Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by irbork » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:14 pm

I really like the rail planner's obstacle avoidance upgrade.

Don't like the basic oil processing change but it is something I can get used to. Anyway advanced oil processing was the first research after setting up oil. Moving bots and laser turrets to chemical science makes perfect sense though.

Flamethrower uses liquid as fuel. Making it use gas is just wrong. Maybe you should change its name to something like Blowtorch.

BTW basic oil processing at the new format is useless after getting to advanced oil processing. At the old form it was useful if you did not setup good automatic cracking and needed lots of solid fuel. It was also nice to be able to get all the oils without any water.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by mcdjfp » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:14 pm

I don't think that the recipe change actually solves the problem, it just moves it creating a bigger wall later.

When oil processing hits it will function just like all of the other early game recipes. You put something in, get something else out and take that to another building. Now the stumbling block will be advanced oil processing. Now not only will new players have to deal with the 3 linked outputs (which used to be the issue with basic oil processing), they will also be hit with all of the balancing issues of keeping enough of each (or at least enough heavy oil) for different uses. I have had a number of builds where I had to set several of the oil refineries to basic oil processing to ensure that there was enough heavy oil for lubricant production.

A far better change would be to move the cracking recipes forward to basic oil processing so there would be something to consume the extra products until they are needed. It would also get water into the oil area. It would teach dealing with the multiple outputs without the pain of having to store the excess.

Moving only the heavy oil cracking forward might be even better by encouraging solid fuel production from light oil to consume it and leave value in the advanced oil processing to boost petroleum gas production, both directly and through light oil cracking.
Last edited by mcdjfp on Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by 1cec0ld » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:16 pm

RockDeicide wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:10 pm
On the oil change:
  1. The refinery now looks weird with new basic processing, it looks impractically big. It would be better to have 2 refineries: a basic one and advanced one. The former should be small and it should have a flare stack, while an advanced one shouldn't have a flare stack, but otherwise can remain the same as old refinery.
  2. I don't see any changes to the ratios in the advanced oil processing and that means a lot more waste products to deal with when needing lubricant.

I agree with this. It's more effort and more crafting (Possibly make the small refinery a component of the large?) but it certainly makes more sense to me, rather than using a 2x5 length of a 5x5 building for a relevant segment of the tech tree.

Thinking as I type, the entire change is a bit awkward. A refinery is a refinery is a refinery. Small vs Large shouldn't change much. But at the same time, this change was meant to reduce difficulty, at the cost of visual cohesion, if that's a term. To implement a new, smaller refinery would cause a similar difficulty spike as Advanced Processing. Instead of changing piping around to the new Water output, it would be a rebuild process, exchanging small refinery for large. No benefit.
My bias as a 7 month player is showing, since I don't see much of a difficulty spike for it, but I also think that simply blanking out the pipes isn't the right solution for this perceived problem.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Lubricus » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:22 pm

I like the changes.
The changes to basic oil refining looks great. It doesn't dumb down the game only making the difficulty curve better.
I have always just added some tanks and rushed advanced oil processing never bothered with making solid fuel to get rid of heavy and light oil.
The oil refining is the most complex part in vanilla Factorio where you more or less need wires to automate, that comes way to early.
I would also propose to increase the speed of the chemical science pack recipe.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Maxreader » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:24 pm

Based on what limited info we have now, my main concern now is wondering how many new (and old) players will now ask “What’s the point of light oil?” And I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with them for saying so. The solid fuel efficiency isn’t immediately obvious, and now might be insignificant compared to the now reduced infrastructure required The flamethrower turret efficiency isn’t necessarily worth the infrastructure cost over using plain crude, and flamethrower ammo no longer requires it. I would expect most new players to crack their way right past it and keep using petroleum for solid fuel, since that's what they would be conditioned to do. I wouldn’t quite call it useless, but now without more info it now seems to only exist as an efficiency upgrade. That reminds me more of the Angel’s Mods ethos than that of default Factorio.

One suggestion mentioned that I agree with is to change the solid fuel in Chemical Science to sulfur, and make solid fuel only craftable with light oil. That forces light oil to be used for something, as it will be needed for rocket fuel.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by jodokus31 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:24 pm

I like, that the unused inputs/outputs of oil refineries are closed. This way, you can already connect water pipe for advanced oil processing.

