Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by ssilk » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:08 pm

I hear in the last days often words like "yes, you play it so, but I play it so".

My play-style depends on what I find. There is no "this is the only correct style". There are maps, where it is more useful to go the green way, than others. There is absolutely no need to discuss that, but I think we will find that out, when it is possible to compare games (same map).

But well, to add something to discussion:

steel furnaces vs. electric

Yes, compared to the pure size, steel furnaces are more efficient. But steel furnaces

- need half a belt of coal. In the worst case it is 1-2 tiles more space needed, than with electric, plus the complicated handling of the logistic to bring the coal there plus the cost of throughput with those half belts and/or plus the more inserters needed.
- Or more logistic bots. :)
- they produce more pollution, not to mention the coal production, which doubles that pollution.

Electric furnaces strikes steel furnaces in speed easily with the modules I can place in them :) If you have really low resources, there is no way around them, because of the productivity modules.

So it is no discussion, that electric furnaces gives more flexibility in extreme situations, they can and must be used under some circumstances.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by krux02 » Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:42 am

I disagree with you. The electric furnace is not really an upgrade to the steel furnace. It has the exact same energy consumption and production speed as the steel furnace, except that it gets it's energy from power lines instead of directly from coal. So if you already setup your coal supply to the furnaces there is no need to "upgrade" because there is no improvement. The electric furnace is only an advantage if you want to build somewhere a furnace where no coal is around.

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by ssilk » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:46 pm

Well, the numbers and my experience are different. Modules and lower pollution make the difference! But I'll agree, if you want to play as fast as possible, it makes sense not to begin with them.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by Apotheosis » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:24 pm

Steel furnaces actually do not quite have the same energy consumption as electric furnaces. If you compare coal or solid fuel use between the two, an electric furnace actually uses up twice as much energy due to the 1/2 energy conversion factor for heating boilers. One piece of coal will convert twice as much material in a steel furnace as it does for an electric furnace. This means that you need at least two effectivity modules or one level 3 effectivity module before an electric furnace can compete energy-wise.

Electric furnaces also end up producing more pollution overall than steel furnaces. While the furnaces themselves have drastically reduced pollution, they end up generating more pollution at boilers for a slightly greater net amount (approximately 3.669). You need at least one effectivity module before the sum of boiler and electric furnace pollution is less than a steel furnace's.

This is a nice gameplay dynamic and I wish tradeoffs like these (base energy use and pollution vs. module support and solar power) existed for other burner devices. Sadly, electric miners and inserters beat out burner miners and inserters pretty handily (while burner miners produce less net pollution, they mine ore only half as fast and use much more energy).

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by ssilk » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:36 pm

For the furnaces it's of course useful to use solar power. Then the pollution is lower in the long run. But again I admit with playing really fast, this doesn't make sense.

One advantage is also: You need not much more space. With steel furnace you need input for the fuel. Either you built this feed with one half side of a belt, which reduces the overall throughput of the resources by more than the half. Or you built two belts, one for fuel, one for the resources you want to smelt. That takes another tile.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by bobingabout » Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:47 am

I agree it can be an issue for newbies, especially since you have that mission with a pre-planned factory layout with shared coal belt (Yay, the trains level), but for more experienced users, with planning, you can easily work around it.

This is how i do things.
If we assume a vertical line of furnaces... Place your furnaces, with a power pole between each one, so the total tile spacing from 1 furnace, to the same point in the next is 3 tiles. This gives you the vertical room to adjust them later, if you remove the power poles. This placement of power poles also lets you power inserters at both the left side, and right side with just 1 row of poles.

Next, place your inserters, one long arm, one normal arm inserting from the left, and a short arm inserter outputting to the right.

Place a belt for the long arm inserter that will carry your ore, then another belt to the right of it for the short arm inserter for coal.
and finally a 3rd belt on the output for the plates. I often use a box on the output, and more power poles, then output from the box to the belt, but that's for both flow control, and later upgrading to a logistic chest, without the need to completely replace the belts that are probably going to feed your research chain.


So you now have a layout as follows... Ore belt colum, Coal belt colum, Inserters colum, 2 furnace + power pole colums, inserter colum, chest colum, inserter colum, output belt colum.

Upgrading to electric. Demolish the coal belt, furnaces, and power poles, place inserters and power poles in the old coal colum, and another pole in the output inserter colum.

it now goes Ore belt colum, inserter + power pole colum, 3 furnace colums, inserter and power pole colum, chest colum, inserter colum, output belt colum. power poles from your inserters from chests to output belt will likely also power the output inserters too, so you still only need the 2 lines.

