I read all that through and my thought where:
1. Signals have the same problem as trains: can be replaced with pure production power and it needs too much work to create them in comparison to not use them.
I created a really big factory and created now over 50000 blue potions, just to get rid of all the stuff I produced and making the factory work. This is ridiculous.
2. As mentioned this wiring is really complicated. I don't like that, because it overwhelms the screen.
3. More complicated is, how to program the rules over and over (too much repetition).
4. For things, which can be really useful I found no solution (see https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... 6234#p6234
5. I would really like to program a network in a way, that it warns me, if some conditions become true. For example when ammunition is too low.
It would make sense, if the resources on a map are much more limited and/or the space between big resource-fields are really, really big. Currently I just need to make a map with much resources.
I think also of "inflation": With the time you need more and more resources to produce one item. This would make big resources more and more worthless and you need to keep expanding much more rapidly the more you produce. The player should feel a need make a resource-saving production - possibly just in time.
The idea with "highlight the poles that can be connected" is very good. I would like that also for electricity, inserters etc.
I like the "wireless network" idea. But I would also like to see the wired-network. My suggestion: You can plug the wires yourself or when you click on an item you can choose, to which network it should belong to and the device is then autowired, if possible.
The networks should also be named (autonamed but changeable).
To remove the cludder: In Propellerheads Reason (my facourite music program) the wires can be showed in three modes: Everything, None and Currently selected. The first and second is clear I think, the third is: When you focus a device, only the cables running in and out are shown. All others are only shown transparently.
I would like to differ between sensor, controller and action. A smart chest is a sensor. The cables run into the controller, which does something with it and the output of this controller feeds the inserter (action). Or - thinking into possible future - a trafo-station, which can switch on/off a hole electric network or change a train-signal. Turning off power for research, if power is low?
This splitting would make the cabling and programming much easier; think of searching a bug, because you moved the slider only one pixel too far left in one of the inserters. And I don't think, that this would make it harder to understand. I think it's easier because nearly everyone (also non-programmers) will understand "input-calculation-output".
The rules should be translated into true language. My favourite mailer thunderbird has a mail-filter. I think you already thought to it when programming. I think this is understandable after a while. Try to translate the rules into readable language or make the interface so, that it makes more sense.
I would like to have different controllers for different things, like a comparisator (which is more or less, what's now in the smart inserter) or a time-switch (open signal x seconds, when input is sitched on) and more complicated stuff like described in https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... 6234#p6234
See also https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... ?f=8&t=298
- it would be great, if there would be a controller, which exactly does this (therefore you need a controller with 2 inputs and 4 outputs). And think of building mods for factorio: You may be able to create a new type of controller by scripting it.
Maybe you can output different levels? How about slow down an inserter instead of turning him off?
More devices. How about a lamp, which can light in different colors? E. g. if it lights red it means that you need more ammunition. If it lights yellow, we lack of iron-ore and if it lights blue, we lack of copper. White means electricity low. Place the lamp on the map or in your display. A device to measure electricity. A belt, that switches off or reverses? Show which values are currently in which network!