nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

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Tekky
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nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by Tekky »

TL;DR
In order to solve the bots versus belts issue described in Factorio Friday Facts #224, bots should be nerfed with additional maintenance costs.

What ?
The batteries of bots must be exchanged regularily, so that the use of logistic bots costs batteries as maintenance. These maintenance costs should be made so high that the effective transport costs of every item transported by a logistic bot is, on average, one iron plate.

Why ?
Factorio Friday Facts #224 and its accompanying 44-page (!) discussion thread show that, in the late-game, bots are clearly overpowered compared to belts and must be nerfed in some way. However, they should not be nerfed so much that they are no longer useful.

Nerfing by increasing the power requirement of bots would not solve the problem, because the player could just build more solar panels. Also, nerfing by increasing the production costs of bots would not solve the problem, because it would just take longer for the player to reach the desired amount of bots. Therefore, in my opinion, the best solution to the problem would be to introduce an additional maintenance cost, so that the more the player uses bots, the higher the resource cost to the player.

This maintenance cost must be more than just "free" electrical power, it must cost actual resources, so that the costs can actually hurt the player if ignored. Therefore, I am suggesting that bots should require batteries not only when building them, but also in order to maintain them. This would also be realistic, because in real-life, even rechargable batteries must be exchanged from time to time.

If the transportation of an item by logistic bots costs, on average, one iron plate, then most players would not want to transport large amounts of iron or copper plates with bots, because the transportation costs would be just as high as the value of the transported item, which would effectivly double the production costs.

However, for transporting small amounts of items, such as expensive end-products which already required 200 iron/copper plates to produce, nobody will not care if the transportation of the item will cost an additional iron plate, since that would only be an insignificant price increase. Most players will prefer to pay this slight price increase, if it saves them the space requirement of an additional belt going through half their base.

That way, bots would no longer be overpowered, but still very useful. Most megabases would use belts for transporting large amounts of items (especially ore, plates, green circuits, barrels) and would use bots for transporting small amounts of expensive end-products, such as science packs, destroyer capsules, and possibly also blue ciruits.

An additional reason why most players will not want to unnecessarily use bots anymore instead of belts, is that, the more they use bots, the more battery producing industry they will have to build to maintain these bots.

However, one disadvantage of this suggestion is that delivering iron plates to the player by bots would effectively make these iron plates double as expensive. Therefore, the player will not be able to afford this luxury in the early stages of the game (which would not matter much if logistic bots are only unlocked in the later stages of the game).
Last edited by Tekky on Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by PacifyerGrey »

As you said yourself adding a cost of nearly 1 iron plate per item will mostly hit early game and will not affect megabases which is when the issue arises. You generally increase the cost so much that this transport method becomes obsolete.

Adding maintenance cost of say 1 battery per 10 full recharge cycles might be more adequate but here we have another problem.

There is no such thing as individual bots as they do stack as items inside roboports so if you want to apply maintenance cost you should do so every time bot decides to enter roboports or its distance travelled counter expires. This would effectively mean that maintenance should be available in almost every roboport. That means you should deliver replacement parts to every roboport somehow. And this becomes ridiculously complex task.

Also I do not like the idea of added costs to production setups using bots. I mean those cases where player decides to simplify delivery of items to a single assembler. This is a bit cheaty but this is what most players should use bots for in my opinion and here energy cost is just fine.

IMO any nerf to bots if that happens should address their throughput and not increase their maintenance neither in resources nor in energy. Your suggestion here is similar to adding lubricant cost for belts - while being realistic it is too complicated to be implemented

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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by Tekky »

PacifyerGrey wrote:As you said yourself adding a cost of nearly 1 iron plate per item will mostly hit early game and will not affect megabases which is when the issue arises.
Yes, my suggestion will make using logistic bots a luxury which players will not be able to afford in the early game. This is not intended, but I see no meaningful way to avoid this.

PacifyerGrey wrote:You generally increase the cost so much that this transport method becomes obsolete.
Yes, bots will be obsolete for high demand, low-value items such as iron and copper plates. For those, belts will be absolutely necessary, unless you are prepared to effectively double the production costs by paying for the luxury of having them transported by bots. However, as I pointed out in my first post, for low demand, high-value items such as science packs, the additional transport cost of bots will be neglegible.

PacifyerGrey wrote:Adding maintenance cost of say 1 battery per 10 full recharge cycles might be more adequate
According to the current recipe price of batteries, your suggestion reduces my suggested nerf by a factor of 5. I'm afraid that this would not be a sufficient nerf to prevent players from using bots in most of their base.

With your suggestion, I estimate that the production costs in a completely bot-only base would only be increased by maybe 30%. A base which only uses belts for iron and copper plates and uses bots for everything else would have increased production costs of only about 7%. Therefore, there would not be much incentive to use belts for anything else besides iron and copper plates.

Please note that these numbers are just off-hand estimates of mine. I did not do any extensive calculations.

PacifyerGrey wrote:This would effectively mean that maintenance should be available in almost every roboport. That means you should deliver replacement parts to every roboport somehow. And this becomes ridiculously complex task.
It is already now very easy for a construction bot to obtain a new repair pack. There just must be one available in the logistic network. Why should it be any harder for a logistic bot to obtain a new battery from the logistic network?

