Construction Robot issues that have been bugging me for ever and possible solutions

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Sauerkraut
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Construction Robot issues that have been bugging me for ever and possible solutions

Post by Sauerkraut »

Issue 1: Deconstruction times being ignored

In factorio the player has the option to deconstruct buildings, rocks or other entities. Deconstruction takes a short amount of time depending on the entity deconstructed. Most factory components are deconstructed fast (transport belts, assembler, inserter, etc.) other entities take longer (walls, pumpjacks, rocks, etc.).
There is, however, a vile exploit circumventing deconstructions times. A cheap speedrunning trick, an oversight flying under the devs radar: Construction robots ignore deconstruction times. So while a player has to spend 2 whole seconds picking up a pumpjack, a construction robot (preferably coming from the players personal roboport) can do it for him in no time. And while the player has to spend minutes chopping down a flock of trees, a few construction robots can eat up a whole forest faster than you can say "locusts".

Suggestion: Construction robots should take time to deconstruct entities. It just makes sense. Having the robot hover for 0.5 seconds before picking up a tree would be no huge nerf or big deal at all. Of course the time a construction robot just hovers over an entity deconstructing it still drains his battery. This would make it slightly more important to build roboports close to large forest that you want to utterly obliterate harvest resourcefully.

Issue 2: Turrets shooting the very moment they are built

Turrets in factorio are a great defense line protecting your base very reliably while not using up an unreasonable amount of resources. However, the fact that there is no building time in factorio makes turrets a tad too good offensively. Whenever you want to take on a biter base in the early/mid game you should always build a fall-back perimeter in a safe distance to the base. Too often you realize that the swarm of biters is too strong for you to take on and you have to fall back. However, as a seasoned facorio player, you know of the power a few gun turrets have. So, instead of constructing a fall-back perimeter whenever you want to take on a base you can just put gun turrets and ammo into your hotbar. Once you start getting overwhelmed you just drop a hand full of turrets and load them with ammo. They take care of the rest. If you are fast enough you can even drop a bunch of turrets right inside the biter base where they can destroy the base completely for you. And don't forget the laser-turret-blueprint-construction robot combo, letting you construct a whole fortress right next to a biter base in almost no time!
This, at least in my book, is cheesy as hell. Turrets are clearly meant for defense purposes and it is obvious that turrets right inside a biter base are waaay too efficient at completely destroying the whole base, without the biters standing a chance.

Suggestion: Turrets should have a shooting cooldown after beeing constructed. Enough time that a swarm of biters should be able to easily destroy a turret that was placed right next to them before the turret destroys them. I would suggest 3-5 seconds should be enough (obviously needs testing). When just building your defenses this makes no difference whatsoever. I can imagine theses few seconds wind up time being used for a cool animation. Maybe the gun barrel being raised and then aligned with the plain, but honestly just a short blinking warning icon would do, too.
This should also go for all turrets, so not only gun turrets, but laser- and flamethrower turrets as well as artillery turrets and -trains.

Issue 3: Construction robots clog up all of your roboports when building lot of entities

Ah yes, a spectacle as old as factorio 0.2.0. Whenever the factory was in need of more solar power or an area that has not yet been plastered with concrete was discovered, construction robots would all swarm from every available roboport to provide aid in this dire situation. However, there was one problem. You see, the robots could all freely leave their roboports, but once they got exhausted, they had to recharge at a charging stations. Theses, however, were limited and only one robot could be charged at a charging station at a time, so after a while charging stations far and wide had gathered lines of robots waiting to be charged, clogging up any and all charging stations preventing all other honest robots from fulfilling their duty. This lead to a lot of wrinkled eyebrows, pained groans and unwanted coffee-refill breaks.

