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in Suggestion by (240 points)
Not meeting the power needs of a factory has too much of a negative side effect of shutting the entire factory down.

When power plants are located away from the base or hub, a player needs to run to one of those points and flip the breakers to get the power working again. But the issue is they need to problem solve how many machines need to be turned off before the plant starts running again. You just cant do this with no power and it devolves into trial and error. If you improve the efficiency of a product line such that machines are running at 100% efficiency, then it can become a result that that entire production line needs to be shutdown before power can be turned back on.

I would strongly suggest adding in a factory alarm for when demand for power exceeds supply, this alerts the player that they need to start assessing their power grid and turning machines on/off before the whole grid shuts down. Something like a 30 second timer before the whole factory shuts down. The same effect should happen when flipping the breakers with the problem unresolved. Give the player 30 seconds to find the issue and fix it.

This shouldn't be abusable, as a player would need to babysit the breakers if they intended to run their factory over capacity. That's not very productive for them. If its the case that they are trying to seriously abuse the system (say one biomass burner powering a fully fledged factory) THEN instantly cut the power upon flipping the breaker (Say if power exceeds 200%).
by (280 points)
I think that a power failure is one of the most exciting parts of the game. No trolling, I'm serious. It adds complexity to the game that is needed to keep it challenging.

However that said, for QoL, perhaps there is research that the player could do to implement some sort of smart alarm system to their generators (later in the game). Maybe you could research modules that you can add to the generators which can connect to speakers which can also be unlocked via research. Then you can get an audible alarm if you're standing next to a speaker and your power demand hits a specific threshold (*which you might be able to set)

The speakers need to be powered from the grid, but might also contain a small battery so that they can remain active a short while after the power goes down.
by (240 points)
I like the idea, especially being able to set at what threshold the sirens would sound. Although I think Tier 3 or 4 would be an apt place for them. Tier 1 and 2 should give players an understanding of exceeding power supply and create the need to better maintain it, it would provide a meaningful goal to shoot towards around those tiers where players begin to upscale their base and need to expand power alongside everything else
by (5.5k points)
+1
Honestly, I think this would dampen the experience, you don't get a "grace period" when you overload your electrics at home do you? No, the box just blows and you got no power. Not that the average home is able to blow their box simply by plugging too many things in, but the point remains. This game is about efficiency, and if your power demands are too low for your power production, that's not efficient. You're supposed to keep an eye on your power requirements and make more generators as required, preferably before a failure, which I'll be honest, I recently had, and yes, it's devastating to your factory, but that's why you gotta work hard to start it back up agian. I had to make a further 7 fuel plants just to put my power back on, or rather, triple clock 4 and build 2, the other 5 aren't yet supplying power as I needed sleep, but as soon as I get back to it I'll finish hooking them up.
by (240 points)
+1
Interesting take Automaton,

While I don't expect my house to set off any warning bells when I plugin and turn on my eleventh blender and overload my electrics, I would expect a manufacturing plant to have contingencies in place for such events (Such as a UPS in the event of a power outage).

Analogies aside, I don't think realism is the angle to view this from, rather its engagement. Having sudden power failures and needing to go through a trial and error sequence to solve a power failure is promoting the wrong type of engagement with your power network. As I stated before, when the breakers flip and everything dies, its impossible to gauge how many machines actually need to be turned off before supply is greater than demand again.

The reason I suggested the idea of a factory siren, is it is essentially another form of metric that instead of keeping an eye on, you can keep an ear out for, it would also fit in well with the aesthetics of a factory environment, increasing player immersion. It removes the need to check power graphs every time you supercharge or make a certain factory line more efficient. This is why I like Geo's idea of having a customizable threshold that can be set to alert the user when it has been crossed as it provides controls over when the user needs to worry about attending to their power network. I think providing alarms around an imminent failure would be just as useful if not more so than post-failure alarms (the problem that would need to be tackled in that case though is factories designed to run near maximum supply).

I agree that the main challenge of the game is efficiency, but in terms of a UI standpoint, getting bogged down in graphs takes the player away from base building and affects their efficiency as well. I would not be surprised to find that most player's design plans equate to adding new factory lines first and addressing power issues second.
by (320 points)
+1
You could put more demanding buildings in standby and flip the breaker at any power pole.

