Ever deeper, the drill goes. The washers and hammers work the dirt into ore, then into bars. A tough job made simpler with modern technology, you’re glad you’re sitting in a control cabin sending a drill straight down into the ground rather than swinging a pickaxe at rocks in a dark cave, such as your ancestors did. With how valuable all these shinies in the ground are, you’re expecting a big paycheck the second you hit something.
And there it is! The drill camera and its light find a glint deep underground. The drill spins up, mulching the ground and the ore into a fine paste, ready for the suction device to pull it up. The dirt goes up, and men put it on the conveyor belt. The dirt is washed off, revealing the beautiful but unrefined diamonds within, along with some gold ore nuggets.
As it goes through the belt, various machines carve the crystal and melt the metal, processing it into a finished product ready for the trucks to deliver. The gold ends up in a bank as bars, backing the currency they’re tied to. As for the diamonds, one of them makes its way through a jewelry store, then a ring, then a man, then to a woman in a white gown. Finally, and unfortunately, it ends up in their sink several years later, never to be found again. Welcome to Drill and Collect – Idle Miner!
Drill and Collect is a simple mining game, where you dig, dig and dig for ores in the dirt, then have it processed and delivered to trucks who then send it wherever they need to go. You use the money earned to hire workers who can run the processing plant, so you can focus on what is honestly the fun part: Digging, digging, and more digging. It is a very relaxing game, though it can be quite heavy-handed with its ads.
That being said, after a few random ads popping up, they slow down a bit so you can enjoy a nice, calm digging session. Of course, this being a guide, we’re less about calm and more about efficiency! We’re here to give you tips on how to make the most out of the upgrades you can get and ways to dig more efficiently.
Especially in the first area where you don’t have idle profits available, knowing your upgrade priorities is important so you don’t get stuck watching a ton of ads to progress. Of absolute importance is rope length, since you pretty much can’t even play the game without it, so that goes first before everything else. Here is a list of all available upgrades, in order of priority.
Rope Length is the most important thing to upgrade with your excavator, for one reason: It doesn’t matter how powerful your drill is if you can’t even reach the dirt to dig! Neglecting to upgrade this in favor of everything else will slow your profit down considerably, as you will have to rely solely on the idle earnings of your workers. Besides, most of the fun in the game is in the digging part anyway.
Once you reach Area 2, you’ll unlock Production Lines: Production Lines refines dirt, melting it away to grab the valuable minerals within. Once you find new materials (Shown via different-colored ore veins in dirt or different-colored crystals), you’ll have to unlock the corresponding Production Line for that material, though, in every new area past Area 1, the first conveyor belt is unlocked.
You can and should also upgrade the Production Lines you have already unlocked: Doing so allows the machine to refine materials further, turning dirty gold into clean gold into coins into gold bars or whatever have you. This means for every unit of dirt or ore you dig up, you get more money for it.
Rather behind the Rope Length upgrade is the Excavator. A strong excavator allows you to dig through the ground faster, simple as that. It’s usually good enough to upgrade it to around levels 6-15 to keep digging at a comfy speed since the starter excavator can be quite painful to use. Getting it to level 20 can be a real treat though, and good fun.
Upgrading your workers is pretty high on your list of priorities: Having workers of decent quality means profit can be made smooth and easy since they’ll handle material delivery instead of you. Upgrade them when you can, but as usual, prioritize rope length always. It is highly important you upgrade these guys before you get the Processing Machine upgrades, not to be confused with the Production Line construction which improves money earned per unit of material rather than processing speed.
Oddly enough, taking Processing Machine upgrades too often might be a liability, though do not neglect it! Upgrading the Processing Machine allows it to hold more materials in itself for processing, and lets it process materials faster.
Sounds good right? Before upgrading this, we suggest upgrading your workers first: Even at Level 1, low-level workers cannot fill this machine up in a single load, and upgrading it without upgrading your workers may cause them to spend too much time loading the machine and forgetting to load the trucks.
Make sure to get this upgrade only after every time you upgrade your workers, you’ll know it’s a good threshold if you have at least one guy loading the trucks at all times without the workers neglecting the machine itself.
