Add a slider to increase research and build times

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Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by Kevin Ar18 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:57 pm

Summary:
Add the ability to increase the research and build times of a game, so you can have much longer games.

Why:
* I want one very long game that lasts weeks or months before getting all tech.
* I want there to be a "reason" to build more complex factories because stuff costs more to make.
* I think it would be fun if I was forced to use lesser tech instead of just beelining to higher tech.
* You could have multiplayer games that take months to get all the tech.

Details:
Basically, I imagine that during a game, you can change these settings.... They would affect the base game and all mods for that particular game:
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You could achieve everything with just one slider setting that increases the cost for beakers. This gives you a reason to mine more resources and build more complex factories.

However, you could also add other settings. These 5 settings seem to provide all you need to control research and building:
* Build costs
* Build time
* Resource collection time
* Research cost
* Research time

Some problems that need to be solved:
1. Alien Artifacts seem to present a problem. While it is fun to build a factory to gather 100x more ore, it is no fun going around collecting 100x more alient artifacts. Doing that would be insanely tedious. There MUST be a way to keep the alien artifacts requirement at 1x while all the other materials increase! This problem would have to be solved somehow.
2. Any other "resource" that cannot be mined would present the same problem as alien artifacts.
3. Factory storage/requests are currently limited to 5. However, if you increase the build cost 10x, then the storage/request limit needs to change 10x too.
4. Other problems?

Other idea: Exponential increases
It might be interesting to have an option to exponentially increase research. For example, it might be 10x for 1 prerequisite, 20x for 2 prerequisites, etc....

Other idea: Faster times
Maybe use the sliders to also make production and research times less, for a faster game?


Version 2? :)
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Last edited by Kevin Ar18 on Sat Sep 03, 2016 4:20 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by garath » Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:59 am

Sounds like an awesome idea to me. I wonder if these various items are moddable. If they are, then I wonder if there might be an "out of game" way for someone to write some code to modify these values before you start the game so we could see the effects before asking the developers to formally add it to the game.

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by Kevin Ar18 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:21 am

garath wrote:If they are, then I wonder if there might be an "out of game" way for someone to write some code to modify these values before you start the game so we could see the effects before asking the developers to formally add it to the game.
I haven't done any modding, but I think the data is all in lua files? If so, it would be possible to make a small program that reads all the lua files, and then writes out new files with just the relevant times changed.
However, if the developers put it in-game, all they'd have to do is multiply some values in RAM when they load a game ... instead of complicated parsing of lua files.
On the other hand, if mods can modify all the values in RAM directly, that makes it easy to make as a mod.


garath wrote:so we could see the effects before asking the developers to formally add it to the game.
I think the best way is to have slider values you can change anytime for a game. Players can find the right settings that way.... But, yes, it would help if a mod could be made first to find any bugs it causes ... and there's also the unsolved problem of what to do about the alien artifacts and any other non-minable resource.

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by ssilk » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:03 am

Added to viewtopic.php?f=80&t=16592 Game Setup, Game Configuration, Init Screen, Mod-Config

There are already some mods, which do exactly this!
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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by tobsimon » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:19 am

Would the factor also affect intermediate products like basic circuits and cog wheels, or only placeable items (and maybe motor parts and the like, too)?

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by TheSkiGeek » Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:56 pm

garath wrote:Sounds like an awesome idea to me. I wonder if these various items are moddable. If they are, then I wonder if there might be an "out of game" way for someone to write some code to modify these values before you start the game so we could see the effects before asking the developers to formally add it to the game.
Marathon is a fairly popular mod that scales up resource and research costs.

HardCrafting also makes things slower, although it's not just a linear scale up. That's more of a rebalance of the whole game.

I think there's one called Recursive Science that makes science packs more expensive (the green pack requires red packs, the blue requires red+green, etc.), which would slow things down as well.

As the OP pointed out, you probably don't want to just multiply all resource costs by X. So if this is going to be a built-in feature it might make more sense to have a few hand-tuned settings for game length, sort of like they do for Civilization.

But I would put this as a fairly low priority, since it is easily moddable already.

