Blue science is too hard to get

Place to discuss the game balance, recipes, health, enemies mining etc.

Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby mrvn » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:30 pm

Zavian wrote:I think the real issue is that oil is a significant amount of work to setup (roughly as complicated as mining + smelting + red science, but needing new stuff a new player might not have played with before). (I can't recall whether oil was part of the tutorial campaign). For a new player it can be intimidating, a real 'what on earth am I supposed to do now' moment. Then after they cobble together their first refinery + plastic build, they might get stumped because light oil/heavy oil might back up and shut the refinery down.

Then after getting that working, you still need to build something as complicated as your initial mining/smelting/red + green science setup to actually produce steel + engines + red circuits. So setting up blue science is really around 2-3 times as much work to setup as red + green science combined. Introducing some new science pack between green science and blue science that needed say plastic or batteries or solid fuel (or any other starting refinery product) and something made from already introduced materials (iron, copper, stone, gears, wire, and green circuits) would probably smooth the difficulty curve. Alternatives include, restructuring things to move plastics + red circuits to science pack 4, or making blue science simpler by making it blue science require 1x fast inserter + 1x red circuit + 1x steel.

Once you get used to oil, then it isn't really any harder to setup than mining + smelting.


Maybe the player should build some laser turrets, some solar cells and some accumulators.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby JimBarracus » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:27 am

I actually struggle more to make setup for yellow science. The need for raw materials is extreme since you need tons of copper, yellow science needs almost as much copper as the rest of the science packs.

Building a temporary oil refinery is not that difficult, you need to redesign it later anyway untill you have advanced oil processing.
I often converted heavy/light oil into solid and used petroleum to make some plastic, later I build a bigger setup that can handle quantities which are needed later for science production.
The refinery is actually one of the first things I get done in a scale suitable for endgame.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby moxian » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:58 am

mrvn wrote:Maybe the player should build some laser turrets, some solar cells and some accumulators.


I'm not entirely sure what you were referring to - you should have explained that better.
But anyway, on my first few attempts, and the first complete playthrough (with rocket launch), I totally omitted all three of those - I had energy from steam engines fed by solid fuel, and defence via (manually reloaded) gun turrets with red ammo. So those are by no means required.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby mrvn » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:24 am

moxian wrote:
mrvn wrote:Maybe the player should build some laser turrets, some solar cells and some accumulators.


I'm not entirely sure what you were referring to - you should have explained that better.
But anyway, on my first few attempts, and the first complete playthrough (with rocket launch), I totally omitted all three of those - I had energy from steam engines fed by solid fuel, and defence via (manually reloaded) gun turrets with red ammo. So those are by no means required.


To build laser turrets, solar cells (not so much but they trigger the need for accumulators) and accumulators you need to setup your oil refinery. Building blue science packs then needs little extra. Lessens the jump.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby bobucles » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:12 pm

The new blue recipe is a lot easier to work together than the old recipe. Before you had to master the entire oil tech tree in one gulp. Now you only need plastic, which is an easy step in oil.

I dunno if the engine recipe has to be assembler only. The high crafting time is its own deterrent that says "you want assemblers for this". I've definitely wanted to hand craft pumps or cars or trains at times, and it is upsetting that I have to run back to base to grab a pump. Blue potions can't be crafted from scratch because plastic is a petrol recipe.

When it comes to expensive mode, I found mass producing blue potions to be surprisingly difficult. Mining drills devour an order of magnitude more iron than red and green potions put together, their fast crafting speed devours belts dry, and they can't be boosted with Prod3. I think the blue potion costs even more iron per potion than purple or gold science so it was a surprising bottleneck in my designs.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby Zavian » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:36 pm

If you find yourself needing to build a pump whilst away from your base you can always put down an assembler, and manually load it with enough gears/pipes/steel to make an engine or 2.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby Dreepa » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:00 pm

I agree.

Of all science packs, blue is always the one I am optimizing. It is because of the huge amount of green chips (->red chips) and the bottleneck through conveyors (putting 2 parallel works fine).

I find that while blue science is requiring too much, that some other items are required not enough. E.g. batteries.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby bobucles » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:15 pm

I wonder if the mining drill and assembler should have their places swapped in science? This change is only the tiniest buff for normal mode, as the assembler is a single iron plate cheaper than the electric drill. It makes ALL the difference in expensive mode, however. The cost of an expensive mining drill more than TRIPLES while the cost of assembling machine doesn't even double. I ironically find myself having an easier time supplying the purple potions in expensive mode than trying to feed the beast of expensive blue science.

