Industrial Revolution

Work your way through Ages of technology, chasing that elusive rocket. 500+ new icons, 35+ new machines and buildings, new technologies, recipes, and mechanics.
16 hours ago
0.17
83424

a Resource/production balancing in 0.99.x

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Hi folks,

The worst bugs seem to be squished now, a few more are coming in the next version, which I'm waiting on Factorio 0.17.69 for - it may have a nice little surprise in store.

I'm taking the weekend off after what has been the most incredible and unexpected week. Thanks again to all of those who have sent such positivity and good wishes my way.

Those of you who have gotten to the later game stage have probably noticed that there are things which are less well balanced. I have my own ideas about exactly what they are - I've also had some really good direct feedback, as well as sneakily eavesdropping on Discord and Reddit, which has mostly confirmed those ideas but also put a bit of nuance on them. Next week and possibly the week after, I won't be doing any bug fixing at all unless something really critical rears its head (seems unlikely). Instead, I'm going to focus on the balancing pass required to get the mod to 1.0.0.

The main issues, for me, revolve around the consumption of metals, although sulphur production also needs looking at. Top of the list for me are titanium and chrome. Purple science and its huge steel requirement are also a big issue. Tin is possibly a bit under-used but I don't think that one is too serious, maybe it's just that there's too much of it to mine. Finally, rocket launching and satellites need another look.

If you have any other balancing feedback for the post-Steel Age, I'd be very happy to read it.

PS. The best kind of feedback has numbers attached.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Thanks again for all your work. Enjoy a break and we're all looking forward to the next release.

Two small pieces of balancing feedback:

1) A possible change in the blue science recipe. I discussed this at some length in another thread here ("Why does blue science pack require crushed ore?"), but my suggestion was to drop crushed iron and crushed copper from the recipe, and instead require basic computer. I understand the desire to force the player to upgrade their ore processing. but a) putting ore on the bus is strange because it can't be used for anything else and b) blue science already forces the player to set up a new raw material subfactory in the form of refineries. The basic computer requires a lot of iron and copper for a player just getting to blue science, so it's a strong push to make ore processing more efficient even if it doesn't force the player to do so. It also pushes the player toward modules, obviously. I might make a similar suggestion for the military science pack, which requires sand and carbon, but haven't thought about it enough to say for sure.

2) I'm not sure that the enriched ore from Krastorio is well balanced. If I have my math right, the ore efficiency tiers are:

1 ingot per raw ore if unprocessed
1.2 ingots per raw ore if crushed
1.5 ingots per raw ore if crushed+refined, PLUS useful byproducts (titanium and chromium, in the case of iron) & dirty water
2 ingots per raw ore if crushed+refined+powdered, plus the refined ore byproducts & dirty water
2 ingots per raw ore if enriched, plus dirty water but no titanium/chromium

Krastorio enriching, on paper, seems overpowered. It requires only one step and gets the max ore efficiency. It therefore requires a lot less power, space, and materials to set up and run. It does require sulfuric acid, but not that much. And it doesn't produce titanium or chromium, but in Krastorio you get plenty of titanium from menarite/imersite processing.

Relatedly, the Krastorio titanium/tantalum ores produced from menarite/imersite can't be crushed, powdered, or enriched. They aren't integrated into IR's ore processing scheme.

Maybe all this in #2 is for the Krastorio team, but I thought you'd want to be aware of it even if so.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

(2) is definitely for the K team. I think they have already made some adjustments to their enriched ore process but I don't even know how that works, so, shrug.

Blue science recipe was less about forcing the player to use processing and more about my blind hatred of putting enormous buildings into science packs ... I know blue science doesn't do that in vanilla but some of the other packs do / did it earlier Factorio versions. I thought, it's chemical science, so crushed ores seemed more appropriate than gears or circuits or another ho-hum recipe. Replacing them with a basic computer would multiply the copper cost by 3120%. So that's not happening ;)

Not saying I wouldn't change blue science but haven't seen much feedback about it, compared to purple science, which is clearly a bit wrong.

- 2 months ago

Great, great mod Deadlock! You've managed to come up with a lot of new ideas, giving us a new experience. Thanks a lot!

I have just researched purple science and I agree that 40 steel ingots for 1 beaker is big. What about using 2 small chassis instead on one large?
On tin topic - I've used 274k iron ore, 242k copper, 120k stone and 102k tin so far while producing 27k red, 26k green, 4,2k military and 12k blue science. Tin is only used in red and green sciences and later on it is not used much, if at all. Iron usage goes up quickly though. Blue science used 60k of each iron and copper ore so maybe replacing them with crushed tin would balance the usage better? Additionally, lead is a by-product from tin processing so usage of both of those have to be balanced.
Wood is also not used in science and it is always good to get a good sink for it.
My proposal would be to modify blue recipe by removing crushed iron and copper, add 7 crushed tin and 1 wooden beam.

- 2 months ago

OK, so basic computer was a bad idea :) You inspired me to look at the math behind science recipes, so I calculated the raw materials content and number of processing steps for the vanilla, IR, and Krastorio recipes using Factory Planner:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ugxPbCrHShTQV4gYPTHYGlWoD6THFi9lDkX00GpvJ9k/edit?usp=sharing

I suspect you know all this already, and may have done very similar calculations. Here's my takeaways, in no particular order. TLDR is that I think purple science is maybe not that bad, but that blue science is too easy/has other problems, and I have a suggested change to it (better this time, I hope).

Suspect you have this data already, but was useful for me to work through it to better understand progression in IR (and Factorio in general). Data was calculated using Factory Planner.

