Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

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Zavian
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Zavian »

bobucles wrote:Beacons are partially at fault for why bots are so much more important than belts in a late game base. The reason players NEED such insane item throughput is because a maxed out assembler can craft out items at upwards of 8 crafting speed or more. This is accomplished with a high density 8x8 beacon build that only has viable space for 2 long belts. Suffice to say that is nowhere NEAR enough belts to get much done. On the other hand that same beacon build can fit a near unlimited capacity of logistic bots and the chests to use them. The endgame kiloscience base is designed around these incredibly high production beacon bases, and bots are the only viable way to feed them.
I've seen people say the 8x8 beaconed build only allows 2 belts a few time now. That is rubbish. With belt weaving you can get at least 2 blue + 2 red belts into an 8x8 build, and if you are will to get creative, you can get more. Admittedly the equivalent bot build is much simpler to design and build, easier to scale, and at least sometimes more efficient, but high throughput is possible with existing belts. It's just much more challenging than bots, and not scalable the way the bot based equivalent is.
5 blue belts feeding electric furnace production.  (With room to run 2 more blue belts up the sides and under the inserters if needed).  Also note the engine and blue science builds using belt weaving.
5 blue belts feeding electric furnace production. (With room to run 2 more blue belts up the sides and under the inserters if needed). Also note the engine and blue science builds using belt weaving.
Beaconed.png (5.24 MiB) Viewed 4601 times
bobucles wrote: Tiny chests are another factor here. If logistic storage chests were 2x2 or 3x3, the super 8x8 beacon build breaks and the NEED for high throughput bots becomes less important. However the only way to make a super RPM base is to achieve these insane 5+ crafting speed assemblers so that entities and CPU cycles can be saved. It's no easy problem to figure out.
Now bigger chests, so that the belt based equivalent is superior for an 8x8 beaconed build sounds like an interesting way to nerf bots. You would still want a higher throughput belt, because that is one of the problems with the existing belts in 8x8 beaconed builds.
bobucles wrote:I do worry that a new type of "Super belt" has the potential to compete with train networks. Trains move a lot of items over a long distance but the land footprint they require is simply huge. A super belt also moves a lot of items, but the footprint has to be small to funnel items through a base. That gives them a dangerous edge over trains straight up. It'd take some real blundery to make any kind of belt or super belt better than a full speed train.
I would expect any new belt to be pretty pricey per tile (given what a blue belt costs), so even if they had the same throughput, rail would still be cheaper to build, especially over long distances.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by TheRaph »

I've written my opinion earlyer, but like to extend a bit:
The usability of belts depends also on inserters.
So I think inserters need a refresh.
There schuld be more than one long handed version.
More options to influence behaviour of inserter by circuit network (not only on off) an different angles (like in bob's mod) would also increase usability of belt-setups. (All of this features have to research first of course).

More info of my suggestion here.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by o6dukeleto »

Be careful increasing belt throughput as belts could displace trains

Currently I consider a blue belt equal to about one train car if a train comes every 50 seconds. If belts were "buffed" to 3-4 times the throughput of a blue belt, then most of my early to mid game trains (usually 4 cars) would easily be replaced by 1 belt -- which also seems OP.

If belt throughput is increased, it should have some constraints on distance (like bots!) so belts do not become better than trains.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Elafar »

eformo wrote:I like having choices.

I dislike it when someone else decides that I "ought" to like one style of play (belts or bots) over the other and then tries to force me to play that way.

Given the current arrangement of things:
If I think that belts are more fun than bots, I will build a factory that relies on belts. If I think bots are more fun, I will build a factory that relies on bots.

Given an arrangement of things where this choice is removed or the game is redesigned to try to prejudice decisions in one way or the other:
If I think that the favored method of moving stuff is more fun, I will build a factory that uses the favored method. If I think the non-favored method is more fun, I will stop playing Factorio and go do something else with my time instead.

Since that's the way I react to things, I would think it obvious from a designer's point of view that they ought to stick with the current arrangement of things. But I am not a designer, so I don't share the designers' sets of values. Some people are control freaks and I'm not likely to change that.

