Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

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ironchefpython
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by ironchefpython »

-1 To loaders in the base game. I'd be okay with adding an API in Lua that would allow mods to create such a device.

Feedback on a couple of the other ideas. I like the hopper. I'd general-case it as a 1x1 version of a belt that acts as a FIFO "buffer" to hold a half-dozen items in place. As items flow along the belt, they would get stuck in the hopper until it was full of 6 items, at which point each time an item entered the hopper, another item would flow out. Inserters would add and remove items from the hopper using their stack bonus.

I love the idea of lubricant being a consumable resource. I would love, love, love the idea of there only being a single type of belt. Sections of belt are upgraded from normal to fast by placing an adjacent device that consumed electricity and produced bonus belt speed (torque?). Sections of belt can be upgraded to express with a device that consumed electricity and lubricant and produced extra bonus torque.

If there's a desire to add features to belts, I'd really like to see the splitter get some extra functionality. I'd like to see two more modes to the splitter (that could be activated with modules). The mixer module, which would flip the sides of the belts, and a separator, which would split the sides of the belts. Example:

Code: Select all

                             S  
1111  M  2424          1111  E  1313
2222  I  1313          2222  P  3131
      X                      A
3333  E  4242          3333  R  2424  
4444  R  3131          4444  A  4242 
                             T

Garm
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Garm »

Loader as modified inserter is definitely a NO in my opinion - easy to spam, which will make inserters obsolete.

I can see loaders as "warehouse"-type structure - taking a significant space structure that works as a large chest while having a IN and OUT gates that can be linked to belts. Possibly limited to 2 or even 1 such gate.


- large space required makes it harder to spam as well as limits its use.

- Maintains usefulness of inserters as specifically usefulness of inserter upgrades:

- Eases up train unloading without making it too easy: Multiple inserters can work at once due to warehouse size as well as benefiting greatly from inserter upgrades.

testasdf
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by testasdf »

Another idea:

Change the loader to a loading buffer and an unloading buffer, which can only load / unload from containers very fast, but cannot connect them with transport belts. You still use the traditional inserters to do that.

To make it useful, it should either be much bigger, or work like transport belts which only extend to a fixed distance (thinking of something adjusting their heights automatically).

Pros:
  • It doesn't replace the transport belts. So it doesn't obsolete most part of the factory design.
  • It can be available for both loading and unloading, and for every kind of container. This is pretty good for the "sandbox" genre.
Cons:
  • Sadly I'm not exactly sure whether it would be better than using bots.
  • A very big inserter bonus might already just work like this. But you may just make the research depending on the inserter bonus to "explain" that.
  • For the limited distance transport belt version, the filter logic and its underground version might be awkward, and it's unlikely you could route lubricant to that anymore.
I don't like the idea just making loaders expensive. If the players can usually afford the loaders anyway, nothing has changed. Otherwise it's penalizing some players in a way that they can't explore the whole game, and make it quite unmotivated before the end game if all those things would be redesigned anyway.

I also liked the hopper idea. But this and the hopper can both be implemented.

SpartanYoda117
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by SpartanYoda117 »

The loader sounds amazing, please do add it.

rnorris
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by rnorris »

I love the loader idea. It would be great for builds where you need a bunch of compressed belts side-by-side without the (enormous) space required to compress/decompress the belts at either end with chests/inserters. As for balancing them, probably having them cost blue circuits/lubricant and run with power requirements of a level 2/3 assembler would make them sufficiently expensive so that you only use them where you absolutely need them.

jacob021302
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by jacob021302 »

In my option, the loader is just an overpowered inserter that takes challenge away from the game. If this is added, please make it extremely late game and cost quite a bit of materials. Oh and it has to have a good texture and animation.

AntiElitz
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by AntiElitz »

A BIG NO to the loader - It's pretty much a 10 times faster "fast inserter" - that is so broken that it reminds me of bobsmod in the late game. However you should enable it for mods and get it this way for the players that like the idea.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Bacchanalia »

Super keen on the loader, but only for smart chests (make it high tier) and unloading wagons. Current train stations work, but look reeeeealy derpy IMO.

