This game tries to encourage you to build up, at one point even verbally suggesting you do so. However at this point, I find building up too much of a hassle to be worth it. These are some suggestions to make verticality more user friendly:
- Allow buildings to be placed directly on top of each other. Some graphical modifications will be needed to make the buildings look like they should be stacked. Not all buildings should be stackable; but furnaces, constructors, splitters and mergers would stack nicely. The stackable version of these buildings could be a researched item and therefore could have an entirely different aesthetic, making stacking look more appropriate. To make the stackable buildings less OP they could be limited in throughput to the building's mk.1 version.
- Add ports to splitters and mergers on the top and bottom. This will tie in nicely to the upcoming vertical item lift.
- Allow for splitters and mergers to be placed directly on the top of the upcoming vertical item lift.
- Add foundations with small openings for the vertical item lift to tie into. This opening should allow for a splitter or merger to be placed directly on top of it.
- Allow the placement of buildings (splitters and mergers specifically) to be built in mid-air. You select the X-Y placement first, and then using Ctrl (or maybe a 2 click system) to move the buildings vertically.
- When placing belts use a Ctrl or 2 click system to allow the end of the belt to be placed in mid-air up to the max height of the conveyor pole.
- Adjust building collision volumes to be tight to the building itself, instead of the current cube system. There is a lot of empty space between the tops of constructors, plenty of room to run a belt between 2 of them. However, because the constructor has a cube shaped hit-box it isn't possible to take advantage of that space.
- Adjust the hit-boxes of splitters/mergers to be slightly shorter so that a belt on a conveyor pole that is extended up 1 position can be successfully placed across the top of them. Currently you need to put conveyor poles up 2 positions before the belt clears the splitter/merger hit-box even though visually it looks like 1 position should be high enough.
- Remove the limitation on conveyor poles having height limitations. Or at least add 1 more position so that the pole can reach to the height of 3 stacked storage containers which requires 4 vertical positions instead of the current max of 3.
- Add a visual filter (Hold Alt perhaps?) when placing a building (or belt) to see all the existing buildings' hit-boxes. Currently you only see the hit-boxes when there's a collision.
I really like the idea of having 3D factories, but unless you just build a second floor you can't take advantage of it, and once you've built a second floor you're effectively back to working in 2D again.