+7 votes
in Suggestion by (160 points)
edited by

So I had a little discussion with my friends that play Satisfactory, and also some players from the Satisfactory Discord in the Experimental chat section. I was suggested to open a Suggestion thread here, so I am.

In the discussion, there were different opinions, some argued against and some argued for the point I will make now:

Trains are not really useful at all in the game in their current state. Let me explain:

The arguments against my suggestion were mostly, if not all, about the looks/design. I do agree with this partially and the opinion isn't wrong, but it doesn't cover the entire aspect of Trains and what they in theory were meant to be for.

Trains are first introduced in the game at Tier 6, which is quite late game. Trains are supposed to replace Conveyor Belts over longer distances, however if look away from the design/architectural argument, Trains are in every way inferior to Conveyor Belts in their current state. The issues are the following:

  • Introduced way too late in the game
  • Cost more than MK4 Conveyor Belts to produce and maintain
  • Their maximum speed is not fast enough
  • Their docking speed is atrociously slow

I will go into depth which each point made.

Introduced way too late in the game: The Trains are introduced in the game at Tier 6, which is by my and all of my friends opinion at least one Tier too late. It should be at Tier 4 or Tier 5 for cost efficiency, since researching them and building the entire system with Tracks and Trains requires quite a lot of time, which can easily be negated by already having just MK3 Conveyor Belts which are available in the Tier's before the Trains. Once the items start rolling in from an MK3 Conveyor Belt, the supply is infinite.

Cost more than MK4 Conveyor Belts to produce and maintain: This is pretty self explanatory, but Trains cost resource-wise more than MK4 Conveyor Belts to produce and maintain. While you have to make the resources for both, MK4 Conveyor Belts do not require power, which is a resource in itself, but they also do not require anything of a main object to be made that moves the items across the Conveyor Belts, unlike as with the Train which has to move the items across the Train Tracks. The Train also costs more to produce due to the Computers being involved in the crafting recipe, while MK4 Conveyor Belts only cost their base product and then the small amount of Iron Plates and other low-level resources for the Pillars.

Their maximum speed is not fast enough: Considering that MK3 or MK4 Conveyor Belts deliver an endless, constant supply of items, the Trains should at the very least be faster between the Stations, at least 180-220KM/h or otherwise they cannot even compete there, but the maximum speed limit isn't the worst speed offender, it's the next point.

Their docking speed is atrociously slow: I mean even those who tried arguing against my arguments for, that Trains are worse than Conveyor Belts and not a good/proper replacement, even they had to admit that the Docking Speed of Trains is trash. They dock so slow that items from a fair distance on Conveyor Belts roll in faster and give an endless supply of items contrary to Trains that take their sweet time of a few centuries to dock.

Considering all of this, Trains are in every practical way worse than Conveyor Belts, because they require more resources, more power, they came come too late in the game when all the stress of a setup and resource transport across the map is gone (due to Conveyor Belts stretching across the map, and even if some few players care about the looks, most players do in fact not care about the looks too much so they aren't bothered by very long Conveyor Belts but rather the efficiency at which items are delivered to keep the Factory running), they are slower because once items from Conveyor Belts roll in they keep on coming contrary to Trains where the items only come in batches, and they also require more space to be set up than Conveyor Belts (this is not really an issue but something I point out for the cost efficiency argument).

I really love Trains, but besides the coolness factor argument and the looks/design aspect, they currently provide no value due to efficiency and resource loss in practically every aspect. I sincerely hope you consider this to balance Trains and make them more useful and less of a waste in total, as they serve practically no purpose other than to replace Conveyor Belts in a way that is less efficient in every aspect other than long distance fast player transport.

Best Regards, -Loke

by (3.7k points)
Long lenghts of belts, have been proven to reduce performance, as the game needs to deal with all the objects on the belts. So while belts dont have delays and constant resources, your frames will be effected more.

As for stations, it takes 2 overclocked mk3 miners, 2 minutes to fill a station with 2x mk5 belts, with enough ore for a wagon. Thats 1560 resources a minute. Very few stations, will have that kind of mass resources, being pumped into it. So its a matter of travel time vs resources into the stations.

We  get tractor first, then trucks, then trains. You bump trains down a tier and you might as well, delete the trucks (which even now are missplaced, as they are tier 5).
by (160 points)
No need to remove Trucks, they can be made easier to craft or cost the same, they would be more useful for shorter distances really, but this is why Trucks for example do not exist in Factorio other than for player transport, as the issue would be what you just described: They would be useless. Which is why there are Conveyor Belts and then Trains, but Satisfactory added Trucks as an intermediate level here, however I would rather have Trucks to be useless than Trains.
by (800 points)
As I already wrote in another thread, in my opinion the true power of trains lies in their scaling potential. Doing some estimated math:

My Coal Train can carry 4 x 32 x 100 = 12800 Coal (if the station was fully loaded). A trip to the mine and back to my base takes 6 mins (including the docking). That make a theoretical throughput of ~2100 coal / min. One could argue now, that 3 MK5 Belts do the same, but building stackable conveyor poles all way accross the map is very annoying.

