+19 votes
in Suggestion by (200 points)
edited by

Right now (at tech tier 3) the biggest enemy of efficiency is the speed limit imposed by the conveyor belts available. It hardly matters if you have a fully-overclocked MK II Miner sitting on a 'pure' coal seam capable of pulling 600 units per minute (UPM) if can only get that coal out of the actual Miner at 60 UPM because you only have access to MK I Conveyors.

The second problem is bloat created when one base ingredient is turned into multiple refined ingredients, most importantly in the conversion of iron rods into screws at the ratio of 1:6. Again, overclocking a constructor making screws (at a ratio of 15:90) even one level (22.5:135) makes ZERO sense because you can never get those 135 UPM of screws out of the machine, even with a MK II conveyor.

And as any downstream constructor or assembler requires a single feed conveyor input,  you are limited by how fast a high ratio ingredient can be fed into a machine (say an assembler turning 20 UPM of iron plates and 120 UPM of screws into 5 UPM of reinforced iron plates). There simply is no point in overclocking a machine that consumes screws as you will never ever be able to feed the screws in fast enough to make the overclocking matter.

You could cart stacks manually from hopper to machine... but I thought I was here to automate :)

There are a few possible ways to alleviate this bottleneck. (ETA: Any one of these solutions would do. They are options, not a request for all three to be implemented.)

My first and most desired solution would be to allow overclocking of individual conveyor lines. So, if I put a 120 UPM MK II Conveyor and be able to bump it to 180/240/300 UPM to keep up with high volume production, that would fix all of the efficiency problems at the available tech levels and make Power Shards far more useful and desirable. Right now there are very few reasons -- basically only if you have an 'inpure' seam that you need to boost to 60 UPM of ore production because of the rarity of the seam resource like S.A.M. -- to ever overclock anything given the current conveyor speed limits.

My second solution would be to convey multiplied products (like screws and stacks of concrete) in their creation stacks. So instead of moving 1 screw per 'space' on the conveyor, I move them in lots of 6 to maintain their production ratio. Picking one unit of screws up off the conveyor should get me 6 screws, not 1.

Third solution would just be to adjust costs so there is never a scenario where one raw ingredient is turned into multiple processed ingredients. 1 iron bar becomes 1 'package of screws', 1 limestone becomes 1 'stack of concrete' and the costs of products that use these ingredients are adjusted.  Foundations would then cost 2 stacks of concrete, reinforced iron plates require 4 packages of screws, etc.

Anybody else annoyed by this issue? Any other suggestions on how to fix it for folks who want a smoothly humming factory?

4 Answers

+3 votes
by (5k points)

I think it's a matter of underclocking for efficiency until you have the belts to feed things sufficiently.

My carefully tuned reinforced iron pipeline has the final assembler set at 50% clock so it only consumes 60 screws/min, since that's what I can feed it.


Once I upgrade to conveyor II's, I can refactor to feed a full 120 - but that's a later tier, so it seems reasonable to not support it up front.

by (200 points)
Oh, I totally get underclocking to maintain an even power draw -- I criminally underutilize my pure coal seam -- but that's not particularly exciting, is it? :)

The heart of what I'm getting to is that Power Shards should be empowering and exciting and make you want to go find more. But as the game is, they're practically useless in the tiers available in the alpha. The only place you have bottlenecks cannot be solved with overclocked buildings in the early game. Only by slowing things down.

Make me stew and fret about where to apply my precious few shards rather than stick them in a box until I need them at Tier 6 or whatever :)  Give me a reason to leave the factory and explore!
+1 vote
by (12.6k points)

I really like how you have set out your arguments and solutions as opposed to just complaining about awkward ratios, so I'm going to attempt to be as comprehensive in my side of this argument as possible.

  • The fact that overclocking miners on normal ore is practically worthless is 100% something that should be changed, if not too early. It would serve as a useful gateway into improving ore efficiency, but it simply doesn't make sense that the limit is the belts and not the miner itself.
  • However, I think high screw ratios are fine. While it may be dissappointing to have input belts being practically empty, it encourages larger, more organised structures when building en masse. For this reason I dislike the idea of adjusting costs or stacking items because it makes items such as the belt stacker obsolete. My favourite factory so far has a 4x2 belt of screws to feed rotor and plate production, and I love the spaghetti it generates. Another factor to this game is it's height, and so belts can be much more dense even if the contents of each belt isn't.
  • Back on the positive, I really like the third idea, perhaps after some tweaking. It's a very intuitive way of improving production while still allowing for more items to be transferred. My suggest way of tweaking it would be to cap the number of power cells you can use to 2 instead of 3, giving the Mk2 speeds of 120/180/240 UPM.  This caps the Mk1 belt at the speed of the Mk2 and the Mk2 belt just below the speed of the Mk3, thus preventing people from overclocking instead of upgrading. Another possible tweak would be to allow higher tier belts to have more overclocking slots, so Mk1 could have speeds of 60/90/120, while Mk2 could go all the way to 300 and actually exceed Mk3, if only slightly
In conclusion: I think the ability to overclock belts makes the most sense while maintaining the less conventional aspects of the game. It pushes fast input and output without making all belts ridiculously strong, and without unbalancing the cost of machines (you would need more machines as you could have a 240 belt going into a 3-splitter for 3 sets of 60, but only the 240 belt is overclocked.) I genuinely think this would be a feature that would improve the game.
by (200 points)
Being able to overclock a conveyor line is definitely my preferred solution. But if any one of the solutions actually made it into the game, it'd fix my problem! I definitely am not greedy here -- any one will do :)

It would make Power Shards exciting and super useful, but also worth salvaging when you get higher tech and can replace old overclocked lines with newer, faster ones.
+1 vote
by (290 points)
really the game is missing a lot of duel input/outputs on nearly all machines. this is the real limit, you are limited to your single output belt speed. later in the game it's fine but early game it's horrible. there needs to be more outputs on the miner or they need to make more belt tiers for early game, the first one is harder on them as they would have to remodel and change the functionality of a lot of buildings the second one is a little bit more reasonable as they can just change the color of the belts and increase/decrease the speed of the belt animation.

heck another great idea is a new building that connects directly to the miner (no belts needed), this new building has many outputs (one input) so that you can use many belts from a single miner, this would make early game a lot smoother imo. this building could even be something that works on many machines. i suppose we don't even need a new building either, just make the splitter snap onto a miners output and BAM a ton of the headache of early game just vanishes.
by (7.5k points)
This is the right solution here. :)
0 votes
by (14.1k points)
Option 4, an advanced constructor with 2 outputs so you can suck with dual conveyors.
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