Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby BlakeMW » Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:25 pm

Zavian wrote:
Koub wrote:I think Kovarex enrichment was thought mainly for nukes. You totally can live without it if the only thing you want to do with your enriched uranium is power a nuclear power plant.


Personally, I won't use nuclear power without it. It just take too much uranium to find U-235. I would end up with a huge pile of U-238 sitting around that I would otherwise have no use for. There is a significant risk that I would fill the U-238 storage, uranium processing would stop, and I would run out of U-235, and the base would lose power.


There's basically no risk of U-238 storage running before you research enrichment if you run the U-238 belt past like 10 chests: the cost of chests is absolutely trivial compared with the cost of nuclear power you can get like 60 steel chests for the steel cost of just one reactor. I think on Deathworld I normally only have 3-4 chests for interim U-238 storage and don't have problems.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Xeorm » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:47 pm

BlakeMW wrote:
Zavian wrote:
Koub wrote:I think Kovarex enrichment was thought mainly for nukes. You totally can live without it if the only thing you want to do with your enriched uranium is power a nuclear power plant.


Personally, I won't use nuclear power without it. It just take too much uranium to find U-235. I would end up with a huge pile of U-238 sitting around that I would otherwise have no use for. There is a significant risk that I would fill the U-238 storage, uranium processing would stop, and I would run out of U-235, and the base would lose power.


There's basically no risk of U-238 storage running before you research enrichment if you run the U-238 belt past like 10 chests: the cost of chests is absolutely trivial compared with the cost of nuclear power you can get like 60 steel chests for the steel cost of just one reactor. I think on Deathworld I normally only have 3-4 chests for interim U-238 storage and don't have problems.

That or the active provider chests make for a good solution. It's trivial to have a stash of chests somewhere for holding odds and ends in a logistics network.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Zavian » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:23 am

Xeorm wrote:
BlakeMW wrote:
Zavian wrote:
Koub wrote:I think Kovarex enrichment was thought mainly for nukes. You totally can live without it if the only thing you want to do with your enriched uranium is power a nuclear power plant.


Personally, I won't use nuclear power without it. It just take too much uranium to find U-235. I would end up with a huge pile of U-238 sitting around that I would otherwise have no use for. There is a significant risk that I would fill the U-238 storage, uranium processing would stop, and I would run out of U-235, and the base would lose power.


There's basically no risk of U-238 storage running before you research enrichment if you run the U-238 belt past like 10 chests: the cost of chests is absolutely trivial compared with the cost of nuclear power you can get like 60 steel chests for the steel cost of just one reactor. I think on Deathworld I normally only have 3-4 chests for interim U-238 storage and don't have problems.

That or the active provider chests make for a good solution. It's trivial to have a stash of chests somewhere for holding odds and ends in a logistics network.


Ok. I see I need to expand on this. If the Enrichment research was removed (or just behind a bunch of prerequisites that I couldn't research atm), I wouldn't switch to Nuclear power. Adding more storage doesn't actually solve the problem, it just defers the point where they fill up further into the future.

If I am planing to switch to nuclear, then I'm happy to start mining and processing uranium, and building the reactor setup before I have researched Kovarex enrichment. But all the U-235 will be saved to help bootstrap the enrichment process. Hence I don't want to start the reactor until I have enrichment running and producing more U-235. Theoretically I could put 40 or 80 or 160 U-235 aside, and then use any extra U-235 to start the reactor, but I have never reached the point where I have the reactor built, and enough U-235 stockpiled before I get enrichment researched.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Xeorm » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:53 am

Zavian wrote:Ok. I see I need to expand on this. If the Enrichment research was removed (or just behind a bunch of prerequisites that I couldn't research atm), I wouldn't switch to Nuclear power. Adding more storage doesn't actually solve the problem, it just defers the point where they fill up further into the future.

