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[MOD 0.18] Xander Mod v3.4.3

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:00 pm
by Repofme1
Type: Mod
Name: Xander Mod
Description: An overhaul emphasizing detailed, realistic materials and production. Extends the base game to marathon-style complexity.
License: GNU GPLv3
Version: 3.4.3
Release: 2020-5-14
Tested-With-Factorio-Version: 0.18.24
Category: big-mods
Tags: big-mods, logistics, manufacture, mining
Website: viewtopic.php?f=97&t=51868

New GitHub repo for XM version 3! Link above.

'Ad pitch' -

Are you an experienced Factorio player looking for a challenge?
Having trouble believing a solid hunk of metal makes a circuit?
Are you tired of repetitive, formulaic content?
Do you dream of something other than froot loops to fill your ore and metal bins?
Would you like to break your addiction to plant and animal products?!

Then try out Xander Mod! Now available in NEW version 3+!
Like in the one line description, this mod overhauls the Factorio production system to make the materials and parts more realistic and interesting. My motivation comes from things like the base green circuit recipe, which seems to be just a pile of iron and copper - nothing but a short circuit. This really breaks my immersion in the game, so I want to make it more believable, at least to my knowledge of chemistry, materials, and general tehnology. For this, the mod has new ores for new metals, detailed refining processes, complex sequences of intermediate parts, and a few new machines to help handle it all. Designing logistic and production systems is my favorite part of the game, since it is the foundation for making all the other features. While I know several other mods that put much effort into this part of the game, they still feel lacking in a way that makes me want to share my own perspective. Read on for more!

Updates during my long hiatus - 12019-10-11

I finally graduated university! This has given me more time to focus on my own interests, including Factorio. I feel that seeing Xander Mod with fresh eyes has been of great benefit to both me and its content - many of the problems in the prevous version now simply melted away before me. First of all, I completed the new list-function code structure that I had been working on with help from a few dedicated fans. This has let me work with a much clearer mind and awareness of interconnected features. Second, I did decide to newly rebuild the entire mod content. I am using many of the same ideas from before, but little of the exact code - I realize now that it was rather large and clunky, and the widely scattered bugs made my workflow very inefficient. My new construction process is much more aligned with following the tech progression from the bottom up. And third, with this, I have been able to bury two of the huge problems in previous versions: the dependence on wood products, and the very tedious slog to automation. In my latest test world, I was able to reach mostly electric automation in 5 hours, using only 200 or 300 wood. This is about where the mod tops out for now, although there is still a bit of chemistry that I have not played yet. Fortunately, content progress has been very rapid, and I believe that I can continue this for the near future.
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Deprecated RSO config

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:33 pm
by Ratzap
I'll certainly have a peek at it. I assume it's not RSO supported at this time?

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:14 pm
by Ratzap
That's a lot of work you've put in there. Some 'missing key' errors so you may have locale entries missing (granitic for example and I saw more hovering over techs). The tech icon placeholders are not surprising either given the amount of new ones and this being the first WIP release.

The start up is going to be very very slow though given how much resources a lab requires and being stuck with one miner for so long. I got a nice island seed for people who want to give this a go without being disturbed:

Code: Select all


Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:39 pm
by Repofme1
Thanks for taking a look! No, unfortunately I don't even have the RSO config set up yet. Even then I still have to send it to orzelek to get it included in the next update of RSO. I had one config that I really liked, but for a really old version of the mod that wasn't good enough to release, so I will be trying to recreate the sort of pattern I achieved there. I had it set up so that not all resources would spawn in every region, but those that did would be more concentrated there, to alleviate some of the trouble of having 15 different resources generating.

Yeah, unknown keys are quite a common nuisance :/ I'll check for those and fix them for the first update, but it will mainly focus on fixing technologies and progression, so it probably won't be for a week or so. The slow startup was something I was going for, as I like the feel of a marathon game, but I fear it might be too slow and discouraging. I have found I have a relatively higher tolerance for grinding in games, so what feels right to me probably isn't the most popular. I'll probably end up removing a lot of the cost increases for crude-level technology, now that I've played the game a bit and haven't even made an assembling machine in the first 7 hours.

