Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

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nuhll
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by nuhll »

Good thing on factorio is, you can play like u want.

So never remove a feature. I e.g. never builded a "only" bot based factory, even i know it would be MUCH MUCH easier.

TiMatic
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by TiMatic »

Bi0nicM4n wrote:
TiMatic wrote: So I would prefer to balance that limits. For example:

Add limits to robots like:
- Logistic bots may consume rocket fuel, instead of electric energy, or both.
- Logistic bots may required maintenance (e.g. limited battery life time).
- Max. number of logistic robots could be limited like combat robots, and then increased by research.
Then again, why not make belts require periodic lubrication? 'Cause that's how it works in real life!
I like that idea. I have much useless lubricant in my base. I should create a mod for a maintenance robot that does this periodic lubrication.
Bi0nicM4n wrote: P.S. I don't like to ask, but have you actually played the game, at least for 100 hours? Or did you ever plan the base able to launch a rocket every 5 minutes?
I played 647 hours and my base is able to produce rockets with sattelites below 5 minutes.

Darci of Mountain
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Darci of Mountain »

Buff belts, don't nerf bots. And I'm a bot hater too, I love belts. Just buff them, or make another tier.
AND GIVE OUR GODDAMN COMPRESSION BACK! hahahahahahaha

I think that your question is pretty easily responded with: Compensate bot ease of use/lack of complexity making complex belt systems simply unbeatable.
That said though, there are pretty complex recipes that simply can't be done effectively with belts, they almost force us to go bots. Better COMPRESSED belts is the way to go :) Belts are the spirit of Factorio.

BenSeidel
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by BenSeidel »

For me, bots vs belts isn't a thing. I don't use bots because they are easier than belts, I use them because they use less UPS per item moved than belts. That is the ultimate measurement I use for any build, CPU consumption per item created. If you are able to make belts use less UPS than bots, then I guarantee you that I won't have a single logistic bot in my base.

It's also worth noting that no matter what your ultimate choice is I WILL STILL BE PLAYING THE GAME!! It's already the closest thing to perfection I have played (because I'm still playing it ;) )

Why don't you code it up & release it as a "feature test build" and get people to try it? I for one would be willing to deal with all the possible bugs that would be in it to see what it's like playing with a simplified (and possibly more useful) bot network.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by RMJ »

I think that technologies should work together, instead of against each other, which belt and boots kinda do atm. They are fighting over doing the same thing.

To me personally, transport belt is a defining and core aspect of Factorio.

I would picture bots as doing something around your base, helping you with various goals. Since no matter what you research until bots, you are only 1 person. You can only do so much. I picture bots flying around in your factory doing various tasks, helping it running smoothly and it would be interesting to look at.

Transport belt = core transportation of resources in your factory.
Trains = bring resources to and from a far.
Bots = ? What if machines requires maintenance ?, Could bots learn to chop forest / plant forest?. What if machinery required lubrication.

Nerf and buffing isn't gonna solve anything, its just gonna ruin the fun. Bots needs another / new purpose, more well defined imo. What if you are attacked and a wall breaks, or powerline goes down. The bot could fly over and repair it? If resources are nearby. maybe walking robots as the inferior first version, the flying being more advanced for later.

See now i wanna see T800 robots walking around, helping me fight the aliens lol.
Last edited by RMJ on Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

kevincool87
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by kevincool87 »

Yehn wrote:I would be in favor of high capacity belts, especially available earlier (and cheaper?) than bots. In general: Play to belts' strengths, but let bots have their place. My $.02. Lengthening underground belts was already a nice step in this direction.
This seems to be the general consensus across the thread here, and I agree. No need to nerf bots, but promote belt play. Stacked belt sounds nice, or any other way of condensing belt real estate etc.

SamuelS
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by SamuelS »

Reading the FF #224 and hearing you talk about encouraging players to use belts because its the "more fun way to play the Factorio" (in your opinion, and I agree with you) kind of scares me a little.... You talked about things like "increasing the power consumption or decreasing the maximum stack size bots can carry to 2 items" and both of these can be countered by building more bots or robo-ports and placing more solar panels. I would suggest buffing belts if you want players to use them in the late game (which alot of people do). I like the sound of a "stacked" belt tier. Making loaders craftable would also be a huge buff to belts, because right now if i want to make a belt based, green circuit build that saturates a blue belt, my limiting factor is often the stack size of the stack inserters. Adding new belt tiers that move faster and have longer underground belt reach would be huge incentives. Nerfing bots to encourage players to use belts is not the way to go.

