Beacons need to be altered.

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kovarex
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Beacons need to be altered.

Post by kovarex »

So I played two freeplay games while testing 0.7.1 / 0.7.2 one for 11 hours and the second one for 8 hours (didn't have time to finish the second one).
These games are usually very good feedback for me, so I can feel what the game needs and what is bad.

I believe that the current state of the beacons is not good. The problem is, that getting setup of 12 beacons and Assembly 3 resulting in +240% production bonus is bad for different reasons.
  • It is hard to get, but it is super effective to use, in the early state, it is very useful to use this assembly manually for different stuff that is expensive (I used it for solar panels/alien science packs/accumulators/modules etc). This is bad, as the motivation to have good and effecient strategy shouldn't force you to go back to semi manual crafting.
    Image of 12 beacon setup
  • It is too strong, +240% productivity means result count multiplayer = 3.4 If you use this for something with more interproducts, like destroyer robots with these steps:
    circuits -> advanced circuits -> defender capsule -> distractor robots -> destroyer robots
    This is 5 steps, so the save of resources is 3.4^5 = 454, so the destroyer robot is 454 times cheaper than it would be without modules, this is WAY too much, it kills the need for expansions for resources, high volume logistics and makes the game too imbalanced.
  • It breaks the factory, once you get this, it is best to extend this for every expensive piece of production facility, and you make ugly wall of beacons from you factory.
    At some point the factory stars looking like this:
    Beacon wall
So I believe something has to be done, and with slpwnd we agreed that it is good to ask the you, the players what you have to say.

The solution I can come up with:
  • Remove beacons completely, this is drastical step, but the last game I played without beacons for a change, and for me it was much more enjoyable (although harder) experience.
  • Limit beacon count that can affect one building, this seems like a good idea, but it is hard to do in understandable way. Limiting the building of beacons so their influence don't interfere would work, but on the edges, it would still allow 4 beacons to affect one assembling machine.
  • Don't allow of production module use in beacons. This is very simple solution, and I like it the most. This would limit productivity modules to be used directly in machines, so regarding the destroyer robot resource count, the multiplayer is 1.6 (+60%), the cost is 1.6^5 cheaper = 10 times cheaper, this is much more reasonable, and can be balanced much more controllable way than with beacons.
    I also like this solution, as it makes the use of efficiency/speed modules more attractive, you could make beacons with speed/efficiency modules along your furnace setup to make it work faster/cheaper and similars, this would also allow to make beacons less expensive, and demand less power, as they would not be so overpowered.
There is also argument:
Let the players play the way they want to, if you don't like beacons, just don't use them.
I agree with this argument in many cases, but I also believe, that the game is better, if the best strategy doesn't lead to stupid and breaking setups, for example, I would like to do some kind of contest of the freeplay speedrun, and I want to see interesting games there.

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by Balinor »

I like the option of preventing production modules in beacons, that seems the most balanced. The other option that I can think of is to not allow any modules into beacons but to give them a separate effect of some kind.

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by Nirahiel »

Remove production modules.
The point of the game is to mine for resources.
IMHO you have 2 choices : get stuff done faster and pollute more, or at the same speed but pollute less.
The production booster is useless when you have enough materials.
Free items shouldn't exist.
You can always overcloak a machine to make it run faster, even if it uses more power.
You can make a machine run more efficiently and use less power for same production.
But how an electronic tweak of your machine can make it create resources out of thin air ? :)

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by ficolas »

Or adding a max to everything?
Max productivity; +100% (or less, like +50%)
Max speed: +200%
Max pollution: -70%
But also using all of those at once, might be too op.
Let the players play the way they want to, if you don't like beacons, just don't use them.
Its allways hard to not use something that is there, but however, I have never tried to overuse them in a "too unleggit" way, only testing if it could be done.

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by FreeER »

Nirahiel wrote:Remove production modules.
...
But how an electronic tweak of your machine can make it create resources out of thin air ? :)
To be honest I find myself agreeing with this, but then I never really used the productivity modules and I never thought to use multiple beacons with a single building lol

But if that seems harsh I like ficolas's idea of having max 'improvements' with the modules (ideally all they do is tweak the electronics to work better, the mechanical parts are the same so to improve those you need an entirely new building)
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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by ficolas »

How can you make a car have more potency with a software connected to the car computer?
The thing is that you can by making it work differently.

