Containerization

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halcyonforever
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Containerization

Post by halcyonforever » Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:38 pm

I did some forum searching and I see several suggestions for containers but they all seem to veer off by having containers do strange things like move on conveyor belts.


What I am envisioning is taking a page from real shipping methods and essentially making a new freight car that is loaded by one large container.

Game assets:

Well Car: a type of railroad car specially designed to carry intermodal containers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well_car

Intermodal Container: roughly equivalent to a train wagon but can be moved by a crane system or loaded on to a well car.

Gantry Crane: For moving Containers. Follows the same movement methods as an inserter. Pick up Container from one location move to another location in a straight line. Since containers are 2 wide, would move the container 6 spaces over.

What this allows is the container can be filled, then when the train arrives it is loaded in one move. The reverse is also true, the train arrives, the Gantry picks up the container moves it aside and then inserters pick out the contents. But the train is able to move swiftly through the process.

A container doesn't drastically alter the gameplay as many of the same strategies for loading and unloading are required to load the containers. It adds a few new strategies as the container could be docked directly to a manufacturing point.

Containers could be moved between two trains in the same manner.

This bypasses the need for decoupling boxcars which I believe is another item being looked at.

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Re: Containerization

Post by steinio » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:16 pm

:!:

This forum should have the feature to like or upvote posts because i always stumble upon such posts like yours with ideas i would really like to see in the game.
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Re: Containerization

Post by ssilk » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:46 pm

I've added it to viewtopic.php?f=80&t=23008 Warehouse / Depot / Storage / Stock (and related)

It doesn't hit this subject exactly, but in the mentioned article is is already a sub-article; if there are too much suggestions about this topic I will create an own list.
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Re: Containerization

Post by Koub » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:51 pm

I actually like that even more than the loader thing we talked so much about for the last few weeks. I was about to add it to a link collection, but seems Ssilk is way to fast for me to compete :)

[Edit] Btw : It makes me think this could be, with minor adjustments, a solution to several needs :
- easier train loading (as you suggested)
- easier warehousing
- an acceptable solution (gameplay-wise) for (un)boxing
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Re: Containerization

Post by halcyonforever » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:19 pm

ssilk wrote:I've added it to viewtopic.php?f=80&t=23008 Warehouse / Depot / Storage / Stock (and related)

It doesn't hit this subject exactly, but in the mentioned article is is already a sub-article; if there are too much suggestions about this topic I will create an own list.
I actually read that thread and link in my pre-posting research.

That's where my comment about containers on conveyors came from. It was more of a mobile box than trying to mimic intermodal shipping containers. A shipping container while mobile may be pulled right up to the factory line, it won't get moved or processed in the ways described.

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Re: Containerization

Post by zytukin » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:41 am

I like the idea.

However, a minor problem that I notice.

1. The train would arrive, have the containers removed, and depart faster. Then it would pick up the next load and return again.
But, how would the train get empty containers back on it to take back to be loaded up again? Either need the gantry crane to move more then just 6 squares, or a way to transport the containers after they are emptied to another location (ie, other side of train) so they can be loaded back on the train.

2. If a shipping container had the same capacity as the current box car, then it would take just as long to unload.
If you have multiple trains running back and forth between the load and unload points, the faster delivery may end up resulting in a backlog of containers to be unloaded. Ability to store containers in a queue of some type would be useful, so would need something besides a gantry crane for moving them around once off the train. In real shipping yards (boat and rail), large forklifts transport around containers after a gantry crane unloads them from a train or ship.

Perhaps a special 2 tile wide conveyor (with similar curves to the rail pieces) that the gantry stacks the containers on for transport of the containers around the rail yard? Or just add forklifts that can drive things to their needed destinations. This would require containers to have a settable destination, which would be useful as then trains could pick up containers from multiple stops and easily deliver to multiple stops.

