In my games I basically never build lights, for the simple reason that they don't do their job well enough. As far as I understand, lights are supposed to counter the detrimental effects of darkness (due to nighttime). Why they don't do that well enough can roughly be described as follows:
-small radius; one lamp can illuminate one or two machines; illuminating any reasonable area would require spamming the whole screen full with lamps; since lamps are not self-sufficient (like eg. torches in Minecraft) one also needs to spam power all over the place; at which point everything just looks awfull, not to speak of the pain of moving the whole thing whenever one wants to build something new and lamps/poles get in the way.
-bad profile; the sharp dropoff of the lamps looks kinda bad and it forces the player to strictly connect the areas of several lamps; not doing so will result in pools of utter darkness which are what one was trying to get rid of; for comparison again the torches of Minecraft, where the lightprofile is quite smooth (linear with distance I think), allowing players to space the torches as per the level of light they want and one bad spacing does not result in instant-pool-of-darkness-that-hurts-to-look-at.
-contrast; when using light, the contrast makes everything that is not illuminated harder to see; if one does not consequently cover the whole base with lights it is better to not use lights in the first place and just squint at the dark screen; if one plays in a dark-ish room or with a bright screen this is actually rather easy, making nighttime more of a cosmetic aspect of the game instead of an actual restriction.
-nightvision; rather easily available and completely throws this aspect of the game out of the window, reducing all so-far placed lamps to cosmetic rubble (can still be used as signals); makes me wonder why nighttime was there to begin with.
Most of those aspects apply to other lightsources as well. So I propose the following changes to the light system:
-drastic increase of the illuminated area of lamps, cars and trains. It needs to be large enough that one can reasonably illuminate an entire (early-game) factory without spending a felt eternity placing and moving lamps and poles and without interfering (too much) with the rest of the factory.
-smooth light-profile. Linear with distance, quadratic, whatever, just more smooth.
-move nightvision to end-game equipment. Personal light removed except crappy flashlight. Introduce armor equipment that is basically a portable lamp (with respectable area of illumination, see above)(probably in green science, where nightvision currently is). Should be powerable by portable solar panel(s) + battery.
-introduce upgraded lamp for industrial-scale factory illumination (and maybe make nightvision worse, so that those lamps are actually worth building).
-maybe give the lamp sprite an overhaul. Those little bulbs on the ground look nice as signals, but the just don't look as if they can provide any respectable illumination.
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