Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

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Re: Factorio Roadmap for 0.17 & 0.18

Post by Oktokolo » Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:23 pm

featherwinglove wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:11 pm
The post on the roadmap thread was not to make the developers aware of these discussions, it was to make the players who don't have time to read everything else aware of the axe removal, which is not mentioned in the OP.
You are right on the roadmap issue - a lot has changed since November and they should update that post to reflect that.

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Re: Factorio Roadmap for 0.17 & 0.18

Post by featherwinglove » Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:53 pm

Oktokolo wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:23 pm
You are right on the roadmap issue - a lot has changed since November and they should update that post to reflect that.
FFF#266 dates from October, so I think it's further behind than that. Hopefully it's because they're realizing the changes announced in this OP are all terrible and they're just reluctant to say so yet.

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Re: Factorio Roadmap for 0.17 & 0.18

Post by Oktokolo » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:00 pm

featherwinglove wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:53 pm
FFF#266 dates from October, so I think it's further behind than that.
I am quite surprised that you are constantly complaining about the same thing since more than a month then. Combined with your style, i would expect people to start getting a little fed up, since most people will just not get, that the axing of the axes is like a life-threatening issue for you. But they probably call it Cracktorio for a reason - the game really captivates some of its players...
You could try playing something else for a month to get some distance from your love. Maybe then it will not be that hard to see it evolving a little - even if it does not evolve exactly as you want it to.

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Re: Factorio Roadmap for 0.17 & 0.18

Post by featherwinglove » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:59 pm

Oktokolo wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:00 pm
featherwinglove wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:53 pm
FFF#266 dates from October, so I think it's further behind than that.
I am quite surprised that you are constantly complaining about the same thing since more than a month then.
Well, you're still here, bud. You seem to be more adamant about getting rid of the axe than I am about keeping it. Also, I jumped in at page 23 of 27, so I might not have been here as long as you think.

And also, there's more to this FFF than the removal of axes, and there are complaints about literally everything. But for this post I have a question, and if it has already been asked and answered, but I missed it among the dozens of posts I haven't read all the way through, my apologies.

Does the ingredient limit removal on crafting machines include fluid crafting restrictions? Currently, AM1 can't interact with fluids, and I'm curious if this has been changed.

I'm in favour of the status quo there as well because ingredient count was a satisfactory (if unrealistic) way of describing recipe complexity, and now "that there is not really a clear connection between the number of ingredients and the complexity of the recipe," we don't really know what recipe complexity is, except that we're going to have to learn a whole new system regarding it. It isn't the same throwing-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater type change like axe removal and mining hardness, but under the circumstances, it seems less and less likely to me that the new gameplay mechanic for assembly restrictions will be as satisfying.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Chumfactor » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:14 am

This post made me wonder about your testing processes. When y'all eliminate something and just replace it with default values (like mining hardness, etc.), do you have a set of old games that you can playback with old & new values and see if the game went faster, slower, or some automated ML-calculation of easier/harder?

If any of that is even remotely automated (or even if done manually!), I think the how-it's-done would make for a great FFF.

Thanks!

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by featherwinglove » Fri Dec 28, 2018 8:17 pm

This thread's been quiet for a while (and was for a while before I got it rolling again on page 23), but I do want everyone to remember that giving a problem the quiet treatment doesn't make it go away, and I'm still warning people off. I learned somewhere that Factorio has sold about 1.5 million copies, and while looking over the mod portal to gauge the relative interest of certain 0.17 features and removals, I realized that mod download numbers are huge compared to this total number of Factorio copies.
DaveMcW wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:05 am
Jürgen Erhard wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:38 am
The amazing (and to me, astonishing :D) popularity of Bob's and Angel's
Only 5% of players use Bob's mods, and even less use Angel's.
Now that I've seen the actual numbers (e.g. RSO downloads are 44.5% of the total sales), this claim is clearly a load of swine spunk. Sticking with the claim about Bob's 32.1%. Addressing the possibility that a bunch of these downloads are updates brought down by the same player (or say, players re-downloading stuff they've lost on computers that died in house fires, yeah that happened to me.) Let's say four times per player (one for each major version the mod portal has been up) still puts the figure above 8%.

It's easy to make a Factorio-like game simple, and that means the simple end of our market is going to be saturated with competitors, while the more complex end of the market will have far more distinctive offerings that don't compete with each other as much. (Look at Youtubers and Twitchies who play Factorio: it's often, perhaps usually, along other similar games. There are such gardens for every genre.)

