Does Math Ruin this Game?

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rcp27
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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by rcp27 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:30 pm

Of course the standard answer for computer games is that it doesn't matter how you play as long as you have fun.

On the specific topic of ratios, my personal view is that a lot of online discussion I have seen makes a bigger deal of ratios than I think they deserve. Ratios are only important if the demand for your product is constant and the supply of your raw materials is also constant. Demand is never constant, though. It goes up and down as I expand the base, expend ammo killing biters, change science research depending on which combination of science colours I need and what speed of research I'm doing, or any number of other factors. Supply also varies as ore patches are mined out and new ones tapped.

Here's a simple example. If I'm building a solar and accumulator farm, do I size it for average factory output or peak load? If a load of biters attack at night and I fire off a bunch of laser turrets that will unbalance the day/night power demand. I might think to size the solar panels for average demand and have accumulators to deal with the occasional peak, allowing a few day/night cycles to recover. The ratio for that is not going to be the "standard" ratio, though, and will depend entirely on the nature of my peaks and average demand. If I depend on laser turrets the peak will be higher than if I use flame and gun turrets. So the appropriate ratio will depend on my individual base. Same goes for more complicated production. Do I set my manufacturing ratios based on a perfectly balanced consumption of all science pack colours? What happens when I'm only using certain colours? Maybe I can set my ratios for "average" demand and have a buffer to cover extremes.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by iceman_1212 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:41 am

I think that the standard cookie-cutter ratios (e.g., 3:2 green circuits in non-marathon, furnace to belt compression, etc.) are just the tip of the iceberg.

For me, the most interesting part of the game is setting up designs that not only involve the basic crafting machines (i.e., furnaces, assemblers, chem plants, etc.) but also taking into account modules, beacons, train throughput (of both stations and rail lines), etc., all the while trying to maintain reasonable UPS.

If you (or anyone) is finding this aspect of the game to be repetitive, I would suggest sticking with the a save for longer (i.e., not restarting factories as often) so you can spend more time in the late-game where cheat-sheets are of limited value.

P.S. Regarding your comment on a playstyle which involves no calcs - I personally very much dislike not planning stuff out because I find the reactive play-style to be extremely tedious once a base gets beyond a certain size (e.g., some of my red circuit assemblers aren't working because it looks like plastic is low --> add a plastic chem plant or two --> now green circuits are low --> add green circuit assemblers --> ...). I would much prefer to do some planning so I can quickly do an audit of my factory's performance using the production tab.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by Frightning » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:06 am

beltan wrote:I'm a former teacher, and love math.

But I'm wondering, for those of you who've got the ratios memorized (or are re-learning them now) or have them on paper just to your side, does it get too boring to simply place everything in the perfect ratio for each game? It seems, and even more so with the blueprint-saving update, that all you have to do is plop objects down, maybe changing the shape based on the geography.

I wonder if I want to learn all the ratios, or if i'd rather just have to deal with the consequences of not knowing the perfect combination of inserters, belts, and furnaces?

Or, does the math make it more fun?
There are an almost unlimited number of variations and considerations to math out. So it's not generally as simple as having some number memorized. For instance, you have modules and different assembling machines with different speeds, and various inserters, with stack sizes that change their throughput (and not quite in the obvious manner when belts are involved). I actually do most of the math I need *on the fly*. Though I have a bachelor's degree in mathematics, want to be a research mathematician, and am a bit of an arithmetician too, so I imagine it's not easy for many folks to do that. What I *did* memorize, was the base inserter speeds (in inserts per second):

Burner inserter: 0.58
Inserter: 0.82
Long handed inserter: 1.13
Fast/Stack inserter (and Filter versions): 2.22

I use these when deciding which inserters I need (usually reg. v Fast v Stack for throughput reasons). I also remember the 1-14-10 ratio for Offshore pumps to Boilers to Steam engines (which is now obsolete as of 0.15), 50% Boiler energy efficiency (they use fuel as though they produced twice as much energy as they actually do), and 25-21 Solar panel to Accumulator ratio for lasting the night exactly under constant power usage (also, I remember that a 25-21 set provides 1.05MW sustained power). (Edit: I also remember that Electric mining drills mine 0.525 ore/sec except stone, which is 0.65/sec.) Besides those numbers, all the rest can be found in game via relevant interfaces, so I don't bother specifically trying to memorize that stuff (though I do remember most recipes and even their recipe times as a function of seeing them enough to have learned them; I didn't specifically try to memorize them, it just happens because of repeated exposure).

