Biters using themselves as landfill

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PaqpuK
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Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by PaqpuK »

TL;DR
I want biters to drown themselves in case they can't pathfind through water and eventually create a biter-corpse landfill that they can cross.

What ?
Factorio's water gives the player the biggest exploit against the game's only dynamic threat - biters. By carefully planning where to expand in relation to bodies of water, you can easily create chokepoints, murderholes, that are impenetrable and never worry about the biter problem. It's especially abusable if you created a map with large bodies of water. Than you can just create a landfill island, that is practically unreacheable to biters. So, what if biters could pass through water, but not just by swimming but in more "brutal nature" kind of way?

In case a biter swarm can't find a way to the source of pollution around the water - they would just run into the water and drown. Water tiles where biters drown would have a counter, when if reaches a specific amount, the water tile becomes walkable (but not buildable), because of all the accumulated biter corpses in the water.

Now that's simple and also requires a perfectly isolated island base, but what about chokepoints? Well, I propose that after a certain amount of biter deaths in an area, biters pathfinding should avoid it. So, if you have a perfectly defended chokepoint, eventually biters stop going there and try to find another way in. So even if your base has land access and is only partially protected by water - biters are still going to eventually try and breach this water barrier, since it's not protected.
Why ?
Biters are one of the best mechanics in this game, because it makes it something more interesting than "yet another automation game". The threat is always out there, it keeps you from freely expanding, it makes you mind your production and energy consumption, and it's growing overtime. Seeing this threat being exploited by water is sad, because I feel like biters should be scary, to keep players engaged.
Last edited by PaqpuK on Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by Koub »

Like some ants make bridges or rafts with their own bodies for the army to cross water (search for floating ants images).
And what about cliffs
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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by PaqpuK »

Koub wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 7:59 am
Like some ants make bridges or rafts with their own bodies for the army to cross water (search for floating ants images).
And what about cliffs
Aw yeah, cliffs too, same premise, just let them build body-bridges. Didn't think about cliffs because I always turn them to a minimum when creating maps (*shame*), so I never thought of it as an issue :D. TBH, biters should probably be able to just actually climb cliffs, then it becomes an obstacle only for the player.

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by Qon »

PaqpuK wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 7:35 am
I want
Well the devs don't. It's clearly not an oversight or accident that water and cliffs block the natives.
Sounds like this belongs in the "ideas and requests for mods" section.
PaqpuK wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 7:35 am
Factorio's water gives the player the biggest exploit against the game's only dynamic threat - biters. By carefully planning where to expand in relation to bodies of water, you can easily create chokepoints, murderholes, that are impenetrable and never worry about the biter problem.
Using strategy is an "exploit"?
Also the only thing this accomplishes is that the player needs to make a full defense line a bit earlier. But it will be just as impenetrable as any choke point defense, just more expensive. This wouldn't accomplish much at all except make the natives require a bit more tedium before you get robots to handle that.

Also if you are on an "island" without natives then the natives can get to you with the same land bridge that you used to get there, generally. You can make walkable 1 tile gaps (for player) which the natives can't skip. But that's (1) new behaviour (2) the devs don't see it as a big issue since they just gave it too us and (3) you can just not go out of your way to live on a native free island if you don't feel like playing without them. Since you can do it in game it has some legitimacy as a complaint, but it is almost whining about the fact that there's map settings to play without the natives/peaceful because you did something with the map to spawn on an island (unlikely, maybe impossible with current map gen?) or specifically made an island with landfill to exploit this. You did this to yourself...

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by PaqpuK »

Qon wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:26 am
Using strategy is an "exploit"?
Also the only thing this accomplishes is that the player needs to make a full defense line a bit earlier. But it will be just as impenetrable as any choke point defense, just more expensive. This wouldn't accomplish much at all except make the natives require a bit more tedium before you get robots to handle that.
You're thinking about this in a strictly resource management way. This is boring. Biters shouldn't be just another production that you've built and forgot about, it's more fun when it's a looming threat that you have to deal with. If I just wanted to get rid of this strategy, than I would've suggested swimming biters, but I want water walls to still be a legitimate strategy, but I think it would be more fun for it to be like a time bomb. This "corpse-landfill bridge" would be gradually build and the player would be able to see it coming.
Qon wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:26 am
Also if you are on an "island" without natives then the natives can get to you with the same land bridge that you used to get there, generally. You can make walkable 1 tile gaps (for player) which the natives can't skip. But that's (1) new behaviour (2) the devs don't see it as a big issue since they just gave it too us and (3) you can just not go out of your way to live on a native free island if you don't feel like playing without them. Since you can do it in game it has some legitimacy as a complaint, but it is almost whining about the fact that there's map settings to play without the natives/peaceful because you did something with the map to spawn on an island (unlikely, maybe impossible with current map gen?) or specifically made an island with landfill to exploit this. You did this to yourself...
You've probably skipped the part where I mentioned, that natives should eventually start avoiding the areas where they die a lot. So this land bridge eventually would be considered impassible by biter pathfinding algorithm, and then it would consider the other shortest way -> through the water. Then the bridge construction would begin. This way water barriers are not the best defense strategy, but a good way to postpone building more serious defenses.

