Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

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Jürgen Erhard
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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Jürgen Erhard » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:45 am

malecord wrote:My two cents. Logistic bots are evil only because they are not "realistic". In the sense that they occupy no space and so are collision free. And this allows them to defeat physic and achieve impossible throughput. You can buff belts as much as you like but they will never match logistic bots throughput simply because bots have no throughput limits. They scale infinitely in addition to be extremely flexible (as they should be).

Give them collision box, force them to respect safe distance from each other and you will have brought them in the factorio spirit where you have to take in account numbers and designs. They will still have their use, be part of smart Logistic designs but they won't be anymore the brainless solution for all the problems in the game.
"Give them collision box" and thus make them hell on UPS and game logic. Your performance, even with just a few dozen would suffer. A couple hundred? Bye bye, UPS.

This would be the worst possible nerf because they'd be unusable (not to mention it wouldn't be an easy fix to do, it would surely be a lot of work).

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by HulkingUnicorn » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:52 am

If power requirements and stack sizes only lead to more robots, how about limiting max robot count in the network instead? You could also research to increase the limit (perhaps also infinite research). Then you would need to create smaller networks with specific tasks and find ways to supply the various networks.

I'd like some sort of wireless circuit network in that case though, in order to be able to track resources in the base across networks.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by SeigneurAo » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:58 am

Jürgen Erhard wrote:
toketsu_puurin wrote:Congratulations! You motivated me to stop lurking and make an account!

There comes a time in the life of every game where players have non-trivial choices to make that a certain subset of players either start whining about or become dismissive of certain features of the game because they are either "not balanced" or "not fun." And when I say every game, I don't just mean video games. Magic the Gathering has this issue too: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... 2013-12-03 and the followup: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... 06-03-20-2

These are good articles. Read them, Devs. Actually, everyone on the forums should read them. Consider what kind of player you are when you play a game. It's important.
These are bad articles. For Factorio. Because MtG is all about competition. It's a defining attribute. You play *against* other players. I'm not an MtG person (never owned even a single card), so there might be a solitaire mode, but I've never heard of one.

Factorio is not PvP. So MtG's "lessons" are basically inapplicable.

I'd much rather look at Bartle Types. And that the MtG people are apparently unaware of them doesn't give a lot of confidence.
Yeah, so basically you probably haven't read the articles and OP properly.
Spike is mostly about competition, but they do mention that his defining attributes also include a deep love for a game that's balanced and fair in itself (i.e., even when playing solo), and a deep hate against the very notion of "cheating". Even if you're not in direct competition with others, you can feel offended by the simple fact that shortcuts exist. You can think it's silly, disrespectful, or whatever, but it doesn't change the fact that some players feel that way, and that they deserve some love, just the same way as the Timmys and their big, shiny toys and immediate satisfaction do.
Factorio is not PvP... for you. It does include a PvP mode, and it's getting improved. You can actually imagine Factorio events, competition taking place. It is arguably a minor aspect of the game for most players (IMHO), but it's still there, for a reason. Being dismissive about it doesn't help much.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Caine » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:15 pm

SeigneurAo wrote:Even if you're not in direct competition with others, you can feel offended by the simple fact that shortcuts exist.
Also, in a way we are all competing to build the "best" factory. That is competition at the metagame level.
You can actually imagine Factorio events, competition taking place.
Very easy to imagine as it is already happening: Ok, it's not entirely the same scale as say e.g. Starcraft, but who knows what will happen :p

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by SeigneurAo » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:17 pm

Caine wrote:
You can actually imagine Factorio events, competition taking place.
Very easy to imagine as it is already happening: Ok, it's not entirely the same scale as say e.g. Starcraft, but who knows what will happen :p
Yeah that's the point, I didn't bother to check, but I pretty much assumed it did exist.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by nelfou » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:26 pm

malecord wrote:My two cents. Logistic bots are evil only because they are not "realistic". In the sense that they occupy no space and so are collision free. And this allows them to defeat physic and achieve impossible throughput. You can buff belts as much as you like but they will never match logistic bots throughput simply because bots have no throughput limits. They scale infinitely in addition to be extremely flexible (as they should be).
That's what I thought too. And actually the very first time I used bots I was surprised they could stack - that did not match what I expected given the rest of the game. But they can fly so I guess they just use paths at different altitudes.
What's still unrealistic is the loading/unloading part. I can't imagine how so many drones can realistically pick up and drop items to a single place at the same time.

