Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

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

Post by agmike » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:10 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 disagree because I think this will lead the game in the unintended direction, actually:

1. It will add more itermediates into already very long chain to get to blue science compared to any other science (except maybe space, but by that time you are already pretty familliar with stuff).

2. Advanced oil is no longer mandatory and I think it should be.

3. Player with knowledge can now deliberately skip advanced oil, so overall for advanced players complexity is in fact reduced.

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

Post by Quickbowjob » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:10 pm

Draloric wrote:
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.
Ya those Flare Stacks irl do use some power they have lights and such pollution just did a quick search.. be nice if it can be added to main game.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi7DoG_STro
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_flare
Last edited by Quickbowjob on Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by mcdjfp » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:14 pm

Up until oil, buildings only produce 1 thing. A miner produces ore, a furnace produces whatever the input smelts into (iron ore -> iron plates, stone -> stone bricks), an assembly machine makes electronic circuits (again 1 or more inputs to a single output). The oil refinery makes 3 different products at once and stops if any 1 of them is blocked. That is the lesson. It makes sense that the building doesn't run if there is no where for the output. The issue is realizing the implications for a building with multiple different outputs.

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

Post by Draloric » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:14 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!
This is certainly the most unique Idea I've seen here, and I quite like it, for a couple of reasons

1. Shows new players how to crack/manage oil
2. Allows older players to still have access to various oil types (for bots, belts, flamethrower fuel* solid fuel, etc.)
3. Provides excellent incentive to start using Advanced Processing (less space and power used for cracking)
4. No waste products. (No wasted resources like flare stacks etc.)
5. Late game, as another person pointed out, you may want alot of heavy oil for lubricant for blue belts, this is a simple way to get more; maybe even run a few refineries only off of crude for the only purpose of blue belt production.
6. Makes an easy way to get Coal Liquification off of the ground, start with basic processing and get a bit of heavy oil going, then switch to coal liquification.

To be clear, I absolutely hate the oil change. As others have stated, I think it's a bit lazy, and just delaying and shunting aside the underlying issues. Those issues primarily being that Light and Heavy oil have very limited uses (especially early game), and that new players have a hard time understanding how to deal with multiple outputs when they become blocked.

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

Post by SReject » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:21 pm

The current FFF oil changes do little in the way of the issue its meant to address: helping new players learn to handle oil. It simply delays the headache until high-tech/science. Other than what a player would otherwise learn about handling/transporting fluids, the proposed suggestion does nothing to help a new player learn concepts to come.

MrGrim's suggestion of having basic oil output only heavy oil alleviates alot of angst us old-hands have with the proposed change(no lube == no bots) while also leaning new players into oil in a manner thats easy to digest.

Lets face it, oil is a lot of concepts thrown at the player all at once. By using cracking players are stepped into dealing with liquids, transporting them, introduced to the various machines of oil processing but the biggy, output bottle necking, is stripped away.

Yes, there's a bit more complexity in the cracking proposal than the slated FFF change BUT it makes up for it by being better suited to handling the issue being corrected.


And food for though: Assuming basic oil outputs only heavy, I was able to whip up a setup that outputs all 3 oils in under 60s without needing to know ratios, without having to worry about bottle necks, etc:

Image

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

Post by Hightower200 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:22 pm

I like the oil part where a not used input is not shown. ( makes switching receipies easier)

I do however dislike the change in the output.
I use the basic procesing if i am expanding the base and need a ton of lubricant becous it gives more heavy oil.

Is it an option to make a 3 (4) step oil processing


1 Simple oil processing ( 1 input, 1 output)
2 Basic oil processing ( 1 input, 3 outputs)
3 Advanced oil processing ( 2 inputs, 3 outputs)

(4) Coal cracking ( 3 inputs, 3 outputs)

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

Post by MrGrim » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:23 pm

Draloric wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:14 pm
6. Makes an easy way to get Coal Liquification off of the ground, start with basic processing and get a bit of heavy oil going, then switch to coal liquification.
That's a cool side effect I hadn't even thought of! Good call out! :)

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

Post by B4SK3 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:26 pm

Lots to love in this update, including that basic oil now only uses oil on the right side of the refinery. This means we can at least make the design without the "cannot mix fluids" pop up. Because let's face it, experienced players plan for the water from the start.