Pretty sure that's what the standby and power pole breaker is for.
by (5.5k points)
+4
^^^
This.

There is no "trial and error" you look at the graph see if it was a big spike or a small one, turn off I'd say anywhere up to 5 of your most recent additions, probably only 2 though, flip the breaker and see if it works. It's not like you gotta run all the way back to the generator, back to the factory, back to the generator, etc, every time. Use a power pole. Or, better yet, just go to your power generation area, build 1 or 2 more stations, hook it up, flip a switch, and just make another 2 for every time the power doesn't come on. I say 2 because then it'll give you a buffer on top of the power you need. My factory is now running at 3500MW, and while it's usual power draw is 1500, it sometimes spikes to 2500 or so, so now I got enough for my current stuff, and a buffer for adding more later. It's literally just a case of taking into account every machine you have built, and asking "if all of these were active together, would I have enough power?" if necessary, write down what machines you have, and their specs, add it all together and just add another line for each new machine so then you'll know when you're getting near your maximum, not forgetting to take into account an increased power draw from things you over clocked.
by (1.1k points)
+1
Managing power and not overloading your network long-term is part of the game loop.
Most of the factory will stop consuming power after storages are full, but if you take out a couple of stacks of heavy modular frames its manufacturers and everything before that will kick in.
You should a probably plan for power spikes if all production starts at the same time.

You could probably hook up a storage before every couple of plants and build more than would be sustainable permanently.

You could store enough coal/fuel to run full power for 10 minutes or more and hope some lines go back to standby in that time.
by (5.5k points)
+1
To be fair, if you've set up your line properly then fuel for the stations isn't the problem. I mean, sure to downtime my generator fuel input, both coal and oil, is always backed up at a full stack, which is enough on its own to feed the plant for just over 8 minutes, then there's whatever is backed up in the lines / refineries etc. The problem is the spike itself, because when it does spike it needs all that power, even if only for a few moments, to even start back up again.
by (240 points)
+1
@iMasonite - Full disclosure, I wasn't aware breakers were present on power poles, that helps

@dreadronos - I suppose the point I am trying to discuss is ultimately how engaging are the current mechanics around power. I agree that power management is a long-term part of the game loop. But to me, it currently boils down to either your factory is running or it isn't. And I think there is room for developing and elucidating that process to be more engaging.

@Automaton539 - I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "there is no trial and error". There is no ability to discern exactly how much a power spike jumps by to give the player an idea of how much extra supply needs to be added or exactly how many machines need to be turned off to get operational again.

Even flipping breakers and checking consumption rate does not work as the factory shuts down before the spike is properly recorded. But that I think is a different question posed somewhere else rather than here. Perhaps providing solid numbers with power graphs might be enough to further reduce this problem. But I still believe this is all based on a "try it and see if it works" methodology of play.

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I'm not trying to propose a solution that removes the challenge of power management, but to try and offer mechanics that provide a warning or buffer to the serious consequences of having your entire factory shutdown. In the end the solution to the problem still remains the same. Either switch machines into standby or expand your power supply.
by (5.5k points)
"I'm not trying to propose a solution that removes the challenge of power management"

Yes, you literally are, if your factory didn't shut down when you had a power failure then there wouldn't even be such a rush to sort it out and if it warned you then you wouldn't need to keep an eye on your power cause it would just tell you when you were getting dangerous, as it is you need to actively manage it yourself.
by (240 points)
The end result of the current workings of power management is that on occasion, a factory shuts down for a minute or two while a player switches things to standby or adds in more power infrastructure. Implementing this change has no bearing on this troubleshooting process; a player still has to switch things into standby or add more power infrastructure. The only difference being their factory might not shutdown during this process.

The scope of this suggestion isn't redefining the fundamentals of how players are expected to manage their power. Its adding in a small buffer to the consequence of a factory shutdown.
by (5.5k points)
Actually it is, unless you have a surge you won't get a shut down, nor will you have to turn things off while making more power, if its properly managed. Which I admit, I didn't do myself recently, but because of this I am going to endeavour to make sure I do properly from now on. So I won't be having any more shut downs, unmanageable power spikes or turning off of machines due to insufficient power.
by (2.3k points)
Once I hit coal I never had to deal with power management and turning machines on and off.

If I forgot to keep upgrading and got a shutdown I'd just go throw some more power plants down and start up again.
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