(0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

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(0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Taipion » Wed May 17, 2017 8:22 am

So, water and steam are now different fluids?

Well, first off, they are not different, as it's the same material (H20), and they are not both fluids, except you pressurize the steam again.

But wait, if you pressurize steam until it fits into the exact same space as the water it would be at lower heat levels.... what would it become?!....right!....WATER!

I find this ridiculous, this is wasting probably a good bit of dev time on the one hand, and players fun on the other.

Water and steam are the same thing as long as you don't let the water expand and actually become steam, why oh why would you want to do this differently?

To make sense of steam you'd need to account for it's lower density and higher throughput through pipes (in terms of volume), on the other hand, in Factorio you make electricity out of the heat contained in water, not the force that the expansion from water into steam generates.


I am kind of confused as to where this is going, I really liked using boilers to pre-heat the input for my heat pipes, which apparently does not work anymore.
Is there any info on this? ...like, what is planned, or how it is supposed to work out in the end?
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Zool » Wed May 17, 2017 8:33 am

Read the friday facts, #190.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Taipion » Wed May 17, 2017 8:54 am

Zool wrote:Read the friday facts, #190.


I did beforehand, and I just shook my head.

However once 0.15 was released, some complications arose that we had not anticipated. The main issue was that while it looked different in the pipes, when you read the contents of a storage tank, it would tell the circuit network that it contains water. Additionally the circuit network had no signal to represent steam, so easily settings conditions for managing nuclear power setups was not possible.


First off, I had my reactor set up nicely with just the "water" signal, as heat exchangers only output steam, not water, there is no need to actually have a distinct signal for both.

Second, as I said already, steam and water are neither separate nor (both) fluids, unless you pressurize the steam which makes it water again.

If I have 2 constructs where one contains water (below 100°) and the other contains steam (water above 100°), and I connect both, I'd assume they would mix in due time and sooner or later contain only water or steam at one even temperature.

Making water and steam separate fluids and preventing them from mixing both voids all logic and breaks some actually nice features of this game.



Therefore I ask again if the devs are aware of it, if this is even considered a problem, and where this is going, as the friday facts 190 makes perfectly no sense on this whole topic.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Vykromod » Wed May 17, 2017 2:50 pm

Taipion wrote:
Zool wrote:Read the friday facts, #190.


I did beforehand, and I just shook my head.

However once 0.15 was released, some complications arose that we had not anticipated. The main issue was that while it looked different in the pipes, when you read the contents of a storage tank, it would tell the circuit network that it contains water. Additionally the circuit network had no signal to represent steam, so easily settings conditions for managing nuclear power setups was not possible.


First off, I had my reactor set up nicely with just the "water" signal, as heat exchangers only output steam, not water, there is no need to actually have a distinct signal for both.

Second, as I said already, steam and water are neither separate nor (both) fluids, unless you pressurize the steam which makes it water again.

If I have 2 constructs where one contains water (below 100°) and the other contains steam (water above 100°), and I connect both, I'd assume they would mix in due time and sooner or later contain only water or steam at one even temperature.

Making water and steam separate fluids and preventing them from mixing both voids all logic and breaks some actually nice features of this game.



Therefore I ask again if the devs are aware of it, if this is even considered a problem, and where this is going, as the friday facts 190 makes perfectly no sense on this whole topic.

Yeah, I am to wondering what sort of "unanticipated complications" they've encountered to justify this change. Why can't you set the circuit network to just read for water? Heat exchangers are a one-way transit from cold water to hot steam and they don't mix the two unless you deliberately connect the pipes around them to do so anyway.

I'd like to at least see a valid example of a reactor setup that would run into problems if they didn't make this change.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Taipion » Wed May 17, 2017 3:51 pm

Vykromod wrote:Yeah, I am to wondering what sort of "unanticipated complications" they've encountered to justify this change. Why can't you set the circuit network to just read for water? Heat exchangers are a one-way transit from cold water to hot steam and they don't mix the two unless you deliberately connect the pipes around them to do so anyway.