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:46 pm
by Ratzap
There are a number of really slow start mods: AAI, Seablock, Anonymods, Pyanadon and so on. An hour into trying this one I had a clay brick furnace to be able to smelt iron. I'd say yours is at the upper end of them at the moment, yes. Making the start a move a bit quicker would probably be a good idea - no-one really likes repetative hand work in a game about automation.

I'll play some more when I have time.

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:04 pm
by jodokus31
Just took a short look and finally after half an hour (+ another half of analyze recipes), I can smelt iron plates :D
This is simply overwhelming:
- Those bronze/iron axes are wearing out soo fast.
- Only have one burner drill until research happens, which needs a whole bunch of items requiring lead, tin, clay, copper and iron.
- The clay furnace (required for iron) can only be fueled by chemical fuel (charcoal, which is burnt from wood).

This looks really awesome at the first glance and I like the idea of the slow start.
Although, I think, it may be a bit too much running around in the beginning, if you only have one drill.
EDIT: And it would be nice, if you could have an earlier option to automate or semi-automate crafting. like a burner workbench, which can be really slow, but steady. Im not a big fan of handcrafting

Keep it up.

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:19 am
by Ratzap
Agree the axes are gone before they get much done. Not good given how hard they are to replace.

Having only 1 drill really is a bottleneck. Keep having to pick it up and move it round. Just mining the 52 iron ore for a lab takes over 21 minutes (at 25 seconds per ore). I'm now 90 minutes in and nearly ready to build a lab. Most of that was spent looking at Factorio like a screen saver or wacking at trees with bare hands to save materials (and thus time).

Even with a lab though, each flask of basic science is 4 iron - 100s to mine.

Edit: Good grief, I read it wrong. The 52 iron for a lab is on top of 7 casings and 14 gears - that's another 52 iron. Ugh.

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:08 am
by Repofme1
*Me: On no, I accidentally made on of the most tedious mods in Factoiro...*

Hi all -

First, I really apologize for making such a slow, boring start, and I thank you for your patience. I wanted to make things more involved, but not THIS slow - I only realized how bad it really was after I published, got some feedback, and looked back at my test world. I have a tendency to zone out when grinding in games, so I didn't realize just how slow it was.

Since things are so tedious, I am currently working on reducing the costs of almost everything in the early game, mostly just by reducing numbers all over the place to speed things up. This should help the time without sacrificing too much interesting detail. I'm also adding some 'improved crude' tier recipes to accelerate things, and bridge the gap between 'just starting' and 'proper refining'.

About drills and ores: Keep in mind that a burner drill actually mines slower than hand. Iron, lead, and coal are harder than stone, copper, tin (granitic), and bauxite. For the first update, I am reducing the hardness of iron to be the same as lead and coal - it was the most-needed ore, but the slowest to mine. Not sure where I got that one from, derp. Axes will
definitely be getting buffed, even I got annoyed with how much they cost. I think one iron axe only mined like 20 or 25 iron ore, so it only made a profit of 20 per axe... totally stupid.

Earlier automation is a very good point, I had come up with ideas for burner version of the machine tool and assembling machine. I got REALLY fed up with iron gears in particular, so I halved their crafting time and decided to definitely put in a burner machine tool. Not sure about the assembling machine though, a lot of the early game recipes are not actually assembling, and those that are need much less quantity like full mechanisms or burner drills.

I originally planned the first update for the weekend, but I think now I'll aim for tonight or tomorrow night. I did NOT realize how terrible things were.

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:19 pm
by Ratzap
Thanks for responding quickly but please, no need to beat yourself up. Balance is hard and a first WIP release is not expected to be anywhere near balanced.

I kept going yesterday and by 2h 40 mins had built a lab and researched miners. The cost of another miner is 40 odd mins of iron mining so I called it and went to bed. A lot of WIP feedback is necessarily critical but I should point out I think what you have shows great promise and I hope you finish it.

What you've written should help make the start flow a lot better but I would point out that giving the player 2 miners to start with would help most. It would let you keep one on coal for fuel and the other move around for materials. Or sit one on the slow iron and move the other. The biggest bottleneck in the beginning is the single miner. Think how you start a normal game - ramp up the miners ASAP.

To be honest I wouldn't bother much with extra burner machines. The clay furnace isn't that big a deal that I can't just make a couple more. The fuel for it is more of a PITA than the furnace itself (due to the axes - I turned 700 wood into charcoal but getting the wood ate a lot of axes).