Just had another thought - perhaps a train station addon which is a specialised loading or unloading platform which has it's own storage, and can feed/be fed like a loader? Something along these lines:

Image

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MalcolmCooks
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by MalcolmCooks »

Loaders are a big no from me! Yes, even fast inserters are not fast enough most of the time, but solutions to loading and unloading saturated belts are nevertheless pretty easy. Perhaps what is needed to condense these setups in late game is a kind of superfast inserter that does the same job as a regular inserter, and not a magic loader/unloader. Or, larger size of chests to allow more inserters to work on a single chest. The hopper idea does make sense as to how it would work, but... functionally I can't see how it would be any different from the loader, so no to that as well. The point is, like others have said, taking away the need for complex builds, and thinking about the best way to implement things with your limited set of components, takes away all value in the gameplay. Even if it was a very costly item it wouldn't balance out that loss.
I would really like bigger chests, though. Or a new class of large containers (both in physical size and storage space).

betu
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by betu »

Hi all, in my opinion is much better idea of the hopper,

Bacchanalia' idea is great too!!

excuse me please but I think this loader is a bit unrealistic,

new type of loader has no explanation as material enters or exits from the chest or to the chest, as in the case of inserters

this is out of the broad outlines of realism that has the game (and so far I really like)


is just my point of view, thank you.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by frustbox »

roothorick wrote: The issue is that they have substantial advantages over inserters with no meaningful downside, once unlocked.
The downside is, that they are bigger: 2x1, rather than 1x1 for an inserter, which means you'd have to rebuild the entire factory to fit them in. They likely cost more electricity. Therefor they can not be a "drop in replacement" for an inserter. Plus you would get no benefit, because the flow of items is limited by other factors. Like I said further up: Their only reasonable use case, as I explained, would be for unloading trains.
Worse, they would oversimplify many of the core challenges of the game. Every belt layout becomes one of a half dozen very basic, canned designs with no thought put into it.
It is already like that. People look designs up on the internet and then fiddle about with the belts until it looks the same. The challenge is as big as paint by numbers. IMHO there's a considerable difference between knowing what to build where ("i need to balance this belt here") vs. difficulty to build the thing ("where did the splitter go? did that turn here?").
Trains would likely become hideously overpowered, as your throughput on/off a single car is enough to saturate up to 14 fast belts (if not express belts), whereas now you typically get two, and have to lengthen trains to scale further.
Well, now your new challenge is managing 14 belts leading away from the train. But like I said multiple times: the challenge is rather to be able to fill up the train (fast) in the first place. That's why I don't think they are overpowered, they can't create items, they can only transport items that are already there and they need to have a space to transfer to. So your challenge is not only to produce enough items but also to use them fast enough in some way. Endless storage is not a good idea.
Item buffers with perfect belt saturation become trivial. You could feed items to the already overpowered logistics network with obscene speed.
Yes, but even with item buffers (the train itself is a buffer of sorts) are limited by the stream of items -- let's say ore -- coming out of the miners, which is in turn limited by energy.

To be honest, I'm indifferent and don't care (much) either way. I see some use for trains, I don't see a big drawback, but I accept that it makes trains a bit more valuable. Since I do see so little application, I can live without it. On the other hand, at best it gives us room to innovate again, I don't think belt/inserter mechanics had any major innovation recently (same old copy-paste-designs). It may be worthwhile to explore the possibilities. That's why I find the strong dismissal of this idea a bit strange. :)

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Jackalope_Gaming »

Inserters are such a key part of the game that I don't think I'd want these loaders unless they had some bigger disadvantages. Having them be larger or only outputting some fraction of what a belt could handle might work. Some number that makes them worse than X fast inserters on yellow belts, roughly equal to X fast inserters on red, and better than X inserters on blue. Alternately, it might be quite interesting to have them be best on yellow belts and worst on blue belts so at end game you have to think about whether it's better to have a bunch of loaders going onto yellow belts and then blue belts, or just do blue belts and fast inserters the whole time. I'm not sure if such a way is possible other than maybe have them fully output on a yellow and then keep that output the same so it takes two to cover a red belt and three to cover a blue belt?

