Solar panels less of a no-brainer

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by MeduSalem » Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:39 pm

I like how this thread is still going on exactly the way I said it would happen 4 months ago... :D



... further more I find it interesting how after 18 pages some people still compare apples to oranges and call that "balanced" even after many people already laid out why Solar Power is unbalanced due to it being a one-time investment rather than continous investment like Steam Power is.

I understand that many casual players may think the huge initial investment for Solar Power does the necessary balancing justice to a certain degree... but nope.

Solar Power requires enormous amounts of initial resources, but once you have crafted the solar panels and accumulators you are basically done. Profit from free Energy forever.

But Steam Power requires initial resources, albeit low compared to Solar Power, but from there on you have to feed it resources (coal/solid fuel) forever to sustain the power production.

So on long term Steam Power becomes more and more costly. It might not matter in a game with almost infinite resources, but as a player one doesn't have infinite time to expand the map to get to the required resources. Even with the recent changes to the map generation expanding is a boring and tedious task.



Also with the latest change to the oil deposits I found that it became a lot harder to sustain huge power plants with Solid Fuel alone. Initially they may last longer than they used to but once depleted you need twice as many oil wells compared to before, which might become a real problem depending on the map settings.

While transitioning from my 0.12 map to 0.13 I had to blend in a lot of coal to make up for the that loss and I am still not sure if it will even itself out with the additional oil wells I had to acquire.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Qon » Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:52 pm

MeduSalem wrote: But Steam Power requires initial resources, albeit low compared to Solar Power, but from there on you have to feed it resources (coal/solid fuel) forever to sustain the power production.
You didn't read my post? Steam is also a one time investment if your coal mines never run out. And at sufficiently large distance, the coal fields are rich enough to not run out unless you run the game afk 24/7. I don't know what formula they use to calculate richness, but it seems to be enough from my limited testing. If you want a coal field that lasts 1000 hours then go 20km away from spawn and setup a powerplant there. Wall it in with lasers and a small repair pack factory with nearby effectivly endless ore patches. Will not need any maintenance by the player. Will not need any logistics back to base. Only connection necessary are the big powerpoles.

But if you want to run a server that is on 24/7 where thousands of game-hours are possible then solar is an option...

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by MeduSalem » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:06 pm

Qon wrote:
MeduSalem wrote: But Steam Power requires initial resources, albeit low compared to Solar Power, but from there on you have to feed it resources (coal/solid fuel) forever to sustain the power production.
You didn't read my post? Steam is also a one time investment if your coal mines never run out. And at sufficiently large distance, the coal fields are rich enough to not run out unless you run the game afk 24/7. I don't know what formula they use to calculate richness, but it seems to be enough from my limited testing. If you want a coal field that lasts 1000 hours then go 20km away from spawn and setup a powerplant there. Wall it in with lasers and a small repair pack factory with nearby effectivly endless ore patches. Will not need any maintenance by the player. Will not need any logistics back to base. Only connection necessary are the big powerpoles.

But if you want to run a server that is on 24/7 where thousands of game-hours are possible then solar is an option...
Yeah no... I didn't read all of the previous posts in detail since my last post from March. Would have been almost 8 pages of lecture or something. :D

But well... I might not run it 24/7 but... a long time... I am sure my 0.12 map has seen 1-2 thousand hours because of it. Wouldn't have been able to sustain that with coal at all. Not without building new mining sites all the time... since I don't play with mods (so no RSO mod for me)

But you are right with the 0.13 patches... they are almost endless at reasonable distance basically enabling infinite Steam Power. But then again I am not really sure if I am that much of a fan of increasing richness over distance anyways. Seems pretty much like they took the easy shortcut to deal with the resource distribution and allocation problem for the meantime. I wish they would re-think the entire thing from scratch taking some inspiration from the numerous threads out there, some of which actually have interesting concepts even with "endless patches" as hidden rewards found in rifts and whatnot.

That said I also find it highly unrealistic that with 0.13 the player crashlands exactly at the spot where the resource richness is the worst and it becomes gradually better the further away from the crash site. :lol:

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by siggboy » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:24 pm

This thread repeats itself but I still love it :).

@Qon: I agree with what you said, but I was reacting to your initial remarks which came across as "steam is easy" with plenty of handwaving. All I'm saying is that the resource management is not easy, and steam being "compact" does not make up for that downside -- if we're willing to have the "balance" discussion.

Also:
You didn't read my post? Steam is also a one time investment if your coal mines never run out. And at sufficiently large distance, the coal fields are rich enough to not run out unless you run the game afk 24/7.
The entire factory is a "one time investment" that can run for a long time and produce rockets. That line of reasoning is bogus.