Back to the axe: The top downloaded mod which adds more axe types to the game is Bob's Mining, which is also affected by the Mining Hardness changes. Its percentage of total sales comes to 20.7%. Angel's Refining beats it, and that's what features all the stuff between mining and smelting in the Bob/Angel ecosystem. Obviously, there are a lot of players who want their lives in Factorio to be really complicated.

I also want to reiterate that a gameplay mechanic doesn't have to be realistic or particularly consistent with the extant character of the game (and that is far more the case with mods!) to be interesting and important to players. The three mechanics being "cleaned up" here (axes, mining hardness, and ingredient count limits) are, all three of them, longstanding features of Factorio and therefore consistent with Factorio's long-established character, even if the devs have somehow anti-miraculously deluded themselves into thinking this is not the case.

There is a change to a longstanding IP's traditions that our current situation can be compared to fairly directly: While Wube has removed axes, and by implication, tool wear, from Factorio, the much older and more popular Zelda has added it to their latest episode, and there has been a similar uproar. Compared to Factorio, Zelda has two advantages doing this: Breath of the Wild is a totally new installment and so does not taint older installments which are no longer being updated. The other is that Breath of the Wild has overhauled nigh everything else as part of its episodic nature, and weapon wear in Zelda is in character with the rest of the game, at least as the devs see it; this softens the blow for the fans of the franchise. (Except the Master Sword; I don't know what foreign substance they put in their noses before messing with that!) It also has some disadvantages: the game is (as far as I can tell) not moddable and will never be updated except possibly via paid DLC. Another is that weapons are a much bigger part of the game; this is an action RPG while Factorio has a completely different progression model. The final disadvantage is that the weapon wear mechanic couples with a bunch of other changes in Breath of the Wild to make it a distinctly un-Zelda-like installment compared to its predecessors, even if it is still a very good game.

It is that last disadvantage that forms a big warning for the developers of Factorio: If the vanilla game's character is significantly changed, it messes not with a big franchise, but a single game with the same title and major version number - something which is expected to maintain its character far more consistently. While something as drastic as, for example, someone booting up their beloved N64 and instead of Ocarina of Time printed on the cartridge, Breath of the Wild booted up, is not truly possible, significant changes to Factorio's core character are going to be more like that than the experience Zelda fans actually had in early 2017 when they booted up the Switch's first Zelda game. Even if everyone unanimously loved these changes (and they don't), doing this is going to be very jarring to the core players, especially with this very unnecessary changes coming down in the same update as the badly needed GUI and fluid system overhauls.

(Disclaimer: I actually haven't played Z:BotW, but am relying primarily on the memory of extensive discussion regarding the game in various places, and game knowledge based on Joseph Anderson's analysis. I'm just not into action RPGs anymore, and fairly certain I'd think it was a great game if I were. I was back when Ocarina of Time was the current installment, and had probably over a hundred hours in OoT.)

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by featherwinglove » Fri Dec 28, 2018 8:46 pm

Wow... Somebody actually built the thing. Eight days before its removal was announced, somebody actually built it.

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Oktokolo » Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:33 am

Regarding current mod player base calculations, i suggest using the highest download for any version of a mod to more accurately represent the actual player base. There obviously is an error in that as well - as can be seen by comparing Bob's library mod to Bob's mining mod (wich depends on the library mod). But it should be more accurate than the cummulative download count. And it could still be moddified by a factor based on time since last release to account for player base loss over time (wich i haven't done in this post).
It would also be nice to have numbers about the Factorio version downloads to better represent the size of the current player base (*hint to Wube*). As with mods, some players probably also stopped playing Factorio since the first version too.
I took the 1.5M for my mod percentage calculations as that is the best number currently available.
I left scaling the mod coverage percentages by the assumed overall player base loss factor to the audience. ;)

Highest download counts for any version of some well-known mods:
Resource Spawner Overhaul: 42.9k (V3.8.1, 2.9% of 1.5M)
Bob's Functions Library mod: 122k (V0.16.6, 8.1% of 1.5M)
Bob's Mining: 141k (V0.16.0, 9.4% of 1.5M)
Angel's Refining: 42.5k (V0.9.14, 2.8% of 1.5M)
Bottleneck: 109k (V0.9.1, 7.3% of 1.5M)
Upgrade Builder and Planner: 109k (V1.5.3, 7.3% of 1.5M)
Fully Automated Rail Layer: 47.2k (V2.1.2, 3.1% of 1.5M)
Long Reach: 98.5k (V0.0.12, 6.6% of 1.5M)
Squeak Through: 121k (V1.2.2, 8.1% of 1.5M)
Factorissimo2: 92.5k (V2.2.3, 6.2% of 1.5M)

