Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by hitzu » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:05 pm

I fully agree that boxing and compressing materials is sort of cheating, so I really don't like the idea to implement such thing into a base game.
But I don't agree that ropeway would kill trains, especially on the maps with rare rescource patches. In my mind one should design ropeway in a manner that you can easily build it, but you cannot noticably increase its capacity.

Its advantage over belts whould be in a fact that ropeway take almost no area so it would be handy in forests and in dence factories. The disadvantage is that you cannot make a branch of it and can take goods only from the station.

The advantages over bots are that it costs much less and consumes much less power, also it is better on mid and long distances. The disadvantage is that it is less flexible.

The advantages over trains are that it costs less and much faster to build, also it generates stable flow of goods instead of train's waves of fast loading/unloading and then idling. The disadvantages are that it is less capable for very hight amount of transportation and it is very slightly upgradable.

And the most noticable advantage is that ropeway would require less CPU power than bots or belts: less entities — less calculations.

In my mind the ropeway could have its purpose for not too far outposts in early stages of the game, it would be good in large train stations to transport raw materials from tight rail layout to furnaces, or it would be handy for such specific purposes as transportation very large amounts or copper cables, gears or green circuits, gaining benefits from manipulator stack size bonus what belts cannot provide.

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by ssilk » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:24 am

Just a short answer: no it wouldn't be too powerful and no it cannot replace thr train.

Not too powerful, cause you will need that power!

Daniferrito made some calculations in this thread: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... 0&start=30
From his calculations: Building the rocket defence needs 42885 iron, 77979 copper, and many more.

Multiply that with 10 or maybe (call me crazy, but why not?) 100 and you come into that areas, of what I think would be the really fascinating target. Lets say this is true: How to achieve that? You won't wait another 10 or 20 hours. You want to speed that rapidly, make that so fast, that it is not a problem.
Bleda wrote:no need for a new way of transport that just multiplies throughput magically. As the game is now, you hardly need a train with more than 4 cars. In the future late-game we might need trains with 10 or more cars – and a lot of them.
Believe me or not, I've tested that: Such long trains makes no fun. :) I can surely say that, cause it was also my opinion a half year ago. And there is a technical problem: You cannot just change a train system, that was thought for 4 wagons to one with 10. Not gonna work like so.

And yes. The current game will change, but only from that point, when you developed the boxes technology. We could use the ropeway to transport for the cases already told, that might be relatively early in the game, with the trains. They transport then only 10 or 20 items at once (which makes them about as fast as basic belt or fast belt). The boxes come much later! They change the game in some ways, but we have now three of those big changes in the game (coal powered to electricity, oil industry, logistic bots), why not a fourth?

And where did I say, that everything can be put into boxes? No, some items might not be possible. I think more to the most needed stuff of course and some specialities.


And it will surely not replace the train. Ropeways are just too slow and for long distances too expensive, cause you need to build all the boxes, which hang - unuseable! - on the ropes. :)
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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by The Phoenixian » Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:57 am

hitzu wrote:I fully agree that boxing and compressing materials is sort of cheating, so I really don't like the idea to implement such thing into a base game.
But I don't agree that ropeway would kill trains, especially on the maps with rare rescource patches. In my mind one should design ropeway in a manner that you can easily build it, but you cannot noticably increase its capacity.

Its advantage over belts whould be in a fact that ropeway take almost no area so it would be handy in forests and in dence factories. The disadvantage is that you cannot make a branch of it and can take goods only from the station.

The advantages over bots are that it costs much less and consumes much less power, also it is better on mid and long distances. The disadvantage is that it is less flexible.

The advantages over trains are that it costs less and much faster to build, also it generates stable flow of goods instead of train's waves of fast loading/unloading and then idling. The disadvantages are that it is less capable for very hight amount of transportation and it is very slightly upgradable.

