Half Belt Splitter

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AndaleTheGreat
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Half Belt Splitter

Post by AndaleTheGreat » Thu May 15, 2014 4:26 pm

I like to set up my belts as a two items delivery but the splitter uses both sides. Would like to see one that can be placed on a belt (or just has the belt on the outer tiles). This way I could split only a specific side of the belt and split only the item being fed to that side.

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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by Gammro » Thu May 15, 2014 4:52 pm

You can already either use a filter inserter to only grab the type of item you want from a belt onto another, or use the build with the underground belts

Concerning the idea itself, I don't think this should be added. The building blocks to do something like it are already in the game. Adding blocks like this complicates the game without adding(and in this case IMO even removing) depth.
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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by robhol » Thu May 15, 2014 4:58 pm

I like it. It doesn't remove depth, it adds flexibility - which is lacking in some respects.
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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by Gammro » Thu May 15, 2014 5:13 pm

Ok, first off, whatch this video on depth vs. complexity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVL4st0blGU
This is needed to understand what I mean by depth and complexity, and how my opinion formed.

The way I see it, this is adding a part that is specifically designed to do something you can already do in the game, except it's now made into one block. This does increase the complexity of the game, because you now have to learn the function of yet another building block. But it also makes the previous option obsolete, removing the depth added by using the base game mechanics to your advantage. I know some people think this is an exploit because it's not intended, I don't. I think it's a solid piece of engineering and using the mechanics given to us by the game to our advantage. I think non-intended game mechanics are signs that there's depth beyond what's explicitly given, and that it's a good quality a game can have.
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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by robhol » Thu May 15, 2014 5:34 pm

It doesn't make much sense. There's no reason why you wouldn't be able to split lanes, switch lanes etc., ie. from a "common sense" point of view, these are arbitrary limitations in the game that may in fact already be on their way to being removed - we are, after all, in alpha.

Complexity can mean a lot of things - "here's one more item in a game with hundreds" and "here's a somewhat non-intuitive trick you need to learn to get things flowing on a certain end of a conveyor belt". Simplifying away the need for weird loops and twists in a conveyor belt line just to get things where you want them is not a bad thing. Those don't add much depth to begin with, and replacing it with a neater solution certainly doesn't take that depth away - you still need the planning, the resources, the items and putting it all together. The difference is having an actual solution to do it instead of having to rely on what's known in programming terms as a "hack".

Also, the complexity increase from additional items (what little there is) can be managed by user interface improvements, which I assume is planned for some point in the future. The other kind isn't so easily dealt with at this point.
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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by Gammro » Thu May 15, 2014 6:24 pm

"here's one more item in a game with hundreds" - That's complexity
let's word the other one a bit less negative: "here's one solution(of a few ways to do it) to what you want to do, made with tools already in the game" - that's depth
Here are some definitions by Charles J Pratt, teacher in game studies at NYU:
By complexity I simply mean the number of elements that a player has to manipulate.
When people talk about ‘emergence’ in games what they usually mean is that, unlike other artforms, games each have their own logical space of possibility. Most games have a finite number of ‘states’ they could ever possibly be in. This number of states could be incomprehensibly large or it could be inconsequentially small. These different states rise logically out of the interaction between the rules as carried out by players. Here I am defining ‘depth’ in a game to be the size of the game’s ‘possibility space’; The larger the space, the deeper the game.
Complexity isn't inherently bad: it's a tool to add more depth. Depth however, is what makes a player come back to your game, it's one of many design goals in a game.

By adding this part, you add a little bit of complexity to the game, there's another element that a player has to manipulate. But this implies that all previous solutions(the splitter/underground belt solution is only one of many solutions) have now all become obsolete. There's an easier and more (space) efficient way of doing it, thereby removing depth from the game.

This is a game about engineering, I think there should be some engineering. For example, what do you think of this?
engineering
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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by AndaleTheGreat » Thu May 15, 2014 6:40 pm

I still think it is a good idea after looking at the other thread as that looks less like a function and more like a mistake in game mechanics that someone figured out.
A mechanic that could be placed into a block rather than using a method that looks like an accident would be better suited to a functional block then.

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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by Gammro » Thu May 15, 2014 6:52 pm

The hack/not a hack part is an opinion, it's not an argument. This whole topic right now is on what opinion is best for the game as a whole. I'm replying why I think the current situation is valid, while you keep hammering on "BUT THIS IS MY OPINION" without anything to support it.

Maybe I'm really rude right now, but it's bugging me that you seem to ignore my post.
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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by AndaleTheGreat » Thu May 15, 2014 7:16 pm

I didn't ignore it. I just didn't care. I think the method above sucks. I didn't like, so I made a suggestion. Done. You guys are spending way too much thought and effort on it. Just state your thoughts, give examples or definitions, then move on. You shouldn't be in this thread to convince people you are right.
I made my suggestion, I'm moving on. Hopefully someone uses it or improves on it. That's it. Suggestion threads are suggestions, not arguments.

