Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

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wjessup
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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by wjessup » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:16 am

I strongly feel this is a huge waste of time.

1. Trains are a "nice to have". Constructing the railways is tedious, setting up the automation is a headache. The user experience issues (which will be fixed) aside, You can easily win without even going through the extra trouble of building a train.

The game first needs to enforce trains as a requirement to the path to win. Mods like RSO actually enforce the train mechanic to be central to the game. It's unclear why optimizations are happening with trains PRIOR to making trains central to the game mechanic!

2. The proposed solution is a "hack". Others have brought up interesting points about the *fundamental* problems with the current perspective - movement speeds in each direction are different visually, towers ranges are odd and non-circular, and so on...

Given these deeper fundamental issues the devs should either a) fix the root cause or b) brush it under the carpet and accept the way it is.

The option c) waste dev time on graphical-patches should be more strongly considered given the roadmap. I'd rather see more focus on making the vanilla game have an actual endgame and incorporate what many now consider "default" - mods like rso, natural evolution & vanilla++.

##

I'd be really excited to see a perspective fix so the grid is true 1x1 per tile.

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by KatherineOfSky » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:05 am

wjessup wrote:I strongly feel this is a huge waste of time.

1. Trains are a "nice to have". Constructing the railways is tedious, setting up the automation is a headache. The user experience issues (which will be fixed) aside, You can easily win without even going through the extra trouble of building a train.
Wow, like trains much?

Firstly, constructing railways is pretty easy, and absolutely mindless when you can get your construction bots to do it for you. (No more diagonal flubs, etc.) Blueprint a station, and you have it for life.

Automation is easy-as-pie. There's no headache involved. Simply set up your stations, make sure the track is connected, provide with fuel, and go. Not sure what you are having difficulties with. (I do, however, have a guide on Steam regarding Railways, if it helps...)

Of course trains are not "necessary" to the game. However, producing thousands of belts to cross a vast landscape is hardly practical, and doesn't make sense from a gameplay point of view.

If you find that your ore deposits are near enough to the base to warrant such silliness, perhaps play on a map where deposits are generated much further away.

Many people play PAST the "win" of building a rocket. Yes, it is plenty easy to complete the rocket without using trains, but when you get to the mega-factory stage, trains are quite efficient at moving all that ore around, far surpassing the speed of belts over long distances.

"Enforcing" trains is a little odd... even though I personally love trains, I prefer a game where they can be optional, so that you have choices in how you build things.
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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by RobertTerwilliger » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:29 am

I'm signing every single word KatherineOfSky have posted.

I'd like to add an interesting fact about Factorio, if you, mr. Wjessup haven't noticed it yet.
Factorio is FULL of stuff you don't actually need to have "headache with", but that can help you, or just make things easier, or just give some fun doing something different in game.
Few of examples:
- Robotics: you can easily win by belting everything and building everything manually. OR you can make bots do some job
- Circuit network: n00bs just don't use it. However it has interesting practical usage, that currently can't be done in another way (e.g. fluid splitter; backup steam power system with auto switching on/off etc.)
- smart inserter: you can simply design your factory not to use those at all.
- belts! : you can transport everything with inserters : ) LH inserters with chests and stack bonus will do it not worse than belts, I think
- belts of higher tiers: you can stick with cheap yellow belts, and just waaait while they're doing more heavy job (or set multiple lines of them)
- and many others (including trains you have mysterious headache with)
Holding formation further and further,
Millions of lamb stay in embrace of Judas.
They just need some bread and faith in themselves,
BUT
THE TSAR IS GIVEN TO THEM IN EXCHANGE!
Original: 5diez - "Ищу, теряя" (rus, 2013)

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by tehroach » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:07 am

wjessup wrote:I strongly feel this is a huge waste of time.
While I to strongly agree with this :)
wjessup wrote:1. Trains are a "nice to have". Constructing the railways is tedious, setting up the automation is a headache. The user experience issues (which will be fixed) aside, You can easily win without even going through the extra trouble of building a train.

The game first needs to enforce trains as a requirement to the path to win. Mods like RSO actually enforce the train mechanic to be central to the game. It's unclear why optimizations are happening with trains PRIOR to making trains central to the game mechanic!
If Factorio didn't have trains I wouldn't play it as it was only after they introduced trains that I considered it and I haven't looked back since.
In fact Factorio is the only game that I have played in months now.

wjessup wrote:2. The proposed solution is a "hack". Others have brought up interesting points about the *fundamental* problems with the current perspective - movement speeds in each direction are different visually, towers ranges are odd and non-circular, and so on...