The 3 GW steam power plant is a kind of, sort of, one-time investment with a lot of moving parts, long trains and some caveats attached, such as, move far enough so you get the big ore patches.

The 3 GW solar power plant is an actual one-time investment after which you can turn off your brain. The only requirement is that you know how blueprints work.

I'm sorry but it's just very different. MeduSalem is spot on when he says that here apples are compared to oranges.

@MeduSalem: you're still right and put it well.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by 5thHorseman » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:10 pm

MeduSalem wrote:Solar Power requires enormous amounts of initial resources, but once you have crafted the solar panels and accumulators you are basically done. Profit from free Energy forever.
I think the key difference in opinion between the two sides is whether or not this is a bad thing, not whether or not it exists.

Edit: To me, the part I quoted from you sounds more like a selling point than a bug report.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by siggboy » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:41 pm

5thHorseman wrote:
MeduSalem wrote:Solar Power requires enormous amounts of initial resources, but once you have crafted the solar panels and accumulators you are basically done. Profit from free Energy forever.
I think the key difference in opinion between the two sides is whether or not this is a bad thing, not whether or not it exists.

Edit: To me, the part I quoted from you sounds more like a selling point than a bug report.
The original premise of this thread was that it is a bad thing ("no-brainer"), and not a selling point.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Qon » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:53 am

siggboy wrote:@Qon: I agree with what you said, but I was reacting to your initial remarks which came across as "steam is easy" with plenty of handwaving. All I'm saying is that the resource management is not easy, and steam being "compact" does not make up for that downside -- if we're willing to have the "balance" discussion.
Well I didn't say that steam was easy. Just that it required no maintenance by the player given enough exploration away from origin, and that it is superior to solar if you can handle the complexity. Steam is definitly more complex to set up and requires robots and a factory that replaces broken parts in case the pollution attracts the local inhabitants interest with a lot more nuance for effective builds. Steam actually requires you to be aware of the ratios for it to work at all or you end up with steam engines with no or cold water. And the fluid simulation is one of the more advanced topics in the game, and steam is where you push the most fluid in the entire factory.

It is not only more compact, but also has a cheaper initial cost. Might be offset a bit by the fact that you need a lot more expensive defence in the form of turrets and all that, increasing initial cost.
siggboy wrote:
You didn't read my post? Steam is also a one time investment if your coal mines never run out. And at sufficiently large distance, the coal fields are rich enough to not run out unless you run the game afk 24/7.
The entire factory is a "one time investment" that can run for a long time and produce rockets. That line of reasoning is bogus.

The 3 GW steam power plant is a kind of, sort of, one-time investment with a lot of moving parts, long trains and some caveats attached, such as, move far enough so you get the big ore patches.

The 3 GW solar power plant is an actual one-time investment after which you can turn off your brain. The only requirement is that you know how blueprints work.

I'm sorry but it's just very different. MeduSalem is spot on when he says that here apples are compared to oranges.
The complexity doesn't invalidate the fact that is a one time investment. It's two orthogonal concepts. The complexity is a drawback, yes, but it doesn't affect longetivity at all. What could invalidate the one time investment for steam claim would be to play longer than you planned for or not planning your coal richness needs properly.

A factory could also be a one time investment, if your logistics is good enough. But that kind of logistical planning is beyond most players ability. For the power network however the logistical problem of transfering and distributing electricity is solved trivially. Even factory design is a one time investment if you do it properly...

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Qon » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:58 am

siggboy wrote:
5thHorseman wrote:
MeduSalem wrote:Solar Power requires enormous amounts of initial resources, but once you have crafted the solar panels and accumulators you are basically done. Profit from free Energy forever.
I think the key difference in opinion between the two sides is whether or not this is a bad thing, not whether or not it exists.

Edit: To me, the part I quoted from you sounds more like a selling point than a bug report.
The original premise of this thread was that it is a bad thing ("no-brainer"), and not a selling point.
Not an argument. OP provididing the premise doesn't make the premise correct. 5th simply disagrees with the premise because his opinion is different. None of the stances is objectivly true. It depends on which part you find enjoyable in the game.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Qon » Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:08 am

MeduSalem wrote:But you are right with the 0.13 patches... they are almost endless at reasonable distance basically enabling infinite Steam Power. But then again I am not really sure if I am that much of a fan of increasing richness over distance anyways. Seems pretty much like they took the easy shortcut to deal with the resource distribution and allocation problem for the meantime. I wish they would re-think the entire thing from scratch taking some inspiration from the numerous threads out there, some of which actually have interesting concepts even with "endless patches" as hidden rewards found in rifts and whatnot.
I think richness increasing with distance is a good solution. Better than not having it and better than endless resources. Not having it means that your mining needs just keep on increasing until all you do is replace mines and have no time at all for building. Endless means that you don't have to keep track of the amount left at all or calculate how long it will last and so on. And with lower yield you need more and more miners for higher power and cpu cost with limited ore gain. With increasing richness you can travel further until you get as much as you need, but without completely removing the need to keep an eye on resources left. If you need more you can earn it with a fair and reasonable amount of work without making it too tedious. Wish size also increased with distance.

