Bring on the 3rd Dimension! Aka World Layers

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ludsoe
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Bring on the 3rd Dimension! Aka World Layers

Post by ludsoe »

Giving this thread a good title was hard.

I was thinking what if we could build underground, and in the sky. So then i started to think of it from a developers viewpoint.
The idea is simple, we add a third dimension to the game. No not using actual models(Though that would be awesome.)

All you have to do is slice the third dimension into slices. (Further called Layers now.) Each layer on its own would be a playable like the current game, and if your on layer 0(Ground layer "Current game World") You can view the objects in the layer "Above". How ever if you go "Down" a layer aka Layer -1 The layers above you are no longer rendered. With the exclusion of cross layer interactions, meaning holes and conveyor-belts/pipes are seen coming down from above. And if you want to go the extra mile you can also add in layers through -1 to -5 and include underground ores.

Building in the underground layers would be simple. Surface related interactions Such as caves/mine entrances Generate natural light during the day. How ever away from those entities you have to rely on night vision or powered lamps. And the entire grid would be full of "Stone Wall" Entities preventing movement and construction till removed. Save file wise you only need to log changes to the grid as we know the entire thing is going to be full of stone anyways. Also we can deal with pollution in a simple way. When placing placing pollution we generate a path to the closest opening to the surface and use the opening to place pollution onto layer 0(Current game world). And when biters come a knocking they would path to the opening, then once they attack it they are transferred down a layer and follow the pre-cached path towards the source of pollution.

As for the "sky" layer the player interaction with it would be very limited. At most the player would be able to place pipes and belts on raised platforms, but that would be the extent of the building interaction. How ever not the end all of interaction. The sky layer would be used for flying objects such as planes and the bots we have in the game now. While in the sky layer (Layer 1) the entities would be immune to melee attacks from other layers, How ever ranged units would still be able to hit them.

Whatcha guys think? I'm up for discussion about it and I'm ready to answer any questions and solve any faults you see with the idea.
Also sorry about the giant wall of text, it was the only way i could paint a good image of the suggestion for you.

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Re: Bring on the 3rd Dimension! Aka World Layers

Post by Coolthulhu »

I like the idea of underground layer, though I have yet to see a game that does it right (most have permanently removable rock and this counts as "doing it wrong"). Having more than one underground layer would be realistic, but would make the game more complex than it should. 1 underground layer with steel supports needed for the ground not to collapse (destroying all buildings nearby both above and below ground and adding back all the removed earth) sounds like a fine addition to the game to me. Even better if the earth was impossible to remove by hand and needed a digger machine (a vehicle, not handheld) to drill.

I don't like the sky layer idea, though. Sounds redundant. Just marking the flying entities as "can't be attacked in melee" and adding elevated pipe and elevated belt buildings would pretty much do this without having extra complexity.
It would need to be something more distinct to validate the work needed to implement it. An orbit layer (like in Metal Fatigue) wouldn't be redundant, although it would be too sci-fi for Factorio.

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Re: Bring on the 3rd Dimension! Aka World Layers

Post by ludsoe »

Coolthulhu wrote:I like the idea of underground layer, though I have yet to see a game that does it right (most have permanently removable rock and this counts as "doing it wrong"). Having more than one underground layer would be realistic, but would make the game more complex than it should. 1 underground layer with steel supports needed for the ground not to collapse (destroying all buildings nearby both above and below ground and adding back all the removed earth) sounds like a fine addition to the game to me. Even better if the earth was impossible to remove by hand and needed a digger machine (a vehicle, not handheld) to drill.

I don't like the sky layer idea, though. Sounds redundant. Just marking the flying entities as "can't be attacked in melee" and adding elevated pipe and elevated belt buildings would pretty much do this without having extra complexity.
It would need to be something more distinct to validate the work needed to implement it. An orbit layer (like in Metal Fatigue) wouldn't be redundant, although it would be too sci-fi for Factorio.
For the underground layers thing, Ill point you to Dwarf Fortress. One of the inspirations of the layer idea.
I imagine if coded right the layer system would be easily scale-able and the only limits would be ones implemented by the developers for other reasons.

Also I didn't think about having cave ins and such when dealing with caves. This is something that should be discussed more. Ill put my mind to thinking of a way the developers can easily implement.

As for requiring a vehicle to mine underground i can see that happening, actually I would much prefer it. It would be living hell having to dig out large areas by hand. How ever if it cant be mined by hand, how do we automate digging out sections underground? And further on if we have to worry the cave/mine collapsing under stress would the automated mining place supports automatically?

