Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby looney » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:51 am

Adding my own 0.02c.

I think a type of requestor chest should be available much earlier than yellow science. Perhaps with only one stack of storage and one kind of request.

Most of the bases I build use belts for basic materials, and have dense spaces where most useful things are produced.

But when I start building adv. circuits or processors, I don't want to run a belt back through my base, or relocate my early "shopping mall", when a couple requestor chests could supply these low volume items for things like stack inserters, blue splitters and lvl3 assemblers.

The current requirement for yellow science also makes it difficult to defend my base with only guns. I don't like running a belt loop around my whole base, they end up buffering too much ammo in the wrong place.
I have put together a blueprint with a supply chest and a speaker to alarm when the chest is running low, but running around filling chests by hand is annoying.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby Sanysal » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:54 am

This has probably been mentioned but if you sufficiently slow bot recharging speed (probably in part by reducing recharging stations per roboport to 1) you'd reach a point where the throughpout is limited by simply having no more space for roboports. You'd need to significantly increase the bots' energy capacity to make sure they can do one trip uninterrupted (so that player-logistics are still viable) but this wouldn't affect the throughput limit too much since it just would make very distant and highly inefficient (and still limited) roboports be able to contribute some energy to the system. Alternatively (although worse in my opinion) you could make it so bots don't need to recharge, simply each roboport can control a limited ammount of bots (this might be hard to solve in transition zones between roboports). A completely different way would be to make it so each chest can only be accessed by a bot every 0.x seconds which might introduce some weird mix of belts delivering to chests so that enough bots can access them. It's difficult to predict how the last one might turn out though.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby Mylon » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:03 am

This is my contribution to how bots need to be nerfed. Enjoy:
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby Avezo » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:12 am

ssilk wrote:Nerf Long Range Transport

This nerfs when a robot needs to run long without pausing: A robot needs more and more rest between rechrching, cause the motor overheats. It can only cool completly down, if it parks into a roboport.

I were thinking about the opposite - remove recharging mid-flight altogether, bots will gradually become slower and slower over the distance instead as their energy drops. Since this doesn't need to be linear relation, it would allow a lot more balancing options and would achieve the same result with less complexity.

Important to note - This solution CAN'T be circumvented with just adding more bots (unless you get really steady stream of resources to be transported). Delay would be too significant, wheter you send 100 bots or 10000, wait time remains the same.

They could recharge at the very end only, better yet instead of recharging, they would be 'charging up' at the very start (would make more sense in such setting IMO). Or just remove charging altogether and when bot is 'released' from roboport, it would consume some of it's stored energy, making roboport itself recharge (this would allow limitations on how many bots at once roboport can 'release', if such limitation was desired in balancing). Oh and 'charge-up' approach would work sooo much better with personal roboport.

It would also solve unrelated issue of bots getting 'lost' in weird-shaped networks when there is too much distance between roboports and they keep going back to origin point to recharge just to try going to destination point again to have to turn back again to recharge because it's too far away.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby <NO_NAME> » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:15 am

ssilk wrote:And two more ideas:

Buff Belts by Adding a Copy/Paste Tool

It makes me crazy that this mod seems not work any longer:

Adding such a tool instead of quite unhandy blueprint makes constructions so much simpler.

Buff Belts by Making Construction Simpler

Set Start Belt, Click, Drag, Rotate: Belt is built from start to end under trains and other belts. More clever options will eventually move belts, that are in the way...

Useful also for pipes, poles, and much more.

Yes, this! I am dreaming about these two for such a long time. Implement them, please! PLEASE?!
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby Frightning » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:16 am

Zeblote wrote:
Frightning wrote:1: Modules and Beacons being as they currently are means that there is really only one endgame layout that is optimal. Which is the ever famous alternating rows of beacons and assemblers, which everyone uses because it is clearly optimal. If modules and/or beacons were changed so that there was more than one 'optimal' layout for endgame, belts might be more worthy of consideration.

Solution: remove beacons. Every design people come up with that involves them looks horrible...

Ya know, that might actually do a lot of good. It would mean that productivity modules actually have real, significant downsides that can't be overturned (as beaconed speed modules do), and would also mean that Efficiency modules might be worth it for high throughput at low energy cost (when one doesn't need prod or speed, i.e. when space isn't at a premium).
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby Durentis » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:18 am

I do tend to switch to bots for many things, but I don't think I'd miss bots too much if they were removed except in a few cases.
  • Transporting fuel to train stations. I like having requester chests feed fuel to the trains. Bringing fuel belts alongside train stations, manually stocking them, or having trains travel through a fueling depot would be really annoying. Though the latter would be my preference and not unreasonable, I think, if trains could select, from multiple available stations, the one most in line with their ultimate destination rather than the closest to their current position.
  • Managing my inventory. I like the fetch/trash system that logistic bots provide me, though I could easily enough forget ever having this convenience.
  • Construction bots. I like having bots complete build orders and wish this were more easily obtainable earlier in the game in some capacity, even if they're really slow.

