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Assuming that you are going to start mining from surface to underground, what is the most efficient mining pattern that guarantees the highest probabilities to find mineral? It would be nice to have a pattern that allow also to go back to the surface easily.

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Would you object to using mapping tools? There are a couple available: this one which is quick to generate and gives you an overview, highlighting where chests and minerals are; or this one which will generate a highly detailed map, but takes a lot longer to generate. Using one of these tools would certainly mean that you could mine efficiently (knowing exactly where the minerals are), but takes away from the fun of exploring. However, I'm not sure that this is what you're asking for –  jaminja Jun 7 '11 at 15:52
    
The best pattern is to use TNT. Nothing can go wrong, except for the possibility of getting blown to bits... –  EpicKid Aug 28 '11 at 2:46
    
@EpicKid Except for the fact that Dynamite and TNT cost much more than what is received through mining. Economically it isn't worth it. –  Doktoro Reichard Dec 14 '13 at 19:34
    
How about Spelunker potion + ropes? Just dig a hell hole and grab anything usefull on the way. Add rope for quick get-back techique. Also finding a decent cave is usually better then just digging randomly. –  Balen May 30 at 11:02

4 Answers 4

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Personally i'm using a grid of tunnels. The vertical tunnels are using every 5 block a wooden platform to jump up or down.

  |L|  M  |L|
 _| |_____| |__
 _ L _____ L __
  | |   M | |
  |L|     |L|
  | |     | |
  • L = Wooden Platform (you can jump through up or down)
  • M = Minerals
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+1 I never thought of doing it this way. :D In addition, if you have a bed and you've set your spawn point, you could always Save & Exit after mining. You'll end up right back in your house. –  Kaze Jun 7 '11 at 7:54
    
you can build houses only above 0 not underground –  Vlad Jun 7 '11 at 15:25
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i build my mining house when i reach the magma... and now i spawn here every time... –  Merluz Jun 7 '11 at 15:41
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I play for the fun of exploring the underground. I go where my mood takes me. Sometimes, after days of not going underground, I would stumble on my old shafts and recollect the memories of what I did there, and what I stashed in chests nearby. –  Augustus Thoo Aug 28 '11 at 3:41

Piggybacking on what jaminja said on comment about map viewers, I can state the following:

  • Ores are generally well distributed on the overworld, with exception of where the game spawned certain structures (i.e. the Corruption, the Dungeon).
  • As you go lower, you will get more valuable/advanced ores (i.e. from copper to iron and gold)
  • The jungle has an increased chance to spawn more ores than other biomes.

Eventually, if you dig straight down, you will reach a cavern. And due to the distribution of ores, creating a pattern such as the one showed by Joe can probably not be worthwhile. I say this because I've done something similar, to the whole map (although it was to eventually seal off the hard-mode map).

Making a pattern in the jungle is hard, mostly due to the presence of enemies and because the jungle has already several empty spaces.


The only place where I needed to make a pattern was in the Underworld, as the lava that comes from the Hellstone is cumbersome to deal with, alongside with the Fire Imps.

Taking advantage of the Imp's spawning algorithm, I design my Underworld mine with the following criteria:

  • Horizontal corridors can't have more than 3 blocks height.
  • Vertical corridors can't have more than 2 locks width.
  • Rooms need to have some "hanging" blocks, such that the before mentioned is verified.
  • Leave an ash border 1 block thick around Hellstone, as to contain the lava.

Having any sort of wide pattern is prejudicial when hard-mode ores come into play, as the spawning algorithm, instead of spawning a block of ore, replaces several blocks to the corresponding hard-mode ore. Also, since at that time you may have access to the ingredients needed to make Spelunker Potions, having a pattern is only helpful if it helps you reach lower levels.

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Like Joe, I also use the grid of vertical/horizontal tunnels techniques.

Horizontal shafts are 3 blocks tall with periodic dams to minimize flooding if I pop an underground lake. My horizontal shafts are roughly 300 - 400 ft apart (using the depth meter) and line up with where the background textures change (dirt -> rocky dirt -> all rock.)

Vertical shafts are 2 blocks wide with wooden platforms every 6 blocks up to act as a ladder. I space them apart by counting aloud between 10 to 15 seconds while running in the horizontal shafts.

Digging the tunnels takes a long time but it helps if you craft a good pick (demonite or better) and/or get some friends. Be careful about digging though the dungeon (skulls) and flooding your tunnels with the oceans on either edge of the map. The fire imps in the underworld also make tunneling a PITA. I suggest building your bottommost horizontal tunnel right above where they start spawning.

I guess this isn't really the most "efficient" pattern, bit it is thorough. And it's convenient once you have a highway to run from one side of the map to the other. I also have used it to flood hell, which was funny.

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the best pattern is running through natural caves, and when you stacked dig down to the next cave...

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