V453000 wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:46 pm
I am quite surprised how many times I have read "the problem of multiple output refining is just delayed" in a bad meaning.
The fact that it's split (delayed) is a huge benefit - first time around you learn how basic pumpjack/fluid transport/refinery/chemplant works, and second time around you can actually do a puzzle as you already know the basic mechanics. Doing a puzzle AND learning the mechanics at the same time is the problem, and it's really not necessary to do both.
One of the less complicated but still contributing factors is that suddenly there is 5 different fluids that you need to do something with, and they go into plastic/sulfur/explosives on top of that. It's not complicated, it's just one recipe after another if you take it slow. But it's a many step process with many unfamiliar items compared to almost any other unlock in the game. I'm not saying all researches should only unlock one extra processing step, but oil has been too much for years and we have been trying to soften it since then.
I don't really understand the argument of "it's making the game simpler" and I feel like many people take it in the "git gud" way - "we understand it, make newcomers suffer too" (I don't assume all of people who posted this argument think along those lines, but I'm getting that feeling from many posts). Advanced oil processing is still completely mandatory to go through, it's just a bit later. The thing that changes is that you can access anything unlocked by Chemical science pack, but you can only get robots after you get Advanced oil processing going. You could say the puzzle and the reward is exactly the same as it was then - except cracking provides a solution to the oil puzzle other than adding storage tanks to fix the problem temporarily.
I've read many times the difference between getting solid fuel from petroleum gas and light oil. I think you massively overestimate how much a new player cares about efficiency, and how much should he. As long as the process runs, it's fine. New players also don't get 4 rows of full-belt smelting from the start, yet they still have fun and do progress in the game. However for now I did reduce the Petroleum gas price for solid fuel from 20 to 15.
Adding cracking with basic oil processing and having basic oil processing only output heavy or light I don't find to be a good solution. It would mean it just extends the refining process by one (in case of light oil) or two (in case of heavy oil) rather basic steps - when we already have a lot of basic steps.
Allowing the player to select individual recipes (heavy or light or petroleum gas only) would allow to completely avoid using Advanced oil processing. That's surely dumbing it down significantly. Adding flare stacks has the same effect of making Advanced oil processing completely optional additional complexity for more resource efficiency.
I believe Advanced oil processing should be mandatory to go through in order to finish the game, but it does not have to be when the player is completely new to the whole concept of oil. You didn't learn quadratic functions before learning to count on fingers either.
Getting robots a bit later is quite tough to justify as being a good thing if you don't think about it further, but there's a lot of factors that soften this. The extra additional delay really isn't that much. You only need to set up some chemical science and do a few cheap researches with it (currently you need total 275 chemical science packs total for construction robots). Also consider that setting up the refinery is less tedious as you don't need to pipe light and heavy oil, so chemical science pack is set up a bit quicker, and with perfect reliability that doesn't clog if you added too few storage tanks.
I think robots fit into the tier of Chemical science very well actually - along with Electric furnaces, Power armor, Nuclear power, Tank and now Laser turrets for example.
I wonder how many first time players actually use robots, too. I certainly didn't use them first time around, I didn't even know they exist and I had no idea that I need the storage chest for them. These things are better nowadays, but still. They are a powerful tool but completely optional.
Extreme case side note: It's quite likely UPS optimized megabases will use Basic oil processing as much as they can to avoid using cracking as much as possible - using Advanced oil processing only for the necessary lubricant and I guess the rest of light oil would go to solid fuel, possibly eliminating cracking almost completely. I don't think this is a big problem, it's just another solution that is heavily relying on single-purpose (SPM) ratio math.
The best argument for the change till now. I can agree to a lot of this, I personally don't care about the robots delay for example. And that this would be the first time that advanced oil was absolutely unavoidable is a point in favour of this change, the first unique advantage over other proposed changes, though also unrelated to the central problem. I say the first time, since up to now you merely needed to research advanced oil processing but NOT use it in a refinery. But it didn't matter because you already had the puzzle in basic oil production.
For me as advanced user it is the light oil->flamethrower ammo vanishing which troubles me, as it is one of only two use cases of light oil (I don't consider cracking to be a use case). Intermediate products with only one use are a bad design. If you either keep light oil as the most efficient way to flamethrower ammo or find some other use for it, that would greatly reduce my reservations against this change.
I'm also not convinced this change will really remove the obstacle for most new players, but obviously I can only theorize here. Half of the problem is that the GUI has a lot of unexplained information which a beginner has to master or successfully ignore. Half of learning the game is learning the GUI. No glossary, no in-game way to easily find out what the difference between energy consumption and drain is, what pollution, productivity exactly mean... Factorio's in-game infos are really minimal. When I was a beginner I patiently looked for all places those words came up and found out such information by myself, someone near a complexity overload will not have that patience. So essentially I assume the output blocking obstacle will still be the stumbling block for most new players whether at BOP or AOP.
I'm not saying that the proposed change is absolutely unsuitable to help with the central problem. It seems to just have more disadvantages/disruptive changes compared to some the other proposed solutions and no real advantage (up until you found one). Some of the disadvantages were only slight, like the robots delay, some bigger like the light oil irrelevance. Even for beginners the win seems slight as they will have nearly the same complexity if they decide to upgrade their chemical factory in place and get the blocking problem on top of the usual pipe maze that upgrading to AOP produces.
In essence, if you remove the light oil single use problem, you got me on your side, even if only by a small margin. For beginners most of the solutions will be equally effective (which is to say I doubt the difference will be much noticable)
Bilka wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:39 am
There are already indicators. The machine says why it's not working in the status when you hover over it (as "suggested"). The machine highlights the output slots that are blocking the recipe (as "suggested"). The visual (animation) changes when the refinery stops working (flame disappears). That doesn't help, evidently, the poster you quote didn't even know that what they suggest is already there.
May I ask since when are those indicators in the game, the status line for example ? If only since A17 (I don't remember seeing them before), do you already have statistics that point at beginners still not getting it and the changes therefore ineffective?
Advanced users by the way won't notice such improvements because they learnt to look for signs that were already there in older versions.
There could be more:
1) A backlogged output should have the same RED background as an insufficient input material. Red is universally understood as a warning/error sign, yellow is the color of sunshine and hope.
2) Backlogging the refinery on one or two but not all three outputs might give a signal by the toolbelt (like biter attacks or a train without fuel does now)
3) A change advertised in this FFF to have other fluidboxes closed in refineries should be extended to chem plants with two outputs of the same fluid too.
4) Add a line on the recipe itself. The centrifuge or the water pump are one of few recipes in the build menue that actually have short descriptions. The refinery has none. It might be a little difficult to put the rule of backlogging into very few words, but here it really could acomplish something as new players will often read this at least once.