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Re: Containerization

Post by ssilk » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:25 am

zytukin wrote: 1. The train would arrive, have the containers removed, and depart faster. Then it would pick up the next load and return again.
But, how would the train get empty containers back on it to take back to be loaded up again? Either need the gantry crane to move more then just 6 squares, or a way to transport the containers after they are emptied to another location (ie, other side of train) so they can be loaded back on the train.
You found the point, where the interesting gameplay begins. Congratulations. :)

I need to say: it's not that easy to solve that kind of problems, but it it is a completly new kind of game in game.
And it is that type of complexity, where I would say it needs some tweaking to be really a round and balanced game.
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Re: Containerization

Post by Anoyomouse » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:31 pm

Wow, This is almost exactly something i wanted to build (to complement warehouses), but requires more control over the entities then the current lua scripting allows (well, from what i've seen), so i'm waiting on lua entities when the factorio devs get around to it

Also, warehouses were supposed to be more rigid and only allow storing massive amounts of a single item, but only store a few piles of those items, but since i'm not actually coding much in it, it just turned into really large chests

Let's hope we get more control of inventories in Lua, and see what can be made :mrgreen:
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Re: Containerization

Post by uscolumbia » Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:50 pm

+1 for this! I think this would add so much to the train system! I already drop down cars to be filled in remote or small production areas. It is a pain to to have to be picking these up but still easier than building a station at these areas. It would be far easier to send one train to go grab containers along a set path and have circuit conditions to only load containers when full etc...

Also, this would lead to being able to have fluid inter-modal containers or even raw oar cars. You could build smaller train systems to move and sort containers from the main line to your yard.

Another idea that I have seen being touched on but not explored is recycling materials from earlier in the game into different late game materials. The inter-modal idea would help in this.

Also, if there is ever a water development to the game, ship based inter-modal would be a must!

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Re: Containerization

Post by golfmiketango » Mon Oct 10, 2016 8:01 pm

+1 for sure

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Re: Containerization

Post by Thegrover » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:56 am

My 2 cents:

At each wagon. The gantry has two places to drop a delivered container, say left and right. The gantry can drop a container into one spot for unloading and load an empty container, so the train only waits as long as it takes to move the containers.

My issue is that 6 stack inserters can unload a train pretty quickly, twelve would be hard to compete against, so it mightn't be worth doing unless the containers had much greater capacity than the standard wagons, which in turn changes the economics of trains.

I do think it's a good idea though, certainly worth considering

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Re: Containerization

Post by bobucles » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:44 pm

I always thought the idea of trains hauling big crates of stuff would make more sense and look way cooler than hand loading a thousand items with inserters.

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Re: Containerization

Post by Deadly-Bagel » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:14 pm

But it's just making things more complex, Stack Inserters unload wagons very quickly and you would only be loading an empty crate back on to the train so why bother?

However I do agree that transport boats should work like this if there is ever a continental map design as the logistics would be easier than trying to work out inserters, but that sounds more like the work of mods than vanilla.
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Re: Containerization

Post by vipm23 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 12:59 am

Suppose we could combine this with AI lorries?

Like, an autonomous trailer truck that can haul an intermodal countainer a relatively short distance, and is smaller than a Well car and locomotive?

To balance, the Well car could carry two containers at a time, while lorries can only haul one. So Well cars are better at hauling, but lorries can provide last minute or rapid response transport.

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Re: Containerization

Post by ssilk » Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:06 am

I tested many aspects of boxing, and Deadly-Bagel is right: most aspects are just complicating stuff.

But as I wrote in the linked link-list above: some aspects would make things easier.
One is that it would enable factory streets: in my vision that is something like a big assembly or the little brother of the Factorissimo mod (doesn't need an extra surface for example).
You place some kind of big building and choose what you want to produce. It has entries like Factorissimo where you can plug belts onto. And for the case of boxing/containerization I can plug also unpaketizers and packetizers to that interfaces.

It looks then so:

Code: Select all

(Some) Unpaketizers unload everything (inclusive empty box) into "Big Assembly"
 --->  needed material is processed, unused forwarded to output
 ---> paketizers put filtered items back into boxes
That kind of processing (let unused material through) opens up a bunch of possibilities and hidden complexity (for optimal speed you should deliver the right proportion of items). Combined with containers/boxes containing exactly counted pre-sorted numbers of items it is in my opinion really interesting gameplay.



