Are Bitters unnecessary?

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Caldasso
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Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Caldasso » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:06 pm

Hello guys

I wanted to talk to you about the enemies of the game. The "bitters".

I've done 3 or 4 bases ... of course, always in an evolutionary process. Today I've learned (or copied) the best optimization techniques and I'm about to finish my 1 RPM base (rocket per minute)

I should have had 900 hours of play already. And the last bases I built, (or I'm building), I've disabled the bitters.
The reason is simple: In my view, they add absolutely nothing to the game.

A few hours past, where you have access to walls, and ammunition, you are already able to build a wall around your entire base with a "self-sustaining" defense system, making the process of exploring new areas in fact follow a flow always pre-defined and bland:
1-> Position arteries and clear the map at a distance
2- Enter the tank, and the distance cast nuclear missiles at enemy bases.

So I see no advantage in playing with enabled enemies, where their current purpose is simply to "brake" the speed of expansion of their base.

I believe it would be ideal, to have some kind of "alien" technology that we extracted from the dead bases, being able to make upgrades or even unpublished items. Items such as:
-> New, stronger armor
-> A new type of vehicle weapon (Launches goo?)
-> A new type of treadmill, increasing only the maximum distance from the underground treadmill
-> New fuel cell

Anyway ... I thought of those 4 in 2 minutes ... to have many ideas.

Obviously, the demand for alien material would be high ... causing the player to force himself to "farm" this material ... and thus giving a purpose to go out destroying enemy bases.

Also, I think the current enemies are weak. There should be 1 or 2 types, more aggressive and resistant. Who knows, one with the ability to "jump walls"?

Anyway ... what do you think?

Hugs and sorry for the bad writing, I'm Brazilian.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by 5thHorseman » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:18 pm

Biters hold land you want, and encroach on land you own. That is their worth. If you don't find that fun, disable them.

I personally like them the way they are.
"So you completed the game with a spaghetti factory? Well I hand crafted a rocket and threw it into space with my bare hands!"

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by MeduSalem » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:20 pm

Caldasso wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:06 pm
I believe it would be ideal, to have some kind of "alien" technology that we extracted from the dead bases, being able to make upgrades or even unpublished items. Items such as:
-> New, stronger armor
-> A new type of vehicle weapon (Launches goo?)
-> A new type of treadmill, increasing only the maximum distance from the underground treadmill
-> New fuel cell

Anyway ... I thought of those 4 in 2 minutes ... to have many ideas.

Obviously, the demand for alien material would be high ... causing the player to force himself to "farm" this material ... and thus giving a purpose to go out destroying enemy bases.
Pure irony.

There used to be Alien Artifacts... but they got removed since several players complained about them being necessary for certain researches and them not feeling like combatting aliens.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Xeorm » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:58 pm

Biters imo serve a good purpose in keeping you attached to the world and caring about it. Sure after awhile you can "solve" the problem through lots of turrets and other weapons, but that's standard with most problems in this game.

I don't want to harvest the biters though. That's a process that's hard to automate and ultimately dull. Farming something that can't fight back competently is boring. If you're not at that point though, it sucks to farm. Just never becomes a fun process I think. It's why the alien artifacts were removed. Very boring and detrimental.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by BlakeMW » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:31 pm

In my mind the basic purpose of the biters is to allow the player to be evil, though it is made palatable by the biters seeming disgusting to our human sensibilities.

I mainly play on Deathworlds and essentially run a military-industrial complex, the purpose of the industry is to power the war machine, and the purpose of the war machine is the violent acquisition of additional resources with which to supply the industry. The Biters themselves aren't the resources, they simply occupy the resources and as such require elimination.

This is no doubt different to some players, who I presume play to launch rockets or whatever. I don't. I play to genocide the indigenous population and take their stuff.
Last edited by BlakeMW on Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by zOldBulldog » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:02 pm

I agree with OP, the biters are more of a nuisance than a real game element. But... they could be.

For example, if we had features similar to the BioIndustries mod, and you could have an evolution path with minimal pollution under which you could remain neutral - or even better - friendly with the aliens and able to trade... but only if you managed pollution "just right".

