Solar panels less of a no-brainer

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thereaverofdarkness
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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by thereaverofdarkness » Thu May 18, 2017 1:41 am

Let's not forget, even though iron can be much more scarce than copper, they both take exactly the same amount of energy to process. Assuming your game has enough iron for you, copper and iron are the same price. Copper only becomes cheaper when you've overspent on copper mining tools. And when iron is scarce, it doesn't cost you more energy to produce, it merely costs you more exploration to reveal, and possibly more trains to ship it, though it's so cheap to build and run trains relative to the amount they can haul it's almost negligible.

So essentially iron and copper have the same value.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by BlakeMW » Thu May 18, 2017 3:40 pm

The only way the map would have enough iron is if I cranked up the iron settings in world generation and/or turn off biters - there's nothing wrong with messing with the worldgen settings - but playing standard a big limiting factor is securing the iron patches from the biters. Once you've secured the iron patches, chances are you've also secured copper and coal patches in wake of the expansion and probably already have railway for bringing the iron back.

Train World is the closest default setting to iron and copper being equal: it can easily have like 25mil iron patches close to the factory and biter expansion is turned off, so you pretty much can mine as much iron as you can consume - sure you'll still leave lots of copper lying on the ground but I've found securing new iron is not a big deal compared with the mining, transport and smelting.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Atraps003 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:00 am

Solar panels are fine. Accumulators are op. Reduce the amount of energy they can store. Then introduce research that increases storage back to its current 5 MJ value. This should not have any ups impact on megabases that rely on solar/accumulator power once the initial research is complete.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by agmike » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:02 am

Atraps003 wrote:Solar panels are fine. Accumulators are op. Reduce the amount of energy they can store. Then introduce research that increases storage back to its current 5 MJ value. This should not have any ups impact on megabases that rely on solar/accumulator power once the initial research is complete.
OP? They have by far the lowest energy density of all energy accumulation methods (steam tanks, heat pipes, fuel stacks). Even batteries for personal armor are better.
Last edited by agmike on Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Atraps003 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:11 am

None of those have the ability to store solar energy.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by agmike » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:02 am

So what is the problem with them? They are not very dense energy-wise compared to others, not that cheap nor simple to craft (requiring oil). Why do you think they are OP?

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by mrvn » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:15 pm

SirRichie wrote:
ssilk wrote: What I'm really going with this whole discussion is, that the current handling of energy is in the long term boring, after you get solar. Steam engines are much more appealing. :)
And here is where the crucial point. It is boring in a low-maintenance sense. For a game about automation, I do not see a problem here, but as said, I like The Phoenixian's suggestions.

Also, I still find randomized power generation not that of a good idea. Either it is just a way of making solar/accu more expensive as I outlined. Or, if you introduce heavy randomization, as you just suggested, then it becomes a game of chance. This could very well mean that my 30+ hours factory is laid to waste because I was unlucky with the power generation. I think that would be flawed game design. Of course you can say that this is the price for solar, but then why have it at all?
If you had wind power then factorio could have cloudy/windy days. So while solar power is low wind power would be high. You would have to balance solar power, wind power and steam power.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by JimBarracus » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:59 am

Atraps003 wrote:Solar panels are fine. Accumulators are op. Reduce the amount of energy they can store. Then introduce research that increases storage back to its current 5 MJ value. This should not have any ups impact on megabases that rely on solar/accumulator power once the initial research is complete.
Depending on world settings space is virtually free. It is the same like with bots. If they nerv bots you just have more of them.
Same for accumulators.
Plus accumulators are dirt cheap.

A possible solution could be making accumulators more expensive; they need a high-power ac/dc converter, the same for solar.
Either with an integrated one or even an external one, that needs to be connected to a dc grid, pushing the power in the ac grid.

Adding ac/dc for the sake of komplexity and to have something to tweak around like the ratio boiler to steam engine.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by 4xel » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:51 pm

The balance between the three sources of energy is fine IMO.

Steam is good for growth, solar panel is the most expansive setup by an order of magnitude, but requires no upkeep, and Nuclear is almost best of both world and the most compact at the cost of higher tech requirement and highly complex setup.

You'll never see solar panel in a speed run, even for long ones like 100% achivement they may be dubious. Steam is the way to go, cheaper setup cost means faster growth. Also, it is not necessarilly a bad thing that low tech building are replaced by high tech ones. Who would say basic belt or assembler 1 are useless?

Marathon also helps greatly making solar panel a costly investissement to think about in normal games and not just in speedruns.

One nerf of solar panel I found find very interesting though is to make them loose power under a thick cloud of pollution. It would nerf solar + prodmodules annd speed beacons.


Accumulators could be nerfed, or reworked, and maybe windturbine and wheather introduced, to make complex composit power setups more attractive, while brainless solar setup still playlable.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Jeeto » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:47 pm

I don't know about you, but land is hard to come by. Every square meter of it you take from the biters, is a meter of it that you'll need to continually protect from the biters. So think in terms of how much ammo/laser electricity/artillery rounds it takes to take and hold a square kilometer of land for hundreds of hours.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by dood » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:39 am

Has anyone thought that maybe iterating through 10k+ solar panels to check against pollution might be a wee little UPS hit?

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by SyncViews » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:11 am

Pollution is per chunk so easy to do the math on groups, not as good as the group-everything day/night but not thousands.

But I dont think it will really work, they produce no pollution themselves so it just means building the massive farm biters dont attack a little further away.