Regarding the basic oil recipe i'm struggling a bit. First thought was, "I don't like it, because its too simple", but maybe its good for beginners.
The fact that you eventually have to use advanced oil processing to get bots and yellow science and that it yields more overall if you crack it down makes it preferable, even if you can just dump crude oil in basic oil processing to just get petroleum (its 65 for basic oil processing and 55 for advanced (?))
Early solid fuel power might be a problem, though
For big scale blue belt usage, you still have coal liquefaction to get a lot of heavy oil.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Ambaire » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:25 pm

1cec0ld wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:16 pm
RockDeicide wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:10 pm
On the oil change:
  1. The refinery now looks weird with new basic processing, it looks impractically big. It would be better to have 2 refineries: a basic one and advanced one. The former should be small and it should have a flare stack, while an advanced one shouldn't have a flare stack, but otherwise can remain the same as old refinery.
  2. I don't see any changes to the ratios in the advanced oil processing and that means a lot more waste products to deal with when needing lubricant.

I agree with this. It's more effort and more crafting (Possibly make the small refinery a component of the large?) but it certainly makes more sense to me, rather than using a 2x5 length of a 5x5 building for a relevant segment of the tech tree.

Thinking as I type, the entire change is a bit awkward. A refinery is a refinery is a refinery. Small vs Large shouldn't change much. But at the same time, this change was meant to reduce difficulty, at the cost of visual cohesion, if that's a term. To implement a new, smaller refinery would cause a similar difficulty spike as Advanced Processing. Instead of changing piping around to the new Water output, it would be a rebuild process, exchanging small refinery for large. No benefit.
My bias as a 7 month player is showing, since I don't see much of a difficulty spike for it, but I also think that simply blanking out the pipes isn't the right solution for this perceived problem.
I have ~800 hours in Factorio, more with non-steam versions, and have been playing for about 3.5 years now. First off, to make a major oil change like this so late into 'early access' makes little sense to me. If anything, I think they should have done what mcdjfp is suggesting and put heavy/light oil cracking in basic oil processing, or in a linked (red+green) science tech before advanced oil processing.

We need the existing basic and advanced oil processing recipes.

If the devs feel the need to add single input->product recipes, they should be as a super advanced oil processing recipe, with appropriately increased power costs.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Lubricus » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:26 pm

mcdjfp wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:14 pm
I don't think that the recipe change actually solves the problem, it just moves it creating a bigger wall later.

When oil processing hits it will function just like all of the other early game recipes. You put something in, get something else out and take that to another building. Now the stumbling block will be advanced oil processing. Now not only will new players have to deal with the 3 linked outputs (which used to be the issue with basic oil processing), they will also be hit with all of the balancing issues of keeping enough of each (or at least enough heavy oil) for different uses. I have had a number of builds where I had to set several of the oil refineries to basic oil processing to ensure that there was enough heavy oil for lubricant production.

A far better change would be to move the cracking recipes forward to basic oil processing so there would be something to consume the extra products until they are needed. It would also get water into the oil area. It would teach dealing with the multiple outputs without the pain of having to store the excess.

Moving only the heavy oil cracking forward might be even better by encouraging solid fuel production from light oil to consume it and leave value in the advanced oil processing to boost petroleum gas production, both directly and through light oil cracking.
You can burn away petroleum with making solid fuel from petroleum. So there is still a solution.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by rhynex » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:32 pm

MicFac wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:43 pm
rhynex wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:07 pm
just logged in to say that I hated the oil recipe change. there is no challenge left in oil processing.
Since the changes are just on basic oil processing, I don't think it's too simple. You need Advanced Oil processing for heavy Oil to be able to keep progressing in the game, meaning the challenge just comes a little later on and there is more of a gradual increase in complexity which is great.
you only need 25 heavy oil to proceed now. yes just 25 is enough to win the game with the recipe change. do newbies think of efficiency, I dont think so. gradual of complexity is nothing now, it is almost zero. having researched advanced oil processing does not mean enforcing users to use it. newbies shall just research it, that is it. there is no enforcement to use the new fancy recipe until very end of game.

also another problem. newbies may continue with basic processing and eventually realize they need lubricant for yellow science (at almost end of game) because why? they dont need it until then, it is not required. they shall find adv oil processing have heavy oil as output and research it, maybe coal liq but still it is not usable at this point, they do not have heavy oil. shall they change their entire oil processing at yellow science? do you think they shall? I dont think so. advanced oil processing shall be just an annoyance for newbies. I bet lube's next recipe change is removing heavy oil :D

same for light oil, it is even worse, entirely used just for cracking.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Reika » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:39 pm

Ambaire wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:25 pm
1cec0ld wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:16 pm
RockDeicide wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:10 pm
On the oil change:
  1. The refinery now looks weird with new basic processing, it looks impractically big. It would be better to have 2 refineries: a basic one and advanced one. The former should be small and it should have a flare stack, while an advanced one shouldn't have a flare stack, but otherwise can remain the same as old refinery.
  2. I don't see any changes to the ratios in the advanced oil processing and that means a lot more waste products to deal with when needing lubricant.