How? Idk :p

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by kovarex »

So for 0.7.3, I did the last way.
No productivity modules in beacons.

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by grobyc »

I use setup of 12 beacon only for alien science pack, other use of beacons is killing idea of Factorio, with is for me: create the largest and efficient factory that is only possible using the most basic building.
Let the players play the way they want to, if you don't like beacons, just don't use them.
I think its very diplomatic solution, like u was did with logistic bots remove the limit. Some players will say this will make them OP, because they don't see sense to use a lot of robots. I like to use robots and I'm glad from remove the limit.
Some people like to use a lot of beacons because they see it as a basic part of they factories. I think u will find people with will like to make speedrun in freeplay to make rocket defense (I was create 9 freeplay's where only in one my goal was build rocket defense), but you will find people with are like to make factories with have logistic sense or make them unique.

This is a way to give people a tools to create their own idea of a perfect factory.

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by Nirahiel »

kovarex wrote:So for 0.7.3, I did the last way.
No productivity modules in beacons.
By the way i meant, remove the productivity module at all, like, even directly in machines.
Destroy the item.

This module feels like cheating :)

EDIT : lol you posted my screenshot, yay :D

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by 3LollipopZ »

oh, I've never actually built the crazy beacon method creating >200%.


But now since to this thread! It's FANTASTIC!!! :)
I build everything via this method now (robots, solar panels, etc.). I'll soon take over the entire map (well, might be difficult being infinite)

The game does seem to pause rarely on my machine after about 1000 frantic robots chasing me around the map. I'm not certain that it's robots or whether it's the 50Kw I'm drawing just on module creation....

Shame that it's going in 7.3 :) but I understand that it's pretty much cheating...
Maybe towards late end-game can this be back in again, within the dedicated Productivity Mk2 Beacon (2x2, or better yet, 1x1 :) )

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by n9103 »

Posting to note (as the first one to have made one of these) that you don't have to feed it manually.
Not only is it logistic bot feedable (of course) but it's also belt feedable, as there's still full coverage with a single tile path on any given side, with the top and bottom allowing for more than one inserter as well as the belt.

Also voicing that I think they should stay in, as is, as they require an incredible amount of power, and I've purposefully never made one since the pollution was introduced, as that would be close to guaranteed suicide by creep.
If produtivity modules have to be tweaked to penalize them, (since borderline crazy amounts of power draw isn't enough) perhaps having them slightly increase the emissions multiplier? (very very small increase though, as it's an exponential result.)
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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by Holy-Fire »

kovarex wrote:So for 0.7.3, I did the last way.
No productivity modules in beacons.
Please reconsider.


I have the following suggestions to make modules more balanced:


1. Make beacon stacking sublinear.

That means, if a machine is affected by 1 beacon it gets the normal bonus, but as more beacons affect it it gets diminishing marginal returns.

A simple way to do this is Pythagorean addition. That is, if the machine is surrounded by beacons giving a bonus of t1, t2, t3, ... respectively, then instead of the machine getting a bonus of t1 + t2 + t3 + ..., it gets a bonus of
sqrt (t1*t1 + t2*t2 + t3*t3 + ...)

So for example, if the machine is surrounded by 12 beacons, it gets only x3.46 the bonus of a single beacon rather than x12.


2. The reason you got these crazy numbers is not because there's something wrong with prod modules in beacons... but because prod modules are simply way overpowered.

Haven't played much 0.7.x so not sure if anything changed, but in 0.6.x, even on the most basic items prod modules beat efficiency modules, and the more expensive the item the more powerful they are. The gap further increases with higher-level modules.

So prod modules simply need to be nerfed, e.g. level 1/2/3 module should give a bonus of +3% / +6% / +10% rather than +5% / +10% / +15%.


3. Efficiency modules should have a multiplicative effect.

Currently, if you put a prod module doing +50% power consumption, and an efficiency module doing -50% power consumption, you get 100%+50%-50% = 100% of normal consumption.

