever having been exposed to copper smelting.  But that isn't important...

 

What is definitely not accurate or realistic are the reasons for this order.  And I would be fine with this if the reasons were at least believable and not arbitrary.  With the information the game (not some 3rd party mod or wiki) conveys to you about bronze, there is nothing that suggests that bronze is required for making a bloomery.  And there is nothing in the game (again, not some 3rd party mod or wiki) that suggests that a bloomery is required for making iron.  And there is nothing in the game that suggests iron is necessary for making a blast furnace or that a blast furnace is necessary for making steel.

The only reasons we seem to have copper and bronze here is for flavor and some sense of "realism".  But I think that if having things in for these reasons requires misinformation... might as well just make something up instead.  I suggest having iron as the tier 1 metal, since one could just jump into smelting iron IRL anyway and in this way, we maintain some semblance of realism, believability, AND keep the desired tier-based progression (which I still think is sort of lame since it is arbitrary as it is now for reasons I indicated in the previous paragraph).  Ultimately, though, the reason I think this is better is a matter of taste... And at this point I think I am just whining anymore.  And I will re-iterate, I love this game and all that the devs are doing!

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I find it almost amusing that you think that forging is one of the most intuitive aspect of the game, considering it's generally the number one thing that confuses the majority of our players. Literally to the point where I see it as an issue in almost every LP I watch where it is their first time playing TFC, and that there are actually players out there who have created software to cheat the system because they find it so un-intuitive that they can't figure out how to make anything even remotely efficiently. Here's a perfect example of the struggle:

 

https://youtu.be/J7BQ6pUvIrg?list=PL2XncHqN_7yJThRa6B57wAt406sPY6Qh1&t=785

 

I think one of the huge things that you absolutely must remember at all times is that this is a mod for Minecraft. It literally has craft in the name. The crafting grid isn't going anywhere because it is an extremely core aspect of the base game that this mod is for. The point of a Minecraft mod is to expand on the core aspects of the game. If we wanted to rewrite absolutely every basic concept, we might as well make it a standalone game, which isn't going to happen.

 

There's also the fact that if we went the route of changing so many of the basic things that are the core of Minecraft, it would very likely completely destroy any hopes of compatibility with other mods, which is pretty much exactly the opposite of what we want to do.

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Ok... so maybe I exaggerated about its fantastic-ness. But I NEVER said it was the most intuitive thing or that it was perfect or that it was even fun.  And I want to take back that it is exactly how forging should be represented... BUT!  It is a LARGE step in the right direction compared to just having new arbitrary recipes in a crafting grid.  What I mean by it being a fantastic example of what I think is good is that all the information you need to do stuff is in there.  You can figure out the rules of how the anvil mechanics work without external stuff, at least in theory, by simple observation and giving ideas a try.  What to do to improve it or discussing its merits is beyond the scope of this thread.

 

And I understand that crafting is part of the game, that this is a mod, etc.  And you give fantastic answers as to why we must keep the crafting grid.  Regardless, none of the things that are an issue here likely necessitate a fundamental rewrite of something core to the game to address.  But they may require expansions on core mechanics and the mechanics you devs so nicely added.

Edited by Andeerz
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I'd have to go against this idea, the game would feel rushed if you could practically throw away early metals altogether.

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