Keep in mind most late-game players prefer to have balancers that balance multiple belts but don't balance the half belt lanes themselves.

Alas, one of the issues the game is running into is players are starting to make and share optimal designs through blueprints and the like, which means new mechanics might have to be added regularly so blueprint-sharing players can still get some fiddling and tweaking of their own done. This loader might help with that problem as players consider which option is best for them, but the loader has more potential to be easily trivialized. Mechanics that are easily trivialized mean player retention can lessen due to burnout or loss of interest when things get mastered.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Pestery »

kovarex wrote:
Choumiko wrote:
selkathguy wrote: If it where to be addded like shown in the news it's highly OP (no matter how expensive the recipe is, that's only a one time investment) and takes away a lot of the puzzling aspect.
I made a quick layout of what i think could be a middleground in a way, if some sort of running cost (power, lubricant!) is addded and let's us still enjoy synchronized inserter movement: :D
Image

The underground belt/wooden chest is the (un)loader as a 1x2 item, the chest could have 1 slot, effectively limiting it to one type of item.
Throughput/compression of it would need to be balanced, i don't think full compression with only one of those is a good in that case, something lower.
Depending on the direction of the belt connected to it, it acts as an loader or unloader.
It adds a bit of convenience as it fills both lanes of a belt, but should still require some thought to balance multiple outputs from a long train.
Oh, now I finally understand, the (un)loader would have the chest integrated in itself. So it would still work as a way to improve throughput form container to chest and reversed, as it would still use and require the inserter stack size bonus, but it would be no longer useful to be abused as balancer and the speed would be still limited by the inserter. I like this idea. It would actually reduce the amount of things in the station.
First post for this long time lurker. The suggestion of loaders has finally kicked me into action. Also, congratulations on the success of the Steam release, although as a few people have mentioned, did anyone really doubt it would do so well. If you like this style of game then this is by far one of the best. And its not even finished yet. :D

After reading through all the posts so far (there are so many already) personally I like selkathguy's idea the best. Having (un)loaders as a small chest that sort of vomits its contents onto the attach conveyor as fast as it can would be great.

Pros:
  • Not overpowered because it would only be as fast as the slower of either the attached belt on one side, or the inserters moving items into or out of the (un)loader on the other side.
  • Having an internal inventory of maybe 4-10 stacks would allow it to be used as a small buffer chest as well.
  • Because of it's niche use (mostly only useful with trains) it could be manufactured cheaper and unlocked earlier in the research tree without breaking the challenge of the game.
Cons:
  • Can't directly (un)load other inventories like chests, but instead needs an inserter. Although this is kind of a pro for game balance.
  • Useful only in certain situations, like at train stations. But then this is also kind of a pro for game balance.
  • They are somewhat useless until after at least Inserter Stack Upgrade 1, unless you used multiple inserters with each (un)loader. Maybe you could unlock them at about the same time in the research tree.
On a side note, as a few people have mentioned, Factorio is still missing a decent end-game. Building and launching the rocket is a challenge but it doesn't really do anything at the moment except allow bragging rights. I for one liked the idea of building the space platform proposed in the Friday Facts #74 - The brainstorming (can't link because first post). That said, if the devs want to add something like the inserter then, well, they're the devs. I already have love playing Factorio, and I hope they continue to love making it better. :D

scrangos
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by scrangos »

This needs a bigger downside. Perfectly compressed balanced belts with just a 2x1? Even super expensive power and material wise itd be crazy good. Needs to be clunkier somehow where you need multiples or its bigger, or has some effect that makes it less flexible.

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-root
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by -root »

Loaderrs: Definitely overpowered and I want it. Looks like a really good idea.

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Reika
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Reika »

I want to see the loader, as belts are almost worthless in the endgame compared to robots. Also, for those of us using mods, where there are significantly faster belt variants, even the best inserters normally cannot keep up, and I have never been a fan of simply making something bigger (by copying a subunit, no less) to increase its throughput.