Your Little Guy
Yes, you can upgrade the player’s character! They’re not all that high up in priority: The workers ought to do all the boring stuff while you do the digging, and you’ll only really be using the player character for working during the start of a new Area.
That being said, you can max them out pretty easily the second you get past Area 3, which is when the game starts repeating itself. Since new Areas past 3 only really change in terms of how much profit each unit of dug-up material makes, and always exponentially upward, you might as well upgrade the player character since he’ll barely put a dent in your pockets by the time you reach Area 5 where profit is measured in the tens of billions.
A useful tool but not really necessary to upgrade once you figure out how to use the Excavator more efficiently, the Hammer Drill’s primary role is to shatter rocks and boulders, which the Excavator can’t handle. You can also use it to dig through dirt same as the Excavator, but the Hammer Drill needs to be swept around to dig as it has a much narrower reach. If you do prefer the Hammer Drill for whatever reason, say it’s more fun to use or more comfy for you, then yes, go upgrade it heavily.
If you prefer the Excavator, upgrade this lightly so it can smash rocks more quickly, or not at all since it’s fast enough to break rocks fairly comfortably at level 1. And if you go deep enough in any area, the dirt stops spawning solid crystals and rocks, leaving only mineral-filled dirt which the Excavator can easily handle alone.
The best way to utterly waste money, upgrading Suction Power increases the power of the device you use to collect materials. But not by much, as you’ll always need to be somewhere within punching range of the stuff you’re sucking up with the Suction Tool. You can leave this at level 1, maybe throw some spare cash at it every now and then, but you are always better off spending your money elsewhere.
As if to highlight this, the Suction power upgrade only maxes out at level 10, unlike everything else. The tool itself is useful and learning how and when to use it is important, it’s just that upgrading it is completely unnecessary.
Digging is the fun part of the game. Watching the drill go down and crumble the ground into loose, mushy physics-affected dirt while cracking crystals and smashing rocks is an exercise in blissful catharsis, and so is sucking all of that up with the Suction device. That being said, note the words “physics-affected”: The physics of the game causes some weird quirks with digging, and learning how to deal with them can not only increase digging efficiency but also make it more enjoyable.
Mud Ties Up The Excavator
One thing to notice as you dig: If there’s way too much loose material around your excavator, it may not be able to move and dig, as it gums up the Excavator. Each piece of loose dirt is a physics object, and as such has weight and a hitbox. Ironically, the Excavator has a harder time digging through loose dirt and loose crystals than it does solid ground. Knowing this, if you can’t move the Excavator, pull out the Suction device to scoop up all the loose dirt, then switch back to the Excavator once you’ve cleared the jam.
Mud Can Push The Excavator Down
If you use any one of the two techniques the writer uses to dig straight down, you’ll quickly be reminded that loose dirt has weight: It can push your Excavator or Drill past the rope’s maximum range! This isn’t as much of a good thing as one would think. It would merely render the loose dirt you just dug up via your extra range harder to pick up with the Suction device unless you use that weight to keep the Suction Device down too, which you won’t be able to do if you’re sucking all that dirt up anyway.
If Your Game is Lagging, Suck Up The Dirt
Seeing as each piece of loose dirt is a physics object, it can slow down your smartphone, tablet, or emulator if you leave too much loose dirt around uncollected. This also affects your game if you’re not excavating: For some reason, the game sees fit to simulate the physics even if you’re on the surface managing the Production Lines! If your game is slowing down, even in the overworld, get back into the Excavate area and pull out the Suction device, since you may have too much loose dirt gumming up not just your drill but your smartphone too.
The Excavator Moves Clockwise, Physics Acts Accordingly
If you move straight down with the Excavator, you’ll notice that it wants very badly to roll to the right once it hits dirt: This is because it spins clockwise, and since physics has an effect on it, it wants to move like a wheel when digging. This also affects how it tosses dirt around, as you will notice once you start digging with a higher-level Excavator. You can use this
Excavator Right Side Dig
A technique that takes full advantage of the Excavator’s clockwise movement, digging on the right side of the screen makes it much easier to dig straight down with the Excavator since you are not fighting the wheel or even the loose dirt as you dig.
