Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

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SilverWarior
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How to properly nerf logistics robots - FF224

Post by SilverWarior »

Hi!

In Friday Facts 224 developers sad that they thing that logistics bots are to powerful and that for small time they even thinking about removing them.
I do agree with them that logistics bots are too powerful but I do not think they should be removed but instead nerfed a bit.

Now why are logistic bots so overpowered? That is because there is no limitation of how many of them you have. For instance when 100 logistic bots can't move items fast enough you simply build more. Yes this does increase the required power for their recharging but this can be easily solved by increasing your base power production. Most commonly people would use solar panels for this since they basically provide free energy (just initial investment). Another obstacle that player might encounter when increasing the number of logistic bots is that they can't recharge fast enough due to limitation of how many of them can be simultaneously recharging at one Roboport. But this is easily solvable by building more Roboports.

So how do we solve this?
Do we increase the logistics bots power requirements? No as this will be easily solvable by building more solar panels.
Do we limit the recharging or range? no as this would only lead to player building more Roboports.
Do we increase the cost for building logistic bots? No as this would only slow down the production of logistic bots from player and thus just take a little more time to reach same thing.

My suggestion would be to increase the costs for maintaining logistic bots by adding a limited lifespan of their battery. So let us say that after 1000 charges their battery capacity slowly starts lowering which would consequentially be lowering their range. This then continues to the point where logistic bot won't be even able to fly. At that time they player needs to ship that logistic bot back to the factory where it will be refitted with new battery.
So basically we add batteries to the required maintenance costs of logistic bots.

Any way I think that the best thing about my suggestion is that initially when player have small number of logistic bots it doesn't really makes much of a difference since at the point you unlock logistic bots you already have basic battery production setup which would probably be enough to support bot maintenance. But when you build more bots maintaining them becomes increasingly more difficult as it requires bigger battery production capabilities. So players would have to adjust their bases accordingly. And since this isn't so easily solvable as building a few more solar panels it will require more players involvement and thus become more interesting.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by GenBOOM »

Triaxx2 wrote:Why not break up Logistics bots into two separate types? Logistics Delivery Bots, which are much faster than belts but only hold 1-4 items, and have a very short range before needing to recharge. These would be the bots that could catch up to the player and deliver them items, but could also move around items in the base network.

Logistic Cargo Bots on the other hand, can carry a lot of items, 8-24 depending on capacity research, but are slower than a yellow belt to start and only reach red belt speed just before the speed research becomes infinite. They'll probably never catch any player not standing perfectly still, but be able to satisfy a huge chunk of a request with fewer robots, instead of having to use massive clouds of smaller capacity bots. These are the bots you'd see going by carrying rocket parts for example, while Delivery Bots run around hauling ammo to turrets, or loading/unloading train chests.

Doing it this way breaks up the one bot to rule them all monopoly, while still giving belts a place in any factory. Then you could still have the big Bot/Beacon Smelting array, but have ore delivered in one end by belts, and plates removed out the other side by belts, and in the middle, Delivery Bots zip around picking up and dropping them out of smelting chests.
if you are going to go that far why not add trucks that literally pick up and dump entire chests into their cargo like a dump truck? remote controlled (smart trucks ;) ) these would solve bulk orders / restocking supplies over longer distances. you would just need to add more buffer chests and that is 1 less job that robots have to do.

you know I think I would actually enjoy having to figure out a system to reorganize all the stuff in the back of that truck.
Last edited by GenBOOM on Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by PursuedMetal325 »

Belts take up too much room and get clunky, with many belts, not allowing to (easily) get high through put system. Bots provide a challenge to make the system compact so the bots don't have to travel as far increasing the through put.

Nerfing the bots just makes people add more robots resulting in the game running worse. At the moment I'm building a mega base and I cannot use belts as they are too clunky and slow; whereas, bots allow me to increase the production quickly if I do not have enough bots in the system but with belts it is so tight that this is not possible to increase production. To decrease the bot travel you can separate the network but I find this a challenge and tedious.

Overall, I don't think that bots should be nerfed as Factorio is about options and not trying to force people to pick one option. Belts should have another tier what is unlocked during late game what can be used in conjunction with bots; belt and bots should not have a split opinion but work together so there is the best of both worlds.

bill1970
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by bill1970 »

Do not nerf the logistic bots or take them out of the game. Like many long time players, I think they add value to my play style. I can appreciate some people don't like them and they can choose not to use them. The whole tone of the FFF post from the devs was imposing what they think is "correct" play style on the community. That is not the Factorio team that I know and love. I was attracted to this game originally by the ability to make choices in how I play. It is also what keeps me playing this game because I can continually experiment with new solutions to the same problems. A major gutting of robots would lead to a lot of late game frustration when I get to the point of needing one satellite per 1-10 minutes. I don't want to build a ton of belts (and waste a bunch of resources sitting on those belts) to supply an intermittent need.

