Low volume, long range, low infrastructure goods transport

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Low volume, long range, low infrastructure goods transport

Post by Olix » Mon May 26, 2014 10:29 am

Currently, there are 3 kinds of ways of transporting goods in the game:
  • Conveyor Belts
    + Easy to set up
    + Medium/High volume
    - Very vulnerable to biters
  • Railways
    - Difficult to set up
    + Extremely high volume
    + Not vulnerable to biters
  • Logistics robots
    - very energy intensive
    - low volume
    + very flexible
    - impractical to use for long range transport
So right now, the only real choice for transporting goods between different outposts is using rail. Conveyor belts would be destroyed, while logistics robots are far too expensive (1 roboport every 50 tiles would be impractical, and the robot AI is not good enough here).

What I would like to see in game is a second way of moving goods between separate fortified outposts - something that combines some of the flexibility of logistics robots with better long distance travel. For instance, I think something like a small automated car/truck would be good. The player would building docking ports in their outposts, and the vehicle would travel between them automatically - perhaps only travelling with given a trigger through the logic system.

The primary use case I am thinking of is for supplying military outposts. Right now, I like to build little outposts around the wilderness with thick walls, lots of laser guns, and a single roboport stocked with repair tools and construction robots. However, it's not possible to automatically supply such an outpost - railway is too big to ship over the occasional repair tool, but chaining 10 intermediate roboports along the route is too expensive. With the new auto-truck, the outposts would be able to request new supplies if their stock was running low. The auto-truck would load up, deliver the supplies, then return to the central factory. Small outposts like this would be able to run unmonitored by the player.

Another use case would be exploiting smaller mineral deposits - deposits too small for all the effort (and space requirements) of a railway connection. Here, auto-trucks would be able to ship back the iron, copper and oil, and ship out barrels (and the occasional repair tool) with much less effort than a full railway. However, the trucks would be lower volume than trains - they would be inefficient to use for larger mineral fields. Also, they could perhaps be slower and more vulnerable to biters - if operating in unsafe zones, some shipments would be lost. Railways would remain important for shipping large volumes of minerals in safety over long distances.

I also hope that the introduction of a less intensive way of connecting outposts back to the main factory would encourage the player to build more of them and to expand more, to exploit smaller mineral fields that are not worth running train tracks to, and to discourage the player from just disassembling an outpost once its mineral fields are running low. Perhaps the player might even be encouraged to create intermodal networks, with distant railway stations receiving truck deliveries from small, nearby mineral deposits, and then sending the aggregate resources back by rail to the central factory.

What do you think?

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Re: Low volume, long range, low infrastructure goods transpo

Post by ssilk » Mon May 26, 2014 11:15 am

You can choose, to which thread I join this post:
https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... f=6&t=3072
https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... f=6&t=2247

No, just kidding... :)

What I mean is: before further discussing this, please read the two threads more or less completely! Sorry, no way around this.
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