Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

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

Post by Xterminator »

The loader is an interesting idea, but I'm going to have to vote no on that unless it is done in a very specific way as some people have suggested.
I would be okay with it if:
- It required high level research to unlock, say locked behind max Inserter Stack Bonus, and last belt research (blue Belts).
- Required power to run. Quite a bit, like many times that of a fast insetter.
- Required Lubricant to run. I really like this idea because if adds another good use for lube and makes it a bit more challenging to set these up, which is good.
- Possibly didn't fully compress a belt, because frankly that is just super OP for one item to be able to do.

In all honesty though, I would just prefer a higher level Inserter above the fast Inserter rather than the loader.

Also, the tech tree looks pretty interesting. At first glance it makes it look more complicated, but once I really looked at it, it did help make things a bit clearer.

Yeah, the reviews are amazing, and I hope they stay that way for a long time! :D
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by selkathguy »

Brunel wrote: why not also give the belts stack-ability?
Uhh I shudder to think the code refactoring required, also would be very confusing to new players. This is a game which is in the sweet spot of being easy to learn difficult to master. Combine simple elements in complex ways. Maybe a short bridge belt, but that already exists with underground belts. If you need overhead too-... design a better layout :)

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Kelderek »

Cons:
Possibly overpowered
Another entity that has to be produced.
Lot of the belt balancing setups will become obsolete, as the solution with loader is quite trivial.
Personally I don't mind having more items to produce and would not consider that to be a con in this case.

While belt balancing and splitting can be an interesting exercise to come up with working and efficient solutions, I have often wondered why we can build so many high tech items and yet we can't build a splitter capable of splitting by ratio (1:2, 2:3, etc). Or how about a belt splitter that splits items using a filter? Encapsulating a complex design into a single, simpler item is one of the primary ways to advance technology in real life, so I tend to think that keeping something complex in a game isn't always the best way forward.

I have no problem with loaders for containers to/from belts as long as it is late enough in the tech tree. I like the idea of requiring lubricant, electricity and probably speed modules too.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Sinistrem »

I like the idea of loader, as long as it is balanced. I.e.
1) Require power
2) Have tiers unlocked via research
3) Can't connect to circuit network (making them "dumb transportation" opposed to smart inserters)

Honestly though i think loaders should handle mass loading/unloading, while inserters used to pick and place selected needed item.
Inserter - scalpel, loader - hammer.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Dr. Walrus »

DanGio wrote:maybe huge power consumption, or even, could consume lubricant in order to work ?
I was against loaders until I heard this lubricant idea and now I am all for it. There should be able tradeoff with loaders compated to inserters, and not just something trivial like higher initial cost. I like the comsume lubricant idea because you can save space because loaders can do the job of 8+ inserters, but you have to spend that saved space somewhere else by building a bunch of pipes to all your loaders and requiring more lubricant making chemical plants. Making loaders and unloaders use lubrication adds functionality to the game while requiring a complex and non trivial way to use it.

To expand this idea, maybe some fluids would have a lubrication value similar to how some items have a fuel value. And some high level machines (like assembly machine 4?) could have to run on both power and lubrication. Water shouldn't have a lubrication value because that would be too easy (water would short out your circuits). But that way you could use crude oil as lubricant at your outposts at the cost of easier setup but less efficiency per oil, and real lubricant in you main base where you can set up a bigger fluid handling complex.