Bill Rowe

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Slayn25 »

My thoughts on bots vs belts:
  • I think belts are more fun to plan and more satisfying to watch than bots.
  • I think logistic bots should stay in the game.
  • Similar to tanker wagon vs barrels argument I think belts should have higher throughput where as bots offer greater versatility.
  • I think bot throughput needs a nerf but a simple reduction to stack size would only be tedious (build more bots).
  • Currently bot throughput is only limited by the need to recharge as there are no collision checks, loading/unloading animations, nor queuing. This feels cheaty to me.
  • Nerf bot stack size if you want but more importantly bots should require some time to load/unload from a box and only be able to do it 1 bot at a time.
  • Although nerfing bot throughput would be a major concern for ups, gameplay is king. Cranking out an extra x science/minute is not worth the best parts of the game being obsolete.
  • IMO all the UPS friendly strategies are less fun than their alternatives (Solar vs Nuclear, Beaconed vs non-Beaconed, Bots vs Belts.)

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Bi0nicM4n »

TOGoS wrote:The logistic system (but not necessarily the flying robots aspect of it) just make too much sense to take out. The reason flying logistic bots become overpowered is that they take up zero space and pick up/drop things instantaneously. As someone else said they act like teleporters. If we could have bots repulse each other somehow, or have to wait in line to take things out of a chest, that would nerf them in a reasonable way, I think.
Now that would mean hurting the perfomance, and for what? For the sake of game balance? If there are madmen which stop using belts the next moment they get their hands on bots, well, why not let them. IT'S NOT LIKE EVERYONE DROPS BELTS FOR BOTS.

melwil
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by melwil »

First of all, I don't mind tuning of the game. I'm even indifferent about the fluid changes, since that is just another hurdle.

Having every version up to now with the logistic network, and then trying to remove one of the most powerful features of the game just before 1.0 release seems like a bad idea. If you don't like bots, don't use bots. What's so bad about having them in? Most of the larger bases I've seen would be quite impossible without bots.

I do however like the idea of buffing belts. Bob's logistics for example has two more tiers of belts, which go a long way towards being able to keep using belts in the end game. I find myself using belts much more with Bob's than I do in the standard game, since after you get the blue belts, there's nothing more. You have to add so much belt to fit everything into your factory, some of which simply can't fit without rebuilding heavily. Giving belts some more end game options would be really good, and conducive to choosing belts. Why not have belt speed research? Even possibility of stacking belts, like suggested in the FFF sounds great!

I've mentioned belts in Bob's, but bots in Bob's mods are also much harder to make and have more scaling options in the end. Here the power of bots becomes completely bonkers, but at that point you have also really really earned it. I believe that putting most of the key logistic features behind yellow and purple science was a good change. You can get bots to supply you, but not build a beltless base from. Everyone who loved bots and have the Logistics Embargo achievement can understand what the game would be like without it. If you want players to complete the game without bots and have it be a late game feature, why not push it into space science and having that achievement be the game?

To be honest, if you would give me train bridges, I would almost be willing to forego bots altogether! Bots or belts, that's just flavour. What I really love in this game is the whole OpenTTD feeling you get with a mega base! However, the train traffic in the game is severely hampered by todays standards. Once trains escalate to a certain point, the intersections can't really be optimised any more, and you have to start making individual train lines to handle it all. Trains could do so much more if you weren't limited by the silly intersection lockups we have today, and the most important thing to fix an issue like that would be train bridges! Just imagine how powerful trains could get if you didn't have to cross the main line to get back to that mining outpost with the 16 entity long train..

All of this aside, I would probably keep playing factorio no matter what happens to the bots. Mods will surely allow me to keep enjoying all the thrills of logistics if I want to.

Thanks so much for this game and everything you do to make it better! Having a new version of factorio this holiday was also very nice of you, and I really do hope you did get to enjoy some of it!

Bi0nicM4n
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Bi0nicM4n »

Slayn25 wrote: IMO all the UPS friendly strategies are less fun than their alternatives (Solar vs Nuclear, Beaconed vs non-Beaconed, Bots vs Belts.)
Following that logic we should also remove fast and stack inserters, fast and express belts, blue and yellow assemblers and so on. Simply because they're more UPS friendly.

