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

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Cleany
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In defence of Megabases and logistics robots.

Post by Cleany »

I just started playing again after 6 months. I had done a lot of work to get my base to where it was, but there was still a lot to be done to complete the plan. I stopped because the UPS was dropping to 40 so I decided to wait for the optimisations in the update. Then I had a couple of problems after the .16 update that I had to sort out (layout and trains).

Now that I am playing again I am again reminded that it is the most enjoyable gaming experience I have had. Possibly some games in their peak could equal it (TF2, DK2), but if you add the playtime, Factorio comes out on top.

But for me it comes out on top because I can build a megabase. An automated huge machine with moving parts and mechanisms and a layout that I designed that will repel biters and create stuff stuff and more stuff.

My base is a big square with modular layout, it is over 1500 x 3000 tiles, over 4.5m sq. I have put over 270 hours into it and it is my creation, and the fourth version of my idea of a base. I hope to use it to make some tutorial vids some day when it is finished.

This is the core of the game for me. Taking all of the parts and making them into a glorious, automated, well laid out whole. This is why I spend hundreds of hours on the game.

I am writing this because I want to say that though there is talk about belts being more fun than bots, and about beacons and throughput, I have realised after coming back to Factorio again, that, for me, the core of the game is the way all of the elements of it come together, and that nerfing logistics robots would hurt my playstyle, because I use them, almost exclusively, to manage the stock over a very large area. Without them it would be a logistical nightmare, and if they are nerfed, even though it wouldn't impact the normal running of the base much, the initial moving of a great many items as I reorganise and expand would become pointlessly tedious.

Are belts and assemblers the core of the game? It would seem so from the recent FFF posts. Is is worth sacrificing a great deal of the functionality of a totally unrelated aspect of the game (logistics robots) because they can be abused to create something that belts alone cannot? I say no! I say leave the logistics system alone, and if some players want to maximise throughput either let them, or find a solution that doesn't affect the functionality of logistics robots (like removing beacons).

This is my 2 cents. I only say it because coming back to my base was so pleasant and gave me such a revelation as to why I enjoy the game so much, that I felt it had to be said.

[Koub] Merged this topic into the FFF discussion about bots vs belts, where it brings to the debate.
Last edited by Koub on Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Merged from isolated topic in Ideas & Suggestions into the main discussion on FFF topic

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Belts V Bots

Post by olafthecat »

Post here instead of everywhere else please!
Gonna start playing again with 0.16 build.
That's all.

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

Post by PacifyerGrey »

After listening to Twitch with Xterminator and Twinsen I came up with a certain opinion.

I understand that dev team is not up to introducing any new features like stack belts or chest bot queues due to lack of time which can be invested into GUI or other useful features that everyone is expecting.
Given no changes to mechanics can be made it leaves only simpliest of options left to try to balance the topic - Belts vs Bots.
Out of simpliest options there are only some actually left:
  • Bot nerfs. Charging time or other similar.
  • Beacon nerf (actually complex one)
  • Loaders
  • Inserter buffs like 90 degree turn
As I get it bot nerf path is chosen.
I am "belt lover" so I could possibly advocate this. But I actually don't.

I am trying to see what particular problem will it positively address given negative consequences it has.
Lets divide player base into several categories.
1. Megabase builders which pursue scale and UPS limits. These ones will be hit as the hardest and they will really suffer as their creations current and future will suffer. This will be a real shitstorm.
2. Megabase builders who pursue self imposted goals. They will still pursue their goals no matter the limits you put them on so this change will only make them uncomfortable a bit. These players will have fun from both belts and bots whatever is in their current mood.
3. New players. They will not be hit much as they just can't feel the difference.
4. Medium scale players who do not make it far past first rocket launch. Niether of them can tell you bots are OP as they have pretty high cost and are not very effective before full upgrades.

So megabasers which are the expected target of these changes will be pissed off. I can't see how it is good. While these changes can be reverted by a simple mod and megabasers in most cases do use mods anyways (so this can be mitigated) I still can't see how bot nerf will really affect the fun of the game. Changes will not be really noticable by most players (where fun increase is expected) and where changes are noticable they will just aggro players.

So in the end I do not see any really worth benefit from the simple nerf which will negate the shitstorm. And the shitstorm is not something you want to have right before release.
Yes this balance requires addressing but it requires complex solution like stack belts or palleting at least to provide end game alternative for UPS saving at large scale for belt solutions.

There is a ton of things implementing which the game will become better and everyone will be actually pleased with the changes. GUI, pipes optimization, map gen. 100% of playerbase will thank you for those so why even start this storm?
So I think leaving bots as they are is a way to go here.

