Solar panels less of a no-brainer

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Ranakastrasz » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:09 pm

leadraven wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:33 pm

It will change nothing, and nobody needs randomization. Better move in this direction would be : reduce solar panel output with increasing pollution.
That would just encourage more solar panels, or keeping them far away from pollution producing buildings. Something that we already do.
Would also make it even less likely for people to use steam engines, considering they pollute quite a bit too.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Zavian » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:16 am

Ranakastrasz wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:09 pm
leadraven wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:33 pm

It will change nothing, and nobody needs randomization. Better move in this direction would be : reduce solar panel output with increasing pollution.
That would just encourage more solar panels, or keeping them far away from pollution producing buildings. Something that we already do.
Would also make it even less likely for people to use steam engines, considering they pollute quite a bit too.
It would also encourage moving solar fields, to get them out of the pollution clouds, which doesn't seem interesting, but is just another chore to do.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Ranakastrasz » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:49 am

Honestly, if not for the pollution from the alternatives, i would claim the new biters, if on high enough difficulty, are enough to make the space savings critical enough. But given solar panels produce no pollution after constructiom they STILL probably win.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by leadraven » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:02 am

  1. Take oil patch.
  2. Convert all output into solid fuel.
  3. Burn it in boilers.
Infinite power plant done. Is it a no-brainer too?

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Ranakastrasz » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:20 pm

leadraven wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:02 am
  1. Take oil patch.
  2. Convert all output into solid fuel.
  3. Burn it in boilers.
Infinite power plant done. Is it a no-brainer too?
There is a serious upper limit on that. Requires usage of oil patch, better used for plastic, acid, flamethrower fuel.
Pollutes.
Requires nearby water or else significant pipe usage.
Requires strategic resource.


Solar panels just use space. And more space. And that's it.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by leadraven » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:39 pm

Ranakastrasz wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:20 pm
There is a serious upper limit on that. Requires usage of oil patch, better used for plastic, acid, flamethrower fuel.
Pollutes.
Requires nearby water or else significant pipe usage.
Requires strategic resource.
Pollution - agree.
Water isn't problem in this scale.
Oil equals space in a sense. Occupy territory for solar panels or occupy territory to find another oil patch.

P.S. To be clear, I personally never use solar energy.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by SyncViews » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:58 pm

leadraven wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:02 am
  1. Take oil patch.
  2. Convert all output into solid fuel.
  3. Burn it in boilers.
Infinite power plant done. Is it a no-brainer too?
Infinite-ish but requires a lot more planning. More likely is having tankers transport oil. Certainly more interesting than having construction bots build thousands of solar panels in a roboport grid (and with landfill and cliff explosives, don't even need to worry about terrain) and very minimal defences even in non-peaceful (no pollution, a few laser turrets to catch biters chasing bots, trains, etc.).
  • The basic setup needs more parts to be put together by the player. Oil drills, oil pipes, probably trains, pumps, water pipes, boilers, steam pipes, steam engines, oil refinary, oil cracking, possibly circuits due to oil ratio, solid fuel, belts/logistics to deliver fuel. All in correct ratio, and all safe from biters that as it creates a lot of pollution, will be attracted.
  • The infinite output of an oil field is pretty low, even with beacons so need to expand and find lots of them. This is easy to control with map difficulty settings, while the game always has large amounts of easily accessible land (and if not, then fairly easy with artillery, power armour 2, cliff explosives, etc.)
  • The output of an oil field won't exactly match any power plant blueprint (making a blueprint of roboport+solar+accumulators in almost perfect ratio is easy).
  • Oil fields have a random layout, you can't just blueprint all the drills, pipes, etc.
  • Need to decide which modules and beacons are worth it (more fuel output, but using more power), and various different beacon layouts.
  • Needs a lot of water, most oil is not near water, so probably need to transport at least one thing.
  • To blueprint a power plant with pumps, at the very least would need to landfill a straight edge, and unless it was a very big lake, would likely run out of expansion room doing that and need to split up or route pipes anyway.
leadraven wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:39 pm
Ranakastrasz wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:20 pm
There is a serious upper limit on that. Requires usage of oil patch, better used for plastic, acid, flamethrower fuel.
Pollutes.
Requires nearby water or else significant pipe usage.
Requires strategic resource.
Water isn't problem in this scale.
Id say water is actually more of a problem at this scale. If I just need a small number of boilers and steam engines, I can place a blueprint near any water and it is easy, probably even have the pump and pipes in the blueprint. You generally won't find a single water body that can support a large scale though, even if you landfill it into a strip (something else I am not a fan of anyway), so you can't neatly and easily line everything up for construction robot blueprint tiling like you can a roboport+solar+accumulator.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Theikkru » Sun May 05, 2019 8:36 pm

+1 to title; I feel like in its current state solar power is too rewarding for the amount of effort it takes, and I like the bad weather / solar eclipse idea to introduce some unreliability. Making solar itself more complex could be interesting, but implementation would be tricky. Either way, I feel that the main problem needs addressing: solar takes a disproportionately low amount of brain for the reward when compared to other power systems.

