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Omicron

How are you guys dealing with caves?

30 posts in this topic

As I'm playing, I'm continually getting more and more frustrated with the revised cave-in system in b79  :unsure:  Particularly when it comes to natural caves.

 

Previously, I was always excited when I found ore in the walls of a cave. Nowadays, however, I groan and think "well that's one vein to scratch off my list" and turn around to go look elsewhere. I've tried in many, many different ways to prop up cave walls and ceilings with support beams, but since vertical beams don't do anything whatsoever, I regularly encounter cases where it's simply not possible to place a horizontal beam under a part of a concave, slanted wall. At least not without digging a block, which generally causes an instant cave-in. And in the rare case where I do manage to put down the 30-40 beam pieces I need to secure a spot, then the rest of the cave 20 blocks away starts caving in violently whenever I dig a block. I myself remain safe, but the rest of the beautiful cave is ruined beyond repair, and I quite possibly need to spend serious time digging my way back towards the exit.

 

Not to mention that the average cave I encounter by digging a mineshaft forward (or straight down) already has had multiple cave-ins by the time I actually discover it, filling the ground 1-2 blocks high with cobblestone as far as I can see in every direction. It does this even when I carefully support my mining shaft to be impervious to cave-ins.

 

b79 has been out for a while, so I'm wondering if some of you more veteran players can share with me some tips and tricks as to how I can preserve the stability of natural caves? I'm not looking for some kind of exploit to circumvent the cave-in mechanic entirely, I'm simply looking for ways to do it better than I currently do it. As it stands, I don't feel like I as a player have the tools necessary to properly do anything whatsoever inside a natural cave.

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I once wrote that caving is entirely optional now. In my experience all ores can be found on the surface or just below it. Just pro-pick around like a sniffing dog. People have complained before that whole underground cave systems collapse due to the new mechanic. There was a brief consideration of finding a solution but i haven't heard anything about it since. 

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I started chiseling a handful of smooth <rock> blocks from the floor near where I want to mine first.  Pickaxe 1 block around the level you want your ceiling and immediately replace it with a smooth block.  Once you have 4-5 smooth blocks at that level, you can safely remove the blocks under those and place your support beams.

 

I've also seen people bypass support beams entirely by just replacing entire ceilings with smooth stone, but feels like cheating to me.

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As far as I know, its impossible to dig down without risk.

Once you're in the cave, clean up any cobblestone, dirt or gravel, they won't trigger caveins and you'll have more room for supports.

Next, place supports where you want to mine.

If the ceiling is too low, dig 2 holes bin the floor for the "feet" of the support.

Refer to http://wiki.terrafirmacraft.com/Support_Beam , and never dig outside the safe zone. However, make sure you check around to see if there are any stone block with air below it that are not supported.

Even if you mine a supported block, it stills scan up to 5 blocks horizontally and 2 blocks vertically.*

If the scan finds a suitable unsupported block, you may have a cavein.

Keeping this in mind, its.mostly a matter of having the supports at the right place.

The only time I get cave ins is when I'm greedy.

Break one ore outside the supported zone. It may not cavein right there, but it will when you break nearby blocks and the scan finds that unsupported hole.

*Mentionned by Kitty in an unknown post. Actual distance may differ.

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Next, place supports where you want to mine.If the ceiling is too low, dig 2 holes bin the floor for the "feet" of the support.Refer to http://wiki.terrafirmacraft.com/Support_Beam , and never dig outside the safe zone. However, make sure you check around to see if there are any stone block with air below it that are not supported.

 

I'm really struggling with that part, though. I often find walls or corners that are shaped in such a way that I cannot get the horizontal part of a support beam under it. If the vertical part at least held up whatever was directly above it, it would be fine, but unfortunately they don't. Vertical beams are completely irrelevant.

 

I tried to take a screenshot of the latest cave that annoyed me, but well, that's after 3-5 caveins already, and it looks a whole lot different than it did when I initially chanced upon it. Originally it was all a diagonal plane of single unsupported blocks jutting out. Now most of them have fallen already. Which brings another problem though, which is that the ceiling is now a.) too high up to reach with support beams, and b.) full of holes that I cannot possibly support. As you have stated, one hole is already enough to bring everything down again (and it usually smashes all of the support beams I spent 10 minutes painstakingly setting up).

