Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby Hexicube » Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:46 pm

fishstyk wrote:I’m not arguing that there should not be tradeoffs, only that building size as a tradeoff introduces tedious rebuilding of one’s layout which is not a good tradeoff, especially since this is the single and only such tradeoff in the game.

If size changes add so much goodness to the game (I argue they do not) why don’t factories change size when they are upgraded, or refineries, or belts, or anything else in the game? This is the only upgrade that introduces a size change. All the arguments used to defend this decision are arguments against the rest of the game design, which is quite good.

“It would make iron forges obsolete because cost doesn’t matter.” Like tier one factories? or stone forges? tier one and two belts? Yes, higher tech stuff can, when fully upgraded and barring cost, obsolete earlier technologies. This surprises anyone? This harms gameplay?


Higher level factories have a larger idle drain (which is not affected by efficiency modules AFAIK) and consumption, though they are otherwise a flat upgrade. However, if you don't need the 4 module slots/6 item recipes/extra speed of a level 3 assembler, a level 2 assembler will cost less to run with 2 efficiency 2 modules in it, since you're already hitting the cap. Level 1 assemblers are basically useless, but so are stone furnaces, so that's fine.

fishstyk wrote:Most of the defenses of this design seem to come from vet’s who’ve become accustomed to this and know how to work around it, but try looking at this from a perspective of a new player. This is an information problem. No other upgrades introduce size changes, so there is no way a new player will have the information to plan ahead correctly. We’ve all rebuilt part of our bases due to our own poor planning, but being forced to rebuild one’s base for what appears to be an arbitrary and unexpected size change is frustrating. If a new player concludes that they need to go green early to avoid pollution because they are on a map with few trees, figuring this out is ‘fun’, which is diminished when you realize you need to rebuild your entire smelting line.

I predict that if you keep statistics of when new players quit or start a new game, it will be at the point where they encounter this size change.


I AM a new player, I've yet to launch a rocket and have about 100 hours in the game. It is an information problem, the building size really should be shown somewhere so that the player knows in advance, but it was an interesting problem to solve.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby ssilk » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:22 am

@fishstyk: Assumed we sit now together with a beer and you told me your all arguments, that the electric furnace size shift is bad etc. I would now wait for a minute, look into my glass of beer and then to you and then say: "Have you played both strategies yet? Have you played a game with steel furnace and then - maybe the same map from a save at the time when you need to make that decision - played with electric? Did you saw the differences?"

If you say then: "Off course I did. Many times!", I would answer: "Well, without any feeling, I would be really interested why are you arguing against?" And then we can begin a quite interesting discussion. :)

But if you say then: "Well, that was my first (second, third...) map...", I would rise my eyebrow and take my glass and and say "So you have to make some more, to be sure, you're right. :D Skull!" :)
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby fishstyk » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:22 pm

@ssilk
I am of the impression that my comments about furnace size are being interpreted as me encountering difficulties forming strategies to deal with the size change. This is not the case. I’d adjusted to the size change before I made my first post. My argument is, and has always been, in regard to game design decisions.

“Fun” is not a universally agreed upon notion, but some principles can be agreed upon. Things like:
-Don’t surprise your players, unless it’s a good surprise.
-Don’t penalize players for things they have no control over.
-When introducing decision points, player’s decision should be meaningful, (effect gameplay) but all choices should add to the enjoyment of the game.

The size change is a surprise, and not a good one. It penalizes the player for a bad base design they could not know was wrong. As a decision point of steal furnaces vs. electric, it introduces an incentive towards steal by necessitating a tedious redesign; that is, part of the tradeoff is to avoid frustration. This is not introducing an ‘enjoyable’ option.

The fact that a player can account for the change does not make this a ‘good’ design decision. The fact that veteran players have gotten past this frustration point does not mean other should experience it, or that others will make it past it.

