Blue science is too hard to get

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Blue science is too hard to get

Post by basementjack » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:00 pm

TLDR: Blue science packs are too hard, basically requires a main bus/belt array too early in game.

Long version:
Blue science packs are too hard,
You pretty much have to have a main bus/belt array to make them.
It's too early in the game to require that of new players.
I'm an experienced player and I'm finding it to be too much this early on.

Of note: I've maybe got 500 hours in factorio, so I understand trunks, etc.
I started a new trainworld map and it's been really frustrating. Base is already being attacked, not enough room to build out a proper main bus, can't research other stuff I want/need because I don't have the main bus. etc..

Chart shows my perceived difficulty relative to hours played.
The major inflection point happens around 3-5 hours into a new game.

@kovarex, I know you did a playthrough with .14 which led to some of the new recipes, It would be great if you could do a mini play through with .15, and avoid making any kind of main bus for as long as possible to see how far in the game you can get without it. That'd be a good approximation of what a first time player would go through.
(I suppose if you could collect telemetry from the all the betas, you could probably find a way to 'watch' what players do in the first 5-10 hours of a new game in high speed, which could be super useful feedback)
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by 5thHorseman » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:24 pm

Not sure if it counts but I've got a rail world save (so no bus) and am about too hit blue science. It doesn't seem any harder than, say, my belts base.

And halfway through the tech tree feels to me like the right place to require oil.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by bobingabout » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:02 am

1. There is supposed to be a difficulty step up at Science pack 3.
2. The step up isn't as bad as it used to be, you no longer need batteries for example (unless you play with bob's mods), which greatly simplifies the pack, and reduces the step.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Patashu » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:34 am

I think you'll find lots of people (including me) got to blue science with spaghetti and didn't need any particular advanced techniques beyond understanding how oil works.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Jap2.0 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:15 am

Yep, I got to blue science with spaghetti in the old, hard science of 0.14.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by bobingabout » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:35 am

My first world back in 0.9.8 was fully automated with belts (and pipes).
And by fully automated, I'm talking production of all intermediates, there were very few end products on the list.

Science pack 3 was one of the few things that wasn't automated, I used to use a car to bring circuits and batteries to the science section, but everything else was automated.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by PacifyerGrey » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:25 am

Blue science is supposed to make the leap in difficulty.
However personally I find this leap being too large.
The problem is that for blue science you need several things (compared to green):
1. Set up steel
2. Set up Stone Bricks smelting (cause Refineries)
3. Set up oil
4. Set up red circuits
5. Set up massive iron income. The culprit here is actually Electric Mining Drill which requires a shit ton of gearwheels and Iron Plates

I am totally fine with most of things here however I find the Iron requirement way too high. Combined with grey (military) science iron consumption skyrockets.
Player already spends a lot of time setting up things but he is forced also to expand quite heavily as well.
Also I find a gap between blue and purple science too small as a result. Purple science does not make you add anything new to your setup. I don't find electric engines "something new" as you already have common engines in blue science and in even greater quantities as purple science is produced 2 at a time.

So I think several things could be done to make the experience a bit more smooth.
1. You can make blue science be produced 2 per cycle as well as all others. This will lower resource requirements while still leaving intact the difficulty of automating new technologies. Also this will make blue science production array more in line with other science where you have 6-7 assemblers per product as opposed to 12 in blue science
2. Replace Electric Mining Drill with something else, less expensive

Also to increase the gap between blue and purple I would replace Assembler 1 in purple science with something more fun and needed at that stage of the game, at least assembler 2

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Xeorm » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:51 pm

The only bit of blue science I might like to see changed is giving it 2 per recipe to maybe look at recipe costs. As is the recipe is great, as it has you build things you should certainly be automating. Red circuits will be needed in bulk, and engines should be getting mass produced by then with a good setup. Miners provides a good bulk and are something you should be working on by then.

The more odd ones out are the military and production ones imo. Neither really get you to build things before you should already have them setup, are both expensive, and feel like chores. Military especially is frustrating because I find the only tech I care for them before the rocket is laser turrets. That's a lot of setup for a single tech if I'm not rushing a rocket, but it's a tech I want to grab relatively early. So I get military before blue, set it all up, and then rarely use it. What a waste.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by bobingabout » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:52 am

that is something I did find a little awkward.

1, 2, 3 and high tech are obviously of where in the list they go, high tech is level 4. Space science is for infinite research only, so, tier 5.
Military and Production are a little harder to place though, because I'd put Military at 2.5 (Before science pack 3), and production at 3.5 (after science pack 3).

On the previous point though, it might benefit if science pack 3 did in fact give 2 packs per recipe cycle.
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Zavian » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:48 am

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.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Xeorm » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:01 pm

Alternatively, having a pure "oil pack" that uses primarily oil products in relatively smallish quantities might work well as a blue science. That's mostly where it's been before anyway, and how I tend to think of it in my head. Really good though to have a science pack that's heavy into oil products, to get the new player building the stuff.