With a few iterations of change -> test you'll get to a good place quickly. I saved my map 3 seconds after generation so I can repeat the early stages as often as necessary.

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:23 pm
by jodokus31
There's is absolutly no need for apologizing IMO. I read your comments about the unfinal state and that you expect dozens of balancing issue.
Really thanks, for offer such a sophisticated mod, which really digs into the production aspect of the game by trying to reflect the reality more than vanilla (Thats why I really like angels and bobs).
I always thought, its a bit strange f.e. that you can create a circuit by using an iron plate and copper cable...

If I have some time, I will definitly try it further, because its a really interesting concept and I dont bother having a slow start. And when i look at the tech tree, it really looks frightening :D
But I also think, that the game really starts, when you can have your first assembly lines, which produce things while doing something else. And if you are forced to run around many hours, handcrafting, and really no way to scale up, it misses the point of the game IMO. But it can be a design decision to do so and reflects the reality maybe more. (I'm only scared, that I could have to repeat it, once you reworked your mod which breaks the save ;))

I really look forward to your proposals:
- more durability of axes
- a bit reduced cost of early game items
- a burner assembling machine for, lets say, 2 ingredients. (the furnace is actually such a facility, because you can fill it and run away, and maybe the recipes could be districted, but it is the least important for early game i think.
- it would be ok, to let iron ore that hard in mining (or may be not?), if you can get some additional drills sooner. maybe have the recipe available from beginning. So you can scale up faster.

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:47 pm
by Repofme1
Hi again -

Thank you for the encouragement, it really makes me feel better. :) I'm very new to forums in general, a bit less so to modding, but I've played Factorio for hundreds of hours. My play style is a bit distinct, I usually play one world for a really long time so I want every tech stage to be full and enjoyable, as I don't go through the beginning very often. I never really realized to go for multiplying the miners so much, but I guess it makes sense. Bringing capacity online earlier yields more over time.

I think I'll take your advice for the 2 miners, because of the coal pair trick that I like, but I've got a few other ideas in mind for starting items. ;) I do want to include a burner machine tool, because I like the idea of an old-timey machine shop with one big central steam boiler. I doubt we need a burner assembler though, since assembling operations are faster and in less demand early on. Part of my intent with the hand mining and crafting was to make every little improvement count early on, even a simple automatic coking system makes a huge difference. Plus, then it also doubles as a simplified guide to building civilization, or the (very approxiamte lol) history of how we built ours! :P Like the circuit for example, I feel the exact same way! It's just a hunk of metal!

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:48 pm
by Repofme1
About the overall project, I feel strongly dedicated to acceptably completing it. I've seen so many projects (my own and others') get abandoned, not just in Factorio, that I really don't like that happening. I'm currently having somewhat of a vacation, so I have a bunch of time, but in the fall that will decrease. I hope to stay current on this project, though, it's become pretty important to me. I've been working on it in some form or another for over 8 months and 300 hours now, mostly generating ideas and getting everything ready.

One other note - what's a good way to add images to forum post? That's something I've never figured out how to do, and some screenshots would be useful for the main post.

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:54 pm
by Ratzap
Use imgur. It has big fat pipes and it's full of crapimages anyway. You don't have to make your albums public to share the links either. Once you have images on there it gives you copy/paste strings which will work on this forum to show the image.

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:36 pm
by Repofme1
Cool, thanks!

Short update on testing, here are some milestones from my latest world. I think the progression is good, I need to move on to the steel furnace age anyway:

00:06:30 First bronze axe (no more than 4 ever made)
00:19:00 First iron axe (actually two)
00:25:00 Upgrade to 4 clay brick furnaces
00:47:00 Crafted first burner lab
00:55:00 Burner mining drill researched
01:01:00 Coal coke researched
01:10:00 First pair of burner drills (placed on coal)
01:21:00 Soda and saltpeter researched
01:35:00 Glass and electricity researched
01:40:00 Two more burner mining drills, these went to iron
02:00:00 Four more mining drills set up, 8 total now

Note that this is my third or fourth test world, and I did make the mod. Therefore I have a pretty good feeling for the numbers and the path, which makes my time faster than for a new player. However I also intentionallyaccidentally dumped all the starting items in a box and shot them, so I would have a more fun experience with a 20 minute bronze age :) I think I'll cut this world here for now, to work on the burner machine tool and that big block of locale...

