Trains vs conveyors?

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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby MalcolmCooks » Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:59 am

trains vs belts is an issue decided by the world generation, and not inherent to the systems themselves. there is no question that trains are better for high throughput and high speed of travel over long distances, the "balance" issue where trains are not useful in some worlds is because of a balance issue with the resource generation. Case in point: you would never DREAM of using only belts on a world with RSO mod. It would be ridiculous. And yet that mod changes nothing about belts and trains, it only changes the way resources are generated.
Personally I don't see it as an issue that needs to be fixed. If people want to have worlds with lots of densely packed resources, that's fine, because it means you can build different kinds of bases. But then these people shouldn't complain that "trains are useless".
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby Frightning » Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:01 am

MalcolmCooks wrote:trains vs belts is an issue decided by the world generation, and not inherent to the systems themselves. there is no question that trains are better for high throughput and high speed of travel over long distances, the "balance" issue where trains are not useful in some worlds is because of a balance issue with the resource generation. Case in point: you would never DREAM of using only belts on a world with RSO mod. It would be ridiculous. And yet that mod changes nothing about belts and trains, it only changes the way resources are generated.
Personally I don't see it as an issue that needs to be fixed. If people want to have worlds with lots of densely packed resources, that's fine, because it means you can build different kinds of bases. But then these people shouldn't complain that "trains are useless".

This, so much this: If trains are useless to you, you only have your choice of map settings to blame for that.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:23 pm

I've never told anyone to use trains, if they want to use yellow belts they can go right ahead. Also not sure anyone complains about trains... But a lot of players do overestimate the costs of a rail network and just assume belts are cheaper.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby frekkerebba » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:10 am

The first train you make will cost more than belts. Its a investment because when you already have a great rail network going. Some of the later trains added into the network will drive mostly on old rail tracks. In the long run trains beat belts.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:48 am

Tracked down my detailed calculation:

Deadly-Bagel wrote:Let's be thorough. Rails are 5.5 iron per 4 tiles, but we'll go two-way so 5.5 iron per 2 tiles. Rail signals are 6 iron and 1.5 copper each which is needed twice every 30 tiles. So 5.5 * 15 + 7.5 * 2 = 97.5 resource per 30 tiles (assume 1 copper = 1 iron).

The cost per blue belt is off the chart for long distance so we'll compare it to a single red belt lane. Red belts are 11.5 iron per tile, so 345 iron per 30 tiles. That's over 3.5 times the cost of the rails and signals, just that 30 tiles has a difference of 247.5 ore.

As you're only using one red belt I'm only going to unload from one side of the train. That's 12 Stack Inserters, 12 Steel Chests, 12 Fast Inserters and a Train Stop, and two are required, plus the train itself. Again I'm going to assume 1 Iron = 1 Copper. That's ((87 * 12) + (40 * 12) + (12.5 * 12) + 37.5) * 2 + 575 = 3998 ore and 24 Plastic.

The plastic is difficult to factor in but the break-even distance on just the ore is 485 tiles. Once you factor in the loop it's about 500 tiles. Keep in mind this is compared to a single red belt, and this setup will probably happily provide a constant supply of two red belts at least. My last game I was feeding four blue belts from two carriages (unloading both sides) and didn't have any problems, not sure if I was consuming four solid lanes at any time but I was at least getting pretty close. Would easily have been going through four red belts anyway.

Additionally since you can't share belts between resources or outposts, trains become drastically cheaper when you start expanding. Rails themselves can carry a very large number of trains without discrimination of contents, and that unloading setup can supply two blue belts easily with sufficient trains coming in. Double up on inserters and chests to supply four blue belts. To expand to that with belts you'd either need four lanes of blue belts going all the way to your outpost (lmao) or six lanes of red belts, then the break-even point becomes less than 200 tiles, and that's assuming you're not even reusing the rails for other outposts.

So comparing a brand new rail and train it's still cheaper than running a single red belt a mere 500 tiles. And that's using Stack Inserters, if you used Fast Inserters you'd still match the throughput of a single red belt and break-even becomes something like 350 tiles.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby greep » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:11 am

Well, unless you're playing with very low resources, material cost shouldn't even really be a factor, the price of transport compared to what you're hauling is miniscule. Time is much more important, and belts clobber trains since train time management grows over time based on stations and trains. Let's not even get into the horrors of a train backing up in a massive network. It might be slightly more setup to place a 10 wide blue belt with bots over thousands of tiles, but only initially.

And if you ARE playing on very low resources, yellow belts clobber trains. So belts absolutely win over trains for any circumstance really. I build trains only for fun, not because they're good (since they're pretty bad).

