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Planetary Mining Is Unsatisfying in Space Engineers

Discussion in 'General' started by GrindyGears, Aug 19, 2018.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

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    3,073
    Allow me to introduce myself as Captain Stardriver, Owner, CEO, COO, CTO, COD and PDQ of Asteroid Mining and Modification, established in 2077. To find out more about AM&M and my personal perspective on mining and SE, please click here.

    The TL;DR is that mining is a thing where I live, therefore I play SE as a miner. Oddly enough, miners tend to constitute a minority group in Space Engineers. Most SE players find mining to be a chore that either requires a super quick solution or needs to be avoided entirely. This is the reason that flying mining machines proliferate. They solve a lot of short-term problems related to early-game "survival", and the long-term solutions usually involve mining in space, which is "easier" simply because the game was designed to be a space mining game so all mining related blocks are designed to work in space in zero gravity. We can all look around near where we live and see countless examples of terrestrial excavation at every conceivable scale and you would think it would be pretty easy to reproduce the things we see in SE. However, in SE space is the normal environment and planets with gravity are the foreign environments. To be more precise, drills that work just fine for SE space vehicles suck for SE terrestrial vehicles, unless those vehicles fly as if they were in space.

    I have well documented feelings about the existence of planets in SE. I even swore never to set foot on any. I had determined that if I agreed to let someone on a planet have something that was on my ship, I'd just toss it overboard and hope it didn't hit them. However, it wasn't long after planets landed (see what I did there?) that people tried and quickly abandoned terrestrial miners in favor of flying miners because wheels were giving them trouble. I could not resist the engineering challenge and set out to design a terrestrial miner.

    I quickly found out that it was more complicated than just slapping wheel suspensions to cargo containers with drills attached to them. First, wheel suspensions had to be tuned for job they were expected to handle, and then the drills designed to work in space had to be positioned on the vehicle so that they did not remove voxels from below the wheels and thus ensuring that the only way the vehicle would go was down. Here is my first terrestrial miner:
    [​IMG]
    This is a small grid build, and the small grid rotors and hinges struggled with the weight of the drill even on the moon. Unfortunate because this setup should totally work but since all the parts except the wheels were built to work in zero gravity the result is a built that is much weaker than it looks. It turned out, though, that I could use full-sized conveyor hinges on the medium cargo container ports and the full-sized hinges laughed at the weight of one drill. Therefore:
    [​IMG]
    The drills sweep back and forth like fingers, either independently or as a group, and each "hand" moves up and down independently or as a group. This setup works pretty good but the problem is that it can't drill itself a nice flat surface to drive over. Also, there is no "thrust override" for wheel suspensions so you have to work the drills while keeping the "W" key pressed. Not difficult, but not like space mining. I found a solution to that particular problem when I decided (as usual) to go bigger.

    I soon discovered that ore deposits under ice lakes came in layers usually directly beneath the ice layer. I surmised that I could strip mine ice and ore with one pass if I configured the drills right. Plus, I wanted to use the 5x5 wheels so:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The big wheels, however, weren't able to move the rig once the drills started working. This was unexpected (as in it pissed me off) so I decided to try something unconventional, but not unheard of in the mining industry. So, I replaced the wheels with legs:
    [​IMG]
    And it worked. Nearly as expected. I give you the Mine-O-Matic OreMaster 9000 Terrestrial Mining Facility (patent pending):

    That is, it worked until Update 1.186, at which point all the pistons just explode because they're mods.
    Currently I am without a computer sufficient to run SE so all my plans are on hold. I intend to scale down the TMF to a more versitle scale and change it from a strip miner to a boring machine. I have several other mining concepts I intend to try. I guess my point is that working with wheels will always take some patience, and if wheels just don't work, thrusters are not the only alternative. Put your thinking cap on and you can avoid thrusters just as you avoided wheels. You can draw inspiration from nature, which gave up on wheels very early on in the evolution of life on this planet, but didn't solve the problem by making everything fly ;)
     
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  2. GrindyGears Senior Engineer

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    I'm 100% with you on that one, terrestrial mining machines are great fun to try and design, as well as a unique challenge that you don't find in most games, but sadly we are relatively few (for now)

    Those giant rig(s) look awesome and I look forward to when you can get a sufficient PC again.
     
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  3. webkilla Trainee Engineer

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    2
    Agreed. Terrestrial mining offers unique challenges - and as has been noted, then the game is obviously optimized for space based mining - but IMO that's ok.

    If anything, what's missing to make terrestrial mining (and construction in general) easier would be some kind of leveling tool. Something to basically fill holes you've dug, and maybe also smooth out the ground you're on.
     
  4. Sirhan Blixt Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    457
    Like ... concrete? Would be a nice use for all of that stone that I usually throw away.
     
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  5. radam Senior Engineer

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    1,207
    Server i play on has "scarce resource" mod and roads. Since any more rare resource is on high gravity worlds, it forces more creative ways of mining. Im using roads as tunnel platforms...
     
  6. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    3,073
    I have toyed with the idea of installing a projector and having the miner make its own road.
     
Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.