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by jodokus31 »

Nice concept. It's not so dangerous like swimming or flying biters, but still a threat, which will eventually happen.
Apart from that, i don't think, that will be implemented in vanilla, but maybe a mod could do it.

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by Qon »

PaqpuK wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:07 am
Biters shouldn't be just another production that you've built and forgot about, it's more fun when it's a looming threat that you have to deal with. If I just wanted to get rid of this strategy, than I would've suggested swimming biters, but I want water walls to still be a legitimate strategy, but I think it would be more fun for it to be like a time bomb. This "corpse-landfill bridge" would be gradually build and the player would be able to see it coming.
Ok, I'll agree that this might be more interesting to play with than flying/swimming natives. The idea is a bit more creative. If the native landfill is slow enough that it can be ignored for quite a while (you are going to expand and make a filled in defense square eventually) and just gives you slightly more time pressure then maybe it could work out well. Might also easily become a non-factor if it's too slow also.

On the other hand it's a bit interesting to build following the terrain and not be forced into a square perimeter when you don't feel like it. So there's a risk it might also make the world less unique and "real".
PaqpuK wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:07 am
You've probably skipped the part where I mentioned, that natives should eventually start avoiding the areas where they die a lot. So this land bridge eventually would be considered impassible by biter pathfinding algorithm, and then it would consider the other shortest way -> through the water. Then the bridge construction would begin. This way water barriers are not the best defense strategy, but a good way to postpone building more serious defenses.
I didn't skip it. But sure, in some sense you might be considering yourself on an island if the natives completely avoid places where they have died a lot. This effectivly makes these zones "water"/impassable for them and you could make an "island" if we strectch the definitions.

Obviously it would not be an impassable zone, deaths would just give a penalty to the path finder distance, just like water. If it truly became considered impassable (permanently seems implied with this phrasing) then eventually you would always be on an "island", even on a world without water. And then you could deconstruct your turrets because you are defended by fear alone.

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by PaqpuK »

Qon wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:43 am
Obviously it would not be an impassable zone, deaths would just give a penalty to the path finder distance, just like water. If it truly became considered impassable (permanently seems implied with this phrasing) then eventually you would always be on an "island", even on a world without water. And then you could deconstruct your turrets because you are defended by fear alone.
This problem is easily solved by making these "too-much-death-no-go-zones" relative. The death zone would have an incrementing counter with each native death. So the pathfinding algorithm just chooses the path with the least of this death zone counter. So even if your base will be surrounded by these death zones, pathfinding is just going to choose the less deadly zone.

So in total the system would look like this:
- Every chunk (or 4 chunks) has a "native-death-zone" paramater, which increases with every n-th (ex: 100th) biter death in this chunk.
- Pathfinding factors in this parameter and tries to lay the path through chunks with the least "native-death-zone" value (or even avoid it's neighboring chunks too, to avoid situations where natives would shift their attacks literally 5 meters to the left)

Maybe there could be other factors, like the size of the attack group, smaller groups would just be too scared to approach and just stay outside your base. Eventually a large enough group is going to form outside your base and together they are going to be 'brave' enough to attack again. This spices up the normal "no casualties" grind of biter attacks, because you are going to get several attack groups together at once. This is the sort of "scary hivemind" aspect of biters I want to see.

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by Qon »

PaqpuK wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:00 am
Qon wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:43 am
deaths would just give a penalty to the path finder distance
This problem is easily solved by making these "too-much-death-no-go-zones" relative.
Yes, that is the effect of what I said.

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by Gamatron332 »

10/10 I want one. I want to see scaredy little biters eventually revolting with a massive amount of biters. Of course this introduces a problem where when does the mass of biters stop growing? If your base get scarier and scarier eventually they will amass a enourmous attack that not even the biggest bases can handle and your ups will drain into nothingness. Limiting by pollution will get us the exact same attacks as before.