Edit: okay trains technically beat belts for lag purposes too, but lag really doesn't have much to do with game balance xD
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:17 am

Actually the cost of the rails themselves (two-way) is comparable to two yellow belt lanes. A yellow belt is 1.5 iron per tile, therefore 3 iron per tile for 2 lanes, 30 tiles is therefore 90 iron compared to 97.5 for rails. The moment you add a third yellow belt, rails are well and truly cheaper. A mere distance of 200 tiles covers a train, a wagon and simple loading / unloading stations.

As for time, well, bots place 30 rails and 2 signals faster than they do 300 belts. Once you get your rail blueprints the way you like them, especially with blueprint libraries coming in 0.15, you can't argue that rails still take longer. Even before bots, yes rails are a bit more tedious to set up by hand however you only need to do it once, you're not going to be putting down 10 blue belt lanes before you have robots so you'll have to go back to it at least once, likely a few times to increase throughput as you upgrade to red belts and need to add more lanes. To improve train throughput you just improve loading and unloading.

And I don't get why trains would become more complex as you add stations. In vanilla you'll typically have two unloading stations, one for copper and one for iron. Throw in a few loading bays but you probably won't have more than one or two active outposts at a time so no deadlocks unless you've messed something up. Say four outposts, four trains. You can build off your existing rail network which saves a LOT of time.

If you're using belts you have to run entirely new belt lines from your base to each outpost, clearing all that space as you go. Biters will also attack belts they're standing on, while rails are never directly targeted.

So, to summarise the winner for each requirement:

Cost: Trains
Throughput: Trains
Expandability: Trains
Time to build: Trains
Simplicity: Belts

So really the only thing belts have going for them is you don't need a brain to work them out. That's not to say rails are complex, they can be sure but they can also be very simple.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby mophydeen » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:11 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote:....
In vanilla you'll typically have two unloading stations, one for copper and one for iron.
.....


Coal, stone, oil ?

in 0.15 uranium and water(desert:))
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:51 pm

Never needed a coal unloading station (EDIT: in vanilla), only needed a stone one in a multiplayer game because the guy I was playing with insisted on making thousands of landfill.

Oil cannot be transported on belts (well, it can but I'm going to ignore you if you suggest it) so is irrelevant to the discussion. In fact this is an advantage for trains because it gives you the option of transporting oil by train though honestly I occasionally just pipe it the distance if it's close enough, pipes are a high enough throughput and I won't need to go back to add more.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby mophydeen » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:57 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote:Never needed a coal unloading station (EDIT: in vanilla), only needed a stone one in a multiplayer game because the guy I was playing with insisted on making thousands of landfill.

Oil cannot be transported on belts (well, it can but I'm going to ignore you if you suggest it) so is irrelevant to the discussion. In fact this is an advantage for trains because it gives you the option of transporting oil by train though honestly I occasionally just pipe it the distance if it's close enough, pipes are a high enough throughput and I won't need to go back to add more.


I see, you've never build a large enough base.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:27 pm

I see, you're not interested in providing any actual evidence of why belts are better. No sense arguing with a record player.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby mophydeen » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:01 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote:I see, you're not interested in providing any actual evidence of why belts are better. No sense arguing with a record player.



I'm not saying belts or rails are better. It all depends on : singleplayer, multiplayer, strong pc, latencies, robots, bitters and more.
It's not about records but about the resources. A speedrun won't use a train, a long term map will.
Don't look in one direction but broaden your view and you might see the bigger picture.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby greep » Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:46 am

I meant time as in train management as you increase stations, not rail or station placement. As stations dry up or new ones are made, you need to account for this with every train for pickup stations in very large networks. Addmittedly, I haven't played with the new train logic system yet, but unless there's mass station planning (like "automatically find all stations in the network and go to them in a loop using these copied depart conditions and reset on station creation, skipping only these select stations", which I really doubt exists yet) then that is a huge time sink, that grows with each train over time.

With belts, its place and forget. And if you place the belts intelligently, it's not much space really and there's absolutely belt reuse. It's sort of like a main bus, just on a world scale. You'll have two or three thick lines, spreading out into half a dozen thinner lines, and then singular lines for direct mine pickup. As mines dry up they naturally free up more space on the main trunk, so you could say they're more expandable than trains ;)

In any case, like I said, it's all theory really since you're pretty much forced into trains due to lag considerations.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:39 am

mophydeen wrote:
Deadly-Bagel wrote:I see, you're not interested in providing any actual evidence of why belts are better. No sense arguing with a record player.