So here is my idea : make it take more time to load/unload items and limit how many bots can use a chest at once. Like it is done when they charge at a roboport : they will just queue and wait for their turn to pickup/deliver their content to a chest.
If you need more throughput, add more chests - and figure out how to scale that.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by WarpZone » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:47 pm

SeigneurAo wrote:Even if you're not in direct competition with others, you can feel offended by the simple fact that shortcuts exist.
What right do you have to tell me that I feel offended by shortcuts existing in my single-player game, and then take those shortcuts away from me to "help" me have fun?

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Hertzila » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:51 pm

SeigneurAo wrote:
Jürgen Erhard wrote:
toketsu_puurin wrote:Congratulations! You motivated me to stop lurking and make an account!

There comes a time in the life of every game where players have non-trivial choices to make that a certain subset of players either start whining about or become dismissive of certain features of the game because they are either "not balanced" or "not fun." And when I say every game, I don't just mean video games. Magic the Gathering has this issue too: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... 2013-12-03 and the followup: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... 06-03-20-2

These are good articles. Read them, Devs. Actually, everyone on the forums should read them. Consider what kind of player you are when you play a game. It's important.
These are bad articles. For Factorio. Because MtG is all about competition. It's a defining attribute. You play *against* other players. I'm not an MtG person (never owned even a single card), so there might be a solitaire mode, but I've never heard of one.

Factorio is not PvP. So MtG's "lessons" are basically inapplicable.

I'd much rather look at Bartle Types. And that the MtG people are apparently unaware of them doesn't give a lot of confidence.
Yeah, so basically you probably haven't read the articles and OP properly.
Spike is mostly about competition, but they do mention that his defining attributes also include a deep love for a game that's balanced and fair in itself (i.e., even when playing solo), and a deep hate against the very notion of "cheating". Even if you're not in direct competition with others, you can feel offended by the simple fact that shortcuts exist. You can think it's silly, disrespectful, or whatever, but it doesn't change the fact that some players feel that way, and that they deserve some love, just the same way as the Timmys and their big, shiny toys and immediate satisfaction do.
Factorio is not PvP... for you. It does include a PvP mode, and it's getting improved. You can actually imagine Factorio events, competition taking place. It is arguably a minor aspect of the game for most players (IMHO), but it's still there, for a reason. Being dismissive about it doesn't help much.
The danger is misusing these things when they really aren't applicable. These are not the Gospel of True Game Design, these are a couple of tools made for certain things. Both the Timmy-Johnny-Spike types and the Bartle Types have certain areas of applicability and the limits that come with it. TJS was made for and is pretty exclusively about CCGs, using them elsewhere is stretching the system. Bartle Types are specifically about MUDs and MMORPGs and their playerbase composition, with limited usability beyond. Why should we stick to them when discussing Factorio and its playerbase? Wouldn't it make more sense to either create a new system or loan a more generalized one? What that general system is, I have no idea but neither TJS nor Bartle seem to fit well either.

For example, are the megabase builders Johnnies or Spikes? Are the guys that just make the most complicated logistics systems 'just because' Timmies or Johnnies, or even Spikes? What about speedrunners? What about the multiplayer guys? Do we even have Bartle's Killers in our playerbase? Isn't basically everyone here an Achiever, actually? What exactly is Explorer's schtick here?

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by WarpZone » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:58 pm

Hertzila wrote:Wouldn't it make more sense to either create a new system or loan a more generalized one? What that general system is, I have no idea but neither TJS nor Bartle seem to fit well either.
It's called Aesthetics of Play.

Basically there's 8 main emotive reasons people play games.

Belts cater to Challenge. Bots cater to Abnegation. These are polar opposites.

The best games support both.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by SeigneurAo » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:04 pm

WarpZone wrote:
SeigneurAo wrote:Even if you're not in direct competition with others, you can feel offended by the simple fact that shortcuts exist.
What right do you have to tell me that I feel offended by shortcuts existing in my single-player game, and then take those shortcuts away from me to "help" me have fun?
It's a generic "you", didn't target you specifically.
And as I said above, I don't pretend it's legitimate, nor do I pretend it's illegitimate. It's just the way some people feel, and they have a right to think so, just like you have a right to prefer taking shortcuts.
And, now this is my very personal take on this : the devs have a right to make a call on their own game, the one they have been polishing for several years, and decide that such and such feature is not fitting for the vision they have, or even not fitting anymore (and yes, here I'm talking feature removal, nerf and such).
For instance I was kinda bummed when they removed alien artifacts (still am, tbh), but it's a design decision and it's completely theirs to make. Their game, their rules. You can always respectfully and politely explain why you disagree with such and such thing, list the reasons why it should be reverted, but if they do stand by their decision, it is my opinion that people shouldn't go nuts on them. But hey, it's the Internet, so...
Hertzila wrote:The danger is misusing these things when they really aren't applicable. These are not the Gospel of True Game Design, these are a couple of tools made for certain things. Both the Timmy-Johnny-Spike types and the Bartle Types have certain areas of applicability and the limits that come with it. TJS was made for and is pretty exclusively about CCGs, using them elsewhere is stretching the system. Bartle Types are specifically about MUDs and MMORPGs and their playerbase composition, with limited usability beyond. Why should we stick to them when discussing Factorio and its playerbase? Wouldn't it make more sense to either create a new system or loan a more generalized one? What that general system is, I have no idea but neither TJS nor Bartle seem to fit well either.

