Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

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Kovarex Enrichment Process unbalanced?

Postby Mr Mental » Fri May 19, 2017 9:32 pm

So after playing the new 0.15.2 - 0.15.12 (Current) Ive been aiming to get Kovarex enrichment, Now after getting it, It seems like either im misunderstanding it or something else; So here is what im getting from it;

You need
40x Uranium 235 and 5x Uranium 238 wich produces ;
41x Uranium 235 and 2x Uranium 238.

Now is it me, Or does the amount of 235 Needed seem a bit too much for what you get?

Wouldn't;
40x U 235 & #-1-10x U 238 Produce
41-50x U 235 & 5x 238 seem better for what you get .

Because 1x gain seems a little low for what you get.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment Process unbalanced?

Postby Koub » Fri May 19, 2017 9:47 pm

Actually, you get from :
0.7% chance getting U-235 from an ore
to :
100% chance getting 1 U-235 from 3 U-238

That's a huge improvement :).
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment Process unbalanced?

Postby Kelderek » Fri May 19, 2017 9:52 pm

Mr Mental wrote:Because 1x gain seems a little low for what you get.


The only hard part about the kovarex process is acquiring the first 40 units of U-235, but once you have it you can get a nearly free supply of more U-235 from that point on. Don't forget that you can speed module and beacon it up and once you get another 40 then plop down another centrifuge, rinsing and repeating as much as you want. On my last map I have over 3000 U-235 and that was even after making a few hundred atomic bombs.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment Process unbalanced?

Postby Mr Mental » Sat May 20, 2017 12:57 am

The only hard part about the kovarex process is acquiring the first 40 units of U-235, but once you have it you can get a nearly free supply of more U-235 from that point on. Don't forget that you can speed module and beacon it up and once you get another 40 then plop down another centrifuge, rinsing and repeating as much as you want. On my last map I have over 3000 U-235 and that was even after making a few hundred atomic bombs.


Yep that first 40 was a pain.

After posting that and now getting it to work , 4 centrifuges making U-235.

And that number is only going to increase drastically.

((Edit): Now up to 12.)
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment Process unbalanced?

Postby Tev » Sat May 20, 2017 7:50 pm

I'd argue it's too unbalanced in the other direction.

I didn't even bother with it at start (deathworld), and powered base with all u235 I had. I had to monitor my uranium mines quite a bit . . . as expected for late-game energy source in hard game settings. Ever since I made kovarex & 80 u235 for simple centrifuge setup (u235 is tossed from one to another and back, only taking out bonus with circuits), I have HUGE stockpiles of u235 and energy has turned into very-easy mode for me. The designing of the reactor setups and associated logic is still fun but resource itself is even more plentiful than was coal in 0.14 and before.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment Process unbalanced?

Postby ukezi » Tue May 23, 2017 4:21 pm

yeap one corverex can power 30 reactors. in a 2N setup thats 4.6 GW that should be enougth.
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Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby loganb » Thu May 25, 2017 12:35 am

Hello,

I wanted to give ya'll some feedback on the Kovarex Enrichment Process. I think it detracts rather than enhances the game. For me, the gameplay simply became:

1) Get enrichment.
2) Grind 40 U-235 over several hours
3) Grind Kovarex for a few more hours until I had ~10 centrifuges running the enrichment process
4) Make first reactor, have unlimited U-235 and never mine uranium again

It wasn't really fun and delayed nuclear power way too long for me. The late game then isn't interesting either because I then had an obscene stockpile of U-238 to convert.

I suggest a slightly different process:
* Introduce a "Breeder Reactor" that produces both power and U-235 at a low rate
* Make the reactor very expensive to build with a very long build time so that you can't really make more breeders than you need (maybe a 5-10 min build time and 5000+ concrete & steel)
* Make the breeding ratio something reasonable so that one breeder can supply, e.g., 3 normal reactors
* Players can "divert" U-235 from the breeder to weapons production if they want to sacrifice power generation, but since breeders are hard to build, it would be a Manhattan Project-scale investment to make a truly large stockpile of U-235
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Kelderek » Thu May 25, 2017 1:10 am

First of all the kovarex enrichment process is entirely optional. It is by no means required in order to run nuclear reactors.