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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by robhol » Thu May 15, 2014 7:55 pm

Gammro wrote:The hack/not a hack part is an opinion, it's not an argument. This whole topic right now is on what opinion is best for the game as a whole. I'm replying why I think the current situation is valid, while you keep hammering on "BUT THIS IS MY OPINION" without anything to support it.

Maybe I'm really rude right now, but it's bugging me that you seem to ignore my post.
So is everything in your post. It's a game, very little of it is going to involve objective facts and even the definitions of "complexity", "depth" etc. are at least somewhat subjective.

I'm personally supporting this idea - not because the current situation is somehow "invalid", but because it makes no sense to have flying robots and laser turrets while not being able to switch two lanes on a conveyor belt without creating "lumps" on your lines and exploiting how they work internally. I'm just saying that having a bit more flexibility in terms of item movement on belts and making the business of splitting and lane-switching belts would not harm the game. There are *way* better ways of adding depth to a game than to take a logical thing to want (the iron is on this side, I want it on that side) and making it more difficult than it's logical for it to be.

People on game forums in particular are extremely fond of shooting down suggestions, but honestly - it's not always the best thing to be spending your time on. If the guy's making obviously misguided ideas about balancing things that don't need balance, mobs that are annoying but not rewarding, gameplay features that are hard in the wrong way and so on, then fine - have at it. But every suggestion is not inherently bad.
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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by ssilk » Thu May 15, 2014 8:39 pm

robhol wrote:The difference is having an actual solution to do it instead of having to rely on what's known in programming terms as a "hack".

Also, the complexity increase from additional items (what little there is) can be managed by user interface improvements, which I assume is planned for some point in the future. The other kind isn't so easily dealt with at this point.
This game is alpha. We (forum members) don't know fully, how to play it. And for myself I'm not sure, if such stuff is really needed, or take any of the other dozen more or less equal suggestions about that, or optimize the current or just do nothing.

That's the point.
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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by Garm » Thu May 15, 2014 8:49 pm

Taking whole discussion about complexity and depth aside (because this is the n-th thread and we have discussed that n-1 times already) I want you to consider another side.


Does the game need to have solution for every problem?

I think it doesn't - and that doesn't make it bad. I think it is absolutely fine that certain things are not achievable in easy way or achievable at all. It provides challenge without ruining the gameplay. And also you don't need to use "hacks" to solve this problem - game has smart inserters for a reason.

Just because it is bigger than 1-2 tiles doesnt necessarily mean its bad...

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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by robhol » Thu May 15, 2014 9:09 pm

If you don't want to discuss it, don't.

I see how one might (very legitimately) consider it a relatively unimportant idea. I absolutely can not see any way in which it would harm the game.
The game doesn't need solutions to every problem, but care needs to be taken when figuring out which problems are problems with the game, which problems are best left up to the player, and which problems aren't really problems at all. Simple mechanics should really be in place once we leave for flying robot country, that's all I'm saying.

I'm starting to feel this is a pointless discussion. I've stated my points in a clear fashion and you've mostly just reiterated the same points without really addressing anything I wrote.
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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by Garm » Thu May 15, 2014 9:23 pm

Fine Ill talk more.
robhol wrote:I see how one might (very legitimately) consider it a relatively unimportant idea. I absolutely can not see any way in which it would harm the game.
Implementing this idea means more items in game (more complexity), that people need to memorize, It also provides a limited usage to a very specific problem (little to no emergent behavior), a problem that is already solvable by other in-game tools like smart inserters (poor management of developer time).

If developers would be forced to spend time on such suggestion it would mean that they wont be able to implement something else. As such if you compare this suggestion (poor benefit/developer time) against some other average suggestion (average benefit/time ratio duh) You realize that this idea causes net negative for awesomeness/developer time ratio, or speaking plainly harms the game
robhol wrote: The game doesn't need solutions to every problem, but care needs to be taken when figuring out which problems are problems with the game, which problems are best left up to the player, and which problems aren't really problems at all. Simple mechanics should really be in place once we leave for flying robot country, that's all I'm saying.
Yes, and this problem is already solvable by player without flying robots by using the smart inserters and a bit more space. And past early game this isnt a problem at all simply because of much higher average demand. These two things greatly reduce its "problematic" status.

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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by AndaleTheGreat » Thu May 15, 2014 10:51 pm

So you guys have gone waaaaaay off-topic.

Point is, what would be better?
A suggestions thread is best utilized by continually suggesting better or simply different methods to create the same effect. Not deciding whether it is valid or not. I'm not saying don't ever badmouth an idea (though do so kindly), but a Suggestion thread is improved by discussing items you like. The less popular items fall to the bottom of the page, receive little traffic and are forgotten. Obviously that idea was either not interesting enough to grab people's attention or it was stated in a very poor way.