P.S.
By the way, the fluid wagon mod always had capacity of a regular fluid tank (at least since I've been using it). I'm surprised devs made it accept different liquids in the first place.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by TheRaph »

Please don't remove bots. But make belting more interesting in later game.
sugestion
1. Please make a new layer of belts.
So it would be posible to feed a factory with masses of beacons through a second layer. Due to the fact blue belt have more throughput than a hand full of bots, some more players will switch back to belts in compact bases.
Maybe you add an underground layer (to switch in like in simcity2000) and one may feed his assembler from underground. Or make bridge-like belts to feed assembler from the top (Most package sorting systems in real world use this technique ).

2. Add more balancer types
Make belts more fun by adding a lane-balancer an a 3-belt balancer.

3. Balance costs of belt and bots
I think blue belts are a bit to expensive and logistic bots too chep.
What about to adding blue circuits to logistic bots. Make blue belts a little bit cheaper and add a 4th tier of belts (black belts) to the game.

4. nerf bots in general a little bit
Add oil-need to bots (lubricant ) ... so every botstation needs to be connected to lubricant pipeline :twisted:

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by dewiniaid »

Bi0nicM4n wrote: P.S.
dewiniaid wrote: 4. Add research that requires space science to allow logistics bots to travel within (connected) logistics networks -- or make a more-expensive Logistics Robot 2 (that also requires space science) that has this functionality
Are you even serious?
I was looking at it from a compromise perspective, and building on peppe's idea of 'limit logistic bots to the range of one roboport rather than the entire network'. If we hypothetically went down that road, space science unlocking the full (current) functionality would appease megabase builders who need the full extent of the current logistic bot capabilites (for UPS reasons, for one).

If you read the rest of my suggestions, you'll note that most of it actually is intended to make it easier to get logistics bots and take advantage of some of their capabilities, but gating the one feature that makes people replace belts outright behind a much higher requirement. An in-between setup might involve a main bus where each branch pulls contents into a provider chest to serve assemblers within a 1-roboport area. Combine this with research to expand roboport ranges, the coverage area of a single roboport may be sufficient for a lot of uses and there's several creative ways available to expand that.

One of my first uses of Logistics System right now is to build a handful of assemblers and requester chests that I use to do some 'ad-hoc' crafting of certain things I want a limited number of but don't want to build a full production line for yet. For instance, a small temporary production change to build Power Armor Mk.2 and all of the components -- it's not worth it to build a permanent production line for each piece of it as I only really need 1, but it's complicated enough and requires so many different materials overall that being able to just set a few assemblers and requesters up and change out the recipes as needed is nice. This sort of use fits really well within the limited logistics network -- I can split off one belt of each resource on my main bus into provider chests with the assemblers and associated requesters within 1 roboport's range away.

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Re: Version 0.16.15

Post by kman600 »

Anyone player who argues that OPTIONAL content should be REMOVED from the game simply because they do not enjoy using it is, in my opinion, being selfish.

Bots do not impose their selfish goals upon you, bots live to serve. If the player doesn't want bots, they won't appear out of nowhere and ruin the player's game. Removing bots from the game would be a huge mistake because they do not pose a threat whatsoever to players who do not like to use them, while providing all other players with satisfaction and enjoyment.

I will forever be of the opinion that bots > belts, and removing them from the game would certainly destroy my large desire to play the game. Please do not remove the bots.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Hakisak »

People want to build megabases (its pretty much the aim of the game) but building it with belts is much more difficult then bots.
Belt based bases are WAY more interesting to look at then bot bases and when showing someone who is new to the game a belt-mega-base would look way way more cool to them then just some bots flying around doing all the work and cluttering up the screen (+ with belts they can see the physical items move around and understand how the belt-mega-base actually work). I still think construction bots should stay in the game to help build those "tedious" belt bases and some form of logistic-bots for requesting items to player inventory, but logistics-bots for 'running' the base should be gone (ie; no more bot bases).

