-Steel furnaces are just as fast as electric furnaces without modules. They have the benefit of not requiring any change in layout when upgrading from stone furnaces. I find myself using them a lot for copper and iron smelting in my first melting area (when coal is abundant on the map). It takes an extra reason for me to replace them with electric furnaces, like really wanting modules or having to rebuild the area anyway.
-You don't have to transition into solar power. I usually add solar power to my existing steam engine setup (which I keep big enough to power my entire base for safety reasons) or skip solar alltogether. Added benefit to attract biters with lots of pollution to combat boredom.
-I like the iron chests for anything that I want to limit output from (limited slots) compared to wooden/steel chests cause wood takes effort and steel takes 5x more resources.
-The only thing I tend to skip nearly always is burner inserters, because they are slow, use resources from a belt that quite easily has throughput issues later on, and have an ugly color
. Plus it's so easy to skip if you just feed some coal once in your first boiler manually. You don't even have to research electric inserters, you can build them right from the start (but if this was changed I still would almost never use them).
-I'm all for added complexity in recipes, so in some cases it would be cool if the next-tier item would require the previous-tier item instead of just the same kind of resources+something else (like in the case of splitters). But I don't think that should be the case for everything. Variety is king here.
-My waste chest just has some burner miners, wooden poles,axes, gun turrets and combat gear. And splitters in the late game. The only waste items that use lots of resources are power armor MK1 and portable solar panels, not enough to bother me.
I know that the Steel Furnaces don't require any change in layout compared to Stone Furnaces, but I tend to use Electric Furnaces once I'm able to because I'm able to put modules in there and because of the easier setup (no fuel). I'm progressing quite fast through the tech tree so most of the time I'm already able to provide advanced circuits for the Electric Furnaces at the point where I'm researching the Steel/Electric Furnaces. So I tend to hold out with Stone Furnaces quite some time and that's why I'm able to leap ahead the tech tree thereby saving resources.
It's nothing wrong about using Steel furnaces at all if you like them... I just don't use them because there's no way to get rid of them once I have crafted them. It's more the fact that they would end up in my waste chest since they can't be used in the recipe for Electric Furnaces which is the topic of this thread. So it's basically not a discussion of "Are Steel Furnaces good/bad?"
more than "What am I going to do with the Steel Furnaces once I've upgraded to Electric Furnaces?"
and that's why I don't craft them. They are an intermediate solution without possibility to upgrade them, which is quite sad and that's why I feel that the recipes should be changed a bit to give things a bit more purpose.
So all I'm asking for is to change some recipes so that you can craft steel furnaces out of stone furnaces and electric furnaces out of steel furnaces, thereby rendering them all more useful and easier to upgrade to the next tier without wasting resources. It would make sense to have such a progression and it would encourage people to use steel furnaces while holding out for electric furnaces, while currently you aren't encouraged to do so, which is why I'm skipping put on them to save myself some resources which I need a few game minutes later for electric furnaces anyways.
I also know you don't have to transition to solar power. In fact I'm refusing to use solar power in my latest maps completely because I think it takes away a large portion of the maintainence & expansion gameplay. But this playstyle is honestly not everyones playstyle so at some point many people will end up with a lot of boilers and steam engines in their waste chest. I don't think that this is bad for boilers and steam engines, because I think there's something with the oil industry coming later where the boilers will be reused. So stone furnaces are much less of a problem since they will find a use in boilers later, but still they should be upgradeable to steel furnaces and steel furnaces to electric furnaces so that at no point you have the feeling "well dump them into the chest" because of the lack of things to do with them.
The iron chests... are just... nah. At least currently. xD
They probably should be upgradeable to steel chests, thereby steel chests requiring a little less resources to craft. I just don't like having early/mid game things sitting in a waste chest to rot forever because of no way to re-use them later on. Steel Chests are easily upgraded to Smart/Provider/Requester/Storage chests... but iron chests just sit there and I wish I would never have crafted them. So in the early game I'm only using wooden chests and if I don't need them anymore I just throw them into a random boiler and they are gone.
It's not all about added complexity for recipes but a way to re-use items later instead of dumping them in a chest because of the lacking purpose later on. I think changing a few recipes might be a good alternative... because the only other alternative left is to have a disassembler so I can get back some of the resources I wasted earlier on. Somehow I don't like the later thought... somehow I like a tiered progression more than just disassembling everything I don't need anymore. No matter what there are items which become useless later on. ^^
You are definitely right about some things, though I disagree with some points which I will elaborate on.
I used to have your opinion on small electric poles, but then I looked at the cost between them and larger poles and changed my mind. 1 small poles costs a mere 1/2 a copper and one wood plank, while one medium pole costs 10 iron and 2 copper. Big poles cost 25 iron. And after you get construction bots it is easy to rack up tons of wood and there is little else to use it for, so it is prudent in my opinion to use small poles wherever possible, especially (and rather ironically) for long distances that do not require the bigger reach of medium poles, as you can save a fair bit of iron this way.
