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Solid lubricant and portable water production

Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:33 pm
by sillyfly
Note: In this post I will use the notion of "Solidly-Transportable", or ST for short. By this I mean any item that can be transported via train/transport belts/inserters etc. All solid items are ST, as well as crude oil (as it can be put in a barrel and thus transported as a solid), but all other liquids are not.

TL;DR - by making lubricant a solid and allowing water to be created (in small amounts) wherever necessary, the oil industry could be simplified.

1. The problem
The main point of this double-suggestion/idea is to make the oil industry a bit more organizable and streamlined (as I see it). The main problem is that the oil industry uses Crude Oil and has a few liquid intermediate products (sulfuric acid and lubricant), and transporting liquid is much more messy than transporting solids.
Looking at the 4 direct product of the oil industry (After the initial Light/Dark/Petrol stage) we have -
1. Plastic - solid.
2. Sulfur - solid.
3. Solid fuel - solid (may be skipped).
4. Lubricant - liquid.
That is - with the exception of Lubricant, all primary oil products are solid, and thus can be easily transported to wherever they are needed. In my factories I always make the sulfuric acid wherever it is needed, and never in my refinery area. The same for plastic - it is made in the refinery, but used elsewhere.
Thus we are left with the "problem" of lubricant - as lubricant is a liquid it leaves my method with two options -
1. Make long pipes or lubricant from my refinery to wherever lubricant is needed.
2. Make mini-refineries that only make lubricant (Light oil and Petrol are turned into solid fuel) wherever lubricant is needed.
I currently use method 2, but it is far from perfect, as you may have guessed.

The problem of liquids have been discussed in this forum before (see ... f=6&t=5315 etc.), but allowing all liquids to be put into barrels has it's own disadvantages.

2. The solution
The solution I came up with is rather simple - make Lubricant solidly-transportable. By making lubricant ST we have all of the primary oil-industry products ST, and thus the only place messy pipes should be used is in refineries and oil fields.
Now, this is of course not the whole story - there is still the question of how lubricant should be made ST. There are three ways I thought of -
1. Allow lubricant to be put into barrels - I don't like this idea. It's almost the same as allowing all liquids in a barrel, and this is messy.
2. Make lubricant a solid to start with - This is straight-forward, and not unrealistic, as lubricants are commonly viscous gels or pastes (See ... 810815.jpg or any other engine grease product). It does however takes away some of the complication of various recipes, which may be undesired.
3. Make a new product "Lubricant gel" or "Solid lubricant", with recipes to turn one to the other - This is a sort of mix between the two ideas. Lubricant will still be made as a liquid and used as a liquid, but it has a recipe to turn it into a solid, thus being ST, and turned back into useful liquid where it is needed.

3. The catch
One thing that this idea still doesn't solve is this - to make sulfuric acid you need not only sulfur but also water. Water means pipes, and you may not want to make your battery/processing unit factory near a lake. The solution to this is - make a way to create water without a lake. This could either be a condensation-plant, which condenses atmospheric humidity into water, or a ground-water pump which suck water from aquifers. Either may be modified by environmental/weather conditions, if those are ever introduced (i.e. - condensation plants are less effective in deserts, more effective in humid weather etc.).
Those machines should not make large amounts of water - it should not be feasible to run a power plant with them, but as a sulfuric acid plant uses much less water than a power plant they should still be usable to create small amounts of water wherever necessary.

I hope I did not bore you with my long post. Looking forward to hear your thoughts.

Re: Solid lubricant and portable water production

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:11 pm
by arl85
I recognize that you put lot of effort in your analysis; anyway I find that most of the problems related to fluids (oil, water) is not related to fluids themself but how to move them.

While several ideas have been proposed (oil tanker, liquid in barrels) I personally think that simply making pipes not connecting each other by default (as implemented in clean pipes mod) and making them crossable (as currently transport belts are) would help a lot.
still you'll need pumps to let these fluid move, but long distances covered by pipes would be less a pain.

coming back to your suggestions, I like the idea of getting water from underground locally; I'm less sure about solid lubrificant, because I think it's part of the "challenge" of the game.

Re: Solid lubricant and portable water production

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:42 pm
by Khyron
I agree with arl85 on the challenge of the game aspect. The oil industry is initially daunting but once you understand the whole system it's painfully easy. I'd rather see new challenges added than existing challenges made easier.

Besides, lubricant is basically only needed for drones and express belt, and IMHO if you're building express belt you're doing it wrong. (oohh, controversial! :lol: )

Re: Solid lubricant and portable water production

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:16 am
by sillyfly
Thank you for taking the time to read through and comment. That means the most.
As for problems with fluids - I agree that the problem is with transporting, and even if pipes are made to not auto-connect you still won't be able to transport fluids by bots or trains.

I also agree with the other point (to some extent), and thus my favorite "solution" is to make a new "solid-lubricant" with recipes to solidify lubricant and re-liquify it back.

But if transporting fluids is made easy enough maybe this whole discussion really unnecessary.

and Khyron - I agree that challenges should not be trivialized, but I don't think things need to be intentionally clunky. The difficulty should arise from smart design that is meant to make you think, not things that where overlooked and make you frustrated (Not that I say that is the case...).

Hoping to hear more opinions (if anybody cares) :)

Re: Solid lubricant and portable water production

Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:57 pm
by sillyfly
I am bumping this because I once again find myself frustrated by lubricant.
In my latest game I tried to make distinct specialized factories, connected by rail. Obviously every mine is isolated, but I also have different areas for iron smelting, copper smelting, steel smelting (not in the same place as iron smelting, of course!) Electronic Circuit production, Advanced Circuit production and Processing Unit production, as well as a specialized Oil refinery and a specialized Battery factory.
The refinery outputs sulfur and plastics, which are transported by rail to Advanced Circuit production (plastics) and to battery and PU factories (sulfur). The problem is - how do I make Electric Engine Units? There is no way to transport lubricant by rail, so I am left with these options:
1. Make an electric engine unit factory inside the refinery, which gets EC and Engine Units from other factories by rail. This is fine, I guess, but it takes away from the whole "this is a refinery", "This is a foundry" etc. idea. Why would you have an engine factory inside a refinery?
2. Run a pipe of lubricant from the refinery to where I make Engine Units - Besides this being very tedious (they are very far apart - that's the whole point!), it feels stupid. It's not hard or complicated to do, just misses the point of transporting things by rail.
3. Have 1 refinery *inside* my Engine Unit factory, solely for the purpose of making lubricant. All Light Oil and Petroleum Gas produced by it must be disposed of somehow. To be honest - this is the idea I am currently leaning towards, though it of course has it's own drawbacks.

So once again I say - we should have a way to transport Lubricant by rail. I don't care if it's through the introduction of a tanker wagon, or by a process of crystallizing then re-liquifying the lube (so it has an intermediary solid state), but such a way should exist in the base game.



Re: Solid lubricant and portable water production

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:54 am
by Khyron
Isn't there a mod for tanker train wagons? And iirc the devs have said they want to add exactly that to the base game... I haven't tried this kind of thing myself.

Re: Solid lubricant and portable water production

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:19 am
by ssilk