Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

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Rathael
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Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by Rathael » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:03 am

Hello! I have a pretty major suggestion for the game. A Factory Designer that works like most 4x space games' Star Ship Designer. It would be a whole new level of the game. The factories would only be abstract "Black boxes" in the main world. The game only simulates or cares about the actual numbers for the factory, ie. Energy use, pollution, speed, etc. Here is how it would work:

1) You open the Factory Designer and select a building type. Assembler, Furnace, Chemical Plant, etc. (The equivalent of Scout, Cruiser, or Battleship hull in a 4x).

2) Set the size and shape for your factory. This could be hard-coded, or a grid that you select "Active" squares for your factory. Anything from 1x1 to however large, 10x10 maybe?. Possibly with non-square shapes.

3) Each outside wall of the factory can accept input/output mini-belts, since the main world can input or output on every side. The factory will be valid as long as there is at least one input and one output.

4) You select various machine components and place them down along with little belts and inserters. This is the mini-game part where you try to get the type of numbers you want for your factory. Least energy use? Most speed? Least pollution? Do it all in the smallest 1x1 size you can or maybe you just really need an "L" shaped factory to fit into your belt system just right. You need to craft these components that same as you would anything else in the game. Whatever your aim is, this is the part that makes it happen.

5) You finish and save this factory as "Assembler 3 - Low Energy" or "Electric Furnace mk9". This now shows up in the main crafting gui and you can build them.

6) Again, this factory's insides are not simulated by the game. The game only cares that this factory has a speed of 5, energy use of 50kw, creates .032 pollution every cycle, etc. The same as how it works now.

7) Other stuff: Any building of the same type can replace any building of the same type as an upgrade(or downgrade). The way an Assembler 2 can replace an Assembler 1. Deleting or obsoleting a building design removes it from the crafting gui to keep things neater.

So, what do you think?

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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by Coolthulhu » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:00 am

Something like this was suggested around version 0.6 or 0.7.
Interesting idea, but for me it kinda conflicts with the way Factorio works now.
You have components that do their stuff and just that. Complex system arising from interaction of simple elements.

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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by ssilk » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:10 am

Rathael wrote: So, what do you think?
Besides, that I don't know exactly what "4x games space ship designer" is (I think it's another game, yes I've searched, but the result is very unclear, perhaps you can explain that more exactly) I think:

Blueprints?? Ever used them??

And I think: this game is different in one way: space. We have plenty of space in this game. This is one of the most astonishing things I've found: the huge amount of space. There is so much space in this game, that there is no need to spare it; no, it would be ridiculous to spare it.

And another reason is: even if factorio is a very deterministic game, there are many details, which can't be simulated, because they are based on the physics engine. Think to the interactions inserters and belts, there are plenty of such simple details, but in sum it is unpredictable what happens, until you calculate it in detail. Or in other words: a simulation of it is boring. I like the moving things, the WYBIHIW (what you built is how it works), the direct interaction.

And last reason: I've made a very similar suggestion last year: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... f=5&t=1016
You see, this idea is discussed in many directions and I think I can speak for the majority, that it doesn't match into factorio, because there is no need for it. :) As a result of that discussion, I think I can say, that the blueprints are now, how they are and I'm 50% sure, that we will be able to save and share blueprints before summer.

But, to be positive, your idea brought me to the point to see, that it is currently not possible to save the modules used in a blueprint. I think this is an important point, but don't know yet, how this could be solved. I see this as a good point of your post.
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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by Rathael » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:36 pm

ssilk wrote: Besides, that I don't know exactly what "4x games space ship designer" is (I think it's another game, yes I've searched, but the result is very unclear, perhaps you can explain that more exactly) I think:
A 4x space game would be a game like Sword of the Stars, Aurora, Distant Worlds.

Blueprints?? Ever used them??

And I think: this game is different in one way: space. We have plenty of space in this game. This is one of the most astonishing things I've found: the huge amount of space. There is so much space in this game, that there is no need to spare it; no, it would be ridiculous to spare it.
This would not compact the outside world at all with the possible exception of differently shaped assemblers, smelters, etc. Everything in the outside world would still be the same. This factory designer would only affect the factories themselves. You cannot place normal buildings, belts, inserters, etc inside the factories. Only factory-specific components that affect Pollution, Energy usage, Crafting Speed, Smelting Speed, etc.

