Train car length changes depending on orientation?

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gHoST INFERNO
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Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by gHoST INFERNO » Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:57 am

Hi,

First of, let me just say, this game is amazing, no questions asked :-) However I came across something that I can only consider a bug.

tl;dr - The length of train cars in terms of tiles changes depending on whether it's on a vertical or horizontal track. This can result in blueprints of train stations not working right depending on orientation.

More details:
As I moved to the later parts of the game I started having more and more remote stations that e.g. mine some ore or oil, and a train is used to transport everything back to the main station where it gets unloaded for processing. To facilitate building these faster and having some essential supplies stocked in every remote station, I designed a blueprint for what I call a supply station. What I mean by that is that I have one special train running that stocks up on all sorts of supplies at the main station (train tracks, electric poles, walls, lasers, even roboports and robots, and lots of other stuff), and then at remote stations I place a blueprint that unloads the train using smart inserters into active provider boxes, where the smart-inserters (a) only unload a specific type of item and (b) have a logistic network condition to not unload more if there are already N items of that type stored in the logistic network. To make this all work I load each specific item into a specific wagon (of which I have 4), and I additionally restrict which slots in the wagons are allowed to be used for which type of resource (to avoid e.g. just filling it with one type of resource). To maximize how many different types of resources I can ship with each wagon, I put the maximal number of inserters on both sides of each wagon, which is 7 when the train is horizontal. This setup works great and I have it deployed in multiple locations. However, then I rotated it by 90 degrees, i.e. the unload station was vertical instead of horizontal and things got weird. Some items didn't get unloaded, until I noticed that it seemed like my smart inserters weren't properly aligned with the wagons in this vertical setup, although I used the same blueprint.

Indeed I was able to confirm that the relative length of train cars changes depending on whether a track is horizontal or not. I created a simple horizontal track, put 5 connected wagons on it, and marked it's beginning and end using inserters (see attached file "horizontal train.png"). Then I made a blueprint of that, rotated it by 90 degrees, and had that built. Then I put the same 5 wagon's on that track, aligning one end with the inserters. Notice how the other end doesn't even get close to reaching the other inserters (see attached file "vertical train.png"). So, the train "got shorter" :-(

I have to assume this is a bug, or possibly done on purpose to make trains look better in the vertical perspective? Did anybody else have similar experiences? How did you deal with it?


Also, slightly separate, does somebody know a better way to unload that I wouldn't need a smart inserter per resource while still only unloading until there is a reasonable stock in the remote base? I haven't really used the red/green cables yet, could those possibly be used to achieve the same thing but using the same smart inserter to unload a bunch of different resources?

Thanks! Awesome game :-) So many hours :-)
Attachments
horizontal train.png
Horizontal track where I put inserters at beginning and end of train to mark it's length.
horizontal train.png (714.06 KiB) Viewed 14010 times
vertical train.png
Vertical track, recreated based on a blueprint from the horizontal track, and then I readded the same 5 train wagons.
vertical train.png (442.26 KiB) Viewed 14010 times

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by Ranakastrasz » Mon Nov 16, 2015 2:20 am

This is not considered a bug by the developers. Its because, apperently, their shape visibly changes when rotating due to the x and y axis being different lengths. This shouldn't matter, seeing as if you rotate something with an angled viewpoint, it's apparent size SHOULD shift, but it hasn't been changed yet.
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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by gHoST INFERNO » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:39 am

Hey,

Thanks for your response. I agree with you that perspective can change actual visuals, but shouldn't change more than that (e.g. the same number of inserters should still work as they change appearance as well). At least I think that's what you said, right?
So I'm unsure, since you also say the devs do not consider this a bug .. Will this stay as-is and I should just suck it up, or will this be changed at some point?

Either way, thanks for the update!

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by sillyfly » Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:00 am

https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... =23&t=4083

Devs consider this not a bug. I disagree, as do others.
I hope they fix it one day, but currently it doesn't seem likely.

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by gHoST INFERNO » Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:55 pm

Hrm, thanks for the reference to that other thread, I failed to find one on the topic when I was looking. Well, that sounds unlikely to change, which is unfortunate given that this game is all about modular and precise construction :-(

To be honest though, I still don't understand the isometric argument for why this is correct as-is, and I don't understand it on two levels:

First, given that the base tiles are square, why would the train ever get shorter when rotated?

Secondly, I currently can't check in the game, but isn't the e.g. oil refinery not subject to the same contraction? I seem to recall that one is square (4x4?) even when you rotate it, but it seems that if it was subject to the same rules of contraction, if it's square now and I rotate it once 90 degrees, it shouldn't be square anymore? It is obviously much smaller than a train if 5 wagons, so the difference would be smaller, which I guess would be hard to deal with given the sizes of tiles.

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by DaveMcW » Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:11 pm

The argument goes like this:

1. Factorio art style uses entities that are wider than they are tall. Trains would look ugly if they violated this.
2. Buildings have a large vertical space between them. Trains would look ugly with a large vertical space between wagons.
3. Since vertical trains can't have tall wagons or tall spaces, they must be shorter.