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by Kevin Ar18 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:17 am

TheSkiGeek wrote:
garath wrote:Sounds like an awesome idea to me. I wonder if these various items are moddable. If they are, then I wonder if there might be an "out of game" way for someone to write some code to modify these values before you start the game so we could see the effects before asking the developers to formally add it to the game.
Marathon is a fairly popular mod that scales up resource and research costs.

HardCrafting also makes things slower, although it's not just a linear scale up. That's more of a rebalance of the whole game.

I think there's one called Recursive Science that makes science packs more expensive (the green pack requires red packs, the blue requires red+green, etc.), which would slow things down as well.

As the OP pointed out, you probably don't want to just multiply all resource costs by X. So if this is going to be a built-in feature it might make more sense to have a few hand-tuned settings for game length, sort of like they do for Civilization.

But I would put this as a fairly low priority, since it is easily moddable already.
Thanks! That means I can use one of those mods maybe. :)
Maybe I should suggest the sliders to the marathon mod maker as a way to scale the difficulty.

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by Koub » Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:19 am

I know there are other mods that basically "make things longer" or "make things more complex". But I think the solution suggested by the OP is particularly elegant and easy to use, allowing you to fine tune.
I have played with marathon, and I thought some things were just excessive. This suggestion lets fine tune this very easily.
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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by Kevin Ar18 » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:37 am

Koub wrote:I know there are other mods that basically "make things longer" or "make things more complex". But I think the solution suggested by the OP is particularly elegant and easy to use, allowing you to fine tune.
I have played with marathon, and I thought some things were just excessive. This suggestion lets fine tune this very easily.
I think you may be right. Now that we know that it is possible to do this as a mod, is there anyone willing to implement these settings as in-game sliders? :)
Ideally, you could change these settings on a per-game basis, but the devs may need to do that.

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by scarhoof » Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:51 am

I love this idea. It's like adding Marathon into the game or additional Research-type Mods. Makes us have to re-work the type of factory we are building depending on how we make these sliders. I would also love to have one that adjusts the game day/night cycle so it messes with the solar build ratios.

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by Kevin Ar18 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:13 pm

I have tested the game with some settings modified, and found out that you can drastically change the game with just 3 settings:
1. A slider to multiply research costs (beakers).
2. A slider to multiply research time (per unit/beaker)
3. A slider to increase lab power usage.

4. I also solved the alien artifact problem by increasing the number of alien science packs a manufacturing facility makes per alien artifact. (So if you increased research costs x100, you also increase the artifact to pack ratio by x100 .. I also made it use 100x more power to make. :))
5. Techs using ONLY red science packs have no cost or time increase.

I am testing these settings in a game. Here's what I noticed:

I found that increased lab power made the game much more enjoyable as it forces me to build more power, along with the need for more materials and the need to expand the base.

PROBLEMS: Increasing all science x100 makes starting the game not as fun since you are just waiting to research basic automation. Thus, I think there must be an option to exclude technologies that only use red science paks... these early techs would have no increased cost or time so you can get to the real game sooner.

Other notes:
I wish I could try out an exponential system, where techs using only red packs are 1x as costly and use 1x as much power... then red + green are 10x, red+green+blue are 100x, red+green+blue+purple are 1000x.
However, this would require making labs change power levels based on the tech being researched... and you would need better power techs (like nuclear) for the advanced stuff.

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by steinio » Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:53 am

What's the fun with longer research?
Is this some fetish or anything like fun with pain ;)
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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by ssilk » Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:58 am

Kevin Ar18 wrote:I found that increased lab power made the game much more enjoyable as it forces me to build more power, along with the need for more materials and the need to expand the base.
This sounds useful, cause I found out the same with the power: The current power consumption of the labs could be balanced a lot up to make the game more interesting in the mid-part. -->> There should be a reason to build the nuclear power. :)

