Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

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meganothing
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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by meganothing »

I'm ok with the oil changes now. "Roadblocks" have been addressed and there is even more reason for needing AOP now.

The FFF didn't address any of the GUI suggestions, so Wube seems to think the GUI is not part of the problem. While I think this BOP alone won't really make a big difference in drop out rates, it will be interesting to see the results of this experiment. GUI changes could then be a topic of FFF 320 when new statistical data is in, or not.
studix2002 wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:03 pm
The main issue I can see with the new changes to oil is, a new player (having seen the oil refinery) will run a straight pipe above and below the refinery if it only shows 1 input and 1 output. When they have unlocked advanced oil processing, they will try to change the recipe of the refinery...can you see where I am going with this?...it won't let them change the recipe and give them a "cant fix fluids" error...
time to add a better error message ;)

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by dmsilev »

I think these changes are better than what was proposed last week, but I'm still of the opinion that you're trying to solve the wrong problem. The underlying problem that people hit with oil is dealing with the multiple outputs and the need to draw from all of them to prevent the refinery from blocking. Pushing the onset of that problem from Basic to Advanced doesn't get rid of it, it just defers it.

The real question that should be addressed is "how do we teach new users about the multiple-output thing?", and to phrase the question that way points to the answers: 1) An interactive tutorial at some point which walks people through "refinery with one output consumed will lock up, refinery with all three outputs used keeps running" and 2) a rethink of the GUI indicators of blocked outputs. Right now, those are fairly subtle indicators which are easy to miss or ignore if you don't know their significance. That could also be covered in the tutorial.

Once the user education part is solved, by all means tinker with the recipes to improve game balance or flow etc. I like the rocket fuel change, and to be honest would take it a step further and make rocket fuel purely from light oil (kerosene is a very common real-world rocket fuel).

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by MeduSalem »

If the heavy/light oil build-up of the original basic oil processing is such an issue for people then it would have been a lot easier if you just would have added a flare stack and called it a day instead of having to touch everything else that has already been working.


But at this point it really seems like you guys are already determined to go with the change and come what will, you are ready to go to any length and any other arbitrary recipe changes necessary to push the change even if it screws up any existing logical progress in the way.

At the point I read the Light Oil addition to Rocket Fuel... I started to laugh because that's exactly stating it "we know you wouldn't use light oil anymore if we didn't force you to"

And so I have also to go with this:
Serenity wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:21 pm
But the issue remains that this is more about doctoring symptoms than treating the underlying issue.
Last edited by MeduSalem on Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by V453000 »

meganothing wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:26 pm
I'm ok with the oil changes now. "Roadblocks" have been addressed and there is even more reason for needing AOP now.

The FFF didn't address any of the GUI suggestions, so Wube seems to think the GUI is not part of the problem.
...
Please do note the GUI update is not yet finished. ;)

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by meganothing »

V453000 wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:32 pm
meganothing wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:26 pm
I'm ok with the oil changes now. "Roadblocks" have been addressed and there is even more reason for needing AOP now.

The FFF didn't address any of the GUI suggestions, so Wube seems to think the GUI is not part of the problem.
...
Please do note the GUI update is not yet finished. ;)
Excellent. Won't be FFF 320 then, more like 302. 8-)
Last edited by meganothing on Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by TaxiService »

i'd just like to say that i think the oil changes are really nice. i'm looking forward to try them out in experimental!

while i'm at it, in last week's thread somebody proposed to have two kinds flamethrower ammo: one that acts like a tank's flamethrower, and another that acts like current handeld flamethrowers.

