Hi, moderate player here and I don't mind the bots but I found the blog to be interesting, however I did not think the devs were really exploring all the options for bot nerf or eventual belt buff, so I finally registered to output some thoughts which someone might find useful, hopefully.
PacifyerGrey wrote:Make bots consume greater amounts of energy based on active bots number in the network.
I think this idea contains the seed of an idea for increasing cost for additional bots.
Have a base powered by nuclear with bots supplying nuclear cells to the reactors.
Add some bots.
Get a brownout.
Get steamrolled by the biters.
Start a new base.
This does not have to happen unpredicatably. The mechanic for increased power consumption for bots can be implemented in so many different ways that allows for graceful degradation of the bot network upon expansion in a predictable way.
To remind, I do not necessarily think bots need a nerf but because one is discussed, one method could apply elements presented here, referred to as penalty. Please don't hate me for discussing an item that has been brought up.
- First, the penalty should be applied on the recharge effiency at the roboport, with a logarithmic efficiency multiplier based on the number of roboports present. This way the penalty can be applied either for recharge duration, power need, or both. Further bonus is that it is trivial to not apply this to the personal roboport, so ongoing player activites are not affected.
- Second, the penalty should be applied on global basis. However a new building type (bulky, expensive, with meaningful power draw) could divide the areas where the penalty is applied, or offset the required penalty. This way there would be additional size and cost consideration upon introducing a bot network beyond a specific size with additional baseline power draw added. I have not thought about what happens if no power is supplied to this building. To implement just a simple production cost offset to expanding, it could be implemented in research only. Maybe it would eventually be just one more compulsory thing to add to all major bot-based blueprints, but it is a cost associated with bot usage none the less.
- Third, the powerful researches that improve the efficiency of bots could also be introduced as roboport modules, not as automatic upgrades to bots. Of course with these modules there would be associated power draw penalties, and in conjunction with roboport amount penalty, they could work up to more significant numbers than on their own, because mathematics is beautiful.
In the end, in Factorio everything is production, resources, layout space, in one form or another - including energy. To nerf something does not mean it has to perform its function in more time, but it is also a nerf to consume more of some resource. Energy looks like a pretty good candidate because it is already connected to the usage of bots, and belts don't use any power at all. It is another issue that energy is relatively cheap to produce after a point. Well, build many bots, build lots (and lots more) of energy production sounds like a logical consequence.
With regards to belt improvements: The presented suggestions of the blog were pretty much inside the box, to just have stacks of items on belts. Here's some that are from outside the box, implementation details of any of these are probably rather significant, however that is an issue for the devs to consider, not for me. So, for endgame belt upgrades, some propeller hat ideas:
- Quad layout belt (4 items side by side) as endgame upgrade. 100% increase over current performance. Work needs to be done on the visuals and inserting mechanisms. Technically it could also be considered a stack of 2 is just laid out side by side. Merging belts cause routing issue, though.
- Triple layout belt (a middle item). 50% increase over current performance. Same issues as above. Needs specific inserters and splitters. Probably a lot of work.
- Bi-planar belt: A belt that transports stuff in two levels. 100% increase over current performance.
With regards to triple and quad belt, maybe they are better off forgotten already. However with bi-planar belts, if you enforce a rule that items on top and bottom must be the same, it becomes a stack belt. So I didn't think of anything feasible which was not already suggested. But why not a stack belt?
In the blog under "New tier of belt which would be able to stack items." are a number of concerns that don't really seem that well thought out to me. There are several "if", all of which can be a "no" which then are no concern, except for the two items and a consequence:
- If only the stack belt is allowed to have stacks, then whenever items move to a single tile of a normal belt, all of the items would un-stack, which woulbe be quite annoying.
- If the stacks could only be created on the stack belt, but stay stacked on the normal belts, you would just build your insertion points, splitters and UG belts with the stack belt tier.
- Both of the previous points might not be the worst thing but it would be quite weird and would motivate you to just get rid of all normal belts ASAP.
Ok, immediately I would say of course only stack belts can have stacks, and no stacks on normal belts. Whenever a stack belt meets a lower tier belt it would back up, and stack belts would automatically accept two identical items per square. Quite annoying? I think it is quite annoying already when a red belt meets yellow belt, this is no different and actually an extension of what the game mechanic already is. The same could be said for motivation about getting rid of normal belts ASAP: This always happens when a new belt tier becomes available, and actually this is a good thing for the game - to be motivated to go for the new technology ASAP - and not a bad thing! The graphical representation of stack is some issue, but if this is an unsolvable issue, you have succeeded in your game not because of your problem-solving capabilities.
If you want to nerf bots, add roboport recharge inefficiency multiplier increasing logarithmically with the amount of roboports, adjust "free" bot efficiency upgrades by making them modules which must be produced, inserted in roboports and invoke an energy based penalty, give a way to mitigate these new energy hogs by new buildings and/or research.
If you want to buff belts, just make the stacked belt already, there's no other excuse beyond some graphical work or coding work, both of which are inevitable in a game development project.
If you don't want to do either, I don't mind.
Thanks for the nice game and hopefully this is some food for thought (as opposed to troll bait).