Exactly, and you may add that (afaik) the steam turbines require exactly 500°, therefor mixing them would be something you would not do anyways for such a setup.
There may be the theoretical option to mix the steam with water to cool the steam down (and heat up more water) to generate a larger amount of steam that is cold enough to be processed by steam engines, I don't know if that would make sense for any reason but a proof on concept, yet you would still be able to manage water and steam by simply separating the reading circuit networks on the respective storage tanks.

Vykromod wrote:I'd like to at least see a valid example of a reactor setup that would run into problems if they didn't make this change.


Again, same here.



It just does not make sense at all, not to make water and steam separate objects, and even less to prevent the possibility to mix them.
I even remember some outlook that it would be possible and intended to use boilers to pre-heat water/steam that is then fed to the heat exchangers,
I actually had such a setup,
but now that is off the table completely.

Is there anyone who can shed some light on this?
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby netmand » Wed May 17, 2017 5:14 pm

Steam can be used by generators to produce power, water cannot. I'm delivering steam to an outpost to power it, no need to string power lines on remote locations now and no need for the outpost to be really big to accommodate the other ways of producing the equivalent power either.

I'd rather turn on a pump to unload steam specifically instead of some other fluid (including water).
This is a good change, in my opinion.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Xeorm » Wed May 17, 2017 6:45 pm

Fluid isn't the same word as liquid, both gases and liquids are fluids. "noun: a substance that has no fixed shape and yields easily to external pressure; a gas or (especially) a liquid." So steam works as a fluid, same as petroleum gas has worked fine as a fluid for a long time now.

Why would you want to do things differently? Because it looks cooler, and works closer to realism for most. Steam will behave very differently to water, so even though they're the same chemical substance, having them be mechanically different works just fine I'd think.

Changing them as a signal is for anytime you want to compare water to steam. Not sure any setups where this would make sense because I haven't fiddled with that yet, but having the possibility to exist is better than not having it.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Distelzombie » Wed May 17, 2017 7:06 pm

I dont really understand your problem with this too. It is nice having steam as a seperate entity. It is to be expected that your build could not work anymore in the next version.
Having 500°C water is a good enough thing to justify adding a new fluid type.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby SeaRyanC » Thu May 18, 2017 3:00 am

Seems like the new design is better for more people, which is why they changed it.

Arguments based on physicality are odd. I mean, aren't iron plates just iron ore in a different shape? Same for raw wood vs wood? Who even knows?
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Taipion » Thu May 18, 2017 3:28 am

netmand wrote:Steam can be used by generators to produce power, water cannot. I'm delivering steam to an outpost to power it, no need to string power lines on remote locations now and no need for the outpost to be really big to accommodate the other ways of producing the equivalent power either.

I'd rather turn on a pump to unload steam specifically instead of some other fluid (including water).
This is a good change, in my opinion.


None of that requires you to have a distinction between water and steam, except you do have a train station that both unloads steam and water in the same place, which would be pretty bad. :lol:

Xeorm wrote:Why would you want to do things differently? Because it looks cooler, and works closer to realism for most. Steam will behave very differently to water, so even though they're the same chemical substance, having them be mechanically different works just fine I'd think.


Now please go on and tell me how it makes sense to prohibit water and steam mixing up as they are totall different "fluids" and surely not both H2O!

Distelzombie wrote:I dont really understand your problem with this too. It is nice having steam as a seperate entity. It is to be expected that your build could not work anymore in the next version.
Having 500°C water is a good enough thing to justify adding a new fluid type.


WTF?! Are you serious about this or just trolling?!
Water IS steam, they are both the same material, indicating "water at 500°" DOES actually mean steam, except you are in factorio where both take the exact same space = steam is pressurized to take the exact same space as the "water" that it "used ot be", therefore it is still water, as you gave it no space to expand... wtf, seriously

SeaRyanC wrote:Seems like the new design is better for more people, which is why they changed it.


That sounds like there actually is no reason to change it, and you needed to pull this out to fabricate "reasons" from nothing.