On regular transport belts, remember that it costs less to build 2 belts side by side than use fast belts, and you get the same throughput. Fast belts to express is even less cost efficient. You could build 7 lanes of normal belts for one lane of express belts, giving you over twice the throughput! So until you factor in space and travel speed, it is always more cost efficient to use normal belts, so I don't see why they would need to be changed.
I also find use in steel furnaces for a much much longer period than stone furnaces are used. They smelt at TWICE the speed of stone furnaces and require no additional energy usage so essentially every time you use a stone furnace you are spending twice as much coal for fuel as you need to. Electric furnaces do not smelt any faster nor do they use less energy, so there is little reason to use them until you want to start putting modules into the furnaces. In fact, I believe that electric furnaces use more coal than steel furnaces as boilers have an 'effectivity' of 0.5, which I am assuming means you only get 4kj of power for every piece of coal burnt as apposed to 8. If it really works how I think it does, then that means electric furnaces are actually only as efficient as as stone furnaces!
On the issue of power, I do not think that the problem is with solar panels being overpowered, rather I think that it is the lack of choice in alternatives. You either use solar, or if you don't want to you use steam. The only way to get steam is to use primitive stone boilers that are not very efficient. If you want to use productivity modules in everything your power usage will skyrocket and if all you are using is steam you will burn through your coal supplies like there's no tomorrow. Why is there no nuclear power? Wind turbines? Hydro? Steel furnaces (With module slots)? The lack of fusion power is especially baffling since you can make portable ones but not building sized ones
. The answer obviously being that the game is not finished, so hopefully more choices will become available. If such was the case then solar panels could be rebalanced to be less cost efficient than they currently are, but if you just nerf solar panels without giving a better alternative, IMO the results would be not so good.
It's not about the costs. In one of my maps I've 10 million iron plates and nearly as much copper plates... but even if it would be only 10000 plates I would stop caring about the costs. So at some point I will run around only with medium/big electric poles in my inventory. But every time I stumble across a small electric pole or the chest containing them I'm just "URGH, wish I could burn that stuff"
and free the chest up.
So what I'm doing lategame is... gather all resources which I can't burn/upgrade to something else, place them in a chest and crash a car into it or something. It's a waste of resources obviously but somehow I'm just to frustrated that I can't re-use the stuff anywhere else and as a perfectionist it's bothering me too much to just not care.
In most maps I've also an abundance of express belts... so I'm using them and reserve parallel belts only for massive loads of items like for example plates. Everything else wastes too much space in my opinion and renders maintainance a chore.
Also I'm not for changing the belts themselves but the splitter recipes. I'd like to craft Fast Splitters out of Basic Splitters and Express Splitters out of Fast Splitters so I have a way to get rid of all the useless splitters once I'm only using express belts/splitters everywhere. I'd just prefer if the splitter recipes work similar to the underground belt recipes, because that way I can get rid of all the low tier items which I don't need anymore later on without having a bad feeling for having wasted resouces on them early on.
About the Steel Furnaces refer to what I wrote to boro
. It's not that I think Steel Furnaces have bad statistics, it's more the fact that I can't do anything with them once I've replaced them with Electric Furnaces. The only thing I can do then is dump them in a chest and let them rot, which is sad and a waste of resources.
And yes there's a lack of choice in how to produce power, more different ways would be appreciated, but a "plop&forget"
-way to produce free energy forever is overpowered. It's quite an important balancing issue. In well balanced games there's no such thing as "free forever without negative sideeffects"
. In well balanced games there's always a major trade-off in every alternative approach provided. In a game that's about building and maintaining
a factory (which is the slogan of the game ironically) a "plop&forget"
-way of doing things is unreasonably unbalanced and unfun because it kills the maintainence part thereby making things quite boring fast. (As long as there's no endgame yet obviously, with proper endgame things may be different and I'll argue differently once we know what endgame for Factorio will be like)
Increasing the initial setup costs for Solar Power is not enough to counter the balance problem because eventually there's a break-even point no matter how much the initial costs. The only way to balance Steam power&Gun Turrets with Solar Power&Laser Turrets is to give Solar Power/Laser Turrets a maintainance factor as well or otherwise it is a no-brainer that Solar Power&laser Turrets always wins the "return on investment"
-question. There should be no way to produce free energy forever with a onetime investment or having a defense without needing any sort of ammunition (energy is free forever thanks to solar farms so that's no ammunition), because it kills the need for expansion to gather more resources and therefore the only reason to further explore the map. ^^
But the solar farming/laser turret stuff is a complete topic on its own with many threads discussing about that so back to the topic of how to make unuseful early/midgame items useful in endgame.