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by Aru » Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:20 am

(Centrifuge ratios: Here's exactly how many reactors each stage can support with only one structure, assuming Assembling machine 2 for cell-making, continuous operation, and no module effects: Uranium processing, 1521/160 = 9.50625 reactors; Kovarex enrichment process, 15210/451 ~= 33.725 reactors; 10x Uranium fuel cell, 150.0 reactors; Nuclear fuel reprocessing, 15.0 reactors.)

I love the math, but that's because I do the math. I'm adapting my whole blueprint book for 0.15.2 now. Adapting my extremely optimized science layout is going to be fun.... Maybe one day I will post the book string.

I just finished the math for turning all uranium ore into cells (symbolic accuracy), but I haven't even gotten nuclear power yet, honestly I don't even know which recipes are assembler and which are centrifuge (but now I do). I'll get there, I savor this game. It's just a number of seconds spent at each stage (not accounting for crafting speed), and a number of cells, per ore, to get the full 507.0 MJ per ore.

(It's 451/1600 seconds in Kovarex process per ore, and 507/8000 cells per ore. I couldn't resist, it required a geometric series to solve for the infinite loop. Then the other numbers are easy, ore*1s U processing, ore*507/8000 s packaging cells, ore*507/800 s recovering spent cells. If you use these numbers for a design, remember to account for crafting speed and modules. In short, it confirms the obvious, you only need one of each.)
rcp27 wrote:I might think to size the solar panels for average demand and have accumulators to deal with the occasional peak, allowing a few day/night cycles to recover.
Unless you can predict whether the peak draw is during the day or at night, the ratio remains exactly the same, 0.84. If the total power output is insufficient, you are most likely to experience the deficiency during peak loads, and if it's insufficient, you add more in the standard ratio, not biased towards panels or accumulators. The only reason to veer from 0.84 is if you are also getting power from something other than solar, or if you know there will be more load during day or night.
Last edited by Aru on Thu May 04, 2017 9:13 am, edited 11 times in total.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by Frightning » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:02 am

ledow wrote:I'm a mathematician.

I can't think of anything more dull than just plugging in the numbers and building an "ideal" ratio for absolute perfection. Especially with online games with strangers, it bores me to tears when people say "Oh, but X is 0.01% more efficient", I couldn't care less.

I am much more of the "I've landed on a planet, I have to build all this stuff" mindset, every time I play. Quite enjoying 0.15 because I *don't* know how to arrange stuff, so I have to experiment and improvise. The new boilers threw me. The sciences have really screwed up my plans. The nuclear thing is something entirely new. It's great fun again after the "Do I want to commit to another 15-hour game when I know everything in it?" of 0.14.

Built a reactor. Plug three exchangers on it. Put three turbines on each. Went for a fourth turbine, everything seemed fine. But I noticed - by chance - that the steam level was slowly dropping in the turbines. Left unchecked, I would have had an unexpected outage! But, never fear, I noticed, changed it, made sure the numbers went back up and reviewed after adding some more power usage. With the programmable speakers, it's even more fun, because you don't walk back to base to find everything dead, you just get an alert and rush back to find out that you'd missed off a cable, or one boiler had run out of coal or similar.

Putting down blueprints? Never done it. I've made blueprints in game for basic copy/paste operations (solar panels, mines, walls) but I honestly couldn't care less what the most-efficient layout is. And certainly not if it takes all the fun of "Whoops, I forgot to cable in that thing when I ran off for some more resources" away. (P.S. having to craft the destruct blueprint from a blueprint menu by pressing B threw me on the new version!).

There's a reason that I run my own private server, after years of online OpenTTD doing the same thing to me ("Oh, that signal layout isn't ideal for that number of carriages, you're useless").

If I wanted Duplo-brick, plug-and-play, set modules with perfect ratios, I'd not be playing Factorio. I play it for the freedom.

I also play "wall off an area and survive using nothing outside that area". Getting to the rocket like that was quite fun on 0.14. On 0.15 it looks a lot harder because of the new sciences, but that's what makes it fun - cramming it in, trying not to go outside, realising you don't have the space and have to rebuild.