 

I suppose I could fetch a few armloads full of smooth blocks and build up pillars on the floor to put support beams under the ceiling and to patch up the holes, set things up so that everything is supported, and then always mine 1 ore block and instantly replace it with another smooth block so that the overall shape of the cave never changes. But that still honestly feels like I'm not doing it as it was designed to be done. If I have to abuse gravity-unaffected blocks in order to make support beams work, why am I bothering with support beams in the first place?

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I never bother with caves, too much trouble. With those ravines everywhere you can easily access deeper rock layers and there is almost every ore somewhere on the surface.

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I believe it is Bioxx that mentioned that he was not happy how cave-ins worked in natural caves. There is as far as I know a plan to try and remedy this. However it is a rather complex issue to address. How do you differentiate solid stone from stone on wall of natural cave or stone on wall of player dug hole. So they are what they are for foreseeable future

As for techniques. Supports don't need to be in wall. Place a support as close to wall as possible. Fill in outer perimeter of support with cobble, raw or chiseled stone. Making a bit of a tube to protect the support and yourself. Digging from walls is always going to be dangerous. Just try and break ore, which won't trigger cave in. If you must dig raw stone, put a plank or chiseled stone above your head.

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I find myself placing supports on chiseled-smothed stone three high and one block in width and mining four-five deep and three high and placing another set of supports while i find the middle of the vein using the technique Kitty uses in her video.  Then repeating the same process of placiing supports right underneath those where the center is.  Rinse and repeat.

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I once wrote that caving is entirely optional now. In my experience all ores can be found on the surface or just below it. Just pro-pick around like a sniffing dog. People have complained before that whole underground cave systems collapse due to the new mechanic. There was a brief consideration of finding a solution but i haven't heard anything about it since. 

What seed are you using?  Because so far all the seeds I've played are either missing copper with some tet or missing kalonite.  The "bioems" (for lack of a better word) are also scaled for mass exploration by sea and land while horses take a full year to tame and boats just... their vanilla.

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I believe it is Bioxx that mentioned that he was not happy how cave-ins worked in natural caves. There is as far as I know a plan to try and remedy this. However it is a rather complex issue to address. How do you differentiate solid stone from stone on wall of natural cave or stone on wall of player dug hole. So they are what they are for foreseeable future

 

Giving the player better tools to stabilize rock would be a good stopgap measure.

 

Like, say... make all support beams that touch rock above them have the same supporting effect that horizontal beams currently have? That'll let the player prop up complex wall and ceiling shapes without having to get "inventive" with gravity-less blocks.

 

But yeah, in the meantime I'm probably just going to ignore ore veins that intersect caves. That, or fudge with the cave-in settings in the config file. You can't really change the behavior, but you can make it less likely...

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What I've done is lowered the cave-in and propagation chance to 1/50 and 35% this makes cave-in much less devastating, beyond that use support beams everywhere even outside of your mining area. Once you figure out the best way to use the support beams, mining in caves is no problem, even with the regular configs.

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Well, to mine safely in the screenshot ypu provided, you ony need to put a one support on the ground, where the ceiling is highest.

Then, you add more support beams above the vertical beams and add an horizontal beam every 3 blocks. (You can stack additional horizontal supports at every level but you only need it at every 3 z level, unless you need to mine a block above.)

Use a single pillar of vertical beams to climb, its easier to break than ladders. You can also climb on the main support as you build it, but jumping down is usually problematic.

In your screenshot, there is enough room to fit the supports all the way up, although there is one small hole. You only have to risk breaking two blocks to fit an horizontal support in there and you're done.

The end result will look like a giant ladder made of beams.

If there were no ore close to the ceiling, you could make it shorter, as long the 2-3 blocks above the highest ore is supported.

What I'd like to have is a different kind of beam that would allow to mine up and down easily.