I don't disagree with some simplification for oil. My brother never made it past that in 0.15 and hasn't played since. However, I feel that the change to blue science using solid fuel gives a nice output for all the products, greatly reducing the chances of blocking and giving at least (in addition to the steam boilers) one clear route to get rid of every product. Was a further simplification really needed?

As the dev team seems to feel the answer is yes, please give some thought to the idea of heavy oil only instead of petroleum as explained by MrGrim above.
Make basic only output heavy oil, and make cracking available with basic oil processing!
In that case, one might even consider eliminating the solid fuel from heavy oil from the game entirely, offering the player 2 cracking and 2 solid fuel recipes only after unlocking basic science. Mandatory cracking and a backlog is basically impossible as everything would find an outlet in either plastic or solid fuel into blue science / boilers.

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

Post by Lorash » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:35 pm

My only concern is that these changes shift everything even more to petroleum. Light and heavy oils are already very niche and most of them end up being cracked to the "lighter one".

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

Post by Mathematician » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:48 pm

I sign in to the team against the oil processing changes.

An observation:
1. Advanced oil processing is locked behind chemical science packs.
2. Solid fuel is required to make chem. science packs.
3. With proposed changes heavy and light oil will be locked behind adv. oil processing.
4. That means players will have to initially produce solid fuel from petroleum and only later they could switch to light oil.

Does this actually make things any easier? Less building in the initial oil setup but need to reorganize things shortly after.
How hard can it currently be by the way? 2-3 tanks is enough to prevent factory from clogging.
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by CzBuCHi » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:53 pm

Love glowing lasers! (also never know i need them soo much :D)

Dont like oil changes too much - i would prefer combination of these two:
daydev wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:05 pm
If I were to propose a better way, I say leave the refinery with its two recipes, BUT make your new recipe be the first available and have it work from the chemical plant, so it doesn't look so awkward. Also make it slow and inefficient and very clear that it just a temporary thing to get you going, similar to burner drills. So it would go like this: you unlock oil processing, you get the slow inefficient but simple oil -> petroleum recipe for the chemical plant; then slightly later (still green science) you unlock the refinery and the current basic oil processing with three products; and then finally you unlock the advanced recipe as before.
MrGrim wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:40 pm
Make basic only output heavy oil, and make cracking available with basic oil processing!
Something like this:
  • "Crude Oil processing" technology unlocks chemical plant, pumpjack, "Crude Oil processing" recipe for chemical plant (crude oil ( + water?) => petroleum gas) and Solid fuel from petroleum gas
  • "Basic Oil processing" technology dependent on "Crude Oil processing" unlocks refinery, cracking and Solid fuel from light/heavy oil; "Basic Oil processing" recipe has "water" input closed
  • "Advanced Oil processing" same as it is now
PS: Not sure what happend first time, but i cannot find my original post so i recreated it from memory (in case of double post)

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

Post by Sander_Bouwhuis » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:55 pm

To solve 99% of the problems:
1. DON'T change the oil recipes!
2. Make the Bottleneck mod part of the vanilla game

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

Post by agmike » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:57 pm

Mathematician wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:48 pm
Does this actually make things any easier? Less building in the initial oil setup but need to reorganize things shortly after.
Thing is, you don't. Need new products from advanced oil — just make a new build, or upgrade old one. More choices now.
Mathematician wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:48 pm
How hard can it currently be by the way? 2-3 tanks is enough to prevent factory from clogging.
If you know about it, sure. But adding more tanks just to buffer is not very Factorio-like.
Something like this:

"Crude Oil processing" technology unlocks chemical plant, pumpjack, "Crude Oil processing" recipe for chemical plant (crude oil ( + water?) => petroleum gas) and Solid fuel from petroleum gas

"Basic Oil processing" technology dependent on "Crude Oil processing" unlocks refinery, cracking and Solid fuel from light/heavy oil; "Basic Oil processing" recipe has "water" input closed

"Advanced Oil processing" same as it is now

PS: Not sure what happend first time, but i cannot find my original post so i recreated it from memory (in case of double post)
But what would be the use of such intermediate recipe? From what I see, it just adds unnecessary hassle. Just upgrade from crude to advanced.

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

Post by justarandomgeek » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:57 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 absolutely love this version - it actually *fixes the problem* rather than just delaying it and punishing unrelated parts of the game!