I would suggest a new world setting if you want to play around with nerfing bots. Maybe a setting where bots are turned off, or you only have flying robots... This would give the community a chance to try it out and give you proper feedback without making everyone that uses bots mad because you just broke their 1k SMP bot based base.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by AgentPaper »

When it comes to stuff like this, sometimes the most direct approach is the best one. Instead of trying to make logistics bots less powerful, why not put a direct cap on the number that you can have active at once? IE: Max 100 logistics bots zipping around doing things. Call it a "CPU cap" or whatever, the justification for it doesn't really matter.

By putting a hard cap on bots like that, you still retain the ability to use logistics bots to solve specific problems, like needing a handful of parts to get to specific places where putting in a belt would be overkill. However, it would be impossible for bots to completely replace belts due to the inherently limited throughput.

This also makes using bots a more interesting experience, as you might realize that your bot network is being over-loaded, and since you can't simply throw more bots at the issue, you'll instead need to figure out alternate solutions. Perhaps there's a part of your network that you can switch to belts instead to reduce the strain on your bot network, for example, or a few things that could be closer together. Choosing whether or not to use bots for a given task becomes an optimization problem, and if there's anything we know, it's that the Factorio community loves optimization problems.

And the hard limit doesn't need to be a static one, either. It's easy enough to imagine that you could increase that limit through tech, especially unlimited tech. Combine that with unlimited buffs to drone capacity and speed, and your logistics network can easily expand to match your growing mega-base. And of course it could be modified through game options as well, if you like.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by HDL_CinC_Dragon »

I've read through a couple pages (and skipped a few) on this thread and it's pretty clear how divided this subject is. Like a few others have stated, I don't really use logistic bots for the exact reason that it feels "cheaty" and feels like I'm not really playing the game the way it should be played.

That being said, I can't tell you how many times I've loaded up a game with the exact intent of not playing the game the way it should be played. I've loaded up FPS/TPS games with the sole intent of cheating in health, ammo, armor, weapons, etc just because I wanted to have a little different fun for a little bit.

I think nerfing or removing the logistic bots would remove an already optional part of the game that tons of people like, and tons of people don't really care about.

My personal opinion on the matter is leave the bots be. Maybe go with the suggestion of making it a toggleable setting at map gen.

Overall, an opinion I've had for a long time is that one of the worst things a game developer can do is force it's player base to play the game a specific way instead of giving the freedom to have fun their way.
Freedom is fun. Forced complexity is not... Unless it's fun to force complexity upon ourselves... And remember, In the end, it's not the bots that keep us awake at night. It's the belts.

ManaUser
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by ManaUser »

What if instead of stacked belts there were some kind of... Transport Tube, it would be somewhat like a belt, but you wouldn't actually see the items moving around on it. This way the item density could be as high as you want. Perhaps they could even be "virtualized" somewhat and not tracked in full detail. Seems like that might help with the UPS problem. I don't know anything about the internals, I'm just throwing this idea out there.

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Unlocking limitations

Post by arkoak »

Belts and bots are different modes of transportation in the game and both are fun to play.
The idea should be to first ensure that the player has exhausted his skills sufficiently on belts
and then gets the bots so he can upscale much faster, get out of the troubles of belts and enjoy the mega scale factorio with trains.

There can be several ways to do this , a simple one could be to introduce some kind of xp that you get for transporting each item through belts. This xp must be used in construction of a logistic robot. So in order to make a gazillion robots, you need to have transported a giga gazillion items over a reasonable distance.

The xp reward can be a byproduct in all factories based on the total distance the items had to travel to reach that factory.
the same idea can be used in other enhancements as well.

ElusiveDelight
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by ElusiveDelight »

The problem is not that bots are too good, its that belts are not good enough. While I can agree that perhaps the cost of building and maintianing a logistics networks could be higher, considering how effective they are.
Belts lag, are ineffective over distance, take up a lot of space, but perhaps worst of all, they dont scale well. It is simply impractical to transport things with belts in a large base. A new tier of belt would help this problem but eventually that belt would still become ineffective compared to bots.

What I would do is add a fourth tier of belt that has 4 lanes in it, 2 left and 2 right, instead of normal belts 1 left and 1 right. This would allow it to transport twice as much stuff at once. Then I would add a reserch that improves belts in some way, maybe more speed (up to a point) or item stacking. It wouldnt fix things but it would help a lot.

