Express transport belt to express underground belt, splitter recipe?

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Apollolux
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Express transport belt to express underground belt, splitter recipe?

Post by Apollolux »

Hello! I tried to search these boards but had difficulty finding something relevant, and I hope Balancing is the right section for this request. If not, mods please feel free to move it to the correct section.

Currently, playing the game vanilla has only one recipe path for express underground belt: regular transport belt to underground belt to fast underground belt to express underground belt. Same with splitter: regular belt to splitter to fast splitter to express splitter. To make corners we need non-underground belts, but because we do not currently have a secondary recipe to make express underground belt or splitter from express belt (or fast underground belt or splitter from fast belt) we are left with the choice "save regular belts to use for express underground belt or splitter, or full upgrade to express belts with no chance to later convert to underground or splitter." The most immediate result is mostly underground belt paths that slow to regular speed at the corners because underground belts don't do corners and these regular belts are being saved for later underground belt upgrade paths rather than express transport belt upgrading. I understand that in the grand scheme of the game it probably matters very little whether transport belt corners are slow or fast when the network is mostly express underground belts, but psychologically I feel players would be more comfortable choosing to factorize express transport belt upgrading if we knew that we could later on still turn them into express underground belts if we so chose.

I feel this is somewhat similar to the previous "stack inserter vs stack filter inserter" problem, at least mentally, where we were basically keeping all of our stack inserters as non-filterable because we wanted more than one material to pass through and making stack filter inserters was a permanent change with what we perceived as mostly a downgrade. While this was solved by adding the whitelist/blacklist toggle functionality to stack filter inserters, making them a true upgrade of stack inserter, this suggestion for express belts is basically "please add secondary recipes to allow express transport belt to express underground belt/splitter production" and probably cannot be resolved by tweaking an attribute of an existing item. I was on 0.17 for a long time because I was away from the game for a while, so when I came back about a month ago or so and updated on Steam I was pleased to find that 0.18/1.0.0 added the toggle, and I immediately started upgrading all my stack inserters to stack filter inserters without feeling like it was a downgrade.

I feel it makes sense to allow turning express belts into express underground belts or splitters, as conceptually at least that's their path - express underground belts are "express belts but underground" and express splitters "express belts but splitting." It's not like trying to make iron gears into iron rods just because they both have iron plate as their common base. I know there can probably be a mod made to add such a recipe. I haven't found an existing one that adds it, nor do I know Lua to make it myself nor do I intend to learn Lua just to make a mod to add these recipes.

Thank y'all at Wube in advance for taking the time to consider my request, and I greatly appreciate all the effort that has gone into making the game as enjoyable as it is already!

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jodokus31
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Re: Express transport belt to express underground belt, splitter recipe?

Post by jodokus31 »

Imo it's not vanilla style to offer different recipes for the same end product. If belt progression should be different, then the devs have to decide, if it's better

I see it so:
I produce needed stuff on-demand with some kind of buffer. I dont "save" lower tier belts for upgrade purpose, but first recycle old belts and then produce new ones on-demand.
The reason: i will always need more, because the factory grows. The cost for infrasturcture compared to science gets procentually lower and lower.
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Re: Express transport belt to express underground belt, splitter recipe?

Post by foamy »

I don't want to be the downer, but I don't understand the difficulty here. You're saying that you have slow corners because you're saving the belts for making undergrounds instead of just flat upgrading them to expresses, but it isn't at all difficult to simply... make a few more belts and turn them into express belts. Belts can be manufactured with pretty ridiculous speeds, to the point where the limiting factor on a belt plant is usually jamming enough gears into it. A smidge of level-control circuitry and you can ensure you always have all nine kinds of belt available in whatever ratios you want.

Can't say I've seen a factory where the issue you described is present, and the solution to it is right square in the wheelhouse of standard gameplay.

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Re: Express transport belt to express underground belt, splitter recipe?

Post by 5thHorseman »

You can't hand craft express belts, so you must be making them in factories somewhere. At that point what's the difference in how they're made?

By the time you have fast belts you should be making all belts in factories. By the time you have blue belts, bots should be delivering things to you automatically whenever you walk by your mall.
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Re: Express transport belt to express underground belt, splitter recipe?

