Perfect 0~drain Laser: Blueprintable and Chunky!

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Qon
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Perfect 0~drain Laser: Blueprintable and Chunky!

Post by Qon » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:32 pm

Now that power switches can have their wires in blueprints it's possible to make a laser wall with almost no drain.
It's still a bit tricky, but after many iterations, I managed to design a good blueprint. Other wire connections or wire cuts than the ones to power switches are not preserved when blueprinting, so I had to mix poles and place everything perfectly to get it working.

ousu(190415-110913-53).jpg
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Why perfect? Here's why:
  • The ease of laser, without the drain. Power consumption of the drain of triple layer laser down to 2.5% of what it would otherwise be. For layered lasers and a big base, the drain is not only a constant that goes on regardless if you have ongoing attacks or not, but the drain is also actually higher than the energy used by the active turrets while you are under attack! This design reduces drain so much that you can have a constant stream of bugs getting zapped and use less power than a draining design in peaceful mode! Extreme efficiency.
  • Blueprintable. Just plonk it down and it works, no manual wire connecting at all. All wires that should connect do. No wire that shouldn't connect do.
  • Sections activate independently. You can have a ten thousand tiles long wall and only the chunks that are attacked will be on. You don't get your whole perimeter turned on just because there are random attacks at some places but not others.
  • It's 1 chunk long for easy tiling.
  • It's only 25 tiles deep from outer stone wall layer to the power poles so it doesn't take up much space and doesn't force bots to fly long distances. A roboport is included in the blueprint within those 25 tiles so repairs and replacements happen quickly.
  • Activates quickly so that it has no trouble zapping behemoths.
  • Limits the maximum charge in the measuring accumulators so that it deactivates laser immediately and saves you power as soon as the attack stops. It almost looks like the turrets shoot while having the no power icon flashing because it's that quick.
  • Can be turned into the always-on mode by circuit network. Just toggle a single constant combinator off or back on again to switch modes. Having power switches toggle constantly might drain your UPS if you have a gigabase, but with a single switch, you can go into draining mode where everything is constant and no updates happen. Not really necessary at any smaller scales though.
  • The always-on turrets that are used to monitor for close by natives get fed by the main network also when they turn on all the surrounding turrets so that they can also help with the killing at full effectiveness.
  • You can add more layers (up to about 8 total) of lasers without increasing drain at all.
  • Beautiful design with turrets in straight lines.
Any drawbacks?
If the monitoring turret is destroyed then the surrounding turrets in that chunk will no longer activate until that turret is replaced by the bots. But even a constant stream of behemoths is unlikely to deal any real damage that risks this. I've seen a spitter hit another turret once, and the lasers survive that while the bugs gets annihilated. Lasers almost never get hurt, though occasionally a single wall piece gets destroyed. It's still so rare it's not worth considering. But it's not really a downside anyways:
  • Even if it ever happens you can just toggle the no-drain switch and all your turrets get turned on regardless. (the mod Remote Switches give you constant combinators that you can toggle from anywhere with a GUI)
  • And even if you are AFK and can't flip the switch, the biters still get shot by the chunk to the left and right of that single disabled chunk and won't go past your wall to destroy your base. They will just get aggroed by those chunks and all you lose are a handful of lasers at worst.
  • And if you have installed mods that make the natives smarter and stronger so that they can deal some damage and avoid turrets, you can just place up to four turrets where the scouting turret stands so there's always one alive to activate the others. This is an extreme measure that no-one against vanilla natives should use since it just increases your drain (to 10%, still quite negligible). Orange in the picture below.
    ousu(190414-173047-14).jpg
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    I haven't made any corner pieces but you only have 4 of those in any square so you can just have draining laser corners. Or just don't even have anything there except walls since the lasers attract the biters anyways.
    *Edit*: Bonus meme! Corner piece! Always on, but how many corners do you have in your square anyways? Tiles with the bp above and connects the red wire. I'm assuming you place your stone walls touching the chunk border (so not as pictured).
    *Edit*: BP updated. Fixed small bug.
    *Edit*: Made a BP Book out of the blueprints. Moved some poles a bit north. Added radar (credits below). Added version without radar and place-once circuits for easy placement.
    *Edit*: Updated bp book. Straighter power lines. No included radar though. Includes concave corners too now.



    And I also like minimal radar setups to monitor my walls.
    There's no space for that in the wall chunk above the medium poles, but if you place the walls against the upper chunk border you can fit it in the same chunk just below the medium poles without unwanted connections.
    Attachments
    ousu(190414-230536-30).jpg
    8 lasers thick when you want extra overkill. Also shows the chunks being tiles and where I put my radar.
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    Cyclonut
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    Re: Perfect 0~drain Laser: Blueprintable and Chunky!