As I’ve stated before, I think this is a great game. I recommend it to all my friends. I play it whenever I find time. I’m not stuck, or frustrated by this design element. I am simply of the opinion that the game would be better if the furnace sizes were standardized (on 2 or 3). I’ve provided my feedback and my reasoning and leave it to you guys to do as you will with your game.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby Lallante » Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:27 pm

I think the size difference issue introduces fun optimatisation / trade-off gameplay and is only truly problematic to a very specific factory design (split coal/ore belt and didnt leave any extra space). If you are a good enough player to have left enough space for late-game furnace volume needs, you should have no problem leaving enough space to expand from a 2x2 building to a 3x3 building. Non-problem. In fact an example of GOOD complexity in factorio.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby seronis » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:18 pm

Lallante wrote: In fact an example of GOOD complexity in factorio.


I agree. You play one game and you'll learn the size difference (unless you died quick, then 2 or 3 games). But after one game that gets far enough to see the larger furnace footprint you now have all the knowledge in the future to adjust designs if you CHOOSE to adjust them. I see this as a non issue. It wasnt even a surprise to me since I dont consider the stone furnace to be the same class of object as the electric version. Stone furnace is like a medieval coal pit. Electric is part of a real factory. They SHOULD be different to me or it breaks my sense of immersion.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby ssilk » Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:57 pm

fishstyk wrote:-When introducing decision points, player’s decision should be meaningful, (effect gameplay) but all choices should add to the enjoyment of the game.
[...]
The size change is a surprise, and not a good one. It penalizes the player for a bad base design they could not know was wrong. As a decision point of steal furnaces vs. electric, it introduces an incentive towards steal by necessitating a tedious redesign; that is, part of the tradeoff is to avoid frustration. This is not introducing an ‘enjoyable’ option.

Think that's the point of this whole discussion: The game doesn't make it clear (or maybe better "clear enough") to be part of a big decision.

Assumend this would be changed, and it is (very?) clear, what it means to research electric furnace, is there then anything left, with the size shift, that is like a bad surprise?

And if I'm right with it (that the game lacks here information), how much information should be given to the players? Cause - as you see above - you remove a part of the fun about this size change.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby omega_haxors » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:14 am

Having it larger is actually a HUGE upgrade, here's why:

By having a 2x2 furnace, you're limited to 2 inserters per size. That means a single furnace can have up to 8 inserters controlling the furnace. By having a 3x3 furnace, however, you get 3 inserters per size, increasing the limit to 12 and giving you much large throughputs as a result. With the standard furnace slow throuputs are a non-issue but start putting in some high level modules and you'll be praying for every inserter you can fit.

Besides, nothing's stopping you from using the old steel furnace. It's much cheaper, easier to run, and is almost on par for efficiency with the electric one, and most importantly, tiles much easier making expansion a breeze. The electric furnace was designed to be a side-grade for those who prefer electricity over coal, and got the perfect downside: A limitation which will later-game become a huge advantage.

Also, don't discredit the lower-tier stuff simply because it's weaker. Every item has its own use and given the right circumstance can actually outperform its higher-teir counterparts. Burners in charge of coal fueling never need to be powered as they self-charge, stone furnaces are extremely easy to spam, and burner drills are amazing for remote outposts.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby bobingabout » Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:23 am

Yeah, that's why I usually use a setup something like this:

Code: Select all
Output  }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
        I  I  I  I
        []P[] []P[]
        [] [] [] []
        bL bL bL bL
Coal }}}}}}}}}}}}}
Ore  }}}}}}}}}}}}}}


Where } are belts, [ and ] are the outline of furnaces, P is a power pole I is an inserter, b is a Burner inserter, and L is a long hand inserter.
And if you do want to switch to electric furnaces, it can very easily be replaced with this:

Code: Select all
Output  }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
        IP I  IP I
        [ ][ ][ ][ ]
        [ ][ ][ ][ ]
        [ ][ ][ ][ ]
        IP I  IP I
Ore  }}}}}}}}}}}}}
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby Sastas » Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:13 am

bobingabout wrote:Yeah, that's why I usually use a setup something like this:

Code: Select all
Output  }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
        I  I  I  I
        []P[] []P[]
        [] [] [] []
        bL bL bL bL
Coal }}}}}}}}}}}}}
Ore  }}}}}}}}}}}}}}


Where } are belts, [ and ] are the outline of furnaces, P is a power pole I is an inserter, b is a Burner inserter, and L is a long hand inserter.
And if you do want to switch to electric furnaces, it can very easily be replaced with this:

Code: Select all
Output  }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
        IP I  IP I
        [ ][ ][ ][ ]
        [ ][ ][ ][ ]
        [ ][ ][ ][ ]
        IP I  IP I
Ore  }}}}}}}}}}}}}


It's weird. I use this as well, but when i look on this, I need 5 mins to figure it out, it's "mine" :D
Well, actually I saw it in Arumba's video, but nevermind :)

To stay ontopic:
I think this footprint issue is great. Newbies usually not build very big factories at the first time, and you just ran into this problem once. After that, you'll always plan with the size jump.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby Jackalope » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:59 pm

The size difference has its tradeoffs, and these tradeoffs are meaningful and interesting. Sure an electric furnace takes up more area, but given how it can have modules used with it in addition to being affected by beacons, it seems quite reasonable to have it be larger.

How about showing the furnace's size in the research itself somehow? That might mitigate enough of the problems some people seem to have with it.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby thereaverofdarkness » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:44 am

I had an idea to partly resolve this issue: howabout the electric furnace is able to put its contents onto a transport belt much like a mining drill can, then when you remove a line of inserters to make room for the furnaces, you can leave the belt in the same place?



I feel like the electric furnaces are more of a side-grade than an upgrade anyway. They have a larger size but don't need a coal line. They have the same smelting power as a steel furnace. A line of steel furnaces can smelt faster at the same length unless the electric furnaces have speed modules. An electric furnace can fit 3 inserters in front of it, rather than just 2--if for whatever reason you want to put all the inserters on one side and still have room for power poles. Lastly, the electric furnace has module slots. So there's advantages and disadvantages to either, but the electric furnace is a far cry from being an upgrade. Perhaps I would suggest two changes:
1.) make the electric furnaces cheaper to build, more comparable to steel furnaces
2.) grant more than just the electric furnace on advanced material processing 2
That way players will feel less obligated to "upgrade" to electric furnaces, and will get something from the tech even if they don't want electric furnaces.

Example tech: advanced oil refinery--processes crude oil faster
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby SirLANsalot » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:01 am

Did no one learn how to setup there base to take into account the later upgrade of the electric Furnace?

This pic here shows how to setup a 2x2 furnace and the 3x3 electric without having to completely remove the entire system. Do note that the belt feeding the main drag is whats removed and replaced with the inserter when upgrading to electric.
Image

No need for size adjustments ect, just learn good engineering :)

The sooner you can wean yourself off of coal for power and smelting purposes, the better. As coal is usually the smallest of deposits (even on max settings) its a precious commodity. One that is truly needed in one recipie, plastic, witch will be needed for the rest of the game.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby vanatteveldt » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:50 pm

SirLANsalot wrote:The sooner you can wean yourself off of coal for power and smelting purposes, the better. As coal is usually the smallest of deposits (even on max settings) its a precious commodity. One that is truly needed in one recipie, plastic, witch will be needed for the rest of the game.


As long as you have fossil-fuel steam power-plants and no modules, the steel furnace is more efficient than an electric furnace (in plates per fuel)

So, the moment to move from steel to electric is either when you have enough solar power, or when you are ready to start using modules.