This inspired me a lot and I made another suggestion: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31254 Research Takes more Time and Labs Increases Speed after a While / Acceleration of Research
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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by Kevin Ar18 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:49 pm

steinio wrote:What's the fun with longer research?
Is this some fetish or anything like fun with pain ;)
No it is not. You'd be surprised that the reason has nothing to do with research actually. :) Here's the reasons:
* I want a single game that lasts weeks or months. I don't like short games where I constantly have to start over and lose what I built. Instead, I prefer a game that lasts a long time where I can keep adding more buildings.
* I want there to be a "reason" to build more complex factories... not because I can make more complex factories but because there is a need for them.
* I want to be forced to survive on lesser tech (turrets) and build complex bullet distribution systems instead of beeling to laser towers. In other words I want to enjoy each era of the game for a while instead of them passing by so quickly.
* A secondary reason might be multiplayer... setting up a multiplayer game for many players that can span months.

Well, those are the reasons... and increasing beaker costs and lab power usage seems to be a simple way to achieve those goals. Having a slider would let you adjust the settings based on player skill level and whether it is multiplayer or singleplayer.

Sidenote: I think this also benefits Factorio as a whole: by offering a way to make games last longer, you keep people playing Factorio for much longer than they normally would before losing interest... which increases the player base, and perhaps results in even more mods and sales.


ssilk wrote:This sounds useful, cause I found out the same with the power: The current power consumption of the labs could be balanced a lot up to make the game more interesting in the mid-part. -->> There should be a reason to build the nuclear power. :)

This inspired me a lot and I made another suggestion: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31254 Research Takes more Time and Labs Increases Speed after a While / Acceleration of Research
I posted in your thread a different idea for you to think about, if that's ok. :)
Using the slider system, you could have a power increase that was exponential instead of linear.
Instead of the lab having a fixed power, each science pak color could increase the power use.

For example, let's say we pick a 10x power increase....
base lab power = 6kW
red pack = 10x power (60kW)
green = 10*10 = 100x power (600kW)
blue = 10*10*10 = 1000x power (6MW)
purple = 10000x power (60MW)

maybe with different numbers, but you get the idea ... if you just wanted a simple way to increases power use and force people to build nuclear in the latter stages... You could do this with a simple slider.

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by Kevin Ar18 » Sat Sep 03, 2016 4:17 am

Version 2? :)
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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by ssilk » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:31 am

Sorry to jump in here: I think this becomes too detailed.

My problem with all those sliders is: It makes the game arbitrary.

As a pure player I want to consume the game. I don't want to tweak it. That tweaking is of course another story, but let's concentrate on the role of a pure player.

As such a pure player I would like to play Factorio of course in different ways. But I don't want to create a new type of game, I just want to choose an exsiting type. So I
1. need to choose, what type of game I want to play, (that is some list of names and description what awaits me, perhaps with pictures)
2. and then I can tweak THAT choosen mod with some sliders. Perhaps three or maybe five. Not more! Seven is deadly, 10 is a no-go! Also with text and pictures of what this slider does.

Example for choosing the mods:

Code: Select all

List of game-tweaking mods
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another day without sun - choose how long the night will be
Biters can survive - some biters are much stronger than others
...
Build Times      - Tweak the crafting times of items
...
Research Cost  - Increase research cost.
...
ZZZ The Factorio Master Tweaker Mod - This mod reveals hundreds of sliders and switches to tweak the game and you can store the configuration as Lua-Script for your own mod.
In the first step you can choose one mod and tweak the sliders the author thoughts to be useful.
The second step is, that you can choose more than one mod at a time and you can click through the configuration pages of each mod, that would make the ZZZ-Mod in the above example also useless, cause it is more or less the same as choosing all mods. :)

See also threads about world-generating and configuring:
viewtopic.php?f=80&t=13022
viewtopic.php?f=80&t=16592
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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by Kevin Ar18 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:11 am

VERSION 3
First, let me provide all the technical details to implement properly. At this point, I think it would be better to have this built into the game, since not everything can be done easily with a mod.

GOALS
1. Allow a player to make a game last weeks or months.
2. Give players a reason to build more mines and larger factories (because you need more materials).
3. Allow players to enjoy each "era" of the game (like bullet turrets) instead of rushing to high tech (like laser turrets).
4. Do not change the core gameplay, but provide simple controls (sliders) to increase the difficulty.

