Burner fuel values

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leadraven
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Burner fuel values

Post by leadraven »

Hello, factorians!

I'm thinking about one more balancing nerf, but first I'd like to hear opinions of more experienced players.
I didn't practice megabasing a lot, but in common games both coal and oil are used in crafting significantly more then for burning, even with burner-only power production. And it's strange for me.
I think power production must be a bigger issue. Huge consumption of fuel is (or must be) a main downside of burner power. Most of coal AND oil must go into burners.
Currently coal is the least used basic material. And oil patches are albeit small but infinite. Higher consumption will make early game more balanced, and nuclear power and coal liquefaction much more attractive.

Heavy usage of Productivity modules significantly reduces resources demand in production, and at the same time greatly increases power demand. I've looked at production/electricity statistics of megabases (~10000SPM), and the ratios looked fine for factory without modules. Logically, factory with heavy modules usage must consume insane amount of power compared with potential energy of resources involved in production.

For better analyses, I'll be glad to see production and energy statistics of your big factories with or without prod.modules, or even with efficiency modules.
Currently I tend to reduce power capacity of all burning fuels 4 times.
Balancing of nuclear and solar power is completely another story.

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BlueTemplar
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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by BlueTemplar »

It's very hard to make the game balanced both for "normal" (pre-oil) play, "advanced" (post-oil) play, and 10k Sci/min "megabases", t(h)read carefully !

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by leadraven »

BlueTemplar wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:52 am
It's very hard to make the game balanced both for "normal" (pre-oil) play, "advanced" (post-oil) play, and 10k Sci/min "megabases", t(h)read carefully !
Together we are smart, we can try! Moreover, both cases are unbalanced in the same way.

Issue : if coal fuel value will become 1MJ, one mining drill placed on coal will produce 0.5coal/s ~ 500KW, while consuming 90KW. 18% of total power output will come to coal mining. Is this bad? How about to double coal mining speed?

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by Serenity »

I tend to switch out of burner power generation pretty early. Only 72MW coal power and even that goes into backup mode as soon as I get solar panels and accumulators. After that I only burn coal in furnaces. The issue is more that you don't need to rely on coal power for long

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by leadraven »

Serenity wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:10 pm
I tend to switch out of burner power generation pretty early. Only 72MW coal power and even that goes into backup mode as soon as I get solar panels and accumulators. After that I only burn coal in furnaces. The issue is more that you don't need to rely on coal power for long
Solar power has it's own significant downsides, and related balancing discussion takes place in another thread. Personally I almost never use solar panels (just don't like them), and rely completely on burner and nuclear. For the good of the game, all options must be well balanced. So "don't use it" isn't a constructive argument. Moreover, my point is that burner power is too good, not too bad.

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Re: Burner fuel values

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leadraven wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:32 am
Currently I tend to reduce power capacity of all burning fuels 4 times.
My starting hypotheses is vanilla, no productivity upgrades, no modules/beacons.
Currently, one coal has 4 MJ burn value.
It is mined at the rate of 0.5/s by an electric mining drill, so an electric mining drill mines 4x0.5 = 2MJ of burn value /s.
Meanwhile, the electric mining drill consumes 90 kW, that's 90 kJ/s.
In short, one electric mining drill outputs 22.2 times (20M/90k) its consumption.
Or, in other words, you need to devote 4.5% (100/22.2) of your electricity production to actually produce the energy you need for all the base.

If you were to divide by 4 all the burn values, you'd have to devote 20% of your energy production to produce the energy needed for your factory.

I think the current balance is better for game fun (very subjective, I know).
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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by leadraven »

Koub wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:03 pm
If you were to divide by 4 all the burn values, you'd have to devote 20% of your energy production to produce the energy needed for your factory.
Yes, I also noticed this problem. It can be avoided by doubling coal mining speed. But, is it really a problem? Initial technologies are supposed to have low efficiency.
The other issue : basic inserter will be too slow to feed boiler. I will try to align numbers. Actually, I've created this thread for productive discussion.
In my mind, first expansion must be in search of fuel, not materials.

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by thereaverofdarkness »

Most people are satisfied with vanilla hard iron and copper, but don't want to change vanilla easy coal and oil. Both coal and oil NEED a nerf to supply quantities, but players have become accustomed to the high values and feel like you're taking something away from them when you suggest lowering the amounts--even though in reality it's giving something: richer gameplay and more (fun) logistics problems to solve.


I generally play the game with nerfs to the amount of energy that fuel items provide. Just cutting coal to 1/4th already makes a huge difference, especially in the burner stage of the game. Like Koub said, it'll make you spend 18% of the coal on getting the coal. Also with KS power, the burner generator has half the efficiency of steam power--I use it because I try to get away from the free water at start, and sometimes I have not found good resources next to water--sometimes almost half of my fuel is used up in the logistical process and there's not so much left over to actually run the base. It works great because it means later upgrades can greatly improve coal efficiency, and also puts pressure on me to get more efficient coal usage before I run the patch dry and waste it all. It's also producing a lot of pollution which is drastically increasing ammo consumption and in many games causes a very substantial fraction of my total iron and copper production to be wasted on ammo. The early game doesn't pressure me too hard, it's not like a newbie would struggle to survive, but rather it just makes factory expansion have a diminishing return on investment and reduced efficiency until I get those upgrades going. It really makes the technological progression feel like I'm getting a better factory, and not just a factory with shinier toys in it.