Then have the production tech be the mass production one that takes a larger base load. Kind of what it is now, but by changing the costs you make more of a difference between the two.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by moxian » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:41 am

I've wrote a wall of text in reply here, but the forums decided to log me out, and lose. I'm disappointed.

So, the same, but in short:

It's important to separate the concerns about blue science "hardness" (as "too hard to get" is not a very specific complaint). From the thread:

(1) Blue science is "logistically dogmatic" and requires main bus design
(2) Blue science is "expensive" and needs a lot of iron
(3) Blue science is "technologically complicated" as it requires a lot of intermediate products
(3a) Setting up oil is complicated
(3b) Even once yo have plastics production, blue science is still complicated

To answer those, in short:

Re: (1) main bus: No, you do not need main bus. You may end up with setting up main bus, and you may even realize that "hey, this setup when I have tons of belts in parallel, is really nice! I might [consciously] use it elsewhere [next time]!" but that's a good thing - you end up learning something without game explicitly telling you to. It feels good.

Re: (2) iron cost: It's only expensive if you are producing lots of it. In my current spaghetti game I have ~75% of yellow belt of iron for the whole factory, that has just recently built blue science. And I've already researched a couple of blue technologies. I do not feel the cost to be too high yet. From a new player perspective, expansion for iron is easy - much easier and straightforward than expansion for oil.
That said, having 1-3 super cheap blue science technologies to reward the player would be super helpful. But reducing the overall cost of blue science is not something I'd actively want.

Re: (3a) oil: Yes setting oil is complicated, but you are doing so not "in order to build blue science", but "because it's an interesting puzzle". You don't think why you need all those refineries until you've set them up.
If you are a new player, you don't understand well, what blue science gives you and treat it as distant end-game goal. So having to spend some time solving an interesting puzzle of pipes does not feel bad. You don't feel that "it takes too long to get blue sciences" the same way you don't feel "it takes too long to launch the rocket" when you are putting down your first boiler. It's just not a thought.

Re: (3b) setting up the rest of science production: Of course it's more complicated than green science. It should be. But once you have steel, red and green circuits already produced somewhere, the rest of the pipeline is not much more complicated than producing green science out of copper+iron plates (if you don't care about ratios. And if you are a new player, you don't).
If anything, it's the steel production that annoys me the most out of the whole pipeline. But usually I get that much earlier than thinking about blue science - for the purpose of building a car/train or for red ammo.

TL;DR: Blue science is fine. Having a 1-3 very cheap blue technologies would be good.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by JohnyDL » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:38 pm

If the curve is wrong it might actually now be because Red and Green are too close relative to the other packs I think the solution might be as simple as adding an extra thing to the green pack, 1 steel.

If you look at the progression red -> green -> blue -> purple -> yellow You'll see there's an Iron thing, a copper thing, an oil thing and a steel thing, in general with extra bits

Copper
Copper-> (green circuit in) Inserter -> Red circuit -> (3 green circuits and 5 red circuits in) Assembler and Electric furnace -> Blue Circuit and Copper Wire

Iron
Gear -> Transport Belt -> Mining Drill -> Assembler -> (green circuits in) Speed module and Blue circuit

Steel
*not needed* -> *not needed* -> Engine -> Electric Engine and Electric Furnace -> *not needed*

Oil products
*not needed* -> *not needed* -> (Plastic in) Red Circuit -> (Lube and Plastic in) Electric Engine and Electric Furnace -> Batteries and Blue Circuits

Bringing that need for steel forward one step makes the next step relatively easier. And adjusts the curve in the smallest way.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Lav » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:51 pm

moxian wrote:Re: (3a) oil: Yes setting oil is complicated, but you are doing so not "in order to build blue science", but "because it's an interesting puzzle". You don't think why you need all those refineries until you've set them up.
Actually I very much do think why I need all those refineries before I set them up. Otherwise I wouldn't bother setting them up. Pretty sure there are plenty of other players with goal-oriented mindset, rather than puzzle-solving one.

And the major problem with oil refining is that it's a major step and noticeable increase in difficulty without any rewards. There are no benefits for setting up oil refining. Any real benefits are from setting up other production sequences that have oil refining as a prerequisite.

If player could set up oil refining and near-immediately start producing something useful, it would be a much more interesting thing to setup. As it is, it's an annoyance even when I know exactly what I'm doing and why.

This is the primary reason why I suggested renaming blue science pack into "chemical" some time ago - it's something to use direct outputs of oil refining system and provide a clear and immediate reward for the player who invested into oil.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by BlakeMW » Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:41 pm

Lav wrote:
moxian wrote:Re: (3a) oil: Yes setting oil is complicated, but you are doing so not "in order to build blue science", but "because it's an interesting puzzle". You don't think why you need all those refineries until you've set them up.
Actually I very much do think why I need all those refineries before I set them up. Otherwise I wouldn't bother setting them up. Pretty sure there are plenty of other players with goal-oriented mindset, rather than puzzle-solving one.