On the contrary, the clockwise rotation will speed you up a bit as you dig down! Not only is the wheel treating the side with the dirt as if it were a road, all the dirt is getting tossed upward and out of the excavator’s way, and even helps push the Excavator down faster with its weight. This makes it easier to dig down then to the left, then upward, making a square that you can then destroy and then suck up for profit.
The Hammer Drill Wiggle
So you want to use the Hammer Drill instead of the Excavator. No prob! Note how the drill is much narrower than the Excavator: Trying to dig straight down with it in any spot is easier, and the Excavator can only outperform it in sheer downward speed on the right side of the screen where its clockwise spin gives it an advantage.
All you have to do to dig straight down, or anywhere for that matter, with the Hammer Drill is to wiggle it from side to side as you dig. This has some advantages, as the Hammer Drill is less prone to getting stuck in loose dirt, since you can just wiggle it away, and you don’t have to spend time switching between Excavator and Drill when a rock gets in the way. Our writer prefers the Excavator Right Side Digging method, but this is also viable.
Digging Up Wide Is Easier Than Digging Down Wide
This tip is the reason you want to dig straight down with either of the techniques above: Those two techniques allow you to get a good distance into the ground, then dig a bit to the side then dig upward. Why would you want to do this rather than merely digging down all across the wideness of the screen? Simple: The dirt physics makes it difficult to just scrape from side to side while going down.
If you dig up from below, you don’t have to worry about the dirt stopping you constantly and repeatedly having to pull out the Suction device, since you’ll be dropping the dirt away from your drill and into the bottom of the big dirt square you are digging up. Of course, you’ll be spending time going back down to pick up the dirt, but it’s more convenient than constant tool swapping and sweeping.
Dig In Chunks
Seeing as a big ton of physics objects can really do a number on your framerates, one suggestion would be to dig in chunks you can handle: Cut a square into the ground that isn’t too big or small, dig up that square, suck up the dirt and ore, then continue with a new square until your rope can’t take it anymore.
The size of the square you dig up is more or less dependent on the power of your tablet, smartphone, or the PC running your emulator program. Digging big might theoretically be faster, but practically, all that lag will just make your phone explode, or at least slow you down severely.
After every digging session, you’ll go back up to the surface, usually to upgrade the length of your Excavator’s Rope Length. Early on in an area though, you’ll find yourself running around the surface doing work, since you won’t have any workers. And even once you get workers, you’ll need to help out every now and then before collecting your earnings. Here are some tips concerning surface work.
Start A New Area With Capital
Before entering a new area, make sure you’ve got a bit of extra money at hand: You can use that to get a couple of upgrades early, such as a starter worker for the new area, a bit of extra rope length, or an upgrade to your first conveyor belt. It’s also fun: The levels repeat themselves barring the ever-increasing money price and reward, so you might as well stay a while once you’ve got fully upgraded belts to enjoy messing around with a high-powered drill upgraded far past practicality’s sake.
Upgrade Workers and Production Machine Speed In Turn
The Production Machine, no matter how excessively it is upgraded, is only as good as the workers running it. And the workers running it are only able to profit you as fast as the machine is running. Upgrade them in conjunction with each other, since upgrading one without upgrading the other can slow their work down especially once they start severely underfilling or overcarrying raw material to the conveyor belts. Upgrading both on the other hand means everything goes faster overall.
For an ad, the Super Worker will work for 40 seconds. The Super Worker is much faster than even a maxed-out Player and far above a normal Worker and can carry a huge stack of materials. That isn’t their strongest advantage though. The Super Worker can fill the Processing Machine past its maximum material holding limit!
This allows the Processing Machine to keep going nonstop for a much longer time if you call in the Super Worker after a big excavation session. That being said, the silly Worker AI can be a problem: If you call the Super Worker in while someone is on their way to pick up unrefined material, that worker will be stuck idle carrying unrefined material after Super Worker overfills the Processing Machine! Not a huge headache, but it can be annoying.
And this ends our Drill and Collect – Idle Miner guide. We hope this helps, and if you have any tips to share, do so in the comment section below!