IR science pack recipes are overall pretty similar to vanilla in important respects. Similar raw material cost and complexity of manufacturing chains, and similar progression. If there’s a significant difference, it’s that high-level (purple and yellow) IR recipes have much longer production chains. So they’ll take more space and need more power than in vanilla.

These numbers hide some extra complexity in IR by treating rare ingredients (titanium, lead, and chromium) as equivalent to basic ingredients. In IR, they are byproducts of processing basic ores, which adds complexity, but you’re almost certainly producing lots of basic ores anyway so it shouldn’t require extra raw material inputs (except possibly tin, which has to be processed to get lead but has little late-game use). If you are playing with Krastorio, there are other ways to get titanium (and maybe other materials, I haven’t looked at all the production possibilities).

Krastorio’s recipes are much more expensive in raw materials than IR or vanilla, though the number of steps is similar. I think the reason why is that Krastorio uses more complex products in the recipes (e.g. modules, electric furnaces). IR and vanilla, in contrast, use larger quantities of more basic materials.

You (Deadlock) suggested you’re looking at purple science as possibly imbalanced. I’m not sure that it is, just looking at the numbers. It’s substantially cheaper in raw materials than the vanilla recipe, and substantially more complex in number of processing steps. That probably balances out? Complexity of the recipe might stand out more to the player than quantity of raw input. A more complex recipe with more steps is brain-burning, while if it needs more inputs, just put down another outpost/another belt on the bus of raw materials?

It seems more likely that the blue recipe is too easy than that purple is too hard. Blue requires both less raw materials and less processing steps than the vanilla recipe (8 steps and 16 raw materials, vs. 10 and 24.75 in vanilla).

I’ve said this elsewhere but it still seems weird to me to put crushed ores in the blue science recipe. Vanilla science recipes are dominated by intermediate products that can be used in a variety of other recipes. There are some exceptions - inserters and belts in the green science recipe are end products (though they can be upgraded), and sulfur and solid fuel in the blue science recipe have limited or no uses outside a refinery area. You really can’t do anything with crushed iron and copper other than smelt them in IR, though. That means if you put them on the bus they’re dead end lanes after the blue science subfactory. I guess you could make blue science at your smelting area, but that becomes impossible if you do off-site smelting at outposts (in fact, you then have to ship ingots AND crushed ore back to the main base, just because of the blue science recipe). All this is also true of anode-grade pet coke, though to a lesser extent (it’s used in rocket fuel and some other recipes).

Given those critiques of the blue science recipe in IR, here’s a suggested alternative blue science recipe:

-2x electric motor
-1x heavy copper cable
-2x plastic bar
-1x anode-grade pet coke

This makes the recipe a little more complex and uses a little more raw materials than the current IR blue science recipe, but keeps it in line with vanilla: 25 raw materials and 12 processing steps. Still nowhere near Krastorio complexity (much less the more hardcore mods). And its components are all used in other recipes, so it makes sense to have them on a bus. It also forces the player to start up rubber production. It doesn’t force iron/copper ore crushing, but still pushes the player to do so because of the amount of raw ores it requires for that point in the tech tree.

An alternative approach is to use red belts in the recipe instead of either the motors, cables, or both, though it tilts the recipe even more toward iron vs. copper.

- 2 months ago

Having reached the iron age so far, the only thing that surprised me was the time cost for bronze/iron products being identical. I was expecting iron to take more time as it is a more durable material and the player will have plenty of machines by that stage. Great work nonetheless!

- 2 months ago

I disagree with rubber being required for blue science. AFAIK there is no other way to make it other than finding enough trees to get a forester going. Depending on map settings, this can be crippling, and not, oil is a long ways away annoyance, but completely halt all progression in the game annoyance. Even a small oil field is enough to help the player progress thru blue tech. But for rubber, the player currently only needs to find a small amount of rubber to build some electric miners for gold, otherwise its not mandatory this early in the game. To require blue science to make use of rubber can completely shut down all forward progress until the player gets enough saplings. And even then, the Kovarex-like process the forester uses means a potentially very long ramp up period to have enough forresters stocked to keep up with other science production.

I certainly agree it needs more steps and raw materials, just don't think rubber is a good fit. I can see it maybe for purple or yellow science though.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

u/travathian:

That may be a good point on rubber availability. I'm fortunate to have plenty near the start location in my current game, but from seeing other threads on IR it sounds like that's not always the case. Could be very frustrating not to have access to it and need it to progress. Of course, you will eventually need it - can't build a car, electric drills, or laser turrets w/o it - but it's not strictly required in IR right now.

Let me suggest some alternatives:

1) Drop electric motors and heavy copper cables from a revised blue science recipe, and replace them with something else. My initial thought is magenetrons - the amount of iron and copper for 1 magnetron is similar to the iron+copper content of 2 electric motors and a heavy cable (12 iron and 16 copper in the magnetron vs. 12 iron, 1 rubber, and 10 copper in the motors & cable). I don't like this as much because magnetrons aren't nearly as widely used and it makes the recipe less complex - the blue science subfactory would be a lot smaller. But I think I like it better than the current recipe.

Another alternative recipe: 1x electric motor and 4x batteries (+ plastic and pet coke, which I'm assuming stay in any blue science recipe). This gives similar raw materials usage, doesn't require rubber, and does use some tin, which another thread suggests people have a surplus of from lead production needed later.

2) Keep rubber in the blue science recipe but add a way to make synthetic rubber. I think there's a strong case for this in general. Would really help if you have bad luck with rubber placement, biters blow up your foresters, etc. Maybe something like liquid plastic+sulfuric acid, made in chem plants. It should, I'd assume, be less efficient than natural rubber but always available with oil. Maybe you need to research another tech to get the process. Then you could keep rubber in the blue science recipe, and give an alternative to players at any stage of the game.