Secondly, even if you do want to do Kovarex enrichment, it is not required before you start using reactors, you can start using reactors as soon as you start processing the ore. The number of reactors you can support would depend on the amount of ore you can process which would depend on your map settings and willingness to go find the ore patches. Using the kovarex process give you excess U-235 to make bombs and also accelerates the rate at which you can add more reactors, but you can support several reactors without using enrichment at all.

The steps you list are not necessarily what other people will do. I certainly have not waited that long to start my reactors up. the enrichment comes from a later science tier so it is quite likely that you would naturally be using reactors for a while before you even unlock enrichment. If you choose to delay that is up to you, but we shouldn't be basing a balancing decision on something like that.

Your idea for the breeder reactor just doesn't jive with existing concepts in the game. There is nothing else that requires multiple minutes to craft. The rocket silo is a special case, but I don't think that a nuclear reactor setup should be at that same level of complexity. Launching the rocket wins the game, building a reactor just gives you power..
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby 5thHorseman » Thu May 25, 2017 1:37 am

Here's what I did:

1) Get nuclear power.
2) Split the U-235 production into two lines, one to create fuel and one to save for later.
3) When I bothered to research the enrichment process, I had the U-235 to start the process.

I found it fun, at least as much fun as I had designing a solar array with roboports - something that also gives free power forever with no extra work needed except expansion.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby loganb » Thu May 25, 2017 2:42 am

Kelderek wrote:Your idea for the breeder reactor just doesn't jive with existing concepts in the game. There is nothing else that requires multiple minutes to craft. The rocket silo is a special case, but I don't think that a nuclear reactor setup should be at that same level of complexity. Launching the rocket wins the game, building a reactor just gives you power..


I grant it's unorthodox, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's bad, just deserves more scrutiny. I did my run-through on a completely default map and here's what I found the problems to be:

1) With the amount of coal on the map, I was trivially able to run on 100% coal until I had Kovarex Enrichment Process, so I had no real motivation to go nuclear beforehand (let alone solar).
2) I just saw the math on the forums suggesting a single centrifuge can power a ~150MW base without KEP, but that math was really opaque from just playing the game. The scarcity and unpredictability of U-235 made me really reluctant to power my base without the predictability of KEP
3) The ramp up of KEP was very long but then I trivially had a lifetime supply of U-235 (including for weapons) after mining two uranium patches. I could flatten the map with nukes in every direction as far as I could ever want to go and not care about uranium consumption

I also may be a slow builder, but I had plenty of other stuff to work on (train network, robots, etc) and easily had KEP by the time I got around to building a reactor with only a modest research setup (about 1.5 yellow belts worth of iron feeding research).
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby whitecold » Thu May 25, 2017 7:35 am

Setting up a KEP Plant itself is quite fun, as it does pose a bit of a different challenge with circuits to keep it properly running to cycle the 40 U-235.
However, once you have one plant running, your problems are gone.
I set up a string of them, left to do other things, and once I came back, all of them were happily churning out U-235. In fact, the entire belt to the fuel assembler had backed up with light green rocks.
It is just too powerful. U-235 is quite an unique resource as it is incredibly low throughput compared to every other resource in the game. KEP turns it into a resource like every other.
At the same time, nuclear fuel reprocessing is very expensive to research, and has very little benefit. There is always more U-238 where it came from, so you may as well dump all your used fuel cells into a chest for a long, long time.

My suggestion would be to have the reprocessing have a small chance of recovering U-235 as well, which allows you to stretch out your fuel supply, without it becoming infinite, and repurpose the idea of the 'catalyst' reaction of the KEP for something else entirely to let U-235 stay something rare and valuable.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Kelderek » Thu May 25, 2017 4:52 pm

Maps vary quite a bit even if we all used the same settings, which we don't. So depending on settings and on RNG the map you get will be a significant factor in your ability to setup nuclear processes.

Also, it makes a big difference to what degree you use additional power sources to supplement a nuclear power setup. So if you were using coal + boilers + steam engines before, do you keep that alongside your new reactors or attempt to tear that old stuff down and run only nuclear? In my games I choose to keep my coal power system for quite a while and that lowers my requirement for nuclear reactors when I start those up.

These things can have a big effect on how you do your nuclear power setup and in what order and timing you use. But like I said before, KEP is entirely optional, you can power multiple reactors with just ore processing.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby whitecold » Thu May 25, 2017 9:08 pm

Kelderek wrote:These things can have a big effect on how you do your nuclear power setup and in what order and timing you use. But like I said before, KEP is entirely optional, you can power multiple reactors with just ore processing.


