Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

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Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by oyunbagimlisi »

What I see vs described on the wiki:

wiki:
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what i see
Image

As I mentioned earlier, I wish a comprehensive circuit tutorial was included in the game.
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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by Bilka »

Image

I find it rather unsurprising that an advanced tutorial isn't understandable for beginners. That's like never having written a line of code and then complaining that you don't understand https://wiki.factorio.com/Types/NoiseExpression.
I'm an admin over at https://wiki.factorio.com. Feel free to contact me if there's anything wrong (or right) with it.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by oyunbagimlisi »

Bilka wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 7:31 pm
Image

I find it rather unsurprising that an advanced tutorial isn't understandable for beginners. That's like never having written a line of code and then complaining that you don't understand https://wiki.factorio.com/Types/NoiseExpression.
-This is never a 'criticism'. Just "humor and will"

-You can review my posts. I don't like stupid criticism either.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by oyunbagimlisi »

dear @bilka wiki is an excellent tutorial, very good resource. but everyone agrees that: "understanding" something in this life is different from "understanding" something in "practice". (Training with experience is more beneficial.) The driver's teacher may be very good, but you must also be in the driver's seat. I did not say "wiki narrative" is insufficient. I said "wiki" alone is not enough. Everyone prefers a hands-on course to knowledge in books. This is the case in all areas of education.
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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by mmmPI »

There is this long list of short and precise videos without advertisment that covers quite a bit :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0mx8S0 ... TbT798eAOm

It is already intermediate difficulty for average players or basic lesson for students in digital electronic :).


It's not in game, doesn't look like a game and is not super fun to watch unless you REALLY want to understand the complex designs knowledgeable people are making.

The thing i liked is the videos are short and their title make it easy to find re-watch a part several time when it is what interest you.

The first few videos are very generic, then those about logic gates, flip flop,latch, clocks... are very helpful to understand factorio's circuit network. ( 70's 146+)

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by Tertius »

oyunbagimlisi wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 7:18 pm
As I mentioned earlier, I wish a comprehensive circuit tutorial was included in the game.
The circuit network is a very special technical thing, as soon as you start using the combinators. If your mind doesn't contain the proper picture for it, it's extremely difficult to get into. It's not expected everyone will immediately get into. You need much learning and practice. So it's very difficult to find a tutorial for your personal knowledge level. Too easy or too difficult?

On the other hand, if you have a proper education/experience with the core principles, it's every easy to get into. For example, I played with toy electronics kits as a teen. I wired resistors, capacitors and transistors to create a simple radio, a simple lightshow, a simple sound generator. I learnt what multivibrators are, flip-flops, latches. All built with 1-5 single transistors (today's computer circuits contain up to billions of transistors). Also included was basic boolean logic. This was about the time when integrated electronic circuits started to appear in home electronics devices. Home computers were on the doorstep, but not yet there. I also learnt how to do the most simple math with these electronic circuits (+, -, negate/complement, increment/decrement, bit shift).

This was 35 years ago. It all returned in an instant when I saw the circuit network with its combinators. I immediately understood everything about it. I just lacked the experience how to actually use it.

For someone who does this for the first time and no inclination for this kind of thinking, it's a stony way to get into. If you're able to get into, it's much fun. As far as I see it, the circuit cookbook on the wiki contains very good explanations. It explains the basics. How it works and it gives examples. However, it's not a textbook with exercises you study for school. It's just presenting what you can do. With this tech, you also need exercises - this is not in any tutorial of the wiki.

If it comes to the "dictionary" circuit example from the wiki you quoted, don't try to understand it. It's not required for creating good circuit logic. It's not even overkill - it's simply not needed for almost everything. It's a demo what great sophisticated stuff can be created out of the most simple components.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by mrvn »

The biggest problem with the A*B example is that math is hard. Because factorio has no virtual signal for green/red wire or a combinator with 2 input terminals you have to shoot yourself in the head through the knee to compute A*B and understanding the math behind it simply is hard.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by oyunbagimlisi »

@mmmPII quickly looked at 4-5 different videos. Everything is much more complicated for me. Thank you anyway.
@Tertius

35 years. good time... :)I haven't even lived that long yet. :) Clear, beautiful language; thank you. This is an ocean, it will take many fathoms. I even run trains with double heads (opposite direction) between single line a-b. 20-30 sec. wait, full empty cargo, 5 sec. inactivity.I just use them. I can't use any of these. Mods like LTN and TSM always seem like luxury to me as well. Whatever, it does not matter; The purpose is to savor the time. Thanks for all the replies.