I thought that was a cool idea that would maybe make flammables more interesting. The old recipe could be used for the more advanced one, or something!
my mods and 'prints

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by vorku »

dmsilev wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:29 pm
The real question that should be addressed is "how do we teach new users about the multiple-output thing?", and to phrase the question that way points to the answers: 1) An interactive tutorial at some point which walks people through "refinery with one output consumed will lock up, refinery with all three outputs used keeps running" and 2) a rethink of the GUI indicators of blocked outputs. Right now, those are fairly subtle indicators which are easy to miss or ignore if you don't know their significance. That could also be covered in the tutorial.
From my understanding of the original issue the devs are trying to address, the issue with multiple-output is two-folds:
  1. How can the player detect that part of the system is blocked?
  2. How can the player solve the lock-up?
For the first point, the main difference between pipes and belts is that pipes provide no visual indication of their flow: when selecting a pipe, one can see whether it is full; but is fluid flowing through?
Beyond displaying the lock-up on the refinery, maybe some visual feedback could be available throughout the pipeline (some flow animation on active pipes maybe?)

However, this won't solve the second issue — much more frustrating for players: once they have understood that one output is full, how can they address it? Few proposals on last week's discussion tried to bring an answer here; in 0.16, the lock-up can only be fixed either with cracking (and circuits), or converting heavy/light oil to solid fuel, and massively consuming solid fuel.

I believe that moving the multiple-output problem to Advanced Oil Processing was done to ensure that the player actually has the tools (eg cracking) to solve the issue. Moreover, when setting up Advanced Oil Processing, they already have useful products to create from heavy/light oil; this means that the eventual lock-up won't happen right when trying to set up a new, complicated system.

Thus, any proposal wishing to bring back multiple-output before Advanced Oil Processing should explain how the player would find an intuitive way to solve the lock-up without blowing up tanks / chests...

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by Igenham »

So, I like the fact that you are looking into oil, because that was the biggest challenge I faced in the game. Thank you for taking our input into consideration.

I think one thing that might help is a tutorial like you have for trains (many have suggested this), or possible some visuals that better show the pipes going in and out of the refineries and chemical plants. That could help to see that there are multiple inputs and outputs. (This has probably been suggested, just reiterating)

Or, just make the use of the alt default...

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by IronCartographer »

After some discussion on Discord about how new players would not be prepared for the sudden shift in refineries going from 1 output to 3, with poor choices of spacing, pipes blocking I/O and generally creating a major headache for making the switch, a crazy thought:

What if the Refinery was unlocked by Advanced Oil, and the chemical plant does the first stages entirely, including basic oil processing to gas?

It might be worth considering the chemical plant is planned to have new graphics soon:

Image

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by Klonan »

rorybecker wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:49 pm
Which mod (if any) is that first screen shot from?

I've been looking for a mod which allows a degree of competitive play within teams, but cannot find one with per team science etc.

Any help with this would be much appreciated.
Its the base game PvP scenario

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by äymm »

Oil has been my least favorite part of the game since I started playing it. So I'm really looking forward to the changes. In my 0.17 save I just started building the oil production stuff and I already need to tear it down and redo it. So perfect timing I guess :)

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by Brambor »

To make it a bit more realistic, shouldn't the advanced oil processing consume more energy and time to produce than the basic?

The basic (takes 5s):
100 crude -> 45 PG

The advanced (takes 5s):
100 crude + 50 water -> 55 PG + 45 LO + 25 HO

Apart from the "free" resource which is water, you get straight up more PG from advanced processing that from basic processing. It takes the same amount of time and therefore energy.

To me, it feels that the advanced should be more complicated for the machine and therefore should take longer. At least as long to make the same amount of PG in the same amount of time:
(55/45) * 5 seconds = 6 + 1/9 seconds
adding another (at least) 8/9 of a second would make sense to let the machine separate the liquids or something.

TLDR; I propose it would be better if advanced oil processing would take at least 11/9 of time the basic processing takes. Which would make it basic in 5s and advanced in 7s.

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by mcdjfp »

Better, but I still have one main question.

Why isn't there a tutorial on oil?

