Are Bitters unnecessary?

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dood
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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by dood » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:43 am

gnbo wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:11 pm
Especially in the endgame I find it much too easy to keep the biteers under control.
We should probably not think in terms of "too easy" if it takes 10 minutes for you to reach the other end of your base and do something about the "hard" enemies.
That kind of thing gets old really fast.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Bauer » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:45 am

I think the point here is that you don't ever need to go to the other end of your base to do something about the biters. In the endgame, a proper place-and-forget wall design is a no-brainer.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by vanatteveldt » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:12 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 :
I think artillery is pretty much fine as it is. Before rocket science, the autotargetting range is pretty small so there are still good tradeoffs. After a couple rounds of infinite science, it quickly turns into an almost unlimited range weapon in the sense of being able to outrange your pollution cloud.

It is fire and forget but the supply is an interesting logistics exercise, and it's nice that it attracts biters so it's possible to focus their attacks.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by lovewyrm » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:58 pm

I sometimes wonder how the game would feel if Biter deaths resulted in the growth of new trees.
As in, their blood is an incredibly strong fertilizer. I see upsides and problems with that.
Flamethrower turrets would probably be problematic, but it could also slow down their attacks if you bash them hard enough (while at the same time spawning some resources that are both annoying and somewhat beneficial).

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by KKe » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:05 pm

I really don`t understand in what sense bitters are unnececarry.
I would argue you can compare them to a science pack. You use up ammunition / fuel / science packs in order to advance in the game (or better hold you current position in this case).
This requires you to build the infastructure to produce ammunition / fuel and send these to where they are needed, very much the same as for any other product in the game.
For me the only real difference to anything else that is produced and used is the fact that bitters can actually revert (Is this the correct word for it? :D ) some of your progress.

Calling them unnecessary to me sounds like making up a "good" reason to disable them - which would be fine even without a reason other than "I dont like playing with bitters on".

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by mudcrabempire » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:21 pm

As far as I see it, the purpose of biters is to add complexity and challenge to the game.

Think about it: Factorio is inherently a game without goal or purpose. Mine resources to build stuff to mine more resources to [infinite loop].
So the whole point is to make that infinite loop fun and interesting to walk. Biters and the associated military branch are just one of the aspects of the game that try to do so. But of course you may disagree on that, so just use peacefull mode. Or deathworld marathon, if you think they are too easy. Or mods, if DM is still too easy.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by netmand » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:05 pm

Biters seem to add a sense of urgency to my games.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Adamo » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:13 pm

I'm all in for biters. We keep our server network online at all times, so in our games you have to be sure to protect your base against biters or it will be destroyed while everyone is away.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by tamanous » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:19 pm

My hardware sucks. I need to disable biters for ups reasons ...

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by mmmPI » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:22 pm

Most of the time I dislike playing with bitters on now. I have done it enough it is no longer fun.

I just disable them, for me they are part of the game though, you would remove every weapon ? the tank ,the turrets , the wall ? the pollution ? that would be another game, they are part of the challenge.

The good thing is i can also sometimes make games where i have a lot of them + waves of them that can dig underground and appear in my base, or have them swim and play on islands walling off the coast, it means there is a pathfinding built in game on which mods can build many things that i still enjoy.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Italian Cuisine » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:39 pm

In my opinion, biters are easily overcome in default settings, and thus are a temporary nuisance that don't add much to the game. It's easy in the early game to patrol past a bit past the pollution cloud, preemptively destroying nests to prevent attacks, and not bothering with much static defense. What's left in the base is then building science/production/efficiency advancement, which is a much more consistent challenge. You can blow away nests in the same way to make room to expand your base without bothering having to reorganize massive defenses.

Once you've established your automated ways of dealing with them, they're just a constant drain on resources that doesn't require any challenge or much new engineering. Like the above poster said, the only thing they do is drain UPS and limit how far you can advance because of external (CPU power) restrictions, not for gameplay reasons.

I haven't tried the higher biter settings, because that aspect of the game hasn't really been interesting to me, as established by the default settings' precedent. Manual combat is slow and basic (or abstracted if you have automated defenses, or walk out with power poles & laser turrets). Automated base defenses overwhelm the aliens and doesn't need active gameplay.