Much more fun than Ctrl-V, auto-clear-trees, bots-go-build-this playtime.
I tend to like expandable layouts precise because I don't need to do much math (other than at setup to get the inserters fast enough to not be the bottleneck), and can add to the layout as I need more of whatever is produced there. I love the challenge of trying engineer designs that will scale almost indefinitely, even if I won't end up need to scale them much at all.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by rcp27 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:29 am

Aru wrote:Unless you can predict whether the peak draw is during the day or at night, the ratio remains exactly the same, 0.84. If the total power output is insufficient, you are most likely to experience the deficiency during peak loads, and if it's insufficient, you add more in the standard ratio, not biased towards panels or accumulators. The only reason to veer from 0.84 is if you are also getting power from something other than solar, or if you know there will be more load during day or night.
But that's less efficient. You are simply sizing your total generating capacity for peak load rather than base load. In power generation terms, base load is the lowest level present, the level of demand that is always there 24/7 and peak is anything above base load. By definition the average will be between the two. The "standard" ratio is fine for base load, but the ratio of solar to accumulators that is most efficient for covering peak loads will depend on the particular nature of your peaks. If they are very infrequent, occurring more than one day/night cycle apart, then the most efficient ratio for the peak supply will involve less solar and more accumulator than the standard ratio, which may well be the case if the peaks are driven by occasional laser turret fighting biter attack type demands. The point is, the true picture is more complicated than a simple ratio can capture, and depends on lots of factors specific to your game scenario. If your objective is to produce a set up that "just works" then go ahead and build to the ratio. If your objective is to maximize efficiency, then you need to get a whole lot more involved in the mathematics than simply slavishly following some "standard" ratio. Some people might find one approach fun, other the other one. As I said before, the right way to play the game is the one you find fun.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by Phasma Felis » Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:34 am

AcThPaU wrote:If elementary arithmetic is harmful to you, you probably shouldn't play this game the first place.
How about elementary reading comprehension? You really should read the post before replying.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by Frightning » Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:40 am

rcp27 wrote:
Aru wrote:Unless you can predict whether the peak draw is during the day or at night, the ratio remains exactly the same, 0.84. If the total power output is insufficient, you are most likely to experience the deficiency during peak loads, and if it's insufficient, you add more in the standard ratio, not biased towards panels or accumulators. The only reason to veer from 0.84 is if you are also getting power from something other than solar, or if you know there will be more load during day or night.
But that's less efficient. You are simply sizing your total generating capacity for peak load rather than base load. In power generation terms, base load is the lowest level present, the level of demand that is always there 24/7 and peak is anything above base load. By definition the average will be between the two. The "standard" ratio is fine for base load, but the ratio of solar to accumulators that is most efficient for covering peak loads will depend on the particular nature of your peaks. If they are very infrequent, occurring more than one day/night cycle apart, then the most efficient ratio for the peak supply will involve less solar and more accumulator than the standard ratio, which may well be the case if the peaks are driven by occasional laser turret fighting biter attack type demands. The point is, the true picture is more complicated than a simple ratio can capture, and depends on lots of factors specific to your game scenario. If your objective is to produce a set up that "just works" then go ahead and build to the ratio. If your objective is to maximize efficiency, then you need to get a whole lot more involved in the mathematics than simply slavishly following some "standard" ratio. Some people might find one approach fun, other the other one. As I said before, the right way to play the game is the one you find fun.
Fluctuations in power drain are normal, so the reality is that the only sure-fire way to never run out of power is to have enough Solar+accumulators to handle a constant drain equal to the max draw. Of course, if you're willing to accept a very small probability of power failure, then all you need is have enough accumulators to match expected overdraw plus a few standard deviations (this requires estimating both average energy draw and variance of energy draw and deciding on an acceptable z-score; which in turn is based on how low you want chances of failure to be). In practice, unless your factory is small, it's both simpler and more practical to just have a little overhead in the perfect 0.84 ratio. I saw variances around 10% with no laser turrets in my kilo factory, which was 100% solar powered...to the tune of about 500MW average draw (I had ~12.5k Panels, matching x0.84 accumulator value; 10.8k?) If I'd had laser turrets, it wouldn't have honestly made much of an impact in a single night, as it would pale in comparison to how large my power grid had become (the numbers that really matter are expected amount of biters attacking times energy cost to kill them, which generally won't be that high on a less than 2 minute timescale).

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by DaveMcW » Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:43 am

If you are overbuilding solar panels and accumulators to handle unexpected power spikes, the best ratio to overbuild them is 0.84. :P

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by Deadly-Bagel » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:41 am

Accounting for random spikes in demand is fine but biters are pretty regular, they don't care if it's day or night. Therefore over time it's fairly safe to assume you'll be getting a similar ratio of biter attacks between day and night as your own factory's power consumption so the best ratio is indeed 0.84.