Now, if you make them actually produce pollution (again per chunk, so just need to track the counts), that does nerf them when the farm suddenly needs a solid turret wall. Make laser turrets need a lot more idle power, and some thought is required (e.g. natural bottlenecks). But "pollution" doesn't work that way, maybe the biters are just upset you flattened so much nature.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by leadraven » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:19 am

I think solar power is ok. It has high initial cost and has ridiculously low power density. Just like in real life. It isn't bad for game.
Also in real life wind power is 24/7 but has even lower (~2 times) power density, that's why I'm not sure if game needs it.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by SyncViews » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:13 am

leadraven wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:19 am
I think solar power is ok. It has high initial cost and has ridiculously low power density. Just like in real life. It isn't bad for game.
Also in real life wind power is 24/7 but has even lower (~2 times) power density, that's why I'm not sure if game needs it.
The thing the game lacks that you have in real life is maintenance costs and inconsistency, and in most parts of the world, land value, and environmental concerns. Meanwhile both boilers and nuclear do have an upkeep cost (coal/wood/solid, uranium), a lot of water (making copy-paste blueprints need at least a little planning, and certainly more challenging to design in the first place) and in the case of boilers, lots of biter aggro.

If the government could find space to build a solar/wind field for the country, and never touch it again, then it would be a no brainer compared to say nuclear.

Even if you play with biters, they don't attack solar fields, and there is no shortage of land. Also the cost is pretty cheap when you compare to say modules (also not a speed run thing). Get some artillery or power armour 2, clear a big area, then let construction robots build the entire field, including their own roboports, radars, etc. just periodically place another blueprint remotely.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by leadraven » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:29 am

SyncViews wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:13 am
The thing the game lacks that you have in real life is maintenance costs and inconsistency, and in most parts of the world, land value, and environmental concerns.
As I know, upkeep of solar panels is negligible. And in-game character doesn't bother about land value and environmental concerns.
SyncViews wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:13 am
If the government could find space to build a solar/wind field for the country, and never touch it again, then it would be a no brainer compared to say nuclear.
They are trying to do so, but both cost and area are too high.
In the game 1GW solar cluster is incomparably more expensive and big then 1GW nuclear plant.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by SyncViews » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:04 pm

leadraven wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:29 am
SyncViews wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:13 am
The thing the game lacks that you have in real life is maintenance costs and inconsistency, and in most parts of the world, land value, and environmental concerns.
As I know, upkeep of solar panels is negligible. And in-game character doesn't bother about land value and environmental concerns.
As I understand solar panels degrade (1%/year?). Dust build up on the panels can cut their efficiency drastically as well, requiring cleaning (and inproper cleaning will damage the panels surface). Along with all the usual problems with things corroding, rusting etc. (power cables, metal supports, etc.).


No the in-game character does not care, so if it is a desired aim to make other power generation attractive in long games, a different downside is needed (such as it really upsetting the biters for miles around, or some feature that makes holding a large area difficult/expensive).
leadraven wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:29 am
SyncViews wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:13 am
If the government could find space to build a solar/wind field for the country, and never touch it again, then it would be a no brainer compared to say nuclear.
They are trying to do so, but both cost and area are too high.

In the game 1GW solar cluster is incomparably more expensive and big then 1GW nuclear plant.
Exactly, in the game, 1GW of solar does not cost anywhere near enough to make nuclear the go to for long games. With zero on going direct or opportunity costs, it pays for itself very quickly, and is a small investment compared to say beacons and efficiency modules.

Boilers/nuclear need a lot of on-going effort, as power generation on that scale will deplete coal and uranium, or require a much larger investment in oil extraction and conversion (solid fuel), as well as being harder to build in the first place (more complicated mechanics, the need to route in enough pumps/pipes means direct copy-paste still needs some manual routeing/planning).
Last edited by SyncViews on Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by leadraven » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:17 pm

SyncViews wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:04 pm
Exactly, in the game, 1GW of solar does not cost anywhere near enough to make nuclear the go to for long games. With zero on going direct or opportunity costs, it pays for itself very quickly, and is a small investment compared to say beacons and efficiency modules.
Well, here comes balancing. As for me, solar panels are expensive enough and uranium has insanely high power capacity.
To generate 100GW over 100 hours, player need:
  • 18M uranium ore - 1 big patch, lol. Uranium is so overpowered.
  • 2.5M solar panels (x40 iron, x30 copper), + accumulators, substations and space.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by Nexarius » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:29 pm

Why not just "add weather" and make the solar output not constant?

Normal day randomly 10-20% more or less power with a very low chance for a day with only 50% power.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by leadraven » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:33 pm

Nexarius wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:29 pm
Why not just "add weather" and make the solar output not constant?
Normal day randomly 10-20% more or less power with a very low chance for a day with only 50% power.
It will change nothing, and nobody needs randomization. Better move in this direction would be : reduce solar panel output with increasing pollution.

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Re: Solar panels less of a no-brainer

Post by leadraven » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:46 pm

SyncViews wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:04 pm
As I understand solar panels degrade (1%/year?). Dust build up on the panels can cut their efficiency drastically as well, requiring cleaning (and inproper cleaning will damage the panels surface). Along with all the usual problems with things corroding, rusting etc. (power cables, metal supports, etc.).
I like this idea, but I'm not sure any of it will rectify the situation:
  • Dust and maintenance - most players already have roboports built in into solar setup.
  • Replace covering / repair - it will make consumables (copper?) a fuel for solar power plant. Do we need power plant that burns out copper instead of uranium or coal? Just another ore to burn.

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