DETAILS
1. Slider settings should apply to all mods + the base game.
2. Slider settings should apply to each game separately. In other words, you should be able to make each game different and it should save the setting in the save file.
3. Allow players to change the sliders on a save game at any time (because it may be difficult to pick the right settings at the beginning).
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TECHNICAL
The way these sliders work is very simple.
* They simply take the default settings for beakers, time, and power and multiply them by the factor.
* Increasing the beaker cost for one tech level increases all beakers... what I mean is that setting the purple level to 100x beakers means the tech will need 100x red, 100x blue, AND 100x green!
* Optionally, you could add sliders for other things, like to increase the cost to build things and manufacturing times.

PROBLEMS
Changing the techs in this way is very simple, but it creates problems that MUST be addressed. Fortunately, most are an easy fix.

1. Red Science Problem
In testing, I tried out a 100x beaker increase. This is fun for later techs, but annoying for earl techs. Many of the techs needed to build an automated factory require only red science packs. Thus, to solve the problem, I propose EXCLUDING all red only science from the sliders. This can be done behind the scenes and the player never know. Soo... the sliders only affect green, blue, and purple ... unless a player controls each tech level separately, of course.
2. Alien Science Problem
If you increase the beaker requirements, this makes it a very tedious process to try and get alien artifacts for alien science packs. They cannot be automated. So... there are two easy solutions; pick one. :) (1) Solution one is to never increase the purple science pack requirement... just increase the red, green, and blue. (2) Solution 2 is to make the alien artifacts produce more alien science packs equal to the purple beaker increase. Both solutions can be done behind the scenes and the player never know.
3. Biter difficulty
At higher settings (like 100x) biter difficulty is, perhaps, too difficult. Let me offer a solution to consider: Base biter difficulty based on the number of techs researched and not time. This way you can be sure that the difficulty will always match the tech level.

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by tobsimon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:17 pm

Red Science Problem
May I suggest to use a super linear scaling method, specifically x^2 / 5.
Super linear is any function that - compared to a linear function - increases more rapidly for high values (exactly what we desire for the late game) and has a less gradient for small values (to not disturb the early game). Simple example is x^2, but it can be any sum of a * x^c with at least one c>1. (Polynomials aren't the only possiblities, more obscure functions like x log x are also superlinear.) The suggested function produces integer values for all multiples of 5 and behaves favorably (I think). Is there a research with cost 5? If there is, this would be unchanged, Cost 10 would be increased to 20, 20 to 80, 50 to 500. So red tier research in increased below the x10 linear scaling and everything above that in increased more than that. Cost 100 is changed to 2000 and cost 500 to 50.000 catching up with x100 linear scaling. To make the function customizable, there are now two parameters, the factor and the exponent. The exponent is not very intuitive in its effect. To make it simple for the user, I'd suggest two sliders for the factors at cost 50 (a) and 500 (b). Then the exponent is 1 + lg(b/a) and the factor is b/a^2 * 5^lg(b/a).

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by Kevin Ar18 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:32 pm

tobsimon wrote:May I suggest to use a super linear scaling method, specifically x^2 / 5.
I thought about having a "make exponential" checkbox... but ...
The game has 4 tech levels, so... I figure that allowing players to set different beaker amounts for all 4 tech levels, then you could have it linear, super linear, exponential or whatever you want to try just by modifying the 4 sliders. Although it is a tad more complicated, i think it gives the widest range of control??
Another option vs having 4 sliders is that you could enter your own formula. :) ... sadly, that might be too much work to parse a formula entered by a player :(

To clarify on something:
If you set level 1 (red) tech to 10, then: red beakers are 10x
If you set level 3 (blue) tech to 100, then: red beakers are 100x, green beakers are 100x, and blue beakers are 100x

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Re: Add a slider to increase research and build times

Post by tobsimon » Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:03 pm

With different linear scalings for the different tiers, there will be pretty high steps between the tiers. I think a smooth scaling would be preferable.

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