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What I'd like to have is a different kind of beam that would allow to mine up and down easily.

 

Digging up is the only part of mining and caving I don't really like because there isn't a good way to do it "safely", at some point you have to rely on the random chance of the rock not falling

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In real life there isn't really a safe way to dig up either.

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you can mine the 3 blocks above a standard support beam setup, then make the support one higher.

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you can mine the 3 blocks above a standard support beam setup, then make the support one higher.

Not in my experience. I find that if I take out a second block above my horizontal beam, I tend to get caveins.

 

Here, from the wiki: 

A single horizontally placed support beam will prevent cave-ins in an area that is 4 blocks in each horizontal direction, and 1 block above and below the beam (9x9x3 Area).

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Not in my experience. I find that if I take out a second block above my horizontal beam, I tend to get caveins.

 

Here, from the wiki: 

A single horizontally placed support beam will prevent cave-ins in an area that is 4 blocks in each horizontal direction, and 1 block above and below the beam (9x9x3 Area).

the second should be to the side of the first, not above:

the 3 blocks are (probably) meant to be the blocks directly above the vertical and the horizontal beams, that is one above and one to each side horizontally of the first one, so you can extend the support one higher- but I have not tested, and also 'suffering' from cave-ins when digging up (actually I like it that way)

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Yeah thats how i meant it, dig up the 3 blocks above the support beam(s) and then remove the old support and build a new one one higher.

 

Afaik something is wrong or not well explained with the cave-ins however. Somehow a support beam only prevents the known layer of blocks to START a cave-in. However the check if there is something to come down sometimes expands and causes blocks "on the other side" of a wall or in some other cave to be triggered.

 

When i am inside caves and i dig down, perfectly safe, i hear caveins below me or somewhere in the area but all i am doing is digging down. In a cave however, what is a floor for one cave is a ceiling for the one below and that somehow mixes up...

 

I just avoid caves, they are endless circles that don't really help

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(from memory:) When you mine a raw stone block (and only a raw stone block), there is a 10% chance that a 9x9x5 (2 up, 2 down, 4 out sideways) will be scanned for unsupported collapsible blocks (raw stone and ore blocks). If it finds an unsupported collapsible block that is not in-range of a horizontal support beam, a cave-in begins to propagate. While the cave-in scan is 9x9x5, support beams only "safe" a 9x9x3 region (1 up, 1 down, 4 out sideways).So it doesn't matter if the block you're mining is in the support beam's safe zone, only that unsupported collapsible blocks around your mined block are.If your horizontal support beams are at height y, and you mine a stone block at y+1, you expose a stone block at y+2 which is outside the support beam's safe zone and can thus be chosen to initiate a cave-in. So mining upwards is never safe, you're just playing the odds.

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This is a visual cross-section representation of what a single horizontal support beam will support. Note that when I say "support" I mean that it will not be the epicenter of a cave in. If a cave in starts elsewhere, it can still propagate back onto a "supported" block.

 

Posted Image

 

Here is a cross-section visual representation of the area that is scanned when a raw stone block is mined. If any of the blocks in this area are not supported by a support beam, and have space underneath them, it can be the center of a cave in. Note that I stated space, and not air, because any non-transparent block such as torches, ladders, lumber, etc are considered space.

 

Posted Image

 

It is intentional that the area is larger than the supports, because digging up safely in reality is really not possible, and therefore it isn't possible in TFC either. There are other methods that a player can employ so that they are "safe" while digging upwards and that they won't be killed by the collapse, but there is no good method to prevent a cave in from happening altogether.

 

Also, to prevent confusion, here's a quote from Bioxx regarding cave ins:

 

 

Don't mine up! If your support beams run along the roof of your mine shaft than you should never ever have an issue with getting your supports broken. As AllenWL stated, the whole idea behind supports is not to make a forcefield that stops falling blocks, but to prevent them from needing to fall in the first place. This is the first step in my planned mining changes going forward. I'm glad to see that most people enjoy it  :)

 

As far as caves getting destroyed. I'll have to look into that in the future.