Especially these nerfs should not even touch construction bots as they already are too late tech and are aweful early to mid game due to PSP sucking hard and no factory electric network connection on a suit.

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

Post by deef0000dragon1 »

Avezo wrote:So, on a scale from 1 to 10, how afraid of tomorrow FFF everyone is?
4
I used to trust the devs, and still mostly do, but then they changed barrels without asking for feedback as far as I recall.
Also mostly because I have heard rumors that some of the devs are not taking kindly to the feedback and that, though only for testing, changes to the bots have already been made on the main branch.
I normally trust the devs, and expect them to have A solution here, but I dont know what they are going to prioritize when it comes to [time to 1.0, game quality/game balance, code complexity, etc.]. Are the simplest/most basic changes going to be implemented because the lure of 1.0 is too much? Will any more complex solution be a detriment to ups? How was the balance done?

Mods can almost always fix, but I dont want to have to start carrying around a set of mods from version to version to reverse these "balance" changes.

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

Post by Jarin »

deef0000dragon1 wrote:I used to trust the devs, and still mostly do, but then they changed barrels without asking for feedback as far as I recall.
Also mostly because I have heard rumors that some of the devs are not taking kindly to the feedback and that, though only for testing, changes to the bots have already been made on the main branch.
5-6. The tone of the last FF sounded to me less like response to feedback and more "look at why I'm right". They've decided somehow that bots are "not fun" and players should be steered away from using them extensively.

Please don't balance the game around 0.1% edge cases.

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

Post by VFaalcatnodriiro »

I agree with your whole posting.

Almost.
PacifyerGrey wrote:Yes this balance requires addressing
Why? As you stated just one block before, it doesn't affect the majority of players.
And even if it did - it would be ridiculous if they changed it.

For month and month almost every FFF was about how to get more UPS from the game, every 1% that was gained was celebrated. And then you screw with UPS in such a scale?
And all it does is to piss people off.

So I still fail to see the issue with bots being that good in the game way beyond the "end game".

But I'm confident they (*cough* he *cough*) took a look at the numbers. I guess from those playing on steam I am not the only one who pinned the game at 0.16.16. If the nerf Xterm & Co. where talking about with Twinsen really goes live, a lot of us will not update, or at least immideatly install the mod which reverts that unnecessary nerf.

Please focus on making the game better instead of making it worse. Fix pipes, fix belt-compression, reduce tree's hitboxes. Maybe insert an option which gives us construction bots from the start, and so on...

Thanks :)

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

Post by deef0000dragon1 »

oh, a final note to those who claim loaders are op,
Make the price 6 stack inserters, a blue chips, 5 reds, and a speed module 1/2. literally the same amount of material as it takes to unload to a full blue belt + some.

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Re: In defence of Megabases and logistics robots.

Post by shadetheartist »

I feel you're a programmer.

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

Post by Pascali »

Tricorius wrote:
Avezo wrote:So, on a scale from 1 to 10, how afraid of tomorrow FFF everyone is?
I don’t think they’d entirely remove bots.
And i hope. Or make them only effecitve for 10% of the things.


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

Post by Kira_ »

I really like the idea of filters on splitters :D but also maybe a ratio setting on them could also be really useful so I don't end up with 4 splitters in a row to get an eighth of the input :/

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

Post by WIZ4 »

Kira_ wrote:I really like the idea of filters on splitters :D but also maybe a ratio setting on them could also be really useful so I don't end up with 4 splitters in a row to get an eighth of the input :/
It would be one of the best buffs belts!
My native language is russian. Sorry if my messages are difficult to read.

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Re: Belts V Bots

Post by Koub »

olafthecat wrote:Post here instead of everywhere else please!
Nice try :)
[Koub] merged into main topic.
Koub - Please consider English is not my native language.

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Re: In defence of Megabases and logistics robots.

Post by sathill »

I think people says robots and nuclear plants are op because they cheat. Im mean I have a lot more than 270 hours mans build few factories and 2 megabases. Then I go to forum to compare to others players creations and all gloried megabases are cheated. Like unlimited resources or console commands for spawning ore at least. You can't feed base without cheats they say. Well I also run to place where I can not set all outpost in time to feed my megacreation because I takes too much time and 20m ore paches were gone in no time. Then I realize I don't use productivity modules. I set a lot of them. I research productivity to high level. Energy usage goes very high but roboports was always second in power list. They are not so great that people think. I got to the point when 35k robots flying constantly and I see big chaos in it. Clouds of robots waiting for charge. Hundreds (no joke) of roboports placed and they still choke in recharge. Now im working on my second megacreation without even one logistic bot. Its all clear what's going on. Without laser turrets and thousands of bots I got a lot lower power need, don't even use batteries. Ok at first base advance slower. But later it goes just as fast. I don't see need for robots nerf. Don't see need for belts upgrade. Only it will be cool to have better methods to place belts faster. Some way to upgrade belts fast because transfer from red to blue was pain. Robots just need to be placed and all is set. They receive upgrades automatic way.