But yes there might be other ideas worth implementing, not saying it is the one and only.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by siggboy » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:34 am

Richness increasing with distance is good game design, even if it doesn't make sense from a geological point of view.

You need to put more work into reaching the outpost, and eventually retrieving the resources, so the game compensates for that by giving you more. If it wasn't the case you wouldn't get rewarded for your effort.

Also Qon is correct when he mentions that otherwise you'd slowly approach the point where no effective progress is possible anymore, since the outposts would run dry as quickly as you can find new ones.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by PacifyerGrey » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:55 am

I see Qon and siggboy throwing axes and slashing air all around but I can't see your goal guys. Can you just state your position in a couple of short phrases? Like "A is bad and B is good and I propose to change C to make everything better"...

Coming back to my point. As I said - nerfing or even removing accumulators.

In the current state of things with current daylight cycle using solar power will save you 2/3 of coal for your steam engine setup. However this does not simplify things to death as it is now.
If you want to run a 24/7 setup (which will do what? All resources do deplete the same way coal does but much faster even without solar) so you can still opt for turning off some areas of your factory for a night as I described. And when cut down to 1/3 needs steam power really becomes much less of a problem from both pollution and resource management standpoints.

Some people mentioned that coal has no use in endgame apart from producing plastic. I am sure that this is not a good thing as it is still one of primary resources and should be required for your factory in reasonable quantities. Even from my personal experience - I could not deplete a single patch of coal as I could switch to solar + electric furnaces before that. And for plastic production needs you need REALLY small quantities of coal. So generally coal as a resource became obsolete.

So I am encouraging to leave steam power required however for you to be able to tweak it towards lower pollution and being maybe more compactand require less fuel and water. So adding burner plants with attachable modules and steam turbine with modules can be a nice addition.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by siggboy » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:16 am

PacifyerGrey wrote:Can you just state your position in a couple of short phrases? Like "A is bad and B is good and I propose to change C to make everything better"...
Sure.

Solar is boring. I never use it.
Steam is less boring, but too inconvenient for post-end game. I only use it early on.
Nucular is interesting to set up and useful in all phases of the game, I use it and recommend it.

Neither of them are "good" or "bad"; Factorio is a sandbox game and whatever floats your boat is "good".

The point of this thread is not to find out what's good or bad, it's about having a discussion for the fun of it. "Throwing axes", I like throwing axes.
And for plastic production needs you need REALLY small quantities of coal. So generally coal as a resource became obsolete.
You need REALLY small quantities of sulfuric acid, but you need it and so you need pipes for it and you need oil for it. It doesn't make it obsolete. The amounts of coal needed are much higher. If your problem is that too much of it is on the map I guess you have to reduce that in map settings.

The same is true for stone; arguably there is way, way too much of it on the map with standard settings, even if you plan to build quite a lot of walls and concrete.

To be honest, the oversupply of stone annoys me a lot more than the abundance of coal in games where I won't ever use it for large scale power.
So I am encouraging to leave steam power required however for you to be able to tweak it towards lower pollution and being maybe more compactand require less fuel and water. So adding burner plants with attachable modules and steam turbine with modules can be a nice addition.
Getting back to my Nucular recommendation: it checks all those boxes, and it introduces an interesting production chain involving reprocessing of depleted fuels and manufacturing of weapons from "waste" material. Something very much like it should be in the Vanilla game.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by PacifyerGrey » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:31 am

siggboy wrote: Getting back to my Nucular recommendation: it checks all those boxes, and it introduces an interesting production chain involving reprocessing of depleted fuels and manufacturing of weapons from "waste" material. Something very much like it should be in the Vanilla game.
Thanks for the recommendation I will definitely check that out.