(An aside on how I actually do things: I use belts to take ores and process them into ingots (Bob's + Angel's refining and smelting mods) and then I use bots for most of the rest. There's WAY more than enough design time involved with this. I easily invest 50-60 hours of building new setups in each playthrough, so I don't have any desire to increase the amount of time spent designing belt layouts - and that's BEFORE I tweak ratios or optimize. This is heavily influenced however by the fact that I don't play Vanilla - haven't played Vanilla since ~v0.11. I wanted complexity and got it by using mods. Designing and building a 512 lane main bus (because of the quantity of products involved in modded Factorio) strikes me merely as tedious, not creative.

Bottom line: Since I've invested so much in modded factorio, rather than Vanilla, I want the basic game mechanics to stay stable, not keep changing. That was fine back in early Alpha. We're not there anymore. If I want to play the way you want me to play, I'll make that choice for my self and I'd appreciate you not making the choice for me. Please leave the basic game play alone at this point in development.)
I couldn't express my opinion on this topic better than post pasted above. So in short...don't change bots please, or if you make a change make it optional so people can chose.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Nomadic Steppe »

I want to leave my opinion.

First. I feel that the bots are much better than the belts, they are much more powerful, that's why I avoid using bots, currently I just play to design giant factories that only use belts.

In my last game, all the settings in normal, wealth, frequency, enemies, 160 hours, 4 million iron per hour, I need 90 trains so that everything functions, only using belts, zero bots, I needed large groups of belts so that everything works

For example, this part of my factory is that of space science, a launch every 3 minutes, all with belts and trains, and avoiding destroying the forest or lakes

Image

and in truth it is very complex, in addition to that I avoid destroying forests and pollution, that complicates things more. added to the extra work for my pc, luckily I have an excellent pc.

I liked all that, and in my new game I wanted to achieve more production in less time, but came out 16.xx, and I stopped a new game with my rules with about 40 hours,because the map looks very bad, half the old map style and the other half the new style..

worsening the bots is not a solution, an excellent solution is to improve the belts, lower the costs of the red and blue belts, and add a new belt that can move stacks of objects and add space technologies that better the stack limit. objects.

If you like to play with bots, you improve the space technology that increases your speed.

If you like to play with belts, you improve the space technology that increases your limit of objects.

With a belt that can move stacks of objects, you can remove the large groups of blue belts, in my case I have groups of 16 belts per material, in different places.

With them you reduce the work of the computer and with space technology you can scale in the long term and grow without limits.
Last edited by Nomadic Steppe on Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by GenBOOM »

o6dukeleto wrote:Be careful increasing belt throughput as belts could displace trains

Currently I consider a blue belt equal to about one train car if a train comes every 50 seconds. If belts were "buffed" to 3-4 times the throughput of a blue belt, then most of my early to mid game trains (usually 4 cars) would easily be replaced by 1 belt -- which also seems OP.

If belt throughput is increased, it should have some constraints on distance (like bots!) so belts do not become better than trains.
train storage is barely bigger than chests atm, it would make sense to increase train storage or lower chest storage to balance buffing belts

ske
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by ske »

Remember the time when you posted about "Pay to Automate"?

Well, now is the time has come for "Buy 50 bots for just 4.99"!

I'm joking, I'm joking, but think about the possibilities :lol:

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by bman212121 »

Xterminator wrote:This FFF had me shaking my head and definitely increasing my blood pressure. :x
The logic here seems so flawed I don't even know where to begin. I guess to give more constructive criticism rather than rant I'll say this.

If you think belts aren't good enough compared to bots, then buff the belts (many great suggestions on how to do that so far), don't nerf bots. It's a pretty straight forward difference between nerfing bots or buffing belts:

If you buff belts:
- You bring them more in line with bots and make them even more fun.
- Preserve the way bots are now for players who like using them
- Don't force players into one play style as it seems you are trying to do now
- It's essentially a win, win. Bots don't get ruined, but belts also get better.

If you nerf bots:
- belts don't actually gain anything themselves.
- You force players to use belts more based on your ideal play style which totally goes against what Factorio has been so far with giving multiple playstyles.
- Ruin people's experience who have weaker PC's and want to build bigger
- Eliminate the possibility to make any large megabases without lagging like hell
- Alienate a lot of players

Pretty clear difference. This quote from a previous post pretty much sums up the rest of my thoughts perfectly:
I like having choices.

