Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

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AutomationIsFun
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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by AutomationIsFun »

Here is a neat solution for Bot nerf that won't upset much people: Make default bot speed and charge time significalntly worse. Add a super expensive infinite research afrer rocket launch for charge time. During the main game bots will be balanced so happy fun belt times. At megabase 1 rocket/minute superbotbase stage you can bring bots back to being op and awesome.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by hitzu »

TL;DR
Make logistic infrastructure more complex.
What?
What if in order to logistic chests work they had to be connected together and had a limited amount of connections?
Why?
Let's make the Logistic Network more fun!

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by Lastmerlin »

AutomationIsFun wrote:Here is a neat solution for Bot nerf that won't upset much people: Make default bot speed and charge time significalntly worse. Add a super expensive infinite research afrer rocket launch for charge time. During the main game bots will be balanced so happy fun belt times. At megabase 1 rocket/minute superbotbase stage you can bring bots back to being op and awesome.
Nice try of compromise ;)

As their main use case is megabase anyway, this would not change too much. However, the nerf-bot-fraction seems to be annoyed with the dominance of bots in megabasing (all these *boring* botbases posted as examples are in fact megabases). So I somehow doubt, they will be satisfied by that.

Apart from that: I think bots without any upgrades are quite horrible already. I never use them before going mass-production. But that my personal preference.
Last edited by Lastmerlin on Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by Gnark »

garath wrote:Remove beacons...
In an earlier post, someone remarked that bots allow more beacons than you can fit with belts. Simple solution: remove beacons. But let’s say you want to keep beacons for some reason. What solution would allow maximum beacons if you chose to use belts instead of bots?
I like the solution of making the requester and provider chest bigger.
Let's say 2*2 or 3*2 or even 3*3 ...
We can have a cool animation of bot landing on it. :)

With the more space taken by the box, the impact of the design will mater and less beacons will be usable.

1*1 is too powerfull when anythings can just pop in it.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by hitzu »

Gnark wrote:
garath wrote:Remove beacons...
In an earlier post, someone remarked that bots allow more beacons than you can fit with belts. Simple solution: remove beacons. But let’s say you want to keep beacons for some reason. What solution would allow maximum beacons if you chose to use belts instead of bots?
I like the solution of making the requester and provider chest bigger.
Let's say 2*2 or 3*2 or even 3*3 ...
We can have a cool animation of bot landing on it. :)

With the more space taken by the box, the impact of the design will mater and less beacons will be usable.

1*1 is too powerfull when anythings can just pop in it.
Then I will use an unrequesting requester chest in my train stations for better unloading. :)

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by csdt »

AutomationIsFun wrote:Here is a neat solution for Bot nerf that won't upset much people: Make default bot speed and charge time significalntly worse. Add a super expensive infinite research afrer rocket launch for charge time. During the main game bots will be balanced so happy fun belt times. At megabase 1 rocket/minute superbotbase stage you can bring bots back to being op and awesome.
Like already said by quite a few people now, one of the best thing would be that bots and belts don't have the same usage.
And this can be achieved in multiple ways.

Pallets/crates/packs of items on belts is a good way to drastically improve the throughput of belts at such level that it is much more effective than bots.
Nerf high throughput logistic networks without affecting low throughput networks: this could be done by limiting the bot density (creating traffic jams if they are too many), or limiting chest throughput.
Because bots are very flexible, it is easy to setup item transportation for complex recipes, while belt could be for simple yet overused recipes (like circuits and so on).
Gnark wrote:I like the solution of making the requester and provider chest bigger.
Let's say 2*2 or 3*2.
That would be neat to reduce the density difference between bot-based factories and belt-based factories.
(We should probably have regular big chests also, just to have more inserters attached to them without having to have logistic chests for that)

Or just revamp completely logistics network to make them more fun (eg: manual connections like trains):
hitzu wrote:TL;DR
Make logistic infrastructure more complex.

What?
What if in order to logistic chests work they had to be connected together and had a limited amount of connections?

Why?
Let's make the Logistic Network more fun!
Don't forget it's also possible to combine several options

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by ttapada »

[
Postby AutomationIsFun » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:29 pm

Here is a neat solution for Bot nerf that won't upset much people: Make default bot speed and charge time significalntly worse. Add a super expensive infinite research afrer rocket launch for charge time. During the main game bots will be balanced so happy fun belt times. At megabase 1 rocket/minute superbotbase stage you can bring bots back to being op and awesome.
+1
That would keep the bot-based mega builds possible in the late game.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by azizmandar »

I think that if you want logistics bots to be a choice against belts then the research and creation need to be looked into.