Perhaps we could limit by pollution with a “rampage” factor. When the biter are too scared their rampage factor goes up in increments till like 10 or something. Everytime it goes up more biters are added. The rampage factor could have a limit of a certain percentage of the original group. Thus you could get like 10% more biters because of the rampage factor. It could possibly go up to like 150% and then stop.

Edit: me no words right
Last edited by Gamatron332 on Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by Kyralessa »

I find the idea intriguing, but here's a question: What would prevent the biters from eventually filling up every single body of water on the map, except possibly the ones within your walls?

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by jodokus31 »

Kyralessa wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:38 pm
I find the idea intriguing, but here's a question: What would prevent the biters from eventually filling up every single body of water on the map, except possibly the ones within your walls?
My imagination: The player has to protect the water. Also, in explored / untouched area, nothing will happen.

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by Gamatron332 »

Kyralessa wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:38 pm
I find the idea intriguing, but here's a question: What would prevent the biters from eventually filling up every single body of water on the map, except possibly the ones within your walls?
If you shoot a biter it eventually decays. The biter landfill could eventually decay perhaps after extended times of disuse

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by Kyralessa »

Gamatron332 wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:55 pm
Kyralessa wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:38 pm
I find the idea intriguing, but here's a question: What would prevent the biters from eventually filling up every single body of water on the map, except possibly the ones within your walls?
If you shoot a biter it eventually decays. The biter landfill could eventually decay perhaps after extended times of disuse
That's not bad. For a sustained attack with gobs of biters, the bodies last long enough to cross...but when they stop, the bodies gradually decay and disappear.

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by PaqpuK »

Kyralessa wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:38 pm
I find the idea intriguing, but here's a question: What would prevent the biters from eventually filling up every single body of water on the map, except possibly the ones within your walls?
Yeah, I didn't think of that, but defending the water supply could actually be a thing! I thought of making the corpse-landfill work differently than the normal landfill, so you can't build on it, it's only walkable and you can still pump the water from it (visually it would look like shallow water with corpses of biters on the bottom). Or the corpse landfill may be temporary, it literally decomposes like a normal corpse would, after a certain time (has to be playtested).

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by ssilk »

My two cents:
- they might only go into this “landfill mode”, when the pollution is above some level
- cries for being a mod first. :)
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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by PaqpuK »

ssilk wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:52 am
My two cents:
- they might only go into this “landfill mode”, when the pollution is above some level
- cries for being a mod first. :)
Neat idea with the pollution, it would also mean if you keep your pollution in check, you don't have to worry about these 'corpse-bridges' at all, and only defend your base the old-fashioned way.

As for a mod, I write python programs for my job, surely lua scripting can't be worse, right? Maybe it's time to find out.

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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by Koub »

PaqpuK wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:58 am
ssilk wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:52 am
My two cents:
- they might only go into this “landfill mode”, when the pollution is above some level
- cries for being a mod first. :)
Neat idea with the pollution, it would also mean if you keep your pollution in check, you don't have to worry about these 'corpse-bridges' at all, and only defend your base the old-fashioned way.

As for a mod, I write python programs for my job, surely lua scripting can't be worse, right? Maybe it's time to find out.
Maybe the "biter landfilling" process could use some pollution as "fuel" : the more one pollutes, the more the biters have the ability to go through water planes and bypass selective defenses.
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Re: Biters using themselves as landfill

Post by NotRexButCaesar »

Maybe someone should request that this be added to rampant.
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Let biters overcome small distances of water

Post by VampireSilence »

TL;DR
Let biters overcome water like ants do. One biter sacrifices itself to "bridge" a water tile and others can walk over its back like over regular terrain.

Also look at my other suggestion, which is strongly related to this one. I splitted the topics to keep the board/thread structure tidy. ;)
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=100616&p=556420
What ?
I know you hate the idea of seperating our bases from biters with water tiles (ditches), so i specifically aimed for a non-OP solution here. Both suggestions together make it impossible to do so.

I guess the TLDR already says it all. I also made a step-by-step picture (sideview), which illustrates that process, where:
- B are biters
- Brown is ground terrain
- Lightblue are water tiles
- Darkblue are "bridged" water tiles with a sacrificed biter in it

Image

For balance/performance purposes i guess they should either die or leave the water after 1 minute (precisely balanced duration needs some testing i guess), so its impossible to bridge an infinite distance and so those bridged water tiles convert back to regular water after a biter attack.

It would also be possible to wait for a specific evolution level (like 0.9 for example) before biters gain this ability, which makes the lategame a little bit harder.
Why ?
- To complete my other suggestion
- Prevent ditches to make a base invulnerable
- Make lategame a bit harder and more interesting

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