If I am planing to switch to nuclear, then I'm happy to start mining and processing uranium, and building the reactor setup before I have researched Kovarex enrichment. But all the U-235 will be saved to help bootstrap the enrichment process. Hence I don't want to start the reactor until I have enrichment running and producing more U-235. Theoretically I could put 40 or 80 or 160 U-235 aside, and then use any extra U-235 to start the reactor, but I have never reached the point where I have the reactor built, and enough U-235 stockpiled before I get enrichment researched.


For me at least that sentiment seems strange. Research wise nuclear is mid tier. It takes blue science and a decent amount of it, but there's little science complexity by then so a good science output shouldn't be hard. Once you've got it it's a significant upgrade over coal power and something of a side grade compared to solar. Kovarex by comparison is pretty near the end of the tech tree. It requires both production and hi-tech science along with a healthy amount of U-235 to even get started. Viewing Kovarex as the start of nuclear power relegates it to the endgame and bypasses one of the best strengths of nuclear: that it's a midgame upgrade.

Mostly though it's the frustration of people viewing Kovarex as the beginning of nuclear power and then being frustrated that nuclear power is so hard to get to. Got it backwards.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Zavian » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:30 am

I have to admit that 9 games out of 10, I'll go solar not nuclear. Solar is in many ways the simpler solution. It is also easier to scale and more ups efficient. Given a choice between a simple and scalable build, and something more complex, with perhaps more ways it can fail (eg run out of U-235 and power shuts down), I'll almost always choose the simpler and more reliable solution.

Whilst theoretically I could research and build it before I get to end-game, it's expensive to research, and expensive to build. For the cost of 1000 red+green+blue flasks I can build about 32MW of solar panels and accumulators. I stopped doing the actual math after that, but by the time you build the reactor + heat exchanger + heatpipes + steam turbines, I'm probably over 40 MW of solar. So a nuclear power plant probably isn't cheaper to build compared to solar until you have 2 reactors, and 160MW of available power. In mid-game, for comparable resource cost and player time as building a nuclear reactor you can go 100% solar.

At this point if you are relying on nuclear power you need to have a decent set of chests to store all your U-238. And if you ever want to get rid of those chests you probably want to start stockpiling U-235 for Kovarex enrichment.

For me mid-game I'm probably busy building purple and yellow science. At this stage of a playthrough I don't need nuclear, and there are almost certainly other things I'm more interested in researching. If power needs expanding I'll probably build solar.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Xeorm » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:48 pm

Zavian wrote:I have to admit that 9 games out of 10, I'll go solar not nuclear. Solar is in many ways the simpler solution. It is also easier to scale and more ups efficient. Given a choice between a simple and scalable build, and something more complex, with perhaps more ways it can fail (eg run out of U-235 and power shuts down), I'll almost always choose the simpler and more reliable solution.

Whilst theoretically I could research and build it before I get to end-game, it's expensive to research, and expensive to build. For the cost of 1000 red+green+blue flasks I can build about 32MW of solar panels and accumulators. I stopped doing the actual math after that, but by the time you build the reactor + heat exchanger + heatpipes + steam turbines, I'm probably over 40 MW of solar. So a nuclear power plant probably isn't cheaper to build compared to solar until you have 2 reactors, and 160MW of available power. In mid-game, for comparable resource cost and player time as building a nuclear reactor you can go 100% solar.

At this point if you are relying on nuclear power you need to have a decent set of chests to store all your U-238. And if you ever want to get rid of those chests you probably want to start stockpiling U-235 for Kovarex enrichment.

For me mid-game I'm probably busy building purple and yellow science. At this stage of a playthrough I don't need nuclear, and there are almost certainly other things I'm more interested in researching. If power needs expanding I'll probably build solar.