As for expanding your base, there could be combat (local or global) or maybe there could be some form of trade of land for goods.

---

Having said that... I know we nowhere even close to such a kind of gameplay. For now the best we can do if you dislike Factorio style combat is disable expansion and bomb them to a pulp or turn enemies off altogether.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Caldasso » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:24 pm

Xeorm wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:58 pm
Biters imo serve a good purpose in keeping you attached to the world and caring about it. Sure after awhile you can "solve" the problem through lots of turrets and other weapons, but that's standard with most problems in this game.

I don't want to harvest the biters though. That's a process that's hard to automate and ultimately dull. Farming something that can't fight back competently is boring. If you're not at that point though, it sucks to farm. Just never becomes a fun process I think. It's why the alien artifacts were removed. Very boring and detrimental.
I agree with you if the way to get the aliens' resources was something "manual". How to kill them and then go "over" their bodies to collect something.

But ... I quickly come up with several different ways of you mining resources.

And if a bitter "mega-structure" were eventually loaded, where you would spend "many bullets" to destroy ... After eliminating it, it would become a kind of alien material deposit, where with the insersors you can put them chests or trains. Or even in belts.

In addition, they could implement attack robots. The same system of current logistics thefts, however, instead of construction and transportation, elimination of enemies (like the current defense caps). You could select a number of them and mark an area on the map ... and they would go there and "clean" that area ... of course, at the base of the shooting ... You would probably lose several or even all of them if it were not well calculated. And then you would have to build more, using iron, bronze and etc ...

So we would have a way to automate the aliens feature ... giving more elements, and difficulty, to the game.

Anyway ... I still believe that the enemies, as they are, do not serve anything useful.

Thank you for your participation.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by H8UL » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:33 pm

I think you'd really enjoy the Alien Loot Economy mod, which covers this idea. It's a quality mod and Katherine of Sky did a series on it which I recommend (as I would all her stuff).
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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Caldasso » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:07 pm

H8UL wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:33 pm
I think you'd really enjoy the Alien Loot Economy mod, which covers this idea. It's a quality mod and Katherine of Sky did a series on it which I recommend (as I would all her stuff).
Thanks for indication. It looks really interesting the MOD.

But ... I'm kind of annoying about it. All I realize is not official ... I mean, it sounds like a "jerry-rig", I have a certain prejudice ... My thing ... patience.

I'd rather expect something implemented directly in the game.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by H8UL » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:13 am

Caldasso wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:07 pm
H8UL wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:33 pm
I think you'd really enjoy the Alien Loot Economy mod, which covers this idea. It's a quality mod and Katherine of Sky did a series on it which I recommend (as I would all her stuff).
Thanks for indication. It looks really interesting the MOD.

But ... I'm kind of annoying about it. All I realize is not official ... I mean, it sounds like a "jerry-rig", I have a certain prejudice ... My thing ... patience.

I'd rather expect something implemented directly in the game.
I don't think that is the right way to look at it. Everyone has different preferences and that is why we mod. With many people liking to play with no combat at all, and having disliked tighter integration of enemy loot into the game in the past ("purple science"), the devs have removed loot from vanilla but left the system in place for mods. That is pretty fantastic.

As it is, enemies are still integrated because there is an entire science pack devoted to military.

Try playing a deathworld, or marathon deathworld, and see if you can survive by treating enemies as just something that slows down expansion...
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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by leadraven » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:20 am

Usually I'm playing without aliens at all. Recently I've played one standard map, made sure that aliens are annoying weaklings, and started new peaceful game again.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by JimBarracus » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:41 pm

I think that part of the challenge is to keep the defense up.

You dont fight the biters if you dont have to,
you fight them because you need the land or when they are to close to the wall and attack constantly
Expansion is also more complex, planning your next expansion is interesting
use water or cliffs, supply for artillery, flame thrower turrets or even sticking to gun turrets instead of lasers.