I can see why you don't like the sky layer, but my idea was we remove the current underground pipe/belt systems and implement vertical pipes and belts to transfer between the layers so you would only need the normal belts/pipes and vertical ones. And as for keeping save compatibility the developers can add in a migration file to the base mod that converts the current system into the new one.

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Re: Bring on the 3rd Dimension! Aka World Layers

Post by SilverWarior »

ludsoe wrote:Save file wise you only need to log changes to the grid as we know the entire thing is going to be full of stone anyways.
Your solution could only be used for grids which contain pointers to more complex entities which are stored in another part of the memory. So the memory required is the number of actuall entities and the number of grid cells multiplied by the size of pointer (32 bits for 32 bit applications or 64 bits for 64 bit application).
But your solution is not practical for tiled layers as are used for surface area since they simply contain endex numbers of posible tiles (usually 32 bit integer numbers).

The only way of implementing this without significantly increasing memory requirements would be to dynamically determine which map chunk contains athleast one undrground entity placend and therefore load underground layer for that map chunk.
But based on the fact that Factorio currently has quite large chunks there would still be considerable memory increase. So it would be good to reduce the size of the chunks.
ludsoe wrote:Also we can deal with pollution in a simple way. When placing placing pollution we generate a path to the closest opening to the surface and use the opening to place pollution onto layer 0(Current game world). And when biters come a knocking they would path to the opening, then once they attack it they are transferred down a layer and follow the pre-cached path towards the source of pollution.
Not verry practical and could require a lot of processing power as you would need recalculate pathing everytime underground relief changes. So if you have complex undergound maze it could take some time before path to closes openning is recalculated.

Coolthulhu wrote:I like the idea of underground layer, though I have yet to see a game that does it right (most have permanently removable rock and this counts as "doing it wrong").

I think Prison Architect (also uses topdown perspective) is a nice example of a good implementaion of underground layer. Above ground entites are only seen on normal view, undergorund entities are only seem when in underground view and entities which are conecting both layers are visible at all times.

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Re: Bring on the 3rd Dimension! Aka World Layers

Post by bird2750 »

The underground dimension sounds great, goes right along with underground ores. I could easily see a map with underground access ports, underground belt connectors, and underground pine connectors. :D The sky dimension sounds bad tho, I really don't think the game needs it. :|

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Re: Bring on the 3rd Dimension! Aka World Layers

Post by ssilk »

Sounds all nice. It's no question, that it is implement-able (I don't repeat the args).
Does the gameplay need it? Well, I see one point: the crossings. I think this is the reason, why our universe has three dimensions. :)

But we already have the underground belts/pipes. (And I'm a strong speaker for introducing some upper ground structures because of that.)

Another good reason we need it for the gameplay/to bring the game forward? I don't see any. Perhaps the problem with the high number of logistic bots flying around. But this could be solved in another way (transparency layer for upper ground stuff for example).

I see two disadvantages:
1. The "puzzle sub-game" changes completely. Changes are not bad per se, but I think in this case yes. The player thinks: "Puzzle gets too complex? Well, I take just the underground layer!"
The problem appears when you want to understand your own layout after 10 hours gameplay (because you need to change it). It is the same problem as to understand a multi layered motherboard. Then better a complex, but only 2-dimensional puzzle, which is, when solved, in most cases easy to understand within one pic.

2. Then I see also the visual effect. Or the non-existing visual effect. My awaiting to a game about factories, logistics and so on is a bit of overwhelming but understandable, overloaded, heavy, wuseling, dark/light effect. Lights, blinking. Straight lines. Such things. The reason is, because real factories look like that. And will look like that in 10,000 years, because going into the deep is expensive, no matter, what technology you use. It is much easier to built things up, then down. Adding underground will change that completely. There is no need to build the long straight lines above ground. The mentioned look will never happen. I think will go away from the things a player awaits.
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Re: Bring on the 3rd Dimension! Aka World Layers

Post by slpwnd »

Good idea. This is something we have considered. Most probably not gonna happen because it changes too many things, but could be something to take into account for the datadisk / Factorio II :D

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Re: Bring on the 3rd Dimension! Aka World Layers

Post by Tami »

When is the release date for Factorio-II? Is it possible to download a beta or something allready? ;)

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Re: Bring on the 3rd Dimension! Aka World Layers

Post by ssilk »

About in September. But I forgot the year...
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Re: Bring on the 3rd Dimension! Aka World Layers

Post by kovarex »

Tami wrote:When is the release date for Factorio-II? Is it possible to download a beta or something allready? ;)
Ha ha :)

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