Squingy
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Squingy »

Everyone wants belts buffed it seems overly popular at least, me... I'd rather see a need for power to run conveyer belts, take that lol

waduk
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by waduk »

I support the idea of removing logictic bot from the game, IF there is a new entity to replace log bot, namely drop ship.
Hear me out guys before you bashing me..

Drop ship is a form of two new kind of cargo transport, using Airplane and Boat, that can transport over a long range,

If you said, then what makes this different from log bot ? If not make them more OP ?
It's not making them OP, because It's either slower than train OR has low capacity.
Given the same distance, it's has lower output rate than train. So it will not make train obsolete.

Also because it has to use airport and dockyard to unload a cargo. The airport and the dockyard itself need to occupy big space,
So player can't spamming entity in tight space just like they do with "roboport/bot". Or at the least, it has a huge drawbacks of space (and speed like i mentioned above).

Even better:
The cliff should be only passable by airplane alone, cannot be destroyed by demolition.
Or at least there is a new kind of bomb specialize to destroy cliff, but only at the late game.
And the landfill only can fill shallow water, so you have to use boat to pass a deep water.
So on new map, the difference in terrrain will actually makes you play differently.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by AileTheAlien »

Tinyboss wrote:Unless you stay on coal/oil power, Factorio isn't really structured to have electricity "cost" anything.
Oil is also infinite - pumpjacks slow down over time, but never run out, unlike ore patches. Even the regular ores are technically infinite, since the game world is also infinite, but you need to keep fighting aliens to get those new resources.

EDIT:
The main thing I'm seeing here, is two groups of players (bear with me; I'm painting in very broad strokes here). One group finds it boring to have everything automated by bots. The other group finds it boring to have to manage all these belts. Personally, I think that in a game about automation, the automation should continue in the late game - so bots should stay.
Last edited by AileTheAlien on Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:08 am, edited 3 times in total.

Kirvesmies
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Kirvesmies »

Since everyone is asking for my opinion, here it is.

Belts:
+cool stuff
+good visuals, allowing you to see what is causing problems
+easyish to grasp
+occasionally interesting to lay out and figure out how to manage them without having to move any factories
+generally cheap, good throughput for bulk goods at mid range

-requires lots of parallel lines
-can't really support speed module based production increase
-blue belt is kinda expensive for the effect, of course in relation to bots
-space issues, train unloading to belts is pretty bad without bots
-pretty much any interesting spaghetti dilemma can be avoided by building larger and/or more parallel
-doesn't improve after blue, no research options
-inserters are always slower than with box/assembler (I think)

Bots:
+once set up, easy to work with
+combined with trains and/or belts makes for a superb transport within factory, as long as distances are reasonable
+can avoid redesign in a mixed factory by allowing supporting material flow in tigh spots
+excellent with trains, fast unload and distribution in small space
+they repair and replace walls and turrets, irreplaceable if biters are a threat in your game (and if they aren't, why are they in game)
+automatic inventory refill and trash emptying

-laziness leads to simple solutions and dull gameplay
-large networks tend to derp about
-some power draw, requiring larger power generation
-late game tech, you have to do everything by belt until that

Construction bots:
+totes awesome
+required to make blueprints shine (although just having a blueprint to show where stuff goes helps a lot early game)
+relieve tedium of manual building
+reduce the need for auto shotgun or nukes to wipe out woods

-take space in inventory
-personal roboports have ridiculous power draw, even fusion reactors can't supply them reasonably (good luck with portable panels)
-slow without research, thus in practice end game tech

In conclusion:

Any problem can be overcome with either more bots or more parallel factories. Build bigger, not better... or something. Maybe go have lunch and let time handle it.

(Personal) construction bots are hampered by their association with logistic network, they, or their functionality, should be available earlier.

Challenges in this game are largely player imposed, how many have lost their base to biters because it's too hard on regular settings? How many exhausted their resources to the point where they can't claim new ones? Combat is very simple and easy after getting tanks, let alone power armor. Similarly, exploring the map is just running around, no challence or threat. Only part where combat can get hairy is when you don't have red machine gun ammo, or if you pollute and kill a lot without researching (and implementing) tech.

Belts and bots compleent each other nicely, you can build with either or both. Bots are more powerful because they scale and improve without space limitations, but many things in this game are "op" and I don't think it's a reasonable to add something as silly as artillery (and artillery wagons) and then complain how bots are too powerful. I should note that I like the artillery, combined with auto designate, they handle hive clearing quite nicely and automatedly.