Getting ahead of ourselves here, I think. Let's see what Deadlock thinks of alternative recipes. It's highly likely he's already considered much of this.

- 2 months ago

I like the alternative recipe. Tin is largely forgotten after the early game, except for red/green science. A dash of it in blue science is a good thing in my mind.

I also like the idea of synthetic rubber. Maybe have it be a blue research. I'd go with liquid plastic + sulfur + steam = rubber, if only because steam is hardly used and a quick googling shows steam is actually used in real world synthetic rubber manufacturing. A bit painful compared to electric foresters doing their kovarex thing plus processing the rubber trees, but still reasonable if you start on a large land mass with no trees.

Then reduce some of the iron requirements in purple science and shift those to rubber?

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

I'm resistant to having wood or rubber in science recipes. Foresters were added as a way of automating wood production, but they were never intended for continuous mega-base scale science production, and at endgame it doesn't get much more industrial than chasing infinite science research. I don't actually like the foresters at all, I wanted something much more interesting and clever, like a machine that actually grows actual trees around it and harvests them, but that has UPS-killer written all over it and I ran out of time to work on the problem.

Rubber did nearly make it in via red belts at one point, but there were howls of protest from the playtesting group.

If I'm honest, I don't even like science packs. Getting them right is a huge challenge. It's completely unclear to me what they even are ... But you can only change vanilla premises so much. The first version of IR (abandoned in 2018) used a completely different approach to packs - they were nested, so that e.g. green science had red science as an ingredient - but that completely destroys any remaining compatibility with other mods.

Lots of really good feedback here, thanks for taking the time, I am reading and digesting it all. 0.17.69 should be out quite soon and after that and IR 0.99.4 is uploaded, I'm stopping everything else for the rebalancing pass.

- 2 months ago

I agree science packs are strange. I try not to think about them too much :) I guess the idea is to require the player to expand the factory to progress in the game, which is measured by progress through the tech tree. You could just do this by having labs consume ever greater quantities of raw materials (power, basic ores, etc), but then there'd be little incentive to build a complex factory producing diverse outputs - which is kind of the point of the game, or at least what most people find fun. Some players would probably be fine without science packs at all, just building big factories for the hell of it. Look at the megabases people build, out of all proportion to the requirements of science production. SPM/progress through infinite techs is just a way of keeping score. But most players need a goal in a game, and some coaching to get there. Science packs do that - they're both the method of progression (unlocking new techs) and the goal of it (have to produce packs to unlock new content). And building science production (and the infrastructure to support it) is most of the fun in the game.

It works pretty well, I think. Look too closely and it is pretty gamey - you feel less like an engineer stranded on a planet and more like the gods are giving you arbitrary tasks. Like I said, I try not to think about it too much :)

Anyway, In my view a good science pack recipe does two things: First, it challenges the player by forcing them to do something new - bring new raw materials into the factory (e.g. oil), use new tech to combine existing materials in a new way (e.g. sulfuric acid or bronze), or use new production buildings/processes (e.g. your blue science recipe, forcing players to use crushers). These are the "gates" set up by the science packs.

Second, it points the player toward production of things they'll need in the future. You see the devs talking about this when they discuss science pack recipes. This can mean a few things, but the most obvious is production of intermediate products that get used in a lot of other recipes. In vanilla, science pack recipes include gears, belts, inserters, ammo, red circuits, rails, etc. This is one of my favorite things about the vanilla recipes. They're especially good for new players, who won't have a perfect ratio for their science production. New player sets up vanilla purple science and likely has a bunch of extra rails around, encouraging them to try out trains. Krastorio does this too, for the most part, but amps up the difficulty (e.g. green circuits in the red science recipe).

This second consideration is why I don't love crushed ores in your blue recipe. There's nothing to do with them after you get a production line fed into science production other than to turn them back around and smelt them into ingots. Hence my suggestion of electric motors, heavy copper cables, batteries, etc - all things you're going to need lots of in the near future. There are surely other good suggestions too (not basic computers though ;).

Thanks again for the great mod.

PS - a cool mini-mod would be a universal science pack configurator that lets the player choose the science pack recipe for their game, with any combination of mods. Not sure if that's possible - can recipes be changed in-game?

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

PS - a cool mini-mod would be a universal science pack configurator that lets the player choose the science pack recipe for their game, with any combination of mods. Not sure if that's possible - can recipes be changed in-game?

Not literally in-game, no. But they can be assigned their ingredients conditionally during the game load, based on user's mod settings. Krastorio does something like this with its science pack options. I don't want to do that for IR recipes though.

- 2 months ago

I don't mean to suggest that IR should include multiple science recipe options. It's great that Krastorio does so, but that would create a lot of work for you and, I think, make it hard to balance the mod.

But a 3rd (4th?) party mod that lets an experienced player make their own choices would be nice. Of course, it's not that hard to just mod yourself, either. I had literally zero modding experience and was able to find and edit the science recipes to test out my suggestions in this thread - hardest part was figuring out the internal names of things (e.g. electric motor = "iron-motor").

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Perhaps I am missing something but I am destroying a lot of product (refined tin, iron and gold) to get enough of the other by-products. Lead first, but later on also Chrome and now if I want to use advanced oil recipes, I am burning gold to get Platinum. Can we get a method of creating these directly, even if from matter perhaps? I can't see any direct recipes. I'm throwing away 6k iron/minute at the moment to get enough chrome.

Thanks again for the awesome mod, you are amazing!