I think the only times I'd want to go nuclear in the first place is either for space concerns or for something different/showing off. Especially with a deathworld setup, grabbing that territory can be a pain.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby BlakeMW » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:39 am

Zavian wrote:Whilst theoretically I could research and build it before I get to end-game, it's expensive to research, and expensive to build. For the cost of 1000 red+green+blue flasks I can build about 32MW of solar panels and accumulators. I stopped doing the actual math after that, but by the time you build the reactor + heat exchanger + heatpipes + steam turbines, I'm probably over 40 MW of solar. So a nuclear power plant probably isn't cheaper to build compared to solar until you have 2 reactors, and 160MW of available power. In mid-game, for comparable resource cost and player time as building a nuclear reactor you can go 100% solar.


I have done the math in significant detail and 40MW is about right - in Marathon it's more like 160MW. (it's impossible to give exact numbers because for example more of the cost of nuclear power can be mitigated by productivity modules). The thing is the cost of going from 40MW to 160MW is very marginal, at least 3/4s of the cost is upfront in the research.

What nuclear does excel at is dependable, high megawattage, it's particularly well-suited for laser turret offenses (i.e. as you might do on a Deathworld), in that case making a 160MW or 480MW powerplant (probably a fuel-saver) can be a good idea and is so much cheaper than solar/accu and at a time when it still kind of matters. In the absence of extensive laser turret usage I find solar/accu easily keeps up with factory power usage.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby bobucles » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:38 am

Enrichment is insanely powerful, and if anything it makes nukes too easy to get. I play with factorio extended which includes crazy OP weapons and a modular tank, and I can confidently say that Kovarex enriched nukes single handedly obsoletes every other combat option in the game. Not even 8 pocket fusion pumping 30 laser turrets in a 3K shielded tank can compete with the sheer non-combat of launching a handful of nukes.

I don't think there's any level of recipe cost that can make nukes work as an item used on the terrestrial level. If it uses 60 or 100 U-235 you just run more kovarex and at 200 U235 it's time to cry artificial difficulty. Once the first few Kovarex rev up it's all a matter of scale. IMO nukes should be loaded and launched by the rocket silo. 1-10 nukes per rocket launch is still worth every penny and lets nukes be much more satisfying when they drop out of the sky.

Fuel reclamation comes across as a pretty junk tech. To start with empty fuel cells are a GOOD thing because they make it easy to build a smart reactor (extracting dead fuel with circuits is easier than inserting fresh fuel). The actual reclamation values are nothing to get too excited over, either. Assembling 10 fuel costs 22 U238 and recycles into 6 U238. That's 27% fuel recycling which will extend your fuel supply 37% (recirculating into Prod3 fuel boosts this to 60%). Prod3 modules on their own give a straight up 40% fuel bonus and help even more by boosting ore yield. The most damning weakness of fuel processing is you can't ever get U235 from it. Fuel is U235 starved so reclamation won't actually give you more fuel cells to work with. As a technology it simply is nowhere on par with Kovarex.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Lav » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:33 am

bobucles wrote:Fuel is U235 starved so reclamation won't actually give you more fuel cells to work with. As a technology it simply is nowhere on par with Kovarex.

Not on par with Kovarex, but it's not on par with Kovarex on the research difficulty either. And as you've calculated yourself, when combined with Kovarex, fuel reprocessing increases your overall uranium stores by ~37% even without production modules. That's a considerable amount.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby stm » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:51 pm

In my opinion KEP is unballanced
Not in the way, that it converts U238 to U235, but the way it does it.
I had to deplete I think 3 uranium fields before I had enough U235 to start the process, and the setup to run it is trivial and does not pose a challnge at all. And I had the sience well before I had the neccessary U235 even though I still have not automated it! And I don't use Uranium as powersource yet!
It also does not really feel right to use the enrichment in the centrifuge. In my opinion they should change the enrichment to be run as a recipy in the reactor, which uses one fuel cell and then either produces a spend fuel cell (which can be recycled to pure U238) + heat (Energy) or an enriched fuel cell (which can be recycled to U238+U235 (more than the 5% you start with)) and does NOT produce heat (or at least a lot less then the normal energy production), or requires an ajacent running! reactor, ...
That would improve everything in my opinion:
- The enrichment takes more time (or at least space)
- The setup gets more complicated
- you dont have to stockpile a high amount of U235 before beeing able to use it (which propably is the reason you want to use it in the first place)
- it fits better to reality (though enriched fuel in RL is usually Pu and not U, that is just a name)

