Mining is the act of harvesting natural blocks in order to either obtain resources or create a path through an obstruction. The primary tool for mining is the Matter Manipulator (accessed by pressing 'R'). Various pickaxes and drills are also available, which may harvest blocks faster at the cost of limited durability.
It's useful to have a standard mining technique in order to keep mines orderly and navigable. While surface caves provide natural access to the deeper reaches of a planet, they quickly turn into a confusing maze.
It is often advisable to dig a central mine shaft, allowing quick and direct descent into the ground. Ledges or platforms should be placed at a height that players can easily jump to, for example, so that it's convenient to climb back to the surface. Additionally, if placed at reasonable distances, these ledges can catch a player every so often as they descend, preventing falling damage they might take by simply diving down a mine shaft.
It can be helpful to leave markers indicating the direction back to the mine shaft or locations of interest, to avoid getting lost. These can be anything that stands out, just so long as it's visible and delivers its message clearly. Some possible ideas:
- See the list of blocks here.
Some block types are affected by gravity and will fall if they aren't properly supported. Identifying these blocks and planning for their collapse can help avoid serious harm. On the other hand, their behavior can be exploited, since any ores in one of these blocks will be dropped for pickup if the block falls. Causing a planned collapse can yield a quick harvest of materials.
Mining presents more of a challenge on Ocean, Arctic, Toxic, and Magma planets. The huge expanses of liquid can be difficult or deadly to traverse. Any open space below sea level that doesn't contain background walls will be flooded by the liquid, so it's important to keep this in mind when harvesting ores in the background layer or removing background walls for any reason. Enclose a space completely before removing background walls to ensure the flood is contained. When finished, replace the walls and drain the liquid before breaking containment.