Early logistics bots (Personal use) are nice but due to the fact that they become late game logistics bots they are a pain to make when you get them. I almost thing you should have personal logistics bots that are easier to make (shorter range and only work for you) and then you can use them as a component for the bigger bots later (kind of a reverse of most of the personal components using the basic ones).

Second I find anything where I have to use liquids to be more of a pain than things that don't. In general many of the components of the robots require liquids but they are sub components you need to make a lot of for all sorts of things so by the time you get to logistics robots for a logistics network these are trivial components. However when you get to Express belts you need lubricant to make the belts (not a component of them) In general it makes sense but in reality it makes it a pain. Unlike the previous levels of belts where if I'm missing a few I can just craft them on the spot I have to run back to my assembler. And it is likely I will be able to craft an extra few logistics robots on the spot (though they do need a roboport to work). If a simple sub component (like an engine) could replace the lubricant I think I would find belts less of a pain (of course engines would increase the cost in time and components a lot so maybe make multiples for one or use something else)

I find High tech research to be a minor step from Production research (mostly just research time) I tend to have everything ready for blue circuits by the time I get to production research. Once I have researched blue circuits High tech research is ready to go. I have had games where I don't even get Express belts going before I'm ready to research logistics bots. (Being able to make the belts easier would possibly fix this but really I think making the belts about as good as basic logistics robots would probably help too)

The final kicker, I think. is that logistics bots have an research line that makes them even better than they start as without any modifications and belts have to be researched, created, and replaced to make them function. And add on to that if you are using slower inserters you have to replace them as well. I don't see why inserters can't use a "scoop" system where components moving on a belt slide onto the waiting arm rather than it having to try and grab a fast moving component. Inserters already have enough reasons to make and use a wide variety that the extra complication of the fast belts and slow inserters just add to the gap between bots and belts. Inserters have a nice research line that boosts them (stack inserter capacity). If I was looking for a simple solution to boost belts I'd consider making the Non-stack insterter capacity bonus apply to stacking on the belts. No upgrade, no replacements and a huge boost to throughput. Regular belts get a bit more life, fast belts begin to reach basic logistic robot ability and express betls will be faster than bots for a while. The 3x stack will even breath more life into all of them again and keep bots from out pacing them without infinite research. The bots still have the benefit of ignoring terrain and being simpler and smaller to setup but no longer would be something people would be looking to replace all working belts with.

Lastly if art concerns are a stopper for stacked things on the belt (And to make it look the best I can see the issues) would you consider a lower quality hack? Like place a band or box around the stack so they all look the same from the side (just taller or shorter depending on the count) and then place the item icon on top. End up making 2 + new art assets (number of stacks you are willing to work with) that you place under the current item art.

In general I find that the belt progression is not bad and Bots are not too bad either but if you want belts to keep up they need a research that will let them expand without additional work and have it happen a little bit before bots com on the scene.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by bobucles »

Pallets/crates/packs of items on belts is a good way to drastically improve the throughput of belts at such level that it is much more effective than bots.
That's true, except it's not. Anything a pallet on a belt can do, a bot with a pallet can do better. But what if bots can't carry pallets? Then you have an issue where bots can no longer move items, which messes up bot storage and causes the deconstruction planner to break down. That's also a very bad thing.

If belts get some kind of item compression, it needs to be something belts can do that bots can't, but it can't screw up the bot network either.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by BHakluyt »

The thing I find when I do play with bots is that I can do with recharge speed research too...Thats the bottleneck for me when considering the robot as an individual.

I don't know if Klonan got my feedvack, he asked for some regarding his mod "robot battery research." It obviously takes a few long playthroughs to research speed or battery more than the other to see the real impact, but so far I have found that it is an excellent upgrade to my bots, especially my personal construction bots. Need a bigger power armor though at some point because they just take/store so much energy.

Would you kindly please add both robot battery size and charge speed as infinite research options in Factorio.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by DarkArchitect »

Just my two cents on the belts vs bots issue. I'm not going to discuss throughput or power, but some other details.

One thing that I think would make belts better are tools to ease the construction of complex buses, for example lane management.

If inserters could be configured to take or leave items to and from an specific lane, or even 90 degree directions, some designs would be less complicated, and more elegant. Sometimes you need to create strange patterns just to make items go in a specific lane, which in tight spaces can be difficult.

Another idea is to make merging and splitting belts more configurable, which I think the new splitter address well, so it's a good idea in this direction. Maybe even filtering could be a bit more superpowered and we could be able to send specific items from the input to specific lanes to the output (2 to 4).