If i would assume 50% of the sales as current player base and would assume no player base loss for mods since the version with maximum downloads, Bob's would be below 20% coverage.
That is quite a lot. But there are also the other 80% of players. And that percentage is expected to grow as the game's target audience widens with the new campaign and general improvements in accessibility.
So modding friendlyness obviously is important to Wube - hence the best modding API ever found in a game.
But improving the vanilla experience and minimizing the after-release maintenance costs (that includes axing of unneeded complexity) is even more important.

P.S.:
As Wube already incorporated the Upgrade Builder and Planner into the game, the numbers suggest assimilating Squeak Through followed by Bottleneck next...

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by featherwinglove » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:09 am

Oktokolo wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:33 am
There obviously is an error in that as well ... cummulative download count. And it could still be moddified
Please get Firefox, the typos are making my eyes sore...

I didn't remember that each individual version's download count was accessible. Once I looked more closely at it (thanks for the links), I noticed that the most downloaded mod was always for 0.16 in the ones that I checked, and the counts seem to indicate that people probably mod their games much like I do: stuff an installation full of mods, get it working and balanced well enough, and then stick with it for a few months. There doesn't seem to be bursts of downloads associated with mod updates, but ones in service for longer tend to be the most downloaded versions. (Also driving Bob's Library is the fact that there are a few mods which require it, but are otherwise totally unrelated to Bob's.) This also indicates that the proportion of active players modding Factorio is probably increasing.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Avezo » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:45 am

I also downloaded BoBs and Angels mods, yet didn't like them at all, yet in those statistics I'm making a count. Those downloads aren't really representative.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by ThorsDragon » Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:36 pm

LuxSublima wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:20 pm
Pizzagod wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:34 pm
Weapons and armor behave much the same as pickaxes, you craft them once and keep them equipped forever. Maybe you should get rid of equipment entirely, simply upgrade the base armor and unlock new weapons without the need to equip them (what's the point of limiting it to three anyway?). While you're at it you could consume ammunition from the inventory directly and remove the tool box on the bottom right entirely, or maybe replace it with an ammo indicator (rather than info on the current stack only).
I think this is going too far.

The ability to equip mk 2 power armor is one of the best individual feelings of accomplishment in the game, because of all the power and options that come with it. If it just automatically has its effect the instant you research the tech, the feeling of reward won't be as visceral. The ability to kit it out with different setups is also incredibly satisfying. If you have multiple suits of armor you can have them set up for different purposes - for example I usually have three sets: one for max walking speed, one for max construction bots, and one for combat.

I find the choices they made about the different sizes of equipment and the armor's capacity very good and rewarding.

Sure the game is mainly about factory building, but its also about being a person stranded on an alien planet actually having to survive and make that factory. As a person, you have to equip stuff, and it feels more real if there are some limitations to it. If you're going to remove ALL the sense of being a person in the game, why have a player at all? Then it just becomes SimFactory instead of Factorio. There needs to be some sense of actually being a person in the game or a huge part of the feeling of the game is lost.
Completely Agree. :D

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by morsk » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:17 am

I'm new to this, but have been drawn here by off-topic spam in the FFF #275 thread. :/ If you hadn't spammed elsewhere where I wanted to discuss other things, I would not be here. But I've come and read your thread. Many pages of it!

The recent stuff is all fake. No one likes axes this much. And I don't mean "disagreement". Some people like bots much more than me, and that's real. But no one likes axes, and you don't even try hard to fake it. Instead, you make abstract arguments that it's "concerning". Metaphors to Minecraft, or Blizzard. Slippery slope fallacies about Wube removing things and/or "not listening" being ominous. (This is literally a fallacy.)