And the major problem with oil refining is that it's a major step and noticeable increase in difficulty without any rewards. There are no benefits for setting up oil refining. Any real benefits are from setting up other production sequences that have oil refining as a prerequisite.
It seems a little arbitrary to say oil refining has no rewards. Is there anything in the game which is intrinsically rewarding other than by what it lets you do? At the green science level oil refining lets you make red circuits for modular armor and some basic equipment, it also enables you to make construction and logistic bots and with a small investment in military science lets you use flamethrowers and make laser turrets. Then with blue tech you get all sorts of goodies. So the way I see it there are four basic paths from oil refining: flamethrowers, modular armor (the extra slots and ability to use energy shield and night vision is handy), construction bots or blue science - that is plenty of incentive to set up basic oil refining. And in real games I've taken all four of those routes - it might seem like blue science is the big ticket attraction, but in Deathworlds the flamethrower turret is exceptionally valuable to beeline (and you can even run it on plain crude oil - though in practice I've always used light oil so I could store up petroleum and lubricant).

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by JohnyDL » Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:00 pm

BlakeMW wrote:
Lav wrote:
moxian wrote:Re: (3a) oil: Yes setting oil is complicated, but you are doing so not "in order to build blue science", but "because it's an interesting puzzle". You don't think why you need all those refineries until you've set them up.
Actually I very much do think why I need all those refineries before I set them up. Otherwise I wouldn't bother setting them up. Pretty sure there are plenty of other players with goal-oriented mindset, rather than puzzle-solving one.

And the major problem with oil refining is that it's a major step and noticeable increase in difficulty without any rewards. There are no benefits for setting up oil refining. Any real benefits are from setting up other production sequences that have oil refining as a prerequisite.
It seems a little arbitrary to say oil refining has no rewards. Is there anything in the game which is intrinsically rewarding other than by what it lets you do? At the green science level oil refining lets you make red circuits for modular armor and some basic equipment, it also enables you to make construction and logistic bots and with a small investment in military science lets you use flamethrowers and make laser turrets. Then with blue tech you get all sorts of goodies. So the way I see it there are four basic paths from oil refining: flamethrowers, modular armor (the extra slots and ability to use energy shield and night vision is handy), construction bots or blue science - that is plenty of incentive to set up basic oil refining. And in real games I've taken all four of those routes - it might seem like blue science is the big ticket attraction, but in Deathworlds the flamethrower turret is exceptionally valuable to beeline (and you can even run it on plain crude oil - though in practice I've always used light oil so I could store up petroleum and lubricant).
I think the point is it feels like a lot of work and the completion has no direct immediate benefit, take making any assembler array as a counter example, completion means you get items you can use instantly, almost everything with Oil is an intermediate product. With oil the only reward that could be gained directly by completion is the non vital flamethrower ammo, yes it's an instant reward for oil but since most people don't use it there's seemingly nothing else that's gives the instant gratification on the same level. I completed a circuit set up yeay instant circuits I can use, I completed a mall instant everything I can use, I completed yellow science finally I can start on the kovarex and nukes. I completed Oil I now have to do the same level of work again to see the reward of red circuits on mass, or science, or electric engines or batteries. That kinda sucks.
Last edited by JohnyDL on Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Lav » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:26 pm

Exactly that.

Essentially oil refining currently does one thing: any recipe that requires oil products is much longer to set up, with roughly three to five times the manual work for the player to see any tangible results of his effort. Player doesn't even have bots at this moment, he has to make everything manually. :evil:

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Rylant » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:49 pm

I have done several play throughs now. If I start a new game now, I do find the gap between green and blue science to be the biggest gap, science wise, in the game. I tend to set up red science right away (Like 15 minutes into a game, but green science doesn't take a lot longer to get going). I am often at a point where I have researched every single red/green science I can, and blue science is not set up yet. It is usually an hour or two with me doing no research while I get oil and plastic and red circuits set up, before I can get blue science and military science going. I usually have yellow/purple science set up before I finish all of the techs requiring red/green/blue and military science, so there is no gap.

My usual course of action is Red and green shortly after, then blue and military at the same time, then yellow and purple at the same time. Even though there is quite a gap between green and blue science, I don't find it to be a glaring issue.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Cribbit » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:20 pm

Am I the only one that easily spaghetti'd my wait to blue sci and had to do weird shit to get enough purple sci so I could then set up a proper base? Blue sci is where I started to realize that I really needed to plan ahead more but managed to pull it off, by purple sci I knew I needed a whole redesign.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by stm » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:47 am

Cribbit wrote:Am I the only one that easily spaghetti'd my wait to blue sci and had to do weird shit to get enough purple sci so I could then set up a proper base? Blue sci is where I started to realize that I really needed to plan ahead more but managed to pull it off, by purple sci I knew I needed a whole redesign.
What do you need to spaghetti for?
I am well into advanced reseach (finished modular armor Mk2 etc.) without building much of belt systems outside of minig/smelting and power generation. Since can be easyly done with inserters, chests and some manual interaction. I for myself (And I might be pretty alone in that) don't really start with automation until the area is cleared up from ore deposits.

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