Enhancing the Farming Experience

What sort of food gatherer are you?


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    19

VapourDrive

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
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First: a little disclaimer - I haven't really stopped working on Harder Start (for any of you who remember me talking about it) I just don't have the time to dedicate to working on any one big project by myself. I will hopefully release a number of smaller mods taking some of the work there to life, with less stress on me for not getting a complete and well rounded overhaul mod out to everyone.

One of the things that I want to expand upon is the mechanic of farming, I come from a family of farmers and the comment is often brought up that the vanilla mechanics are extremely trivial, and the player isn't rewarded for tinkering with some of the more creative crops.

I know that there are plenty of other mods out there that also expand on the aspect of farming, and I would definitely recommend trying them out, agricraft, growthcraft and harvestcraft are all really neat and add to the game, but A. I love working with blocks like crops (see Attained Drops), and B. I think there is still room for something different.

Here's the plan. I want to work on something that is going to add more than just content on the mechanics that are already there, having a garden with 50 different plants of pretty much the same style didn't really do it for me. And, as cool as the powerful genetic system that agricraft adds, it doesn't really fit my gameplay style. I want to add a couple new mechanics that work well together, and it all starts with the soil.

A few of the ideas right now:
  • Some sort of different crops for different biomes, some crops can't grow in some places, and some places will have a rough time growing any crops at all (meaning you spend more time raising cattle etc).
  • Soil should vary more, I will likely add a custom farm block that will be a tile entity (it won't update all the time, or lag the game out the window, but some things just need to be lived with). The soil would have nutrient values, hydration values, and potentially more like roughness (rocks), or how much clay there is in it etc. (This is one of the areas I am looking for advice on, what is a good balance of too realistic/a pain to do). You might sample dirt from different areas to get a good mixture of soils, and then lay down the "perfect earth" for your new farm. Instead of either being wet or dry, water will travel through the soil from block to block and they will gain hydration from rain, but possible flood if there is too much rain for a period of time.
  • Reward the player for paying attention to their farm, some plants may have different variations, or even new mechanics such as a random bountiful harvest where the crops grow extra plentifully and your farm reaps more than you could have ever imagined (with good soil care). I am considering real world mechanics like crop rotation, symbiotic relationships between various crop types, and the like but I need feedback on what may seem too much or heavily bloated.
  • Branch out from simply growing crops in a field, have more plant life that flourishes in different conditions, agave plants that grow best on hills, rice that grows with lots of water etc. More sources of food found in the world would be a potential.
What I need suggestions for
  • How could new crops and seeds be obtained? (I don't like throwing everything as a random grass drop)
  • What sort of mechanics would you like to see?
  • What are some interesting crops that could be implemented?
  • What is a good balance of realistic, but not so realistic it seems unfit for minecraft?
  • Anything else anyone might think up.
 

Lethosos

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Jul 29, 2019
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Reminds me of my studies on brewing and alcohol in general for Minecraft.

Sent from my SGH-T769 using Tapatalk 2
 

Wraithflay

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Jul 29, 2019
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How could new crops and seeds be obtained? (I don't like throwing everything as a random grass drop)
The first thing to come to mind was birds. Birds are great at getting seeds and such over distances what with their eating habits, so I immediately thought of the shedding mechanic that Botania adds to most neutral mobs, and thought of chickens dropping seeds occasionally. Cows'd probably be a good source of fertilizer for soil as well (not to mention horses I imagine).
 
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Hea3veN

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
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Some parts sound similar to terrafirmacraft's handling of crops, which would be cool to see it implemented as a separate, independent, mod.
 
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Pyure

Not Totally Useless
Aug 14, 2013
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Vapour, I really like that you're looking into this, I suspect you're going to implement a fantastic system.

