Mining & Tunneling Simulator is a game based on the process of creating underground tunnels. The game takes place across five missions of increasing difficulty, with the player singlehandedly controlling the vehicles and machines required to excavate the lengthy structures.
The game includes five separate levels, one of which serves as the tutorial. Initially only the first is available. Each mission is scored by the time taken to complete it as measured in-game - providing a tradeoff, e.g. faster digging requiring more time for maintenance - and scores are recorded on an in-game personal leaderboard but have no other use. Levels do not have maximum time limits, and the game does not include any references to the cost.
Completing a mission unlocks the following level for play, and congratulates the player with a static dialog window. Levels cannot be played past the point of completion, but can be replayed at any time (including loading manual saves from a point before finishing).
The sole aim of each level is to construct a tunnel of the required length along a predetermined path. Each mission has partly-unique construction areas, weather and surrounding scenery, though this has little to no impact on actual gameplay. Once construction of the actual tunnel begins it can also be traversed (this is often required e.g. for maintenance or emergencies), though at a reduced scale compared to the mission's stated tunnel length and size.
|1||Paris (Tutorial)||Paris Metro needs a new subway extension that will connect to the main subway route.||5.6 km||45 m||Easy|
|2||The Alps||The tunnel below the Alps will significantly shorten the time needed to cross them with regular roads.||17.9 km||35 m||Easy|
|3||Berlin||Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (Berlin Transport Company) has ordered a new subway in the East of Berlin.||25.5 km||95 m||Medium|
|4||Torino - Lyon||Railway tunnel Lyon Torino.||79.2 km||41 m||Hard|
|5||Bering Strait||Tunnel under the Bering strait is a project aiming to connect USSR and US with a land route.||98 km||85 m||Extreme|
Each mission follows a similar pattern, though durations and repetitions may differ - for instance requiring more than one round of blasting and clearing before the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) can be installed.
- Blasting - explosive charges are placed and then detonated to excavate or enlarge the initial tunnel entrance
- Clearing - remaining rubble is removed and dumped, clearing a path for the TBM
- Tunnel excavation - the TBM is used to excavate the actual tunnel.
Vehicles & Machinery
The game includes nine controllable vehicles. The player can only control one at a time; with the exception of the TBM and trains, vehicles are not automated and will not function unless the player is in control. Similarly, with the exception of the TBM, all vehicles are controlled from a third-person camera.
The player has access to one of each type of available vehicle, depending on the mission and progress. Each is effectively indestructible, though some can be damaged by collisions which reduces their performance. Vehicles can be repaired or reset, the latter instantly returning the vehicle to perfect quality in its original state, at a cost of having the in-game timer jump 14 hours forward (and potentially a small loss of progress, e.g. rubble in truck or a longer distance to drive to a waypoint).
If available, vehicles can be switched between and driven freely around the construction area at any time.
The utility van is capable of placing explosive charges required in the first stages of excavation, and detonating them (once at a safe distance). It can repair other vehicles, and is capable of repairing itself if damaged. Repairs are free and unlimited, with the exception of time spent driving to the damaged vehicle. It is also required for occasional other maintenance tasks and emergencies, such as conveyor belt failures or train derailments. The Utility Van is always available.
Fire Brigade Van
The Fire Brigade Van (simply referred to as the 'Fire Brigade' in-game) is a red-coloured version of the Utility Van. It is capable of extinguishing fires and repairing water leaks. While most other faults simply stop progress until they are repaired, these two cases result in failure if not dealt with quickly. The Fire Brigade Van is always available, but is never necessary in the first three missions.
The Dump Truck is used to transport rubble (created from the explosive blasts) to a designated dumping site. It has a hinged open-box bed, which can be tilted by the player. It is always available.
The Shovel Dozer (more commonly known as a front-end loader or similar vehicle) is used to collect rubble and load the Dump Truck. It has a single wide bucket on the front and is articulated in the middle, making it difficult to operate in comparison to the other vehicles. The bucket's height and tilt can be adjusted by the player. It is always available. It is also the only freely-mobile vehicle that cannot be damaged (likely because contact with the rubble by other vehicles at any reasonable speed will result in severe damage).
The Crane is used to load the concrete train with precast concrete panels, for use in the lining of the tunnel. It has three degrees of freedom - movement along straight rails parallel with the railway, from side to side, and vertically. Panels can be lifted by the head, one at a time, and placed on the concrete train (though the game describes it as lifting via a magnetic head, in reality most devices use a vacuum lifting system). The crane is entirely indestructible, but is partially subject to the laws of physics (e.g. sway). The concrete panels are also indestructible, but do not collide with some objects and disappear if they are placed in an untenable position; once stock is sent to the TBM, new panels can be requested and will appear immediately (costing 14 hours on the in-game timer each time). The crane is always available. There is no requirement to load panels in a particular way or in an organised manner.
Most missions have two similar but separate trains:
- The concrete train is used to transport the concrete panels from the crane to the TBM. Unloading is automatic once the train arrives at the TBM, but the concrete panels must be loaded manually by the crane. The concrete train is available once excavation is complete, but requires at least one concrete panel to be loaded before it can be sent.
- The fuel train is used to transport fuel to the TBM. It is refilled automatically and immediately upon returning to its station, requiring no input from the player. It is available once excavation is complete, except in the first two levels where the TBM does not require fuel.
Each train has a separate siding, but with only one rail line to the TBM, only one can be sent at a time. Both are entirely automatic, and will travel at pre-set speeds along the line, unload and return without any input once sent by the player. The trains are not merely indestructible but are unstoppable objects; they will not react to obstacles placed on the track (i.e. other vehicles) and will push them away without slowing down, resulting in maximum damage to the other vehicle.
Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM)
Keeping the TBM supplied and operational is the bulk of a typical mission. The TBM itself is installed automatically once blasting and initial excavation is complete, and is then available at any point afterwards. It is controlled indirectly from a console with interactive buttons, levers and screens.
The TBM has unlimited storage for concrete panels and fuel, but the stores themselves must be replenished - if one runs empty, the TBM will automatically stop. Unlike other vehicles the TBM will continue to work (at the set speed and course) when the player switches away from it, and alerts display if a fault occurs, preventing the player from having to constantly manage it and instead free them to perform other tasks, such as loading more concrete panels.
The TBM Console allows control of most facets of the TBM. It contains:
- an ignition switch, with a small teddy-bear keyring attached to the unremovable key
- a forward/reverse direction setting
- five speed settings
- a course deviation correction system
- a screen depicting the paths of the planned and excavated tunnels
- gauges indicating chosen/actual speed, TBM damage and current material hardness
- an emergency stop button
The reverse setting is only used for access to the TBM Drilling Head. Over time, depending on the drilling speed and material, the drilling heads will erode or jam. Reversing the TBM allows access to a small area where the player can inspect and if necessary repair the inner or outer drill heads (each costing only the customary 14 hours).
The TBM regularly requires course correction when running; its current and future positions are displayed on a screen showing the horizontal and vertical offsets from the planned tunnel, with the player required to set manual forces to re-align it. If the TBM deviates too far from the plan, the mission is failed.