Problem with the biters is: you either fight them off good and start feeling bored
or your defense is to weak to keep them from your wall and you spend a lot of time repairing the wall.
the line between these states is really thin.

We also run for the next infinite research
We send billions of metall into space just to get the next mining efficiency upgrade
only to get more ores and expand even further.

infinite expansion is kind of pointless but we simply keep going.
at least by now disabling biters is not a game breaker because you needed the orbs to build/research certain things.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by dood » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:46 pm

They're something to do.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by BlueTemplar » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:03 pm

Why so bitter ? :P

Previous suggestions of merging mod content into vanilla include :
- Making biters relevant post-oil, at least on Death World (with 0.17, they still become irrelevant post-oil on Death World Marathon - at least until Behemoths ?)
- Bringing back Alien Science, but only for military-only research (or just adding Alien Artifacts as a requirement for Military Science ?).

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Hannu » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:37 am

Caldasso wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:06 pm
I believe it would be ideal, to have some kind of "alien" technology that we extracted from the dead bases, being able to make upgrades or even unpublished items. Items such as:
-> New, stronger armor
-> A new type of vehicle weapon (Launches goo?)
-> A new type of treadmill, increasing only the maximum distance from the underground treadmill
-> New fuel cell
I agree, if they were optional things. I (and probably others too) have suggested two recipes for for example yellow science. One like now and another which would take alien stuff in addition to current ingredients and give more science bottles. Then those who do not like collecting stuff would not have to make boring warfare and those who like to get reward from fight could get it. And if artifacts would go to research there would never be a problem of thousands excess items, which was always when biter nests gave artifacts.

Another option would be some kind of automated robot army, but it does not seem realistic at this point of developing. It would take huge programming effort. But use of artifacts as an alternative resource in research would be very simple to implement in the game. It could be also modded. There are already mods for alien artifacts and adding research recipe would be trivial (or maybe it has been already done).
Also, I think the current enemies are weak. There should be 1 or 2 types, more aggressive and resistant. Who knows, one with the ability to "jump walls"?
Please no, if there were no automated defenses for those. At least I would not like Factorio to be tower defense game instead of building game. Relatively weak enemies fit well in building theme as a resource sink and reason for make automated production and logistic chains for defense, but there should not be enemies which need actual fighting after first hours. Warfare should be production and strategy race instead of competition in combat skills.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by silenced » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:57 am

Biters are basically just a huge resource sink. You will need additional resources to withstand them and fend them off, so you will need resources for military science, for walls, for turrets, for ammunition, for additional electrical power for laser turrets and so on. This sums up over time and it's A LOT of resources that biters "eat up", just by being there.

They got their purpose. Just calculate the amount of resources you need because of them, and how much other things you could have built without them.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by vanatteveldt » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:49 pm

They are also a way to use resources to scrub pollution and create a circular economy.

Producing widgets creates pollution. Biter nests convert pollution to biters. Turrets consume widgets (ammo, oil, electricity*) and biters. Hence, biters allow you to dedicate a proportion of your production to scrubbing pollution via turrets.

IOW: The eco-friendly option is to play with biters and kill them.

*) ok not really a widget, but same idea

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by BlueTemplar » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:08 pm

Hannu wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:37 am
Another option would be some kind of automated robot army, but it does not seem realistic at this point of developing. It would take huge programming effort.
Like this one, made by one of the devs ?
https://mods.factorio.com/mod/Total_Automization
Image
(AFAIK, unit control like this got a lot of attention in the development of 0.17. Though it might stay as a mod only before 1.0...)

Only need some AAI-like features to take it to the next level...

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by gnbo » Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:11 pm

Especially in the endgame I find it much too easy to keep the biteers under control.
With the artillery and the tanks you only need about one shot per nest. With stronger biters it could become more interesting.
Or the artillery and tanks should be weaker.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by BlueTemplar » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:23 am

I could see (unupgraded) Artillery made weaker : shorter ranged (and worms longer-ranged, so that behemoth worms can duel with it, at least on automatic fire), moved to late blue / early yellow science ;
and rocket-launched, unlimited-range ICBM's added as an end-game weapon :

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