Boundless: On Storage and Rice Farming

299 hours and still counting. Progress is slowing down a little, if only because we’re reaching the stage of attempting to master more complicated systems, plus work expanding to fill the greed of one’s self-set goals.

I barely got the basement storage by different color shades built, and all the gleambow gleam blocks of all colors of the rainbow neatly filed away, before I started to feel the aching need for more, even more storage space in order to properly sort out one’s bulging inventories.

There was space for gleam. For three types of rock. Maybe decorative plants and flowers. But what about sand, and gravel, and ash, and sponge, and mould, and three types of tree trunks? Oh, and growth, and mud, and glass, and blocks made from the rock like bricks and marble?

Complicating the issue was learning there was a complex block limit of 512 blocks per 2×2 plots, all vertical plots considered together.

Storage blocks are complex blocks. So my grandiose plans of being able to stack floors on top of the other would not really work out, beyond one more floor, if that.

Going flat and wide would spread out the complex block load.

There’s pretty much only one direction I can expand in. I wasn’t going to move the gleam cabinets and there is a settlement I don’t want to infringe on to the left. So I decided to snatch up the plots on the right before some random newbie decided to plonk down beacons that might block my future storage expansion.

When I’ll actually get around to hollowing out the space, building the ceiling, floor and churning out the blue marble for the walls and black cabinets for the actual storage… well, your guess is as good as mine.

On an actual accomplishment front, I got off my arse and built up the sub-basement under the easy farm crops.

Rice and starberries are what I would classify as medium difficulty crops.

Starberries require a lot of air gaps for good seed and crop yields. There are three types of starberries, that require different patterns in which to grow them.

I discarded the hardest ‘juicy starberry’ from consideration for now – it seemed easier to build up stocks of the crop by farming foliage; growing them required a lot of space that I wasn’t sure I had in this basement.

The normal and glossy starberries I managed to fit a few trial rows passably into one half of the room.

The real trial was rice.

Rice, on planting, takes about 2 days and 7 hours to grow, if just left to grow in the air.

If you submerge them in water, the growth time shortens and becomes optimally 11 hours, as long as the water isn’t too deep and either extends their growing time or stops them growing entirely (ie. a direct downpour of water from a source block.)

Learning the limits and physics of Boundless’ water was an experimental challenge.

I’d hoped to be able to turn the water on and off using a trapdoor switch from one side wall. It wasn’t long before I found out that water would only extend about 7 blocks.

So I wound up working backwards and marking places every 7 blocks or so where I needed water to fall, in order to completely submerge the rows of rice I was going to plant.

I also got a bit carried away and decided to turn the entire room’s floor into a rice room. (Well, if I was going to design a tap system for it, I may as well make sure I grew more rice than I would probably need for a while, so that I didn’t have to expand again so soon.)

Each new point that needed to get a waterfall ended up forcing more and more heights of pipes (made from 3 glass panes cobbled together into a U shape) for the appropriate water doubling.

The final trapdoor switch wound up fairly high in the room. (Fortunately, this was a very high ceiling’ed room.)

This necessitated its own little water elevator in order to float up to it, in case I was on an alt without a grapple and still wanted to flick the switch on or off.

This worked fine in the initial test.

Then I planted the rice and realized that rice -also- needs to be surrounded by water for good crop and seed yields.

Ok. We can do that. We did something similar with the easy crops. This is a known solution. Just chisel the surrounding blocks into half, and pour water into the other half so that you surround the crops with a water perimeter.

Imagine my chagrin when I realized that my waterfalls, on contact with the water perimeter, just sank and didn’t flow anywhere.

Enter a period of even more experimentation where I hammered up the chiseled blocks and replaced them, to restore their full height.

One full height block directly under the waterfall only caused the water to spread out left and right (directions relative to the camera in the above screenshot) to the neighboring block, before sinking once more. (Why it didn’t spread out forward and backward onto my actual rice fields is beyond me. Maybe it has to do with the direction of the actual water flow.)

Turns out it required three full height blocks before the water would obligingly change directions and spread onto the crops.

There was also a little niggle where the water refused to reach the cornermost crops, seemingly regardless of how many full height blocks I threw in… until I hit upon a strange configuration where the one correct full height block in the middle of sunken water drains would help the water flow to the correct corner. Not going to argue. Just glad I found a solution.

The last problem was that the rice crops nearest to the waterfalls were short of sufficient surrounding water in the water drains to reach full 100% seed yield. They were only at 80 or 90% seed yield.

For the crops near the sides, I managed to find enough floor space and even hid a few water blocks in the walls, to squeeze in enough water to bring them up to 100% seed yield.

For the crops in the middle though, there were literally no more blocks left to use. Cue a great deal of reading and pondering and research, before I hit upon just giving up doubling their crop yield and boosting their seed yield instead via growing them in compact clay soil, instead of tilled clay soil. They would only return ~100% instead of 200% worth of crops, but at least I pushed up their seed yield back over 100%.

Losing an extra rice crop here and there wouldn’t be the end of the world, given the ludicrous amount of rice I was about to grow. Finding myself short of sufficient rice seeds to replant after every harvest cycle would make me batty in short order. So I went for that convenience.

The final rice room is, if I might say so myself, a thing of beauty.

It took quite a few hours and days of work and brain cudgeling to get here, but I’m really enjoying the finished product.