Blue science is too hard to get

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mrvn
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by CheeseMcBurger » Sun May 19, 2019 10:42 pm

Caine wrote:
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.
[...]

I am not sure yet what the solution should be.
As an average player, I find blue science it enormously tedious. For red and green I can setup a nice automation line. Blue science fucks me over right on the spot and it already made me restart the game five times or so, because it's so overwhelming.

Now I finally automated blue science, but it looks like ass. And I had to plan for it right from the beginning. And this is basically what makes this so hard. Military science is tough, but less so than blue. And it gets worse with production science.

So in my opinion the solution should be to gradually get the player to automate tasks.

Red needs copper and iron, and 1 intermediate assembly.
Green needs copper and iron, and 5 intermediary assemblies, which is already more challenging than red, but doable without pre-planning.
Blue needs copper, iron, steel, oil and coal, and 10 intermediary assemblies (if I counted correct) which is orders of magnitudes harder than blue.

Something needs to be removed from blue and I suggest it be red circuits. Engines do fit nicely into the iron production and they introduce one more intermediate. And I would also remove solid fuel and replace it with cruel oil in barrels. That way you don't have to setup an assembly line that is the total size of the red and green assembly line only to get +1 more sciency type. It's tedious!


I'm on my 7th game and still can only manage production by spaghetti, because I haven't figured out a way to do blue, yet.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Ranger_Aurelien » Tue May 21, 2019 8:31 pm

Each science takes more work than the last, but I agree Blue is a big step more than the others because of the whole requirement of setting up all the plumbing for oil. In fact, I set up a Pipe plant>box>underground pipe pair of assemblers ASAP to start filling a box each with pipe (useful to make refineries, pumpjacks, more). I'll often call it a night rather than deal with setting up Blue half way.


https://wiki.factorio.com/Science_pack


Also note that you need twice as many blue assemblers as the other colours' to match output:

https://wiki.factorio.com/Science_pack# ... ence_packs



As mentioned earlier, most others are some extension of
Red: Set up iron mining/smelting (be sure to set aside a 3x3 slot for each furnace for later)
Set up copper mining/smelting

Green (Green circuits: belts and inserters)

Steel / Military -- (rock mining/smelting, steel smelting)

Blue -- Find oil site, pipe to area outside my base. (part is picking a good location where most of the below can grow unobstructed) Then set up
- heavy oil -- half dozen chemplant to two dozen silo for lubricant
- light -- dozen chemplant to cubes (store excess in dozens of boxes for rocket fuel later)
- gas -- a dozen plastic., and a couple starting to make sulfur, and two to put sulfuric acid into a dozen silos

(for later, these pipes should have right of way)
-- pipe lubricant to where my plant has conveyorbelts (for later)
-- pipe sulfuric acid to my belt up past the red circuit area (for later) (set up one battery chemplant>box for personal use to make robots/personalroboports! -- these make everything else easier!))
-Then make lots of engines (steel, iron), red circuits, cubes
- ALSO I plan ahead and start making electric furnaces (needed for the next tech), which starts draining power so I inevitably need to scale up power a lot.


Purple -- Production (nothing new, just more of the same)
Gold -- double the engines from blue&combine with Lubricant, batteries from acid > robots! (then pipe the excess robots into a robot network), use more acid to make blue circuits...

Space -- Double the blue circuits and use the excess, make rocket fuel from more cubes...



The amount of personal energy I find is:

Cost - Colour to set up
1 - Red (Start by hand!)
2 - Green (The inserter/belt -- finickier than 1 at low tech)
4 - Steel (pretty straightforward)
50 - Blue (petroleum(!), then two dozen engine assemblers, at the same time start making personal robotports)
5 - Purple (straightforward, normally I add another red circuit producer nearby, and a rail plant near a quarry)
15 - Gold (adding battery mass production, purple circuit mass production -- usually need to tap new mines for copper, iron, and expand petroleum extraction, production using ALL three byproducts, prepare for MK2 armour&fusion/roboport2s)
8 - White Space - double purple production (see gold for all steps again, at least we can copy/paste now) for rocket controllers (the rest of rocket/satellite parts are already known)


YMMV
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Zavian » Wed May 22, 2019 12:33 pm

CheeseMcBurger wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 10:42 pm
As an average player, I find blue science it enormously tedious. For red and green I can setup a nice automation line. Blue science fucks me over right on the spot and it already made me restart the game five times or so, because it's so overwhelming.

Now I finally automated blue science, but it looks like ass. And I had to plan for it right from the beginning. And this is basically what makes this so hard. Military science is tough, but less so than blue. And it gets worse with production science.

So in my opinion the solution should be to gradually get the player to automate tasks.

Red needs copper and iron, and 1 intermediate assembly.
Green needs copper and iron, and 5 intermediary assemblies, which is already more challenging than red, but doable without pre-planning.
Blue needs copper, iron, steel, oil and coal, and 10 intermediary assemblies (if I counted correct) which is orders of magnitudes harder than blue.