And another reason is: even if factorio is a very deterministic game, there are many details, which can't be simulated, because they are based on the physics engine. Think to the interactions inserters and belts, there are plenty of such simple details, but in sum it is unpredictable what happens, until you calculate it in detail. Or in other words: a simulation of it is boring. I like the moving things, the WYBIHIW (what you built is how it works), the direct interaction.
Which would not change at all. The inside of the factories, once built, would be a black box as far as the game is concerned. They are not simulated at all in the outside world (it would make your CPU cry). They would work exactly as they do now, with the addition of a mini design game. This would somewhat replace the need for modded factories. You would not need to download a mod for a drill that has double the mining radius. You could design it in-game, possibly at the cost of higher energy/pollution or a bigger footprint.
And last reason: I've made a very similar suggestion last year: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... f=5&t=1016
You see, this idea is discussed in many directions and I think I can speak for the majority, that it doesn't match into factorio, because there is no need for it. :) As a result of that discussion, I think I can say, that the blueprints are now, how they are and I'm 50% sure, that we will be able to save and share blueprints before summer.
Your idea in that thread is not what I am talking about in this one. You wanted to be able to move things like assemblers, inserters, belts, and just about everything else from the outside world into the inside factory world.
That would compact things down and save space. Doing that would a have huge effect on game-play.

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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by Sir Nick » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:25 pm

So, basically, you want a factory with a selectable type and sliders "Pollution-Energy-Speed"? And yes, I do understand that they are not actual sliders, but components.

Nevertheless, IMO Factorio factories differ from a 4x spaceships. The latter are a system in itself that does not necessarly interact with the rest. The former are all parts in a greater design. If I may use metaphors, a 4x spaceship is a mechanical watch, that may be used for some purpose, but is all right by itself. On the other hand, Factorio factories are like cogs in such a watch.

In the current state of the game the AMs are such black boxes you propose. Barring the complexity of coding and using such a thing, I would like the opposite - for the AMs and ChemPlants to be broken down into in-world operations, something akin to ssilk's repeated mention of a Star Wars step-by-step factory. However, even without much thought on the point I can bring up a fair bit of trouble regarding this approach, so the most reasonable course of action is, IMO, staying with the current system.

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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by CherryKiss » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:41 pm

I got kinda excited before I even read this topic, because I knew exactly what he was talking about. The 4x ship designer is a part of the game where you design the ships you will later build to use for various tasks, such as light fighters, scouts, colony ships, ect ect...they go way back to early classics such as Master of Orion, to newer games such as Sins of Solar Empire and Sword of the Stars (I think, haven't actually played those two, but would be shocked if they didn't have spaceship design)

The point is, this would be a new seperate part of the game, where you start with a base "frame" which would tell you what the size of the resulting factory would be, and you fill that frame with components....the current modules would certainly become such components, as well as such things like...devices to hold an ingredient to be manipulated (ever wanted a more efficient factory for cables that only would accept one input, but could work at half the energy?) devices that manipulated the ingredients perhaps, with the more you used, the more power you'd use, but you could get faster results?

The end idea is, you'd be able to created a wider range of workable assembly machines, giving you more ability to specialize such machines, again a good example is maybe you make one assembler you like to use for cables, it would accept only one input, perhaps run a bit slower for the benefit of lower power draw/pollution. Maybe you have another you use for advanced circuits, that uses a bigger frame so it fits a 5x5 spot on the map, but for that additional size, you can pack into the design the ability to make more with fewer resources, and make them faster than current machines could make the advanced circuits.

To the main game you would only need to add the ability to craft some new assembly machine components, which would get used every time you made a machine you've already designed.

Anyway, I hope I made some sense. Probably not, but suffice to say I think it is a great and fun idea. I don't believe factorio NEEDS this by any means, but it would add another layer of fun!

PS. You could also add in some default machines so you'd have designs matching the current assembly machine 1, 2, and 3, so those that did not want to design their own yet would have those defaults to make without ever having to design their own.

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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by Garm » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:18 pm

was presented before and I am personally against it:


It diminishes what Factorio is. One of the main "identities" of Factorio is how everything is processed separately. This simulation down to the single piece of ore allows Factorio to breathe, to look alive.


Besides I don't see any real benefits something like this can provide:

- if i want to achieve speed sacrificing size I simply build more assemblers.
- if I want to quickly expand this design or build it somewhere else - I would use blueprints.