Even if not implemented natively into the game, I would at least want this available as a mod.
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by hockeyhack »

I think it would be an interesting addition, there are times when you want things as quick as possible and having an item fill both sides of the belt would be good, and then there are times where you want one side of the belt with one item and one side of the belt with another item so would not be useful in those situations. Maybe have it load both sides at the same time at the same rate a fast inserter would load items onto one side, it would effectively load a belt twice as quick but would not make inserters totally obsolete because some times you want different items on different sides of the same belt. I have two circles around my labs where on the inner circle I have red science on the inner loop and green science on the outer loop, and then the second loop I have blue science on the inner loop and have not set up anything for the last tier of science yet, the inner circle uses inserters and since labs are 2x2 the outer circle is handled with long handled inserters, if items got into the wrong side of the belt it could case the machines to jam up. With the way it is set up no mats can end up on the wrong side, but that I figured out how to do after accidentally jamming up a different assembly where I was figuring out conveyors and how to set things up to not needing smart inserters all over the place, just as a "well we have this tool to make doing what I want simpler but lets see if I can do the same thing with less tools just because it makes an interesting puzzle".

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by GrimerX »

Reika wrote:Even if not implemented natively into the game, I would at least want this available as a mod.
I believe there is a mod - "Slipstream Chests" that works this way : viewtopic.php?f=93&t=7121&hilit=slipstream

Here's my thought on it.
They're overpowered as prototyped (I think we know this, hence the thread)
Having a constrained solution is the right approach - so both inserters and this thing have their uses. I think 1x2 is not a sufficient nerf for what you're getting.
I agree a more elegant solution for loading/unloading trains is desirable. For me it gets tiring doing belt balancing all the time because it really is just 'repeat pattern'. And in any case, if you like belt balancing nothing prevents it :-)

The way I'd constrain it is like this:
1) There are two items, one for loading and one for unloading. Each 1x2 at least. I could see 2x4 also.
2) Load/Unload is To/From containers only (could perhaps be only hopper type containers - My son was just asking for a hopper train car, so at least he would be happy :-) )
3) Consumes power when running, say 50% the requirement for a like number of inserters (hang on just a moment, read the rest :-) )
4) Cannot filter items - it's a simple machine. On/Off is ok.
5) Can only move items that have no health. Everything else is too fragile and needs robotic hands.
6) Has spin-up/spin-down lag. While spinning up power consumption is much higher, like 10x higher. Watch your electric meter when your washer starts the spin cycle :-). So you're encouraged to keep it loaded.

That would make it more interesting for me personally, and allow it to be useful in other situations without arbitrarily tying it to trains.

Thoughts? Maybe we should vote on a few candidates and then do them as mods first to try them out?

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Wolfwaffe »

Well, since we lack hopper wagons and loaders, i'll say yes - this loader thing will make loading/unloading trains more effective.

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The Phoenixian
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by The Phoenixian »

Fundamentally, I like the idea of a rapid loader and unloader, but it needs to be balanced.

With that in mind, I've got two suggestions that I haven't seen much mention of yet, based off the old large bridge cranes thread.

First: Loading and unloading don't necessarily need to use the same device. If it's easy to load a chest, just having a hopper that works like the proposed loader, but unloading requires a more specialized device, that makes things very different from each other, and creates a place for inserters. If you have a hopper to load chests and trains very quickly, but need a either inserters or a crane to rapidly unload, it makes stations with different purposes very different from each other. In fact, it would likely be split into variants for loading with hoppers, unloading with cranes, and two way inserter systems.

Of course, that's trains specifically, but the same could apply to other storage systems.

------------------------------------------------------

Another way to balance a superfast loader is to make it gigantic. If you had a hopper or a roughly half the size of a train car, that is to say, 2x3 or 2x4, then although you can load and unload belts fast very simply, you quickly run into size problems in more cramped environments, even if the troughput is greater than a similar number of fast inserters.

In this scenario you can load a single chest or train very quickly but loading a bank of assembly machines, while possible, quickly breaks down if they use more than two materials.
The greatest gulf that we must leap is the gulf between each other's assumptions and conceptions. To argue fairly, we must reach consensus on the meanings and values of basic principles. -Thereisnosaurus

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