Something needs to be removed from blue and I suggest it be red circuits. Engines do fit nicely into the iron production and they introduce one more intermediate. And I would also remove solid fuel and replace it with cruel oil in barrels. That way you don't have to setup an assembly line that is the total size of the red and green assembly line only to get +1 more sciency type. It's tedious!
Spaghetti bases can be the most interesting because they tend to grow organically. The common alternatives are belt busses, or rail bases, but they can easily end up all looking pretty similar.
I'm on my 7th game and still can only manage production by spaghetti, because I haven't figured out a way to do blue, yet.

If you are talking about doing bot based production, then that comes with it's own set of design challenges. Bots are great for low volume stuff, and for supplying the player, but to get high volume bot based production working well requires specialised designs. It is not intended by the devs as a way to replace belt based production, but simply as a alternative.

My advice. When you get to something like blue science, don't try to build it in one hit, instead look at what ingredients it needs, and break it down to manageable chunks.

Blue science needs red circuits + engines + solid fuel. Red circuits need plastic, green circuits + copper wire. You should already understand how to make green circuits and copper wire. Plastic needs petroleum, which means you need a refinery. Solid fuel also needs a refinery. Engines need steel, pipes and gears. So pick one of them and work out how to build that. If it needs ingredients you don't have, and can't easily make on-site, then find a vacant area, and build a setup to make one of those ingredients. So build either steel or a refinery setup, then you can automate either engines or solid fuel and plastic. Once you have plastic, then you can make red circuits. Once you have all 3 ingredients for blue science, then build your blue science production line.

Here is what blue science looks like in my current (heavily modded) game. You can see that I had to automate a lot of ingredients before I was ready to build the blue science production facility. (I'm currently short on gold ore, so it is input starved atm).
Seablock.Blue.sci.png
Seablock.Blue.sci.png (1.89 MiB) Viewed 233 times

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by CheeseMcBurger » Wed May 22, 2019 9:56 pm

The suggestions are welcome, but don't really help with the big issue, which is the massive step you have to undertake between green and blue, that is about 10 times bigger than the step from red to green.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Koub » Thu May 23, 2019 7:18 am

I did a bit of Excelling, and indeed the blue science is a big step.
For the quite standard "at ratio" setup (5 AM for red, 6 AM for the green, 5 AM for military, ...) producing a 45 science per minute, these are the numbers (with Assembling Machine 2s), and steel furnaces (for the smelting) :
Red science : 6 total AM (5 for the flasks + 1 for the components), 5 mining drills for the resources, 5 furnaces.
Green science : 11 total (6 for the flasks + 5 for the components), 12 mining drills for the resources, 9 furnaces.
Military science : 13 total (5 for the flasks + 8 for the components), 19 mining drills for the resources, 21 furnaces.
Blue science : 38 total (12 for the flasks + 26 for the components) + 5 chem plants , 33 mining drills for the resources, 30 furnaces.

I wouldn't care so much that step if I already had construction bots automated and deployed, but usually, I find myself trying to do both at the same time, and feel overwhelmed.
I think one should have fully automated construction bots production before even trying to setup blue science. That, and of course all the components needed to allow bots build things for you ( AMs, mining drills, furnaces, power poles, ...).
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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by SkiCarver » Thu May 23, 2019 8:49 am

Koub wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 7:18 am
I did a bit of Excelling, and indeed the blue science is a big step.
For the quite standard "at ratio" setup (5 AM for red, 6 AM for the green, 5 AM for military, ...) producing a 45 science per minute, these are the numbers (with Assembling Machine 2s), and steel furnaces (for the smelting) :
Red science : 6 total AM (5 for the flasks + 1 for the components), 5 mining drills for the resources, 5 furnaces.
Green science : 11 total (6 for the flasks + 5 for the components), 12 mining drills for the resources, 9 furnaces.
Military science : 13 total (5 for the flasks + 8 for the components), 19 mining drills for the resources, 21 furnaces.
Blue science : 38 total (12 for the flasks + 26 for the components) + 5 chem plants , 33 mining drills for the resources, 30 furnaces.

I wouldn't care so much that step if I already had construction bots automated and deployed, but usually, I find myself trying to do both at the same time, and feel overwhelmed.
I think one should have fully automated construction bots production before even trying to setup blue science. That, and of course all the components needed to allow bots build things for you ( AMs, mining drills, furnaces, power poles, ...).
"I think one should have fully automated construction bots production before even trying to setup blue science."
While I do not disagree, this is also a big step up in complexity and effort compared to red and green science.

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Re: Blue science is too hard to get

Post by Koub » Thu May 23, 2019 11:14 am

SkiCarver wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 8:49 am
Koub wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 7:18 am
[...]
"I think one should have fully automated construction bots production before even trying to setup blue science."
While I do not disagree, this is also a big step up in complexity and effort compared to red and green science.
Indeed, but extensive usage of (copy/cut)&paste and blueprints really makes things less tedious to setup, turning the wall one hits into a hill that can be climbed - steep, but passable.
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