[Polls Closed] The signals

Give feedback on topics proposed by the developers.

Do you find the signals useful ?

Yes, I use them often.
149
53%
Yes, I use them now and then.
66
23%
No, I tried them and found them compicated.
26
9%
No, I tried them and found them useless.
7
2%
I don't know what they are.
34
12%
 
Total votes: 282

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[Polls Closed] The signals

Post by slpwnd » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:27 pm

The signals allow you to "program" your factory. They are basically triggers when based on the item counts in chests you can switch on / off inserters. We originally though the signals will be extremely useful, however we haven't seen many people using them. Therefore we are curious. Tell us what you think.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by MF- » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:02 pm

I am using them to shutdown the red/green pack factories when the blue factory does not keep up.
Everything else works always / when there is material.

I think the signals might get pretty important if you integrate them into the railway things (e.g. signal-controlled junction motors and semaphores)
Many times mentioned buttons, levers, pressure plates and (coloured?) lamps/signal lights could also be interesting.
One example for all - alerting me that the mining site's output chest is near full and I should take the car to collect the iron

I definitely want to see them in use, it's a good technology.

There is not a good category for "okay, there are rare situations where they are handy, but I am not using them much because of the lost copper when I change my mind and rewire stuff"
I guess that "I used them once" rounds down to "they are useless", but I disagree with that. So.. no vote from me.
Last edited by MF- on Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by andzoak » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:11 pm

I'm using them often to limit production and control of material flow to the most important places. It is also useful with logistics robots - to limit amount of item in provider chest. For me they're extremely useful because I like very much to make effective factory.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by rk84 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:16 pm

I have usually used them in end of production line. (small separated networks. 1 smart chest with 1-3 smart inserter)
I would like to explore more complex use of them, but I use more time in modding then playing :lol:
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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by Dakkanor » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:46 pm

i only know what they do, however i find implementing them to be too much effort and fairly confusing.

at the moment my play-style is much more centered on maximum production, i rather dislike seeing empty belts so and i like making things run as fast as possible

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by FreeER » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:57 pm

I use them now and then, but mainly with the logistic robots and I try to avoid going overboard with them, they just make things easy lol. I really like MF's ideas for them :) And/Or maybe if you could use them a bit more in the early game, like if it was possible to connect them to lights and have them turn on earlier or to change color when creepers are in range or something lol (hmm, disco lights...:lol:)

Right now the main use for them is to limit production and most people let backup/materials do that for them. Pretty much the only time I use them (minus with the robots) are when creating steam engines, solar panels, and other assembly machines (the things that you only need so much of throughout the entire game), the rest of my production I just let backup (though I'll use them to keep a decent supply of items in a chest, so that I don't end up with a thousand rounds of ammo instead of letting it go to my turrets)
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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by Dakkanor » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:54 am

FreeER wrote:I use them now and then, but mainly with the logistic robots and I try to avoid going overboard with them, they just make things easy lol. I really like MF's ideas for them :) And/Or maybe if you could use them a bit more in the early game, like if it was possible to connect them to lights and have them turn on earlier or to change color when creepers are in range or something lol (hmm, disco lights...:lol:)
or what about having radar and sirens linked with wires?if you could dictate several sounds for sirens and tell directions you could make a system to tell you when and also where a creeper attack is happening. i think if there were advanced functions which required the wire system then they would be more useful. i see the entire red/green wire system to be more of a novelty which is only necessary for tweaking efficiency

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by Mysteria9 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:12 pm

I use them and I absolutely love them!
Also, I agree with MF.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by Narnach » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:49 pm

I now love signals, but as a new player I found them very hard to understand. I had to look for a Youtube video where someone was kind enough to explain the feature.

As it is, the feature is not very obvious. You need to understand how to wire up a network. You need to know you actually need to wire up a network. And you need to understand how the Smart Inserters can use the signal network. If you don't understand any of these three things, the feature may as well not exist because you can't use it.

I would suggest making the interface for the feature more obvious and self-explanatory.

Let's start with the Smart Inserters, because new players know already about Inserters and when they are unlocked the player is going to try to use them to see what makes them smart. In its default state, a Smart Inserter looks just like a Filter Inserter. There is no indication of what else they can do, because the signal filter section is not displayed yet. When the filter section is hidden, provide some hint of what to do to make it appear. It could be as simple as showing a text message: "Use Red or Green wires to connect to a Smart Chest"

This makes the link between Smart Inserters and Wires and Chests, but the details are still vague.

The player closes the Smart Inserter and builds a couple of red wires. When they pick the wires up the second problem needs to be tackled: seeing where you can connect the wires to. If I want to connect my newly built Smart Inserter, it is not obvious that I must start creating a wire on an Electric Pole. The only legal targets to attach an unconnected wire to are Electric Poles. I think it would be ideal to apply a fade-out to the entire screen, just as when showing the menu. Then highlight all legal targets, so for an unconnected wire this would be Electric Poles. Make already connected wires stand out, too. Once the player attaches one end of the wire to a pole, hide all illegal targets: poles out of range and inserters/chests already connected to this network.