I don't see the argument that making solar less accessible or less reliable simply introduces more busywork as convincing at all, because, first, there are alternatives (even more now in 0.17 than when this topic was created!), and the whole point is to encourage at least partial use of them since they require more thought to implement, and second, that is precisely the type of mechanic that fits with Factorio's play style: you are punished with busywork for not using your brain (because you can claim all you want that constructing mass solar takes time and expense, but you're going to have a hard time convincing me that doing so is not repetitive and mindless).

Conversely, the alternatives currently feel too unrewarding; the biggest red flag to me was my initial thoughts after setting up a nice nuclear power plant for the first time:
"Awesome, look at my shiny new nuclear plant, with all its circuitry and feedback control! This'll handle anything I throw at it..........but now what am I going to do with all this empty space in my base? This would have been so much less effort if I had just stamped out some solar blocks here, here, and maybe over here."
To me, this type of situation embodies the antithesis to the Factorian spirit.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by CheeseMcBurger » Sun May 19, 2019 10:07 pm

I like solar panels as they are. You need a lot of different resources, especially oil make them a challenge. I rather use them because it's too complicated. If they were any less efficient as they already are, I wouldn't use them at all, and I maybe have 20 solar panels in total.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by mrvn » Mon May 20, 2019 10:41 am

One thing I like with mods is that nuclear fuel for trains needs a nuclear reactor to breed the fuel. And when you have one running to make train fuel anyway you might as well use it to make power too.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Ranger_Aurelien » Mon May 27, 2019 8:44 pm

Solar power is at odds with different aspects of the biters -- real estate. 1MW of solar+accum will cover a significant area (I'm sure someone has done the math).

Other uses for nuclear ores (beside trains): -- DU (green) ammo, handheld nukes, or even to power boiler steam engines (someone mentioned one /rocket/ fuel powers a boiler for 2h....)

Also, you can turn steam from nuclear plants (+coal) to make more petroleum products (Coal Liquefaction). :
https://wiki.factorio.com/Oil_processing#Recipes

(Did you know you can store steam in silos and rail cars?)

(And that's just Vanilla)
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by chuz » Wed May 29, 2019 3:06 pm

I think solar panels should be severly nerfed, maybe producing 5kwh instead of 60kwh will fix the problem.

So it will make clear that uranium IS the transition between coal energy and solar energy.

At the moment the transition is not clear, you can directly make solar panel without using the nuclear energy.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Koub » Wed May 29, 2019 3:28 pm

chuz wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 3:06 pm
So it will make clear that uranium IS the transition between coal energy and solar energy.

At the moment the transition is not clear, you can directly make solar panel without using the nuclear energy.
I think it's intended : solar power is available significantly before nuclear.
Solar panels and accumulators can be fully automated with just green science. Solar panels tech has only red science prerequisites. Accus only need oil processing => batteries branch, which is quite early green science

Nuclear needs at least blue science (nuclear power and uranium processing) to be set up, and even purple science for recycling used up fuel cells.

Nuclear IS meant to be available after solar.
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Ranger_Aurelien » Wed May 29, 2019 6:46 pm

chuz wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 3:06 pm
I think solar panels should be severly nerfed, maybe producing 5kwh instead of 60kwh will fix the problem.

So it will make clear that uranium IS the transition between coal energy and solar energy.

At the moment the transition is not clear, you can directly make solar panel without using the nuclear energy.
I would not be against completely the idea IF each science after solar is introduced incrementally increases solar power output ending at slightly higher than current levels after space science.

I think in the current game model it is anticipated you go
coal
coal+some solar/accum
coal+some solar/accum+nuclear
solar/accum+nuclear
solar/accum (space/biters permitting)
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by BEEFE » Wed May 29, 2019 9:26 pm

Koub wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 3:28 pm
chuz wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 3:06 pm
So it will make clear that uranium IS the transition between coal energy and solar energy.

At the moment the transition is not clear, you can directly make solar panel without using the nuclear energy.
I think it's intended : solar power is available significantly before nuclear.
Solar panels and accumulators can be fully automated with just green science. Solar panels tech has only red science prerequisites. Accus only need oil processing => batteries branch, which is quite early green science

Nuclear needs at least blue science (nuclear power and uranium processing) to be set up, and even purple science for recycling used up fuel cells.

