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Author Topic: Minecarts are for what? No, really.  (Read 31225 times)

GhostDwemer

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Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« on: June 04, 2012, 05:45:33 pm »

Am I the only one who finds they are absolutely pointless for their stated purpose: delivering mined ores to smelters? By the time I have set up a route to a recently mined out area of magnetite, my three dwarves with wheelbarrows have vacuumed the floor clean of any scraps of ore. I can't even imagine how pointless it would be to build a route to a smaller vein than magnetite. With the new, reduced ore drops, there hardly seems to be enough ore to bother with the construction of tracks.

So am I just dumb and missing an obvious, better way of doing things, or are minecarts merely for fun?
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zombie urist

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2012, 05:49:20 pm »

I use them for hauling in general, such as delivering silk to weavers, booze from the still to the stockpiles, refuse to the magma sea, etc.
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WealthyRadish

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012, 05:49:51 pm »

Well, it is more useful for very deep mining, especially if it can be automated with rollers and such. But yeah, even then it's a stretch. The fact that they're there is still great though, as combined with the new stockpile settings it allows for more effective automation and assembly line setups. The fact that they can gib goblins is always a plus.
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Sabreur

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 06:06:09 pm »

Yeah, I'm with you on this one. Minecarts are useful - just not for mining. I'd like to see that change, but I'm not sure how you'd balance it.

ab00

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2012, 06:21:48 pm »

I would say that they are more useful for hauling flux - build a track from a marble layer to the magma sea, and it takes a lot less time that hauling by wheelbarrow.
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Urist Da Vinci

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2012, 07:50:08 pm »

I'm considering a setup where minecarts could be placed close to the workshops, and loaded full of trade goods. When the cart fills or a caravan arrives, the cart is sent down to the trade depot and dumped out onto a stockpile. It is then very hauling-efficient to move items to the depot, and you could sort by distance rather than by value or searching.

slink

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 08:46:25 pm »

I think it probably depends on your fortress layout.  My impression has been the same as the OP.  The minecarts seem fascinating but I can't find any place they would be worth the trouble to build with my layout.  I build around a central staircase so the longest distances are vertical.  Three wheelbarrows per stone pile is enough to keep those full for the shops using the stones, and the wheelbarrows can use the stairs without special effort on my part.
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IT 000

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 08:53:32 pm »

I tend to use minecarts for automatic quantum dumps. Have a minecart zip wood up by the carpenter's workshop and dump it off saves space.

I haven't used minecarts for defense yet, but one time my woodcutter bowled over an entire siege and three of my soldiers on his way back to the sawmills. He beheaded a thug with an axe and probably saved the fort doing so. twas fun.
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Speakafreak22

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2012, 10:46:51 pm »

I'd love to use minecarts as well, but they just seem to be too much trouble for the amount of work it does.
ab00 has given probably the best use for minecarts I've seen, though.
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Khym Chanur

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 10:52:15 pm »

You can use them to automatically dump certain types of items down chutes, without having to do any micromanaging.
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Ross Vernal

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2012, 11:09:05 pm »

I have a multi-story track.

Floor 4 is the start level, with all of my workshops. They dump all their trade goods in there, and then it goes down to the Forge Area on floor 3. All forged items go in there. It goes down another level and dumps all of its contents out right below the Trade Depot. It then goes on a bit further, and loads up with wood, cloth, and stone to dump right back off on Floor 4.

Took me about an hour to plan, build, and power the thing, and I've only had 3 injuries as a result. Pro tip: smooth walls on the other side of the track before the track gets active. I have three legendary engravers with broken legs sitting in the hospital.
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Veylon

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2012, 12:56:52 am »

About all I use them for is quantum stockpiling non-food items. It's also kind of nice for the dwarves to have a local refuse heap in the fortress and then have the garbage collector take it all away in one big load to the main one outside. Saves a lot of trips.
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Sus

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2012, 02:02:41 am »

I think it probably depends on your fortress layout.  My impression has been the same as the OP.  The minecarts seem fascinating but I can't find any place they would be worth the trouble to build with my layout.  I build around a central staircase so the longest distances are vertical.  Three wheelbarrows per stone pile is enough to keep those full for the shops using the stones, and the wheelbarrows can use the stairs without special effort on my part.
This.
Maybe thay could be useful for long-distance things like moving ore and flux down to the magma forges from an intermediate stockpile and bringing any metal trade goods up to the depot, but other than that... not worth the trouble, really. It's probably because my forts tend to be split on multiple z-levels by function rather than having a lot of stuff on one level. Makes planning a workable track layout quite a chore, especially since you have to take the caverns into account.

Besides, effective magma-dumping is easy: just dig one damn deep shaft (preferably above the magma sea, so the dumped stuff really goes do /dev/null instead of simply melting or burning) and add garbage dumps every five levels or so. :P
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 02:08:23 am by Sus »
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Matoro

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2012, 02:05:02 am »

Quote
I tend to use minecarts for automatic quantum dumps. Have a minecart zip wood up by the carpenter's workshop and dump it off saves space.

Same thing there.

Also, automatic minecart uses just one dwarf for hauling ~10 pieces of things at time, but with three wheelbarrows three dwarves have to haul three times for same amount of stone. So, if you have not enough labour force, automated minecarts are way more effective that wheelbarrows.
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Martin

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Re: Minecarts are for what? No, really.
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2012, 02:29:30 am »

I think it probably depends on your fortress layout.  My impression has been the same as the OP.  The minecarts seem fascinating but I can't find any place they would be worth the trouble to build with my layout.  I build around a central staircase so the longest distances are vertical.  Three wheelbarrows per stone pile is enough to keep those full for the shops using the stones, and the wheelbarrows can use the stairs without special effort on my part.


It entirely depends on fortress layout. We've been laying out fortresses around the same hauling system since 3D. In terms of just basic fortress excavation, they don't help very much unless you can work in a stone clearing rail layout without completely screwing up the rest of your design. That'll take some time to develop, but even there I think it's of fairly limited usage. Instead, it's designed much more for large scale mining - mining for the sake of mining, not for the sake of bedrooms. If you have a megaproject, or you're trying to acquire a certain volume of ore, etc. Then, there's nothing for the mining to interrupt, so setting up a safe rail system should be trivial. How many people have embarked on a megaproject since .07?


I have, but I don't think many other have yet - and my fortress layout is so dedicated to rail, that's its damn near non-functional without it. I've swung to the opposite extreme.
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