I expect the resource demand to scale a lot with future updates (Tier 8, Tier 9 , Tier 10 ?), so what if you suddenly need 10 times the coal?

You would either have to upgrade all your existing belts to MK6, 7, 8,  all across the map (which is annoying), or you would have to build another 10 belt lanes of MK5 belts (which is also annoying).

Since all trains can use the SAME single track, which you only need to build ONCE, you could just set up some more trains, or increase the number of cargo wagons, which is both done in like 1 min.

So my conclusion is, that as soon as the routing problems are fixed, the trains will be OP CHOOOO CHOOOO

I would agree though to the suggestion to make them available a little more early, because most players will aready have some belt lanes across the map and it's understandable that they dont see the long term benefit first.
by (160 points)
I totally agree with everything you said, the scaling later on is where Trains /would/ be beneficial IF the Trains are also unlocked at Tier 4 or latest by Tier 5. The annoyance with Conveyor Belts is one thing, but it is a constant and steady supply by then, while Trains still could fail just fine, besides you cannot have 40 Trains on a single track, it would just cause too much congestion, hence Conveyor Belts are at that point again better. But still, you are right and if the Tier that Trains are unlocked in would be changed, a lot of the issues are thereby also fixed, because they technically don't need to be much faster or anything as long as the initial cost is reduced by stepping down a Tier (or even better, two Tiers, so down to Tier 4).
by (710 points)
Question: Do belts reduce performance when they are out of sight as well? In my mind that appears like something that can be greatly optimised if it isn't already.
Of course talking about performance characteristics of a mostly unoptimised early access title is more or less pointless.

Aside from that: I too think trains could use a little boost and conveyors a little nerf. Conveyor belts are super cheap, require no power, can run ridiculous lengths with no drawbacks etc.

I don't mind the long docking of the trains. I mean they swap out an entire cargo wagon. No belt can do that.

What I do mind is how much work it is to set up the tracks. Especially if you want them on some sort of pillar so you can still drive with cars through the map. That is a lot of hassle. I mean, so is setting up a robust auto pilot route for trucks and tractors and the explorer, too.
If train tracks could be placed so that pillars underneath them would be added automatically that would be pretty sweet. Like what was shown in the E3 trailer. That would make setting up trains a lot easier than super long conveyor belt atrocities.
by (1.5k points)
I think the key is balancing when the player will need long distance transport. I really agree with this post, I love the trains but right now I rush all the unlocks and then build my factories. The train has scale-ability on its side, but by the time I get it I already need to bring in resources that are very spread out.
The best solution may actually be balancing how the resources are spread out. (Give me a little bit of everything in the starting area and make me expand to get better nodes? I don't really like that solution but its the best one I've got. )
by (7.5k points)
To be honest. Not the Trains are the issue, the conveyor belts are the issue.
Especially, that they dont need power and that they have no length limitation.  
They need a nerf, thats all. (But not in speed)
A solution would be, that you need a Range extender for belts at a specific length. And this Range extender needs power.
Then, Trains and trucks are always better for a longway transport.
by (710 points)
Yes, the conveyors are super OP. I mean mk5 that can shoot you off its tracks faster than a Jump Pad? How do the items not fly off and away? No power requirements for this sillyness?

Aside from that yeah, a range extender is a good idea. I was about to suggest that actually but thought maybe that would overcomplicate the implementation. But I still think it's a good idea.
by (110 points)
For the most part, I agree with what you are saying.  Let me quickly address your points:

Introduced way too late in the game
- Yeah ok, sure.  The argument can be made to introduce them sooner, but you need Oil to make the components needed for them, and I don't like the idea of removing computers from trains since they are clearly not steam trains and run on electricity.  Need computers IMO, I was actually surprised they didn't require super computers.

Cost more than MK4 Conveyor Belts to produce and maintain
- It is a long term investment, they should be more expensive.  A single train line =/= a single MK4 conveyor belt.

Their maximum speed is not fast enough
Their docking speed is atrociously slow

The biggest problem I have with this argument is we don't really know what the formula is to say trains are slower.  You are not factoring in the amount of cargo a single train can carry.  For example a MK5 belt carries 780 R/m, but a train has 32 slots per freight car.  If I had a single freight car fully loaded making a 1 minute trip, it is hauling potentially 3200 resources per minute.

Now obviously that is a very simplified example, but it is relative.  Sure at face value it may seem like using a belt even over long distances is moving more because of docking speeds and or other reasons, but in the end it is highly depends on how much cargo a train is bringing in each load, and how long it takes for the train to go from point A to point B.

One other thing to factor in is the idea that trains open up that sort of central hub between areas.  You can of course make belts all over the map, or you can have a couple train lines that bring your goods around to the areas you need them in.  It also opens up the ease of moving production lines to different areas without having to completely rework how your belts to move goods around.