What was my point? Discuss the item or don't. Everything on the internet is a popularity contest, so if people post on your idea it will get more attention.

Stay on topic

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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by YotaXP » Fri May 16, 2014 5:55 am

I've been thinking about this problem for a while as well, and have come up with nothing either.
  • Single-purpose items are simply never a good idea. I don't think it's a matter of complexity, but just bad design. As Alton Brown often said, the only uni-tasker that should be found in the kitchen is a fire extinquisher.
  • Inserters aren't an option as they are not guaranteed to clear off the side of the belt, due to either the items outpacing them, or the destination belt being full.
  • The splitter+underground belt thing, while clever, is clearly an exploit of hitboxes. It works, but only on technicality. It's like turning off a machine by inserting a wrench into a gear.
I'll have to continue brainstorming. The "inserter placement location" thing has bugged me as well, (especially when they put things in the center of a belt, or on turns) but so far I've come up with nothing sufficiently robust.

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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by Garm » Fri May 16, 2014 6:38 am

YotaXP wrote:Inserters aren't an option as they are not guaranteed to clear off the side of the belt, due to either the items outpacing them, or the destination belt being full.
Simple you terminate the line and seaparate it using inserters into 2 new lines, then after you have finished splitting portions merge necessary lines back.

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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by ssilk » Fri May 16, 2014 1:00 pm

YotaXP wrote:]The splitter+underground belt thing, while clever, is clearly an exploit of hitboxes. It works, but only on technicality. It's like turning off a machine by inserting a wrench into a gear.
In my opinion this is just a design problem (graphics). This is the same problem as with belts in curves: If you create some T-like segment of belts the curves look quite differently, then just a simple curve. I see not so a big problem to display a different "output/input" side, depending, if the belt is connected by a side-belt or not, than to introduce new types of belts.
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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by AndaleTheGreat » Fri May 16, 2014 1:59 pm

I do see several other ways of going about it, but many have their flaws. I tried to use insterters at one point, but if production breaks down somewhere then it will take everything off and not just the side you want. Also, I don't like having that backup on the conveyer, it looks terrible. I try to set up so my stuff is fairly well timed to keep less than a few items on the belts.


The biggest argument I see is just "I don't want more things" which is the worst argument I think. It isn't helpful to the idea and unnecessary. Again, if you don't like something just post an improvement or post nothing and the thread will be washed away.


Honestly, I'd rather have single item conveyance as an option. I'm doing it on almost every part of my build anyway.
At the very least if there was a way to block one side of a belt then I could have iron ore come in on one side, hit the stopper, then output all my iron plate to the same belt on other side which goes past the stopper. That would be a simple, single tile, place-able on the belt itself.

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Re: Half Belt Splitter

Post by ssilk » Fri May 16, 2014 4:30 pm

AndaleTheGreat wrote:I do see several other ways of going about it, but many have their flaws. I tried to use insterters at one point, but if production breaks down somewhere then it will take everything off and not just the side you want. Also, I don't like having that backup on the conveyer, it looks terrible. I try to set up so my stuff is fairly well timed to keep less than a few items on the belts.
Just sucking reasons out of the fingers. :P
- If the production breaks down and your layout depends on that, then you have made something wrong: you know, there are the smart inserters, which can filter? That was meant.
- It looks terrible: Who are you? :| This is an alpha-version with really excellent graphics. You are in the forum since ... one day (!) and you mean, that this needs to be changed, exactly like you want, even due to the fact, that there are many others, which have also made suggestions in that direction. Think about that :!:

And a good tip: Play your first 100 hours and THEN come back, please. You will be welcome, but please, don't talk about things, which you didn't even have played yet. That's a showstopper...
The biggest argument I see is just "I don't want more things" which is the worst argument I think. It isn't helpful to the idea and unnecessary. Again, if you don't like something just post an improvement or post nothing and the thread will be washed away.
Well, if this was an answer to my post: The change of graphics would be an improvement. Improve the things slowly. Not more than needed. Step by step, but every step is an improvement.
Honestly, I'd rather have single item conveyance as an option. I'm doing it on almost every part of my build anyway.
I'm not, cause it is a beginner tactics to use one side only. Later on there is in many cases the need to use full belts and using only one side of a belt is more or less no issue yet. :)
At the very least if there was a way to block one side of a belt then I could have iron ore come in on one side, hit the stopper, then output all my iron plate to the same belt on other side which goes past the stopper. That would be a simple, single tile, place-able on the belt itself.
There are several ways to do that. Your's is just one of many. No reason to say in an alpha-version "we need this and we need that, cause I don't like how it is now". I like the quote from slay_mithos:
Just so you know, there are a lot of suggestion that come from people not fully knowing the game, that don't want complex builds when they can suggest a 1-tile entity that would do the same.
And I repeat: The right way is to improve slowly (version by version) and find a solution, which fits for all needs and that is in most cases much better than a "I need this exactly like so and any other solution doesn't fit my needs".
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