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Modules costs could use some serious tweaks! In Vanilla, module 3s are a little over 5 times more expensive than module 2s! Granted, this huge expense is offset by how easily module 2s are recycled, but this cost difference forces the player to make tough choices on how to use higher tier modules. IR naturally seems like a marathon mod so 5x the cost may be too low given how expensive/complex everything else is by comparison, but then there's also the design paradigm that early tiers aren't used to make later tiers so I'm not really sure what the cost ought to be if all of those module 2s end up being junk in very late game.

I could imagine say, tier 3 assemblers being limited to 3 modules and adding a tier 4 assembler using Chrome or Duranium which consumes tier 2 module in its construction so there's still a use for these modules. It even makes sense as primitive microcontrollers still have plenty of uses in the modern era of computing!

- 2 months ago

Having reached the iron age so far, the only thing that surprised me was the time cost for bronze/iron products being identical. I was expecting iron to take more time as it is a more durable material and the player will have plenty of machines by that stage. Great work nonetheless!

Just a note on this - increased times for tougher metals does kick in but only at the high tiers, titanium and duranium, to compensate for the high tier furnaces being faster (while still allowing mass smelting of low tier metals). With the middle tiers, the idea is that their melting point is higher and you need a better furnace, so that's why you can't smelt iron in a stone furnace.

- 2 months ago

It's good that you've thought about this. My comment was more in relation to ingots -> basic products processing.

- 2 months ago

It's good that you've thought about this. My comment was more in relation to ingots -> basic products processing.

The multiplier does apply to those too - but again, everything below titanium currently has a multiplier of 1x. I might take a look at it, but using fractional multipliers (e.g. 1.5x) can make set-ups really annoying, and it's nasty on players trying to leave the Bronze Age because that was all already a bit of a shock to the system for some people and trying to work with half-speed iron in copper assemblers might not be much fun ...

- 2 months ago

I do find the vanilla concept of smelting “raw stone” to stone bricks odd.
With most raw materials, crushing boosts productivity, but with stone, it changes the smelting result from brick to glass.

Combining stone and stone bricks would be one answer. (Calling it sandstone perhaps)
But I can see it making compatibility with other mods harder.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Yes, I've always found that bizarre myself. If they literally are "stone bricks" then arguably it should be a crafting recipe, with a gravel byproduct. Changing that now would break a lot of people's saves, though. I suspect it's a hangover from Minecraft - the creator of Factorio wanted a top-down modded Minecraft experience, and in Minecraft you smelt cobblestone into a cube of pure stone, for ... reasons.

- 2 months ago

Something to consider for an extension mod then.

- 2 months ago

Minor suggestion to recipe balancing: Iron Magazines take 5 Iron Rods, and are produced at 1 per second. In order to supply 5 Iron Rods per second, you need 2-1/2 machines making them, at 2 per second. Seems a better recipe requirement for Iron Magazines should be 4 Iron Rods.

Same with Copper Cartridges and Copper Bearings.

Looking forward to updates! Keep calm and mod on!

- 2 months ago

Because most of the metals are so similar to each other, one can literally re-use blueprints across ages. Swap the copper assemblers with electric and the recipe from copper to bronze or iron or titanium and it doesn't seem much changes. The extra steps increase the expense of setting up processing, both in extra assemblers and footprint, but the puzzle is ultimately the same. I suppose there are more arguments for tweaking efficiency and looking to determine if items should be mass produced and transported or produced on a per-need basis.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Because most of the metals are so similar to each other, one can literally re-use blueprints across ages. Swap the copper assemblers with electric and the recipe from copper to bronze or iron or titanium and it doesn't seem much changes. The extra steps increase the expense of setting up processing, both in extra assemblers and footprint, but the puzzle is ultimately the same. I suppose there are more arguments for tweaking efficiency and looking to determine if items should be mass produced and transported or produced on a per-need basis.

That's true for most of the most basic components, but I don't see it ever changing for those. That's what basic means. It's much less true for those items which are produced by the material system and are not basics - motors, large chassis, engines, pistons - which do vary in some way.

I mean, I don't see how I could ever make creating a featureless rectangle out of metal more interesting for iron than it is for bronze. My favourite part of Factorio is when you reach that point where it's time to switch to mass production and start dealing with actual logistics problems, supply and demand problems, instead of messing around with single assembler ratios.

This is more of a design preference than anything to do with "balancing".

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Hey man, amazing mod!
You mentioned the balancing of tin. I've ran into a bit of an issue with my factory after automating yellow science: Since tin is used in only a small quantity but yellow science requires advanced batteries, the ratio of lead as a by product of tin refining is too small for continuous production.

As of now, tin is only used by two "reliable consumers", namely red and green science packs. Assuming you set up enough assemblers with perfect ratios to produce one of each type of science pack per second, you end up needing
– 2 tin/s for red science
– 2/3 tin/s for green science
for a total of 2.667 tin/s consumed in science.
On the other hand you need 4 lead/s to produce enough batteries for an equal amount of yellow science packs.
That means tin refining would need to yield more lead than tin for a balanced production.
Instead it is as low as 20%, meaning that in a balanced factory lead becomes a major bottle neck.
(edit: fixed my numbers, I hope these are correct)

Of course tin is also used in a few other recipes, most importantly yellow belts and bots, but neither of these are necessarily used in such a massive quantity as to impact these ratios. More importantly, lead is used in even more recipes later on (mostly with nuclear stuff), meaning the issue will get even worse.