As an example I just recently decided with trains I am going to start a second mega factory in another part of the map, so I decided to pull all excess goods to a central locations where I am setting up a train station.  I can then run a train to my new location, and since there is Iron for days in the starting area I am not using, I can simply ship over extra rods/sheets/screws for anything I need rather than mining it in the new locations.
by (130 points)
i only use trains becasue conveyor belts make the game too laggy.  I do agree it feels like you need to build a full base with belts to get up the tiers.  Then rebuild it all spread across the map using trains just avoid the fps dropping to 30.

Maybe it will all make more sence when we have all the tiers.
by (1.7k points)
If I Ignore all bugs related to trains in their current state, the main advantage of trains is that single rail replaces ANY amount of belts AND a power line. You should be able to transport all 50+ materials and you shouldn't need more than one rail for all that. Of course you'll need number of stations at each end but that single rail instead of humongous belt bus is the main advantage for me.
by (2.4k points)
Trains are far more cost effective in the long run. Instead of making multiple belts, you only need one rail going to an outpost. Need more resources? Just add another freight car.
by (120 points)
the only reason i see for using a train in satisfactory would be to transfer stuff between outposts if you have that kind of setup, for resource gathering i see no point, since miners only have one output slot then the output is limited by the belt speed and thus no matter how much you load on the train and how fast it goes back and forth, its still transfering resources slower than the belts continous stream which is not affected by travel time and docking time, unless you have miners with multiple output slots to handle the yield and/or are able to put multiple mines per resource node that could make having multiple high tier belts running from one end of the map to the other too expensive then vehicle transportation of resources is simply just not going to be effective and appealing for those of us who wants to squeeze out as much as we can, and id like to think that this game was designed by and mainly for those kind of players. trains for me are just a mode of personal transportation over long distances, no other use for vehicles than that in general.
by (390 points)
I think trains are great. I built a great long platform in the sky hooked up to a concrete, steel beam, and steel pipe factory and I can drive all the way to the end and keep building with the materials. When I run out, I just go back to the train depot. Very easy way to get around the map

2 Answers

+3 votes
by (3.4k points)
can't say I agree with the "needs to be introduced earlier".
You don't really need to venture (far) our of your local area until you need to get Plastics and/or rubber to make computers.  That's the moment I needed my first "far away" resources.

I ended up making a skyway (3 wide).  With belts... and power poles.  3 since I also needed to drive over.   A train would have made both easier since the track will also serve as power distribution, simply tap off at the far end via a station.
Can't say I'm a fan of the vehicles, they run too unreliable (I have to  "fix" at least one of them each day). Trains should make this easier.
And at the shorter distances, belts are easier than vehicles.

costs... Debatable.  you're comparing Mk5 belts, which is already Tier 7. And needing Aluminium production.  Comparing with Mk3 or Mk4 belts makes more sense.
Note that you can run multiple trains on the same track, their speed is much much larger than what a belt can carry when properly utilised.

Docking speed... Seems about right to me.
by (100 points)
people keep trying to compare efficiency of the train to belt but nothing is ever gonna be faster then the belt since the belt feeds into everthing the train maybe can haul more but its being fed by a belt so it cant be "faster" i think the way to make trains a better idea is energy balance, belts should take energy and higher tier belts must be built on foundations and be limited on how long they go requiring belt centers as nodes to increase costs, the train should be more efficient to get use out of it maybe add in easier lines in and out for sorting so it can bring multiple resources without worrying about cloged smart splitters. better yet make trains nuclear
+1 vote
by (160 points)
I actually prefer the trains over conveyor belts over medium to big distances, in fact I have a train that travels 250m to grab oil from the 3 oil pumps then grabs Crystal and delivers it to my base. It's able to keep up with the demand of all the assemblers and oil refineries, The fact I can use 1 train to deliver items from 3 different places is really awesome to me and less messy than having conveyor belts going all over the map. Another thing is I can expand the trains route to other places. As an example I built a train track from my base to a Caterium resource node and then noticed a sulfer node nearby so expanded to it and then noticed another resource node further north for I connected that to the same track and now have a train going to all 3 resources and I just had to build the 3 stations and then hook the miners to the power connector on the station :)
by (190 points)
I particularly agree with the less messy part.  Trains to me seem the natural approach to distance problems rather than super long conveyors.  It's an aesthetic thing to me and I tend to prefer trains or trucks to very long conveyors.
I do wish a single train could do more though without worrying about full storage or partial emptying causing problem with mixed cargo if I send the same train to multiple stations.  I'd love to have one train handle more duties at many stations, but partially emptied train cars with materials getting dropped in the wrong places is a concern.  (Example if a train picks up a load of plastic but can't deliver it all the appropriate stop because the factory is shut down, and then goes to pickup something else in that same car at another stop , then I have plastic possibly getting delivered downstream at other stations that I don't want it to go to.)  So I'm trying to build with 1 car/1 material, but that also has it's limitations because in some places I might want to put a station I can't have long trains  because there's often just not room to place a long straight train station.  (I try to build within the environment and on the ground, not up in the air which admittedly would be easier).
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