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by leadraven »

thereaverofdarkness wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:02 am
Wow, sounds very cool. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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Re: Burner fuel values

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leadraven wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:31 am
Yes, I also noticed this problem. It can be avoided by doubling coal mining speed. But, is it really a problem? Initial technologies are supposed to have low efficiency.
The other issue : basic inserter will be too slow to feed boiler. I will try to align numbers. Actually, I've created this thread for productive discussion.
In my mind, first expansion must be in search of fuel, not materials.
You probably need for a single burner inserter to be fast enough to feed a boiler (including the refuel-itself time)...

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by thereaverofdarkness »

BlueTemplar wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:52 am
leadraven wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:31 am
The other issue : basic inserter will be too slow to feed boiler. I will try to align numbers.
You probably need for a single burner inserter to be fast enough to feed a boiler (including the refuel-itself time)...
I've already worked this one out. Using Kenira's Realistic Power mod (coal energy value cut to 1/4th, energy cost of most things cut in half, steam engines produce 900kW and are very expensive to make), I find that one burner inserter is not nearly fast enough to run a boiler at full capacity, but three burner inserters is more than enough even when they have to take a moment to refuel themselves. Fortunately, there is room for three burner inserters with each steam engine. I like the way it works out that way. You could get away with two burner inserters as long as you never reach full capacity. When they boilers get maxed out, two burner inserters will slowly fall behind. Two regular inserters can keep up.

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by BlueTemplar »

New players are unlikely to think about using multiple inserters for the same machine...

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by Koub »

I'm not sure vanilla should change to such challenge levels. Bear in mind it's a personal opinion.

Everything is about balance, and vanilla should be aimed (I think) at average-ish player, knowing that the game is extremely moddable for those who have exceptional requirements.

I'm not sure @thereaverofdarkness is representative of the average player (whatever "average player" is).
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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by BlueTemplar »

"Average player" is the player that plays the game for 36 hours, at which point he researches oil processing, notices that he has to find and extract the oil and set the refinery up (and maybe even a train line !) ; and gives up on Factorio shortly after that :
https://steamcommunity.com/stats/427520 ... ce=SteamDB

(This is why I called the post-oil, second half of the green science era and later, as "advanced" play.)

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by Koub »

Yeah, that's why I always try to be cautious when I name the "average player". The question is : how would the change OP suggested alter the way people play the game ? Would people on averge :
- like it and play more to get to the same point in the game (play more in time, because more time should be devoted for fuel logistics) ?
- like it and on top of it would like/get into the game even more, playing on average further into the game ?
- globally dislike it, and spend as much time into the game (thus getting not so advanced into the gameplay) ?
- globally dislike it to the point they stop playing even in a shorter time average ?

I think the second outcome is the only one worthy of a change, and I also fear that this change would not have this outcome (I reckon I have no data to backup, just a personal impression).
That's why I'm not convinced this change would be a good thing. However, as long as it's easily moddable, it is easy for people who think the balance is a little off to fine tune their experience.

As a "best from both worlds", maybe we could ask for a more fine tunable "new game" menu, with options to change per map basis some constants in the game (fuel values, crafting/mining speeds, day/night balance, ...) so that one wouldn't have to actually mod the game to get a fine tuned gameplay experience (the way marathon, science multiplier, ... have been added on map gen interface).
Koub - Please consider English is not my native language.

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by BlueTemplar »

I feel that this is getting offtopic, but anyway...
thereaverofdarkness wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:02 am
Also with KS power, the burner generator has half the efficiency of steam power--I use it because I try to get away from the free water at start
Now it's a quarter (or even maybe 1/8th?!?), with efficiency having been removed from vanilla balance.

I don't understand why Bob, instead of setting all of his boilers' efficiencies to 100% (they were 60%, 70%, 80% etc.), hasn't modded vanilla boiler back to 50% ??
The whole efficiency mechanic has been left in the game's "backend" specifically not to break mods !

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by thereaverofdarkness »

BlueTemplar wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:56 am
New players are unlikely to think about using multiple inserters for the same machine...
Koub wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:02 am
I'm not sure @thereaverofdarkness is representative of the average player (whatever "average player" is).
As a genius with autism, I'm often not very representative of the average in any given category. It's usually better to take my experiences as a demonstration of what "can" be done, rather than what "will" be done. I never struggled with considering using multiple inserters per machine, as long as it had room for them. But it's important to determine how easily other players solve problems with multiple inserters, and possibly find ways to enable them to figure out such solutions before they throw their hands up in frustration and look it all up on YouTube and Reddit. An ideal solution is a change to the game that results in the player automatically solving their own manufacturing shortcomings, and then feeling proud of themselves for coming up with the idea without help.

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Re: Burner fuel values

Post by BlueTemplar »

Indeed !
Actually, I realize that I shouldn't have stated that so categorically... just an assumption of mine of how a new player might play - and I was wrong before about the lack of undergrounds & co. in the Tutorial hampering new players...

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