Lane swapper

Ideas, that are too old (too much things changed) or won't be implemented cause of some reasons or if there are obvious better suggestions.

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Zentay
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Lane swapper

Post by Zentay »

I would like to see a new device that can be placed on a transport belt and swaps the lane of items passing through it. Items on the left lane of the belt are shifted to the right lane and vice versa. Items on the middle lane are unaffected. The size of this device should be the same a 1x1 transport belt. See attachment.
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[DUPE] Re: Lane swapper

Post by MF- »

Duplicate.
There are two pages of posts on the older thread.
https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... ?f=6&t=452

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The Lane swapper ☸

Post by Nic »

First of all I want to say that I am aware of those other posts:

Post 1: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... per#p56665
Post 2: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... per#p27337
Post 3: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... ?f=6&t=452

But since the first one does only show a function which I would love to get simplified I don't think I am duplicating this one.
The second one is a nice idea too but still not simple enough.
The third one has the idea in it but it is a collection of multiple ideas and I wanted to post this as a standalone post since sslik said it would be better to read trough those ideas if every single idea has its own post.

As written in the heading my post is about a lane swapper which makes it possible to let items switch lanes on a belt.
I came to a point where my (first ever) factory runs out of space where I need it and I don't want to use many logostic bots - I personally prefer belts.
So I thought to myself "how can I present a lane swipping belt module which is not superior compared to the things build in Post 1 which use the current items you have?".

After a two days I had my idea - it was not only about the size and shape (which is important too but not the only aspect) but also about the "efficiency" of the item (I think it is called troughput).

At first I want to present you an animation I made so you can imagine better what I am talking about:

Image
NOTE: I replaced the image with a newer version


It shows the swapper in a very simple design with no casing if you want to say so.
But I think it shows very well how it should work.


The swapper has a size of 2x1.

It is rectangular and in the middle it has a cylindric shape with 4 "pockets" which can spin. The items go in - it turns 180 degrees and the items come out back on the belt - but now on the other "lane".

The 180 degree turn takes exactly so long that it decreases the troughput by 50%. So if you build 2 belts next to each other the one without swapper would transport twice as much items since the swapper shortly stops the flow of items while it turns.

The items go in on the (here) right side - a barrier stops new items to get in a pocket while it is turning - in the moment it completes its 180 degree turn it opens the barriers again and the next 2 Items can go in.

There should be one of each kind - yellow, red and blue.

Since the trougput decreases you would rather still use the "old" swapper methods but if you don't have space you will use this one eventually.


I hope we can discuss about this item in this post.
-Nic

------------------------
Edit:

Latest animation:


Image
Last edited by Nic on Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:37 am, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by katyal »

tldr: this idea brings nothing new to factorio and thus will probably never make it into the game.

While you have taken time to lay your argument for a lane swapper down clearly game balance is not the reason that none of these belt or inserter ideas get accepted. The reason most of these things have little to no chance of making it into the game is that a big part of the fun of factorio is figuring out how to use what you have to get the desired result in this case I can think of a way using two smart inserters, six belts and a space of 2 x 5 tiles that could achieve the same thing. I assume that something like this is probably too big to fit where you had imagined your lane swapper to go but space is a near infinite resource in factorio. If you don't have room for something...then tear up part of your factory and leave yourself more room next time. Or heck start from scratch again and space your things out more.

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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by ssilk »

Everthing is said. :) But I wouldn't say it so negative, cause Nic must have needed 2 hours for that.

@Nic: Can you please upload you nice gif animaton (just edit, upload and insert it), cause the idea with the rotation is interesting.
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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by MF- »

From the description I would expect the wheel to be set up vertically, (like a "vertical carousel", "eye of london" or perhaps a "revolver barrel").
I'm going to use the revolver barrel metaphor.

input belt has items L and R on it's respective left and right lanes.
the barrel has 6 chambers (ch1 - ch6)

The barrel would start so that a pair of chambers is facing the lanes ( ch1 facing Left, ch2 facing Right)
Arriving pair of items would enter those two adjacent chambers. ( ch1 = L, ch2 = R )
The barrel would rotate one chamber to the side ( ch2 is now facing the Left, the Right is faced by ch3)
Arriving pair of items would enter those two adjacent chambers. ( ch2 = L, ch3 = R)
During that the R item in ch2 is pushed out from the barrel. Thus item R ends on the Left side.