@mrvn thank you.
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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by gGeorg »

oyunbagimlisi wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 5:45 am
Try this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuHw8uxlWzM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtN3ewXfZHM

It has slow and steady curve. It Shows applications and try to avoid over-explaining. You can use combinators even without advanced maths. However, simple logic thinking helps.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by DaveMcW »

That "advanced combinator tutorial" article is a mess.

The "Logic gates" and "Multiplier" sections are useless mathematical trivia. They have no useful purpose in-game, they are just a problem solving exercise.

A "dictionary" section would be useful if it had images and complete examples.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by Bilka »

DaveMcW wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 9:08 am
That "advanced combinator tutorial" article is a mess.

The "Logic gates" and "Multiplier" sections are useless mathematical trivia. They have no useful purpose in-game, they are just a problem solving exercise.

A "dictionary" section would be useful if it had images and complete examples.
You're warmly invited to change the wiki page. The logic gates section is mostly from when the arithmetic combinator could not do the bitwise operations. They were never removed because someone who has the necessary knowledge (like you :)) must say "these aren't used, really". I do not have that knowledge, so I refrain from touching the page too much.
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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by Serenity »

If you are a beginner you'd start with different things. Like circuit based oil cracking, which is just simple "great than" comparisons. Or automated outpost resupply.

Advanced stuff like that is really just a bonus. It may have some applications, but it's never necessary even in complex bases. A huge issue with the circuit network that it's not at all intuitive even when you have a computer science or electronics background. There is just some specific weirdness like red/green signals or a signal that's 0 disappearing (instead of being there and 0) that makes things needlessly complicated.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by Tertius »

@Bilka: I read all the combinator pages on the wiki very thoroughly, when I translated them to German. Actually, I read them twice: The first time when I translated them, the second time after I actually understood it and had actually used circuits ingame.
I am able to understand how it all works, and I see the deficiencies of the wiki tutorials, but I'm no teacher. I can probably explain basic and slightly advanced usage, however I don't know how other people see it, and how good it is from a didactic point of view. I'm kind of lost here. I also don't want to throw away the work of previous wiki editors (and creating the tutorials as they are currently was huge work). It's always a pity to rework something and essentially throw away the previous work - it feels like burning books.

Especially the advanced tutorial is part too theoretical, too mathematical, part incomplete. Some examples and presentations lack practical usage. All the boolean logic should be presented in a context that shows actual useful use ingame. It's all math, yes. But the average gamer, even an advanced one, is no mathematician, he just wants to learn how problems can be solved. Someone who knows the math foundation for boolean logic doesn't need an explanation in the wiki, and for someone who doesn't know the foundation it cannot be taught there, because it is way out of scope.

@Serenity: There cannot be probably a bigger difference between circuit based oil cracking and automated outpost resupply. The former is very simple with its direct comparisons, and after getting the idea, everyone is able to add accordingly wired pumps on his own - not even combinator logic required. The latter is probably the most complex circuitry with practical use you can do in vanilla Factorio, which really needs a minimum kind of computer science background or mathematical thinking.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by astroshak »

Tertius wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 3:11 pm
There cannot be probably a bigger difference between circuit based oil cracking and automated outpost resupply. The former is very simple with its direct comparisons, and after getting the idea, everyone is able to add accordingly wired pumps on his own - not even combinator logic required. The latter is probably the most complex circuitry with practical use you can do in vanilla Factorio, which really needs a minimum kind of computer science background or mathematical thinking.
I’m not the one tagged, obviously. But I can say that automated outpost resupply, while more complicated than cracking, is a fairly simple thing to do, nearly as simple as cracking. Of course there are different ways to do it, which can make it a little more complex.