Bottom line:
- water and steam ARE the same thing, H20
- the game does NOT reflect the MAIN difference between water and steam, that is: the space it occupies
- therefore "water" and ...say "500°" are already all informations that matter, there is no reason to make them separate
- it is not, for any reason, required to have a different signal for steam or water
- it is completely hillarious to prohibit steam and water to mix, by making them different fluids (!) (!) (!)
- this completely breaks the "preheat your heat exchangers with boilers" technique that was proposed by the devs themself (in a friday facts, iirc)

=> There is no reason to have this distinction.
=> Yet there is lot's of reason, mostly through the (bad / restricting) underlying mechanics of "fluids" to NOT have this ..."destinction".

The total lack of devs shedding any light on this, kind of looks like it was a bad, unwarranted decision,
yet, if anyone actually has some info or reason to this, that is not clearly labeled "makeshift" or "far fateched", I'd be really thankful!
For I'd really like to understand why this had to be done.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby mergele » Thu May 18, 2017 3:37 am

Out of curiosity, in which cases would you want to mix steam and water? For the preheating thing it would also be possible to allow heat exchangers to allow water or steam. Also the same thing in different shapes beeing different items has well established precedents if factorio, see copper and copper wires or raw wood and wood.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Taipion » Thu May 18, 2017 4:07 am

mergele wrote:Out of curiosity, in which cases would you want to mix steam and water? For the preheating thing it would also be possible to allow heat exchangers to allow water or steam. Also the same thing in different shapes beeing different items has well established precedents if factorio, see copper and copper wires or raw wood and wood.


Comparing "fluids" with discrete (and solid) items? Really?! :lol:

First off, "energy" is not lost in factorio, if you have an amount of water "x1" at temperature "y1" and some other amount of water/steam "x2" at temperature "y2" and they mix, the result will still have the same energy value as x1 and x2 together.

Therefore it may look weird, but if you have a water supply that both goes to your boilers and past them, and merges at the end (water and steam from the boilers) you do not lose anything, and if the boilers are sufficiently sized in terms of MW, then the output will reach a constant 165° despite the "cold water" flowing in.
In fact, when the heat exchangers are not working at full, the heat from the boilers will "creep" back through the pipe that supplies water as it heats up nearby pipe segments, thereby providing a tiny bit of extra energy storage.
The main thing here is that it works both with and without boilers pre-heating the input for the heat exchangers, thereby providing up to ~31% of the energy outputted by the reactor setup, but only if you want to burn something.

But that is just my little setup, the main point is, that it does not work at all, as iirc heat exchangers take no steam as input currently,
but more important, there would be no way to provide a switch of any kind to toggle from pre-heated water/steam from boilers to "raw" water, as they don't mix, and you'd have to clear out the pipes every time you'd want to switch.
Which means that even if heat exchangers would except steam (which is so totally different than water -.-) you'd HAVE to run the boilers all the time instead of being able to switch them on/off as you want, OR have TWICE the heat exchangers that you intend to have, just to cover up for this buggy implementation, which is made more difficult again through the latest changes to heatpipes. -.-

[edit:] A more simple and ugly solution would be, to allow steam turbines to* use less than 500° water/steam and simply pump steam from boilers and heat exchangers into the same storage tank array, which would though mean that you'd have less energy density in the storage tanks and would need to also use more steam turbines to make up for that and output the same MW, all in all nothing I'd want, even though it would allow a system that runs on boilers alone (which can be fed with "regenerative" resources), and would only take energy from the reactor if necessary.

*I thought I had read somewhere that steam turbines need 500° water and as heat exchangers only output 500° this wasn't obvious, but then again it was also said that steam turbines will "not use all the heat" of water and you could use steam engines afterwards to make use of the remaining heat, or re-route it to feed your heat exchangers again.
But it is as it was, water/steam is used up when you convert heat into electricity, instead of having it's temperature lowered, also steam engines run just fine on 500° steam, only using 1/3 of the steam to produce full power, whereas steam turbines run just fine on anything form 101° to 500°, just producing less power if its less than 500°, so all the stuff that was said how it will be, is basically not true, but that does not really matter much.


Anyways, no one managed yet to provide any reason at all, as to why this had to be changed.
I am starting to believe that there actually is no reason at all.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Aeternus » Thu May 18, 2017 8:52 am

Nah. Dev wanted to use steam as a requirement for coal liquification, but the recipy hasn't got the ability to specify fluid temperature, so making that recipy would cause it to appear as water instead of steam to be required.
Also, while water and steam are the same substance, it's the same substance in a different state (liquid vs gas), so no, it is not the same thing.

mergele wrote:Out of curiosity, in which cases would you want to mix steam and water? For the preheating thing it would also be possible to allow heat exchangers to allow water or steam.