This idea is brilliant and has my full enthusiasm so, for fun*, did a little math on the whole Ropeways vs train thing. If ropeways exist it would be reasonable to expect the towers to have a fair bit in common with big poles (they're both big towers of similar type and steel is a primary building material). Big electric poles are 5 steel and 5 copper so that could be switched out to five iron and five steel for a total of 30 iron plates. The max distance of a big pole connection is 30 blocks, equate that to fifteen train tiles and you have 7.5 steel per distance + 3.5 from the sticks = 41 iron:

The theoretical version is 11 units of raw iron cheaper in raw iron cost and could be made just 3 a plates less instead if the recipe used iron chests to make the buckets.

The big difference in expense then would be the stations and, especially, trains themselves. A locomotive alone is worth 190 raw iron (10 steel and 5 circuits is 55, and 15 engines add 135 [60 from gears and pipes 75 from steel ) , cargo wagons are 65 each, and a train stop is worth 30 (3 Steel 15 Iron) call it 320 for a single two car train, 256 for two stations ( 176 x 2 for 16 curved rails plus stop 60 for two stops). With those costs even if the ropeway endpoints are 60 raw iron each, you could have 360 blocks of parallel ropeway lines, 12 poles, before the train started to become more economical (more than 430 blocks if the cost is 45 for the endpoints.)

So in the end, I'm guessing that a ropeway line's value would start to peter off in favor of trains once you started filling up red and blue belts to capacity, assuming that a ropeway had the same throughput as that of a yellow belt.

*I am fully aware of how silly it is to mathematical analysis on something that does not yet exist... but like I said, it's fun and gives a sense of things anyways.
The greatest gulf that we must leap is the gulf between each other's assumptions and conceptions. To argue fairly, we must reach consensus on the meanings and values of basic principles. -Thereisnosaurus

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by hitzu » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:54 am

The Phoenixian wrote:If ropeways exist it would be reasonable to expect the towers to have a fair bit in common with big poles (they're both big towers of similar type and steel is a primary building material). Big electric poles are 5 steel and 5 copper so that could be switched out to five iron and five steel for a total of 30 iron plates. The max distance of a big pole connection is 30 blocks, equate that to fifteen train tiles and you have 7.5 steel per distance + 3.5 from the sticks = 41 iron:
I'd suggest to instead of iron plates use 2 iron rods for cables and 2 gears cause this thing is rotating, right? And it is always fun to make not so simple assembling lines. :) So the cost remains 30 iron per piece. it would equal 1 iron per square in perfect conditions i.e. small stations and maximum distance between pylons. It is 3 times cheaper than regular yellow belt. But assuming that I proposed in this post https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... 845#p63845 we can calculate that it would be very unefficient case the maximum troughput is achieved in the case when the amount of boxes is equal to the duble number of spans (two boxes per span in both directions) plus the boxes loading/unloading. Also I assume that one box can contain one stack or raw material and the troughput is ~800 items/min (that is slightly better than yellow belt). That gives us 16 boxes/min or 3.75 boxes/sec. This is darn fast! 30 tiles / 3.75 boxes/sec = 8 tiles/sec one box should move. Fastest transport belt moves only 5.625 tiles/sec. :D

If the outpost is 150 tiles away from the base then we need 5 full spans or 6 towers. Default 2 stations give us only 4 boxes, it is far from optimal cause we can hold up to 10 boxes moving. 150 tiles one box passes in 150tiles / 8 tiles/sec = 18.75 sec and one inserter could fill one box in 50 sec with raw iron without stack size bonus upgrade. That gives us 3 more boxes waiting loading/unloading per station. Total 10+3+3 = 16 boxes. One station gives us 2 boxes so we need 8 station pieces or two 4-piece-stations, in total 12 pieces that would cost us 360 iron plates. A basic belt of same lenght with no turns, underground parts and splitters would cost 450 iron plates.