Ideas:

1) Plants should have ideal environments. You mention "perfect ground", but perfect for corn may not be perfect for wheat.
2) If possible, your new ground tiles should "bleed" a bit into adjacent blocks. This a) reflects natural geology, erosion, etc, b) won't increase your lag noticeably, and c) encourages players to keep their various farmlands segregated
 

VapourDrive

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
536
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The first thing to come to mind was birds. Birds are great at getting seeds and such over distances what with their eating habits, so I immediately thought of the shedding mechanic that Botania adds to most neutral mobs, and thought of chickens dropping seeds occasionally. Cows'd probably be a good source of fertilizer for soil as well (not to mention horses I imagine).
This sounds like an interesting idea, I'll think about this more, the fertilizer definitely, (as well as a compost mechanic). The chickens dropping seeds I am not so sure about, it would work really well for actual airborn birds that seem to migrate, but the chickens stay in pretty much the same place.
Some parts sound similar to terrafirmacraft's handling of crops, which would be cool to see it implemented as a separate, independent, mod.
I probably should but have never played TerraFirmaCraft. I know about some of their mechanics but have never gotten around to checking it out.
Vapour, I really like that you're looking into this, I suspect you're going to implement a fantastic system.

Ideas:

1) Plants should have ideal environments. You mention "perfect ground", but perfect for corn may not be perfect for wheat.
2) If possible, your new ground tiles should "bleed" a bit into adjacent blocks. This a) reflects natural geology, erosion, etc, b) won't increase your lag noticeably, and c) encourages players to keep their various farmlands segregated
I have it in the plans that soil will have some sort of mixing mechanic, so that it does help to keep the soils that are wanted to be seperate, seperate. I think it would also be interesting to have "creeping" crops that spread out a bit, so that you need to keep the patch of garden fenced off. Erosion would be an interesting thing to look at, there may be a potential for certain soil types with no plant on them to suffer if they aren't on completely flat ground.

I am a little torn between whether or not it would be a wise idea to stick to a set number of different types of soil, (high clay, loam, etc) and then have moisture levels per each. Or if it would be good to have one farm soil that would have nutrient concentrations and hydration percentage. I'm leaning a bit to the first option.
 
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Pyure

Not Totally Useless
Aug 14, 2013
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I am a little torn between whether or not it would be a wise idea to stick to a set number of different types of soil, (high clay, loam, etc) and then have moisture levels per each. Or if it would be good to have one farm soil that would have nutrient concentrations and hydration percentage. I'm leaning a bit to the first option.
Man I'm really thinking that second option is neat :)
 

VapourDrive

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
536
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The second system would be more versatile, I'll think out loud a bit

  • A plant could check something like nitrogen, phosphorus, and maybe some others (Soil composition gets really complicated and I don't want to overwhelm part of the potential user demographic.) Obviously everything is going to check for a certain water threshold.
  • When you till soil with whatever tool, or mechanic in place (I'm not sure overwriting the actual hoe event is wise), the soil tile will likely get attributes generated from the biome that it is, and possibly from the surrounding blocks (eg searching for clay nearby or something).
  • You may be able to take an agriculturalist prospectors shovel around getting soil samples from other biomes to get different compositions and then mix them together for really healthy soil.
  • Crops may add certain nutrients to the soil, and take others away, encouraging crop rotation.

The first system would basically just be less intimidating to people, but would be more limited... I think I like the sounds of the second method, a tile entity with stored data.
 
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Pyure

Not Totally Useless
Aug 14, 2013
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The second system would be more versatile, I'll think out loud a bit

  • A plant could check something like nitrogen, phosphorus, and maybe some others (Soil composition gets really complicated and I don't want to overwhelm part of the potential user demographic.) Obviously everything is going to check for a certain water threshold.
  • When you till soil with whatever tool, or mechanic in place (I'm not sure overwriting the actual hoe event is wise), the soil tile will likely get attributes generated from the biome that it is, and possibly from the surrounding blocks (eg searching for clay nearby or something).
  • You may be able to take an agriculturalist prospectors shovel around getting soil samples from other biomes to get different compositions and then mix them together for really healthy soil.
  • Crops may add certain nutrients to the soil, and take others away, encouraging crop rotation.
The first system would basically just be less intimidating to people, but would be more limited... I think I like the sounds of the second method, a tile entity with stored data.
Vapour if you implement it correctly, I think this can be both brilliant and intuitive.

For instance, there's no particular reason to name nitrogen etc. You could have a "Nutrients" level, and possibly a "salinity" level. Obviously a "water" level.

I love the idea that tools can actually influence the soil with respect to the biome. I don't know that this has been done before, but its really clever and sounds fun.