Since stone furnaces are used to make other things, such as boilers, where steel furnaces arn't used to make anything, I often find myself going from stone to electric just to reduce waste, but that means you're left with a slower line untill you finally make that upgrade.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by pyrolytic_tungsten » Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:57 am

I think electric furnaces are just fine currently. I like having some trade offs with the electric furnace. I've gotten the rocket defense with only steel furnaces because I had lots of coal. However in my current game with resource spawner overhaul coal rarity made me put a big effort into going to all electric furnaces with solar. Granted, in that game I needed to demolish my starting furnaces once the electric ones were up and the starting ore depleted because initial furnace positioning wasn't easily expanded due to water.

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by Peter34 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:08 pm

Accepting the logic that Electric Furnaces must be bigger than Stone and Steel ones, why does the footprint have to be 3x3?

The earlier Furnaces have a footprint of tiles, and yes the Electric Furnace clearly must have a larger footprint, but what if that larger footprint wasn't 3x3 but instead 2x3 or 2x4? If done that way, they will still be bigger (mission accomplished!) but it will also be much easier for players to replace their existing Furnace setupts with Electric ones, since eve if the new ones are wider, they're the same height. So I might have a row of six 2x2 Stone Furnaces. If the Electric Furnates are 2x4 footprint, then I'll simply replace my existing six Furnaces with three of the new ones. No need to move Belts around (except Coal feed is no longer needed), all I have to do is take away some no-longer needed Inserters.

So... Why not do it like that?

I haven't gotten that far into the game yet (I keep starting over), but I too appreciate the OP's point of view, that it's annoying having to re-design existing Belt setups, e.g. Iron Smelting and so forth. I can see much value in a change to the game to remove this need, by changing the footprint from 3x3 to 3x2 or 4x2.

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by ssilk » Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:06 am

Peter34 wrote: So... Why not do it like that?
Because you cannot rotate furnaces yet, and for unneeded complexity. Because you spare not only the belt for fuel, you spare also the transport of fuel (to the furnaces), which brings back all the space you loose when you change. Because it is an interesting problem in the game to switch from steel to electric.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by Sting_Auer » Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:40 am

I think the advantage of not needing fuel anymore makes the cost of needing to redesign your forges worth it. Not everything should be a flat upgrade, there should be significant downsides (besides resource cost) to certain higher-tier objects and whatnot. You have to make the decision between the significant time cost of redesigning your forges, or stick with needing to use fuel for your forges.

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by Nova » Sat Nov 15, 2014 12:35 pm

I think we should keep the size of the electric furnace. Even thinking about changing is a surplus of fun for the game. "Do I want to change that part of the factory? Do I have enough energy for electric furnaces? Do I have enough coal / oil (solid fuel) for the steel furnaces? What's more important, space or pollution (at least for solar-electric furnaces against steel furnaces)? How important would modules be for my electric furnaces? ..." - There are so many different questions about them, it's different for every map.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by fishstyk » Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:10 pm

I concur with Tirou.

I understand the idea that part of the fun of Factorio is rethinking things as new tech comes along, but a forced redesign of one smelting pipeline for no obvious reason is just tedious. Redesign due to poor planning is expected, but redesign because of what appears to be an arbitrary change in building size is frustrating.

For new players, when they get to red level tech, there are lots of new problems to solve (like getting their oil pipeline and base defense setup). Last thing I want to do is go back and redesign half my base due to some arbitrary building size change.

In general, the change in smelting sizes introduces tedium to the game and little real value.

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by Hexicube » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:38 pm

The thread is 2 years old, it's a change that clearly isn't going to happen.

Having electric furnaces be 3x3 whilst steel furnaces are 2x2 means electric furnaces aren't a flat upgrade. You have to choose between the space efficiency of steel furnaces (~2x) or the more versatile electric furnaces (doesn't need a fuel fed into it, has 2 module slots, uses the electrical grid).

If electric furnaces were 2x2, there would be no reason to use steel furnaces.

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by vanatteveldt » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:54 pm

Hexicube wrote:The thread is 2 years old, it's a change that clearly isn't going to happen.
bump ;-)

Hexicube wrote:If electric furnaces were 2x2, there would be no reason to use steel furnaces.
That's simply not true: steel furnaces are more efficient while you're using fossil fuels and unless you use modules, because of the 50% efficiency of boilers. So, it's still a tradeoff of efficiency vs flexibility, not to mention the fact that electric furnaces are expensive and require red circuits.

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by fishstyk » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:56 pm

I understand the change is not likely.
Just adding my dissention.
I'll deal with the size difference.
It's not like this is the first game design to confuse depth with tedium.

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by bobucles » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:59 am

What's the problem here? Just make a system where you remove the coal belt of the old setup and pack in electric furnaces for the new setup. Or build a different network.

Electric furnaces are NOT mandatory. You can run a plenty successful factory on steel.

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by Hexicube » Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:16 am

vanatteveldt wrote:
Hexicube wrote:If electric furnaces were 2x2, there would be no reason to use steel furnaces.
That's simply not true: steel furnaces are more efficient while you're using fossil fuels and unless you use modules, because of the 50% efficiency of boilers. So, it's still a tradeoff of efficiency vs flexibility, not to mention the fact that electric furnaces are expensive and require red circuits.
Any one-time expense can be ignored in the long run, because eventually you can amass any amount of materials. Once you have them built, the cost is irrelevant.

