Alternate research tracks

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[DegC]RubenGass
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Alternate research tracks

Post by [DegC]RubenGass »

TL;DR
I would like to see the ability to do some of the infinite researches without having all science packs, but at a much lower efficiency so the player can choose to either make all science packs, or go absolutely nuts on one of them and neglect the lower efficiency of time (and resources).
What ?
Currently, research (and especially infinite research) happens in a linear fashion where you need a science pack of each kind to make it work. I would like to see the ability to do some of the infinite researches with only red and/or green science packs, but at a much lower efficiency so the player can choose to either make all science packs, or go absolutely nuts on one of them and neglect the lower efficiency of time (and resources). This would make it possible for players to instead of making all science, they can choose to make massive factories that pump out train loads of red science packs and research (or use up the materials in a way that isn't purely useless) anyway. Although I'd like to refer to the discussion for an actually method of implementation, here is an example to get my point and give you guys something to base it off:


Each science pack gets a certain amount of 'points' rewarded, based on the difficulty of production and the required resources. Each research requires an X amount of points to complete but a penalty is added for each type of science pack missing. The points could be as follows (did not calculate, just making something up):
Red : 1
Green : 2
Blue : 8
Production : 12
Military : 12
High Tech : 15
Space packs : 20
(Total : 70)

A certain research requires for example 700 points and science packs are used up in equal amounts. If all packs are available, 10 units of time will be necessary to get to the total of 700 'points' of research. If I choose not make all science packs, but mass produce for example only red and green, there will be a penalty of (for example) 20% added for each pack missing. This means I now need (700*1.2^(5) =) 3010 points to complete the research instead of the base amount of 700. As I'm only producing red and green packs, I'm only adding 3 points towards the research per pair of packs and I will need to wait for over a thousand units of time for my research to complete.
Why ?
I am the kind of person who really likes train and although Steam says I played the game for nearly 600 hours (plus a few hundred pre-Steam), I never actually launched a rocket. I tend to set up a small factory, do the science necessary to start decently working with trains and then make separate towns/outposts (Yes, Bentham-Style) for individual components and start making the science packs. As I work through the necessary components and start on the basic science packs, I find myself making ridiculous amounts of red science packs with absolutely no point to them at all, and this is what got me thinking. I think it would be great to give players more choices in what they produce.


To be honest, there should probably be different penalties for different packs so it would be more viable to use only space packs then to use red packs (although the points do somewhat correct this already) but this is just an example of what it could look like. I'm looking forward to hearing the thoughts on this and what better systems arise in the discussion. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Kyralessa
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Re: Alternate research tracks

Post by Kyralessa »

The problem in general with "Make an easier way to accomplish X" is that it destroys any sense of accomplishment in doing X the original, hard way.

To draw an analogy: In addition to getting an Olympic medal by competing and winning, imagine that you could get an Olympic medal by paying the International Olympic Committee $10,000. There'd be no indication on the medal of how you got it. The won medal and the bought medal would be identical.

The result? All Olympic medals would be devalued, because for anyone with a medal, it would be impossible to know whether they'd really earned it or just bought it. And it would seem stupid to put years of exercise and practice and diet into winning a medal by competing when you could just save up for a few months or years, while eating and doing whatever you want.

Getting to infinite research in Factorio is hardly the same caliber of accomplishment as winning an Olympic medal ;), but the same principle applies: It wouldn't feel as good to reach the highest tier, unlocking the various advanced items, if you knew that other people had gotten there by just spamming an insane amount of red science. If your idea was implemented, making an easy way, there'd be no sense of accomplishment in doing it the hard way anymore.

[DegC]RubenGass
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Re: Alternate research tracks

Post by [DegC]RubenGass »

I get what you're saying and I understand that it feels like a shortcut but that is not how I would see it or would like it to be. I would like for it to be a different approach to the same problem.

To continue the rather nice trend of analogies; look at it as if it were a (highly simplified) farm. The farmer could harvest his wheat and plainly sell the produce. It would get him his money but he needs to sell a lot of wheat to get an income. Alternatively, the farmer could choose to turn the wheat into flour, increasing the value of produce and needing to sell less to accomplish the same. The farmer could continue this trend to an extreme and use the eggs from his chickens and the milk from his cows to bake cakes and sell those, increasing the value even further and getting more and more money from his produce. Yes, setting up a bakery is a lot more work for the farmer but he will have a much more efficient farm in terms of value of his produce. The farmer could stay true to his plain wheat produce and sell that as well, but he will need tons of land and machinery to get a similar paycheck.

I think there should be some balancing where only supplying the labs with red packs runs at a crazily low efficiency ( <1% or something, close to being impossible or nonviable) but launching rockets like a mad man and supplying only space packs could be an option (maybe 40-ish %)

The goal is not to "Make an easier way to accomplish X", the goal is to make several routes that lead to X, some being more efficient or viable (supplying all should be best in terms of time and resources) than others but leaving the choice to the players.

Daz3
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Re: Alternate research tracks

Post by Daz3 »

Interresting idea, but perhaps allowing the Labs to do this would cause problems, (my labs used all my red backs because my green got jammed! Now I've got no green left so they're eating all my blues!)

Perhaps a conversion in one of the assemblers? Numbers just out the air; you'd have to work out the resource costs properly balance this;

3 Reds and an iron to make 1 green.
4 greens and a copper to make 1 blue.
7 blues and... (I think you get the idea...)

The reason for the added material is just to help discourage people from spamming red factories and 'upgrading' the packs as needed. If the 'exchange rate' is set harsh enough it probably wouldn't be needed.

Good points?
A use for excess packs if you've overbuilt. (Though reducing or disabling that part of the factory works as well)
Chance to get some needed 'higher tier' research done if you can't get materials for it. (Blue Science when there's no oil, or the biggest nest on the planet on the oil wells.)
Adds flexiblity, and maybe a new challenge (limited to making one science pack and convert the rest.)

Bad points?
Might encourage short-cutting. No matter how poor the conversion, it'll be easy to make billions of reds and upgrade them. Might be huge as a factory and drain every resource dry but it'll be very simple to build! (I think this is why it won't make it into the game.)
More crafting options on an already crowded crafting list!
(A little subjective) Potentially a lot of work for a niche case which might be better off directed to other parts of the game.

Sorry, bit of a long one there...

d3x0r
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Re: Alternate research tracks

Post by d3x0r »

a couple recipes and an assembler could make a mod that takes in combinations of science packs and makes the next level up....

not sure about doing all combinations

2 red = 1 green
8 red = 1 blue
4 green = 1 blue
12 red or 6 green or 1 blue + 2 green = 1 yellow

12 red or 6 green or 1 blue + 2 green = 1 gray
15 red or 1 red+6 green or 3 blue + 1 red + 1 green = 1 purple (this is well short of what it actually is)

maybe like 20 new recipes.

don't know how 'fair' you want to make it... I mean you could make recipes that are just electricity (oh yeah I saw that... https://mods.factorio.com/mods/TempiDra ... eplicators ) https://mods.factorio.com/mods/Doublespin/replicators (apparently not updated to 0.15 though)

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