I'm not saying that the mechanics for obtaining a battery should necessarily be the same as the already existing mechanics for obtaining a repair pack. For example, the batteries could be delivered to the roboports by logistic bots, so that other bots can use them. But, in my opinion, this is an unimportant implementation detail. The main issue is finding a solution to the basic problem of nerfing bots enough to make belts more attractive, but without making bots useless.
Last edited by Tekky on Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by SilverWarior »

is it just my imagination or did you copy my idea from FF224 thread?
Hi!

In Friday Facts 224 developers sad that they thing that logistics bots are to powerful and that for small time they even thinking about removing them.
I do agree with them that logistics bots are too powerful but I do not think they should be removed but instead nerfed a bit.

Now why are logistic bots so overpowered? That is because there is no limitation of how many of them you have. For instance when 100 logistic bots can't move items fast enough you simply build more. Yes this does increase the required power for their recharging but this can be easily solved by increasing your base power production. Most commonly people would use solar panels for this since they basically provide free energy (just initial investment). Another obstacle that player might encounter when increasing the number of logistic bots is that they can't recharge fast enough due to limitation of how many of them can be simultaneously recharging at one Roboport. But this is easily solvable by building more Roboports.

So how do we solve this?
Do we increase the logistics bots power requirements? No as this will be easily solvable by building more solar panels.
Do we limit the recharging or range? no as this would only lead to player building more Roboports.
Do we increase the cost for building logistic bots? No as this would only slow down the production of logistic bots from player and thus just take a little more time to reach same thing.

My suggestion would be to increase the costs for maintaining logistic bots by adding a limited lifespan of their battery. So let us say that after 1000 charges their battery capacity slowly starts lowering which would consequentially be lowering their range. This then continues to the point where logistic bot won't be even able to fly. At that time they player needs to ship that logistic bot back to the factory where it will be refitted with new battery.
So basically we add batteries to the required maintenance costs of logistic bots.

Any way I think that the best thing about my suggestion is that initially when player have small number of logistic bots it doesn't really makes much of a difference since at the point you unlock logistic bots you already have basic battery production setup which would probably be enough to support bot maintenance. But when you build more bots maintaining them becomes increasingly more difficult as it requires bigger battery production capabilities. So players would have to adjust their bases accordingly. And since this isn't so easily solvable as building a few more solar panels it will require more players involvement and thus become more interesting.
Don't worry I'm not mad even if you did :)

Any way in my idea I wasn't thinking for logistic robots maintenance to be so high as you are suggesting. Main reason for this is so that they don't become to hard to maintain right from the start but only when player make huge basses with thousands of logistics robots flying around.

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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by Tekky »

SilverWarior wrote:is it just my imagination or did you copy my idea from FF224 thread?
At the time I made the decision to make my own suggestion thread, I was unaware of your post on page 13 of the FFF thread, because I was too lazy to read the entire thread, since it was 44 pages long at that time. I actually had the idea as a counter-suggestion to the following suggestion thread:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=56118 Robot battery pack

At that time, I also posted my counter-suggestion in that thread.

After thinking about the bots versus belts problem further, I came to the conclusion that my counter-suggestion should have its own suggestion thread, since it would be a possible solution to the bots versus belts problem. Before starting a new suggestion thread, I always perform a Google search on whether my suggestion has already been suggested before. Since your post was right at the top of the search results, I did read your post immediately before posting my suggestion.

So, I did not copy your idea, since I already had it at the time I read your post. However, since I had read your post immediately before posting my own suggestion, my arguments were certainly heavily inspired by the contents of your post. I believe I did actually copy several of your arguments. ;-)

Therefore, you deserve the credit for several of my arguments. And, as far as I can tell, you were also the first one to present this idea as a possible solution to the bots versus belts problem. It was only 3 days later when I had the same idea as a counter-suggestion to someone else's suggestion.

However, the idea of bots using battery packs instead of recharging was published by someone else already half a year ago in this post, as a counter-suggestion to someone else's suggestion. So, neither of us can claim to be the first one to have had this idea. However, as I already mentioned, you were the first one to present this idea as a solution to the bots versus belts problem.

SilverWarior wrote:Any way in my idea I wasn't thinking for logistic robots maintenance to be so high as you are suggesting. Main reason for this is so that they don't become to hard to maintain right from the start but only when player make huge basses with thousands of logistics robots flying around.
I am also unhappy that transporting items by logistic bots to the player would become a luxury that the player would not be able to afford in the early game. However, I see no alternative. As I have already pointed out in my second post, if the maintenance costs were significantly reduced, megabases would have not much incentive to use belts for anything else besides iron and copper plates.
Last edited by Tekky on Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by kylone »

Would making robots expire (like combat bots) be game breaking?

Tekky
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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by Tekky »

kylone wrote:Would making robots expire (like combat bots) be game breaking?
This would have a similar effect as my suggestion in that using bots would cost resources. However, it would be a nuisance to the player if he always had to always keep track of the current level of bots and arrange for replacements to be built, especially if this cannot be handled by the circuit network. As far as I know, it is currently not possible for the circuit network to read the number of bots servicing a logistic network.