Simply Put:
When you show someone the game your gonna show them Belts and inserters and how far you can take that, not bots as that's just not what this game is about.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by bobucles »

I really like the idea where stack inserters literally STACK items on a belt. It's a silly but clever way to multiply belt throughput for the later stages of the game. The biggest issue is that it makes belts much harder to understand visually, that and stack inserters are would be much more endgame tech.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by person3triple0 »

Back in 0.13 I had this island base that I'd expanded onto the mainland and I had been working to severely increase bot production, and I think I had about 13k bots or something like that in my main base, along with several mini bases with about 1k-4k each for ore depot things (bots are a godsend for ore depots), but I had hit a snag. I was caught in the more bots more solar loop, and I was running out of iron, and out of copper, and I spent almost 150 hours in that game and I never started gold science production after 0.15 came out.
Bots can be a great help when you're trying to go big, but if you take it too far you'll get lost in their madness

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by dewiniaid »

GenBOOM wrote:if you are going to go that far why not add trucks that literally pick up and dump entire chests into their cargo like a dump truck? remote controlled (smart trucks ;) ) these would solve bulk orders / restocking supplies over longer distances. you would just need to add more buffer chests and that is 1 less job that robots have to do.

you know I think I would actually enjoy having to figure out a system to reorganize all the stuff in the back of that truck.
This falls so much into a playstyle I want to see being possible:

Imagine if instead of having buffer chests at train stations, a train schedule could just decouple entire wagons full of goods, then drive into a railyard and back into some empty wagons (from the last delivery) to bring them back to the station it loaded out. This would be kind of akin to how actual trains work with proper railyards and such, and somewhat analagous to how intermodal containers work now. There's no need to keep the transport waiting while you (un)load the cargo when you can just (un)load the container holding the cargo.

It'd require a lot of capabilities in the train system to be possible though -- proper train reversing like real trains for one. (Backwards-facing locomotives in real life are NOT dead weight!)

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Dhakos »

While i do love my logistic bots, i also think they're overpowered. Perhaps remove the Requester chest and Roboports themselves become the requester? This would limit logistic bots to Roboports and forcing you to remove items from it directly with inserters to feed your lines.
I think it would still keep the balance of moving items to different locations within your base en masse and would restrict the singular delivery system to a chest right next to an assembler to rinse and repeat.
The logistics bots should still retain the ability to bring items directly to the player though as where trying to build and plan a base is fun, running around to top up on items is not.

A few improvements to the belt system wouldn't go astray either such as-
-A filter splitter. Sure i can use a bunch of filter inserters to move things off another belt, but this would be much more convenient.
-Lane splitters & Lane splitter filterers. Instead of splitters to move things evenly from one belt to another, we have a splitter (and a filter version) to move things from one side of the belt to another.

Those would help some of the mid-late game players build 'cleaner' designs instead of the multiple filter arm or splitter feedback designs to maneuver their products.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by sparr »

re "stacked belts"

I would love to see this. Give me a whole new category of belt where each individual "item" moving along the belt can actually be a stack of 2+ items. If an inserter tries to drop an item on top of another item of the same kind, they get stacked. If you pull an item from a stack, the stack gets smaller. This wouldn't just change total throughput, but would allow new and more complex things to be done with "smart" circuit+belt designs, etc.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Kaladen »

Why not both options, you have implemented marathon mode, can you implement no logi bot mode?

new starters can start on the the current "bot" version and move to "no logi" version for more challenge and fun later similar to marathon mode. The trick, allow people to enable both marathon and "no logi" modes at the same time.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by promaty »

I don't use logistics bots on purpose as it makes the game more interesting for me personally. But I don't see the reason to remove them if other players enjoy using them.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by TheRaph »

Hakisak wrote:People want to build megabases (its pretty much the aim of the game) but building it with belts is much more difficult then bots.
Belt based bases are WAY more interesting to look at then bot bases and when showing someone who is new to the game a belt-mega-base would look way way more cool to them then just some bots flying around doing all the work and cluttering up the screen (+ with belts they can see the physical items move around and understand how the belt-mega-base actually work). I still think construction bots should stay in the game to help build those "tedious" belt bases and some form of logistic-bots for requesting items to player inventory, but logistics-bots for 'running' the base should be gone (ie; no more bot bases).

Simply Put:
When you show someone the game your gonna show them Belts and inserters and how far you can take that, not bots as that's just not what this game is about.
Disagree

I show them how to begin and how things may end if you doing it riht.
I think the intend of this game is to be lazy ... let the automates do your job. Logistics network is a part of this.
First I do everything to get there (if I want) and then feel the freedom of use my earned feature.

I've finished my first rocket without any bot. Now I'm going on to build a kilo Base and start to use some bots.

Second game (I started new some more times, to have different scenarios ) I started with bots as early I could. The goal is compactness and speed.
And in my 3rd scenario I chose a train world.

So I can play 3 different types of the same game and chose one of them regarding to what I've fun to do.

I like the freedom to choose and I think this should stay in game.

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