If logistic bots lost all ability to carry non-fuel items, I'd be totally fine with that.

If construction bots could carry fuel items and perhaps handle the fetch/trash inventory management, I'd be fine with the loss of logistic bots. (Probably lose the "construction" part at this point.)


I don't much like the notions of belt stacking or packaging, as they seem clumsy, but speed research (belts and inserters) could be good.

I really like the splitter options.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby warlordship » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:21 am

Well, I chimed in a few pages back, but wanted to say something more:

I'd like to see a few changes to robots (chest access limits per second, coupled with a new robot for cargo that can hold more, thus getting around the access limits for chests), but mostly some big quality of life changes for belts. Because of how hard it is to evenly balance and compress belts from chests/trains, a few dedicated devices (loader/unloader, and train loader/unloader) and QOL changes to inserters/splitters would do wonders to encourage belt use again.

Oh, and my vote is in for removal of beacons.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby ili » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:28 am

My suggestion would be to either completely remove the Worker robot cargo size research, or more likely, to multiply the charging time several times.

This is not solving any problem.
All I'm reading is "now you need to build more robots and roboports"

I think you need to experiment with adding a late game technology that make stack inserters do what their name says :lol: and actually "stack"/"unstack" the items on the belt...
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby Floaf » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:38 am

It sounds like you guys want to decide what I think is the most fun way to play the game. Have you ever thought about that we ARE playing the game because we like it as it is. The players that find bot bases ugly will probably not use too many bots. Because you guys find them ugly does not mean that all the players do. These are your oppinions, not facts. And it kind of sounds like you don't want your game ending up on youtube looking (in your oppinion) boring and therefore want to tweek the game.

I personally find too many bots a bit messy so I use them only for constructing low volume stuff, like blue belts, power poles and stuff not used for other production. And I actually use to handcraft the sience packs so I can research bots as early as possible since it is a nightmare to build every small item you need to build your base by ether hand or spaghetting belts together. It's even more messy.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby Durentis » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:40 am

warlordship wrote:Oh, and my vote is in for removal of beacons.

Removing beacons would make me cry. I wish they fit a little nicer in some cases, but they're otherwise awesome for scaling up a base.
Some of the most interesting (to me) belt and circuit designs are done with beacons -- see sig for some simple ones from ages ago.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby hectar » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:52 am

I still think that the best way to debuff bots from being used in mass logistic transport would be to limit the number of them in the network. If you only had 200-300 bots that you can use no matter how many ports you put down, then belts are basically necessary to transport the majority of products.

This way, it still allows bots to personally deliver to you, albeit a little slower, and simple logistic items for barely needed stuff.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby bobucles » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:57 am

It sounds like you guys want to decide what I think is the most fun way to play the game

Oh boy, here we go again. :roll: I'm not quite sure HOW you managed to read that much into the dev's intent and turn it so negative so quickly. Their concern sounds very different and simple from my point of view. It goes something like this:

- The devs have this game
- There are things in it
- The devs want players to enjoy using all the things

Belts are fun, trains are fun, and bots are fun. But there is a point in the late late late late LATE game where belts simply LOSE. That breaking point is far outside the typical player's experience and far outside the primary goals of the game. But when players decide to hang on to belts, it is clear at this point that they are actively holding themselves back from making the best resource devouring monster possible. That's plenty of reason to be concerned and it's a problem worth finding solutions for. I mean. As long as they don't mess around with the main game too much.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby Elok » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:14 am

kovarex wrote:
The conclusion (kovarex)
The conclusion is, that I strongly believe that bots should have a debuff. They should still be a big and powerful advancement when they are researched, but they should work more like the death spell. It should solve the little stuff that isn't that powerful (in Factorio, it is equal to smaller production). I even believe that robot-only Factory should be possible and not useless, I just don't believe, that they should be 5+ times stronger than anything else.

