TL;DR: Inventory management is not fun. The core gameplay loop is very fun. I propose adding:
- A slave drone that consumes fuel (biofuel, coal, fuel, turbo-fuel, compacted coal, etc) in exchange for inventory logistics.
- A special type of powered storage box the slave drone can pull stuff from with input belt slots.
- A special type of powered storage box the slave drone can put stuff into with output belt slots.
Details: Inventory Management sucks right now, and it's really not fun. The rest of the game is quite fun, however. The specific user story is "I am trying to build an outpost on the other side of the map, but I forgot [insert basic thing here, like 47 stacks of concrete], and now I have to spend 20 minutes running/driving back to my starting base and juggling inventory instead of playing fun part of the game." My end goal is being able to trade fuel from my inventory in exchange for a robot slave to go get stuff from a box for me.
So, first, I'd like to introduce the FICSIT UTILITY CARRYING KITE, which FICSIT issues to every one of its peons. It's a little nuclear-powered drone that follows me around, and is where the robotic FICSIT voice comes from whenever a tech gets completed. The FUCK's main purpose is to carry things for me, either to a storage box from me or to me from a storage box, as well as watch me to make sure I'm not violating FICSIT company rules. In order to carry stuff around, however, it needs fuel (because its nuclear battery only produces enough power for it to follow me around and judge me), and it also needs special boxes: specialized enough to not be used for general storage / factory buffering (because then everyone would use that box for everything).
So, to solve that problem, I propose the FICSIT SMALL HAULABLE INVENTORY TRUNK (acronym intentional), a new type of storage chest. The SHIT requires power, because we have to make it inconvenient so people won't use it for every kind of storage need. I propose the V1 has 10 inventory slots, costs 5 MW, and requires Reinforced Iron Plates to build. It has belt inputs, because otherwise inventory management continues to be an annoying problem, but no outputs. I propose 1 input to start. We want to automate feeding the box, after all. FICSIT can allow me to get bigger and better SHITs as I ascend tiers, which have more available slots and more belt inputs in exchange for more power. This allows me to retrieve items easily enough, but it doesn't allow me to put items. This could be a problem, except...
FICSIT's R&D team has recently developed the HAULABLE OFFLOADING UTILITY STORAGE ENCLOSURE, the opposite of the SHIT: a powered storage box with a belt output that the FUCK delivers things to via a convenient landing pad on top. Possible upgrades include more slots for buffering (before the FUCK tells me there's no room for more of my stuff), more output belts for more throughput, and maybe even filtering to allow the FUCK to only put my shit in the correct HOUSE.
These, combined, allow me to build a SHIT-HOUSE facility to act as a sort of in-game Amazon Fulfillment Center, whose workers (in this case, each player's person FUCKs that they give) are actual robots. This turns inventory management from an annoying chore into something to be automated, expanded, and streamlined: e.g FUN.
- The TODO checklist could include a FUCK-SHIT button to tell my FUCK to get all the materials listed on it from my SHIT facility.
- The amount of fuel consumed could be based on the size of my demand (1000 concrete vs 10 concrete) and, if it's not a PITA to implement, the distance to the SHIT containing my shit.
- The FUCK could be non-instantaneous: I have to wait N seconds or whatever for the FUCK to retrieve from my SHIT or to my HOUSE, where N could be based on the amount of stuff being moved or the distance to the SHIT/HOUSE.