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:36 pm
by Arch666Angel
Take it slow, mistakes are bound to happen. Most people here are keen on being lab rats for you and trying new creations out and providing feedback. Modding is a hobby and you should have fun in creating.

So good luck with your mod :)

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:54 pm
by jodokus31
I also played a bit more and developed the following play style:
- Use the miner for coal into a box, for fuel
- Craft a bunch of iron axes and mine mainly clay, wood and iron by hand and scale iron a bit. It seems, that you can feed 2 clay furnaces by manual mining. and have some more furnaces for iron casting and wheels.
- Always have enough iron and wood to craft more iron axes.
- Then get a bit more of copper, tin and lead ore. Its not really much needed and can be mined in some minutes by hand.
-> Now after 1,5 h I got the lab, the miner research and the second miner itself and even coke research.

I think its necessary to do manual mining whenever possible, which scales it up pretty good. and don't fear to waste iron axes ;)
Arch666Angel wrote:Take it slow, mistakes are bound to happen. Most people here are keen on being lab rats for you and trying new creations out and providing feedback. Modding is a hobby and you should have fun in creating.

So good luck with your mod :)
Yeah, just need a break sometimes from your great mods and try something different :)

(And images can also be uploaded as attachment)

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:24 pm
by Repofme1
*Wow, a major Factorio modder posted on my tiny thread!*

On a serious note, thank you for the tips Arch666Angel. I have been playing Factorio as one of my main hobbies for a while now, and I don't mean to quit modding any time soon. I still have a lot to learn, but I do intend to enjoy what I'm doing.

Thank you for your well wishes!

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:53 pm
by Repofme1
Play styles -

Speaking of this, I meant to give some tips on what I do, since it seems to work well enough. My previous post had a pretty typical progression for me, with a ton of hand mining, no waiting around for those slow burner drills. That was especially true in the current posted version (1.0.0) where it would take like 15 drills or something to equal iron axe mining. To save time on axe mining, I usually pick up only the specific quantity of ore I need at one time, for example, I only mined just enough lead ore for the lab at first. Then I would get enough for 2 mining drills at a time, and the same for copper, tin, bauxite, and stone. I make most of the costs for things work to relatively nice round numbers, so it shouldn't be too hard to mentally figure how much you need for something.

Later in my test game when I had enough miners and fuel production, I started mining and smelting copper, tin, and lead in big batches instead of exactly to demand. Iron was a bit different in that I moved to large batches while still hand mining, which was exceptionally boring. I would always run around a lot, from ore to trees and back to a different ore again. This broke up some of the monotony of hand mining, but not really, because the walking around gets boring.

Of course this is different in my latest experimental build (where the time milestones are from), although my general style of hand mining exactly to demand and jumping around resources stayed the same. I also found that this was now about enough to keep things moderately interesting. While I built miners on coal, then copper/tin/lead, and then iron (because it was so slow) in 1.0.0, I built form coal to iron most recently because iron now goes at a reasonable pace. Smelting this early on makes heavy use of CTRL+click to move stuff directly to/from machines.

Overall, I would estimate the new build to be 3-4 times faster than the old one, and iron axe burning to drop from over 200 to under 40. My numbers and patterns are also a bit off because I get rid of the starting items first thing, for a bit more realism. Although I have a better solution to the starting item issue in the works. 8-)

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:58 pm
by Ratzap
Then there are folk like me. I won't do anything by hand that I don't have to (tree clearance for example). For slow things I tab out and watch an episode of something then check back in.

Re: [MOD 0.15+] Xander Mod v1.0.0

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:28 pm
by jodokus31
Repofme1 wrote: Overall, I would estimate the new build to be 3-4 times faster than the old one, and iron axe burning to drop from over 200 to under 40. My numbers and patterns are also a bit off because I get rid of the starting items first thing, for a bit more realism. Although I have a better solution to the starting item issue in the works. 8-)
Sounds promissing.
I played a bit further and my main issue is actually the coal mining. I have now 8 miners there and it still seems to be too less.
And yes, the hand mining is not that interesting after some time. The miners do not scale it really well, because they are so expensive, coal-hungry and inefficent
And those cast iron wheels are really slow to craft. Currently finished researching steel with 50 reds and it was really hard :) Heading towards the assembler