I dislike it when someone else decides that I "ought" to like one style of play (belts or bots) over the other and then tries to force me to play that way.

Given the current arrangement of things:
If I think that belts are more fun than bots, I will build a factory that relies on belts. If I think bots are more fun, I will build a factory that relies on bots.
The game seems to be going more and more in a direction of having players play in a certain way based on what you the devs want. It no longer becomes sandbox and becomes "I want to play this way so you all should too".
Last thing. Be a bit more blunt... The several weeks since 0.16 came out and the decisions and proposed changes during that time have made me highly question the judgement within the Dev team and if I want to even continue supporting the game and playing.
I hope it doesn't continue down that path.
Thank you for making such a clear and concise point. I agree with you 100% and am glad you took the time to professionally answer the question. Hopefully the Devs can see past their blinders and realize that Factorio is no longer just their little pet project for themselves. As a huge fan of the game I've been playing this for years, and I've gotten almost all of my friends to pick up the game as well. We've loved all of the changes that were made early on because they were quality of life improvements designed to make the game better and more fun to play.

I was already thinking that the game is essentially done after .15x and we were starting to regressions even in that, and now it's incredibly obvious that is the case. The logistics network nerf was a blatant change that had NOTHING to do making the game more fun or making it make sense. I can reiterate that it makes absolutely no sense that you need production and science packs, because none of the items require anything even close to items from those tech levels to build. It's literally behind a paywall for zero reason. Obviously the reason is coming out loud and clear now, that a couple of people know best and believe that their method of play through is the ONLY way to play the game. The chest nerf, the fluid nerf, and now this logistics nerf talk are basically all attempts to destroy the game simply because someone hates the logistics networks they created.

Once again I think that Xterminator is on point that the primary reason why people switch to bots over belts is because belts don't get the job done anymore. Think back to the .12 days. It was completely possible to use a single yellow belt and feed a decent amount of factories with it before the belt ran out of space. Somewhere alone the line all of the scaling got ramped up, and now we're having to try to figure out how to bring multiple blue belts of items to our factories because the belts didn't keep scaling with the game. A couple of stack inserters can strip a blue belt in a hurry, because the overall capacity of what a belt can move is quite slow. In .12 this whole 12 item at a time stack inserter concept didn't exist, so blue belts were incredibly powerful back in the day. So once again this is the reason why people might be incentivized to start using bots in places where the belts can no longer scale.

If you want an opposing opinion I think it's terribly tedious to waste time trying to scale after you already ran blue belts out, so it's much more enjoyable for me to automate it using bots and then move on to something else that is more fun. Not everyone shares the same opinion that we want to spend dozens of hours trying to reconfigure belts because they are not getting the job done. Every other aspect of Factorio is about figuring out how to automate something so you don't have to waste time on it again and moving on. At a certain point in the game there is natural progression where some things just are better accomplished by bots, so progress would grind to a halt every time you had to spend 3 hours figuring out how to make one little thing work using belts where you can just create all of the items and take advantage of the scaling power the bots give you and not get bogged down.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by TheRaph »

o6dukeleto wrote:Be careful increasing belt throughput as belts could displace trains

Currently I consider a blue belt equal to about one train car if a train comes every 50 seconds. If belts were "buffed" to 3-4 times the throughput of a blue belt, then most of my early to mid game trains (usually 4 cars) would easily be replaced by 1 belt -- which also seems OP.

If belt throughput is increased, it should have some constraints on distance (like bots!) so belts do not become better than trains.
Like others have written bevor this could be archived through research and cost.

Let the researches for super belt come after that of train and you will choose train setup for early bases.

Let new belts use blue-belts in their recipes and it will be more cost efficient for long distances to use trains.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by timberwolf »

i think robots and port need to be under blu science. becauce when you then get them you have most of the production line made. and maybe increase the cost of the robots. maybe they require a module to make or they need to be made by hand.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by jokoon »

It's true that bots are powerful, but they are useful in places where you either have too many different items to spread through a factory, or where spreading items is just more efficient with bots.