I also agree with others that loaders should only work on train and chests. Using loaders with assembly machines would be too OP and actually pretty useless now that I think about it because you would have way more throughput than the assembly machine could handle so you would be wasting the primary advantage of the loader.

tldr: lube me up bro!
Last edited by Dr. Walrus on Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by ljerry »

Another device can be used as alternative of loader: an inserter with 2, 3 or 4 hands. It rotates in one direction like a carousel. Quantity of hands and speed of rotation can be increased after several researches. Automatic sort is additional option, e.g. iron plate must be transferred to left side, copper plate to right side etc.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Xarph »

I think the loader should only dump things into a container, but you need inserters to pick things out.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by metsume »

The loader - just slow it to the 1/4speed of basic yellow belt - with 2 items pushed at once, on both sides of belt, it will release/collect items with a speed of 3 (? i miss the math here) basic inserters, and that wont be too OP, but still stronger than single fast inserter on line, and still useful even on the high end games. Also it should require at least 200+ science packs 3 imho.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by safan »

No for loader here.

the main problems you are trying to solve is:

inserters trying to fill assemblers from belts instead of from requester chests.
the solution: multiple-armed inserters! Make inserters available with 2,3 or even 4 arms that can pick up from belts more efficiently that a 1-armed one. Make them sufficiently expensive and power hungry so they are not for everywhere.

The second problem is using inserters to fill belts instead of chests. Oh wait, multiple armed inserters can do this too!

solved :)

edit: damned ljerry, you make me look like and idiot ;)

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Choumiko »

selkathguy wrote:Entities should provide convenience or performance, never both. An item can use existing performance and add convenience (splitters), or use existing convenience and add performance (beacons), but never add both of these concepts into one item, it will always be overpowered. The loader as it stands generates new performance (taking items out at full speed as fast as a belt can handle, already better than even the fastest inserter) AND generates convenience by loading both sides of a belt for you, automatically balancing it. In terms of game design I have to oppose this entity in its current state.
I think that's a very good point.

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.
Kelderek wrote:While belt balancing and splitting can be an interesting exercise to come up with working and efficient solutions, I have often wondered why we can build so many high tech items and yet we can't build a splitter capable of splitting by ratio (1:2, 2:3, etc). Or how about a belt splitter that splits items using a filter? Encapsulating a complex design into a single, simpler item is one of the primary ways to advance technology in real life, so I tend to think that keeping something complex in a game isn't always the best way forward.
I believe one of the reasons for that in the past was something like: "It can already be done with the items available". That may also be the reason why i'm (totally) against the loader in the suggested form.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by ljerry »

safan wrote:No for loader here.

the main problems you are trying to solve is:

inserters trying to fill assemblers from belts instead of from requester chests.
the solution: multiple-armed inserters! Make inserters available with 2,3 or even 4 arms that can pick up from belts more efficiently that a 1-armed one. Make them sufficiently expensive and power hungry so they are not for everywhere.

The second problem is using inserters to fill belts instead of chests. Oh wait, multiple armed inserters can do this too!

solved :)

edit: damned ljerry, you make me look like and idiot ;)
Good ideas take into heads simultaneously ;)

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by ske »

Dr. Walrus wrote:
DanGio wrote:maybe huge power consumption, or even, could consume lubricant in order to work ?
I was against it until I heard this lubricant idea and now I am for it. There should be able tradeoff with loaders compated to inserters, and not just something trivial like higher initial cost. I like the comsume lubricant idea because you can save space because loaders can do the job of 8+ inserters, but you have to spend that saved space somewhere else by building a bunch of pipes to all your loaders and requiring more lubricant making chemical plants.
+1 This is the key!

Make it better than some other item but at a tradeoff that actually costs the player time and thought to make it happen. Every item should be best at something in the endgame. Every item should be useful.
Last edited by ske on Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by o6dukeleto »

No for loader, unless it has some big disadvantage associating with using it, otherwise it seems too OP to me.

I like the idea of making it use lubricant to run as one such disadvantage.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by selkathguy »

ske wrote:
Dr. Walrus wrote:
DanGio wrote:maybe huge power consumption, or even, could consume lubricant in order to work ?
I was against it until I heard this lubricant idea and now I am for it. There should be able tradeoff with loaders compated to inserters, and not just something trivial like higher initial cost. I like the comsume lubricant idea because you can save space because loaders can do the job of 8+ inserters, but you have to spend that saved space somewhere else by building a bunch of pipes to all your loaders and requiring more lubricant making chemical plants.
+1 This is the key!