At this point I'm considering setting up an entire lead mine where I simply incinerate all the refined tin… If this part of balancing doesn't change it may be the only option that scales.
I don't really have a suggestion for what to change. The refining recipes with the fixed ratios for by products make it really hard to ensure balanced production for different play styles. At the moment I'm also seeing a slight over production of titanium, although nowhere as serious as the tin/lead ratio.
Maybe there could be an option to somehow turn tin into lead via some form of additional refining, similar to how you can refine different types of oil?

- 2 months ago

Yeah. Purple and yellow science both need changing. It was always risky to put the byproduct-only metals in them. I think the titanium in purple science is OK (although the steel probably isn't) but the lead in yellow science is a pain. Thanks for that numbered analysis though, it's exactly the kind of thing I need, even if it's numbers I've already run.

A fifth refining step is maybe the best choice - "acid washing" is currently the leader - although essentially that is not really qualitatively different to just burning the tin ... Psychologically, though, it feels better.

- 2 months ago

Yeah. Purple and yellow science both need changing. It was always risky to put the byproduct-only metals in them. I think the titanium in purple science is OK (although the steel probably isn't) but the lead in yellow science is a pain. Thanks for that numbered analysis though, it's exactly the kind of thing I need, even if it's numbers I've already run.

A fifth refining step is maybe the best choice - "acid washing" is currently the leader - although essentially that is not really qualitatively different to just burning the tin ... Psychologically, though, it feels better.

Just one player's view, but I like the suggestion you seem to be making with a "5th refining step" of an alternative process that outputs a different ratio of basic and byproduct-only metals. It'd presumably be less efficient overall, but more efficient at extracting lead/titanium/etc.

An alternative/complement is to have dirty water filtration produce some of these byproducts. Krastorio sort of does this, with dirty water filtration producing a little bit of sulfur and uranium. Lead and heavy metals extraction is a standard part of water treatment, after all.

Finally you could of course have rare deposits of mineable lead. I think I read you say at some point that you don't want more ores on the map, though. Krastorio has their "rich rocks", which allows extraction of rare metals from specific matches with late-game tech, without spamming multiple kinds of ore patches all over the map. I've asked them to include lead and chromium in the output of rich rocks processing already, but they don't seem ready to do that yet.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Seeing as 52% of tin is used in the production of solder, perhaps its usage in higher level circuits would provide an adequate sink?

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Seeing as 52% of tin is used in the production of solder, perhaps its usage in higher level circuits would provide an adequate sink?

There is mileage in this and I did flirt with the idea of solder or another tin-lead alloy before. The problem is that lead is unlocked unrealistically late - it's essentially a late game resource on the same tier as titanium. In the current electronics schema, that would restrict it to blue electronics only. You could maybe shoehorn it into red circuits if the requirements for building refiners were lessened (taking the red circuits out of them). I don't have much issue with sacrificing realism to make a fun game but even to me, it seems weird to have solder in high tier circuits but not basic ones, it feels like it should be the other way round. But the other way around is not possible because of lead. I don't want to move lead out of refining and into an earlier stage, it would break a lot of things and also overload the early game.

I don't particularly like the current electronics either though. It changed quite late in the playtesting process. The quantities and types of resources required are now exactly where I want them, I just don't like the recipes much.

Modern solder doesn't have to contain lead of course. But if solder was, say, tin-copper, then it's just an inverted bronze.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Early computers were often wire-wrapped devices, no solder needed. (or foil for that matter) NASA still uses the technique for wire splicing in space.

I did once experiment with using a single circuit item, and then having exponentially efficient methods of producing them, starting with valves and moving through discrete transistors to VLSI microchips.

- 2 months ago

Some Brainstorming:

Vanilla also has some kind of products only available in fixed ratios, leading to (intended) problems for the player to adapt to this. Angle of attack in vanilla is to give the player tools to convert products from one into the other (in various ways). The 2 examples here are oil and uranium. Both supply the player wih a fixed ratio of products. In different phases of the game the player needs different amounts of consumable products, so he has to adjust... ultimately this challenge should lead the player to a solution that is (to some degree) capable of adapting to the current need (e.g. heavy oli to lubricant if there is demand, if not it becomes helpful in light oli products and so on)

This angle of attack is not present for IRs tin / lead situation... well, it is, if you count destroying tin to get more lead as valid option. On a personal note, i dislike this very much, but yes it is a valid option. I would prefer very much an option to either change the ratio in the first place (e.g. by an additional recipy) or a method to convert one into the other (ot enable a vanilla like overflow mechanism). In this situation the later one would be the besser solution imho, because here the player can automate this solution to his need (and in the end, thats the main point of the game, no?)

- 2 months ago

@Stimpatch, in Vanilla if you have too much of a resource you simply stop mining it. IR forces the player to mine additional iron for titanium and mine additional tin for lead. Thus all four resources need to have a sufficient sink in case any of them is in abundance.

- 2 months ago

Obviously.

- 2 months ago

Actually, a surplus of titanium or lead isn't a big deal as one has the option to stop producing it.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

yes, my point here is: if you have a surplus of tin and need for lead, currently your only options are to increase storage space for tin (that wont get rid of the problem, it just delays it futher) or to destroy it alltogether. and while i love to be able to recycle intermediates or products i dont longer use, i hate to destroy perfectly fine tin. To me these 2 ideas seem kinda opposite to each other.

Well, if thats the best practice of how its done, then so be it. Just felt off to me, and providing feedback wont hurt (i guess?) In the end, converting recipies are nothing else than destoying one item and giving you another one for it.

- 2 months ago

In the end, converting recipies are nothing else than destoying one item and giving you another one for it.

That's true - but it wasn't actually my intention that players would feel like destroying large stockpiles of anything was the only viable way to progress.