Either:
  • add a faster belt, or some kind of portal belt to teleport items.
  • allow a very very fast inserter (I remember the mouth-kinded inserter)
  • let factories and smelters to build even faster (add a new assembler, add module slots, make a tier 4 speed module, add a radius upgrade or another slot for the beacon).
I can imagine many ways to nerf bots:
  • Make bots take off of roboports at a much slower rate.
  • Add a delay for when a bot has to pick or put an item. inserters have this delay, bots should have it too!
  • Reduce their autonomy or speed, or make them fly slower when they carry an item
  • Make them much more expensive relative to the cost of belt and the speed gain they give
  • Reduce the range of the roboport

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by xeln4g4 »

I really don't get why features (bots) should be removed from the game or nerfed even more, i also never actually liked them for the same reason you explained (look like kinda cheating to me ...), but honestly ... just don't build them in your base if you don't like them, or limit their use. I think any players should have the chance to decide on his own wether to make use of them or not.

So please just leave this as it is and concentrate on the campaign for example which is pretty weak right now or a set of missions!

The gameplay is totally fine right now.
Last edited by xeln4g4 on Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by kassel188 »

Hurley wrote:This is the first time when I feel that I need to express my feelings and my opinion.
For me personally removeing or limiting / reducing bots capabilities will make the game less fun or even unplayable.
Making them harder to build, maintain (for example by changing for electic powered to fuel powered) or limiting items carry count will mess them up.
I bought the game about a two years ago. I've played it for almost 450 hours so far. For the first few months I didn't used bots at all but eventually when I started to use them I've liked them so much that I can't imagine this game without them.
If you don't like to bots or you think they are to powerfull simply don't use them or limit your usage (not through game limitation but your own choices) to point when It's acceptable for you.

So far I've perceived all of the changes that were introduced into the game as expected features, needed optimalizations, great enhancements.
I felt that all of the changes made the game more fun.

But if you introducing something into the game allowing players to use it, love it and then you are taking it away from them you make them angry as me now, by even starting considerations about removing the bots or limiting them.
It would be the same as you would remove magic from MMORPG fantasy game when half of the players are mages.

Buff the belts and leave the bots in more less same state as they are now. You can always add research to allow each belt type to store/carry more items. Simillar to bots tech.
Could not agree more. Belts needs to be stronger to be able to compete. Create a alternative path for endgame, and not remove the only one so far.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by yekkusu »

Here's the thing:
I'm reading for a while now, and I think you guys aren't listening to some youtubers as some players too (who made factorio being recognized much faster), that Factorio is fun to play because you can choose what you want to do, and do it your way.
Since the Belt compression and Fluid changes and barrels nerf, I've been noticing that you guys want only one way to play Factorio: The Original way or something like that, and what's fun about factorio is that we can choose if we want to play with or without robots. I myself played without robots for almos one year, untill I felt confident to play with them.

The best solution is to create a huge hard mode, where robots doesn't exist, but let the player choose this way to play.
I like how "complicated" robots are, and how they function, and what is looks to me is that you guys want a lot to simplify the game so the work is less than you have now, after all if you nerf or remove robots that much, you won't have any more request for better ways to recharge robots (even if the energy required is ridicullously huge), so yeah.

Here's the thing, if things continue this way, soon people will start thinking Factorio is boring, because the best and only good way to work with fluid is pipes and fluid train, and after pipes are fixed it's over you can remove the rest of fluid options.
Belts will be the better way to do something, because yes and bots will not exist or will be nerfed a lot.

I love to see how player like KOS plays the game, because it's so unconventional and fun to watch. I loved to see how she did the Solar Array completelly automatic with robots for example, and what makes Factorio fun, is this: You can have choices, and sadly what I'm seeing those last FFF is: Someone don't like something and let's remove it to make the game more pure! It's better than add a "Conventional Factorio experience" and a "Pure factorio experience" in the main menu when you start a new map.