I wouldn't say that assemblers or drills are really any more important in terms of what players should be automating first. But blue science definitely demands a lot of assembling machines (engines and red circuits are HUGE crafting sinks) and the factory really starts swelling up at that point thanks to blueprints and bots. Production science is where you discover "oh crap I need more resources" and need heaps of mining drills/furnaces to feed the whole monstrosity. I also think it's pretty thematic to use drills and furnaces for the same science pack.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby mrvn » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:13 am

bobucles wrote:I wonder if the mining drill and assembler should have their places swapped in science? This change is only the tiniest buff for normal mode, as the assembler is a single iron plate cheaper than the electric drill. It makes ALL the difference in expensive mode, however. The cost of an expensive mining drill more than TRIPLES while the cost of assembling machine doesn't even double. I ironically find myself having an easier time supplying the purple potions in expensive mode than trying to feed the beast of expensive blue science.

I wouldn't say that assemblers or drills are really any more important in terms of what players should be automating first. But blue science definitely demands a lot of assembling machines (engines and red circuits are HUGE crafting sinks) and the factory really starts swelling up at that point thanks to blueprints and bots. Production science is where you discover "oh crap I need more resources" and need heaps of mining drills/furnaces to feed the whole monstrosity. I also think it's pretty thematic to use drills and furnaces for the same science pack.


But isn't that fitting that production science needs production?
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby bobucles » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:28 pm

But isn't that fitting that production science needs production?

You can really argue it either way. Both drills and assemblers have pretty similar priorities and their recipes are nearly identical. Switching them doesn't change base layout at all nor the resources that players require (on normal).

The only difference happens with expensive recipes. Electric drills cause blue potions to skyrocket in cost, while assemblers would not. Hey, maybe that's part of the challenge. But it does mean that regular blue potions will feel very different in difficulty compared to expensive blue potions. The curve for the latter is much steeper because the cost for blue triples. Most other expensive science costs are roughly doubled. This creates a relative bump in difficulty that may be worth looking into.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby PacifyerGrey » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:54 pm

I think just making blue science recipe output x2 packs per cycle for the same cost (like all higher tier packs do) will definitely balance things out as it is. This change will also not cripple existing setups.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby ManaUser » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:20 am

Semi-tangent, but this seems like the logical place to post it. It's strange how big an outlier the crafting time of the blue science pack is currently.
It goes 5 6 12 10 14 14, which doesn't seem that weird at first, but the last three all give you two per recipe, so effectively that's really 5 6 12 5 7 7! Everything else takes 5 to 7 seconds to make, but at 12 blue science is fully double the average. I mean, it's not really a big deal. I guess it just you need about twice as many assembling machines cranking those out. It just seems weird and I can't think of any good reason for it.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Postby Caine » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:44 pm

Blue science really is the point in the game where you need to take automation serious. You can play around with red and green but no longer with blue.

Roughly you need to take the following steps for the science packs:
  • Red : Copper & Ore smelting
  • Green : Green Circuits & Automation 2
  • Military : Scale up iron production, setup steel
  • Blue : Setup oil, plastic, setup red circuits
  • Production: Setup stone bricks & lubricant
  • High-Tech : Sulfuric acid, scale circuit production
  • Space : Solid Fuel, scale up
You can easily go through most of the red science with a temporary setup without having set up smelting arrays. The requirements for a smelting array are about the same as for green science (needing lots of inserters and belts). Hence I tend to have basic green setup before my smelting array.

For progressing to blue science we need to do serious logistics, typically bus or rail based as robots are not available yet. At this point also an ore scaling step needs to take place. Strictly speaking you do not need a smelting array for bricks to create oil (it is not a recurring cost). You just need to pop a few bricks into an oven early on and you should have enough for the refineries. Nor do you need a full-fledged advanced oil setup at this point, just plastics.

However, many players do not like revisiting setups and jump straight to more full-fledged setups. Thus for blue science:
  • Design for large scale logistics
  • Advanced oil setup
  • Brick smelting setup
  • Steel setup (unless you do military first)
  • Scale up ore production
So unless you intentionally do this more gradually (which requires familiarity with what is coming in the future) then this is easy the largest transition in the game. The setup of a logisitic system such as a bus or a railway system is also one of the few steps where progression is not being driven by science (though the engines and mining drills do hint at expansion).

I am not sure yet what the solution should be. Perhaps replacing the red circuit requirement in blue with e.g. rails would make the transition more gradual and drive the EXPAND message into the player. It would also delay oil setup to production science.

Requirements would change from:
  • Blue : Setup oil, plastic, setup red circuits
  • Production: Setup stone bricks & lubricant
To
  • Blue : Setup stone bricks, Rail
  • Production: Setup Advanced Oil (plastic, Lubricant) & red circuits
Now the weight of the transition shifts towards production science though hopefully the player has a more well thought out and scaled base at this point.
That said, I am not yet convinced myself.

<edit>Alternatively, perhaps we are looking at it from the wrong direction. Are red and green science too easy? Do they not force the player enough to automate and expand?</edit>

---

@ManaUser Interesting observation. It does indeed stand out.
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