The easiest way I know of uses one Constant Combinator. It uses a bunch of preset (Stack) Filter Inserters. It locks the unloading chest slots. And it wires the chests to the CC to the Train Stop.

Complicated? More so than cracking. Relatively simple? Overall, yes. An extremely slight increase in complexity would be to add a Decider Combinator between the Train Stop, and the CC+chests.

In some ways, setting a cap on the dynamic train stop limit is more complicated than setting up automated resupply.
I would agree that those are probably the most difficult uses of the circuit network that most vanilla players will find, though. If only because there really isn’t much of a need for anything more elaborate. More elaborate can be designed, but there is not much of a call for it in vanilla.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by mmmPI »

haha this is illustrating well why it is difficult to make tutorial "for beginners" or even just a tutorial .

between a young gamer with no/low experience in programming and math background or a grown up person with lots of background in electronic but not necessarily lots of experience with video games or experience with discussing their field of expertise with random ignorant (like me) unfamiliar with the terms or using game-specific name for things it's tough to make format that would be fit to everyone. ( and of course those are just 2 stereotypes ).

It's nice i think that there are plenty of informationnal ressources made by the community because it is made by people that represent those various stereotypes and with as destination the other people from the stereotype somewhat :) it's often not flattering to take stereotypes as example but one can imagine without falling into negative representations that there are different public for different videos.

When it comes to the game wiki, there is only 1 access, from the website that doesn't adapt to the public, so it's up to user to find the ressources that speak a langage they understand, and the wiki should (imo) host those ressources. There is clearly something done in this regard already with the 2 different pages for "beginner" and "advanced" plus the pages describing the different combinators and the circuit itself.

Maybe there could be a system of entry that would help finding a circuit build based on its function, with different example with different complexity. So instead of looking at a page, then the other trying to find some help for your outpost or your cracking, you would look at the "automating outpost with circuit" page, and there would be 2 or 3 method displayed from basic to more elaborate.

As of now both pages are somewhat like lists of things you can do with subtitle that roughly are the function of the circuit from the point of view of how the circuit function, not from looking at its purpose in game.


The cookbook is more oriented toward ingame-purpose but is still having a subpart called "oil cracking" and another one "latch" or "clock" while it could (imo) be separated so that there are different "oil cracking" setup shown in the wiki, one including a latch and one including a clock, just for demonstration purposes. Then another entry to find "clock" and "latch" where it wouldn't be required to explain the purpose, but more the different way to make a latch or a clock, with belts, with trains, with combinators and so on.

Same reasonning, other example, there could be an example of a clock used to time inserter in furnaces in the rubric "using circuit in furnaces" where it would be "advanced" and another example of a clock in the part called "managing different power source with circuit" which would also show an example of a "latch" but there it would be amongst the "beginner" solution because there are more depth and complexity for that thing.

This way it is both explaining how to make things in the game for those who know what they want to do already, and it shows what it is/ how/why it's used to other person who never heard of combinators or circuit logic.

It also allow to "choose" the level of complexity that you are confortable with because you are presented with several technical solution for the same problem.

I think my description of what the wiki could be is what i find in the "show your creation" part of the forum, you can know from a title what the creation is about, furnace/train/reactor/combinators magic and so on, and then when you click the topic, you can estimate if you want to try and understand, or if you look for another furnace/train/reactor/combinators magic because that one looks too simple/ too complex / not your taste.

There is also already something like this in the wiki under the form of curated build for the digital display :) And the forum has some pinned creations/tutorial that helped me picture in game what the combinators are used for.

But circuits have a lot of complexity "depth", on could make a toy-CPU or a toy-TVmonitor or a toy-WIFI , and it will necessarily take a while to understand the little circuit because it requires also understanding a bit what is a cpu or basis on how tv monitor function, or what is the wifi and this is clearly out of the scope of the game wiki to explain but the game can be a very good support to understand those things that are very abstract without game.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by mrvn »

DaveMcW wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 9:08 am
That "advanced combinator tutorial" article is a mess.