Also I play from early 0.14 and after map restart I can see now how much tweaking factorio got. How great its vanilla now.

People cheat or use mods then cry because some part feel to easy. They forget how all its connected in game and changing one part of it got influence in other.

I don't mean mods are evil because there are great ones. And they are fun as hell. But I must say one story here. I was using teleport mod because base get big. I think through and set personal transport locomotive. It was nice but I was still waiting sometimes on signals. Then I think through again and set train high way set from 4 track lines and special combinator setup to make trains travel on internal line. And i lern from this.

All what im trying to say its there are many ways to play.. And if someone use bots and lasers and mods just let them have fun.

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

Post by melzedan »

I'm no fan of logistics bots. But in a sandbox game as Factorio you should be free to play the way you like, create your own challenges and goals and be creative. Compare to Minecraft, even though it has a creative mode many players "limit" themselves by choosing a survival world because that matches their play style and they feel that's how the game is meant to be played. Should creative mode be removed? No.

Perhaps Factorio could do something similar? There could be alternative game modes like, "No personal weapons" (must use vehicles and bots), "No solar panels" or "No logistics bots" which would limit the players in a way they choose themselves.
Also the achievements already in the game is also a way to sway players to try step out of their comfort zone and try something they wouldn't normally do.

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

Post by ske »

The emptiest barrels have the loudest sound or how to obtain a Pareto efficient solution while the ghosts of past errors haunt you in your dreams?

I must admit, I'm a belter and everything that keeps those pesky bots in check is a good thing. I'm lazy and I use bots but I feel dirty. Burn them down. Cleanse the sky. Throw them off a cliff. Bury them together with those modules and their bastard beacon brothers. Bots were an error. Blueprints were an error. You must make the game harder, not easier. You must think smaller, not bigger. Make finite but solvable puzzles instead of infinite sandboxes. Make something count something. Let us make the factory an art in harmony with the terrain. Banish cliff explosives. Make it rough. Make it hard.

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

Post by melzedan »

I thought a while about nerfing bots. But however you nerf their throughput it's so easy to compensate; "Throw more bots!"

But what if you make bots randomly drop stuff?

Even a 5% fail rate on a delivery would be a major wrench in perfectly timed setup. Such a nerf would make bot networks harder to predict and have an increased resource drain compared to belts. It would make bots a little more interesting than just another way to do the same thing as belts, but better.
Another twist could be to induce a harder penalty the longer distance the bot travels. Or a careful bot that's extremely limited but won't drop anything (for that precious satellite perhaps?)

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

Post by Aunte »

Hello there!

Tbh, I havn't read the entire forum atricle but I had a semi-long discussion with some friends of mine who worked in the gaming industry.

I agree with the factorio devs that bots in the current build are gamebreaking. The gap between belts and bots is way to massive and lead belts to absurdity. Im my eyes the main contra to bot-nerfs are the shrink of megabase-builds, but we have to keep in mind factorio is still in early access. Maybe we reached the peak of productivity and took it way further than initially intended.

Our "fix" for the gap is to give belts and bots different tasks. By limiting the throuput of bots they become a tool to deliver high-tech products (satellite, red/blue chips, rocket components,...). It could be acomplished by letting only one (or n) bots interact with a chest at once. The limiting factor of transportation would be the amount of chests and the bot capacity (not "just add more bots"). The bulk of transportation would still be burden by belts and trains.

I'm sorry for my broken english. Hopefully I was able to made my point.

TL;DR:
My fix: bots need time to interact with chests (one by one). Thus the throuput is limited and bots excell to deliver high-tier goods without increase of factory complexity.

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

Post by Tricorius »

I have to admit I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s FFF “we figured out inserters are the problem so they must be removed” article. Half of the internet will spontaneously combust.

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

Post by 3trip »

My guess is a little of everything, like increase blue belt speed from 3x yellow to 4x, a slight nerf to bots, and redoing beacons to make room for belts in end game setups.

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