Caravans

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_impish_
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Caravans

Post by _impish_ »

Does anybody use caravans? They seem like a cool idea, but don't seem to work well at the moment. The cost seems too high compared to their carrying capacity. Pybots are much more flexible (many-chests to many-chests) while caravans are single-outpost to single-outpost. I would like to use them to connect up a smelting area to a mall in a city-block layout but belts just have much better throughput at far less cost.

I saw a comment somewhere by @kingarthur that the caravan code is an early version and he is doing a rework. What kind of changes are coming?

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Re: Caravans

Post by Marconos »

I have used them in the past. Brining product from a mining area into a smelting area. They did a good job at that but if there were train tracks, trains would hit them. Too many buildings they would get stuck etc. You really had to control how many guys you had transporting product and what things were in their way. Lots of pathing issues.

Not sure how KingArthur can fix some of their problems.

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brunzenstein
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Re: Caravans

Post by brunzenstein »

what the hell are caravans?

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Re: Caravans

Post by Marconos »

You need to setup two of the base stations one on each end. Then you create "caravans" whish are creatures that will walk between the two points configuration on them. Place the caravan creature and set the start and end. They will then walk between the locations and carry 1 stack of items between them. They have many issues. If the start location is empty they will grab nothing, turn around and walk to the end location, if there is product there, they will grab that and move it to the start. So you have to be careful how you set them up.

They get stuck on things, lose their path, will walk through biter encampments etc. Many issues so have a very tiny use case where they actually can sort of work.

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Re: Caravans

Post by _impish_ »

Some ideas for improving them:
* Remove the flip-flop behavior from the code so they don't take/put items from both start/end stations. Make them uni-directional so that they only take from the start station and put into the end station. This makes the stations more usable as warehouses and balances the space they consume.
* Increase the capacity, 2 or 3 stacks?
* Allow waypoints (AAAI does this well with the autonomous vehicles). It looks like the hard part is the UI for setting the waypoints, instead the caravan table it could just become a table of xy coordinates.
* Add some UI to the caravan stations (so the names could be set).
* They don't show up on the map as vehicles, makes them hard to find.

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Re: Caravans

Post by kingarthur »

_impish_ wrote:
Mon Feb 21, 2022 10:14 pm
Some ideas for improving them:
* Remove the flip-flop behavior from the code so they don't take/put items from both start/end stations. Make them uni-directional so that they only take from the start station and put into the end station. This makes the stations more usable as warehouses and balances the space they consume.
* Increase the capacity, 2 or 3 stacks?
* Allow waypoints (AAAI does this well with the autonomous vehicles). It looks like the hard part is the UI for setting the waypoints, instead the caravan table it could just become a table of xy coordinates.
* Add some UI to the caravan stations (so the names could be set).
* They don't show up on the map as vehicles, makes them hard to find.
The flip flop behavior is a bug and was never intended. There a planned rework for them coming after pyae for them to operate more like transport drones. I dont want to go down the aai route of heavy programming and plan to stick a bit closer to something like how the trains work.

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Re: Caravans

Post by _impish_ »

I played a bit more and they are very cool when they are working. They get get walking bonuses on nexalit tiles, which increases the throughput a lot when they pathfind over them. High-speed caravans are a sight to behold!

In a grid they work ok if you stick to purely north-south or east-west routes (no routes through blocks), even if it takes a belt to go path several blocked (e.g. south) so that the outputs lie west-east. Putting one outpost above the road and the other below keeps the caravans mostly on the road. Sadly though, they are very easy to run over in a car - the pink splash animation is very cool, but very sad.

A train-like interface would be great. As it is I'm not sure if I've missed something - but how do you tell the outputs apart? They've all got generated names e.g. output-372214 but the names aren't shown anywhere, so setting a route is picking an unknown name from the dropdown box in the carrot UI. Is there another way to pick the start/end stops that I've missed? In the code it looks like they do something with last selected unit when you click on the outpost but I couldn't find out how to make it work in the game.

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Re: Caravans

Post by _impish_ »

I found the thing that I missed! The UI for the output blended in to FNEI and the other mods that I have running. Now that I can see and change the output names it is much easier.

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