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

Post by Matthias_Wlkp » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:11 pm

Obviously, new oil processing recipe is controversial. I'm a "casual Factorian" (despite ~400h on Steam) and I simply LOVE the new oil processing. Primarily because I will no longer have to worry about making sure a particular resource (solid fuel from light and heavy oil) is burned at a reasonable rate, so it doesn't cause a backup. I'm not sure if more advanced players, arguing against this change, realize how big of a headache this causes. On top of that, I don't think anyone does basic oil processing as soon as advanced oil processing is discovered.

I would argue against +25% PG output. I would keep it as it was before and simply loose the old light/heavy oil output. This should be very inefficient compared to advanced processing to justify the extra complexity.

The idea of introducing oil cracking sooner is interesting, but I think it would make it easier in later game stages when you need heavy oil for lubricants. Therefore I like more what was proposed in FFF.

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

Post by Vxsote » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:18 pm

I'm unsure about the oil changes. I've read (or at least skimmed) most of the posts above, and I think there are some good ideas that might be considered.

My first thought was "yay, I always seem to run short on petroleum at some point". But then thinking about that some more, this need for petroleum is a problem that develops as I begin to progress, so it seems backwards for the game to provide the solution up front. I like the idea of making it simpler than having to get cracking properly set up, but this seems too easy.

My second thought was about the flamethrower ammo, along the same lines as what has already been expressed by several others. While I don't know anything about real flamethrowers, the mental picture I have is something squirting out a stream of viscous liquid that sticks to everything and makes puddles of fire. Making ammo out of light or heavy oil is consistent with that mental picture. Making ammo out of petroleum gas is not. The "blowtorch" comparison does seem appropriate, and actually the flame turret on the tank seems to match that quite well. Maybe we should add LPG cylinders that can be used to power vehicles or as blowtorch ammo. Maybe there could be some other ingredient (gelatin? fish? tree sap?) used in combination with petroleum to make flamethrower ammo.

A side thought, which I'm sure would be well out of scope for 0.17, and probably anything else prior to at least 1.0 - what about farming corn (or other biomass) for biofuel? Maybe the biters would take a liking to it.

Anyhow, back on topic - I like the idea of "basic" processing being less efficient. Maybe there should be inefficient basic recipes for all three products individually (and flaring off the rest, as suggested by others), and advanced recipes that are efficient and for different ratios of all three at once. That lets us get up and running with whatever oil we need quickly, but at a cost. It also eliminates the need to delay worker robots or change the flamethrower ammo recipe. When our needs shift, we will still feel the pain of having to retool the refinery setup, and be motivated to optimize with the advanced recipes and cracking with proper automation to keep things balanced. If we are stubborn and persist in using single-item recipes, we will also feel the pain of an oil shortage much sooner.

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

Post by eradicator » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:26 pm

We decided to change the Basic oil processing recipe so that now it only outputs petroleum gas.
I predict that this will change the meta-game for megafactories to use basic processing only:

1) Plastic is the No 1 consumer of oil and only requires petrol gas.
2) One-output basic refining makes beacon-sandwiched refining trivial. As cracking is no longer required this is proabably 80% fewer machines at a probably tiny cost in oil consumption.
3) Light oil isn't even used in peaceful-mode (except for miniscule amounts for train fuel).
4) Heavy can be made directly from coal for lubricant without petrol as a byproduct, making it an easier alternative to advanced cracking.
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by MeduSalem » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:30 pm

I really don't like the oil processing changes.

It's like going from "buhuhu... it's too complex" to "meh... total no brainer". No middle-ground there at all. :roll:

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

Post by agmike » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:34 pm

MeduSalem wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:30 pm
I really don't like the oil processing changes.

It's like going from "buhuhu... it's too complex" to "meh... total no brainer". No middle-ground there at all. :roll:
You are still required to do advanced oil build to get heavy fraction. It's just postponed to the time when the challenges you face (balancing 3 outputs) can be dealt with proper tools (cracking), rather than buffering them in tanks or overproducing solid fuel.

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

Post by conn11 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:34 pm

I also have my problems with the new basic cracking, the proposed solutions, like giving only heavy oil and therefore mandatory cracking or flare torch seems much promising. The Flamethrower could be fixed quite easily: make it more alike the flamethrower turret. Start with crude oil and give a advanced ammo or higher stack size with the current repice
PS: the other FF-Changes, especially the reserved input, very welcome and most excellent!

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