Instead, the efficiency module should deduct 50% taken out of the whole 150% consumption, leading to 75% of normal. So after you put in a few prod modules, you'll have an incentive to put in efficiency modules because of the big power savings.

In fact, you could make the power malus multiplicative as well... That is, if you put 2 prod modules giving +50% consumption each, you end up with 225% consumption. Adding too many prod modules will make the power requirement impossible so you'll have to balance it with efficiency modules. This will lead to an interesting challenge of how productive you can go while still coping with the power and pollution.

(If you do this, it might not be necessary to nerf the productivity bonus).


4. Crafting times for high-end items should increase, and speed modules should be buffed.

I didn't see much point in speed modules. If crafting times get longer, and speed modules help with shortening them, they'll be usable in conjunction with the other modules.


But whatever you do, please don't remove prod modules completely (they're the most fun item in the game!) or from just beacons (that's an ugly hack, not a solution).

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by Coolthulhu »

Holy-Fire got it right in points 1, 3 and 4, but I don't like the flat nerf in 2.

Productivity modules' effectiveness increases exponentially with the length of assembling machine chain involved. This means that a small number of them is nearly useless, level 1 ones are generally just ingredients in level 2 ones, but they snowball like mad after that. Instead of nerfing the base effect and making it useless early in the game, I'd rather see that exponential stacking somehow removed.

I don't see an easy way to remove "global" exponential stacking, so another solution would be to make per-machine productivity stacking sublinear.
1 * lvl 1 module gives 10%, 2 * lvl 1 = 14%, 4 * lvl 1 = 20%, for example. This would make both speed and effectivity modules more useful, as stacking prods would grow expensive and ineffective.

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by Holy-Fire »

Coolthulhu wrote: Productivity modules' effectiveness increases exponentially with the length of assembling machine chain involved.
This is an optical illusion. It isn't what's really going on.

What is going on is that the higher the ratio between cost of ingredients and assembling time for an item, the greater the benefit you get from affecting the assembling machine with a productivity module. So higher-end items have a high ratio and you get a ton of benefit from using prod modules on the machines at the end of the chain. You don't get this benefit from alleged exponential stacking of prod modules (on a per-module basis) throughout the chain.

If the ratio was constant throughout the chain, to get the exponential benefit you'd need exponentially many productivity modules to go into all the machines - with the associated cost in terms of crafting the modules and power consumption.
Coolthulhu wrote:Holy-Fire got it right in points 1, 3 and 4, but I don't like the flat nerf in 2.
Some of the other ideas may obviate the need to nerf the prod modules. But the point I was trying to make is: Not only are prod modules more effective for higher-end items, even for the lowest-end items they are more effective than other modules. That's why I think they should be nerfed.

Since the power of prod modules comes from the ingredient cost/crafting time ratio, suggestion #4 of increasing the crafting time of higher-end items will itself limit what you can get from putting a prod modules on them.


Now that this has been bumped, I'd really like to know the developers' opinions on this. Last word on the subject was that they'd disable prod modules on beacons, which I don't like one bit. Some combination of my suggestions above will give better results.

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by Coolthulhu »

Holy-Fire wrote:
Coolthulhu wrote: Productivity modules' effectiveness increases exponentially with the length of assembling machine chain involved.
This is an optical illusion. It isn't what's really going on.
If each machine in our chain gets 150% productivity (say, 2 lvl 2 and 2 lvl 3 modules), cost per item is 1/1.5 = 2/3.
If all ingredients are created by machines with 150% productivity, raw cost is (2/3)^2. If all ingredients for ingredients are produced at 150%, it's (2/3)^2*(2/3) = (2/3)^3. 1/(2/3)^3 = 337.5% = (3/2)^3 = 150%^3. The formula is (productivity per machine)^(num machines in chain), which is as clearly exponential as it can get.

A flat nerf would decrease the exponent, but the formula would still be exponential, keeping productivity modules pretty much mandatory when mass producing complex items and making them even less useful early game.
Early game (lvl 1) productivity modules don't even need that nerf - at this point you're probably using them to set up lvl 2 module factory or producing effectivity modules. 10% productivity per machine is too little for the energy (and pollution) cost involved, unless you're making very complex (long chain) items.
I agree that productivity modules do need a nerf, just not a simple number nerf - it should be more about the mechanics involved.