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by Ranakastrasz » Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:27 pm

Regardless, I would seriously prefer it looking a bit odd when the train goes around corners than having designs that cannot be rotated, and have excessively inconsistant lengths between train cars.
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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by ssilk » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:57 pm

It depends on, how ugly it is looking then. :)

Well, this is for the case, that it looks too ugly.

In my eyes it is possible to have a difference between vertical and horizontal, if there is something like a "converter", that helps to migrate constructions from vertical/horizontal.
You need to know, there are also this other issue, that you "never" know the correct position of the inserters for the wagons. You need nearly always to count the position or to put a train at the train stop to find the correct inserter position.

..

I think these two issues needs to be combined somehow in a way, that we have something like a "train-station assistant". This has two basic functions:

a) Create a blueprint for a "standard train station". You input a train and what you want to load/unload. I've made a suggestion: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... ant#p73024
b) Read an existing station into this assistant and tries to convert it into this "standard station".

When you have this it's possible to do a rotation. It then will tell you that it is not possible to convert some stations. But this way, this is transparent for the gamer and we can find for some special cases clever solutions.

As said: This is only useful, if a constant train length look ugly (cause I think the devs have already put some effort in it, cause it is in my eyes much easier to program it with equal train length of horizontal/vertical).
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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by kinnom » Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:08 pm

the problem lies in the grid being square, as if the game was top-down
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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by imajor » Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:35 pm

I had almost the same experience in my last game, when I was trying to use a blueprint for creating outpost train stations. I agree with others, and think this should change. Not only because it makes it impossible to create rotatable blueprint for train stations, but also because it is not logical. If you follow this logic, buildings should also have different sizes when rotated, as gHoST INFERNO already mentioned. This is really annoying.

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by gHoST INFERNO » Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:44 pm

ssilk: A "converter" as you call it would be great, but it can't work currently, because there are simply some things you can do when the track is horizontal that you can't do when it's vertical. Specifically, when it's horizontal, I can align 7 inserters on each side of a train wagon, but when it's vertical that is impossible. The only way to make that work is to change the game such that either the train wagons are longer, or the inserters are more compressed vertically. That second solution would basically be addressing the issue pointed out by kinnom: Given the perspective of the game, maybe the tiles shouldn't have been rectangular, but rather slightly more wide than tall. That way the wagons (and all other structures) could look visually more in line with the perspective while still being rotateable.
However, such a change seems unlikely this late in the game (hah!), given that you'd need to change the way the coordinate system is rendered and potentially redo all graphics (or at least update).

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by ssilk » Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:12 pm

gHoST INFERNO wrote:ssilk: A "converter" as you call it would be great, but it can't work currently, because there are simply some things you can do when the track is horizontal that you can't do when it's vertical. Specifically, when it's horizontal, I can align 7 inserters on each side of a train wagon, but when it's vertical that is impossible.
I know. What I suggest is not a perfect solution, but a "good enough". It would work for about 80% of my train stations (so I guess for over 90% of "normal players" :) ). And there is technically no big difference in filling a wagon with 6 or 7 inserters, it takes just a bit more time.
The only way to make that work is to change the game such that...
There is never "the only way". :)
There is for example also a way like "The difference between vertical and horizontal train stops is much higher".
Why not? It could be a game element, that a vertical train station has other features than a horizontal. But I admit, that I don't have a good idea, how that can work.
However, such a change seems unlikely this late in the game (hah!), given that you'd need to change the way the coordinate system is rendered and potentially redo all graphics (or at least update).
Exactly. :)
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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by gHoST INFERNO » Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:23 pm

ssilk wrote:
gHoST INFERNO wrote:ssilk: A "converter" as you call it would be great, but it can't work currently, because there are simply some things you can do when the track is horizontal that you can't do when it's vertical. Specifically, when it's horizontal, I can align 7 inserters on each side of a train wagon, but when it's vertical that is impossible.
I know. What I suggest is not a perfect solution, but a "good enough". It would work for about 80% of my train stations (so I guess for over 90% of "normal players" :) ). And there is technically no big difference in filling a wagon with 6 or 7 inserters, it takes just a bit more time.
Not quite true in my case: In my case I have 7 smart inserters on each side, taking out specific resource types based on conditions of the logistic network, i.e. it's not just a little slower, I literally can't do what I want on a vertical stop since I can't place 7 smart inserters per side. I could instead only put 5 on each side, and then have a second station design for vertical, but that makes me sad :-) For now I'm just never building a vertical station ;-) I'd love not having to use a smart inserter for each type of resource for what I'm trying to do, but currently I can't have more complicated conditions / filters on the smart inserter. What I'd need is e.g. a condition *per filter*, instead of 5 filters and then conditions for all of those filters together, but that's a different discussion :-)

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by imajor » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:23 am

The more I think about it, the less I understand why it is done the way it is. This difference between vertical and horizontal distances is only present and the train wagons. Everything else treats the two directions equal. Like all the other facilities, max distances between electric poles, coverage of electric poles, speed of walking and vehicles, distance underground belts and pipes can handle, area of roboports and radars, etc..