Post by Apollolux »

I play Factorio on Freeplay and this is my second game, the first being on an older laptop which I haven't used in a long time but which had rocket silo built and space science in play (I think it was 0.16). I'm finding it difficult to come up with how to explain my personal play style here so that my reasoning for wanting secondary recipes (whether only these specific ones or these and more in general) is understood. The closest I can come up with is that I treat Factorio the game as a zen garden of sorts, and seek to build and arrange with the fewest resources used as necessary. To that end, if I'm going to mass produce an item that requires a substantial investment path like express belt that I haven't already set up, then mentally I need to explicitly declare that mini-goal, assign it priority in my headspace, and prepare myself to intentionally and deliberately choose to make only what's necessary to accomplish it. Some of this is how I play the game regardless and some of this is self-imposed limitation of this specific playthrough.

I don't have a massive mega factory layout like some people, nor do I have dozens of train lines chugging mined ore along from like 10,000 tiles away to my central production hub or whatever. I've chosen to avoid researching Logistic System in this playthrough because I still want to retain some manual control over this game and the production process instead of setting up dozens of robots and spending my time and mental energy on routing them. There are large (e.g. 3-9 million available) patches of ore extremely far away (like at least 60 full seconds by car if unobstructed by forest or whatever far) from where I've centralized the majority of my production which I have not bothered even attempting to mine, partly due to distance and partly due to not bothering to upgrade military this playthrough to eliminate biter nests and such that lay in between central hub and those outer reaches. I'm only now starting to upgrade military because I want clear paths to these large patches now that my current main iron patch is down to less than 10k and my next iron patch is far enough away from my hub that I'm actually considering moving everything closer to it.

The current limiting factor on my existing express underground belt factory specifically was indeed gears, and after I had finished upgrading all my existing fast underground belts I reassigned the regular and fast underground belt factories I originally had in this game to be used to make other items (IIRC electric furnace for production science and electric engine for flying robot frame for utility science), so now this express factory is just sitting there until I dedicate mental energy (of which I have little nowadays for various IRL reasons) to deciding on whether to restore the full underground belt path or to reassign it to something else and make the minimum necessary to accomplish that. I had set up multiple gear factories outputting to at least five steel chests each assembler with the intention of using those gears for more express underground belts and other gear-needing items (of which there are MANY), but my reason for making express underground belts in the first place has always been and will continue to be moving ingredients from point A to point B rather than making belts just to make belts.

Resource-wise, I know making ten express belts takes the same amount of lubricant as five pairs of express underground belts, but the underground one takes more gears and more crafting time (as it should). My proposition for the secondary "express transport belt to express underground belt" recipe would still require the assembler 3 in order to accept lubricant to make express belt as that recipe would be unchanged, but the upgrade from surface to underground would only require the extra gears and therefore possibly even be craftable by hand. For me at least (and maybe for other people who might think similarly to how I do), the result would be one express belt path that at the end has a set of inserters to chests for normal surface belt usage and a set to either an assembler for this secondary underground recipe or chests to take from to assemble manually, while the vanilla game as is currently requires two separate unrelated paths, one for express belt and one for express underground belt, that would basically fight for resources all the time since gears seem to be the ingredient used by the most items in the game. Also, I keep saying "two" this whole time but I really should be saying "three" to include the splitter production path in this thread, but in this current game I've also avoided using splitters for pretty much all the reasons I've already written.

Slow corners are just an after-effect of the original decision to mainly focus on the underground belt production path over the normal belt production path. When I change transport belt paths on the map, either for optimizations or for changes in production, picking up these level 1 transport belts back into my inventory means that I can now decide to either use them again as corners, blop them into the logistic science factory, or later upgrade them to express transport belts/underground belts/splitters, but if I choose to upgrade them they can only ever be used in belt paths on the map and only as the one type of path, surface, underground, or splitter.

I hope what I've written here is understandable rather than being a ramble.

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Re: Express transport belt to express underground belt, splitter recipe?