    Post by Cyclonut » Wed May 01, 2019 2:53 am

    Hi, my download of your BP did not include red control wires, nor accumulators... Any idea why?
    Ah, never mind... download does not work if importing string into a BP book, as the download is a BP book of its own. In the former case only one wall with two deep lasers and poles and one switch was dowloaded. But otherwise the BP book has (4) BPs. Thanks.

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    Re: Perfect 0~drain Laser: Blueprintable and Chunky!

    Post by zOldBulldog » Wed May 01, 2019 12:30 pm

    Is the triple laser row design sufficient for 0.17, especially when it triggers retaliation attacks against Artillery?

    These retaliatory strikes can be pretty severe at evolution factors over 90% when you are expanding your base (hitting large dense nests) .

    My biggest concern are the spitters. Those evolved spitters seem to have quite a long reach and the constant repairs can chew through repair packs like candy. So far nothing I found has the reach to fully kill them before they can spit. The closest thing I found to minimize damage was a combination of lasers and flamethrowers, but even that wasn't perfect.

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    Re: Perfect 0~drain Laser: Blueprintable and Chunky!

    Post by Qon » Wed May 01, 2019 1:34 pm

    zOldBulldog wrote:
    Wed May 01, 2019 12:30 pm
    Is the triple laser row design sufficient for 0.17, especially when it triggers retaliation attacks against Artillery?

    These retaliatory strikes can be pretty severe at evolution factors over 90% when you are expanding your base (hitting large dense nests) .

    My biggest concern are the spitters. Those evolved spitters seem to have quite a long reach and the constant repairs can chew through repair packs like candy. So far nothing I found has the reach to fully kill them before they can spit. The closest thing I found to minimize damage was a combination of lasers and flamethrowers, but even that wasn't perfect.
    Is it enough to stop them? Yes.
    Is it enough to kill them before they get a chance to deal damage? You already answered that yourself. These triple rows are not stronger than regular triple rows. They activate almost immediately but always-on turrets do of course activate as fast as possible.

    But you can add more rows of lasers without increasing drain. 8 rows would be very draining without this method but have the same drain as 1 turret per chunk like this. But having more rows won't increase your range. But with more rows you can instagib behemoth biter hordes that are suicide rushing your walls and acting as meat shields for the spitters. So the turrets can then more quickly switch to attacking the behemoth spitters. Their range is 16 and laser turrets range is 24, so a difference of 8 which is 4 turret rows that can attack spitters at their max range.

    Repair packs are extremely cheap and also last a long time and stack to big stacks that last forever. They are effectively free. They are very hard candies. Stop worrying about repair packs, you are wasting your time. Can I see your ammo, repair pack and turret production (all time) and energy used by laser turrets (all time)? And also science pack production.

    I should re-read the old topic on laser without drain. It had some good info and some tricks that I'm not using here. In particular, how to keep laser turrets off during the night with only solar power.

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    Re: Perfect 0~drain Laser: Blueprintable and Chunky!

    Post by zOldBulldog » Wed May 01, 2019 1:45 pm

    Summarizing what I think I am hearing... multi-row laser should deal with attackers faster than a mix of laser / flame, reducing damage received.

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    Re: Perfect 0~drain Laser: Blueprintable and Chunky!

    Post by Qon » Thu May 02, 2019 5:29 pm

    No, I didn't say that. I said that repair packs are a cost of doing business with the biters. I said that more lasers are better at reducing damage taken than less lasers.

    Flame turrets quite a while to land their projectiles so they can't really stop the front of the swarm from doing anything, so in that regard they take up space that a quickly activating laser turret could have. But electricity is also a limited resource in early-mid game that you might struggle with from laser turret use so those have an ammo cost that you have to weigh in also. You probably spend 10 times more resources on bullets and electricity that you do on repair packs.

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    Re: Perfect 0~drain Laser: Blueprintable and Chunky!

    Post by zOldBulldog » Thu May 02, 2019 6:15 pm

    Qon wrote:
    Thu May 02, 2019 5:29 pm
    No, I didn't say that. I said that repair packs are a cost of doing business with the biters. I said that more lasers are better at reducing damage taken than less lasers.