Given these deeper fundamental issues the devs should either a) fix the root cause or b) brush it under the carpet and accept the way it is.
They have already stated that a redesign is out of the question, therefore B is the only really acceptable solution ATM.
wjessup wrote:The option c) waste dev time on graphical-patches should be more strongly considered given the roadmap. I'd rather see more focus on making the vanilla game have an actual endgame and incorporate what many now consider "default" - mods like rso, natural evolution & vanilla++.
Factorio is definitely on its way to becoming a AAA title, so it just baffles me as to why Wube would intentionally include hacked graphics that would invalidate this claim.

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by realm174 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:21 pm

KatherineOfSky wrote:(I do, however, have a guide on Steam regarding Railways, if it helps...)
You do? Where should I look to find that gem?

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by daniel34 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:28 pm

realm174 wrote:
KatherineOfSky wrote:(I do, however, have a guide on Steam regarding Railways, if it helps...)
You do? Where should I look to find that gem?
KatherineOfSky - Beginner's Train Guide

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by realm174 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:12 pm

Ahh sorry for being such a Steam noob.. I didn't even know about that section... Thanks!! much appreciated!

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by malecord » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:50 pm

KatherineOfSky wrote:"Enforcing" trains is a little odd... even though I personally love trains, I prefer a game where they can be optional, so that you have choices in how you build things.
More than train enforcement I would speak of improving the map generation process (also, targeted in 0.13).
More than completely random maps, imho the gameplay would benefit from maps with few resources near the spawning point, a buffer zone (of configurable size) around the spawning point with 0 resources and then all the remaining area outside that can obey the current rules.

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by bobingabout » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:57 pm

I suppose if the game is a based on a looking at it top front by 45 degrees, leading to this square root of 2 perspective issue, then I suppose one possible solution that hasn't been considered is to reduce the height of the tiles to 0.7~ the width, bringing them in line with the square root of 2 rule.

Now I can't be sure, because I'm a bit rusty, but the width of a tile is 32? means about 22.6 would be the new height. 32x23 tiles would fix the perspective issue.

Of course you'd need to redraw pretty much everything else, so it doesn't really help.

Should've gone isometric. (in fact if and when I get around to writing my game, it probably will be isometric)
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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by vanatteveldt » Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:51 pm

daniel34 wrote:
realm174 wrote:
KatherineOfSky wrote:(I do, however, have a guide on Steam regarding Railways, if it helps...)
You do? Where should I look to find that gem?
KatherineOfSky - Beginner's Train Guide
Nice guide!

One comment: I think it would really help to include some screenshots or even just diagrams of the sort of macro-layouts you call loop/straight/straight-with-loops. Now it is fairly abstract and quite difficult to understand for a beginner, I think...

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by bobingabout » Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:58 am

Heavy inserter, how does it go about picking things up?

Also, I'd still prefer to see the loader in game.
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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by tehroach » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:00 am

bobingabout wrote:I'd still prefer to see the loader in game.
Maybe the loader is the true solution to the train struggle.

ATM the only good reason to make trains equal is the fact that a train in the vertical position can't be loaded/unloaded as quickly as the same train in the horizontal position, however the current solutions to this will come as an unnatural visual expriance.

What if they made the loader a large structure with varying rotation size, to be used exclusively with trains (let the heavy loader take care of the chests):
when the loader is placed vertically it is 5x2 and when placed horizontal it is 7x2 (or what ever the most appropriate dimensions will be)

A solution like this would wipe out any complaints of inequality involving the horizontal vs vertical train-stations, while not requiring the intentional introduction of graphical errors.
Also any positioning errors relating to the train vs grid problems could be neatly covered up with animation and the loaders large size.

Research could also be included in two paths, one path to increase the number of belts allowed to be connected to the loader and the other to increase the speed of the belts.
This would also go along way in increasing the viability of trains in the late game.

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by vanatteveldt » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:18 pm

That will still give all kind of problems when rotating blueprints... It's just weird that any entity would have different dimensions depending on the rotation, so IMHO the only solution is to make sure a train wagon is always 6x2, and just take the least bad graphical option. It's not as if we bought the game for the AAA graphics...

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by tehroach » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:08 am

vanatteveldt wrote:That will still give all kind of problems when rotating blueprints...
By the very nature of computers, blueprints will need to be stored in a liner fashion, even though we perceive them to be 2d,
these "problems" could be easily compensated for by the l33t programmers at Wube

And why is creating 2 blueprints seam so much harder than 1 to all you poor players out there?
vanatteveldt wrote:It's just weird that any entity would have different dimensions depending on the rotation
This is something that is inherent to everything in Factorio due to an early game design choice.
vanatteveldt wrote:It's not as if we bought the game for the AAA graphics...
Well "durr"
we all bought the game in Alpha/Beta, but why restrict, such a great game from achieving the greatness that it deserves?