Whenever something is overpowered, you can claim that you don't need to use it. Playing the game itself is entirely optional. This thread is about balance, to turn your statement around, you can already power multiple reactors of ore processing, why do you need another 7 fold increase of your available fuel supply? Already with three stages in the process accepting productivity modules (miners, centrifuge, fuel cell assembler) you can double your fuel supply.
I like the idea of some option to further stretch your fuel supply, as I mentioned I'd like to see fuel cell reprocessing being something worthwhile, but a way that doesn't allow you to use up all your U-238 for fuel
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All Reactors should be Breeders

Postby BlakeMW » Thu May 25, 2017 10:06 pm

I'd like to see the reprocessing create fresh U-235 (technically it should be plutonium, but whatever). Now here is a completely insane idea:

Make nuclear reactors intrinsically breeders, that is do away with enrichment and make reprocessing generate a net surplus of U-235 (this would definitely require tuning of productivity module interactions). Let's say that processing 40 fuel cells returns 5x U-235, so you can remake the 40 fuel cells and take 1 U-235 profit. Now here's the extra crazy part: there's nothing saying you have to hook the reactors up to steam turbines, they burn ("convert") fuel no matter what. So if you want a larger supply of U-235 for making bombs you can make a bank of extra reactors and just run them hot to produce U-235 out of U-238, burning up U-238 in the process.

This completely insane idea would not be any more trivializing than enrichment, it would have a stronger basis in reality and the required game mechanics are already implemented in full. It would just require some tuning of the research requirements for reprocessing and the cost of the atomic bomb. And for productivity, obviously it would be tempting to say: disable it for fuel cell related stuff. But alternatively the system could be set up so that it only generates a net surplus of U-235 when full productivity is used: say normally you get a 80% U-235 return, but with 1.2x1.4 that becomes a 134% return (but still tuned in such a way that you always end up with less U-235+U-238 than you started with).

This idea would be awesome, because instead of a dopey little centrifuge setup making unlimited U-235, you'd have this honking great array of extremely dangerous reactors. Essentially most the cost of nuclear proliferation would be in making breeder reactors rather than researching a really expensive tech (altough reprocessing should still be pretty expensive to research).
Last edited by BlakeMW on Thu May 25, 2017 10:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby malventano » Thu May 25, 2017 10:15 pm

whitecold wrote:At the same time, nuclear fuel reprocessing is very expensive to research, and has very little benefit. There is always more U-238 where it came from, so you may as well dump all your used fuel cells into a chest for a long, long time.


I submit that you might be playing with too much uranium on your map.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby malventano » Thu May 25, 2017 10:18 pm

loganb wrote:Hello,

I wanted to give ya'll some feedback on the Kovarex Enrichment Process. I think it detracts rather than enhances the game. For me, the gameplay simply became:

1) Get enrichment.
2) Grind 40 U-235 over several hours
3) Grind Kovarex for a few more hours until I had ~10 centrifuges running the enrichment process
4) Make first reactor, have unlimited U-235 and never mine uranium again

...but it's not meant to do the same assembly line thing that you have to do elsewhere in the game. A single kovarex centrifuge can supply 30 reactors running continuously. Having nuclear fuel last a long time and being very efficient is very similar to real life. If anything the game is requiring more fuel than normal. Nuclear submarines run for 20 years on a single person's weight of U-235.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Kelderek » Fri May 26, 2017 5:13 am

whitecold wrote:
Kelderek wrote:These things can have a big effect on how you do your nuclear power setup and in what order and timing you use. But like I said before, KEP is entirely optional, you can power multiple reactors with just ore processing.


Whenever something is overpowered, you can claim that you don't need to use it. Playing the game itself is entirely optional. This thread is about balance, to turn your statement around, you can already power multiple reactors of ore processing, why do you need another 7 fold increase of your available fuel supply? Already with three stages in the process accepting productivity modules (miners, centrifuge, fuel cell assembler) you can double your fuel supply.
I like the idea of some option to further stretch your fuel supply, as I mentioned I'd like to see fuel cell reprocessing being something worthwhile, but a way that doesn't allow you to use up all your U-238 for fuel


The OP was complaining about how long it took to setup nuclear power and he had delayed starting that until after he had setup kovarex. I was just trying to point out that that sort of delay is purely optional. I'm not sure what the devs' intent was with enrichment, but I tend to think of it as being more about atomic bombs than about fuel cells even though you can use it for both. If I had no intent to use the bombs then I would not bother with the enrichment as it is entirely overkill for fuel cells unless you have an enormous power need.