Or do you intend to actually compress the size of the machinery? As in the building grid withing such factory would be larger, than size of this factory? If so then I am even more against this.


Edit: Dont forget - Factorio already has this minigame: your power armour. This could work well for other mobile designs (custom vehicles, robots, trains) but definitely not for buildings.

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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by Rathael » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:24 am

Garm wrote:was presented before and I am personally against it:

It diminishes what Factorio is. One of the main "identities" of Factorio is how everything is processed separately. This simulation down to the single piece of ore allows Factorio to breathe, to look alive.

Besides I don't see any real benefits something like this can provide:

- if i want to achieve speed sacrificing size I simply build more assemblers.
- if I want to quickly expand this design or build it somewhere else - I would use blueprints.

Or do you intend to actually compress the size of the machinery? As in the building grid withing such factory would be larger, than size of this factory? If so then I am even more against this.

Edit: Dont forget - Factorio already has this minigame: your power armour. This could work well for other mobile designs (custom vehicles, robots, trains) but definitely not for buildings.
CherryKiss has it exactly correct. This would not affect the "real world" gameplay much. Think of it as simply making Modules its own mini-game where you design them into the building itself instead of just placing them into slots. The buildings would still work the same as they do now, An inserter can place an item in or take it out from anywhere, just with different sized footprints or different shapes to them if the devs wanted to make them more dynamic. It would be more like "What happens to the circuits and iron plates once they get placed inside the factory?". The mini-game would be to take those inputs and snake them through various machines inside to make the output. What you do along the way, how you design your factory, dictates what the final numbers for it are. Place more smoke stack scrubbers to reduce Pollution, but now you don't have as much room for transformers for Power, or assembly line machines for Crafting Speed. And, as CherryKiss said, you would not even have to do any of this if you didn't want to, just use the default templates that come with the game.

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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by Garm » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:43 am

I guess I misunderstood - what you are suggesting is new design instead of modules?

If it is then it's completely different matter, yet with its own hurdles. While yes it could be interesting it would have two major problems:

- tedious implementation. equipping power armour once is nice, but min\maxing tens, even hundreds of assembly machines and smelteries will quickly turn into a chore, which all but few would ignore - big waste of developer time.

- balance. current 3 modules took very long time to get polished, as you increase amount of components - balancing time for them will grow exponentially.


And finally - I think even what you have mentioned would be best to be implemented in actual gameplay: additional smokestacks, beacon-like augmentations etc. There is no need to go a level deeper since this game is already all about using most basic machinery to make most complex of factories.

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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by ssilk » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:03 am

CherryKiss wrote: The point is, this would be a new seperate part of the game, where you start with a base "frame" which would tell you what the size of the resulting factory would be, and you fill that frame with components....the current modules would certainly become such components, as well as such things like...devices to hold an ingredient to be manipulated (ever wanted a more efficient factory for cables that only would accept one input, but could work at half the energy?) devices that manipulated the ingredients perhaps, with the more you used, the more power you'd use, but you could get faster results?
Ahh, now I understand: Like the modular armour...

Add a distance-module adds the reach of a miner. Adding stacks adds capacity. Adding transformers adds the power usage. Or we add a burner and it makes power itself. Such things...

I'm ambivalent. Well it's not a bad idea, but I don't see the real usage. Because in reality it is different: use as much similar components as possible. They use as much similar roboterarms as possible, because it is cheaper. Maybe they change the tools they use or give them specialized fingers, but they never try to change such a simple thing. If you need different abilities you have some types of robot arms (like now).

Or in other words: you need to have a really good reason, to change a simple component individually. The advantage must be very obvious. Just faster is no reason, because you have always space to place two...

Well. I see a usage: vehicles. All kinds of vehicles. I think for example to a tank. Put in modules and it has better speed, but less armour. Well, THAT makes really sense and I think just to "Into space" game.
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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by ssilk » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:16 pm

I was thinking about it a bit more. Sorry for double edit.