To AI lorries, carts, or however we name them: I see their use-cases in transporting items, that cannot be carried by the player. Locomotives, airplane-parts, the big assembly, rocket launcher... (so called "heavy items", search for it): only they can transport it. Buut the use-case for that idea is low and afford to implement it is high. :)
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Re: Containerization

Post by bobucles » Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:40 pm

Complex or simple isn't really that critical. The important thing is deciding what sort of PUZZLES would be fun to solve.

Having a second "large cargo" tier would definitely change base layouts. For example large cargo might not have an underground belt option, and it might not be moveable by bots. The player has to use a much more restricted logistic system to move large cargo around, which adds a late game challenge that has to be solved in a different way.

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Re: Containerization

Post by ssilk » Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:05 pm

bobucles wrote:Complex or simple isn't really that critical. The important thing is deciding what sort of PUZZLES would be fun to solve.
Yes. This is difficult to find, but I think the described scenario would be an interesting puzzle, cause you begin to find combinations of mixed items (you can put different items into into the container), that can be used for many cases.

For example: The combination of copper cables and iron-plates to produce electric circuits:
- a container including:
--- 1 stacks á 200 copper cables
--- 1 stack á 100 iron plates
Results in 1 stack of electric circuit and that can be put into the first container again.
Now think that you can put more items into it, for example wheels. So that you can create inserters out of the circuits.

I think finding such combinations is a nice puzzle...
Having a second "large cargo" tier would definitely change base layouts. For example large cargo might not have an underground belt option, and it might not be moveable by bots. The player has to use a much more restricted logistic system to move large cargo around, which adds a late game challenge that has to be solved in a different way.
Well, I would not like to change the game yet. I would like to have the opportunities to mod it, cause - even with the experience I have - I'm not sure how to play with it. I just know: This is useful and it enables some possibilities. :)
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Re: Containerization

Post by bobucles » Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:49 pm

Don't get me wrong, I do think Factorio is a fairly "complete" game as is. Sure it can use some refinement and touch ups(mostly number crunching), but the same can be said of most things. Drastic changes in content are best invested into a future package, either expansion or DLC-like.

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Re: Containerization

Post by ssilk » Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:43 pm

I know that. :) Perhaps I've not much luck in explaining in English today.

I mean this: This containers/boxes or whatever it is called, this could be interesting. But I don't know yet, how to play with it. There are many possibilities, but none is yet really so that I would say "that's is it", but I feel, there are some ways to have fine gameplay with this. (And it fits also technically into the whole game, because it enables to process many items at once. Indeed this is one way to get higher update-rates.)

O.K.: Maybe this should be moved to Modding Interface Requests board? I don't know, but I know, that there is a big potential.
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Re: Containerization

Post by Skog » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:36 pm

i think this would be very useful as an option in the later game, when your processing thousands of items a second to build rockets.

iterations could include:
cranes- loading/ unloading
input and output cranes. one to load trains, and one to unload trains, these could be extended to cover multiple tracks/ storage spaces lateraly, whitout being vastly more expensive as the crane itself is unique to each rail set.
alternatly having the same setup but with crane rails and having it traverse along the train and one space next to it to unload
both of these could then be logicaly controlled so they work in pairs (so they don't keep cyling the same container)
storage depot cranes.make large stacks that effeciently cover the ground for long term storage

Containers
having the otpion to build differnt size containers, 2x6 (standard) 2x4 and 2x2 (unmathced pairs)
having the option to build ore boxes, like containers but they can be hopper filled/ emptied for convenience
having liquid containers, like ore boxes, but for liquids

non train vehicles
using elctrcic rail guided vehicles (like in the Lego factory) to move the containers around (like a conveyor)
using fuel driven vehicles that follow roads, like trains but less effectient, slower/ easier to make and use for low volume
use logic system to 'store' vehicles untill needed in a depot.

dependign on the parameters of what's needed for modding i can render some drawings of what i mean, or i can sketch out some of the concepts. i've also put a bit of thought into how some of these thing would work, or how they are made

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