Nuclear IS meant to be available after solar.
Nuclear also requires the biggest logistical investment of anything other than space science. Even if you ignore circuits to optimize fuel consumption, you've got to:
  1. Transport fluid to a resource patch
  2. Set up a production line for a unique resource (versus solar panels using resources that you already have tons of: steel, copper, and green circuits)
  3. Wait a while for U-235 to spin out (waiting longer if you insist on only using Kovarex-enriched U-235)
  4. Assemble reactors, heat pipes, heat exchangers, and steam turbines. All of which have high unit costs, which adds more complexity: either you have to deal with inventory space issues while handcrafting, or you set up a dedicated line to produce machines you won't use many of.
  5. Lay out plumbing. It's not as complicated as plumbing an oil refinery, but it's not trivial either, especially as you scale up.
Nuclear is some 10-20x as resource-efficient as solar once you actually get it running (even more if you build solar farms remotely with bots), and orders of magnitude more compact, so it's clearly supposed to be an upgrade. The problem is the opportunity cost of switching from solar to nuclear. You already have your solar panel and accumulator assembly line set up (and you still need them for satellites anyway), and there's virtually no downside to leaving solar farms in place. That means you'll have to build 40 MW (or more realistically, 480 MW for a 2x2 reactor cluster) of new consumption before your nuclear plant really starts pulling its own weight.

None of this is a criticism of nuclear power, which I think is implemented pretty well right now. Solar is just too damn convenient for a medium tier technology.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by FuryoftheStars » Wed May 29, 2019 11:43 pm

I think I’m in the “add weather” camp.

Personally, I’m not sure that solar should be used/viewed as a primary source of energy. I almost think it should be changed to a secondary/supplemental source of energy.

But that’s just me.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by mrvn » Thu May 30, 2019 10:09 am

FuryoftheStars wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:43 pm
I think I’m in the “add weather” camp.

Personally, I’m not sure that solar should be used/viewed as a primary source of energy. I almost think it should be changed to a secondary/supplemental source of energy.

But that’s just me.
Weather really make zero difference. It simply shifts the balance a bit towards more accumulators and makes the math harder. So the blueprint on the internet will simply have more accumultors and people still just place them with no brain.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by FuryoftheStars » Thu May 30, 2019 11:05 am

mrvn wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 10:09 am
FuryoftheStars wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:43 pm
I think I’m in the “add weather” camp.

Personally, I’m not sure that solar should be used/viewed as a primary source of energy. I almost think it should be changed to a secondary/supplemental source of energy.

But that’s just me.
Weather really make zero difference. It simply shifts the balance a bit towards more accumulators and makes the math harder. So the blueprint on the internet will simply have more accumultors and people still just place them with no brain.
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.

But to also go with the idea that solar shouldn’t be a primary source of power, I do wonder if it should also receive a nerf to power generation?

Yes, I do realize that with any of that a player could technically just plop down more and more, but considering this would start reaching absurd amounts, and then throw in the “unreliability” factor (weather or other events that cost production), this would (to me, at least) remove them from being a primary power source. As such, they then could be used to supplement the other types and be used to ease the load on occasion, rather than replacing everything.

Honestly, though, I’m not expecting much to be done, as I feel as though this may be a pretty controversial item to touch.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Qon » Thu May 30, 2019 11:20 am

Why shouldn't they be a primary source of power?

If your argument is that it's boring tedious work that can't be automated to place down solar blueprints, ask for Recursive Blueprints to become vanilla. Then it's possible to automate it, and it becomes the least brainless way to build your power generation. Placing solar arrays is the the perfect introduction for circuit newbies to Recursive Blueprints because it can be done in a simple line and the use of Recursive Blueprints is obvious.

Don't ask for solar nerfs, it is already taking so much space that it is not possible to keep your sanity after placing your megabase solar blueprints manually. Recurisive Blueprints is the next logical step in automation and the best argument for having the combinators in the game instead of them being just a niche thing for people to do useless (but cool) things with.

You wouldn't handcraft everything to research and launch a rocket. Placing blueprints manually is silly and needs an automated alternative.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Theikkru » Thu May 30, 2019 2:06 pm

Qon wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:20 am
Why shouldn't they be a primary source of power?

If your argument is that it's boring tedious work that can't be automated to place down solar blueprints, ask for Recursive Blueprints to become vanilla. Then it's possible to automate it, and it becomes the least brainless way to build your power generation. Placing solar arrays is the the perfect introduction for circuit newbies to Recursive Blueprints because it can be done in a simple line and the use of Recursive Blueprints is obvious.

Don't ask for solar nerfs, it is already taking so much space that it is not possible to keep your sanity after placing your megabase solar blueprints manually. Recurisive Blueprints is the next logical step in automation and the best argument for having the combinators in the game instead of them being just a niche thing for people to do useless (but cool) things with.

You wouldn't handcraft everything to research and launch a rocket. Placing blueprints manually is silly and needs an automated alternative.
The argument is that solar is too simple to set up relative to other power source types (especially nuclear), so it should either be MORE tedious (e.g. way more accumulators) to punish you for taking the brainless way out, or have more requirements to work (e.g. steam-based solar, harder math to compensate for weather) to make it more interesting. With solar, the ONLY requirement is that you find enough space to throw down a blueprint. That is brainless. Other power types involve some logistics burden to keep them fueled/watered. Arguments of size don't really hold water because there isn't a practical limit to blueprint size, so even for megabases in vanilla people just start doing things like this.

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