Up until this point I was trying to avoid using mods as much as I could.
But some of current issues just kinda force me into it

Map generation broken - RSO
Power generation - Nucular
And something for Warehousing, have to look at whats available

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by siggboy » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:54 am

PacifyerGrey wrote:
siggboy wrote: Getting back to my Nucular recommendation: it checks all those boxes, and it introduces an interesting production chain involving reprocessing of depleted fuels and manufacturing of weapons from "waste" material. Something very much like it should be in the Vanilla game.
Thanks for the recommendation I will definitely check that out.
Right now there's only an "inofficial" release for 0.13 (check the forum thread), but it works fine. It does have some issues with getting the steam to the engines, because of a flawed mod implementation. This might get fixed, I'm already looking at the code, just in case I have to do it yourself.

In the current implementation you need to deliver the steam (from the reactors) upwards into the engines, not left or right or down as that appears to be slightly broken. This is fixable but it's not in the current release.
Up until this point I was trying to avoid using mods as much as I could.
May I ask why? Do you fear your game breaking or is it just out of general principle? There are quite a few mods that really improve the game, in my opinion.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by PacifyerGrey » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:48 am

siggboy wrote: May I ask why? Do you fear your game breaking or is it just out of general principle? There are quite a few mods that really improve the game, in my opinion.
First of all - achievements. You know they are disabled if you use mods.

Second is actually described in your post - mods tend to lose support at some point or just have their release delayed compared to the game itself which might effectively prevent you from updating to a new version.

I am trying to put a lot of effort into Factorio development right now for some awkward reason and that is why I flood the forum with various suggestions.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by siggboy » Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:24 pm

PacifyerGrey wrote:Second is actually described in your post - mods tend to lose support at some point or just have their release delayed compared to the game itself which might effectively prevent you from updating to a new version.
That's true, but only in the case where the mod added an entity which is then lost this is actually a problem. Otherwise (mod stops working but it not affecting your map) you're not worse off than you would have been had you not used the mod at all.

I've heard this argument before, but I never quite understood it for that reason.

Also, what you describe happens way less than you might think. I personally am a big fan of mods and addons, in Factorio I have over 30 installed. It didn't take even a few days until most of them were updated for 0.13, almost all of them by their respective authors. (In World of Warcraft it's even more extreme, you would expect your addon house of cards to be toppling over all the time; but it never happens.)

By the way, Blake has made an update for Nucular which fixes that issue that I mentioned (it was not even a Nucular issue, rather a limitation of 0.12 that is now gone).
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Qon » Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:09 pm

PacifyerGrey wrote:I see Qon and siggboy throwing axes and slashing air all around but I can't see your goal guys. Can you just state your position in a couple of short phrases? Like "A is bad and B is good and I propose to change C to make everything better"...
Well I said I liked that ore richness increasing with distance is positive. Ore patch size also increasing with distance would be good too. It could be sub-linear so patches never grow so much that all the ground is covered. But if you went far enough it would be nice if even small patches grew large enough to support a megafactory. Same with terrain segmentation also. This way you can have reasonably low starting resources but you won't run into problems when growing your factory if you go far. Make settings screen give it as an option.

Other ways to compliment the increasing richness would be deep ore that doesn't run out but requires a lot of processing. If it is complex enough then you might be able to escape the feeling of cheapness of everything. When I used endless resources I eventually felt that nothing I did matters and got bored with my map. If each deep ore was different enough and complex enough the reward would be more fair.
Endless with yield should only be for oil. But they nerfed oil spawn yield, oil spawn distance multiplier and oil minimum yield so oil is going to be tedious and boring to get enough of. If there's no reasonable way to get enough oil then I will be forced to mod it.

Ore processing mod (not angels ore processing) is another fancy solution. But it is extremely underpowered at the moment. When first taking a look at it was about 1000 times worse than mining. It has been buffed a bit since, but it's not enough. I have a personal version where I have buffed it a lot more, but it still isn't worth it comparedd to mining. But if it was implemented correctly it would be another way to get ores in a fairly satisfying manner even though it would be everlasting.

And resource collection is connected to power generation by the fact that steam needs fuel.
PacifyerGrey wrote:Coming back to my point. As I said - nerfing or even removing accumulators.
As I've said, yes if they add solar thermal and/or electric boilers so that you can store hot water for the night. Or some other additions like nuclear power. Just removing it without any sort of replacement is just limiting our options and forcing everyone to use steam. Instead we should aim to give the player many more options. If we had nuclear power that had long lasting fuel and gave a lot of power then people would stop using solar/accus unless they really liked it. And if the people who use it like it, what is the harm? If you don't like it, don't use it. If you had a more suitable option you wouldn't feel left out or like you are limiting yourself.

