TL;DR -I would like to see an FFF on the topics of pumps, fluid systems, and forced solar from the devs at some future point of their choosing. I just want to understand what their thoughts are and what to expect.
Why?I did a fast search on three keywords on the blog page listing all of the FFF blogs. I searched for 'Power', which gave two results, 'Fluids', which gives no results, and 'Pipe', which gave two results. 'Power' results returned were for the Power Switch and Nuclear Power's introduction. 'Pipe' results were for combinator pipeline and fast replacing pipes. There are no FFF's that discuss pipes, pumps, and fluid dynamics. There is a page on the wiki, https://wiki.factorio.com/Fluid_system, however that page is very sparse on information. The tooltips in game are also inadequate for helping to understand a fluid system being made.
My efforts to learn more were sparked by my efforts to build the following power setup.
https://imgur.com/Qk5bV1z - The Power Station
https://imgur.com/TsACTQ6 - The Water Supply
As things stand now, the system IS working. However, when you run the numbers, as I understand how things should work based upon in game tooltips, I get the following:
1) 34 Boilers per quadrant - total of 136 boilers (Supplying 264 steam engines, which is 8 shy of the maximum the boiler count can support. They just won't find the current configuration without breaking eye pleasing symmetry.)
2) 60 steam per second at max capacity per boiler using 60 water per second = 8,160 water per second consumed at max
3) 8,160 water divided by 1,200 water per pump = 6.8 pumps to supply full amount or 7 pumps in total
With that in mind I conclude that I should be able to fully saturate my supply lines with water using only 7 pumps given that:
1) 7 pumps capacity is > maximum possible demand
2) Time taken to saturate supply side should be equal to time to fill all pipes and boilers - current demand for steam production
2a) I have in total, 404 pipe and underground transitions on the supply side plus the 136 boilers. Pipes can store 100 fluid units per section and undergrounds 200 per pair. Boilers store 200 fluid units as well on supply side. This yields a total of 67,600 total reservoir volume available to store water.
2b) Assuming no demand it should take: 67,600 / (1,200 * 7) = 8.05 seconds to fill the entire supply side with water.
2C) Assuming full demand it should take: 67,600 / ((1,200 * 7) - (66 * 4 * 30)) = 140.83 seconds to fill the entire supply side with water.
What is seen in game? Removing all power demand the supply side of water fills up almost instantly. Replacing the removed power poles and restoring power demand causes the water supply, as shown in the piping tooltip to drop rapidly before coming back up to hover around 60% full. Steam side never drops below 99.9% This is running on 18 pumps. Not 7. This means that the fluid system in the game does not behave as expected given the information available in the tool tips. Because of this, a player is forced to go to the wiki for what information there is about the fluid system which still doesn't do much to adequately explain the fluid mechanics of the game.
As such I'd like to respectfully request an FFF covering the topics of the Fluid System, Pumps, Storange, Piping, and Conversion at some point in the future at a time of their choosing.
While talking about the above observations with people on Xterminator's Discord server, I was told that similar problems arose when people try to build large nuclear power facilities as well. When one guy finally managed to solve it, he found he suffered massive UPS problems although the power system worked flawlessly. This essentially means that, if you want to mega base, you are forced into going with solar power to the exclusion of all other power. If that is wrong, and it may be as the discord discussion was with only a limited number of people and none of us claim to be experts at the game, please help provide the correct knowledge so these systems can be better understood. If my understanding is correct and/or generally presented information is correct (but, my conclusions are wrong) then I'd like to respectfully request another FFF at a future point in time of the devs choosing discussing late game power options and if they intend to allow all options to remain viable even into end game scenarios and other related facets implied by such.