20th June 2020 – Perry
The recent addition ‘minecarts’ will have a significant impact to future technology and economy-building in the Dwarves of Glistenveld. Minecarts provide the automated delivery of items, meaning your dwarves can focus more on their work.
In this blog we’re going to explore how minecarts work, since there is a bit of strategy to how you set them up.
A single minecart and track is simple enough. You start the tracks next to your storage and finish them at an area you intend to mine or forage. Tracks will automatically connect together and orient themselves as they’re assembled, so you don’t have to think about their rotations.
Minecarts have 4 behaviours:
- Picking up items – Units place items either in the minecart or on the track where its’ home position is. Any items left on the tracks as a minecart moves over them will also be picked up by the minecart.
- Dropping off items – Minecarts will drop items off in any storage building adjacent to the tracks, following the rules of it’s configuration. As an example, minecarts will drop food in food barrels, however they can also drop food in storage. To ensure the right type of storage is used, you can either place the food barrels earlier on the tracks or configure the storage to not accept food items.
- Carrying items – While a minecart is holding items, it will move along the track in an unguided fashion, following the path of least resistance, until it no longer holds any items at which point it returns home.
- Returning home – The minecart follows a different system when it’s returning home. Instead of following unguided track behaviour, it will find the shortest route back along the tracks, the same way a dwarf would. Tip: You can set a minecart’s home tile by selecting the minecart and right-clicking to move it to another location.
Although minecarts are able to find the shortest path home, carrying items is a different story. When a minecart holding items arrives at a track with a junction, it follows the path of least resistance. First of all, the cart prefers travelling in a straight line, but if it can’t do that, it turns gently right, and if it can’t do that, it turns gently left. When a minecart reaches the end of a track, it stops and rolls back in the opposite direction.
When there are multiple carts and/or junctions on the same track, how you position the track can make a big difference to how optimised the routes are. The above example is efficient enough, until one side of the storage fills up, and the cart ends up travelling down the other cart’s track before it can reach the rest of the storage…
However, if you were to position the tracks to look something like this:
Because minecarts prefer to travel in a straight line, this setup will cause both carts to go around in circles around the storage until they’re empty.
Notice the minecart turns left at the end there. This is because that minecart is empty now, and is pathfinding home again. This angled ‘y’ junction design is the bread and butter of any elaborate minecart network in Glistenveld.
Tracks can also be configured to change the minecart’s behaviour on certain junctions, but we’ll talk more on that in a future blog perhaps.
Until our next blog, stay safe out there and watch out for racing minecarts!