Electric furnaces are considerably more expensive to set up, but to compensate you can use a pair of efficiency 1 modules so that they use less coal compared to steel furnaces, and a pair of efficiency 2 modules halves the remaining cost. The two module slots are the single most important feature of the electric furnaces, you can't ignore that.


I'll re-iterate, if electric furnaces were 2x2 there would be no reason to use steel furnaces once you have the materials to build both them and efficiency modules to put in them. They don't need coal fed into them, they need less power even after the doubled cost of boilers, and they produce less pollution. They would be universally better.

Currently there's a niche use for steel furnaces in super-compact factories, where a single tile shaved off the width of the set-up and a 33% height reduction for a specific throughput could mean everything. You'd normally lose half the belt, but there's no reason to not belt braid in order to keep full ore throughput since coal isn't consumed nearly as often (that supply will happily run on a yellow belt, and could even go in reverse). A couple speed 3 modules would double the speed of an electric furnace, but would also cause a 140% increase in power cost and would still be wider (you're exchanging 25% of the steel furnace stack height for extra width and power consumption).
fishstyk wrote:It's not like this is the first game design to confuse depth with tedium.
I found the size difference to be an interesting change and it encouraged designing my smelting area differently. I discovered I can have both the input and output belts between two columns of furnaces (which is more space efficient), allowing easy swapping of stone/steel furnaces to electric furnaces since the belts don't change and you're only removing inserters.

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by vanatteveldt » Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:40 am

Hexicube wrote: Currently there's a niche use for steel furnaces in super-compact factories, where a single tile shaved off the width of the set-up and a 33% height reduction for a specific throughput could mean everything. You'd normally lose half the belt, but there's no reason to not belt braid in order to keep full ore throughput since coal isn't consumed nearly as often (that supply will happily run on a yellow belt, and could even go in reverse). A couple speed 3 modules would double the speed of an electric furnace, but would also cause a 140% increase in power cost and would still be wider (you're exchanging 25% of the steel furnace stack height for extra width and power consumption).
One such nice is the "smelt where you mine" setup, where using electric furnaces would mean that you can't deplete the complete deposit without relocating the mines.

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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by Koub » Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:39 am

vanatteveldt wrote:
Hexicube wrote: Currently there's a niche use for steel furnaces in super-compact factories, where a single tile shaved off the width of the set-up and a 33% height reduction for a specific throughput could mean everything. You'd normally lose half the belt, but there's no reason to not belt braid in order to keep full ore throughput since coal isn't consumed nearly as often (that supply will happily run on a yellow belt, and could even go in reverse). A couple speed 3 modules would double the speed of an electric furnace, but would also cause a 140% increase in power cost and would still be wider (you're exchanging 25% of the steel furnace stack height for extra width and power consumption).
One such nice is the "smelt where you mine" setup, where using electric furnaces would mean that you can't deplete the complete deposit without relocating the mines.
I reckon it's the only downfall I find to the fact that electric furnaces are 3x3 : can't set up a layout allowing direct insertion from mining drill to furnace to smelt in real time what's mined. At least not without having to tear and rebuild everything in the middle. but a smaller 2x2 electric furnace without module slots could do the trick. I even think there might be a mod for that.
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Re: Supression of the size shift of electric furnaces

Post by fishstyk » Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:08 pm

I’m not arguing that there should not be tradeoffs, only that building size as a tradeoff introduces tedious rebuilding of one’s layout which is not a good tradeoff, especially since this is the single and only such tradeoff in the game.

If size changes add so much goodness to the game (I argue they do not) why don’t factories change size when they are upgraded, or refineries, or belts, or anything else in the game? This is the only upgrade that introduces a size change. All the arguments used to defend this decision are arguments against the rest of the game design, which is quite good.

“It would make iron forges obsolete because cost doesn’t matter.” Like tier one factories? or stone forges? tier one and two belts? Yes, higher tech stuff can, when fully upgraded and barring cost, obsolete earlier technologies. This surprises anyone? This harms gameplay?

Most of the defenses of this design seem to come from vet’s who’ve become accustomed to this and know how to work around it, but try looking at this from a perspective of a new player. This is an information problem. No other upgrades introduce size changes, so there is no way a new player will have the information to plan ahead correctly. We’ve all rebuilt part of our bases due to our own poor planning, but being forced to rebuild one’s base for what appears to be an arbitrary and unexpected size change is frustrating. If a new player concludes that they need to go green early to avoid pollution because they are on a map with few trees, figuring this out is ‘fun’, which is diminished when you realize you need to rebuild your entire smelting line.

I predict that if you keep statistics of when new players quit or start a new game, it will be at the point where they encounter this size change.

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