At the moment you just need one centrifuge to convert the ore, and one to enrich together with two filter inserters and two overflow setups (easily done with a splitter and a wire) (plus some normal insertters and a few belts) and you are done forever and get all Uranium in the ratio you need (even though it is not throughput optimized). It even adapts the ratio to your need if supplied with enough raw material.
It is so easy, it is booring in my opinion.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby bobucles » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:31 pm

fuel reprocessing increases your overall uranium stores by ~37% even without production modules. That's a considerable amount.

It increases raw uranium, but it doesn't increase your fuel supply. Nuclear fuel cells are hard limited by U235, which reprocessing doesn't give. Your reactor is completely at the mercy of the 0.7% RNG until Kovarex shows up. Waiting on Kovarex is a pretty hard wall that I think should be softened a bit.

I think fuel reprocessing needs a chance to pump out U235. My math says that 50% chance to turn 5 fuel into 1 U235 will make a reactor self sustaining (35% with Prod3 fuel). Any value below that point will get worn away from attrition, ultimately stretching your fuel supply. Any value higher than that will become a breeding process, generating more U235 than the cost of fuel.

If I had to revisit the recipes entirely, I'd say
- Fuel reprocessing has a 15-30% chance of generating one U235. The lower end will give around 40% more overall nuclear fuel, the higher end will more than double the player's supply. (Fuel stretching increases asymptotically so prod3 fuel with 30% chance is nearly self sustaining)

- Kovarex process is an advanced fuel reprocessing process. It uses an expensive U235 catalyst (just like now) but enriches spent fuel for a 100%-300% chance of U235. In this way your U235 production is limited by very expensive reactors, rather than how much U238 you can throw into a beacon setup.

Edit: My math is awful. Just awful. :lol:
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Dreepa » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:18 am

Game should add plutonium for nukes.
Just like real life, the stuff that is used for generating electricity is not really used to make nuclear bombs. Sure, you have the inter dependencies, and breeding etc. but in largely HEU is used for power, and Plutonium is used for weapons.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby bobucles » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:42 pm

Dreepa wrote:Game should add plutonium for nukes.

The plutonium core is important because it can be manufactured in a very consistent, high purity just by keeping a lot of U238 in your reactor. That's my main argument for why nuclear fuel reprocessing should give back some useful nuclear isotope. Since we don't have plutonium in the game that means "hot material #1" I.E. U235.

Strangely enough the deadliest ingredient in the biggest bombs is nothing more than a big hunk of plain, ordinary U-238(or so this book tells me). Everything else is just a stepping stone to get a reaction hot enough for U238 to join in. It's all pretty cool stuff but real nuclear physics gets pretty complicated and just because a lot of complexity CAN be added doesn't mean it SHOULD.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby BlakeMW » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:55 pm

bobucles wrote:If I had to revisit the recipes entirely, I'd say
- Fuel reprocessing has a 15-30% chance of generating one U235. The lower end will give around 40% more overall nuclear fuel, the higher end will more than double the player's supply. (Fuel stretching increases asymptotically so prod3 fuel with 30% chance is nearly self sustaining)

- Kovarex process is an advanced fuel reprocessing process. It uses an expensive U235 catalyst (just like now) but enriches spent fuel for a 100%-300% chance of U235. In this way your U235 production is limited by very expensive reactors, rather than how much U238 you can throw into a beacon setup.


I so very much agree that nuclear weapon mass production should be limited by reactors more so than centrifuges! Though I'm not sure exactly how to work the recipes within the constraints of the game (i.e. keeping item, entity and recipe counts down and such)
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Frightning » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:13 am

bobucles wrote:
Dreepa wrote:Game should add plutonium for nukes.