Make it better than some other item but a tradeoff that actually costs the player time and thought to make it happen. Every item should be best at something in the endgame. Every item should be useful.
But this makes all non-smart inserters useless except for extreme edge cases. New technologies should not invalidate old work. New technologies should give new options and opportunities, not completely supplant old ones.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Gammro »

Lubricant sounds good! As well as that it can't be places perpendicular to the belt direction, and possibly only from chest to belt and belt to chest. With that, I can see it be a valuable addition.
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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Hraesvelgr »

Got an idea: make it so then it can only load into chests or other storage and give it a continuous power draw that is 1.5 times larger than an equivalent inserter.
More useful for loading trains or processing high demand goods like iron plates, yet wont replace inserters for most practical applicatons

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by ske »

selkathguy wrote:But this makes all non-smart inserters useless except for extreme edge cases. New technologies should not invalidate old work. New technologies should give new options and opportunities, not completely supplant old ones.
I think you misunderstood. Inserters don't need lubricant to run. They don't need pipes everywhere.

Regarding the burner and "normal" inserters I currently see a problem (and other items like assembly machine I/II, coal furnaces, the pickaxe, most weapons). They only make perfect sense in storymode. In freeplay you don't really use them for anything after you have a better item like fast inserters and some power generation built up. (I don't count electricity and raw material as a scarce resource as the game is right now. You may disagree and come to other conclusions.)

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Colossus »

On the loader:

I think it would be a good addition, however, I don't think it should be part of the main game, maybe at the very least implement the ability for it to be done as a mod, and possibly even release it as a dev-made mod :)

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by 1776 »

I don't see this as being OP if it is intended as a late game mechanic. Once you have solid rail networks in place, you have effectively reached the later parts of the game. I think it is proper to feel more "powerful" (in this case, have access to even better devices) that allow you to do more than previously. You effectively have inserters from the get go, which really makes them core devices and not "late game" in a sense. You do have drones, but they are disadvantages of using drones for long distances so having a stationary "late game" load/unloader seems ideal.

Another point is that I see the current "load balancing" setups with multiple splitters to be a work-around for the inability of inserters to place items on both sides of the belt and the fact that there is really only one raw speed upgrade to the inserter which is the fast inserter. Again, the loader effectively solves both problems and rightfully so because the loader is deemed as a "late game" device. The only caveat I see is that the loader should require power to work instead of being just a belt segment.

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Re: Friday Facts #128 - Back down to earth

Post by Wibbles »

Regarding loaders

Loaders could have their place, but they'd have to have a more specific use. It seems very overpowered to be able to use them for any item.

I'd say if the aim here is to make belt networks more worth-their-while over bots, then loaders should have more of a specific use and robots should be, to use the popular term these days, hit with the nerf stick.
  • - make loaders capable of handling only raw material. To be fair, in this regard they would work rather like the aforementioned hopper idea.
    - make robots incapable of or inefficient at picking up raw material (ore, coal) without a particular research upgrade (e.g. robot arm scoop).
    - make inserters incapable of or inefficient at handling raw material in a similar fashion, without a particular research upgrade similar to the robot scoop, or perhaps a different kind of inserter with a scoop to handle raw material (which can't handle normal items). Good for loading furnaces, for example.
Extreme? Let me explain. My logic here is that raw material is not something that is that easy (read: inefficient) to pick up with mechanical arms. Inserters and robots therefore have their use transporting manufactured goods, something they can actually grip in their arms. They are also responsible for neatly stacking these items in containers - not something you need to do with ore.

Hence why the loader (and maybe unloader) is capable of loading raw material much faster than inserters are, but at the cost of not being able to manipulate items carefully. So you'd find both inserters have their use, robots have their use transporting manufactured items, and belts (and loaders) have their use as the most efficient way to transport ore around.

The research to allow inserters and robots to have scoops, by the way, should already be complete on existing maps for obvious reasons.

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