The cycle continues until the L in ch1 makes a full spin around and is pushed by 7th incomming R onto the Right side.


All of this just fails horribly if the belts gets blocked of course. Just like the original idea.


PS: No, I still support the dev's view. Doesn't add any gameplay elements, only removes them.
Well, at least it would exchange it for some eye candy instead of just taking them away.

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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by bobingabout »

tldr indeed. but i did look at the picture.

if it operates that slowly, there's not a whole lot of point in it, you could likely achieve the same thing using belts, smart inserters, and a bit of creativity.
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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by ssilk »

What I forgot, there are SOME mods, maybe some are not what's wanted:

https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... =14&t=7970 Russian Logistics Mod [operated belts , dynamic inserters]
https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... =51&t=6987 Bob's Logistics mod

Search about belt mods:
https://forums.factorio.com/forum/sea ... mit=Search
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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by FishSandwich »

I wanted to point out that something similar to this is on reddit(http://www.reddit.com/r/factorio/commen ... ally_handy), which has some very interesting ideas being discussed.

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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by Nic »

I see there was a little discussion going on while I was at work.
The feedback is mostly negativ but I have some arguments to defend my idea.
I will start by saying my opinion to what you wrote and then carry on with clearing misunderstandings.


katyal wrote:While you have taken time to lay your argument for a lane swapper down clearly game balance is not the reason that none of these belt or inserter ideas get accepted.

[...]figuring out how to use what you have to get the desired result in this case I can think of a way using two smart inserters, six belts and a space of 2 x 5 tiles that could achieve the same thing.
I wonder if you had said the same if splitters were not part of the game already and someone would have suggested it.

Splitters can be build with smart inserters and belts, too.
(In an earlier version it was possible with normal inserters too as long as the belt was filled)
2015-01-14_00002.jpg
2015-01-14_00002.jpg (308.96 KiB) Viewed 17639 times
So why has the splitter the right to be in the game but the swapper doesn't?

ssilk wrote:Everthing is said. :) But I wouldn't say it so negative, cause Nic must have needed 2 hours for that.
It luckily "only" took me around 40 minutes.
ssilk wrote:@Nic: Can you please upload you nice gif animaton (just edit, upload and insert it), cause the idea with the rotation is interesting.
I will make a polished version anyways - I will notify you (here) or with a PN when I finnished it.
The animation you have seen is just a "sketch" to see if anyone is interested in the idea. I didn't want to waste more than 5 hours on a detailed animation just for fun.

bobingabout wrote:tldr indeed. but i did look at the picture.

if it operates that slowly, there's not a whole lot of point in it, you could likely achieve the same thing using belts, smart inserters, and a bit of creativity.
It doesn't really work that slowly - as I said in the text (that you didn't read) it would slow the troughput of a belt by 50% so it would create a bottleneck.
The animation only runs so slow because in normal speed it wouldn't have been obvious how it works.
ssilk wrote:What I forgot, there are SOME mods, maybe some are not what's wanted:

https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... =14&t=7970 Russian Logistics Mod [operated belts , dynamic inserters]
https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... =51&t=6987 Bob's Logistics mod

Search about belt mods:
https://forums.factorio.com/forum/sea ... mit=Search
Thank you for those links, but I would prefer if this item would be in the vanilla build of the game.
FishSandwich wrote:I wanted to point out that something similar to this is on reddit(http://www.reddit.com/r/factorio/commen ... ally_handy), which has some very interesting ideas being discussed.
Similar indeed but, but only the "inner" lanes. Not what I need. Thanky you for posting it anyways.
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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by katyal »

Honestly, I probably would have argued against it but if I were to nitpick the splitter has a few details which aren't as easy to replicate...

Image

and

Image

My first gut reaction when I see ideas like yours or mods like the russian logistics mod (link a from a few post up) is really enthusiastic, but from past experience in other games I've learned that, at least in my particular case, all these things only chip away a little of the fun I have while playing. Each one steals a moment where I could have been proud of my solution, or had more fun trying to find a solution that pleased me. Its why I may come off a bit cold sometimes. This game is already tons of fun and I want to make sure that anything that makes it into the game is something that adds fun, not something that takes it away.