That being said, Steam Engines are much more powerful now and nuclear is a thing so I probably won't even bother with solar any more xD Now that we have this awesome blueprint library thing and I don't keep having to look up what the design is.
Money might be the root of all evil, but ignorance is the heart.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by Mehve » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:00 pm

MeduSalem wrote:Well... I'm doing the math for a lot of things in the game... but in the end my layouts end up with a lot of symmetry and I'm willing to break perfect ratios for aesthetics.
This. I've done my share of min-maxing, and it was lots of fun. But I find myself more and more interested in aesthetics and making the process look intuitive to the casual observer. And why not? This game is extremely forgiving of design detours and inefficiencies. I'll cheerfully use a design that uses more belts or assemblers, if it looks more elegant.

Some math is good, though. Simply knowing that there's no point in extending a furnace line past a certain point, or that you want roughly twice as many of one resource compared to another, that improves the enjoyment in its own way.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by Matthias_Wlkp » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:35 pm

I'm sacrificing the min-maxing for practicalities. I'm more willing to have some assemblers under-used than fiddle with some awkward layouts.

But maybe at some point I will try to get to those perfect setups...

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by Nich » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:52 pm

I think factorio has 3 levels of replayability

1. Just throwing down stuff and making it work
2. Playing enough that you "know" where bottle necks are going to appear and basic ratios memorized
3. Setting a goal "1 rocket per minute" or "self contained blue chip factory"
3.5 Doing it again with modules and beacons

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by Matthias_Wlkp » Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:01 pm

4. Trying to do the same thing with perfect assembler utilization.
5. Use more trains turning this game into Transport Tycoon without cities.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by makrom » Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:23 pm

DaveMcW wrote:If you are overbuilding solar panels and accumulators to handle unexpected power spikes, the best ratio to overbuild them is 0.84. :P
Nah, ideal ratios aren't constant independent of consumption distribution over time. The ratio becomes much more favorable for accumulators the shorter and higher the spikes are, since the contribution of the collectors to the satisfaction of the increased demand diminishes. However, for irregularities within reasonable margins, this is almost irrelevant. So unless one has some very special plans, staying at the ideal for constant consumption is almost ideal for normal variations too.
The only situations where I experienced such massive spikes that it's actually worth deviating from that ratio are when I herd thousands of 100% evo biters through my laser turret funnels (>200 maxed frequency turrets firing constantly).
Last edited by makrom on Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by pieppiep » Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:08 pm

6. Find mod(s) that totally change the game. Bobs+Angels, or factorissimo+energy replicators.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by impetus maximus » Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:57 pm

math can ruin the game if you let it i guess.

some things i do math for. processing unit production for example. gotta take module production into account.
it's no fun having 3 players waiting around for power MK2 armor because there is only one processing unit assembler. :shock:

other things i say hell with the math. solar panels/accumulators ratio for example. i build each when they are needed.
not producing enough? more panels. not making it through the night, or attack? more accumulators.
course now i'll probably only use them for backup inserter power, radar stations, and temporary outposts.

reactor ratios. if you're OCD i've read the perfect ratio is "29 reactors, 116 heat exchangers, and 200 turbines." :lol:
i just grab 'creative mode mod' (thank you Mooncat!) add a reactor, and see how many exchangers/turbines it will handle under 100% load.
add a second reactor, more heat exchangers/turbine and so on.

Koub mentioned underestimating gear production. this can be fun to solve if there is no room for more production.
setting up belt conditions so gears can be shared with more machines. share the iron they are gobbling up.
is it perfect? no, but solving problems and getting things to work in clever ways is a hell of a lot of fun for me.
and there is no shortage of problems when you play multiplayer. :P

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by DanGio » Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:12 pm

My factories are 37/61/2 :
- 37% is built on a perfect ratio which I pretend I invented (I stole it on the Internet),
- 61% is built on the go in complete improvisation,
- 2% are inserters passing items crate to crate for esthetical purposes.

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by Nich » Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:54 pm

But the real questions is what is the optimal number of fish farms for the fish bus

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Re: Does Math Ruin this Game?

Post by malfunctionm1ke » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:55 am

I never was good at math but I DO like to wrap my head around.
But for the most part i dont pay much attention to rations,... just build more than enough and you are fine.
The Game isnt really punishing you for paying no attention, except when you are playing some masochistic low resource map ;)

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