Suggestion: I am sure this issue can be approached by a lot of different ways. So here is a solution I have thought of that (I hope at least) won't impact performance a lot and is (at least in my eyes) a very small change that would work seamless with the state of the current factorio version.
Why not let construction robots carry more than one of an item? Logistic robots already have upgrades so they can carry more, so why not construction robots as well? This is useful for both construction of huge blueprints as well as deconstruction of lots of entities. Now, I do not know how construction robot tasks are handled in the game, but I followed the fff enough to know that there is a queue or list of open tasks for every roboport network and robots claim theses tasks when they have nothing else to do. Would it be that hard to have a system where construction robots can claim "ANY [3] tasks that require [concrete]", (where [3] is the construction robot inventory size)? Reserving three blueprinted tiles of concrete that are as close as possible should be doable with a simple greedy algorithm, getting the closest robot to do it should also be no problem. Now maybe a termination condition is needed if two tiles of the same blueprinted entity are too far from each other, but that should be an simple check like "distance > 2*$roboport_range" or something.
Alright, the last one might not be fully thought through, but I believe a system like this would be very beneficial for large scale blue prints, as with a few upgrades a lot less robots are needed to construct a lot of entitys.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk...

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Re: Construction Robot issues that have been bugging me for ever and possible solutions

Post by ssilk »

Do you you think that these suggestions make Factorio gameplay really more fun? And why? Just because it seems to be more logic or what?

1: I don’t think that this waiting time will make anything better; I would go so far to say that make things worse.

2: turret creeping is discussed many, many times. See in the balancing sub board ( search.php?keywords=Turret+creep&fid%5B0%5D=16 )

3: I think that is the case for concrete and other ground tiles. It’s also the reason why you have a personal roboport... Don’t brute force it. To avoid big crowds on the roboports use less robots and/or built more roboports. Or use mods.
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Re: Construction Robot issues that have been bugging me for ever and possible solutions

Post by SyncViews »

1: Getting robots quickly is itself a major step in any speed or time restricted run (there is no spoon, etc.).

2: This has come up many times. I guess the answer is the game isn't really about fighting and clearing biter nests isn't really meant to be hard, whichever way you want to do it. The biters are unable to effectively counter many things, and there are several "cheese" strategies, with many people against "fixing".

3: You can learn to do this much better. Basically large networks = bad. A smaller network with the items transferred to a local chest by one means or another is a lot more effective and manageable. On select paths you might build multiple roboports very near each other to create a "recharge hub".

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Re: Construction Robot issues that have been bugging me for ever and possible solutions

Post by Xeorm »

1. I wouldn't be concerned personally with the gameplay effects of construction robots taking time to deconstruct objects. It would obviously increase the time required, but I don't think it would do much. The timing feels bad as the player, but that's from there only being one of us. I'd think that construction bot times would still be dominated by travel times.

I do think however it would feel nicer to have them deconstruct things. More flashy graphics involved, and more verisimilitude. Polish things up, so it looks less magical/odd when things just disappear from the little bots flying over.

2. Turrets as a thing don't bug me. My general opinion on the matter is that the player should want to use offensive tools. Turrets being awesome are a failing of the tools being lackluster. Throwing out a batch of combat bots or using my general weapons and vehicles should be what I want to use to assault a base. I'd love it if, say, bots were made into instant moving turrets essentially. Drop to the ground after they've used their ammo, limit how many you can use perhaps. Picked up after? Would be great. No turret creep because bots become instantly better.

3. Not a problem in my mind. Mass construction should feel notable.

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Re: Construction Robot issues that have been bugging me for ever and possible solutions

Post by CheeseMcBurger »

Sauerkraut wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:08 pm
Issue 1: Deconstruction times being ignored

Issue 2: Turrets shooting the very moment they are built

1) I am against that suggestion. Factorio is about building huge intertwined production lines. The waiting is already done during construction of the item. Once the item is finished, you shouldn't have to wait longs for it to be used. If you plop down a roboport, it still takes quite some time for the robots to grab the items, fly to the destination and place them. I don't see the point in artificially prolonging this.

2) Same argument as with my first point. Once an item is constructed, it should be ready immediately after placing it. Why should the turrets of all items behave differently? Also, it's not an RTS game.

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