I'm working on it.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Krastorio's solution is pretty elegant from a mod developer's perspective. Endgame raw material ratios don't have to be perfect if you can just chuck the excess into a matter converter. The player can then use the matter for whatever raw material they're short of (or for science, though I don't like matter=science and turn it off). Of course the process is super-inefficient but that's fine. It gets rid of the stockpile, and whatever you're converting the matter to must be inefficient for you to get normally for some reason. Krastorio does a good job of not having wild production surpluses/imbalances, at least under conditions I've seen, but small imbalances that can show up over long periods or in megabases are easily smoothed by matter conversion. I imagine that makes their (the devs') job a lot easier.

I'm not suggesting you import the whole matter system into IR, just that it's one model of a solution (and one that some segment of your player base already has access to).

- 2 months ago

id like to suggest making the rubber saplings drop with a bit more frequency, or perhaps lowering the amount of saplings needed to start up the first rubber forester. without a change and enough bad luck you might spend hours just roaming the map looking for rubber trees (as is the case with my current game)

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Seeing as 52% of tin is used in the production of solder, perhaps its usage in higher level circuits would provide an adequate sink?
Modern solder doesn't have to contain lead of course. But if solder was, say, tin-copper, then it's just an inverted bronze.

Don't make the solder an alloy. Heck, don't even make solder an item. Simply change Electronic Circuits to use a new item called 'Tin Foil' which is made the same way as the other foils, from a tin ingot and gives two foil, unlocked with Electronics 1 . Logic controllers and basic computers still use copper wire. Done. You now have a sizeable tin sink and reduced the burden of copper. (about mid game, I am using 3x the amount of copper as I am of tin). Tons of items require just the basic Electronic Circuit, and it is used the entire length of the game. With the additional use of tin, you now make it more likely you can get all the lead you need late game without bulk incinerating tin.

edit: I did the math on my current save. This would push the amount of tin used likely too far. Maybe 1:2 tin/copper foil or 2:1 per electronic circuit. If other people know their total copper and tin ore, plus electronic circuits made I could do the math.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Don't make the solder an alloy. Heck, don't even make solder an item. Simply change Electronic Circuits to use a new item called 'Tin Foil' which is made the same way as the other foils, from a tin ingot and gives two foil, unlocked with Electronics 1 .

In the development of IR there were other foils, including tin foil and platinum foil. They were removed in the drive to remove unnecessary overcomplication (yes, if you think the component list is daunting now, you should have seen it six weeks ago). There is still an easter egg icon that's not used by the current mod related to tin foil ...

I've stopped fixing bugs and compatibility issues with other mods that aren't interesting to me for the time being and have begun the Great Balancing. At the moment, the most promising way of boosting tin across the board looks like making glass plates into a "float glass" process that requires additional tin ingots, as suggested by a player (can't find the reference now). That introduces a lot more tin into the entire electronics chain, without hammering green science (glass ingots remain the same process).

I am also reworking / adding to the last stages of ore processing so that there is more control over main product / byproducts in the endgame. Will be taking a long hard look at steel, especially its use in science. Sulphur production had a substantial rebalance, reducing sulphuric acid production footprints by a considerable amount.

It will take me at least a couple of weeks to finish this, partly because I am heading out of town for a while next week.

- 2 months ago

My understanding of the float glass process is that molten tin is used as as workbench to produce level glass plates and it's not actually consumed. But then again, game/balance takes precedence. :D

- 2 months ago

What about adding an additional glass ingot recipe that uses powdered tin? You can sink crushed tin into glass at the moment but once you process it to get lead you can only use it to make things that actually require tin. Being able to use powdered tin in glass would mean you can process it for lead, and then put the tin into glass.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

I proposed a similar thing yesterday with the glass, would be a nice quickfix. Anyways yesterday i tried to figure out how many Fibre-Glass productions you need for 1 Yellow/s and i got a little headache with this 2 Fibreglass per 1,5sec thingy...
Another smaller annoyance is the steel-inductionfurnace: Why do you want people to hate those things? I will never ever use it if dont need to, they are in every aspect worse then the normal induction furnace (maybe except for the looks). So the comparison: Normal - Steel
Size: 9 -25, bigger is usually worse imo, you cant yellow belt under them, less transmitter effects
Modules: 2 - 2, really this big and not even an additional module slot or 2?
productivity: 2 - 4, this would be really good if it wouldnt be that big
pollution/productivity: 2 -3, it pollutes more
energy/prod: 120 - 150, it takes more power
size/prod: 4,5 - 6,25 , its still less room efficient
And for the cost, it feels like you need about 2 tank waggons worth of oil to produce one...

- 2 months ago

Why do you want people to hate those things?

Not useful feedback. They are scaled as intended.

- 2 months ago

Ok i got a bit emotional there, but i still provided comparison data to back up my opinion :-( So they are intended to be worse than the tech before? Very strange. This furnace is also the only Building with this kind of progression behavior.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

@Myricaulus: The top tier of every building type is invariably less energy efficient and more expensive than the lower tiers. Miners also get bigger with each stage, and don't even look at the quantum labs if you think the 5x5 furnaces are a pain. And finally, what are you on about with "less transmitter effects"? If you're talking about beacons, you can box a 5x5 furnace with 16 beacons, compared to only 12 around the 3x3 buildings. Or, if you're matching one or two lines of beacons to a line of furnaces, five/ten beacons instead of four/eight.
I explicitly do not hate them, and am, in fact, moving my steel production to Advanced Furnaces as soon as I finish researching beacons. Using a double line of beacons, 30 steel per second at +20% productivity would take 9 electric furnaces, 24 beacons, and 66 modules. Or 4 advanced furnaces, 22 beacons, and 52 modules.