On my current map I have not unlocked any of the research except the basic nuclear power one and have been running reactors and ore refinement long enough to collect over 200 U-235 beyond what has been used for fuel cells. I'll eventually get around to enrichment later on because I like playing with the bombs, but there's no way that I would choose to delay using the reactors for power before that.

This particular balance discussion is not about enrichment being overpowered, but rather the idea that it might not be fun and may delay access to nuclear power use. When it comes to balance, the main thing I would like to see is more consumption of U-238 in the various recipes -- it can really pile up over time because so little of it is needed.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby dragontamer5788 » Fri May 26, 2017 6:17 pm

Kelderek wrote:This particular balance discussion is not about enrichment being overpowered, but rather the idea that it might not be fun and may delay access to nuclear power use. When it comes to balance, the main thing I would like to see is more consumption of U-238 in the various recipes -- it can really pile up over time because so little of it is needed.


I agree with your statement, but this is quite realistic. U-238 doesn't have much use in the real world aside from being really, really heavy (ie: Depleted Uranium Shells). And lo-and-behold, Depleted Uranium Shells (and bullets !!) are implemented in this game.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Kelderek » Fri May 26, 2017 7:42 pm

dragontamer5788 wrote:
Kelderek wrote:This particular balance discussion is not about enrichment being overpowered, but rather the idea that it might not be fun and may delay access to nuclear power use. When it comes to balance, the main thing I would like to see is more consumption of U-238 in the various recipes -- it can really pile up over time because so little of it is needed.


I agree with your statement, but this is quite realistic. U-238 doesn't have much use in the real world aside from being really, really heavy (ie: Depleted Uranium Shells). And lo-and-behold, Depleted Uranium Shells (and bullets !!) are implemented in this game.


Even so, the recipes we do have could use larger amounts of U-238 per craft. The ammo only uses 1 each. I have 60,000+ U-238 lying around and I have to keep adding more storage chests. Of course maybe it's just me and I should find ways to use more of what I have, but in all the 0.15 games I have played so far (I'm on my 3rd full map now) I have had crazy amounts of U-238 each time.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby dragontamer5788 » Fri May 26, 2017 8:20 pm

Kelderek wrote:
dragontamer5788 wrote:
Kelderek wrote:This particular balance discussion is not about enrichment being overpowered, but rather the idea that it might not be fun and may delay access to nuclear power use. When it comes to balance, the main thing I would like to see is more consumption of U-238 in the various recipes -- it can really pile up over time because so little of it is needed.


I agree with your statement, but this is quite realistic. U-238 doesn't have much use in the real world aside from being really, really heavy (ie: Depleted Uranium Shells). And lo-and-behold, Depleted Uranium Shells (and bullets !!) are implemented in this game.


Even so, the recipes we do have could use larger amounts of U-238 per craft. The ammo only uses 1 each. I have 60,000+ U-238 lying around and I have to keep adding more storage chests. Of course maybe it's just me and I should find ways to use more of what I have, but in all the 0.15 games I have played so far (I'm on my 3rd full map now) I have had crazy amounts of U-238 each time.


Wait, I'm confused. That's... not really a problem. Just... stop mining uranium and/or stop making uranium mines. Generally speaking, items in storage (especially if they're in a logistic bot area) are far more convenient to use than items inside of a mine. My trains simply stop moving if storage fills up. Since all of my train-stations are "off the main-line" and basically in a dedicated parking area, a stopped train takes up no "traffic".

And storing Uranium as U-235 / U-238 form is great for compression anyway. Each U-235 / U-238 is basically 10-ore. So in effect, it means you have 600,000 excess Uranium Ore in your setup. That really shouldn't be a problem... I mean, its like having "too much stone". Just... don't use it and let it sit in storage. And stop the trains.

------

Nukes are the endgame weapon of choice, (although Depleted Uranium Cannons are a close #2). The balance between Depleted Uranium Cannons and Nukes is... actually very good right now. Both seem like very good options for the endgame. Making Depleted Uranium Cannons more expensive would be detrimental IMO. The best part of Depleted Uranium Cannons is that they're so cheap, since U-238 is so easy to get (and is often in excess).

If you get rid of that last advantage, then there's basically no reason to ever use Depleted Uranium Cannons.
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