When you make a hybrid power plant that will either feed water to heat exchangers, low energy steam to heat exchangers or low energy steam directly to the turbines, depending on the load on the power plant and what fuel is available. The problem occurs with fluid collision between water and steam at the heat exchanger inputs at present, when switching from water to steam or vice-versa as heat exchanger input. Those powerplant designs aren't possible anymore at the moment.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby MeduSalem » Thu May 18, 2017 9:03 am

There is no arguing/reasoning about it anyways. It's a waste of time, especially this late in development when the devs want to bring it to an end.

If the Devs decide to do something a particular way they won't revert it. They never reverted a change in the past. At least I can't remember that they did in the past 3-4 years.

If some functionality was lost with such a change they either wanted that functionality to be gone or didn't think it was useful enough to keep it around or that it's a justified trade-off.

And if some players showed them some reasons as to why the devs should bring back that functionality under the changed system it always took them a year or more to do so.

So don't place your bets on the devs bringing back the ability to use Boilers to pre-heat water for Nuclear power. It probably won't happen and it would take a year of serious discussions to bring it to their attention, which is not worth the effort because you will go mad with people arguing against everything. I'm writing this from experience and I really want to spare you the incoming dissapointment.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Taipion » Thu May 18, 2017 9:15 am

Aeternus wrote:Nah. Dev wanted to use steam as a requirement for coal liquification, but the recipy hasn't got the ability to specify fluid temperature, so making that recipy would cause it to appear as water instead of steam to be required.
Well that makes sense, but more in a way that the current system lacks a way to properly display/use a certain property of a fluid, not that separate fluids are needed.

Aeternus wrote:Also, while water and steam are the same substance, it's the same substance in a different state (liquid vs gas), so no, it is not the same thing

That is technically correct, but in Factorio steam is not allowed to expand and takes exactly the same space as water, independent of temperature, so the "steam" in Factorio is technically just hot, pressurized water. :P

Aeternus wrote:
mergele wrote:Out of curiosity, in which cases would you want to mix steam and water? For the preheating thing it would also be possible to allow heat exchangers to allow water or steam.

When you make a hybrid power plant that will either feed water to heat exchangers, low energy steam to heat exchangers or low energy steam directly to the turbines, depending on the load on the power plant and what fuel is available. The problem occurs with fluid collision between water and steam at the heat exchanger inputs at present, when switching from water to steam or vice-versa as heat exchanger input. Those powerplant designs aren't possible anymore at the moment.

Thanks for putting it up nicely, I guess I failed to explain that in a simple way.

MeduSalem wrote:[...]If the Devs decide to do something a particular way they won't revert it. They never reverted a change in the past. [...]
And if some players showed them some reasons as to why the devs should bring back that functionality under the changed system it always took them a year or more to do so.

That's a quite contradicting statement, I just hope they are not as stubborn as you say.



After all, the lack of any dev comment on this topic kind of shows that they either don't even care, or they feel they made a mistake and are afraid to talk about it.
Both would be a bad thing, so I do hope there's something coming.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Aeternus » Thu May 18, 2017 9:17 am

Kovarex did mention in the friday facts that the issue with the heat exchanger not taking lower energy steam was unintended, a fix for that is on the wishlist, just not a priority. So I guess that will be fixed eventually. But with the recent heatpipe propagation changes, long heat pipes aren't gonna happen anymore, so many old hybrid designs are broken anyway. I'm working on something but it's gonna be... well, frankly, a 3 screen+ wide monster of a plant (that can -still- take both chem and nuclear fuel because dammit, I'm gonna make it work one way or another! :mrgreen: )
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby MeduSalem » Thu May 18, 2017 10:01 am

Taipion wrote:
MeduSalem wrote:[...]If the Devs decide to do something a particular way they won't revert it. They never reverted a change in the past. [...]
And if some players showed them some reasons as to why the devs should bring back that functionality under the changed system it always took them a year or more to do so.