@Deadlock989: I see a brief mention of the gold/titanium balance, but I sat down and worked out the numbers for the pre-rocket game. Sulphur does come into play here, so any changes to sulphur production/usage may invalidate my numbers.

If the intent is to switch to completely to advanced cracking before you start launching rockets, there is a surplus of 1.7-2.5 (85-125%) refined gold per science cycle (one each of the six science packs), primarily from the blue/purple/yellow triplet.
One of each science pack costs 250 petroleum gas, for petroleum coke (20), liquid plastic (135), and sulphur (95). Helmod tells me that using advanced cracking to turn crude all the way into petroleum gas takes 324 crude oil and (on average) 0.075 net platinum. (0.027 platinum to crack 108 heavy into 81 light, and 0.047 platinum to crack 189 light into 142 gas.) That much platinum comes along with, on average, 3.7 refined gold, but the total gold requirement for a set of six packs is only 3 ingots, or 2 refined gold.
The additional possible surplus comes from making copper ingots from refined copper (0.3) or copper powder (0.2) instead of crushed copper, and by creating gold ingots from gold powder (0.5) instead of refined gold.

I didn't consider productivity bonuses in here, because (1) I don't think productivity modules should be required to balance output, and because (2) I couldn't figure out how productivity bonuses could shift the platinum/gold ratio in favor of platinum.

Once you start launching rockets, you can balance things out, but you have to make some of your gold ingots from crushed gold ore until you start launching impulse probes, or you'll end up with too much platinum instead. I couldn't find any post-rocket situation where it is better to make copper ingots from crushed copper.

In case you or anyone else are interested, I’ve put my Helmod production lines at https://pastebin.com/D75h7erj . Helmod appears to have a bug where it won’t load the output quantities, though. To get the numbers above, I set the “6 non-space” production line to 1000 of each.

- 2 months ago

Wouldn't a simple fix for the tin surplus be to just make powdered lead smelting more efficient? You could increase the crafting time for lead powder in exchange, this way players could set up powdered and crushed smelting in parallel and switch depending on current raw lead storage levels/tin usage, and do the same for tin smelting to reduce tin ore usage in times of little lead need and increase it when lead runs low.

They same would work for all the other by-product ores. It already is possible to do this, bit it doesn't make enough of a difference to alleviate the current imbalance. Of course adding another tier of processing as you said would work, too, but you'd probably need to do a lot more work. You could also do my suggestion first as a stop gap and switch to leaching or whatever it will be later when it's done.

- 2 months ago

@dalestan - Thanks for that analysis. I think some of the changes I'm working on address most of it.

Platinum has always been a bit of an issue and I vaguely regret adding it (it was originally a full material with ingots, foil etc. but that was all removed as bloat, as well it being yet another pale grey metal).

The way ore processing works, I don't think it will ever be possible to perfectly balance production, although the new processing technology I'm adding will at least give nicer options around circuit-controlled balancing. If I can get it to a state where players only have to incinerate excess products because they simply made too much of it, I'll be happy with that. It is essentially the same multi-product issue that Factorio tried to address in 0.17.60 with the oil production auto-flaring in Basic Oil Processing, but I would prefer something a bit more nuanced if possible.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

(Ooops, double post)

- 2 months ago

And finally, what are you on about with "less transmitter effects"? If you're talking about beacons, you can box a 5x5 furnace with 16 beacons, compared to only 12 around the 3x3 buildings. Or, if you're matching one or two lines of beacons to a line of furnaces, five/ten beacons instead of four/eight.

Not the person you're responding to, but I understand the beacon relationship. Some of the beacons are only touching two furnaces and this is a very inefficient use of power/speed 3 modules., at least early on.

- 2 months ago

I immediately start yawning whenever beacons are mentioned. Most tedious and implausible mechanic in the game.

Advanced furnaces aren't ever changing. Their recipes might.

- 2 months ago

If platinum got taken out entirely and we just used gold, would that really affect much of anything? Isn't it only used in advanced cracking?

I also dislike beacons. Would be nice to get rid of them entirely and just have more module slots in buildings.

- 2 months ago

you'll end up with too much platinum instead.

I'm not seeing the problem. You'll end up with a small surplus of platinum, worse case scenario you incinerate. Which is the opposite of the tin/lead situation where currently mass incineration of tin is needed to provide enough lead. I'd much rather have a small excess of a high tier highly valuable item, than to have a huge excess of a low tier ready to be mined right from the map item. Getting things perfectly balanced doesn't seem like a valuable goal now that the mod provides means to deal with a small excess of product.

- 2 months ago

If platinum got taken out entirely and we just used gold, would that really affect much of anything? Isn't it only used in advanced cracking?

While I don't really care much about chemical/physical reality in my videogames, it was a nod to real life processes where platinum is used as a petrocatalyst. Gold is so abundant that you might as well have the advanced cracking not use a catalyst at all - which is also something I'm not ruling out.

I also dislike beacons. Would be nice to get rid of them entirely and just have more module slots in buildings.

I'm tempted.

- 2 months ago

I don't like beacons either, for what sounds like the same reason as you - they're unrealistic and gamey. But enough people love them that I wouldn't suggest taking them out. However I also wouldn't put much effort into designing buildings and production chains around their use. Seems like it would add a lot of complexity.

If you want to get ambitious and replace them with something else, maybe add a late-game research that increases assembly machine speed and power consumption (if that's possible)? Or just another tier of machines, with similar characteristics, plus more module slots (Krastorio does this already).