Clicking a connected Smart Inserter now shows another rather cryptic interface: [Material Icon] [Comparison symbol] [Slider with number]. In terms of meaning, this conveys nothing. It's not obvious that it means "If you have [Comparison: more than, less than] [Number] items of [Material Icon], this inserter will work. It will not work when the condition is not met."

The smallest change I can think of would be to show a line of text below the conditions pane: "As long as the material count in the connected signal network matches the chosen number, this inserter will be active. It disables when the condition is not true." The text is not ideal, but it's a start. Someone more eloquent can probably come up with a better text.

Another change could be to show how many items there are in the network and a signal to indicate if the inserter is on or not. This way, the combination of the item number, the comparison operator and the number slider will flip the status indicator on/off, providing real-time feedback as to how the filter works.
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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by kovarex » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:25 am

Narnach wrote:I would suggest making the interface for the feature more obvious and self-explanatory.
Excellent suggestions, thank you.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by Arakasi » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:39 pm

Hi,
I feel that feature of electric circuits and signals should more clear. I see the potential and usage but seems to me a bit hard to construct functional network. I also think that some tutorial should be available. The information provided on wiki is little bit verbose and describes only items which are needed.

I found one thread https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... ?f=8&t=298 where is nice example of usage electrical circuits. There I realized how important feature it is. But still it might be better explained (not the splitter, the signals of course).

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by Parthon » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:13 pm

I found it just easier to mine more iron/copper and let the belts fill up rather than fiddle with the wires. I didn't experiment with them enough though.

In my biggest game I had 12 factories all pumping out blue research as fast as they could, all without wire signals.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by MF- » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:16 pm

Narnach wrote: Clicking a connected Smart Inserter now shows another rather cryptic interface: [Material Icon] [Comparison symbol] [Slider with number]. In terms of meaning, this conveys nothing. It's not obvious that it means "If you have [Comparison: more than, less than] [Number] items of [Material Icon], this inserter will work. It will not work when the condition is not met."
The "cryptic interface" is captioned "Work if" and "material </> number" seems natural to me.
Perhaps "Work if the connected network has:" instead of "Work if" could do?

The rest of the ideas was nice and valid.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by Cerus » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:43 pm

I love the idea of wiring up smart equipment using conditionals and actions, but the existing wire system just feels really awkward, I end up creating bizarre rube goldberg style paths and setups for things that feel like they should be simple.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by Zentay » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:09 pm

At the moment I find the signals are incomprehensible without watching a video tutorial. The game needs to explain them in some way. The potential for smart assembly is intriguing, but signals are intimidating because they're never explained.

In my opinion, signals should be wireless and instead of a wire, there should be a small greed or red light indicating that a device is connected to the signal.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by MF- » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:24 pm

Zentay wrote:At the moment I find the signals are incomprehensible without watching a video tutorial. The game needs to explain them in some way. The potential for smart assembly is intriguing, but signals are intimidating because they're never explained.

In my opinion, signals should be wireless and instead of a wire, there should be a small greed or red light indicating that a device is connected to the signal.
That would limit you to two signal networks and be useless.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by Zentay » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:34 pm

MF- wrote:
Zentay wrote:At the moment I find the signals are incomprehensible without watching a video tutorial. The game needs to explain them in some way. The potential for smart assembly is intriguing, but signals are intimidating because they're never explained.

In my opinion, signals should be wireless and instead of a wire, there should be a small greed or red light indicating that a device is connected to the signal.
That would limit you to two signal networks and be useless.
Wireless doesn't necessarily mean being limited to two networks. You would assign a network number to each device. ie. when right-clicking on a smart chest connected to a signal, there would be an extra slider to specifiy the network number.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by Dakkanor » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:08 am

Zentay wrote: Wireless doesn't necessarily mean being limited to two networks. You would assign a network number to each device. ie. when right-clicking on a smart chest connected to a signal, there would be an extra slider to specifiy the network number.
that could get very messy very quickly for both programmers and players

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by MF- » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:15 am

Zentay wrote: Wireless doesn't necessarily mean being limited to two networks. You would assign a network number to each device. ie. when right-clicking on a smart chest connected to a signal, there would be an extra slider to specifiy the network number.
Wiring stuff matches the style, while wireless would feel like cheating.

Well.. , I wouldn't mind some big transceiver towers later in the tech tree that could bridge two distant networks.
Their power consumption should be influenced by their power (=> range), though.

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Re: [Polls] The signals

Post by slpwnd » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:27 pm

Zentay wrote:Wireless doesn't necessarily mean being limited to two networks. You would assign a network number to each device. ie. when right-clicking on a smart chest connected to a signal, there would be an extra slider to specifiy the network number.
That is actually something we have originally considered for the signals. Something like a frequency number (or color). This would be visualized in the "alt mode". We chose the wires solution because it is more explicit and directly visible in the game. However there are cons as well. For instance having a lot of chests connected to a single pole creates messy setups when it is hard to see which chests are connected. And also it is quite some manual work to set it up.

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