We can upgrade our ropeway by placing towers closer (more spans = more boxes can move simultaniously)in exchange of costs, by reserching item stack size bonus or by transportating plates instead of raw materials. Also there could be researchings for direct ropeway upgrades such us more boxes per span, speed increasing or boxes' capacity.

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by ssilk » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:26 pm

That's good calculations. Indeed I thought it's not that expensive... And it includes not the costs for the ropes, the mountings (which is more or less a simple inserter) and the infrastructure for the filling and unloading of the endpoints. But well, your calculations are based on comparison of big pole to a tower. That may differ in the end, it needs not to be realistic.

Some things I can add:
Rails:
- a rail is two tiles wide and needs really much space. Ropeway needs only the space on ground, which is compared to railway or belts really small.
- you need quite complex setup of a train station, compared to ropeway.
- building is - even when much more automated then yet - complicated. In my imagination a ropeway should be buildable just by dragging.
- you need signals.
- the throughput for train is higher, until you have boxes. Then this changes.

Belts:
- belts need space on ground and take some time to build.
- they are of course cheaper (basic belts) but their throughput is quite limited.
- you need also some infrastructure at the beginning and end of such long belts.

And it is really difficult to compare that like so. The ropeway has a total different usage than trains. Because of its small footprint it could be used for example to transport stuff from the train stations to the center of your Factory, which spares you a lot of logistic bots. Or it is used to transport stuff from small outposts < 500 tiles away to a big outpost > 1000 tiles away from your factory. Or you can use it to transport stuff from one side of a lake to the other, without going around.

And in the end I see it as another transportation system, which fills some gaps of the current. And of course that can also be made with the current, but isn't that the cool thing about Factorio, that you can do the same things in some dozen ways?
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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by hitzu » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:27 pm

ssilk wrote:And it is really difficult to compare that like so. The ropeway has a total different usage than trains. Because of its small footprint it could be used for example to transport stuff from the train stations to the center of your Factory, which spares you a lot of logistic bots.
Yeah! that's why pieces should be 2x2 - they fit perfectly between two train stations and there is a room for 2 rows of inserters. So you could use one ropeway to service two train stations and transport goods from them directly to furnaces. Thas is the perfect usage of it in a developed factory when two transportation systems complement each other.

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by makilicc » Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:39 am

A very nice idea and its suits theme of Factorio

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by Cordylus » Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:20 am

That's how I imagine ropeways ingame:

(returning rope not pictured, because it make mess on this schematic image)
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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by hitzu » Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:00 pm

Nice! Don't forget about returning cable. ;)

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by ssilk » Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:11 pm

When I look at your picture, and at mine I see the only difference in how the boxes of the ropeway are looking.

In the "before boxes time" they look more or less like "inserters with big hands" and when boxes are researched it looks exactly as in the pic. And of course they have two ropes, forward and return (there is no difference between begin- and end-station).

Oh yes, the ropeway can be in any angle, they need not be exactly horizontal or vertical.
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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by hitzu » Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:41 pm

ssilk wrote:Oh yes, the ropeway can be in any angle, they need not be exactly horizontal or vertical.
Agree, but probably there should be an restriction for the maximum angle and if you want to make sharp turn then you have to place few more towers.

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by ssilk » Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:57 pm

Dunno if turns are a good idea. I know there are ropeways with turns, but I think this is not really needed, or if needed, it can be implemented later, or you build just two ropeways in a angle and move the stuff with inserters from one to the other, but I really don't see many situations, where you need turns - that is one of the big advantages of the ropeway, you know? :)
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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by hitzu » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:36 pm

I don't quite understand what you mean. You said that ropeway could be built at any angle, not only N-S or E-W directions, right? Ok, that's fine. But now you say that there should be no turns. This means that towers should be on the equal distances from each other, which is not always possible because there are many obstacles on the ground such as water and your base. :D

Image
Let's imagine that you start build ropeway just like you build long range power poles. You build first tower, then second, then you want to build third, but there is an obstacle, for exaple water, and you have to slightly move your tower away from desired place. Wherever you put third tower it will not be on the same straight line where two others are.

