So recently I've been playing around with the terrain scanner (from eladkr85
's Scanner mod) in my SF3 world, making a 15x15 chunk area around my spawn. It's a great little thing, and it brings something to skyblocks that I've longed for in Skyblocks since playing the first Agrarian Skies.
I'd like to give some general feedback on the mod, and perhaps a suggestion or two. Having developed some software myself, I'm aware that suggesting solutions to problems isn't always a good way of giving feedback, so I'll try to keep my impressions separate from the ideas I had about how to solve some of the issues.
Overall feedback Great idea!
Being able to generate terrain in a void world is pretty cool. I like the "blank canvas" feel of Skyblocks, but at the same time, a lot of builds are better suited on actual terrain, and actual terrain takes a long time to build by hand, when working on a larger build.
Watching chunks being generated is very satisfying. The only thing that's slightly annoying in the process is the empty layers above ground (up to 128) which are still scanned. But this kind of makes sense, so it isn't a really big deal.
I've primarily used the Terrain Scanner and the Scanner Queue (with a Biome Scanner to provide the Terrain Scanner with a map, but otherwise not used any of its features).
On the generated terrain
From reading the github issue tracker, it seems like plant generation is a bit wonky. I generated 225 chunks, about half of which with land, and didn't have a single tree or piece of grass (using exact chunk-aligned coordinates), so this does indeed seem to be a problem. It's a shame, but it sounds like it might not be trivial to solve.
Ores are seemingly generated completely at random (one at a time, not in veins). Re-scanning the same chunk multiple times will populate it with more and more ores. While I personally will use the config option to not generate ores at all (as I use the mod for canvas generation rather than resources), if ores are indeed present, I would prefer them being generated in a deterministic and more vanilla-like way.
UI / Interfacing with the machines
Putting down a Biome Scanner next to the Terrain Scanner, thus giving it a chunk map interface, makes it very nice to use. For generating individual chunks, I really have no objections with the interface. Great job!
However, scanning individual chunks quickly becomes a chore when generating areas of land enough to make larger builds on (cities etc.), not to mention the fact that you may have to generate a fair bit of land before you find a piece of landscape that suits your build.
So I built myself a Scanner Queue. Pretty cool, I like the idea of having it as a separate block, which much like the Biome Scanner adds extra functionality to the Terrain Scanner.
However, manually typing coordinates into the Scanner Queue doesn't feel as polished as using the Terrain Scanner (in fact, it's quite annoying when doing it a lot). Also, starting up a new, fresh queue is a little weird. If I input "16, 16" into the Scanner queue, then hit "Build", it transfers the chunk coordinates to the Terrain Scanner, as expected. I then have to (as far as I can tell) open the Terrain Scanner to activate it. No problems here, really. However, I also have to remove the "16, 16" entry from the Scanner Queue, or it will be scanned twice (it finishes its current "order", then takes the top entry from the queue (still "16, 16") and carries out that one). Not sure if I'm doing this wrong or if this is intended.
Anyway, a little inconsistency. Viewing the map in the Terrain Scanner, chunks are numbered by their "chunk coordinate" (so the chunk starting at 64, 128 would be referrred to as "4, 8" in that interface, but if queueing it through the Scanner Queue, I have to type it in as "64, 128". I can see the point of this, in that it allows greater freedom, but all it did for me was make me memorize the times table for 16...
Aside from the slightly clunky queue interface, the queueing function seems to work really well. The 5 chunk limitation seems a bit arbitrary (in your intro video you said it was because the UI didn't fit any more), and while the queue certainly helped my sanity a lot, I still had to go back to it quite often and re-type new coordinates.
Summary of issues
- Missing terrain features (plants)
- Typing coordinates is really annoying
- Queue is still quite short
(There are spontaneous ideas to some of the issues described above. Maybe they don't align with what you want the mod to do, in which case feel free to ignore them. It's your mod, after all!) Also, regarding plants, I don't really have any suggestion. If it's fixable, it would be nice, but it's not really a dealbreaker for me.
Map interface for the Scanner Queue
Instead of manually typing coordinates, queueing chunks via the excellent chunk map used in the Biome/Terrain Scanner would be a great improvement. Perhaps it could be done in the Terrain Scanner itself, by shift-clicking (or similar) multiple chunks. Exact implementation of this could be done in any number of ways. As long as I don't need to have a calculator open to figure out X*16 over and over again, I'm happy.
Since your stated reason for the 5 chunk queue limit was UI space, this could also be helped via a map interface.
Automating the terrain scanner without manually queueing up chunks
Another thought I had was that I'd like to fly off a bit, put down a Terrain Scanner with wireless power, set a "range", then leave it for hours and come back to a large area of land. Something like a "scan all chunks within an X by X square around me" function (the current range of the chunk map wouldn't be a bad range, I feel). This would make terrain generation much more scalable, and require less babysitting.
I hope I didn't sound to critical. Overall, I think it's a really fun little mod, with great potential. For now I probably won't keep using it, as it requires too much babysitting, and re-typing coordinates is far too annoying. Still, I really appreciated its inclusion in the pack, and I hope to see it make a return in future iterations!