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by Tev » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:25 am

I thought this is minor/non-issue but seriously when you look for practical implications it's actually beneficial. It's not really a problem to always build high-throughput stations horizontally*, and it is actually useful to make PAX stations and oil outpusts vertical (yay less space wasted). So I think it's useful. Not entirely logical**, but ok.

People want to change way too many things that are fine.



*unless you have single loco trains. But big stations are the only problem of the architecture, so it's a tradeoff you willingly accept when designing your network that way.
**well, it looks better. :P


EDIT: formatting :D

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by Peter34 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:21 pm

The problem is that the serious Train Car length shift, a freakin' 40%, will surprise newbie players, since it's counter-intuitive.

Imagine in particular a situation of coop MP with a total newbie player and a slightly more veteran player, and the newbie is going to set up a train unloading situation.

Either the veteran player has to keep telling the newbie that the newbie has to build the train stop in this very particular fashion even though it isn't at all intuitive that the other orientation, turned 90 degrees, should be worse. Or else the veteran player lets the newbie build it without supervision and then there's a 50% chance that the veteran will have to tell the newbie to dismantle the train stop and re-build it in the correct orientation.

One aspect of good game design is that players can be free to make choices without being surprised by unexpected consequences, by arbitrary consequences. Such as your train unloading station being 40% worse than if you had built it in another orientation.

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by gHoST INFERNO » Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:59 pm

Just to be sure to mention it again, I love this game - there are reasons why I spend so many hours on it :) So please don't take my thread as a strong "oh no this is horrible blah blah", more a curious investigation :-)

All I wanted to say in this thread is indeed:
* As previous poster said, it is counter-intuitive and I was certainly caught off-guard (aka I built something vertically and didn't notice for a while that it was horribly broken).
* I was interested in the reasoning behind why trains are so uniquely different from everything else (nothing else seems to see this kind of contraction when rotated).

At this point what I'd really be interested in is a comment from the devs about whether they are even remotely considering changing something here. Either answer is fine, but a "no this will never change" would mostly end the purpose of this thread :-) [barring discussions around maybe how to avoid confusing players that aren't aware of this]

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by ssilk » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:13 am

gHoST INFERNO wrote:* I was interested in the reasoning behind why trains are so uniquely different from everything else (nothing else seems to see this kind of contraction when rotated).

At this point what I'd really be interested in is a comment from the devs about whether they are even remotely considering changing something here. Either answer is fine, but a "no this will never change" would mostly end the purpose of this thread :-) [barring discussions around maybe how to avoid confusing players that aren't aware of this]
I think this can explained like so (I don't really know it, I guess from what I've heard): The train is the first graphic thing, which Albert did for Factorio. He made it so, that it looks good.

That's it. That's now about 3 years ago. The rest is logical in my eyes: They wondered, why the rendered pics didn't fit with the length and instead of redoing the graphics they introduced a factor to reduce size between vertical/horizontal, because that was much easier in that moment and - as said - it looks much better.

Nobody thought in this moment about that train stations cannot be rotated then. There where no idea about a blueprint at that time. It's about the same problem as with the gun-turrets, which where previously (till 0.11) 1x2 tiles and couldn't also be rotated. Same reason: Because it looked better.

As said: I guess, but I think that explains it more or less.
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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by Tev » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:55 am

Peter34 wrote:The problem is that the serious Train Car length shift, a freakin' 40%, will surprise newbie players, since it's counter-intuitive.

Imagine in particular a situation of coop MP with a total newbie player and a slightly more veteran player, and the newbie is going to set up a train unloading situation.

Either the veteran player has to keep telling the newbie that the newbie has to build the train stop in this very particular fashion even though it isn't at all intuitive that the other orientation, turned 90 degrees, should be worse. Or else the veteran player lets the newbie build it without supervision and then there's a 50% chance that the veteran will have to tell the newbie to dismantle the train stop and re-build it in the correct orientation.

One aspect of good game design is that players can be free to make choices without being surprised by unexpected consequences, by arbitrary consequences. Such as your train unloading station being 40% worse than if you had built it in another orientation.
Yeah it's stupid design. But it is already designed that way, and if you want to keep backward compatibility I wonder how would you handle it. Problem isn't just in train stations but also in signals. Some hack with recalculating trains' length based on version in which signal it's approaching was placed in sounds crazy.

At this point it's far easier just to tell newbies about that in tips&tricks. And move on, there is shitton of other work to be done elsewhere (god I will miss space platform).

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Re: Train car length changes depending on orientation?

Post by kovarex » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:38 am

imajor wrote:I had almost the same experience in my last game, when I was trying to use a blueprint for creating outpost train stations. I agree with others, and think this should change. Not only because it makes it impossible to create rotatable blueprint for train stations, but also because it is not logical. If you follow this logic, buildings should also have different sizes when rotated, as gHoST INFERNO already mentioned. This is really annoying.
This would require to change the grid to rectangles which would require basically all graphics to be recreated.

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