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by The Phoenixian » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:47 pm

ssilk wrote:Dunno if turns are a good idea. I know there are ropeways with turns, but I think this is not really needed, or if needed, it can be implemented later, or you build just two ropeways in a angle and move the stuff with inserters from one to the other, but I really don't see many situations, where you need turns - that is one of the big advantages of the ropeway, you know? :)
This sounds like something that would cause problems. Even if the stations can send out a line at any angle, not being able to turn at least 45 degrees would likely get very frustrating when navigating terrain obstacles. (Say, when sending a Ropeway around the curve of a lake.)
ssilk wrote:When I look at your picture, and at mine I see the only difference in how the boxes of the ropeway are looking.

In the "before boxes time" they look more or less like "inserters with big hands" and when boxes are researched it looks exactly as in the pic. And of course they have two ropes, forward and return (there is no difference between begin- and end-station).
I can't parse what you mean by researching boxes: Building ropeways with a storage chest to hold supplies would work fine but I can't see it needing research and a compacting mod would do weird things to the throughput and balance.


In other news, is it just me, are some of us thinking of a ropeway station as a 2x6 or 2x8 structure while others are thinking of it as a 2x2 structure?
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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by hitzu » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:05 pm

The Phoenixian wrote: In other news, is it just me, are some of us thinking of a ropeway station as a 2x6 or 2x8 structure while others are thinking of it as a 2x2 structure?
I think of it as a modular object. You have in hands only 2x2 pieces — place 5 of them in a row with no gaps and get a 2x10 station, make a gap and it turns into a tower. The bigger station the more boxes youcan have, but no more than one per span on every direction. Think of spans as blocks on rails.

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by katyal » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:06 pm

Considering the attention this idea has been getting and the general consensus from the community I'm surprised this hasn't been stickied for future implementation lol ;) eh ssilk?

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by ssilk » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:06 am

@hitzu: This is a nice drawing. I thought of course to this problem and it needs not to be solved. My idea of that is, that you place both stations and the rope can then be thought nearly (nearly cause it hangs down a bit between the poles) as one line.
The differences with the matching of the right tile could be hidden by a simple illusion: The poles have different height (streched) and they don't need to sit exactly on the tile, they can shift a little bit. I think that should be enough to make the ropeway looking, as if it was drawed with a line.

And there are no other obstacles then the players built stuff. Dunno what to do, when Factorio cannot place a pole. I tend to forbit this.

When you look for real ropeways, where they build up the poles... it can go over water, stone, really nearly everything. And I repeat: The poles have a "range", in which they can be placed. It must not be exactly every 30 tiles. The pole for the ropeway is "just an image", not like the power pole. If you remove the ropeway, you remove also the poles. They need just to look real, I wouldn't like to place the poles, that would be a boring job. This is all you need to build a ropeway really, really fast. No poles, no complicated setup, just drag and draw.

@Phoenixian: There are no obstacles for the ropeway. Limit is the resources you need to built it. I see the ropeway as a simple connection between two points.

And yes, the boxes will change everything (should be an own suggestion!). I still rebuilt factories to "box-driven" and what should I say: This rocks. I could hold a throughput of smelting 100,000 iron- and 100,000 copper-plates per minute over 20 minutes without bringing any of my logistics to it's limits. This is an amazing speedup.

I really like hitzu's idea of a modular building. That would be also some new game element. The size of the building is important for the inserters you can place around it, I think the size of a roboport (4x4, 16 inserter position) is hardly enough to handle the possible in- and output.
The poles could be in my eyes very, very small, cause it is not game relevant (see above).