We could have 100 different kinds of inserters, we could have a box where you could, lane by lane, configure where every input goes out and it would take care of splitting and recombining items on belts but, and this is the part that seems hard to grasp, theres. no. fun. in. that. It means you invest less energy, spend less time engrossed, it makes things trivial.

Its all right if it takes you a few tries before you get something right. You'll have more fun making it work and doing it your way than you'll have placing a structure that does it for you.

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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by Nic »

I am quite sure for every behavior of the splitter is a way to rebuild it with belts and inserters only. :D

So if the argument of all of you is just "you can already build it with inserters and belts only" it is invalid in my opinion.
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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by ssilk »

Nic wrote: Splitters can be build with smart inserters and belts, too.
Gnaaa... well, you can, but it is not correct. See down.
(In an earlier version it was possible with normal inserters too as long as the belt was filled)
And with 0.11 not longer? I dunno, I haven't played it so much yet.
So why has the splitter the right to be in the game but the swapper doesn't?
Well, it's because of
- the splitter has many, many usages. A lane swapper only one: Swapping. Or can you tell us, like the splitter, about 10 other usages?
- throughput: One smart inserter can move 2.1 items per second. But the basic belt moves about 6 items per second (per lane!). And it is not equal, cause the insertertion onto another belt needs to wait, until enough space is free.
- it isn't needed, because you can built a swapper with 2 underground belts and a splitter (and some belts).
- more items means more complexity of the game, and (in most cases) not more gameplay.
- other quite interesting and not so obvious features, of the splitter, which have been explained above. Or not. :)

The inserter is for example much more complex, than obvious. There is a difference, if it needs to take from the farther lane or the nearer and also a difference in placing, and how far it must rotate. Simple example:

Code: Select all


>======================>
     v           v
     XXXXX     XXXXX 
     X A X     X B X
     XXXXX     XXXXX 
Assembly A and B are on the same belt. "v" are inserters. The inserter for A is faster, than for B, cause it doesn't need to turn that far.

And the inserter has also many more uses, than the obvious, look into the wiki.

Factorio is full of such quite small details, which can be really easy seen, if you zoom in and look in detail at it.

This is the same reason, as that belt-curves are at the first glance boring, but at the second and third and fourth view you find, that curves are very complex. We need a whole wiki page to describe curves. And many discussions here, if the devs want to change that: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... f=5&t=6801

And - I wrote that several times before - after >100 hours playing, you will be the same opinion. Was always right with it. :)
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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by MF- »

Here are some:
How do you split a belt carrying two distinct lines of items without a splitter,
while preserving which items were on which lane?
You cannot cheat it with smart inserters, because you don't know which items will that be.
Also using smart inserters would break the eye-pleasing flow.

How do you fill up a belt to reach 100% density (without using a higher belt tier. unavaiable for Express)?
Inserters needed a larger gap than the item to be inserted last time I checked.

Also: How do you swap lanes if you don't know which items will arrive without a splitter? :P

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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by Nic »

ssilk wrote: Gnaaa... well, you can, but it is not correct. See down
If I have some spare hours this weekend (I really hope but I won't have any) I would try to recreate any function of the splitter only with inserters and belts ;)
ssilk wrote:
Nic wrote:(In an earlier version it was possible with normal inserters too as long as the belt was filled)
And with 0.11 not longer? I dunno, I haven't played it so much yet.
I really hope I am not mistaken -but I can remember that in older versions the inserters placed right beside a belt prefered to take the item from the other side and only pick up the item faceing to them when there was no item on the other "lane" - they do not behave like that anymore. So you need smart inserters.
ssilk wrote:
Nic wrote: So why has the splitter the right to be in the game but the swapper doesn't?
Well, it's because of
- the splitter has many, many usages.


I am aware of that.
ssilk wrote:A lane swapper only one: Swapping. Or can you tell us, like the splitter, about 10 other usages?

Give me some time to think about it and I come back to you.
ssilk wrote:- throughput: One smart inserter can move 2.1 items per second. But the basic belt moves about 6 items per second (per lane!). And it is not equal, cause the insertertion onto another belt needs to wait, until enough space is free.
I am aware of that, too - the "splitter" design with the inserters was just an example of how you can split items from one to two belts. It was a proof of concept that you can split items from one belt to two so they carry the same items on the same lanes. It was not about quantity and troughput since I haven't had time to make it that exactly. It is very sad to see that I take some of my precious spare time to discuss on this forum and you just seem to try to make look every new idea "stupid" in my opinion. (maybe it is just a language problem)
ssilk wrote:- it isn't needed, because you can built a swapper with 2 underground belts and a splitter (and some belts).