Post by jodokus31 »

Apollolux wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:42 am
... and arrange with the fewest resources used as necessary.
...
There are large (e.g. 3-9 million available) patches of ore extremely far away
...
now that my current main iron patch is down to less than 10k and my next iron patch is far enough away from my hub that I'm actually considering moving everything closer to it.
If you want to save on resources, use yellow belts only. 10k is basically nothing. I wonder if you will survive this. You should focus on getting iron and stop producing Express belts, bc they are insanly expensive on iron.
If you have enough iron your problem will vanish.
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Re: Express transport belt to express underground belt, splitter recipe?

Post by ickputzdirwech »

I think I understand the point you are trying to make about needing fewer machines but I think the devs made the right decision here. With your proposal there would be four „loose ends“ in the crafting tree: yellow and red undergrounds and yellow and red splitters. Most endgame factories are built around blue belts (or robots). This renders all yellow and red undergrounds and splitters useless if you can’t upgrade them to blue anymore. I really hate things that are just leftover junk at some point.
And alternative recipes are something that belongs in a mod imo.

I personally would recommend not to use blue belts at all before you haven’t launched your first rocked (maybe with exception to blue undergrounds if you really need their length). 2 blue belts are just 3 red belts. The space you save is neglecteable. And compared to red belts blue ones are really expensive. Red belts are affordable and doing everything with yellow belts is impractical. Sure in the long run the cost to build the factory doesn’t matter but before you launched the first rocket the focus should be more “short run”.
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Re: Express transport belt to express underground belt, splitter recipe?

Post by Koub »

Yep, I'd also agree that upgrading from yellow to red and from red to blue should be done later rather than sooner. a yellow belt is 1.5 iron, 1 red belt is 11.5 iron, and a blue 31.5 iron and 20 lube. The service to cost ratio is heavily tilted towards the smaller tier, so higher tiers should only be used when lower tiers are impractical or when resource don't matter any more (well, it's everybody's choice, just my opinion here).
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Re: Express transport belt to express underground belt, splitter recipe?

Post by foamy »

Koub wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:33 pm
Yep, I'd also agree that upgrading from yellow to red and from red to blue should be done later rather than sooner. a yellow belt is 1.5 iron, 1 red belt is 11.5 iron, and a blue 31.5 iron and 20 lube. The service to cost ratio is heavily tilted towards the smaller tier, so higher tiers should only be used when lower tiers are impractical or when resource don't matter any more (well, it's everybody's choice, just my opinion here).
Yeah. The big drivers for a better belt are beacon layouts, because you've got a very limited amount of space beside the machines and much higher draws per-machine, so flow-per-tile becomes crucial. Pre-beacon you can just space things out and thread in new belts as needed, with a sort of mini-bus feeding things. The build winds up a bit bigger, but it's a lot less of an issue than needing to build an entire extra beacon setup.

Although I do usually jump to at least fast belts early, generally because at around the same time steel furnaces and L2 assemblers start coming onstream, and it's easier to just upgrade stuff in place than to build whole duplicated builds at that point in time, which is often no-bot or minimal-bot to boot. Particularly for stuff like smelters, which have a huge footprint.

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Re: Express transport belt to express underground belt, splitter recipe?

Post by Khagan »

Koub wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:33 pm
Yep, I'd also agree that upgrading from yellow to red and from red to blue should be done later rather than sooner. a yellow belt is 1.5 iron, 1 red belt is 11.5 iron, and a blue 31.5 iron and 20 lube. The service to cost ratio is heavily tilted towards the smaller tier, so higher tiers should only be used when lower tiers are impractical or when resource don't matter any more (well, it's everybody's choice, just my opinion here).
Once you realise that the cost of a belt also implicitly includes the cost of the items lazing around on it, one (full) fast belt is hardly more expensive than two (full) basic ones, even for raw resources, and they are actually cheaper for transporting anything more valuable. I agree about express belts, though: they are a lot more expensive for comparatively little space saving, not to mention the hassle of 3:1 combining and splitting. Even in an infinite game, I usually only use them in small doses at places where the extra speed really matters. (They would be much more attractive if they were 4 times the basic speed instead of 3 times.)

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