Regards!

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by Avezo »

Given the infinite bot speed research, even if they are nerfed as planned, you will eventually bypass nerf and end up in the same situation anyway.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by Alice3173 »

hitzu wrote:
TL;DR
Make logistic infrastructure more complex.
What?
What if in order to logistic chests work they had to be connected together and had a limited amount of connections?
Why?
Let's make the Logistic Network more fun!
Alternatively an idea I haven't seen suggested yet, unless I just overlooked it: Change logistics chest capacities. Lower the capacity of requesters to like 2-3 slots and lower passive providers to only a row or so. Active providers wouldn't really matter so they could stay the same but storage chests should either stay the same or maybe get a boost. You can't simply add more chests to offset this sort of nerf without expanding your assembly line but it adds a level of complexity to the logistics system that would make it less useful without ridiculous changes and which neither makes bots useless nor is easily solved by simply using more chests.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by cbabendure »

Have you considered a lock timer on bots removing items from a chest?

i.e. bot1 removes item and the next bot has to wait a fraction of a second before it can remove an item from the box.

just a thought...

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by garath »

Key game design flaw = all items have zero mass

If the game were altered so that all items had real world mass values, then one possible solution to bots versus belts would be saying that larger mass items require more bots. Then, we might “buff” belts by allowing belts to continue ignoring mass. If you have to use a larger number of bots to transport certain items, then wouldn’t you at some point realize it is a better use of resources to transport larger items via belt? You might say players would just increase the number of bots since we have unlimited free power. But couldn’t you continue tweaking the math until you arrived at a situation where it would cost the equivalent of 100,000 iron to transport an item a certain distance versus, say, 100 iron to transport it using belts?

It is not just that bot are essentially teleported but that they use the same energy to transport a one gram object as they do to transport a one ton object. I suggest they change the game design so that bots correctly account for mass when considering how many bots are required to transport items.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by ske »

One thing I haven't seen suggested (not that i looked at all pages) is to introduce rare resources and to make bots depend on rare resources.

What is rare?

For example the shipwreck. Currently there's an average of zero shipwrecks.

The player time. This resource only grows linearly with time. It may be parallelized in multiplayer.

Nothing else as far as I know. Every resource (mining, energy, space) or managing power (bots&blueprints) grows exponentially.


Rare things would be unique items like those found in the shipwreck, ore/oil patches that can only be found a few (one, two, three) times on the whole map, or things that require player attention (hand-assembly). This gives it novelty and makes it worth something.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by Tricorius »

garath wrote:Key game design flaw = all items have zero mass

...

It is not just that bot are essentially teleported but that they use the same energy to transport a one gram object as they do to transport a one ton object. I suggest they change the game design so that bots correctly account for mass when considering how many bots are required to transport items.
Would you also suggest this game design change for construction bots and inserter arms?

Is it not equally silly that a robotic arm approximately the size of our player character can pull a locomotive out of a factory and stuff it in a chest that is about 1/12 the size of the locomotive? Or that same robotic arm can place a shrunken version of the locomotive on a belt that is, again, about 1/12 the size of the locomotive?

Or should “realism” only apply to logistics bots?

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by ske »

cbabendure wrote:Have you considered a lock timer on bots removing items from a chest?
I think they have. But they haven't explained why they think this is a stupid idea.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by mdqp »

Strictly speaking, are we trying to balance bots for the super-late endgame (mega bases) or are we talking about the general, normal gameplay? I think people building such grandiose projects are past the point where developers should bother with balancing, anything they'll do is likely out of whack anyway.

Also, I still hold the opinion that by the point you get the robots and their upgrades, belts are a solved problem, so if you don't switch over to robots, you'll simply keep using the same belt blueprints, with hardly any interesting/fun planning anyway, I don't think you can plan the fun for an infinite time sink, the game has a good curve as it is.

Finally, I don't see anything inherently wrong with bots being better period, you could make the same arguments for the belts upgrades, is there anyone which laments the basic belts being worse than the ones which come later on? After a certain point, you might want to do something different from belts, and bots might allow a switch over to a different system which involves less micromanagement and different designs/skills/thought processes, why would anyone care about it being balanced?

I am not one for mega bases, but this logic seems so backward, I don't understand it...
Last edited by mdqp on Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #225 - Bots versus belts (part 2)

Post by Avezo »

Tell you what, hire Ghostcrawler from old WoW for a month as a consultant. I deeply believe that bottom issue lies in recpie costs balance and resulting material transport amounts rather than in means of transportation.

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