For example, are the megabase builders Johnnies or Spikes? Are the guys that just make the most complicated logistics systems 'just because' Timmies or Johnnies, or even Spikes? What about speedrunners? What about the multiplayer guys? Do we even have Bartle's Killers in our playerbase? Isn't basically everyone here an Achiever, actually? What exactly is Explorer's schtick here?
Of course it's a stretch. And not because it is intended for this type of games or that. Just because you're splitting people in only 3 categories, you're going to make assumptions and approximations. The idea is simply to have directions for your game design decisions, and decide which orientation(s) you want to favor, be it during the initial phase or during fixing/balancing/feature adding.
Few players fit into only one category, and thankfully so. If you think hermetic categories, you're most probably doing it wrong.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Stlyau » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:54 pm

The space constraints of Beacon coverage and Infinite upscaling of LogBot speed seem to be two of the biggest factors. If Entities had a max Source effect limit and Bot Speed wasn't Infinite, there would be a shift in the dynamics of "belt vs. bot", especially if belts got some sort of researchable upgrade to make them more in line speed/throughput-wise as bots.

Fluid Wagons and Barrels in Cargo Wagons were changed making them much closer in capacity quantity balance of 1:1, depending how the player chose to move their mass fluids. The throughputs of "belts vs. bot" should be looked at a lot closer and see where a closer balance would be, taking into account Beacon coverage and maximum bots on a network. If this means Worker Speed stops at 5-7 like most weapon Shooting Speed research, while Belts gets a similar research, so be it. Same can be said in regards to Bot Carry Capacity vs. "Belt Capacity" increase percentage. If the two maxed research throughputs were very similar, then neither option would seem more powerful than the other.

In regards to Beacon coverage and Entity Source effect limits, no matter how many or type of Eff Modules you give an Entity, it's energy consumption is minimum capped at 20%. Why can't this be applied to Speed Modules, which are the predominant Beacon choice? Make the maximum cap something like +200% increase, this would alter those builds that make use of the 8 Beacons and allow the flexibility of using belts. +200% cap would reduce the Speed Effect sources down to 5-6 if using 4 Prod3s in the AM3s. Electric Furnaces would only have 5 Speed sources, while Refineries and Chem Plants would be a max of 5 as well. Considering only Speed and Eff Modules can go into Beacons, this seems like a very plausible solution.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by 3trip » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:04 pm

The good solutions I see are:

New or Improved belt type, (Can you save UPS, by covering up the belt and its contents?) or faster belt speed research. This will help belts compete with drones, but cannot be too powerful or trains wont be able to compete.


Stopping effect beacons from stacking, remove the 50% debuff and/or give the tower more slots, perhaps even increase the radius to allow more belts between the beacon and factory. This is to allow more room for belts late game where maxing out beacons means using bots.
Another thought, wouldn't putting effect beacons on the circuit network be more realistic than whatever wireless means it's transmitting now? Connecting x beacons to the end factory and daisy chaining the rest I think would be cool, sort of like connecting additional servers to control things more efficiently/intelligently. Or perhaps allow both wired and wireless for a simple/complex formula?


Reduce the stack size of bots and/or slowing them down when there are large swarms/traffic congestion. These are the most subtle but useful nerfs for bots I've seen in the last ten pages.




I think when you play with a mixture of the above you can get a decent balance for belts vs bots.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Turtle Duck » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:24 pm

If anything make belts better do not nerf bots, they could be slightly more interesting though if you ask me. Before playing with mods i really didn't like the bots because they wouldn't give the game the same feel as belts did for me. When i did start using mods mainly bob's logistics in this case i felt like the bots were more interesting because of the added complexity allowing you to make completely customized bot networks. The reason why i usually use all three forms of logistics is simply due to bob's logistics. I use trains for large hauls, belts for transportation between stations and bot networks, and small bot networks that produce my products such as green circuits

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by sicklag » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:33 pm

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by WarpZone » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:39 pm

The ideal solution is don't mess with it.