The multiple linked outputs is what appears to be the core of the problem to me. For oil refineries, it is bad for an output to get blocked because it prevents the production of the other outputs. Up until that point, the output getting blocked was a good thing (with the exception of miners on overlapping resource deposits). It meant that you had enough production to meet your demand. Oil works on a different principle, and you, the developers will have to decide whether or not it stays that way.

I am still not convinced that delaying the oil puzzle will help at all. By the time the oil puzzle hits now, a player already has had to deal with simple pipe work for power, and ever more complex belt chains. Will more pipe lessons really make any difference in handling the multi-fluid output oil puzzle? It does not appear (though I may be wrong) that any of the fluid recipes before advanced oil processing will have multiple outputs. Without linked fluid outputs I am not certain what lesson is taught.

As the game progresses everything becomes more complex. Some recipes require more inputs, others add new layers of intermediate items. Sometimes the complexity is simply the scale needed to build the item in a reasonable amount of time (see higher level modules). If the 3 output oil puzzle is an issue in the early game when things are simpler, I dread the wall it will create when it hits later in the game, especially when paired with the higher resource demands of later factories. The nightmare scenario is a player puts it off as long as they can, and then is forced to hit it with utility science packs (as opposed to chemical now). Now that appears to be a massive wall.

To put it in other words. If understanding the output issue with only a couple of refineries is an issue, how bad will it be when it is a dozen?

I am still personally against the change, but at least the plan does not appear to risk the total destruction of the game anymore (via a chain reaction of problems not instantly). I feel it is a bit insulting to not try to teach the new players through a tutorial. If they are confused help them, don't simply delay the problem. Even with the changes I feel that without a tutorial they will be for naught. And that has been my biggest worry. The game will be rebuilt, and in the end the same choice will remain. Keep the oil puzzle or remove it completely from the game.

I am pleased that you are giving things the time to actually try to understand the full implications of this change, and it is massive because just how long have these two recipes been in the game?

I had just one thought. Is there a way to add an early construction bot (maybe one that can only work out of a players roboport) that will allow for localized construction projects? Things such as I need to move this section of my factory to there (cut and paste) to give room to run the extra pipes for the new oil outputs. Or completely tearing down the old oil build to move and or adapt it to the new recipe. And of course the worst problem, I built that section of my factory 1 square too close and it all has to move. Factorio (at least I thought) was supposed to be about automation, not building by hand.

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by Ambaire »

MeduSalem wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:30 pm
If the heavy/light oil build-up of the original basic oil processing is such an issue for people then it would have been a lot easier if you just would have added a flare stack and called it a day instead of having to touch everything else that has already been working.


But at this point it really seems like you guys are already determined to go with the change and come what will, you are ready to go to any length and any other arbitrary recipe changes necessary to push the change even if it screws up any existing logical progress in the way.

At the point I read the Light Oil addition to Rocket Fuel... I started to laugh because that's exactly stating it "we know you wouldn't use light oil anymore if we didn't force you to"

And so I have also to go with this:
Serenity wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:21 pm
But the issue remains that this is more about doctoring symptoms than treating the underlying issue.
Agreed. The oil system has been working just fine for the past, what, 3+, 4+ years? Why the sudden push to change what people were (mostly) happy with?

The devs should focus on improving the tutorial system and GUI for blockages imo.
Brambor wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:57 pm
TLDR; I propose it would be better if advanced oil processing would take at least 11/9 of time the basic processing takes. Which would make it basic in 5s and advanced in 7s.
Instead of that, why not make the proposed changed basic oil processing take 3 seconds and the advanced 5?

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by mcdjfp »

vorku wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:48 pm
Thus, any proposal wishing to bring back multiple-output before Advanced Oil Processing should explain how the player would find an intuitive way to solve the lock-up without blowing up tanks / chests...
I always considered my smelters, boilers, and trains to be my flare stack for basic oil processing. Unless I was doing something deliberately stupid those functions typically ate up the solid fuel and still occasionally needed a bit of coal.

To be clear after storing whatever amount I felt reasonable (a tank or two) the rest would be converted to solid fuel.

