Solar panels less of a no-brainer

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Theikkru
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Theikkru » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:57 pm

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Theikkru » Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:14 pm

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Theikkru » Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:32 pm

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by FuryoftheStars » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:20 pm

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by FuryoftheStars » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:47 pm

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Koub » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:02 pm

So this is the moderator-me speaking. I asked nicely to all here to stay focussed on the topic, and not on each others rethorics. I hoped this would be enough, but it seems it wasn't, so I felt the urge to slide 'n dice all the most recent trollwar posts. As you can all see, I don't take sides, whatever was not an argument pro or against this thread's topic was removed. And I'll do so as long as the discussion gets out of its path.
I wish to all a pleasant experience on this forum from now on.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Qon » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:03 pm

That's an improvement. You seem to actually try to understand my argument now. For that, I will try to give you a proper response.

Yes, that is kind of what I'm saying. There's a difference that should be made clear before it gets lost. The cost of coal power is not coal. The coal is not an upfront cost. The things that you pay are
  • the infrastructure cost (which is payed up front usually, or at least some infrastructure to get the infrastructure)
  • the space cost
  • the time cost (usually closely follows space) to actually build it (by you, player)
  • the robot build time (how much latency before it is completed/usable)
  • reliability (coal running out is a problem in early game)
  • blueprint placement complexity. Before landfill and blueprintable landfill and blueprintable trains solar was the only thing that was reasonable to call "blueprintable". But now you can! Train networks require multiple steps, but you should have most of the rail infrastructure up and running at this stage so it's only a minor consideration.
  • Location dependency. Resource fields and water are only in specific places. Resources being rich only at pretty large distances is a cost too.
  • the UPS cost
  • and maybe some other minor consideration. I could have missed something.
All of these can pretty much be reduced to just player time and UPS. And "fun" I guess.
Unless you play on a limited map you can always move to another resource field (which requires player time).

I've consistently made clear that I'm talking about megabases. So the argument is valid in that case. For early game it wouldn't work though. And I'll Qoncede that the line between the two might be such that you spend too much time in a state where the coal replacement cost is a real annoyance that could affect balance. That might be worth discussing further.

I think it's common enough though for megabase builders to max out resource generation that it might even be fair to expect people to do that instead of complaining about their resources lacking in balance threads. If your coal runs out too fast, why not set the settings to your liking? But default settings are pretty much otherwise assumed in a balance thread so I'm not sure if it's on topic. But megabases are also an extreme form of play which might also be Qonsidered out of scope for a general balance thread in the same way. But in that case I would say that if you are not going for megabase then you don't have to go far at all to get long lasting resources, just keep expanding in one direction and don't take the worst possible patches even on default resources. And if you are going for megabase then I can reasonably assume that you are maxing out the resources and we are only talking about balance in the post-rocket play.

With these "rules" you can't say that "but megabases run for 10000 hours and it's unreasonable to expect me to go to go all the way to the edge of the map to get lasting resources". For a 10 000 hour map (highest I've seen posted are like 1k hours though) it might be somewhat reasonable to expect you to do that, but it isn't fun. But I can then instead tell you to crank up the settings instead. So no extreme bases on default settings. With that, I also can't expect you to go 50k tiles from spawn or crank up the settings to max though to get "ever lasting" (more than the base lasts) coal for a base that only lasts like 100 hours. I think default settings don't require you to go that unreasonably far though.

Also, the times and distances for coal were mostly to prove that you can get everlasting coal for any base no matter the timescales within and slightly past reason. You actually use nuclear power which lasts longer, is quicker to setup (less space required, blueprints are already done and acid is already ready to go) and give better UPS etc. So it was just to prove that a megabase on the wrong settings with the wrong choice of power still would not run out if you really wanted to make it work. So solar should be compared to nuclear for a megabase. I considered using coal instead of solar before nuclear was introduced though.