Players would still be able to build robot only factory, belt only factory or combination of those, but the strongest strategy would be to combine all types of transport, each for the part where they are the strongest. My suggestion would be to either completely remove the Worker robot cargo size research, or more likely, to multiply the charging time several times. For factory transport, both would have the same effect, but the latter wouldn't hurt personal transportation that much, as robots would transport all the missing items to player before they would need to be recharged, and then they would recharge when the player is already supplied and doing something else.

- Completely Remove Worker robot cargo size research : Maybe, but I think other options could be more efficient
- Multiply the charging time several times : Here I think we got something

I always thought that hundreds of bots could all take items from a chest at the same time was weird.

To kill two bird with one stone (Bots overpowered and Bot being unrealistic), I think you could replace logistic Chest by a logistic "bot loading" station (RobotPort?). Each station can serve X number of bots and each take X second to load the item in the bots and the station use X power.

Talking about unrealistic stuff, belt are using their own fusion reactor or something? I always thought that some sort to engine (fuel and electric powered) to power the conveyor should be required in the game. But, by definition, they should use a lot less power than the bot to transport items.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby Loupduqc » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:22 am

Having some special chests that can be moved by belts seems really interesting, and if you allow them to be filtered by slots or have specific limit for each type of item, and make them read-able by the logistic system, it would allow players to compact a lot the factories to have only 1 belt, making the layout easier, at the cost of higher complexity at the input to balance all that on the belt. It might not be THAT useful to craft in mass items of low complexity, but for end-game and modded content that use 6+ types of items per craft, but in low quantity each, it would be a life saver that would make belts worth using compared to bots (or at least not as hard to use for items that you don'T need high throughput.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby MeduSalem » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:26 am

ssilk wrote:...

Oh ssilk is still alive... :)
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby ishar » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:40 am

Eh; anyone that thinks a 'trains and bots' megabase is just about plopping down roboports, assemblers, and chests willy-nilly has clearly never actually created such a megabase from nothing. There are lots of other considerations, such as train unload times, direct insertion, train network design (direct lanes vs main lines, cell layout to minimize intersections), etc. The only 'plopping down' involves using a blueprint after a (generally long, and perhaps somewhat painful) design stage in creative mode. The same argument could be made for any blueprinted design; oh woe,, thou art destroying the game because production is just about plopping down some main bus fed designs.

Also still think the point is being missed, somewhat, in that if I use belts for [practically] the entire game and [at the end] scale out to a massive bot based design for infinite research, it's not really fair to say that the base didn't use belts. The 'end game' is inherently about creativity (i.e. what the players make of it); and as such I don't know if balancing it is ultimately that important. I mean, at that point, doesn't game balance tends to break down because the primary game loop changes; it's an infinite grind (without any real game-changing rewards) / sandbox experience at that point. At least, in my opinion.

All that aside; the splitter change is pretty cool and I look forward to playing with it.
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An alternative way of balancing bots vs belts

Postby Elecen » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:50 am

An alternative to making belts equally powerful.

Imagine the trains have wagons carrying containers (much like real-life trains).
A nice new building (crane) can unload and load containers to wagons.
Containers must be manufactured (similar to barrels) except 1 wagon with 1 container can carry the normal amount a normal wagon can carry.
Unloading a container is super fast (compared to unloading the wagon with inserters/chests, etc) and very compact (doesn't take much space).

The magic catch:
Containers can be transferred deep into the factory using belts (some special belt perhaps?)
This means you can ship items big amounts of items deep into the factory through single belt passages.
The belts moving the containers can be a new type of belt

If I can move 4k iron plates in the length of a wagon (say, 6 belts?) deep into the factory - the bots can never match that.
Not to mention it can be really cool using cranes to take containers off of trains to belts. More cranes to take containers off of belts and onto the ground so inserters can take the items before the crane can move them back on the same (or another) belt. In the end, the container can get loaded onto a belt so it can find it's way onto another train.

What do you think? I find the idea/concept of containers really cool :D
Last edited by Elecen on Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby LD100 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:53 am

I think an easy not game breaking debuff is to make charging take longer. Or even make the Roboport discharge over time if it is used constantly. Like getting overheated and then reduce loading speed. And If not used it would automatically recharge itself.
This way you allow fast loading unloading and rare use and penalize constant use.
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Postby Xecutor » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:04 am

Why would cheap (compared to bots) and free (in terms of energy) belts be even comparable to bots?

Bots are superior technology and they MUST BE BETTER! That's a given!

But! What about pneumatic pipes (or something similar)? :) As "next generation belt-like" technology?

They will behave very differently compared to belts, but from geometrical logistics point of view are somewhat similar.
And they, if properly implemented, might be very UPS friendly.
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