I normally move from rows of coal-fired steel furnaces to an end-game build of productivity smelters with speed beacons, which requires a new setup anyway to add in the beacons (unless you also reserved space for that, which is totally possible). But once you get logibots scrapping and rebuilding is so painless I don't really mind.. .
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby Frightning » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:35 am

SirLANsalot wrote:Did no one learn how to setup there base to take into account the later upgrade of the electric Furnace?

This pic here shows how to setup a 2x2 furnace and the 3x3 electric without having to completely remove the entire system. Do note that the belt feeding the main drag is whats removed and replaced with the inserter when upgrading to electric.
Image

No need for size adjustments ect, just learn good engineering :)

The sooner you can wean yourself off of coal for power and smelting purposes, the better. As coal is usually the smallest of deposits (even on max settings) its a precious commodity. One that is truly needed in one recipie, plastic, witch will be needed for the rest of the game.

That, imo, is inferior to the method I use to solve this problem (I don't use a mixed Coal+ore belt, so instead I use Long handed inserters to unload them, but the resulting layout supports a double-sided belt worth of throughput (and you can mirror the setup on the other side of the same fuel line. I typically use my main fuel line smeltery for Iron plates+Copper plates, and put Steel plate+Stone brick on another fuel line).

Example pics:
Early game:
20170210013409_1.jpg
20170210013409_1.jpg (223.52 KiB) Viewed 937 times

Late game:
20170210013430_1.jpg
20170210013430_1.jpg (342.7 KiB) Viewed 937 times


Edit: Further note, although my late game example features power poles in the middle between the two furnace lines, this is not necessary, and instead putting them where I've done so in the early game pic (from a more recent save, where I did the placement better), suffices to power the furnaces and inserters). Because of this, you can leave the fuel line in place if you have any need to (e.g. fuel line feeds other things after furnace line, or you only wanna convert one side to Electric furnaces.)

Edit2: One more thing: Note what I did with the output belts in the late game pic. That feature swaps what lane the output of the furnaces before it ends up on, hence you can use both sides of the output belt. Just place that feature at the halfway point, you can support a (nearly) compressed double-sided blue belt worth throughput for iron and copper this way.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby thereaverofdarkness » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:01 pm

SirLANsalot wrote:Did no one learn how to setup there base to take into account the later upgrade of the electric Furnace?

What if we know how and don't feel we should have to? It's like the electric furnace is a punishment. Put module slots on the steel furnace and I'll never use the electric furnace. I already only use it very rarely. What does it do for me, anyway, save coal? If I'm running on coal, it takes twice as much to power the electric furnace.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby Frightning » Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:07 am

thereaverofdarkness wrote:
SirLANsalot wrote:Did no one learn how to setup there base to take into account the later upgrade of the electric Furnace?

What if we know how and don't feel we should have to? It's like the electric furnace is a punishment. Put module slots on the steel furnace and I'll never use the electric furnace. I already only use it very rarely. What does it do for me, anyway, save coal? If I'm running on coal, it takes twice as much to power the electric furnace.

true, but if you put 2 Efficiency 1 modules in each of them, then it's only costing you 80% of what a Steel Furnace comsumes, not to mention pollutes less for it too (even accounting for the pollution from the boilers due to energy use).
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby thereaverofdarkness » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:45 am

So I have to use modules to offset its weaknesses? It's not worth it until end-game when I'm processing huge amounts of stuff in one area. I don't even play up to end-game usually, I prefer the mid-game.

I don't see how this is such a difficult concept to understand. Electric furnaces are NOT an upgrade.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby Frightning » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:41 am

thereaverofdarkness wrote:So I have to use modules to offset its weaknesses? It's not worth it until end-game when I'm processing huge amounts of stuff in one area. I don't even play up to end-game usually, I prefer the mid-game.

I don't see how this is such a difficult concept to understand. Electric furnaces are NOT an upgrade.