And accus are now useful for measuring the power system with combinators. That would also need a replacement in that case.
PacifyerGrey wrote:In the current state of things with current daylight cycle using solar power will save you 2/3 of coal for your steam engine setup. However this does not simplify things to death as it is now.
If you want to run a 24/7 setup (which will do what? All resources do deplete the same way coal does but much faster even without solar) so you can still opt for turning off some areas of your factory for a night as I described. And when cut down to 1/3 needs steam power really becomes much less of a problem from both pollution and resource management standpoints.
With increasing richness by distance, if you want patches to last 3 times longer you can just go a few thousand tiles further. Seems like it would be better in many cases. But yes it would still be useful. Shutting your factory off competely at night is not an option. You still want your roboport network active (or otherwise you will wake up to 0 bots in the network, or your base destroyed by the locals) and your defenses running. Other than that a 24/7 base might be ok to only run at game-day for some people.
PacifyerGrey wrote:So I am encouraging to leave steam power required however for you to be able to tweak it towards lower pollution and being maybe more compactand require less fuel and water. So adding burner plants with attachable modules and steam turbine with modules can be a nice addition.
With 30 steam engines on a row steam is fairly compact and reasonable for multi-GW production. Steam is already good. But we shouldn't make steam mandatory. Instead add more options that compete with both solar and steam.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by PacifyerGrey » Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:52 pm

Qon wrote:Shutting your factory off competely at night is not an option. You still want your roboport network active (or otherwise you will wake up to 0 bots in the network, or your base destroyed by the locals) and your defenses running. Other than that a 24/7 base might be ok to only run at game-day for some people.
You missed my post about details on this. I suggested implementing a daytime sensor that could be used paired with power switch to shut down only certain areas of your factory. This could be mining + smelting for example which will mostly half your energy consumption. You might however think of a buffer storage to make production last during the night. You might use smelter's output buffer of 100 units to make this work.
Qon wrote: With 30 steam engines on a row steam is fairly compact and reasonable for multi-GW production. Steam is already good. But we shouldn't make steam mandatory. Instead add more options that compete with both solar and steam.
Yet again you are judging from a megabase standpoint. You have stated that you are interested in gigasolutions and you don't care about pollution. However I am looking from a standpoint of an average player who will build reasonable bases with limited space and caring about pollution. So adding burner plant of like 3x3 size with initial effectiveness of say 4 burners will not make solution much more compact but if you could add modules to that - it can become much more interesting and fun.

Same goes for steam engines. Being a starter tech it is reasonable to replace one with Steam Turbine at some point with combined power of say 4 steam engines but yet again with modules which will add much more versatility on it.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Qon » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:14 pm

PacifyerGrey wrote: You missed my post about details on this. I suggested implementing a daytime sensor that could be used paired with power switch to shut down only certain areas of your factory. This could be mining + smelting for example which will mostly half your energy consumption. You might however think of a buffer storage to make production last during the night. You might use smelter's output buffer of 100 units to make this work.
Seems fairly reasonable.
PacifyerGrey wrote: Yet again you are judging from a megabase standpoint. You have stated that you are interested in gigasolutions and you don't care about pollution. However I am looking from a standpoint of an average player who will build reasonable bases with limited space and caring about pollution. So adding burner plant of like 3x3 size with initial effectiveness of say 4 burners will not make solution much more compact but if you could add modules to that - it can become much more interesting and fun.
Well I think a more diverse way of generating power would be beneficial for all, not just megabase builders. Well maybe not speed runners q:
But it would be one more thing that could be just as interesting to design and set up as your automation of everything else. More Factorio in the power generation. That's another reason for something like nuclear power to be implemented.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by PacifyerGrey » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:13 pm

Qon wrote: Well I think a more diverse way of generating power would be beneficial for all, not just megabase builders. Well maybe not speed runners q:
But it would be one more thing that could be just as interesting to design and set up as your automation of everything else. More Factorio in the power generation. That's another reason for something like nuclear power to be implemented.
You are surely right. I am all up for implementing something like Nucular in vanilla. Btw Nucular has steam turbines proposed by me and they fit very well.

But I do understand how game development works. You should have the whole picture in your mind, a roadmap. And you start delivering features in fairly small but functional groups.

You can look through my initial post again to see that I do propose a roadmap which has a vision for all the options. Devs most probably have their own but I doubt that differences are too much there.
I think we both agree that we need some new ways to manage power generation in mid to endgame. And while implementing something like Nucular may require quite an effort in both development and balancing I can be mostly sure that implementing small extensions to steam power that will later on be used in nuclear power is safe and easy and we could get it much sooner. But I also think that these changes already can go along with accumulator nerf just to point people into the right direction.

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