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The Prospector's Pick is a tool that allows the user to locate veins of Ore. When used correctly, the Pick can make mining much less monotonous and futile, but when used improperly can be frustrating.

Basic Functionality

  • The Pick scans a 25 block long cube centered on the targeted block.
  • The Pick will report a rough concentration of the most prevalent ore within the area.
  • The Pick can report 6 levels of concentration: Nothing of Interest, Traces of Ore, and Small/Medium/Large/Very Large Samples of Ore.
  • The Pick will report false negatives (Nothing of Interest) even when ore is present. It can also produce partial negatives (Concentration reported is lower than actual level, sometimes causing another nearby ore to be reported instead). Need verification on this
  • The Prospector's Pick will say Found Ore when targeted at an ore block.

What Not to Do

The Prospector's Pick does not point the direction of ore (directly). Attempting to dig where the reading is strongest will at best lead the player into dead ends, and at worst lead the player in circles. In addition, a single reading should not drastically affect the players behavior. Most likely, the reading is a false negative or an outlier of some kind. Making hasty decisions based on one reading will be frustrating and futile.


Binary Search

Once the player has located a Very Large Sample (or which ever is the largest sample possible from a vein), the player will be unable to tell whether they are mining towards the ore or around it, as both will yield the same readings. A Binary Search is a method that can circumvent this problem. A Binary search is a type of computerized search algorithm that is applicable to prospecting. The strategy proceeds as follows:

  • 1st, mine 12 blocks in each direction of one of the 3 dimensions (North-South, East-West, and Up-Down).
  • Prospect along each tunnel, counting the blocks until the reading diminishes (if it doesn't diminish, extend the tunnels)
  • Determine which direction's reading diminishes first. Write down or remember the opposite direction. (If both diminish at the same time, write 0 or something similar)
  • Return to the start. Repeat steps 1-3 for the other dimensions.
  • Now, move 7 blocks in each of the written dimensions. The ore is now determined to be within a 13-block long cube centered at this location.
  • Repeat steps 1-4 ( mining tunnels in each direction) but only 6 blocks long instead of 12.
  • now, move 4 blocks in each of the written dimensions (the second set) ore is now determined to be located within a 7 block long cube centers at this location.
  • repeat steps 1-4 but with 3 block long tunnels.
  • At this point, assuming there are more than 27 ore blocks, ore should be found.

This search functions by splitting the cube in half 3 times, the discarding the half that diminishes first. Doing this In 3 dimensions produces a smaller cube , which can then be searched again.


The Binary Search is very effective, but come sometimes be time-consuming. The averaging approach is faster, but less reliable, and like the Search, is built on the idea of finding which direction leads away from ore and going the opposite way.

  • 1st, dig 12 block long tunnels in all 6 directions (including up and down)
  • Prospect along each tunnel and mark the locations where the reading diminishes (extending the tunnels if necessary)
  • in each of the three dimensions, find the point halfway between the two points found in step 2.
  • Write down the distance to each of these averages (e.g. 3 blocks west, 7 blocks south, and 4 blocks up).
  • from the central point, follow these directions (go 3 blocks west, 'then 7 blocks south from there, then up)
  • ore should be found at this location


Both of these strategies function as long as long as the target ore is the only ore present. If another vein (such as gypsum) intrudes on the target vein, ignoring those readings ( similarly to a string of false negatives) can sometimes allow a semi-accurate prediction to be made. However, if necessary, the offending vein can be found and mined out until it no longer intrudes on the readings.

If two veins of the same ore appear in the same area, or the target vein is split or sparsely spread, this can throw of predictions. A telltale sign of this is a reading decreasing, then increasing again while moving in one direction. (Do nOt mistake partial false negatives for this). Once this is discovers, targeting each individual vein by itself becomes simple, just by proceeding with caution when in range of both veins.

Interesting Quirks

1. Unlike real life prospecting, the Prospector's Pick actually does a "live" scan of the area. This means that a vein that is interrupting a. Reding can be mined out until it is no longer interrupting. It can also. E used to estimate the quantity of ore Ina vein as it is being mined,

To be continued.