That's a quite contradicting statement, I just hope they are not as stubborn as you say.


May sound contradicting but it's not because there is a difference in how the devs see the game and there is a difference in how the players see the game, so it's actually opposing viewpoints clashing with one another.

The devs think about the game from a programmer's view and they want a clean and performant implementation of everything, so they are trying to simplify/unify mechanics to spare them complicated workarounds that would appear elsewhere. So sometimes sacrificing a particular feature may be a relief for them.

The players on the other hand seldom see removing a feature as a relief so they want it back.

Sometimes it's not possible without going back to a messy, problematic codebranch (that's when they refuse to bring it back) or it would be possible to bring it back on the rewritten branch but it is of low priority because it affects only a minority of the playerbase (so it takes months/a year to do it)...

And sometimes they aren't even aware of the fact that they actually removed a feature because they see it as a glitch, bug or otherwise unintended behaviour. That's when it requires a lot of discussions and usage scenarios to convince them that it's worth their development time to actually turn it in an intentional, fully fleshed-out feature.

Taipion wrote:After all, the lack of any dev comment on this topic kind of shows that they either don't even care, or they feel they made a mistake and are afraid to talk about it.
Both would be a bad thing, so I do hope there's something coming.


I think they are aware of it, but they think of it as a low priority thing... like a feature that might be interesting to have but it's not important enough currently because they are busy fixing actual bugs.

[Edit] Basically what Aeternus wrote above. (saw it only after posting)
Last edited by MeduSalem on Thu May 18, 2017 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Taipion » Thu May 18, 2017 10:07 am

MeduSalem wrote:May sound contradicting but it's not because there is a difference in how the devs see the game and there is a difference in how the players see the game, so it's actually opposing oppinions clashing with one another.

- What YOU said was contradicting, not necessarily what the devs did.
- I actually am a programmer, that's what I do for a living, and it's not how you want to describe it.
- Your statements are fully made of assumptions and personal views, please don't do that.

Aeternus wrote:Kovarex did mention in the friday facts that the issue with the heat exchanger not taking lower energy steam was unintended, a fix for that is on the wishlist, just not a priority. So I guess that will be fixed eventually. But with the recent heatpipe propagation changes, long heat pipes aren't gonna happen anymore, so many old hybrid designs are broken anyway. I'm working on something but it's gonna be... well, frankly, a 3 screen+ wide monster of a plant (that can -still- take both chem and nuclear fuel because dammit, I'm gonna make it work one way or another! :mrgreen: )

Well then at least the problem is unintended, I am still not convinced to permanently leave 0.15.9 behind though as .10 and .11 are really not looking good.

For the Powerplant, well, you could do it simple and have 2 different steam storages and inputs to the turbines, one for heat exchangers and one for boilers, whereas you can control the flow with the pumps and fluid levels.
I thought of maybe mixing the different temperature steams in one storage, but that would be such a waste of energy density, and boilers don't need much of a storage anyways, unlike heat exchangers.
The main problem though, with the current buggy implementation, is that you can not make full use of both at once, unlike it used to be, so you can just as well have separate steam engines/turbines for the boilers.

R.I.P. nice features -.-
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Hannu » Thu May 18, 2017 10:18 am

It seems to be good idea to separate water and steam. Yes, they are same material in real world, but water's state equations and phase changes are very complicated and it is out of scope of the game to model it even crudely. Even the simplest phase changes would need huge modifications in fluid system, because two phases should be in the same place. Also, in real power plants there are not phase changes except in boilers and condensers (which we do not have in Factorio). No one put steam into tube or tank and wait it to condense to liquid. In my opinion it would be wasted developing resources to give such an exotic possibilities with little game value.
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Re: (0.15.10+) Water and Steam, what's the plan?

Postby Aubog007 » Thu May 18, 2017 10:44 am

Taipion wrote:
R.I.P. nice features -.-


I hate to be that guy, but this is the unstable branch, things are bound to get changed because of balance issues, if you wish to stay on 15.9 because of stubborness to accept change, sure, go ahead. But keep in mind you will lose out on all future updates and optimizations they do.

And really, this game has many things that defy logic, and steam/water being two seperate fluids is the one that bothers you the most?
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