Every single specific solution I've seen floated here, including my own, would "make belts and bots more balanced" without adversely affecting the playstyle of the person who posted the suggestion.

We are never going to reach consensus on this because belts and bots support two radically different playstyles with different core emotional appeals. Belts are for people who love solving complicated spaghetti puzzles to make their factories fit. Bots are for people who like building gigantic-ass megabases with insane throughput that basically take care of themselves. Challenge VS Abnegation.

In the end, the whole idea of eliminating one of these styles of play, or forcing one of the playstyles to change to become "balanced" with the other (nerfs and/or buffs) is fundamentally flawed. It's not comparing apples to apples. It's comparing grocery stores to credit cards, and then making us fight over which one we do away with in how we get our apples. It's madness and nonsense. And I think Klonan knew better than this when he set us against each others' throats in that Friday Facts post.

I mean, seriously Klonan, what did you think was gonna happen? Did you think the whole community would rally around "Klonan knows best" and help you win the internal debate you're having with your team? You've been around the internet long enough by now to know that that's not the way it works. You can't go "Hey guys, I want to take your cool toys away, but the rest of the team won't let me, do me a favor and talk some sense into them" to a bunch of random gamers on Steam. Your community is strong. Your community is full of smart people. But we're still human.

You should have known better, Klonan. Welp, it's your move. I guess this is what you wanted. You lit the fire. Now are you gonna put it out again? Or pour gasoline on it and hope nobody notices?

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by Bone » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:47 pm

Hi

I've not read everything, so bear with me if this idea was posted already.

The Idea:
* introduce cargo boxes. (kind of similar to the idea of barrels) they can hold e.g. 1 stack of an item and are to heavy to be transported by any bot.
then you can either craft those boxes and combine them with the stack in an assembly machine
or craft them and feed them into a special type of inserter who boxes/unboxes them? the boxes required/produced by the inserters can then either be emptied/filled by bots or a special "2-way" kind of Belt that can transport the full boxes in one direction and the emtpy boxes the other direction.
This would make belts less UPS heavy (especially late game and mega factory wise) and enable them to keep up with robots when looking at volumes without removing the complexity. Probably this idea needs some more thoughts though, but maybe, with some adaptions, it could work.

My personal opinion:
* make construction bots available more early + let them deliver items to the player
* make logistic robots available after space science
* find a way to make belts an option for mega bases (UPS/throughput)

Possible additional changes:
* Make it configurable if they are available in a map or not at the beginning of a game (without the option to change it afterwards)

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by sicklag » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:49 pm

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by sicklag » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:49 pm

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by irwinclockmeyer » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:27 pm

Please no.

I will echo what others have said here. Nerfing bogs removes choices. It limits the different ways users can play the game. That, in turn, will discourage lots of folks from playing the game.

I haven't played enough to understand the impact on megabases (I've "only" played a little over 400 hours :D ). But I trust the opinions of folks like Xterminator on the subject.

I was really disappointed in the choice to nerf barrels. All that does is add tedium. It doesn't mean I won't use barrels, but it'll make them more painful to use without any benefit in terms of FUN.

Please think very carefully about nerfing or buffing based on how you think the game OUGHT to be played. You have an enormous user base who have a million different ideas about how the game ought to be played.

Please keep bots the way they are. As MANY others have said, folks don't have to use them. Sure, give us a way to turn them off when starting a game. I look forward to a LOT of replayability by playing the game different ways (e.g. only belts, maybe no belts and only bots, etc).

That said, I like the idea of adding new ways to use belts (crating, a higher tier, etc). Those things give players MORE WAYS TO PLAY THE GAME. I think that's ALWAYS a good idea.

In short, changes that limit the different ways users can play the game are bad. More choices is good.

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Re: Friday Facts #224 - Bots versus belts

Post by SquirtingElephant » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:29 pm

I only use that mod https://mods.factorio.com/mods/Nexela/Nanobots but it's mostly because I like to build mega-sized factories and these bots are instant and also remove trees. They do not provide logistics which imo is fine.

I only use Factorio's bots for:
- Building mega-sized solar parks automatically.
- Near the main bus I have some boxes for refilling the players inventory with basic items (like belts, lights, poles, ammo, etc).

That's really it. I use mainly belts to keep my performance healthy. Mega factories can't really use bots anyway without killing your PC.

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