If you want it to be straight up better than a Steel Furnace (less pollution and energy/fuel use for same amount of material processed), but you can also alternatively accept tradeoffs: You can make a Furnace block that doesn't need fuel delivered to it (simplifies logistics), and if you use solar+accumulators for power, this can save Coal and/or Oil consumption that would otherwise be feeding your furnaces (going this route can also significantly lower pollution, as most of the pollution from using Electric furnaces with Steam power is due to the Boilers burning fuel (for 100% steam power, it's still only slightly higher than a Steel Furnace including the 0.9 pollution from the Electric furnace itself, so pollution can be reduced even when most of your power is still coming from steam, though fuel efficiency won't become better until you exceed 50% power from solar+accum). But you can also choose to forgo energy efficiency for either productivity or speed increases, which can become even more powerful with Beacon usage later on (requires new layout anyways, so the size shift isn't really an issue here, in fact, being 3x3 is beneficial to simplest, compact, efficient layouts; that is, alternating lines of beacons and furnaces).

I don't necessarily upgrade to Electric furnaces from Steel furnaces right away. Their not an upgrade in the way that Steel furnaces are over Stone furnaces. Instead, I time that transition based on when I want to exploit any of the potential advantages of Electric furnaces (so usually module usage, and possibly beacon use as well).

tl;dr version: The value of Electric furnaces is that you can use modules (and beacons) on your smeltery and thus exploit module benefits there. Outside of module use, the only reason to upgrade is fuel and pollution reduction, and that's only if you use solar+accum for power.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby thereaverofdarkness » Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:59 pm

Frightning wrote:If you want it to be straight up better than a Steel Furnace

I think it'd be better to nerf steel furnaces than buff electric furnaces, for instance steel furnaces have twice the fuel efficiency of stone furnaces. I like trade-offs but if the electric furnace is going to have such weak stats, it should have a lower research and build cost. It shouldn't pretend to be an upgrade when it's actually a side-grade. As it is currently, it should probably be available along with the steel furnace in the same research project, and steel furnaces should probably be given module slots.

Here's an idea:
Give the steel furnace one module slot and have it be unlocked with a small electric furnace which has one module slot. Double the power consumption of the steel furnace, and the electric furnace should consume 75% of the power of the steel furnace (150% of the stone furnace) but have a production rate of 2.

Later tech unlocks large electric furnace which has 3 module slots and a production rate of 3, costs 225% power of a stone furnace, and has twice the material cost of the original electric furnace. Make it accept three times the input from inserters before they stop feeding it. Now it's a proper upgrade, with a non-upgrade version for people who just want electric furnaces.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Postby Frightning » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:48 am

thereaverofdarkness wrote:
Frightning wrote:If you want it to be straight up better than a Steel Furnace

I think it'd be better to nerf steel furnaces than buff electric furnaces, for instance steel furnaces have twice the fuel efficiency of stone furnaces. I like trade-offs but if the electric furnace is going to have such weak stats, it should have a lower research and build cost. It shouldn't pretend to be an upgrade when it's actually a side-grade. As it is currently, it should probably be available along with the steel furnace in the same research project, and steel furnaces should probably be given module slots.

Here's an idea:
Give the steel furnace one module slot and have it be unlocked with a small electric furnace which has one module slot. Double the power consumption of the steel furnace, and the electric furnace should consume 75% of the power of the steel furnace (150% of the stone furnace) but have a production rate of 2.

Later tech unlocks large electric furnace which has 3 module slots and a production rate of 3, costs 225% power of a stone furnace, and has twice the material cost of the original electric furnace. Make it accept three times the input from inserters before they stop feeding it. Now it's a proper upgrade, with a non-upgrade version for people who just want electric furnaces.

Steel furnaces are no more fuel efficient than Stone furnaces atm, they just consume fuel and produced smelted products at twice the rate of a Stone furnace. The entire point of Electric furnaces (outside of trying to 'go green' and minimize pollution and fuel usage), is that they have module slots and can interact with Beacons.
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