Therefore, I believe my suggestion of maintenance would be easier to implement and also easier for the player to handle.

EDIT: As pointed out below, the statement of mine that the circuit network couldn't read the number of bots servicing the logistic network, was wrong.
Last edited by Tekky on Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by m44v »

Tekky wrote: As far as I know, it is currently not possible for the circuit network to read the number of bots servicing a logistic network.
Yes you can, you need to wire a roboport and pick what you want, the items in network or the robot counts.

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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by Tekky »

Ah, I was unaware of that feature. Thanks.

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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by SilverWarior »

Tekky wrote:At the time I made the decision to make my own suggestion thread
Well when I posted my suggestion I actually created a new thread here in "Ideas and Suggestions" section but it was moved to FF224 thread by moderators where it was overlooked by others.
I was surprised that moderators haven't moved your suggestion post to one of the two FF threads like mine was. Any way this is the main reason why I wasn't mad because your thread actually meant at least some chance for my or should I say our suggestion to be seen by others. :D
Tekky wrote:I am also unhappy that transporting items by logistic bots to the player would become a luxury that the player would not be able to afford in the early game.
Well in my suggestion I was thinking about this and therefore planed that after 1000 charges batteries of logistic bots start weakening but not die immediately. So we could say that battery manages to last for another 500 charges before it dies completely. But in the mean time logistic bot because of lower total charge becomes slow when going for longer distances. I don't think this would made transporting of items by logistic robots to the player a luxury at start.
Also these numbers are not fixed. I was actually hoping that my suggestion would open a nice discussion during which appropriate number of charges would be determined. But now when I'm thinking more about this I would simply add ability for players to set this numbers at start of the game and therefore affect the difficulty to their liking.

I wish I would have so good codding skill in C++ or in LUA as I do in Object Pascal, because I could make a mod for this. But unfortunately I don't. And as far as I know Factorio no longer supports mods that are stored in DLL-s (Dynamic Link Libraries) as it was some time in the past, but was removed due to potential security risks involved.

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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by Earendel »

Have you seen this?
https://mods.factorio.com/mod/robot_attrition
The default ongoing cost is very low, basically a token non-zero amount where 100% bot bases are still fine.
BUT, there's crash chance multiplier mod option, so you you can choose to ramp up the crash chance so that it becomes not such a great idea to do things like long-distance high quantity item transport with bots.

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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by Impatient »

I like the idea. Bots have resource maintenance costs.

I add my own ideas now:

- The maintenance costs have a fixed and a variable part. The fixed part has to be paid for every existing bot, also if just idling in a roboport. The variable part is incurred when bots are working. Because of the fixed cost part, players may think twice before spamming huge robot armies, which sit around idle later.

- The maintenance cost can be new "robot parts" instead of batteries. The pro is the con: If the costs are batteries, other battery dependent production processes may come to a halt if too much maintenance costs are incurred. This can be disciplining but also burdening.
Like batteries, the "robot parts" can also be used in the production process of robots.

- Maintaining the robot fleet may be made more complex in its logistics. Eg not only robot parts have to be delivered to each roboport, but also maybe lube. Just a spontaneous idea for some harsh logistic requirement. Or maybe worn out robots have to be recalled, taken out and put into a maintenance shop for repairs. Oh i like that idea. ...

- ... Maybe robots wear out, faster when working, slower when idling. If they are not taken to the maintenance shop in time, where they receive the robot parts, batteries, lube or whatever, they have a increasing risk of just crashing somewhere to the ground. If they crash onto a belt, then there would be a bot and its payload on the belt suddenly. "Ahhh, there is a logibot and some iron ore jamming my green circuit belt!"
More centralized maintenance would also mean, that resources have not to be brought out to every roboport in far away lands. Still the degree of centralization can be chosen by the player. If one decides to build a robotified iron ore mine anyways, one can put a maintenance shop near it and the maintenance resources have to be delivered there.
However a player would prefer it, that would mean not only maintenance costs, but as well some logistic effort by all robot army leaders.

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Re: nerf bots with additional maintenance costs

Post by Koub »

SilverWarior wrote:
Tekky wrote:At the time I made the decision to make my own suggestion thread
Well when I posted my suggestion I actually created a new thread here in "Ideas and Suggestions" section but it was moved to FF224 thread by moderators where it was overlooked by others.
I was surprised that moderators haven't moved your suggestion post to one of the two FF threads like mine was. Any way this is the main reason why I wasn't mad because your thread actually meant at least some chance for my or should I say our suggestion to be seen by others. :D
Yeah I'm sorry, but I can't moderate 24h/24 7/7 :mrgreen: , and I had some things to do IRL when this suggestion was made. When I came back and saw it, there had already been too much discussion on the topic, so I decided to let it in place. The merging is mainly to help :
1) People who are interested in the subject have everything in the same place, instead of following 10s of topics.
2) The devs to be able to read everything that has been published on the subject without having to get through all the subforums.
It's not just to be a tyrant :).
Koub - Please consider English is not my native language.

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