    Flame turrets quite a while to land their projectiles so they can't really stop the front of the swarm from doing anything, so in that regard they take up space that a quickly activating laser turret could have. But electricity is also a limited resource in early-mid game that you might struggle with from laser turret use so those have an ammo cost that you have to weigh in also. You probably spend 10 times more resources on bullets and electricity that you do on repair packs.
    Hmm... I still don't understand what is the best option to minimize damage, assuming that I do not have any issues with power.

    By now I already understand that I should have at least 3 rows of lasers to deal with the 90%+ evolved enemies I am seeing in the mid-game in response to artillery clearing of new areas, and that I should have bots and repair packs.

    But I don't understand whether I should or should not add flame turrets, uranium ammo turrets, or anything else to the artillery outpost. What do you recommend?

    Also, what distance do you recommend between the weapons (laser/flame/turret) and the wall, and should I add dragon-teeth outside (keeping in mind that my bots will likely try to repair them and get hit in the process - ok if they just get repaired, but very bad if I start losing bots)?

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    Re: Perfect 0~drain Laser: Blueprintable and Chunky!

    Post by Qon » Thu May 02, 2019 6:44 pm

    zOldBulldog wrote:
    Thu May 02, 2019 6:15 pm
    Hmm... I still don't understand what is the best option to minimize damage, assuming that I do not have any issues with power.
    I'm not sure either. Except that overwhelming firepower is the solution. Unless you bring in modded turrets that can do other things than damage that are actually even better.
    zOldBulldog wrote:
    Thu May 02, 2019 6:15 pm
    But I don't understand whether I should or should not add flame turrets, uranium ammo turrets, or anything else to the artillery outpost. What do you recommend?
    Flaming turrets might actually make you lose more bots since bots can take friendly fire damage. And they might be more likely to do that than getting spit on them. There's a mod that makes bots fireproof if you want to use that.

    Gun turrets deal much more damage/turret with uranium bullets. But they have a shorter range so less of them will be in range of a concentrated mob (which is basically the only thing that will ever deal damage to you). And they need inserters so they take more space and thus deal a bit less damage/tile they occupy. Gun turrets also have less HP so will more easily die, compared to lasers that will survive spitter damage and can be repaired cheaply instead of being completely replaced. And lasers outrange behemoth spitters with their 24 range compared to 16 while gun turrets only have a range of 18.

    If you are far enough then you can just research infinite energy weapons damage and use more laser turrets. Easy and reliable and needs some repairs but only minimal. If the frontline is 1 row of gun turrets then they might be close enough to deal damage. Flame turrets are a great way to stop a big swarm since the aoe and dot are very effective, even if it doesn't activate as quickly.

    But I'm mostly playing in creative mode atm so I can't really tell from experience. I'll probably put flame turrets and triple lasers at the corners of my base if I don't round them off a bit (corners are a weak point since fewer turrets are in range of each enemy there) and only have 1 - 2 rows of lasers at other points. You only really need beefy protection around the artillery because other spots on your wall will not be attacked. They either go for the artillery or they don't come at all since the artillery already cleared the bases within pollution range.

    But range should not be underestimated. The ability to have several rows that all engage means that the amount of turrets that are active go up by the square of the range instead of linearly as gun turrets do when they attack at behemoths max~ range.
    zOldBulldog wrote:
    Thu May 02, 2019 6:15 pm
    Also, what distance do you recommend between the weapons (laser/flame/turret) and the wall, and should I add dragon-teeth outside (keeping in mind that my bots will likely try to repair them and get hit in the process - ok if they just get repaired, but very bad if I start losing bots)?
    I haven't really tried dragons teeth that much. I think the point of them is that Behemoth biters can destroy 2 tiles deep at the same time so having anything (laser turret or another wall segment) directly behind another doesn't add protection They can really squeze through the walls pieces even if they are not fully connected (Maybe squeek through makes it easier for biters as well to get between wall tiles though?). But if you just repair the walls quickly enough (don't have repair packs and bots onnly a kilometer away in the logi network) then many layers of wall don't really help. One or 2 should last long enough to kill them all and the repairs are then done before the next wave. If you have a big base then losing some bots is certainly worse than repair packs, but also not a big deal at big enough scale.

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    Re: Perfect 0~drain Laser: Blueprintable and Chunky!

    Post by zOldBulldog » Thu May 02, 2019 6:55 pm

    Thanks, I think I'll go for a combination of your 3-deep auto-disable lasers and maybe a flamethrower at regular intervals.

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    Re: Perfect 0~drain Laser: Blueprintable and Chunky!

