Based on the current beacon system, it is clear that optimal utilization of beacons will be very important in 1.0. Whether we are given 12 plots or 120, players may always feel as though their private space is too small, or their neighbors are too close. Players that prefer expanding outward rather than upward may find themselves placing several separated plots for a small private village and leaving unprotected wilderness between. Maybe a player just wants to reshape a hillside or path through the forest, but does not want to invest a beacon on an undeveloped location. Are expansive farmlands really worth investing all of your plots on?
My solution to this is to split the beacon into two categories of beacon, a “landscaping” beacon of sorts, and an “architectural” beacon.
Like a standard beacon plot, you would have a limited number of landscaping plots, only friends could edit it’s area, and typical grief and some regeneration protection would apply, but you would have far many more plots to use. The difference here is that only edits to natural blocks would be protected from regeneration, nothing else. This would allow a player to use blocks like dirt, gravel, grass, tall grass or crops in an area without needing to spend a full blown architectural beacon on it. You could grow farms right outside your village, or protect the road to town. Bricks, planks, doors, chests and other crafted blocks would not be protected from regeneration.
Arcitecture beacons would basically be standard beacons. You would still use these to protect things like brick bridges, city walls, or other standard builds, so use them wisely!
Edit: I should add that this is not terribly unlike the old infrastructure beacon suggestion from way back (I might find that link reference later), but a bit re-imagined and adjusted for the existing beacon system.
Hm, interesting thought. Having two types of beacons may cause a bit of confusion in terms of what they do, but a good description could solve that. I had another idea that changes how the system works which simply replaces the current plots with dynamically changeable plots which depend on how many blocks you can take up:
When you initially place a beacon it gives you an 8x8x8 space like normal (or 7x7x7 if the devs listen to my suggestion on the survey ).
After that, you can (somehow?) click and drag the edges of the beacon to extend/shrink any side, to effectively make it thinner or wider.
After this, you could still add plots (8x8x8 by default again), but be able to shrink and extend them, so you can basically make the beacon-ed area any shape or size you want.
You’d still be limited by big the beacon area could be, but instead of getting an allocated amount of un-changeable plots that you can use, you’d be limited by how many blocks of space your beacon takes. Thus, you’d be able to waste a minimal amount of space.
I think this approach is the best mix of easy to code and easy to use for the player. You could easily expand on it by allowing players to unlock or level up their allowance of beacons based on worlds explored (arcitecture beacons) or crops harvested (landscaping beacons) to add a level of reward for time spent in game. Though my favorite use of this approach is probably to use landscaping plots as a buffer around my arcitecture plots to keep other players from building against my builds. I gotta have personal space!
This is inspired by those ideas, except rather than costing more, I propose having a greater number of them allocated, but with the restriction of natural blocks only. I think this restriction will adequately protect roads, paths, and tunnels. It may lead to permanent dirt huts, though… but that was a possibility with standard beacons, too.
“Natural blocks” that means you wont be able to make any sort of stairs, you wont be able to make road with refined stone, etc etc. i really dont think that is a good idea, it would be way too limiting for the extremely creative builders in the community. I think the price increase is fair, if we consider a beacon as being 8 x 8 x 8 for a standard, that is 512 blocks, if we say for the same cost we get half as many blocks but they can be placed as desired so 256 blocks. if we assume you have a road of 4x1xY, Y being the length you can make a road 4 blocks wide and 64 blocks long. quite nice distance you can cover with that. also paths might not just be roads, for example if you want to make a tunnel through a mountain, that should also count as infrastructure. So i still hold on my idea of them just being more expensive, and rather than a set limit i think that the price of beacons should just increase the more you place.
E.g to mention some, Lamp blocks and torches wont be protected so there wont be any light, you cant use any of the refined blocks to make it look unique.
Slopes would still covered, but yeah refined stone would not. It is a different approach to the 4x1xY notion (which would require the light blocks to be incorporated into the road, and not placed above it), but is meant for more use cases and to line up cleanly with other 8x8x8 plots. My setup would protect not only the road, but also the custom trees and bioluminesant (sp?) plant life used to light the path at night (hypothetically).
Lines up cleanly with existing 8x8x8 plot system
Protects terrain as well as roads, tunnels, etc.
Can be used as a buffer against other builds.
Can protect expansive farms or gardens.
Protects 3d builds, rather than just planar builds.
Won’t protect fancier roads with refined materials.
Protects empty space. (Arguably, this keeps the path clear for walking down a road or cave)
It was just to use an example, i think the beacons should be X x Y x Z where you can decide the values with each individual block, which is why i think the price should be twice or triple to make up for convenience.
for example i assume a tunnel would be 4x4xZ which should also be covered by it.
So, unless you constrain two of the values to a relatively small value (say, 4) then this could be just as easily used as a standard beacon with greater coverage. But, if you constrain two of those values to a small number, you lose the versatility and organization of the 8x8x8 node.
A good way to add a protection to the surrounding area would be that your beacons have a “guaranteed beacon free area” arround them so that you have A: a protection from beacons that hinder you in expanding your plot, and B: a at least small area of protected surroundings (at least it will regenerate). …
The “beacon free area” should be growing if you still have no beacon in it’s way and it should be at least a good size from the beginning so that you can be sure to be able to create something big there in the future, even if only placing one beacon at first.
Also you should be able to allow freinds to place own beacons near to you, but only manually (not automaticly through a friend list function)
I don’t bother with things like price, as that is just a arbitrary attribute that can be fine tuned later. I do however think that if it cost more than a standard beacon, it will either A) dissuade players from using it as (edit: often as) intended or b) outright prevent all but the wealthiest from using it at all.
That may choke other players out of perfectly good, unused territory. That also prevents the owner from customizing the area as it would regenerate. The original idea is to protect cheap space like paths or gardens without using your beacon alotment.