So for me, that's the best solution: Create a game mode within Robots don't exist, but don't remove this feature: First because you guys spent a lot of time polishing it, and second: Because it's a good alternative and it have a LOT of problems yet (like recharging bots and energy consumption).
Sometimes it seems the team just want to remove what they don't like or what gives too much work to polishin the game. And what makes this game fun is: You have so much things to do inside the game, and so many ways to make it. I love belts, and I love robots, and I love all the features.

I just want to see this game become bigger, and I hate when features are removed. Because for me it looks like a "downgrade" of some sorts.
Hope you guys had a great work over there.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Nexarius »

I think it would be good if the construction robots would be earlier available and I think it would be best if the logistic robots would require space science.

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Re: Bot Balance Idea - Beacon Interference

Post by Stlyau »

SentientBot wrote:
TL;DR
Help balance belts in the late game by providing a conflict between two key late game techs, beacons and logistic bots

What ?
The general idea would be to cause a failure or penalty for a bot entering the area impacted by beacons. This could be done in a number of different ways depending on the type of solutions you want to encourage. It can be trivially worked around in the modding community by adding a module that could be placed in a beacon to prevent the negative interaction.

Some ideas:
* A logistic bot can not enter any tile that is currently in a Beacon's influence
----- Forces a factory builder to decide between the power of bots or beacons for different parts of their factories, makes Roboport placements more interesting
Not true, the requesters and providers could be placed just outside the beacon coverage with inserters still inside, basically just the opposite of transferring items via network bridging. It would just mean a redesign of beacon influence and how many sources some entities receive.
* A bot crashes (and is destroyed) when it enters the range of a beacon's influence
----- Penalizes a lack of planning and generates potential bot drains forcing the reconstruction of bots while debugging
This should have a counter by coding bots to stay within network range instead of their current straight line flight path.
* A bot fully drains of power when it enters the range of a beacon's influence
----- May not change things enough as bot scaling would still compensate for it.
This could be an option, but then we get back into the need for recharging ports.

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Model congestion! Just make it realistic.

Post by VECCTOR »

I always thought the way to make bots more fair would be to model some sort of "congestion" the more bots there were. The most ridiculous sight in this game is seeing a million bots unload train chests in a matter of seconds.

It looks ridiculous for two reasons:

1) That many bots should not be able to "exist" in the exact same space - they are "clipping" through each other, which is unrealistic behavior.
2) That many bots should not be able to access the same chest at the same time - only one bot should be able to access a chest at a time, and it should take some time for them to load the items.

For (1):

In reality they should have to path around or over each other to move, and this could be modeled in the game by slowing them down as there are more in a certain area. Airspace is infinite, but the more time they have to spend going to altitude and coming back down to deliver, the slower their average speed should be - again, modeled more simply in game by calculating some sort of congestion factor that slows them down.

For (2):

Limit the number of bots that can access a chest at the same time. It doesn't have to be 1, but it shouldn't be infinite. The loading of items to and from the chests should take some time. The rest of the bots have to wait their turn, just like charging.


When in doubt, model reality.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by whitneyw »

I like belts, but bots can achieve infinite item throughput over a path. Belts cannot.

I like belts so much that I sometimes put cars on belts to increase the belt's total throughput. If the cars would flow through splitters and underground belts, I could stop using bots.

What I really want is a palletizer--something to compress a full chest of items into an item that takes a single space on a belt.

Maybe I can mod that...

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Avezo »

In general belts are just more fun to me and I don't need nerfs nor buffs (except for belt compression lol) to chose them over bots in general gameplay. If I were going for specific goal like huge SPM or somesuch, I would probably have no choice but to use them though.

However, I think having to use huge belt balancers and other balancing tricks shouldn't be neccesary to play with belts in big factories.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by silenceko »

Pro Bots!

Many good points for bots were mentioned and I like the bots too.

They offer the possibility to construct in high density, without the need of getting your belts in there. And mixing belts (eg: red and blue belts) in one line is not a solution since you have one "slow" belt in your design
Belts need manual upgrades --> give us an upgrade planner (not as mod)
Blue belts become too slow / dont have enough throuput with raised materialneeds
Balancing belts seems ridiculous to me, if you watch at 8-lane balancers --> improved belt handling needed
and so on, mentioned above..


so please, leave the bots as they are and improve the belthandling

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