Where is the sorrow at not being able to use axes in modded games? There is none. (Don't bother trying to fake it now. It's too late.) Can you at least stop posting about it everywhere else? If this thread serves as a "quarantine area" for this ridiculous controversy, it has a purpose. But if instead the thread is a "staging area" for spamming other threads with insults and grievances, then it shouldn't exist at all. I did what you wanted though. You spammed other threads to draw attention here, and I was drawn. I read it. I think it should be locked.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Jap2.0 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:05 am

morsk wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:17 am
Can you please counter the arguments, not just attack them and the people making them?
There are 10 types of people: those who get this joke and those who don't.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by featherwinglove » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:33 am

Jap2.0 wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:05 am
morsk wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:17 am
Can you please counter the arguments, not just attack them and the people making them?
Well, at least it's closer to an explanation why we should be deprived of them, but yeah, it's going nowhere. There are some easily answered questions that I will answer.
morsk wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:17 am
But I've come and read your thread. Many pages of it!
For what it's worth, welcome.
But no one likes axes, and you don't even try hard to fake it.
I'm fairly certain I spent longer on my first post here, back on page 23 than you did on this one, so I'm pretty sure I'm trying harder to "fake it" than you are to prove any actual fakery.
(This is literally a fallacy.)
Since fallacies deal only in terms of abstract logic, they are inherently incapable of being literal. The closest thing I can think of to a literal fallacy is "This is literally a fallacy."
Where is the sorrow at not being able to use axes in modded games?
This thread (the FFF#266 discussion), Rythe's general discussion thread, a mod adding 8 new early game tools (including a melee weapon), a mod adding 5 mid-late game axes, and at least one Youtube video. <-- /s there. serious Youtube video, and another serious Youtube video.

And the snipped part is you calling for totalitarian censorship like a communist SJW. That's what's actually off topic.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by abregado » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:56 am

Where is the sorrow at not being able to use axes in modded games?
I think everyone has made their sorrow rather clear.

Axes will still be modable, just not with a slot for them. The character still wields a pickaxe in their animation and you can tier your mining using 0.16 modding already. Our modders are some of the best and brightest and will come up with a way to overcome the limitation and I imagine that with the "easy way out" removed, much more creative solutions will become evident.

Help me brainstorm different modded solutions in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=33&t=64142&p=391680#p391680

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Jap2.0 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:58 pm

abregado wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:56 am
Where is the sorrow at not being able to use axes in modded games?
I think everyone has made their sorrow rather clear.

Axes will still be modable, just not with a slot for them. The character still wields a pickaxe in their animation and you can tier your mining using 0.16 modding already. Our modders are some of the best and brightest and will come up with a way to overcome the limitation and I imagine that with the "easy way out" removed, much more creative solutions will become evident.

Help me brainstorm different modded solutions in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=33&t=64142&p=391680#p391680
What exactly do you mean by "axes will still be moddable"?
There are 10 types of people: those who get this joke and those who don't.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by mexmer » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:57 pm

Jap2.0 wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:58 pm
abregado wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:56 am
Where is the sorrow at not being able to use axes in modded games?
I think everyone has made their sorrow rather clear.

Axes will still be modable, just not with a slot for them. The character still wields a pickaxe in their animation and you can tier your mining using 0.16 modding already. Our modders are some of the best and brightest and will come up with a way to overcome the limitation and I imagine that with the "easy way out" removed, much more creative solutions will become evident.

Help me brainstorm different modded solutions in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=33&t=64142&p=391680#p391680
What exactly do you mean by "axes will still be moddable"?
if you read linked discussion, they plan to add moddable manual minning, so you can create own mining tiers unlocked either by research or different condition.
you will not have axe per se (as item), but you should be able to set conditions for mining different ores.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Takayomu » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:06 pm

I'm fairly new to Factorio, and I think the change to efficiency would be a big loss if I'm reading it right, since it would lose the reference to thermodynamic efficiency of real machines like steam engines.

I wanted to emit less pollution, so I got blue science before military science, with the intent of using electric furnaces. Problem is, when I worked it out in Excel, a setup with electric furnaces, extra steam engines, and extra coal-fired boilers would output more pollution than a setup with coal-fired steel furnaces.

Both furnaces consume 180kW, and have the same productivity, but the electric furnace takes 180kW of electricity, while the steel furnace takes its 180kW from the heat released by combustible fuel. Real thermodynamics dictates that you can't take 180kW of heat (whether it's from combustion, solar-heating, or nuclear reactions) and convert it to anywhere near 180kW of electricity or mechanical work. An efficiency of only 50% would be considered extremely good.

So... the boiler takes fuel producing 3.6MW of heat, and 60 units/s of water, and outputs 60 units/s of 165C steam. Two steam engines can take 60 units/s of steam, and produce 1.8MW of electricity. 3.6MW became 1.8MW, so there's your 50% efficiency. If you're going to declare the boiler 100% efficient, at least declare the steam engine only 50% efficient (which I believe is still a lot higher than reality).