I agree with this. It's more effort and more crafting (Possibly make the small refinery a component of the large?) but it certainly makes more sense to me, rather than using a 2x5 length of a 5x5 building for a relevant segment of the tech tree.

Thinking as I type, the entire change is a bit awkward. A refinery is a refinery is a refinery. Small vs Large shouldn't change much. But at the same time, this change was meant to reduce difficulty, at the cost of visual cohesion, if that's a term. To implement a new, smaller refinery would cause a similar difficulty spike as Advanced Processing. Instead of changing piping around to the new Water output, it would be a rebuild process, exchanging small refinery for large. No benefit.
My bias as a 7 month player is showing, since I don't see much of a difficulty spike for it, but I also think that simply blanking out the pipes isn't the right solution for this perceived problem.
I have ~800 hours in Factorio, more with non-steam versions, and have been playing for about 3.5 years now. First off, to make a major oil change like this so late into 'early access' makes little sense to me. If anything, I think they should have done what mcdjfp is suggesting and put heavy/light oil cracking in basic oil processing, or in a linked (red+green) science tech before advanced oil processing.

We need the existing basic and advanced oil processing recipes.

If the devs feel the need to add single input->product recipes, they should be as a super advanced oil processing recipe, with appropriately increased power costs.
I am in agreement with this, plus the fact that changing these recipes has meant lots of other required changes that do not make sense, like a gaseous item for flamethrower ammo and pushing the bot-based automation - the thing that is supposed to totally supplant building by hand - even later into the game, ensuring even fewer people will make an effort to rely on it.
Last edited by Reika on Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by MrGrim » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:40 pm

Some discussions on the Discord server led to an idea for dealing with the new player issues with oil that I think would work a lot better here. Original credit for the idea goes to Hexicube.

The idea is based on the following assumptions:

* The fundamental problem is that it is difficult for players to discover how to deal with multiple outputs without clogging the system.
* The change as proposed only delays the problem.
* The change to the flamethrower ammo further limits the already limited utility of even having heavy and light oil.
* Locking construction bots behind blue science further increases the mid game "hump".

So, how can we introduce new players to the tools to handle the multiple outputs of advanced processing while not needing to make changes to bots or flamethrower ammo or over simplfying the first refinery?

Make basic only output heavy oil, and make cracking available with basic oil processing!

This makes access to plastic require cracking plants allowing players to familiarize themselves with the recipes used to balanced advanced oil processing before they are required to prevent complete blockages. It avoids simply delaying the problem by having the player use all of the tools required to solve the problem in a safer context with linear and simple progression before they must be used in a more complex scenario!

I hope that you agree!

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Reika » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:41 pm

MrGrim wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:40 pm
Some discussions on the Discord server led to an idea for dealing with the new player issues with oil that I think would work a lot better here. Original credit for the idea goes to Hexicube.

The idea is based on the following assumptions:

* The fundamental problem is that it is difficult for players to discover how to deal with multiple outputs without clogging the system.
* The change as proposed only delays the problem.
* The change to the flamethrower ammo further limits the already limited utility of even having heavy and light oil.
* Locking construction bots behind blue science further increases the mid game "hump".

So, how can we introduce new players to the tools to handle the multiple outputs of advanced processing while not needing to make changes to bots or flamethrower ammo or over simplfying the first refinery?

Make basic only output heavy oil, and make cracking available with basic oil processing!

This makes access to plastic require cracking plants allowing players to familiarize themselves with the recipes used to balanced advanced oil processing before they are required to prevent complete blockages. It avoids simply delaying the problem by having the player use all of the tools required to solve the problem in a safer context with linear and simple progression before they must be used in a more complex scenario!

I hope that you agree!
I like this idea.
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Loewchen » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:44 pm

Oil processing created a unique and interesting challenge by outputting multiple products at a fixed ratio, removing that just to reduce the difficulty feels rash. I hope the input output ratio of the new basic oil processing will be very inefficient and so give a strong incentive to switch to the advanced recipe.
The fixed fluid-ports are great.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by mcdjfp » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:47 pm

Thinking about it more, the basic oil processing change is a very bad idea.

There is always solid fuel production to use the excess. Currently you hit basic oil processing. You need petroleum gas for a few things and you have two other products you don't need at the moment. The challenge is to make sure you can either store the excess or convert it to solid fuel (to be stored or used). It teaches the lesson that all of a buildings outputs must be dealt with.

Advanced oil processing has its own lessons. Dealing with all of the balancing issues opened up by converting heavy to light and light to petroleum. Saving enough heavy for lubricant while at the same time having enough petroleum gas for all of its uses. You can't simply throw more of one product at the problem because you end up with more of the other. These issues are gradually added because you can start making lubricant without advanced oil processing (at least right now)

With the change the basic lesson remains untaught until advanced oil processing hits. Now in addition to dealing with the balancing issues, new players will also have to deal with the lesson that should have been taught by basic oil processing, except now the processing chain is more complex and more difficult to debug than simply asking, "Can I convert enough of this junk to solid fuel to get the refinery running again?". At advanced the problem could be at the refinery, or in cracking too much, or too little.