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by againey » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:31 am

tehroach wrote:
vanatteveldt wrote:It's just weird that any entity would have different dimensions depending on the rotation
This is something that is inherent to everything in Factorio due to an early game design choice.
It isn't inherent to everything in Factorio if you focus on behaviors rather than graphical representations. To my knowledge, functionally, everything in Factorio except for trains behaves identically in either orientation. Example:
  • Electric poles can be the same squares away from each other vertically or horizontally.
  • Turrets have equal tile ranges vert/horiz.
  • Assembling machines are 3x3 no matter what.
  • The operational length of steam engines is always 5 tiles.
  • Belts move items the same number of squares per second whether vert or horiz.
  • Pipe pressure works the same over long distances regardless of orientation.
  • and so on...
As far as I know, trains are the one and only thing that violate this consistency in terms of game mechanics. Functionally, the entire game is top-down, except for trains which not only look like they're at an angle (like most other objects in the game), but also behave like they're at an angle (contrary to everything else in the game).

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by RobertTerwilliger » Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:23 am

againey wrote:To my knowledge, functionally, everything in Factorio except for trains behaves identically in either orientation.
This!
Time for eliminating inconsistency have come : )
Holding formation further and further,
Millions of lamb stay in embrace of Judas.
They just need some bread and faith in themselves,
BUT
THE TSAR IS GIVEN TO THEM IN EXCHANGE!
Original: 5diez - "Ищу, теряя" (rus, 2013)

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by tehroach » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:46 am

againey wrote:
tehroach wrote:
vanatteveldt wrote:It's just weird that any entity would have different dimensions depending on the rotation
This is something that is inherent to everything in Factorio due to an early game design choice.
It isn't inherent to everything in Factorio if you focus on behaviors rather than graphical representations. To my knowledge, functionally, everything in Factorio except for trains behaves identically in either orientation. Example:
  • Electric poles can be the same squares away from each other vertically or horizontally.
  • Turrets have equal tile ranges vert/horiz.
  • Assembling machines are 3x3 no matter what.
  • The operational length of steam engines is always 5 tiles.
  • Belts move items the same number of squares per second whether vert or horiz.
  • Pipe pressure works the same over long distances regardless of orientation.
  • and so on...
As far as I know, trains are the one and only thing that violate this consistency in terms of game mechanics. Functionally, the entire game is top-down, except for trains which not only look like they're at an angle (like most other objects in the game), but also behave like they're at an angle (contrary to everything else in the game).
You just simply don't see it,

any object that is smaller than 4x4 can hide the inconsistency, try using a mod that uses 6x6 ie the warehouse mod and everything will become apparent to you.

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by RobertTerwilliger » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:32 am

tehroach wrote:any object that is smaller than 4x4 can hide the inconsistency, try using a mod that uses 6x6 ie the warehouse mod and everything will become apparent to you.
Rocket silo is 9x9 or so. Works well in any direction though.
Holding formation further and further,
Millions of lamb stay in embrace of Judas.
They just need some bread and faith in themselves,
BUT
THE TSAR IS GIVEN TO THEM IN EXCHANGE!
Original: 5diez - "Ищу, теряя" (rus, 2013)

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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by bobingabout » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:44 am

RobertTerwilliger wrote:
tehroach wrote:any object that is smaller than 4x4 can hide the inconsistency, try using a mod that uses 6x6 ie the warehouse mod and everything will become apparent to you.
Rocket silo is 9x9 or so. Works well in any direction though.
They also often hide it by including the height of the building in the height of the grid. Look at the roboport, the base of the structure is actually 4x3, but it still takes a 4x4 tile spacing.
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Re: Friday Facts #133 - The train struggle

Post by vanatteveldt » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:05 am

I use the warehousing mod a lot, and I have no problems with it, it's always 6x6. Sure, the topmost inserters on the side look like they are above the building, but you get used to that. Most importantly, I just blueprint designs around it and plop em down.

The biggest problem I have is using warehouses to (1) unload vertical trains, as I need to redesign everything because of the stupid size difference, and (2) making sure they line up horizontally with 2+ wagons, making sure there is a 1 tile gap between each for balancers.

The graphical weirdness of warehouses and roboports is aesthetically unpleasant, but contrary to non-integer and non-constant train sizes it is completely trivial.

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