Also to counter several other posts, I have always enjoyed the puzzle that the refinery brings and never felt that it was a problem or wall, so claiming everyone is false.
Last edited by mcdjfp on Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by EvilGenius »

I salute these changes, and i'd like to thank the devs for making them. I'm a player with almost 1K hours in this amazing game but yet i still kinda dislike setting up my first refinery because many times i includes a train network aswell, making it a very labor intensive task. It's a big pile of construction to do and it often resulted in me ending my gaming session and/or switch game. Now i'm actually looking forward to building a base with 2 refineries, 1 for basic oil, and 1 for advanced a bit further down the line so i don't have to pipe my fluids on the main bus, just send a train of crude :)

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by xfir01 »

Ambaire wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:01 pm
Agreed. The oil system has been working just fine for the past, what, 3+, 4+ years? Why the sudden push to change what people were (mostly) happy with?
Are they, though?

The forums here aren't a representative sample of the overall playerbase. If you're here, you probably already know how oil worked previously, or liked the game enough to look for help figuring it out.

I think the decision is more driven by looking at sales numbers vs play time and achievements, which, from what I understand show a pretty substantial drop off at the oil processing stage (something like 50%). In light of that, evening out the difficulty spike makes sense.

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by BattleFluffy »

coderpatsy wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:13 pm
BattleFluffy wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:03 pm
For the avoidance of doubt, please can you confirm what the exact inputs and outputs of the proposed new Basic Oil Processing recipe is?

Is it 100 crude in, 100 petroleum out?
Is it 100 crude in, 40 petroleum out?
That's in the FFF- 100 crude in, 45 petro out:
Image
Thanks, I did look for it but couldn't see it for some reason.
My previous objections were based on the assumption that Basic Oil Processing would produce 100 petroleum per craft. If it's only 45, I feel a lot better about the balance in ultra late game. Since this is the case, I don't see it being UPS-efficient to use Basic Oil Processing in a megabase scenario, and that was the main sticking point for me previously.

Others have suggested that the number be increased from 45. I do not think it should be increased, because if it gets any higher it will start to be competitive vs Advanced Oil Processing in a megabase that is optimizing UPS. That would lead to a systemic decrease in the complexity of efficient megabases which I feel would be a negative thing.

I do have 2 remaining concerns:

The "straight line of pipes" oil input and input for Basic Oil Processing is concerning, because the player will be shown a confusing error message (can't mix fluids) when they try to switch to Advanced Oil Processing. It's no problem for experienced players, but for a new player this might be very confusing. It's not clear from the error message what they must do to solve this (change the input pipes so they don't touch the other input).
I'm not sure what the best solution for this is. Perhaps a more informative error message would be sufficient to take care of this case.

I also wonder about the amount of Sulfur required for Chemical Science. Sulfur can be produced at a rate of 2 per 1 second. Solid Fuel is produced at a rate of 1 every 2 seconds. So, Sulfur is produced 4 times as fast as Solid Fuel. Why is only 1 Sulfur required to make a Chemical Science Pack? It seems a little low to me. Shouldn't it be 4?

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by DanGio »

It may be the time to reduce chemical science pack crafting time? If I understand correctly, people don't want to build manually chemical science assembly. With a 10 or even 8 seconds crafting time (20 or 16 seconds for 2 packs), the task would be easier.

Could even reduce the engine unit crafting time if that's not enough... :roll:

Anyway I like the changes you made to the changes. I already liked the original changes, so I'm very happy.

Thanks a lot for this mod, I'm gonna try it now.

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Re: Friday Facts #305 - The Oil Changes

Post by bobingabout »

Something else that I've not really seen anyone mention...

you're making all these changes so that people can more easily get into oil, to get chem science packs.

what happens when they do eventually research advanced oil processing, then realise they're going to have to completely redesign their base, because they didn't consider that you'd eventually have to add something to those 2 additional outputs on the refinery?
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