The plutonium core is important because it can be manufactured in a very consistent, high purity just by keeping a lot of U238 in your reactor. That's my main argument for why nuclear fuel reprocessing should give back some useful nuclear isotope. Since we don't have plutonium in the game that means "hot material #1" I.E. U235.

Strangely enough the deadliest ingredient in the biggest bombs is nothing more than a big hunk of plain, ordinary U-238(or so this book tells me). Everything else is just a stepping stone to get a reaction hot enough for U238 to join in. It's all pretty cool stuff but real nuclear physics gets pretty complicated and just because a lot of complexity CAN be added doesn't mean it SHOULD.

From what I remember reading about modern nuclear weapons, they are thermonuclear weapons, meaning that a fission reaction is used as a catalyst to trigger a fusion reaction (gotta get extremely high temperatures for fusion to happen). That is to say that the yield of modern (as well as most powerful) devices is mostly derived from fusion, not fission (it's why weapons in the dozens of MT range can exist and when a modern ballistic missile is an MIRV that can release around a dozen 1-2 MT warheads to strike as many cities in one go).
For the interested reader:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapon
and
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermonuclear_weapon
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby darkfrei » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:17 am

https://wiki.factorio.com/Kovarex_enrichment_process
So, how the recipe must be looks like?
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby Dreepa » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:30 am

The current atomic weapons is really just a very strong rocket launcher ammo.

It would be cool if we had missile based nukes, very expensive, shot from a rocket silo.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby BlakeMW » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:45 am

Frightning wrote:From what I remember reading about modern nuclear weapons, they are thermonuclear weapons, meaning that a fission reaction is used as a catalyst to trigger a fusion reaction (gotta get extremely high temperatures for fusion to happen). That is to say that the yield of modern (as well as most powerful) devices is mostly derived from fusion, not fission (it's why weapons in the dozens of MT range can exist and when a modern ballistic missile is an MIRV that can release around a dozen 1-2 MT warheads to strike as many cities in one go).


This is a common though incomplete understanding. For the high yield devices one of the points of the fusion is to generate fast neutrons that cause the U-238 tamper to undergo fission dramatically boosting the yield, making it a fission reaction which catalyzes a fusion reaction which catalyzes further fission reactions. For larger bombs up to half the yield comes from fission in the U-238 tamper. The Tsar bomba actually replaced the U-238 tamper with lead to keep the yield (and fallout) down. My understanding is that unless a bomb specifically needs to be very clean it would be fission-fusion-fission style, probably because U-238 is dirt cheap and simple to work with (relative to the highly fissile/fusile components), making it an easy way to boost yield.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby mrvn » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:02 pm

BlakeMW wrote:
bobucles wrote:If I had to revisit the recipes entirely, I'd say
- Fuel reprocessing has a 15-30% chance of generating one U235. The lower end will give around 40% more overall nuclear fuel, the higher end will more than double the player's supply. (Fuel stretching increases asymptotically so prod3 fuel with 30% chance is nearly self sustaining)

- Kovarex process is an advanced fuel reprocessing process. It uses an expensive U235 catalyst (just like now) but enriches spent fuel for a 100%-300% chance of U235. In this way your U235 production is limited by very expensive reactors, rather than how much U238 you can throw into a beacon setup.


I so very much agree that nuclear weapon mass production should be limited by reactors more so than centrifuges! Though I'm not sure exactly how to work the recipes within the constraints of the game (i.e. keeping item, entity and recipe counts down and such)


Change the reactor recipe (add a second) to output a spend fuel cell and some enriched material.
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Re: Kovarex Enrichment is not fun

Postby MeduSalem » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:39 pm

mrvn wrote:Change the reactor recipe (add a second) to output a spend fuel cell and some enriched material.


Better would be to to change the reprocessing recipe of spend fuel cells to ouput the enriched material. But that's just my opinion.
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