For me it is - I don't have the space to build it out of inserters and belts where I need it - and no - i don't want to decontruct that part of the factory ;)
ssilk wrote:- more items means more complexity of the game, and (in most cases) not more gameplay.

I am quite sure the devs will still add a few items until the game is finnished and since you don't seem to like new things (which is understandable up to a point) you won't be satisfied with every item from the beginning - but you will get used to it.
ssilk wrote: The inserter is for example much more complex, than obvious. There is a difference, if it needs to take from the farther lane or the nearer and also a difference in placing, and how far it must rotate. Simple example:

Code: Select all


>======================>
     v           v
     XXXXX     XXXXX 
     X A X     X B X
     XXXXX     XXXXX 
Assembly A and B are on the same belt. "v" are inserters. The inserter for A is faster, than for B, cause it doesn't need to turn that far.[/quote=]
Knew that ;) Found that out by myself. Maybe not with 100% correct timings. But I saw some are faster, some are slower etc.
ssilk wrote: And the inserter has also many more uses, than the obvious, look into the wiki.

Factorio is full of such quite small details, which can be really easy seen, if you zoom in and look in detail at it.
Sorry, i like to figure out things by myself I don't tend to look at a wiki - I know you wrote many articles there and want us to look at them (understandable) - I found out many things on my own and I am sur many things will follow ;)
ssilk wrote: This is the same reason, as that belt-curves are at the first glance boring, but at the second and third and fourth view you find, that curves are very complex. We need a whole wiki page to describe curves. And many discussions here, if the devs want to change that: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... f=5&t=6801
I figured out how curves behave by trial and error. I like to explore games without help - without goal - set my own goals.

Also when I play early access games I like to discuss about things, add new ideas.

Curves don't have something to do with my OP - please stay on-topic.
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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by Nic »

MF- wrote:Here are some:
How do you split a belt carrying two distinct lines of items without a splitter,
while preserving which items were on which lane?
https://forums.factorio.com/forum/dow ... hp?id=2832
MF- wrote: You cannot cheat it with smart inserters, because you don't know which items will that be.
why not? I always know what my belts are carrying
MF- wrote: Also using smart inserters would break the eye-pleasing flow.
That depends on preferences.
MF- wrote:
How do you fill up a belt to reach 100% density (without using a higher belt tier. unavaiable for Express)?
Inserters needed a larger gap than the item to be inserted last time I checked.

Also: How do you swap lanes if you don't know which items will arrive without a splitter? :P
Give me some time - or even better - make that a challenge on reddit - would be great if there were more than one brain thinking about that "problem"
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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by MF- »

Nic wrote:It is very sad to see that I take some of my precious spare time to discuss on this forum and you just seem to try to make look every new idea "stupid" in my opinion. (maybe it is just a language problem)
Conversely, our precious spare time was taken to discuss this and other frequently requested -but- denied features.
Over and over again. All those people thinking they have something new to say but didn't.
It's no surprise I subconsiously try to make this supposed-copy of all those other discussions as short as possible.
You seem to be the first one capable of making any point worth listening to despite the dev's "NO", though.

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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by Nic »

MF- wrote: You cannot cheat it with smart inserters, because you don't know which items will that be.
Ok, I don't need to (right click and open in a new tab to see the whole screenshot):

Image
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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by MF- »

Is that splitting the lines
IF those are completely full & backed up?

It's nice to see that something like this can be done at all.

What controls which items reach which chest?
is it Build order? Maps seed? XY position? Chunk boundaries? Rotation of the contraption?
Many of those may not be even considered a stable / defined behaviour.

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Re: The Lane swapper

Post by MF- »

Hmmm.. here's an idea.
Wasn't there a glitch / unsable behaviou saying, that
a slow inserter won't be able to catch running items rushing into an underground express belt?
Does something like that still work?

In that case it might just be possible to use the underground belt to let only one lane through,
so that one lane is running (also separated on it's own belt. done.)
and the other lane is backed up on the "underground separator"
-> be able to be picked up in entrance of an underground belt, while the other lane wouldn't be -> done?

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