Add autopilot for automobiles

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Thasero
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Add autopilot for automobiles

Post by Thasero » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:07 am

I find that I avoid building the automobile, even when I have a large base and want to move from place to place rapidly.

There are three main problems:

1. The automobile crashes into things (usually trees), and then needs to be repaired.
2. The top speed is high enough that you can't really see where you are going, so it's hard to avoid crashes.
3. Once you start building at your destination, it's easy to forget where you parked!

Request: Add an autopilot feature to the automobile. At the simplest, I would like to be able to get in the automobile, open the map, right-click on a location, and have the automobile drive there safely with no further input. If the automobile can't find a path - there's a wall, or it can't get through all the trees - it could drive as far as it can go, stop, and then honk its horn until you get out =)

Even better would be to add two items:

1. A signpost that you build out of wood. The idea is that it works like a train stop, but instead of setting up a schedule for a train to go through 1 or more stops, you can make your automobile go directly to 1 signpost only if you are riding the automobile. The automobile doesn't go to a particular square next to the signpost, it just drives pretty close and then stops.
2. A radio you can use to make the automobile drive itself to your current location. If there is more than one automobile in the game world, the radio picks the automobile you most recently drove.

These items would help make the automobile useful for multiplayer games when different players are separated. Each player can make a signpost at the base they're working on, and then when you want to visit, you just get in the automobile. Players could share an automobile and use it as a courier service - if one player ran out of iron and another player is already carrying a lot of iron, the second player could call the automobile, put iron in the trunk, and then tell the first player to call the automobile and take the iron.

At the same time, the automobile would only move when driven by a player or going to a player - you would still need to build a railroad line to move items when no player is there. The automobile would be a simpler way to move quickly from place to place without the need to set up rail lines.

And if nothing else, I would never have to worry about remembering where I parked! Right now the smart thing to do is to always remember to mine the automobile and put it back in your pocket when you're done driving, which is not only silly, it makes the trunk storage space useless.

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CreeperDaReeper
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Re: Add autopilot for automobiles

Post by CreeperDaReeper » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:31 am

+1 I like this idea!

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Phillip_Lynx
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Re: Add autopilot for automobiles

Post by Phillip_Lynx » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:58 am

I like all but the 'driving alone to the player'

First, I think it is very difficult to implent when the car is miles and miles away and it need some (many) minutes to come to you. Will you stand still for 10 Minutes?
Second (for multiplayer) it made a train between players kind of obsolete.

But a radio, wich guides you to the position of the nearest car, I think, is a good idea.

So, I want the autopilot with the change I suggest :)

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Re: Add autopilot for automobiles

Post by ssilk » Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:26 am

Well, I think the potential of the car is totally underestimated. Especially for multiplayer!

What I think:
- We need a load/unload station. Especially for the fuel. (Do I need to tell a car to fuel??)... Filtered stacks. But the most important thing is, that it enables the car to drive in automatic and leave it without shunting/switching (which is right English?). A car station needs some space!
- I need to manage the cars. I need some kind of fleet manager. (Order the cars by distance, choose "direction/map" and you will be guided to it). What is inside the car? Do I see also the cars of coop players?
- Cause of this manager, I can see the car driving (in an own window or fullscreen) and I can drive it (of course) myself, radio controlled. :)
- I need streets (or better: a "safe path system", no need to set up tons of materials just to built roads). The cars should be able to drive automatically only on such "roads". Otherwise they will drive through forests, through biter nests etc. This spares also to implement complicated routing logic. Basically the path system could be some "wooden posts with radio beacon, solar cell and accu inside" and the car chooses for a way from A to B just the posts, which stand "closest together". We need also some "train crossings" and logic to avoid collissions with other cars (crossings?).
- I like this "whistle" mode. But the car drives directly to you and ignores also trees/biters. Perhaps it has an "emergency stop", if the damage is too high?
- So the "first time", it is quite recommended to drive yourself to a place or to bring you a car remote controlled by driving radio wired. I think there is no way around this, cause I want to avoid cars, which totally move around without control, that costs just too much CPU resources, if you have many.