Teach the lessons 1 at a time, don't simply shove the problem down the road it WILL make things worse. What is really needed is a way (maybe an addition to the overlay that can be toggled with alt) to point out that a building is not functioning because one of multiple outputs is full.
Last edited by mcdjfp on Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Raphaello » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:48 pm

MrGrim wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:40 pm
So, how can we introduce new players to the tools to handle the multiple outputs of advanced processing while not needing to make changes to bots or flamethrower ammo or over simplfying the first refinery?

Make basic only output heavy oil, and make cracking available with basic oil processing!

This makes access to plastic require cracking plants allowing players to familiarize themselves with the recipes used to balanced advanced oil processing before they are required to prevent complete blockages. It avoids simply delaying the problem by having the player use all of the tools required to solve the problem in a safer context with linear and simple progression before they must be used in a more complex scenario!

I hope that you agree!
I like this idea too as it removes the challenge of dealing with multiple outputs while introducing new players to cracking. It also makes all oil products available immediately so the other recipe changes are not required

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Katharsas » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:51 pm

MrGrim wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:40 pm
...
I hope that you agree!
Yeah that sounds like a much better way.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by mcdjfp » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:55 pm

MrGrim wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:40 pm
I hope that you agree!
Interesting idea, but it doesn't seem to solve the real problem. The issue is new players dealing with the fact that buildings stop when any one output is blocked. In my opinion delaying this lesson is a bad idea as the lesson will still have to be taught eventually and the simpler the factory is at the point the lesson is taught the better.
Last edited by mcdjfp on Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Draloric » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:57 pm

Yijare wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:00 pm
PacifyerGrey wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:35 pm
Basic oil processing needed a change but I am not sure this one was best.

I am sure that adding a flare stack with a proper description would be much better.

Flare stack besides burning excess heavy and light oil would also add extra pollution which would actually help players drive towards advanced oil processing while still not being a game stopper.

Flare stack would just burn oil and pollute while not actually requiring power or anything else. Description should say it is designed to burn excess oil products such as light and heavy oil if you have no means to handle them otherwise.
I'd second this, but the Flare needs power to start the burning process (the spark to ignite)
I third this, and the Flare Stack should need power to restart the burning process if it ever runs out of fuel as well.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Shingen » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:00 pm

the change to disable one of the inputs of the refinery (and generally add customizability for modded buildings in that regard) is great.

however, i'm not a fan of oil changes if that causes a delay in getting worker robots.
while i'm fine where "Logistic system" tech chests (requester/active provider/buffer) are at the moment (they could be even harder to get IMO), the automation of construction by construction bots, and resource resupply by logistic bots are such a great user-experience-improving feature of Factorio, that it's something i try to rush most of the time, to make the rest of the game less unnecessarily TEDIOUS.
i would even prefer if they (at least construction ones) were easier to get.

i've been playing Factorio for a while now, so maybe it's because of the years that have passed, but i don't recall hitting a complexity wall with oil processing during my first playthrough and having issues like not being able to find/understand "why the hell did my factory stop?!".
the main nuisance in oil processing for me was (and still is) the huge number of chemical plants required to crack down surplus heavy/light oil into the shitloads of petroleum that is required from a certain point - i would prefer if cracking was a couple of times faster than it is atm, so less chemical plants are required.

but coming back to the topic at hand: i agree with some others that simplifying the recipe this way only delays the big problem that apparently many players have, and i do not think it's a good idea.
however, if you insist on some simplification, i like the idea of basic processing refining crude oil into heavy oil instead of petroleum.
it is a bit simpler than the current way, makes the player setup cracking from the start (and not after a couple of minutes when their heavy/light oil tanks fill up), incentivizes change to advanced processing (if the player realizes it can create petroleum directly), and overall it just makes more sense for BASIC processing to refine crude oil into the worst/least refined product, and not the most refined one.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Ambaire » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:04 pm

mcdjfp wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:55 pm
MrGrim wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:40 pm
I hope that you agree!
Interesting idea, but it doesn't seem to solve the real problem. The issue is new players dealing with the fact that buildings stop when any one output is blocked. In my opinion delaying this lesson is a bad idea as the lesson will still have to be taught eventually and the simpler the factory is at the point the lesson is taught the better.
That 'lesson' should have been taught with the very first miner. If there is no conveyance to carry the products, it will fill its buffer and stop. It's a very logical progression for oil.

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