I think a lot of weird things happen when you consider the bases that are made for maps with some settings but don't actually use those settings. And then the balance discussion becomes as dysfunctional as the map settings.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Qon » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:05 pm

Koub wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:02 pm
whatever was not an argument pro or against this thread's topic was removed.
Can we get back fury's last post, please? It was on topic.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Theikkru » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:42 pm

There is one more factor that needs to be considered (though not always applied) as both a player-time cost and "fun", and that is the design process. In actual gameplay, this will only be relevant if you are not using a ready-made blueprint, but if anything, I think this factor should be weighed the heaviest in game balancing, since not only does it occupy a large proportion of player time, (and depending on your playstyle, fun,) if applicable, it is also necessary to produce the ready-made blueprints used in cases where it is not applicable. In this post, I detailed how I think solar has disproportionately low design complexity when compared to the other two power source types.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Koub » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:57 pm

Qon wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:05 pm
Koub wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:02 pm
whatever was not an argument pro or against this thread's topic was removed.
Can we get back fury's last post, please? It was on topic.
I'm sorry if I have been over board while moderating despite paing attention. Unfortunately, I have no way of restoring back an edited post (it's one of the reasons I dislike doing that, it's purely destructive)
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Qon » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:03 pm

Theikkru wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:42 pm
There is one more factor that needs to be considered (though not always applied) as both a player-time cost and "fun", and that is the design process. In actual gameplay, this will only be relevant if you are not using a ready-made blueprint, but if anything, I think this factor should be weighed the heaviest in game balancing, since not only does it occupy a large proportion of player time, (and depending on your playstyle, fun,) if applicable, it is also necessary to produce the ready-made blueprints used in cases where it is not applicable. In this post, I detailed how I think solar has disproportionately low design complexity when compared to the other two power source types.
For a large megabase, something as simple as power (nuclear included) is already a ready blueprint. But for a regular playthrough, this is definitely a big part. And for me, it is the enjoyable part. Since I didn't find my nuclear design any difficult to make I wouldn't say that solar is boring to design because it is easier. At the scale I plan for and symmetry requirements (Recursive Blueprints means I want highly regular and standardised designs beyond just tileability) I have the solar field was about as difficult/enjoyable to design as the nuclear plant. I agree that for a normal base solar it is trivial to get something useable with if you just know the ratio. And here solar designs suffer and don't really provide much interesting gameplay.

But a nerf would just make them more tedious. I think you mentioned 10% variability such that you only needed to compensate for the variability, but Fury described it more detailed before you as
FuryoftheStars wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:05 am
Well, as has been pointed out before, having a day where solar experiences a “loss” in production for a day, you’d need somewhere around 5x as many accumulators to push through it. If chance made for two days in a row, the number starts becoming absurd.
which was the change I was opposed to as it would just remove solar as an option since you would need a backup plant (nuclear) with the same capacity as the solar field. And nuclear doesn't really run out so once you set it up you don't really have a reason to save your nuclear fuel with the panels. And since this was the described nerf I was working under the assumption that it was this change we were discussing.

And with your 10% variability in the output proposal you just slightly increase cost and area and don't actually make any big impact that would make people consider other forms of power generation. It would make solar 10% more annoying to use and that's it.

Solar heated panels with temperature mixing might have more potential, but as the rest of the game is now you just use turbines for all of it if you have them. There's no real incentive to use steam engines for sub 165 degree steam. And even if you did try to use the "right" steam engine the solution could easily just be the trivial one, to turn a pump on depending on a single condition, just like oil cracking. And you would become dependent on water/heat flow again so you would lose UPS and likely also tie solar to water sources like the other power sources. So the idea might work but needs more refining before I can evaluate it properly.