The most things, which are needed to create a factory like in Star Wars are in this thread:

- a frame. Nearly every high tech has a frame. The frame is used to install the rest. The frame defines, what it looks at the end and how it can be used. Frames are technologically high tech and very different, but in the game they can be very similar use (not look).
- modules. Let's think for a car. We have motor, wheels, brakes, spring system and cushion, energy system, steering electric. And weapons. We stacks, which are bound to different modules (stacks for fuel, ammunition, transport...) and many more parts. Effectively this can be as deep as needed. This all are modules, because nothing can be used on its own. It makes only sense if I put it into a frame and tell the parts how they should interact.
- we need some kind of factory-street to mount everything together. First the frame is inserted and then, part by part the modules. Perhaps the order of mounting does matter? Mass production of cars? Bad example, but think to mass production of fight robots? Mass production of rockets?? Yes!!
- in real factories the frame tells the robots, what modules should be mounted. So eventually here.

So here is a small list, what's needed:

- a frame assembly for each type of frame.
- a black box mounted on the frame, which tells the inserters, what should be mounted.
- something, which can program this black box. This is a kind of design-process and goes into the direction of what Rathael might meant. In the end I want to tell: order so much of that type.
- a big belt. The frame is put on it and it drives slowly through stations of inserters etc. in the best case, there are some requester chests and the inserters just puts on the frame, what the black box allow them. More complicated, if the order of placing the item plays a role.
- at the end a check: all need things mounted? Yes or no? If not, return to bad chest, otherwise to good chest. The player can decide. Perhaps send it just back to the beginning.
- mechanisms, which allow to reduce the speed or stop of the belt, if the needed items aren't delivered fast enough. Some sub-check-points.

Well, many more details, but in general this is my current vision about it.

There is of course the question, if a produced vehicle can be placed into chests. Think for trains. But how cool would it be to order a train and 3 wagons and at the end the finished train is standing on the belt, ready filled with coal? Or think to rockets, they are huge. If you forgot to have enough space at the end, you cannot bring it away. And you need special transport for them...
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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by TGS » Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:38 am

I think this would be very interesting to investigate. Though maybe not to actual implement. The reasoning being very simple. If you implement a system where the customization leads to better design, then any use of the 'base' uncustomized systems actually becomes a penalty. Meaning if you chose not to use the system, you are at an innate disadvantage.

Btw CherryKiss, sadly Sins of a Solar Empire does not have ship design. I haven't really played Sword of the Stars so I can't say on that one.

There is a game that uses the "Ship design" approach that I can cite in which this is exceptionally visible called Star Ruler. You get some base designs. But they are bad for starters. Pretty much without fail you have to redesign every base ship in the game or you are going to be at a disadvantage, even against the AI due to the nature of the scaling of the game. Therein lies the issue with having things customizable. Either you penalize any non-standard design, or through sheer fact of control you are penalizing someone for using the base designs.

I myself do not really get into any of the advanced stuff in Factorio as it is, aside from very basic logistics bot interaction. Mainly because I rarely 'plan' my factory out, that and I'm not big into min/maxing and trying to squeeze every bit out of the factory that I can. But I can tell you even now NOT utilizing some of the advanced functionality in the game I at times feel as though I'm being penalized. I'm not really, but that's how things tend to work in games where you have two parallel systems where one has a significant advantage to the other.

It's like if you have a Tier 1 item and a Tier 2 item and the Tier 2 item is vastly superior to the Tier 1 item why would you ever use the Tier 1 item when you get access to the Tier 2? You wouldn't.

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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by ssilk » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:16 pm

It's the same as with the burner inserter.

And to the "must design": I think in factorio it is not much about which modules are in a ship or so, it's much more about how to built that. It makes sense to have at first simple designs (based on ready blueprints) and then later change it to more complex stuff. And the supply/logistic thing would come there to its edge: Based on the design, the logistic must fit to that.

The different behavior of the built stuff is then only a reaction to your logistic abilities and not based on more or less good design. I think this makes it very different to those other games.
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Re: Factory Designer like a 4x games Space Ship Designer

Post by Smee » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:43 pm

If I'm understanding the idea correctly then the concept is much like from this screenshot from a game called SpaceChem.

http://northwaygames.com/wp-content/upl ... echem3.jpg

That is the world view - but by clicking each of the factories you then design specifically what behaviour is happening inside the factory to produce the output.

http://media.pcgamer.com/files/2011/02/SpaceChem-6.jpg

That game isn't a sim - but a puzzle game and it becomes about adapting the factory processes to slow down/speed up various parts to match to the speed of inputs from other factories.

Is this sort of what was meant?
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