Earlier, we talked about blueprints, and this time, we talk about one of the most important things that blueprints are used to design. Although blueprints can be used to build completely static structures, like a wall or building, objects that have specially designed moving parts are something we call “core blocks”.
Core blocks are any block that has either an interface for a user, such as the instrument panel of a vehicle or machine, or else which performs some sort of mechanical function, like the engine of the machine that the control panel operates. Hence, a player-designed steam engine would be a type of core block, which would probably have an interface for adding water and coal. Core blocks can be either purchased (or, for the larcenous, stolen,) from a town, looted from a ruin, or crafted yourself.
Mechanical Core Blocks
As was mentioned in the last article, the game will abstract out the functions of a blueprinted small machine into inputs and outputs (as well as conditions where the machine breaks), which means that you can then use those blueprints to create new mechanical core blocks that can be placed and operated, or used inside other, larger blueprinted complexes. This lets you build factories or complex vehicles where you build one small machine as a core block that is then part of a larger, more complex machine which can have multiple copies of that small machine operating inside. Depending on the technology level of the culture you are part of, you can miniaturize core blocks within core blocks to have compound machines inside of a single cube.
For a car, for example, you would have an engine mechanical core block that has input from the fuel tank core block, pushing power out to the wheel core blocks, all of which go through “conduits” that convey outputs from one core block to become the inputs of another. The car’s steering wheel and pedals are an interface core block that controls the inputs to the engine and wheels, as well.
Interface Core Blocks
The steering wheel of a car is a core block with a user interface that changes your control of your character in first-person mode to control of the vehicle. Core block interfaces are also used to create the changes between first-person mode and mayor mode with the mayor’s desk, or to go into property management mode with the property core block. Even entering blueprint-making mode takes a basic type of core block.
Property Core Blocks
Because villagers are active in changing the landscape in Imagine Nations, players need to, functionally, purchase (or craft/forge) a deed for a property in order to properly claim it in the eyes of the other villagers. This takes the form of a property core block, which is a special interface core block that also defines the area that is your property. (Either you can place down a new property core block, or buy a pre-built property, including the likes of renting an apartment room.) Using these, you can set up homes, stores, workshops, farms, factories, or other structure types that villagers will respect as your property, and interact with appropriately. (Such as seeking to buy things from a store.)
Blueprints for a structure can be loaded into these property core blocks, so that you can define how a building should be built or run. You can have employees that follow duties you lay out, such as running the counter at your store, operating machines in a factory, till soil or pick fruit on a farm, or making sure they automatically are tasked to repair castle walls when damage to the walls makes them no longer match the blueprints.
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– The Imagine Nations Team