@katyal: Hehe. It is not my decision, I'm not the pig, that gives his meat, I'm just a chicken, that gives eggs (http://www.implementingscrum.com/2006/0 ... d-chicken/). But this is on my important list of suggestions, like the colored logistics or pheromones ... and many other cool stuff. :)
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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by hitzu » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:38 am

@ssilk
Well, I cannot agree with this approach. In my mind it would oversimlify the process of playing with logistics. It would be like placing two teleporters and transporting stuff on them. Creating layouts - that's why I love this game! The thing is when you try to imagine and come up with the best solution in particular context, that what this game is about! And you just suggest to connect two points in space with no restrictions, with no problems to think about. Where would be an act of gaming in this situation? No, I cannot agree.

What I suggested was the little game where you have to think what would be better, where you have to decide, where your actions affect the result and where is no absolutely win situations — you have to sacrifice something in order to achieve something. That is the game.
A game is a series of interesting choices.
-Sid Meier.

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by The Phoenixian » Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:36 am

hitzu wrote:
The Phoenixian wrote: In other news, is it just me, are some of us thinking of a ropeway station as a 2x6 or 2x8 structure while others are thinking of it as a 2x2 structure?
I think of it as a modular object. You have in hands only 2x2 pieces — place 5 of them in a row with no gaps and get a 2x10 station, make a gap and it turns into a tower. The bigger station the more boxes youcan have, but no more than one per span on every direction. Think of spans as blocks on rails.
I don't think I like this: It seems unintuitive. Specifically, the problem is that I can't think of any other item in Factorio with this kind of behavior.

In a game like From the Depths or Minecraft where certain blocks will change their properties and appearances based on their surrounding blocks, this would be brilliant. Unfortunately while the connections between what might be collectively grouped as "logistic path blocks" (belts, pipes, electric poles, and walls) work this way in Factorio, there's nothing that really takes up wholly new properties based on it's surrounding blocks and so I fear that there would be a bit of a gap, a wiki read, and an aggrieved shout before the player knew what to do.

At it's heart I my reasons are the same as why I agree with you that ropeways should be able to turn between poles like the wires on electric poles do and even why I had thought ropeway poles would have the same steel cost as Big Electric poles: It's not a matter of realism so much as that the internal consistency means that once a player understands one system they'll much more easily figure out others and once they have, they can get back to the real meat and bones of the game: Those utterly brilliant logistics puzzles.
A game is a series of interesting choices.
-Sid Meier.
Wow. That explains so much of the design of the Civ series.

For myself I'm not so sure that Factorio is a series of choices, though some choices certainly do exist, as it is a series of challenges; When I'm playing Factorio it's less often that I'm wondering what path to pick and far more frequent that I'm working out how to about complete the path that I'm already on.
The greatest gulf that we must leap is the gulf between each other's assumptions and conceptions. To argue fairly, we must reach consensus on the meanings and values of basic principles. -Thereisnosaurus

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Re: Ropeway conveyor above the factory...

Post by MeduSalem » Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:45 pm

Well I like the overall idea of having ropeways...


It would definitely bridge the gap between Rails and Belts... which is especially for outposts far away an interesting concept as well as in tight spots where bots are no real alternative.


Rails are nice for very, very long distances but they take forever to build, especially the train stations and to setup the trains and everything. It's the most time consuming part of the entire game, which is why I avoid it until the very late game.

Belts are quite nice for short/mid distances that depend on high throughput. But they are only good if one has never to tear them down again, otherwise they are a sore.

Bots are nice for short distances and because their overall flexibility, but they are a pain in their energy consumption and especially ugly when everything is delayed thanks to a huge amount of them waiting to recharge. They are just extremely expensive.


Currently I'm delivering the ores/coal to the trainstations at my outposts with bots because I'm just too lazy to build miles of belts and I don't feel like building/tearing down rail stations. Once I've build a rail it's there forever because of how long it takes to set it up.

So I'd definitely use the ropeways as a replacement to my bots in the outposts even in late game, because they seem like a valid alternative to the otherwise very expensive bots.

Someone just has to implement them. ^^

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