Starting zone ballence

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Starting zone ballence

Postby dakenho » Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:11 pm

I find that starting zones leave something to be desired, While I do not think the starting zones have to be the same in every game, I currently think that there can be to high of extremes for them, a starting zone with no oil on a death world is not going to work out. I think this can be easily fixed by just adding some logic in the generation, if a resource is low or non existent the game can add a realitivly rich/dense vain near by or something, so you still have to work around a unique starting position.
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Re: Starting zone ballence

Postby bobingabout » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:52 am

I must agree to this.

With bob's mods, you have Wood, Tin, Lead and Quartz that you're going to want in the starting area to be able to get to a point where you can leave it, yet many of my map generation attempts leave me with very little in the way of wood, and at least 1 of the other basic 8 materials missing. (That's Tin, Lead, Quartz, and the base game's Coal, Copper, Iron, Oil and Stone.) That's 10 things you pretty much need in the starting area, hard to make sure they all exist.
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Re: Starting zone ballence

Postby Deadlock989 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:27 am

bobingabout wrote:I must agree to this.

With bob's mods, you have Wood, Tin, Lead and Quartz that you're going to want in the starting area to be able to get to a point where you can leave it, yet many of my map generation attempts leave me with very little in the way of wood, and at least 1 of the other basic 8 materials missing. (That's Tin, Lead, Quartz, and the base game's Coal, Copper, Iron, Oil and Stone.) That's 10 things you pretty much need in the starting area, hard to make sure they all exist.


The starting area is of finite size, and can be at least partly underwater depending on map settings. It is hardly surprising that with so many "essentials" required, random noise-based map generation is going to fail quite often. That's a deficiency in your mod's design and nothing to do with the base game.

As for the vanilla map generation in 0.16, it's well understood that it's dodgy AF, and it's being worked on.
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Re: Starting zone ballence

Postby bobingabout » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:09 am

Deadlock989 wrote:The starting area is of finite size, and can be at least partly underwater depending on map settings. It is hardly surprising that with so many "essentials" required, random noise-based map generation is going to fail quite often. That's a deficiency in your mod's design and nothing to do with the base game.

dakenho wrote:I think this can be easily fixed by just adding some logic in the generation, if a resource is low or non existent the game can add a realitivly rich/dense vain near by or something

All I was really saying here is that if such a thing were added to force a minimum amount of certain resources in the starting area, hopefully the list would be open so I can add my 3 to it.
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Re: Starting zone ballence

Postby Deadlock989 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:47 am

I'd love to hear how you propose to "force" an arbitrarily long list of things to squash themselves into a finite amount of space without overlapping, but still have it all be generated randomly, based on noise.
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Re: Starting zone ballence

Postby Zavian » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:45 pm

I actually believe that for the starting area the game should supplement the random noise bases resource generation with additional nearby resource patches for any starting resources that aren't available (in some predefined minimal quantity) in the starting area. eg yesterday I went to start a new map. 3 maps had less than 10k coal in the starting area. A couple more had no stone patch. Yes this can happen with random noise based resource allocation, which is why I think the stock game should check the available resources in the starting area, and add additional patches if anything is too low.
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Re: Starting zone ballence

Postby Deadlock989 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:49 pm

This is a conceptual problem. It's not straightforward at all. People are saying that they want every map's starting area to be random and unique, but they also want tightly defined restrictions that operate non-randomly, and yet others want to have that extended to arbitrarily long lists of resources. Random and always different, but also operating under carefully controlled limits that make life easier. These are literal opposites. You can't have your cake and mine it (I'm sure there's a mod for cake ore somewhere). The more additional "failsafes" you add to resource generation, the more every starting area is going to start looking more and more similar.

I suppose you could offer a start-up map gen option, which gives you a choice between a rubber-stamped "everything I need is within minimal walking distance of spawn" option - which is still going to vary depending on water and terrain, and still includes difficult situations like your vital cake ore being placed on an island approximately an hour before you can create landfill - or your actual random generation with a small number of vanilla resources given special starting zone treatment that still doesn't guarantee total ease.

Or - and I appreciate this seems like madness - you could just generate another map.

Yes, 0.16 map gen has major issues, this is well known, somebody literally has it as their main job, wait and see.
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Re: Starting zone ballence

Postby Zavian » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:40 am

I'm not saying it's a trivial problem, and I not adverse to random generation. But the current situation (In my not so humble opinion) is less than ideal. I generated about 12-15 maps before I found one that looked decent. So it's not just an occasional bad map, but more than half the maps seem to be short of something important in the starting area.

I wanted at least 50k iron, 25k of coal and copper, plus at least 2k of stone in the starting area. Most maps had enough iron and copper, but were missing either coal or stone. As I understand it the game is using Perlin based noise, which (again as I understand it) means that resource spawns are effectively random. Since you don't need much stone, the devs adjusted the generation settings so that over large scales (eg 100x100 chunks) on average you get enough stone. But that seems to make it random luck whether you have any stone within the starting area. If map generation gives an average of 10 stone patches in a 100x100 chunk area, then in a 10x10 chunk area (eg something like the starting area) you get an average of 0.1 stone patches. For this reason I think relying solely on perlin noise generation in the starting area is a mistake. Far to often something critical will be missing. That means on far too many maps you might need to go walkabout through biter territory to find enough stone to build your initial smelter line. Coal can also be a problem.

I'm going to point you to this thread viewtopic.php?f=5&t=54554 where I shared my first 4 generated maps on 0.16.
Map 1. Island spawn. (Ok. Shit happens).
Map 2. 16k coal in the starting area. (Might be enough but pass).
Map 3. No coal in the starting area. (Another pass).
Map 4. A large island start. (Big enough that it doesn't look like an island). No stone patch in the starting area, but experience from 0.15 had me thinking that there should be one fairly close. So I mined some rocks for the burner stage, got power running, and research started, then went exploring, looking for a place to put down some burner drills to start collecting stone for the furnace lines. Quite a while later I realised I was on a large island with no stone patch. Another restart.
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Is that really the sort of experience Factorio should give new players (ie. people playing for the first time) when 1.0 lands?
Last edited by Zavian on Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Starting zone ballence

Postby Deadlock989 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:25 am

Change the record, mate, this one's stuck.

Deadlock989 wrote:Yes, 0.16 map gen has major issues, this is well known, somebody literally has it as their main job, wait and see.
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Re: Starting zone ballence

Postby Aeternus » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:32 am

I guess it's a work in progress. From what I can tell the map gen doesn't prevent resource zone collisions well - that's why you sometimes get two ore types right next to eachother. A bit of collision avoidance would not be a bad idea, but I'm sure something along those lines is already being considered. Just preview your map in the mean time to ensure the thing is playable before sinking a lot of time into it. No stone means no rail and no blue science. You can scavenge some stone from the map by mining the map rocks, but that's not feasable for mass production.
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