The "Logic gates" and "Multiplier" sections are useless mathematical trivia. They have no useful purpose in-game, they are just a problem solving exercise.

A "dictionary" section would be useful if it had images and complete examples.
+1 on it being a mess.

The multiplier is actually a very useful construct. Not so much as a multiplier but as a filter. You input the signals that need filtering on the green wire and on the red wire you input a 1 for each signal you want to allow through. The output then has only the allowed signals.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by Serenity »

Tertius wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 3:11 pm
The latter is probably the most complex circuitry with practical use you can do in vanilla Factorio, which really needs a minimum kind of computer science background or mathematical thinking.
You're probably thinking about far more general setups with calling trains on demand to random locations and bringing an ever changing selection of items. What I mean is far, far more simple. I'm talking about defense outposts and supplying more ammunition or repair packs when they run low. The only mathematics knowledge you need is multiplying something by -1 and an addition.
You take the content in the network or chest and multiply it by -1. Then you set your desired content in a constant combinator. You add those two signals (which two wires do automatically). Then you activate your the station when "anything >= 0". The train has all outposts in its schedule and will immediately depart when a station opens.
Some people also skip the multiplications and directly set their constant values as negative numbers. That saves a combinator, but personally I don't like it as much.

Here is a slightly more advanced version that has a kind of hysteresis. It will only call a train when its stock has dropped below half. That requires some extra combinators to keep the signals apart (prevent them from being added automatically), but it's still easy:




That, something similar in my "make everything" factory, RS latches, and oil cracking are for the most part the only more complex applications I use the circuit network for. Maybe nuclear refueling too, but even that can just be handled the dumb way if don't mind using more of your infinite uranium.

I do agree that the common examples for using it quickly become too abstract and even the supposedly practical applications aren't always all that useful.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by mrvn »

Serenity wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 10:34 pm
Then you activate your the station when "anything >= 0". The train has all outposts in its schedule and will immediately depart when a station opens.
Disabling a station means the train will skip that station, which means you can only use this with 2 stations in the schedule.

If you want to pick up artillery munition at one stop, oil at another, repair packs at a third or whatever then you need to use the train limit for train stops. The core circuit stays as you described but you connect it to one decider combinator set to "anything > 0 ===> L = 1". Connect the output to the train stop and select the "Set train limit" option for the train stop, which defaults to the L signal.

The train stop will then have a train limit of 0 when it has enough items and no train will go there. But trains will also wait on the train stop before that waiting for a train stop to open up.

When any of the stops need items the "anything > 0" becomes true and L becomes 1. The train limit for that stop then becomes 1 and exactly one train will go there. So besides allowing for trains to gather goods from multiple stops it also allows to have multiple trains without causing the thundering herd problems.

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by Serenity »

mrvn wrote:
Mon Nov 29, 2021 12:37 am
If you want to pick up artillery munition at one stop, oil at another, repair packs at a third or whatever
That isn't really needed at that point. With the logistics network you can have your supply train pick up everything at the same station.

Having multiple supply trains would be more practical with the way I personally build. But they don't really run all that often. But there are all kinds of variations of that principle depending on one's exact needs :)

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Re: Circuits in the eyes of the "beginner", a 2k hour game

Post by astroshak »

The simplest thing (for supply trains) is to have whatever one train picks up at a station, be the only things that train delivers to other stations. So if you have artillery shells at one station, that train that goes there is the only train that goes there to pick them up, and is the only train running them to resupply stations - resupply stations dedicated to artillery shells. If that area needs another item delivered - repair packs for example - then another train would pick them up where they are made, and deliver them to a different train stop at the same general area as the artillery shells drop off.

You don’t send one train out (talking vanilla here) to pick up iron ore at one mine, coal at another, and then stone at a third, to deliver all to the same smelting station. You instead send different trains to the pick up stations (mine outposts) and to different drop off stations (yet all at the smelting area, usually). The same logic applies to resupplies when the various items used for resupply are made at different locations.

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