I also don't like how it's optimal to only use one kind of modules per machine - either productivity or effectivity. Decreasing per-machine stacking of productivity and making effectivity multiplicative would fix or at least alleviate it.

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by Holy-Fire »

Coolthulhu wrote:
Holy-Fire wrote:
Coolthulhu wrote: Productivity modules' effectiveness increases exponentially with the length of assembling machine chain involved.
This is an optical illusion. It isn't what's really going on.
If each machine in our chain gets 150% productivity (say, 2 lvl 2 and 2 lvl 3 modules), cost per item is 1/1.5 = 2/3.
If all ingredients are created by machines with 150% productivity, raw cost is (2/3)^2. If all ingredients for ingredients are produced at 150%, it's (2/3)^2*(2/3) = (2/3)^3. 1/(2/3)^3 = 337.5% = (3/2)^3 = 150%^3. The formula is (productivity per machine)^(num machines in chain), which is as clearly exponential as it can get.
You're stating the obvious and have completely missed the point of my comments.

I'll say again: The benefits you get from each additional productivity module scale linearly. However:

1. High-end items, because of their high ingredient/time ratio, provide more benefit per productivity module.
2. Long chains typically offer exponentially many locations where you can place productivity modules (currently, mostly on the lower-end of the chain). You still need to pay in modules and power consumption for all of these.

Balancing will require measuring the benefit you get from each module against the costs. Since both benefits and costs are additive, you can do the balancing at the level of a single machine.

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by Coolthulhu »

Holy-Fire wrote: You're stating the obvious and have completely missed the point of my comments.
I am stating the obvious only because you claimed it's not true:
Holy-Fire wrote:
Coolthulhu wrote: Productivity modules' effectiveness increases exponentially with the length of assembling machine chain involved.
This is an optical illusion. It isn't what's really going on.
Holy-Fire wrote:I'll say again: The benefits you get from each additional productivity module scale linearly.
This is simply not true. You'll even get different final cost if you move modules from 110% machine to a 120% one.
Say, machine 1 produces wood at 110% productivity (2.2 wood per 1 raw wood). Machine 2 produces chests at 110% productivity (1.1 chest per 4 wood). 20 raw wood -> 44 wood -> 12.1 chests. If scaling was linear, it would be 12 chests. It gets much worse with longer chains.

I can't easily provide a well-explained example here because the formula is huge, so I'll repost what I wrote on the wiki: lvl 3 module is [1473 c, 775 i] (+artifact) base, but [123 c, 95 i] at 160% prod per machine - if the scaling was linear, it would cost 320 copper and 168 iron (productivity 460%).
I have created a lua script just to calculate productivity of chained machines. The numbers above include all the stuff like copper wires in advanced circuits not getting productivity from electric circuits.

I have re-read your posts to make sure I am not missing any points. I am trying not to sound hostile here, but the more I read them, the less it looks like you read mine thoroughly.

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by ssilk »

I would simplify, so that everyone can follow.

Example: I something is imputed with one and outputs 2, the gain is 2. 2 times the input.
So if you input this output into the next, which have also this gain, the total gain is 4. Now when you do that once again it is not 6, it is 8 because it is multiplied, not added. Called potentiality.

We can say, the production of modules is a linear action, while the using of them is potential. This is a problem, when you have long chains of production, because you get out multiples of what you inserted.

It is now a completely different question, what can be done to make it fair again. One example could be, that it is not allowed to use it for parts of the chain. Another could be: it's ok, that's the game. Many possibilities.
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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by 3LollipopZ »

One example could be, that it is not allowed to use it for parts of the chain. Another could be: it's ok, that's the game. Many possibilities.
I count two :D

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Re: Beacons need to be altered.

Post by Psycho0124 »

kovarex wrote: The solution I can come up with:
  • Remove beacons completely, this is drastical step, but the last game I played without beacons for a change, and for me it was much more enjoyable (although harder) experience.
Drastic, but worth it. I've abused beacons as much as the next guy and I support this option. Games are just more fun without them. The module slots in equipment give more than enough opportunity to upgrade as it is in my humble opinion.

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