    Post by Qon » Sun May 05, 2019 9:07 am

    I just learned that mines stun the enemies they affect. And it's also AoE and can be placed at long ranges (roboport construction area). That could really prevent all damage as long as you don't send bots to replace the mines while under attack. A big part of the swarm would be dead before they even reach turret range and when they do they will be stunned in turret range instead. While stunned they can't charge forward and they can't spit but you are free to BBQ them to the perfect temperature, just season to taste and you have a 5-star meal. Really gives your flame turrets the time they need to act on targets at long range and to hit the first wave. Flames + Mines seems like a beast combo if you have my laser wall as backup. Maybe detect enemies at long range by measuring oil used and don't insert mines into logistics chests until the level stabilises?

    Edit:
    I tested it. There's no way any behemoth swarm can get through a mine+flame defence. Had a single row of laser in case they came close to my walls. That was way overkill. Walls was also overkill. Laser almost never shoots at all and the behemoths can't get through half the mine layers. They basically stop at the first layer. I removed several layers of mines to keep the furthest layers + spitter range within flamer range and it was still overkill.

    However, if you don't stop the bots from replacing mines you are going to have a really bad time.
    Your fire damages your bots and your mines. While attacks are going on you will lose thousands of bots and mines if you place them during the attack and quite a while after. The bots will fly into the fire and burn to death. When they survive they place a mine in fire or acid spit the mine instantly dies. Since flamethrowers are free to shoot at immobile targets the ground flames last a long time after the fight too. Also even if they do manage to place a mine a spitter will attack mines that are not armed so it will be killed as it is placed by a spitter that you can't reach with your turrets. This will trigger a new mine placement which keeps the spitter immobile outside of your turret range because you keep feeding it new un-armed mines to spit at. At least the flame AoE is about the size of a mine so if your mines are spaced out enough to not destroy each other then the flames burn the mines that have already exploded since those are the ones with natives on them. So they don't destroy armed mines.

    Mines + flames is probably overkill regardless of swarm size and how few mines and flame turrets you downsize to. But the weakness is that you can't rebuild the mines while attacked and quite a while after or you will lose all your mines and bots in the first attack. So if you get attacks very often at the same spot you will need the lasers to help the flamers when the mines are out. But with artillery, you mostly get bursts of attacks with a long time in between since they only attack when they migrate into your automatic range or you upgrade your range or manually fire.

    Edit2: Apparently mines can't damage eachother according to a thread I just read. But if you place them too close to each other your flames will kill the surrounding mines that haven't yet exploded.
    But this means that you are free to place mines as close as you want if you use lasers instead of flame turrets. And then you can definity stunlock all of them outside spitting range and replacing them can be done immediately when your lasers stop firing. Which someone has posted a neat detector for! :3
    Koub wrote:
    Sun May 05, 2019 9:46 am
    Note : Now, landmines benefit from explosives damage upgrade :).
    That's infinite landmine damage research!

    Edit3:
    Continued testing and wrote about it in another thread:
    Qon wrote:
    Sun May 05, 2019 10:16 pm
    But I did some more testing and mines alone are actually enough if you fill the entire roboport construction area. Just don't replace them during an attack and you are good. Simplest is to just not have them in a logistics chests except every 10 minutes or so. A simple timer circuit can put them in a steel chests so con bots can't grab them and then move them to a provider for a few seconds and then back again to the steel chest. Turrets are not actually necessary. And by not having turrets the spitters will not have anything to spit at. A whole behemoth swarm can only get through like 2-3 layers of mines so even if you have a single artillery turret so that they all beeline into the same spot you can take continuous attacks by really aggroed behemoths for minutes at the same spot before they even get close enough to get shot my laser turrets. If you have several turrets then that means you spread out their attacking spots. If you don't have a lot of expansion then you barely ever need to replace the mines once you cleared out your artillery range.

    Flame turrets are extremely strong with mines. But then you have to spread out your mines because with 1 mine/tile the flame AoE will destroy surrounding mines. And flames last a long while when pooled at the same spot on immobile stunned targets so you can't replace the mines for quite a while after being attacked. It's strong enough that you could probably fairly easily deal with behemoths with 10 times the health, but also annoying that you can't just chance on no attack going on at the time when you release the mine replacements. And mines alone are already strong enough. If you use lasers then that isn't as good combo power wise, but anything with mines is already overkill in terms of defensive power so it's not like you endanger yourself if you use lasers instead of flamers ;)
    But lasers don't linger after a fight so you can place mines immediately when the fight stops. And you can pretty much eliminate drain from lasers (follow the quote arrow link) and you don't need many turrets since they just do some irregular cleanup or never ever fire depending on how many layers of mines you have.

    So mines are god mode if you don't rebuild them during an attack or while the ground is burning.

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