I'm not saying belts or rails are better. It all depends on : singleplayer, multiplayer, strong pc, latencies, robots, bitters and more.
It's not about records but about the resources. A speedrun won't use a train, a long term map will.
Don't look in one direction but broaden your view and you might see the bigger picture.
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Ah, sorry, little one has been keeping me up and I wasn't checking the names on the posts =P my bad.

So Greep, I'll have to disagree there. Belts go from A to B, nothing complex about it, if you're trying to compare them to trains then you have to compare them to trains going from A to B. Iron Outpost 1 to Iron 1. A simple train network as I said consists mostly of Iron and Copper unloading, then 1-2 outposts for both. When one dries up and you need to find a new one, you can delete that train stop, go to the new one and rename it to the same name (or give it a new name and update the train schedule). Sure, it grows with each train, but if you're comparing even three trains to ten blue belts then you have no argument. You would need something like a dozen trains before station selection becomes even remotely tedious, 12 trains at 3 trains per 10 belts is 40 blue belt lanes, and apparently you want to add more while telling me trains is the more tedious to expand? Right.

I think what you actually meant was that you can pick up belts and lay them to a new outpost but it's exactly the same case for trains? In fact it's easier for trains because your new outpost can branch anywhere from any rail, where as if you want to match that sort of redeploy speed and simplicity with belts you're restricted to nearby the outpost you just dismantled, hope there's one nearby ;)
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby greep » Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:14 pm

I was just assuming that a 10 blue belt lane would cover pretty much any load necessary, if you manage to get more ore than that to your central area it'd start being more efficient to ship end products, and it's easier to switch product flow with belts. I suppose if you're actually going for exactly one assembler hub no matter your size, than yeah trains would have to simply win there.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:12 pm

I don't have a main base in my current game, just a bunch of "modules" that make a type of something and put them in a loading zone. (See my Ore Processing screenshots in 3rd reply to viewtopic.php?f=194&t=39636). I'm not finding the trains themselves to be troublesome, sure the unloading can be a bit tedious but mostly that's working out what I need and then sometimes which wagon it's loaded into (most can be loaded into both). I know this isn't quite what you meant as I've got pretty much everything being shipped everywhere which would not be feasible with belts, but the "process offsite and import loads of stuff in" approach works quite well with trains.

You don't even need multiple stations if you use the loading design in the linked topic above as it can be tweaked for vanilla.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby Vim Razz » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:31 pm

greep wrote:And if you ARE playing on very low resources, yellow belts clobber trains.


This is a bafflingly ridiculous statement.

I sometimes play on "Very Low / Small / Very Poor" settings, and mining enough resources to launch a satellite can require pushing out 2k+ tiles from spawn. Mines deplete quickly and constantly have to be torn down and relocated. Deposits of the same resource can be hundreds of tiles from each other.

Trying to manage that with belts would be an absolute nightmare, both in terms of material cost and time spent doing upkeep.

The lower the resource settings you're playing under, the more important trains become.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby greep » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:26 pm

I don't get why people think because you're using belts that you suddenly lose the ability to share the line with separate resources. That only is true on the assembler level, not the long distance shipping level, and that seems to be the recurring reasons why people think trains are more flexible than belts.

All you need to do is have, at the end of the belt at your base factory, filter inserters that pull off the resources into a separate belt so your smelters can be separated. There's no good reason you can't put coal, copper, and iron all on the same main bus towards your base (in the case of minimal resources, a single yellow belt in each of four directions outward from your base). 3 different resources is easily managed without bots. Probably more manageable is stack inserters pulling into a chest that three filter inserters pull out of.

In the case of bots, it gets considerably easier since you just hoover everything into active provider chests with stack inserters. It seems more flexible than trains which have to readjust trains to new train stops. With belts, you just continue shoving whatever you want onto the main line towards your factory.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:28 am

Right, until you fill your fifth chest of coal and it halts your entire factory because you're no longer getting any iron or copper.

But seriously, how long does it take to launch a rocket with nothing but four yellow belts of resources coming in? lmao can't even imagine trying that. Besides, see my calculations above, rails are comparable to two yellow belts and also handle multiple resources, just much much much much better. Sure you need to add a train for each one but if you're that pedantic about resources then a single loco and wagon isn't very expensive overall and even cheapens the unloading. You can even have a single train run around all your outposts, with a few Filter Stack Inserters to separate them at the base, as you can filter slots in wagons you can guarantee nothing is going to block anything else from getting through.
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Re: Trains vs conveyors?

Postby greep » Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:15 am

Sure but that's no different than a train station. If active providers are full you need to build more storage chests, otherwise your trains stop emptying.

As for yellow belts I meant only regarding very low resources across the board. Otherwise multiple red/blue belts of course.
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