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Not the person you're responding to, but I understand the beacon relationship. Some of the beacons are only touching two furnaces and this is a very inefficient use of power/speed 3 modules., at least early on.

Yeah u say it, i like my factory efficient, especially on a death world where for every pollution generated one bullet needs to be made :-D.

- 2 months ago

Up! Does he changed purple science and its huge steel consumption?
I can make only steel with less productive way (smelting crushed iron ore instead of washing it), but it doesnt look like a good idea.
Or i can make simple storages, but I very-very-very dont like to make huge storages in factorio.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

These are the changes I have settled on for 1.0.0 which address most of the above. I want to play it through a bit more this week to double-check, but I'm happy with this as it stands.

One. A new tier of ore refining has been added. It uses diluted sulphuric acid instead of water. The process doubles the amount of byproducts you get, but destroys 60% of the main product. This enables the player to circuit-control factories to obtain the ratios of rare and common metals that they need.

Two. The amount of steel in purple science remains the same - it is actually less of a drain on iron ore than vanilla purple science is, it's just that the iron-to-steel ratio in IR is 1:1, meaning that there's no belt compression from making steel. In the end, I decided I'm fine with this as it is. However, all alloy recipes are now twice as fast as non-alloying ingot recipes, so the footprint of bronze and steel factories is greatly reduced. In addition, purple science has been substantially delayed. It now kicks in after Chrome Age and Electronics 3. Furthermore, purple science has been disentangled from yellow science - there are now a bunch of techs that require yellow but not purple. These last two changes together mean that the introduction of purple science happens later, and you can advance further without tackling purple science at all. Finally, the amount of titanium in purple science packs has been raised so that it matches the byproduct ratio from natural refining. That, plus the new ore refining technology, should take care of people's titanium mountain problems. The tech tree had to be reworked to accommodate all of this, so I took the time to extend the tree so that there are fewer "bottlenecks" as well, which (deliberately) increases late-game research costs.

Three. Glass sheets use a recipe which is a vague nod to "float glass" - essentially making glass plates require a sink of tin ingots, in addition to the tin gravel required for glass ingots. Electronics has been reworked so that green is used in red and red is used in blue, more like vanilla. This means that all electronics has a constant tin sink associated with it. Furthermore, solder (a cable-like alloy of tin and lead in the natural ratio) has been added to high tier electronics. Finally, advanced batteries were taken out of yellow science packs because the lead requirement was arguably too much before and is certainly too much with the addition of solder. All of the above makes tin a much more constant requirement throughout the Ages, although tin remains the least useful metal and that won't ever change.

Four. Sulphur, sulphuric acid, chromic acid and liquid plastic production rates have all been rebalanced/increased. Sulphur in particular is nearly 3 times as productive as it was.

- 2 months ago
(updated 2 months ago)

Will there be an option to double crush ore to get powder from tin/copper/iron/gold with ore crushing 3 or a later tech? It seems like late game the best ROI for making only ingots is crush-wash-crush-smelt, and then just destroy by-products like rubies and platinum, because its 1:2 ore:ingot ratio, which is far superior to 1:1.2 for just crush-smelt. I'm in the late game now and for gold/copper I'm debating just taking that hit for the greater simplicity of not having to worry about ore washing and the complexities it brings, since I don't need the byproducts.

chromic acid and liquid plastic production rates have all been rebalanced/increased

definitely happy to see this

- a month ago

My 5 cents

I think that Advanced mining Drills is underraited.

They cost radiculus amount of resoursas and have only x2 boost for mining speed and 4 moduls slots unlike electric drils
I can use just 2 of electric drils instead. It's cheaper and effectivier way for mining

Offtopic:

Will you change electric locomotive sprites in future? And what about Atomic electric locomotives? They will use advanced electric motors and Miniature fission rectors. MB titanium and chromiun parts
I know that there is old classic combustion locomotives with nuclear fuel, but i think it's a little bit unlogical how combustion engine uses nuclear fuel(!?), prepeared from rocket fuel and uranium(!?!)

Anyway thank you for mod and work! Ave Science

- a month ago

Will you change electric locomotive sprites in future?

Probably not. I really want a custom sprite for the different locomotives but designing and rendering a loco is a huge piece of work, extra-complicated because they are made of several pieces (i.e. the wheels are a separate layer which stays on the track). I am not a natural artist and can produce good results for some things but it would be very very difficult to make a realistic-looking loco in the same style as Factorio so it's one of those effort-to-result-ratio things that will probably stop it from ever happening.

Nuclear fuel makes zero sense but it exists - it even works in copper burner lamps which I find hilarious - so I don't think it will ever happen. It would be easier for me to build in support for third party mods which rework trains.

- a month ago
(updated a month ago)

I think that Advanced mining Drills is underraited.

They cost radiculus amount of resoursas and have only x2 boost for mining speed and 4 moduls slots unlike electric drils
I can use just 2 of electric drils instead. It's cheaper and effectivier way for mining

Then use 2 electric drills if you want the efficiency and cheapness. Several of the end-tier machines in IR are larger and less efficient in some way than the medium tier ones. It gives players choices and decisions to make depending on the situation. Bigger isn't automatically better in every way. The exception is quantum labs.

  • 2x electric drills with two speed module IIIs each mine at 2.5 + 2.5 = 5 ore/second, taking up 50 square tiles.
  • 1x chrome drill with four speed module IIIs mines at 7.5 ore/second, taking up 49 square tiles, with less energy efficiency and more pollution.

Some people find some of my choices around this kind of thing odd, but it's working as intended and won't change.

- a month ago

Closing this thread as it's gotten really long and is a nightmare to scroll around because those forums don't break threads into pages. 1.0.0 will be out soon.