--

I don't know what my preferred solution would be. Maybe something with the aliens being more integrated with production itself (although alien artifacts were kind of a nuisance), or something with planting trees or placating them with things you can build, or having more control over pollution sinks & your cloud.
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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Koub » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:37 pm

Italian Cuisine wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:39 pm
In my opinion, biters are easily overcome in default settings
This is awfully dependant on the player. I have never been able to start a map on default and win. I always have to "cheat" at least by making a big or very big starting area to buy me some time.
Or tweak the pollution/expansion settings to make biters less a threat.

No matter how much I play, I still suck at managing biters - which isn't a problem, as I still enjoy the game a lot.
The thing is that I'm probably not just the worst Factorio player ever, and there is probably a significant part of the playerbase who is like me.
Koub - Please consider English is not my native language.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by tamanous » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:14 am

Let's meet in the middle.

Of all games i know, factorio is probably the best when it comes to solving a specific problem. So, the problem here seems to be, that (for many players, seemingly the OP, too) the biters are a ncie2have at the beginning, but at some point become highly unwanted.

Following this, the solution would/could/should be, that a player is given the option (as not to say opportunity) to disable the biters permanently. But the problem then is, that having biters or not is chosen during map/world creation. And of course, people would like to switch biters off and on again whenever the like. :D

The ingame version of a one-time-perma-disable would be a genocide weapon that has to prevent enemies from spawning on undiscovered areas, too. But I think, most of the players and developers would prefer a klickable entry in the option.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Koub » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:27 am

At that point, I'd suggest the use of Creative mod, which gives a lot of freedom to tweak the game settings while playing, including map/force/team related values.

Or, as an alternative, I've seen many people praise some mods like rampant, Natural Evolution, or even Bob's enemies, that are supposed to make the biters always a challenge, even late game.

I'll probably never test them for obvious lack of skill on my side, but maybe OP could give them a try.

I think the vanilla is designed so that biters are a threat if mismanaged early-mid game, and just a ressource sink lategame, when your military outpaces their evolution. Significantly altering this would probably be more in the mod realm.
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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by mmmPI » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:10 am

tamanous wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:14 am
Following this, the solution would/could/should be, that a player is given the option (as not to say opportunity) to disable the biters permanently. But the problem then is, that having biters or not is chosen during map/world creation. And of course, people would like to switch biters off and on again whenever the like. :D
In this case, you can start with biters on peaceful mode. They will be generated, but won't pose a threat. Then you shoot one of them, it's pretty effective at starting the war.
You can turn them on-off with commands, it doen't impact the already generated biters though, but when you are there, you might as well use commands to also remove all already generated biters, so that the new ones will be peaceful/aggressive.

We already have the solution ! sure it's not a default on/off button, but if you want to cheat , you can :)

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by BlueTemplar » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:52 pm

tamanous wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:14 am
Let's meet in the middle.

Of all games i know, factorio is probably the best when it comes to solving a specific problem. So, the problem here seems to be, that (for many players, seemingly the OP, too) the biters are a ncie2have at the beginning, but at some point become highly unwanted.

Following this, the solution would/could/should be, that a player is given the option (as not to say opportunity) to disable the biters permanently. But the problem then is, that having biters or not is chosen during map/world creation. And of course, people would like to switch biters off and on again whenever the like. :D

The ingame version of a one-time-perma-disable would be a genocide weapon that has to prevent enemies from spawning on undiscovered areas, too. But I think, most of the players and developers would prefer a klickable entry in the option.
This is pretty much the reason why Artillery was added in 0.16.
And expansion can also be disabled without setting them to peaceful.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by apothecary » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:17 am

Biters in their current state are simply too bland and don't really deliver on the promise their existence in the game seems to imply. On the very first map I ever created I had to surrender due to them multiplying on the only other coal deposit in range. Since I ignored them until coal was nearly gone and simply let my defenses deal with the waves I realized my lack of tech and resources made combating that chunk of worms and nests impossible and had to start over. I remember being excited at the challenge only to realize that I simply need to "not" ignore them and then they really provide no challenge at all.