And if ultimately I can do actual crop rotation, wowzer.
 

1SDAN

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Jul 29, 2019
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I'd like it if farming was a lot more hands on when not using automation and chemicals. Weeds would be a good way to keep players active and would force players to use only as much land as they can control. Also, I'd like it if plants actually absorbed nearby water, or at least for there to be an option for that. Imagine putting that together with Chicken Core's finite water, it'd be so cool for hardcore packs. Also, configs for making or editing crops. Oh, and maybe a few nuetral mobs that can pass through blocks and try to eat your crops. That way you'll have to craft specialized pest control blocks to keep them out. But they can damage these pest control blocks over time and reproduce naturally. So you have to go and commit genocide on them. MUAHAHAHAHA!
 

VapourDrive

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
536
-8
1
Vapour if you implement it correctly, I think this can be both brilliant and intuitive.

For instance, there's no particular reason to name nitrogen etc. You could have a "Nutrients" level, and possibly a "salinity" level. Obviously a "water" level.

I love the idea that tools can actually influence the soil with respect to the biome. I don't know that this has been done before, but its really clever and sounds fun.

And if ultimately I can do actual crop rotation, wowzer.
I really like hiding the true, nitty gritty chemistry and biology behind more minecraft friendly terms, coming to a good balance might not be the easiest. I also really like things that encourage the player to get out of their base and explore the world, searching for rich soils reminds me a bit of what it feels like racing around looking for beehives. I am starting to get more and more excited about the potential for this. (hopefully I don't royally duff it)
I'd like it if farming was a lot more hands on when not using automation and chemicals. Weeds would be a good way to keep players active and would force players to use only as much land as they can control. Also, I'd like it if plants actually absorbed nearby water, or at least for there to be an option for that. Imagine putting that together with Chicken Core's finite water, it'd be so cool for hardcore packs. Also, configs for making or editing crops. Oh, and maybe a few nuetral mobs that can pass through blocks and try to eat your crops. That way you'll have to craft specialized pest control blocks to keep them out. But they can damage these pest control blocks over time and reproduce naturally. So you have to go and commit genocide on them. MUAHAHAHAHA!
A couple things: I want to make sure that I distinguish between what the soil does and what the plants do, the soil would be what consumes the water from the water source block, the plants absorb it from the soil. The soil could have the ability to consume whole water source blocks, probably off by default. The weed mechanic sound neat, but could be really irritating for players, maybe if they spread really slowly? but then you're right, fencing of areas would combat this well.
As for mobs, I don't plan to add any to this, I want it to be focused... could be something interesting for another mod though.

Crops that I add are going to be configurable, pretty heavily. Adding crops via a config would be neat, some sort of json system like tabula or whathave you.
 
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ShneekeyTheLost

Too Much Free Time
Dec 8, 2012
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I do some of this already using Hunger Overhaul, Agricraft, and Pam's Harvestcraft. I set the 'default' yield at one using Hunger Overhaul, then use Agricraft's crossbreeding system to increase yield from there, rewarding players for diving into it.

Pam's Harvestcraft has biome-dependent spawns. And let's face it, you can grow anything anywhere with the right greenhouse.
 

VapourDrive

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
536
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Minecraft doesn't have the concept of greenhouses though, temperature is solely biome dependent and you can't modify anything outside of that. I don't want to have crops checking the surrounding chunks for a closed environment.
It is neat that there are alternative ways of achieving the same sort of end goal, but that doesn't mean that their isn't room for more. Plus nothing has really touched the aspect of soil quality (that I know of) to the extent that I plan to.
I do have a preliminary outline for what info soil may save:
  • Nutrients (lump sum property which would equate to nitrogen levels) designated by what plants are grown.
  • Organic Material (lump sum property for phosphorus and potassium etc) designated by quality of soil, maintained by use of compost and fertilizer.
  • Hydration - water levels, affected by rain, water sources, plant uptake, and texture.
  • Soil texture - loam, silt, clay etc. Designated by where you get the soil from and how you mix it, doesn't affect plant growth directly, does affect the other soil attributes (initially values and how they change)
These four things will hopefully work together in an intuitive and relatively simple manner that brings out a variety oof interesting gameplay mechanics, none of which in themselves should be too intimidating.