I really love the game, please do not take this list of things to improve as a sign that game is not good. Simply things I think can be improved :) On final note, I tend to play multiplayer co-op with friend or two, bots make it SO much easier to handle multiple builders. If we had to do every little thing by belt, my head would explode when someone else goes and belts up my part of factory that I planned to have room for something. Similarly, it's so easy to say "yeah, we got it in the system just order it".

logiccosmic
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by logiccosmic »

Between this and the prior Friday Facts, it seems that the devs are deciding to remove or at least cripple endgame content. I honestly don't get it. Scaling to 1000 SPM is a literal nightmare with belts - unless you enjoy placing the same blueprint 30x over, and then hooking it up. Is that fun? It doesn't seem fun to me. Twinsen thinks thats fun, and more power to him. What attracted me to Factorio was the ability to have wildly different approaches and designs.

And now, for 2 weeks in a row, we are told that there is one right way to do things.

Disappointing.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by jcranmer »

I just crunched the numbers, because I don't think anyone's published the calculations earlier (I'll put this in my quantitative analysis thread eventually).

For vanilla robots, a single charging point can support 1 + (1000 / 3) / (1 + 5 * R) robots, where R is the robot speed multiplier (i.e., 240% => R = 2.4). That means the capacity of a single roboport traveling over a distance of d tiles, assuming one-way carrying, is 12 * C * R / d * (1 + (1000 / 3) / (1 + 5 * R)), where C is the total carrying capacity. At max carrying capacity, over a distance of 50 tiles, this is as much as 4 yellow belts at no robot speed research. And robot speed research makes the capacity even higher (the asymptotic performance at max carrying capacity is 40 R / d). That's also assuming one-way transport, so robots are spending half their time empty. If you assume two-way transport, the capacity effectively doubles, further improving performance over belts.

To make the obscene benefits even more obvious, consider that you can consider a solid line of roboports as a distance-invariant capacity metric. If you do that, then an uninterrupted line of roboports, at no robot upgrades (neither capacity nor speed), is roughly 4.24 blue belts--higher capacity than the equivalent in a block of blue belts. Robot upgrades of course make that number even more jaw-dropping.

If you truly want to nerf robots, here are some ideas:
  • Make power consumption quadratic in robot speed instead of linear. I'm not going to do the math for that assumption right now, but I think that makes the asymptotic growth function of capacity constant instead of linear.
  • Nerf charging points hard. As in, make it impossible to put charging points within a close distance of each other (say, 50 tiles). This would make the "plop a bajillion roboports for robot charging" strategy unworkable.
  • Make higher-speed robots take longer to charge. Again, this should do the same thing to the robot capacity asymptote, make it O(1) instead of O(robot speed).
Anything else to nerf robots doesn't really change the underlying fundamentals. Of course, nerfing robots brings the problem that they're the only thing that scales. By endgame, you're looking at being able to move 700-900 items/second with roboports, which is just so much higher than the 100-300 items/second you can pull with belts. So what you really want to do is not nerf robots so much as introduce something belt-like that has ultra-high throughput (think around 10× current blue belt throughputs). To appease the megafactory people, you'd also want it to be very low UPS. And to deter bots, you'd want to make the system somehow cumbersome to hook up to a bot network.

One idea I had is some sort of high-throughput hopper/chute system. Each chute would accept only one item, but it would have high-speed unloading from trains (that's the hopper component). It would attach directly to assembling machines (and furnaces), and would automatically feed into all adjacent assembling machines of the same type (providing an interesting but slightly different belt threading problem). Other than those things, the only thing it would accept would be belt loaders/unloaders. Capacity could be very high--1000 items/second or so.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Chucktheninja »

I don't see why anyone would consider removing them from the game. I don't follow development much but this is a primarily single player game. If a player wants to use belts over bots then he/she can do that. But if they are removed completely the people that love them will be very disappointed. I personally would just stop playing because after a certain point it becomes a nuisance to organize all the belts that go to so many different places. I'm not a game designer, but i feel it would be pretty counter intuitive to remove something that each player can decide for themselves if they think is fun or not.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Triaxx2 »

The reason not to have a Truck over the cargo bots I suggested, is that bots fly, and doing so means they can get places where belts simply can't. Getting a belt in requires 3 tiles in an L shape, while a requester chest only requires 2. A truck doesn't really help that, and it's place is mostly already taken by trains. The other reason, is that with a capacity of 8-24, the robot functions in the same feed capacities as belts.

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