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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Navigating the Subterranean World of Landmark

To get the best minerals, gems and loot in Landmark, and to get them fast, you have to go underground. Landmark is full of caves, and the caves are full of riches. But that doesn't mean they're easy to find. Eventually monsters will inhabit the caves of Landmark and you'll have to deal with them before you get rich. But it isn't necessarily a cake walk now either. Sure, there are no monsters you need to contend with, but the very best stuff you can't walk to. And no, you can't repel to it either. The very best stuff isn't in the caves you can access from the surface of Landmark. They are deeper than those caves, and they have no direct connection to the surface. You have to find them and then tunnel your way to them.

[caption id="attachment_3854" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Fat Loot Fat Loot[/caption]

I'm not going to tell you how to spelunk in Landmark. There is an excellent starter guide here if you need to know. What I want to discuss is how you find those buried caves with the fat loot. The official method for finding these caves is to use your Ore Prospector device (see the guide linked above) to identify nearby veins of minerals. The quality of your device will determine how far away you can detect ores and how long the detection lasts. After you survey the accessible parts of the cave and make yourself a mental map of where its ore veins are located, you are ready to look for buried caves. After you activate your device and the vein markers begin to show, you're supposed to look for a cluster of veins that are farther away than the local cave and not part of your own map of the cave system you're in.

[caption id="attachment_3850" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Cluster of Ore a Long Way Off Cluster of Ore a Long Way Off[/caption]

Next, you need to begin tunnelling toward that suspected unattached cave. If you are using your pick, you may as well stop spelunking now. It will take you practically forever to get there. Many of these unattached caves are hundreds of meters away. Tunneling there by hand is just plain torture. What you need is a pulverizer. These devices make tunnels like skunks make stink. Using one of these bad boys will get you where you're going in a couple of minutes. Just point yourself towards the ore location markers your Ore Prospector provides, activate your Pulverizer and start tapping the W key to move forward as you grind the rock away in front of you.


Soon you'll be close enough to see the outlines of the veins themselves. Just aim yourself straight for one and continue tunneling. Don't worry, your pulverizer won't hurt the ore. When you get to the vein, just pick a side to go around until you break into the new cave. Then get to work.

[caption id="attachment_3849" align="aligncenter" width="800"]New Cave New Cave[/caption]

But there is an easier, and more certain, way to find these unattached caves. It's not official, and it's not part of the game. In fact, I'm certain the developers will remove this feature from the client once they start optimizing the game's graphics more than they are now. This method takes advantage of clipping errors, and you can use it to your advantage. Here is Wikipedia's definition of clipping.

In computer graphics, 'line clipping' is the process of removing lines or portions of lines outside of an area of interest. Typically, any line or part thereof which is outside of the viewing area is removed.

When the lines are not removed properly, you can see further than you should be able too. It's like having x-ray vision. Here's what the clipping issue in Landmark looks like when you take advantage of it to find those unattached subterranean honey holes.

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="3846,3845,3843,3842"]

I don't know if this happens with every graphics card out there, but it does on mine. :P I run two Nvidia GTX 580s in SLI mode and I get clipping errors every time it every time. It's happened through three driver versions, so I'm fairly certain it's the client code doing it. All I have to do is start a tunnel, stop, move my perspective back a looooooong way back up the tunnel with the CTRL key and the mouse wheel, and then move the cursor from side to side until the clipping failure happens. Then I can see what's outside the tunnel. XD This occurs at the point where your point of view is still in the tunnel, but your character is no longer in a completely straight line of sight. That means your tunnel has to curve slightly over a fairly long distance, and you'll only be able to get a good look at the out-of-bounds areas in a smallish cone of view around that slightly off-center line of sight. The angle of the ill clipped point of view is the same angle your line of sight deviates from truly straight. Just remember, if the angle is too great the clipping issue will resolve itself and you'll immediately suck back in to a wonderful view of the back of your head. But after you get the hang of it, you'll be able to identify the unconnected caverns, like the one in the upper center of examples one and two. Than you just have to pick a good spot to begin tunneling toward it, go there, take a bearing via Kentucky Windage, and off you go. With some practice you'll tunnel right to them. And you'll find those chests with the really fat loot faster than ever before. Good luck!


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