From a game-perspective, the inefficiency of converting heat from combustion of fuel, to electricity, makes the steel furnace viable compared to the electric furnace, at least until you've overhauled your electricity generation.

Aside, it would be nice if the boiler tooltip said how much liquid water it takes in, and how much steam it puts out.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Nemoricus » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:40 pm

As I understand it, all entities have had their energy consumption values tweaked so that the relative efficiency of, say, electric furnaces and steel furnaces remains the same.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by featherwinglove » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:54 pm

Takayomu wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:06 pm
I'm fairly new to Factorio, and I think the change to efficiency would be a big loss if I'm reading it right, since it would lose the reference to thermodynamic efficiency of real machines like steam engines.
Yeah, we kinda concentrated on everything else and lost sight of this one: there are four things in this FFF, and this one is really my least unfavorite. I got used to thinking there were three and that AM progression was my least unfavorite. Realism adds some tangible educational value to a game, and a lot of people might come to Factorio because the history of technology interests them. Wube seems to have disagreed with this from the very beginning, and I'm okay with that, but yeah, you've reminded me that I'm not particularly happy with it.
I wanted to emit less pollution, so I got blue science before military science, with the intent of using electric furnaces. Problem is, when I worked it out in Excel, a setup with electric furnaces, extra steam engines, and extra coal-fired boilers would output more pollution than a setup with coal-fired steel furnaces.
I worked it out on a handheld calculator. That meant switching over to solar (back in 0.12, nuclear wasn't vanilla until 0.15), which I wanted to do anyway because I was running out of coal, and any slight browning out had a tendency to lag the fuel inserters and crash the grid, so a solar farm would be more stable. (That's not particularly realistic, but it would be if our power grid didn't have enough intelligent minds operating it. I was reminded of this one night ...well, when I found out the details the next morning, when Enmax in Calgary screwed up, took a generator off the line for scheduled maintenance during an evening rush, reducing their margin so they couldn't have a failure, and then had a failure. They had about five minutes to yank about 15000 addresses or the whole city would shut down. It was press stopping news because the outage area included the print shops of both major newspapers :lol: )
Both furnaces consume 180kW, and have the same productivity, but the electric furnace takes 180kW of electricity, while the steel furnace takes its 180kW from the heat released by combustible fuel. Real thermodynamics dictates that you can't take 180kW of heat (whether it's from combustion, solar-heating, or nuclear reactions) and convert it to anywhere near 180kW of electricity or mechanical work. An efficiency of only 50% would be considered extremely good.
I think the world record is 54% for electricity, but it tops 90% for mechanical work ...unfortunately in rocket engines where most of the reason for such efficiency is the simplicity of the exhaust stream.
So... the boiler takes fuel producing 3.6MW of heat, and 60 units/s of water, and outputs 60 units/s of 165C steam. Two steam engines can take 60 units/s of steam, and produce 1.8MW of electricity. 3.6MW became 1.8MW, so there's your 50% efficiency. If you're going to declare the boiler 100% efficient, at least declare the steam engine only 50% efficient (which I believe is still a lot higher than reality).
It depends on the steam engine. It's a bit of an annoyance that the one mod I know of which tweaks efficiency, Bob's Power, only does so with the boilers. Realistically, boilers get really good, topping 90% efficiency with incoming water getting pre-heated by the coolest flue gases, and eventually superheated as dry steam or, more often than not these days, supercritical water. In "ancient times" (i.e. 1700s), boilers developed hardly any pressure, and engines tended to rely on negative pressure from condensing steam in absence of air, and letting the ambient air do the work. Because this is less scary than this. Unfortunately for thermodynamics (and I wish it were true for video games), you can only suck so hard, like 0.1MPa; there is a lot more exploitable pressure real estate above ambient. Steam engines vary even more, with Newcomens being 1-2% and modern turbines reaching about 50%.
From a game-perspective, the inefficiency of converting heat from combustion of fuel, to electricity, makes the steel furnace viable compared to the electric furnace, at least until you've overhauled your electricity generation.
It's even more interesting in real life, as basic oxygen smelter burns impurities. I don't think they've been referred to as such, but when running Steel University's BOS simulator, I think of them as fuel, and that heat doesn't go to waste; you can drop in more iron ore as the operation progresses.

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