I have thought about this a lot and just wanted to share some thoughts about how they could be better. Maybe this will inspire a mod developer or possibly even someone on the Factorio team.
Challenge as a kind of "fun"
Removing biters has the downside that you eliminate challenge altogether. The military stuff in the game is really cool. Laser turrets, flame throwers, etc. all provide some really interesting things.

I think a lot of value could be had here by using the biters as a scenario failure mechanism. If they had a setting that represented a ticking clock that would cause you to lose every single time if you waited too long or went too slow then your challenge would be in racing them to the finish line.
An example of a ticking clock
Imagine the bugs don't start as a hive. Instead they start non-aggressive like the current setting. However those guys are just drones. When you shoot one during the pre-hive phase they only respond one at a time. The others stand by oblivious.

After evolving a little, nests begin to spawn warriors. Those behave exactly like they do now.

Evolving a bit more makes them act as hives bringing the entire system we currently have online.

At a final stage of evolution a queen spawns. Unlike the others she is a well defended, hardened giant immovable enemy. She won't attack the player but can spawn nests around her very fast. She is the reason Artillery and nukes exist in the game. Depending on when you engage her it could take several of these to defeat her and you get tons of attacks against your base while you engage her.

The big challenge she provides is that, once she appears, she will eat any rocket you try to launch. So when a queen is on the map you have no choice but to destroy her otherwise you can't win.

When you do destroy her, all bugs on the map die and all nests go dormant. After a time, though, two new queens appear and have to be dealt with again. Then four, then eight, etc. Eventually the map is un-winnable.
Conclusion
The game doesn't need improved enemies. It is a blast to play as is and I wouldn't fault the devs if they never put another man hour into making them more a part of the game. However if anyone ever did want to fool around with making them more "fun" I just thought I would share the idea I have had bouncing around in my head for a while. Of course, some ideas should be reserved for another title too, amirite? :)

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Rebmes » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:32 am

I am thinking of turning them off for good.

The biggest issue for me is that I'm never in a position of actually defending my factory. I always keep them out of my pollution area, and simply venture out to clear them out whenever they - or I - have expanded too much. The battles can be fun and challenging, and do put a clock on things in the early game (have to get some military tech pretty quick to start clearing them fast enough).

I don't ever see any point in playing it in a defensive manner, and never have walls or turrets or defenses of any kind. I know that playing defensively will boost their evolution very quickly due to pollution, and evolution is the real danger. Of course, once you have enough tech to defeat the behemoths, defending doesn't cause them to evolve any further and defense becomes an option - but this is too far in to the game for me to care. It's easier to keep clearing them at that point, than to build defenses from the ground up around a giant factory.

If it were a more defensive game against them, I'd be more interested - but as it is, my factory is never threatened and clearing nests just becomes a chore and a distraction.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by Pandrosos » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:59 am

According to the wiki, three things boost biter evolution. Time is one. Another is producing pollution, whether or not spawners absorb it. And the third is killing spawners. Killing biter nests that are within your pollution cloud will therefore bring you a short-term respite from attacks but will actually accelerate evolution.

Although playing defensively will indirectly increase evolution because making things like bullets and walls pollutes, I expect the increase will be less. That said you know from experience the aggressive strategy can work.

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Re: Are Bitters unnecessary?

Post by BlueTemplar » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:40 pm

Having tried both strategies (though not under the same settings, so take this with a grain of salt), I'd say that purging the nests would result in less evolution.
But then the devil is in the details :
1.) I'm assuming non-uranium gun turret defenses (while laser, uranium, train and especially flame turrets would probably pollute much less)
2.) I'm assuming that the player is able to stop most expansion parties before they are able to settle - therefore resulting in (almost) no increase in evolution. This is why you still need some form of defense perimeter (it can be just you jumping into car/train and driving to manually kill the expansion party when one is spotted...)

Also note that the increase in evolution from killing nests is not linear : every new killed spawner increases it less than the previous one...

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