TL;DRI would like to take one single blueprint and mark items within it as high/medium/low priority.
What ?I want a blueprint editor that can set different items within a blueprint at different priority levels. Then, I would like to be able to instruct the robots of the world to build only high priority... or build high priority first, then immediately start on second priority... or potentially other options I haven't thought of. For 99% of the cases I can think of, all I would need is a specified cut-off point: do not place any items below priority X, and then build all items above that point in priority order. I see no need to place ghosts of the items below priority X when placing the blueprint, because if I want them later I can just place that blueprint again with a new priority cut-off.
As an example, here is the blueprint I was working on when I thought of this idea. Here are the highest-priority items, with the rest removed:
This design is not useful until all items shown are in place. However, if I have more than three priority levels to work with, I could make the bots start with the train tracks and the receiving station, then go on to the rail signals, and finally place the belts and loading station at the end of the process.
But, after all that, it is still only a basic design and not very useful. Here is what it looks like with the "whole" blueprint, what I was actually aiming to build:
I definitely want the bots to finish that basic design first, before they start adding the rest in! I can do that by making two different blueprints, and planting one on top of the other later. But it would be useful if the construction bots could do it themselves, without me coming back to tell them so.
And one last time, here's the same design with low-priority items added in. I'm not sure I'll ever actually want them, but I'm not sure I won't want them either:
And I began to realize, it seems silly to make a third blueprint here. It makes this extra option available later, and easy to add in, but I might never even use it.
Which brings me to...
Why ?I have a huge number of blueprints. In many cases I have two or three blueprints for a single purpose, for exactly this reason: forcing the construction bots to begin with what I need first.
* It can build defenses first, and then factory elements only after the area is secure
* It can establish train routes first and then build systems around them
* It ensures electrical service, instead of a bunch of assemblers and inserters standing idle
* In the example above, it creates a small setup for early game, easy to expand later
* Depending on how it is implemented, it could prioritize when multiple blueprints are placed
Instead of multiple "staged" versions of the same design, I would like to have one blueprint that contains all of that information. It would make it easier to flip through my blueprint book, with fewer blueprints in it, and it would make it easier and faster to build up a new area from scratch. It makes construction bots more efficient, without requiring me to stay nearby and oversee their progress.