I don't see cars in conflict with trains. The car is so much slower on long distances and hold so much material inside, that it would make a significant difference. Alone the number of cars needed for long distances and the time needed to fill/empty a car, effectively limit their usage.
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Re: Add autopilot for automobiles

Post by Thasero » Sun Sep 28, 2014 2:53 am

Well, that's just the thing - if you build stations for the cars to stop, a system for telling them where to come and go, and defined roads on which they run...

... then the car just becomes a train. The game already has a railroad station that works well for sending a vehicle along a path that the player manually built, and you can organize and manage any number of locomotives with rail signals and station schedules.

If you have to lay out a road - or similar preparation work - in order to make the car work right, then you could have set up a railroad instead. That's why I would like to be able to drive from signpost to signpost, instead of needing to build a road. I would like for the car to be faster than walking, but not good for automating workflows like a train. If the car only works when driven by the player or driving towards the player, then you can't use it to automatically transport goods - you can use the trunk as extra space, but you still have to pick up and distribute the items by hand.

Right now, the car *is* faster for movement, but you spend a lot of time repairing the car after it hit trees or trying to remember where you parked 15 minutes ago before re-arranging all the factory lines. Even if you take the time to chop down trees, it's extremely difficult to drive the car through a base or near buildings without damaging both the car and the buildings.

I'm OK with making train lines obsolete for just transporting players. After all, if the train is what you build even when only transporting players, then that means the *train* has made the *car* obsolete.

As far as the time it might take for a car to get to the player: If the car needs 10 minutes to get to you, that means you must've walked for 30 minutes to get away from the car, because walking is slower than driving! And if there's no autopilot to bring the car back - and you don't have a car with you - then you have to walk back instead of calling the car, so you would be waiting for many minutes no matter what. I think the best reason to make the car better is simply that walking from place to place slowly isn't any fun. Having vehicles that conveniently get you from place to place is not just very thematic for Factorio - you have re-invented the car, and no longer have to walk to work! - it also cuts out uninteresting downtime once you have multiple mines or bases set up and need to go between them.

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Re: Add autopilot for automobiles

Post by ssilk » Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:08 pm

Thasero wrote:Well, that's just the thing - if you build stations for the cars to stop, a system for telling them where to come and go, and defined roads on which they run...
... then the car just becomes a train.
Looks like, but isn't. There are too many differences. I already told some.
The game already has a railroad station that works well for sending a vehicle along a path that the player manually built, and you can organize and manage any number of locomotives with rail signals and station schedules.
Not. Really. Try it out or erase the word "any". :)
If you have to lay out a road - or similar preparation work - in order to make the car work right, then you could have set up a railroad instead.
I see there a quite big difference between building some pole-like stuff and building full roads. I think building roads should be totally automatic, when there are enough cars driving over and over the same ways, there is first some kind of dirt road, which then can be upgraded to a full road. Like in settler II.
That's why I would like to be able to drive from signpost to signpost, instead of needing to build a road. I would like for the car to be faster than walking, but not good for automating workflows like a train. If the car only works when driven by the player or driving towards the player, then you can't use it to automatically transport goods - you can use the trunk as extra space, but you still have to pick up and distribute the items by hand.
Signpost is my opinion, too. But picking up and distributing can already be made by inserters. I've tested it with some success: You can feed/unload a car with up to 9 long arm inserters. (build wall around that, so that you don't hit the inserters.
trying to remember where you parked 15 minutes ago
Built a rail, place a train stop and rename it to "Car parking place". :)
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Re: Add autopilot for automobiles

Post by Okami » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:59 pm

Mh...in fact I like the car how it is now.

Sure, sometimes a car goes boom if I hit a wall. But the driving around is fun for me, and to clear a path through forests is a normal procedure. I would like to see roads to connect some outposts. But autopiloting the car...I wouldnt use it.

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Re: Add autopilot for automobiles

Post by Martc » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:04 am

I think, that autopilot is too much. "Snap to road" will be enough, because now you must do little corrections of direction to go in desired direction. And if the game aligns car with road direction you will have no problem with hitting trees next to it.

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