 

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http://imgur.com/a/V9NOE

Pics showing two ways of building safely up right now.

 

I started the stairs in a cavern. There was ONE little "hole" in the ceiling I did not bother to cover, and it ended up causing 20+ cobblestone to litter the ground... as well as creating more "holes" in the ceiling that needed more supports to cover. Had to correctly support the cave ceiling before I couldn't dig forward without anymore accidents.

 

Its still not impossible to avoid most cave-ins, but its an exercise in patience. I wouldn't bother unless it was a very large vein of something I really needed.

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Open pit mining is what I do.   :)  The one in Goldfield, Nevada is quite impressive.

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I think the danger of the new cave-in system is a great improvement, but I would like to see it somewhat more intuitive. I too get frustrated when I'm digging a perfectly secure tunnel and start nearing a cave, only to have the cave completely fall apart before I can reach it.

 

I think the problem lies with the 9x9x5 scan for unsupported blocks (if that's what it is). This strikes me as too broad. It is unintuitive and frustrating to mine a supported block, have a three-meter-thick solid stone wall next to it, and have a cave-in propogate from 4 meters away. I think if the mechanic is going to be improved, this would be the place to start.

 

I'd like to see the check, if it's a 10% chance or more, only check 1 block in every direction. If that's not dangerous enough, maybe it could be increased to something like a 40% chance but still only check one block away (3x3x3). There could also be, let's say, a 1-2% chance of a check of a larger area like 2 blocks up and down and 3-4 blocks horizonally. This seems much more intuitive since you're more likely to cause a cave-in right next to where you're mining than you are farther away. I don't know how hard that would be to code or if it would increase or decrease resource load for that tick. Maybe someone could answer that. I would think that since it's checking fewer blocks most of the time, it wouldn't be that bad.

 

Another more complicated - but more elegant - possibility would be to do the initial check 1 block away, then iterate additional checks. If the first check finds supported blocks all around, it could differentiate between blocks supported by more solid stone, and those simply supported by beams or something less stable (essentially a check for stone vs not-stone to keep it simple). The game would dismiss the stone blocks supported by other stone blocks, but do another check around a stone block supported by only a beam. So, an example case would be that I mine a block in the end of my tunnel, the game checks the blocks around it and finds only supported blocks. The blocks in the wall are all supported by solid stone, so they are ignored but a secondary check is done around the blocks above my tunnel and supported by the beams. Maybe one secondary check is enough and it doesn't have to iterate to tertiary checks. And maybe the game could randomly select only one block to run a secondary check around so it doesn't have to run a whole handful of checks every time I mine a block. Or maybe the game gives the same % chance of a secondary check as it did the first check so all subsequent checks become unlikely.

 

This solution would only propogate the checks into your tunnel and blocks you've already seen and had a chance to support. It wouldn't propogate checks forward through solid rock to an unseen cave - until you're right up to it (or digging right into the ceiling of a cave if you're mining down). But you would stand a chance to trigger a cave-in a few blocks away from where you mined, it would just only occur in "unstable" locations. Again, would this be impractical from a coding and/or resources standpoint? Maybe this is asking too much, but it doesn't seem as bad as what's going on when a cave-in actually is triggered, with blocks turning to cobble, things falling, things breaking all over the place. A few quick checks seems like it would be easier to execute, but maybe not. I do think that from the player's standpoint it would be very valuable, though. It would give a lot more of the responsibility to the player (if a cave-in occurs, it's more likely to be your own fault), which is what we all want, right?

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I think every block of stone needs another type that cannot cave-in.

Every cave ceiling block can do a simple check when it's created - "are there 3 blocks of air directly under me?"

If yes - spawn the block type that cannot cave.

If no, it's a regular block.

 

That way, you mine out any ceiling and the blocks above it would fall through.

But cave ceilings in real life are generally really tough, having been formed that way by some long slow process - they shouldn't cave in even mining nearby.

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That would double the amount of stone blocks in the game, and I'm pretty sure the devs try to avoid things like that so I think a different solution would be received better.

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