0.16 Strategy: Bus Belt Shift instead of Belt Balancing

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0.16 Strategy: Bus Belt Shift instead of Belt Balancing

Postby zOldBulldog » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:20 pm

This strategy seemed obvious to me when I learned about the new 0.16 Belt Splitters. I have been using it and I love it. I am sure that others must be using it too, but I have not seen it mentioned anywhere. So I figured it is time to share a creation for the first time. :D

The basic concept is to always shift product to the side of the belt array that you normally draw from.

For example, in this picture I draw iron from the left lane, then shift product from right to left lanes so that the left belt remains as full as possible.
beltShift.jpg
beltShift.jpg (49.65 KiB) Viewed 1532 times


Why do this?
  • It is easier to draw from the outer lane.
  • The outer lane always remains as full as possible.
  • You never need to worry about which lane might have the amount of product you need.
  • When your consumption outstrips your production the furthermost lanes go empty and it is very easy to notice the condition with a simple look, even in map mode. That way when you see it happen you know it is time to scale up your production of the resource that is running low.

One minor limitation I discovered (thank you posila for explaining the cause) is that if you build the smelters/factories that feed the belts "as needed", you can feed the furthermost belt first (to fill the full Bus when there is no/low demand) but if you feed the right two lanes first then that initial splitter won't be able to send all of the material to the nearest belt (feed two belts, draw one in the direction you want). So, it might be best to first build the smelters that feed the belts on the side you intend to draw from.

Is anybody else using this strategy? Speak up.
Can anybody think of a serious drawback to this strategy? Speak up.
Last edited by zOldBulldog on Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 0.16 Strategy: Bus Belt Shift instead of Belt Balancing

Postby Brathahn » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:31 pm

I see a problem when your belt is starved. So it will only supply the first outputline and empty the complete bus behind it.
With a balanced splitter you will always have items everywhere.
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Re: 0.16 Strategy: Bus Belt Shift instead of Belt Balancing

Postby zOldBulldog » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:40 pm

Brathahn wrote:I see a problem when your belt is starved. So it will only supply the first outputline and empty the complete bus behind it.
With a balanced splitter you will always have items everywhere.

Yes, that was the intent.

The idea is that with multiple belts, you will see the starved line early, scale the supply side, and never have the belt you draw from go starved.

This worked very well for me so far. The only time I was starved was when I built Blue Circuits and Yellow Science assembly lines. I knew it would happen and could have avoided it easily, but I *wanted to* be starved so that I could see exactly what I needed to scale up, and since I had already completed all prior Science Research and had sufficient reserves of materials for any emergency... it did not matter that I was starved for a short time.
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Re: 0.16 Strategy: Bus Belt Shift instead of Belt Balancing

Postby dood » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:42 pm

I mean that's a good 1 size fits all solution but I prefer to just split off the 4 belts in order, slap a balancer down and then start over.
Less splitter clusterfuck.

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Re: 0.16 Strategy: Bus Belt Shift instead of Belt Balancing

Postby zOldBulldog » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:50 pm

dood wrote:I mean that's a good 1 size fits all solution but I prefer to just split off the 4 belts in order, slap a balancer down and then start over.
Less splitter clusterfuck.

It isn't a solution for "everyone". Different people, different strokes.

It is just another option for those who have different priorities.

Those who choose this one will do it for simplicity and compactness (a 4-lane Shifter is simpler and smaller than a 4-lane Balancer), and a way to easily identify when you need to scale up your supply side. It should also help those that want to ensure their factories are running at full production speed (at the cost of beefing up supply).

I suspect beginners and those that build factories on both sides of the bus might find it valuable.
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Re: 0.16 Strategy: Bus Belt Shift instead of Belt Balancing

Postby dood » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:58 pm

zOldBulldog wrote:I suspect beginners and those that build factories on both sides of the bus might find it valuable.

Factories on both sides of the bus are an unholy mess already. There isn't much room for extra thicc splitting.
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Re: 0.16 Strategy: Bus Belt Shift instead of Belt Balancing

Postby zOldBulldog » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:47 pm

dood wrote:
zOldBulldog wrote:I suspect beginners and those that build factories on both sides of the bus might find it valuable.

Factories on both sides of the bus are an unholy mess already. There isn't much room for extra thicc splitting.

Building on the "main" side of the bus was indeed my initial strategy, for exactly your same reasons.

I used side 2 only for throwaway factories that I needed for a purpose but wasn't happy with the design I had (when I tweaked and became happy with the design I'd move them over to the main side). But I was surprised. With the Belt Shifter strategy I did not have serious issues splitting from the bus on both sides and my 4x8 bus has far more than enough space (I might go with 4x7 next time). So I no longer see a reason to avoid side 2.

The design plan that I'm leaning towards for my next game is to place factories for stuff that goes on the bus and Science on one side, the Mall and other stuff I "use" on the other, and a train station that can fully supply the bus by train (whether I use it or not) at the start of the bus. Power in the suburbs near the base. Oil production and chemical factories also "in the suburbs", with their products delivered to the bus by train. A private rail loop with a track on each side of the bus and only one exit to make it a private section not used by regular cargo trains. The main benefit should be a cleaner base, much shorter distances to run, and an easy way to prepare a "building supply train".
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Re: 0.16 Strategy: Bus Belt Shift instead of Belt Balancing

Postby dragontamer5788 » Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:54 pm

I've actually been doing this in my bases recently. I've been removing balancers and instead shifting the items to the right-most lane of a belt.

It seems somewhat buggy right now though. It seems like belts decompress very slightly when using "priority" features. Balancers of old preserved compression very well, but the priority feature must have a slight hesitation sometimes (which can cause a very, very slight decompression).

Its not major. But its enough to annoy me.
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Re: 0.16 Strategy: Bus Belt Shift instead of Belt Balancing

Postby ColonelSandersLite » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:30 am

I have experimented with this as well. Both in a pure form, as shown, and in a sort of hybrid where you draw from each lane then shunt everything over and repeat.

There is one huge benefit that I don't see mentioned here.

It is extremely super easy to shunt more resources onto a depleted bus from the side.

Your factory is eating 4 of your 8 iron belts? Just cut the dead lines and use a train station to shunt in 4 fresh iron belts. Simple.
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