When I choose power source for a megabase UPS and build time are the factors that differ and are worth considering. Nuclear would be the obvious choice if it was just more UPS efficient. It's so compact I don't need Recursive Blueprints for it and I don't even need stationary roboports for it, it's pretty manageable with my personal roboport. For a completely self-building base though, solar has the advantage that it is location independent and low tech but can still scale indefinitely. But that base isn't really on-topic for a discussion on balance. But the point is that solar already has a worthy competitor. Solar isn't a must have. Both solar and nuclear (and coal to some extent) are reasonable choices depending on what kind of base you are building. I find the balance good in 0.17. And the ideas about nerfing solar doesn't seem to be about creating a better balance but just to force people to use the "interesting" choices. I think that several viable options make the choice an interesting part of the design decision too.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Theikkru » Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:39 pm

Qon wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:03 pm
And with your 10% variability in the output proposal you just slightly increase cost and area and don't actually make any big impact that would make people consider other forms of power generation. It would make solar 10% more annoying to use and that's it.
What if the variability were more local (e.g. to chunks), rather than being global across the map? (For clarity, I mean variability without change in average power.)
Thematically this makes sense, because clouds don't block the sun everywhere simultaneously.
Mechanically, this would mean that you could give it a higher value (maybe even 50%), because as scales increase (e.g. megabasing), where design considerations become more complex due to construction logistics anyways, the variations would average out, so behavior would converge towards what we have now (so it's no more annoying than now). At smaller scales however, it would be a lot less reliable, and might introduce considerations such as additional accumulators, backup power, or spreading panels around to improve averaging. Depending on how variable you make it, balancing with a buff to average power might be included as well, so it actually decreases print plonking at large scales.
That way it's a more interesting and difficult problem at smaller scales, but with better total rewards, (and design complexity is better balanced with that of other power systems when most relevant), and it makes things a bit more pleasant as you scale up (and have to start blueprinting in more logistics).

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by FuryoftheStars » Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:00 am

Ok, that’s where I figured you were coming from (megabase stage) and I think that’s why we’re really in disagreement. As solar comes out mid/early-mid stage of the game, I consider the balance factor from there forward. And while megabases are included in this, I also do not place a lot of weight to that end for balancing. At that stage any sense of balance in regards to costs and the like start becoming trivial and thus it’s moot to even discuss them.

I feel as though balance should be considered from aspects that don’t go to an extreme and start to warp the concepts of things, like late megabase, or turning the resource settings way up or even way down.

Bah, phone get’s too hard to post on. Submitting this and I’ll be back.

EDIT:

Well, I guess I didn't have all that much more to say, but editing out sections of a quote is so much easier from a PC (especially seems the phone tends to try to be "smart" and will change the time number into a telephone number....).
Qon wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:03 pm
But a nerf would just make them more tedious. I think you mentioned 10% variability such that you only needed to compensate for the variability, but Fury described it more detailed before you as
FuryoftheStars wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:05 am
Well, as has been pointed out before, having a day where solar experiences a “loss” in production for a day, you’d need somewhere around 5x as many accumulators to push through it. If chance made for two days in a row, the number starts becoming absurd.
which was the change I was opposed to as it would just remove solar as an option since you would need a backup plant (nuclear) with the same capacity as the solar field. And nuclear doesn't really run out so once you set it up you don't really have a reason to save your nuclear fuel with the panels. And since this was the described nerf I was working under the assumption that it was this change we were discussing.

And with your 10% variability in the output proposal you just slightly increase cost and area and don't actually make any big impact that would make people consider other forms of power generation. It would make solar 10% more annoying to use and that's it.
While I love Theikkru's later post on the idea of making the solar outages on a per chunk scale instead of the whole map, I did want to comment more on this. Specifically, perhaps, this line:
you would need a backup plant
Weather I think can, with the right balance, achieve the encouragement of not relying on it 100%, but also still give the attractiveness (no pollution, or yes, even UPS, but this starts edging to extreme usage situations) of wanting it. I really feel this is more where I'm leaning, in trying to find a way to encourage a player to use all of the tools at their disposal, not just the "best" one. So in my eyes, if this results in the need of having other power plants on standby, then goal accomplished. But I also think that you shouldn't be powering 100% of the base with solar in the first place (think of how much land that takes!), which means these "standby" plants would actually be running and not just useless hunks until needed. And solar would still not be useless because they would be producing power, too, that would allow the other plants to run at less than 100% capacity, reducing pollution and UPS.

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