Lets talk about resource conveyors


#1

I’ve seen it mentioned that people would rather have more control over where resource conveyors join up. Right now, if you place two lines of conveyors next to each other, they always join, like this:


And people do not like that because it means they cannot make certain lines ‘exclusive’ and thus control where stuff goes.
What I understand is that you would much rather place down resource conveyors in the same way as the overhead conveyors, where you can have parallel lines.
Is this the case?
I’m asking so I can gauge how important this is, because it involves a fundamental re-coding of that part of the game. Its a pretty big undertaking and would take some time. Currently the system is quite simple because it just looks at whether a tile has a conveyor belt or not and makes connections to adjacent tiles automatically.

I guess what I’m asking is, are people keen to change this specifically, or is this just to fix other issues which this need is a symptom of? For example, is this because you feel you do not have enough control over where resources come from to go to a slot?
Is this because you think resources are not moving quickly enough and you are effectively getting traffic jams on conveyors?

I ask because in effect, I would be reducing the functionality by making the routing system more complex, and I don’t want to do this when fixing other issues, or introducing newer GUI controls would make more sense.

For example, would it be better to be able to select a slot and insist it only gets resources from a specific location, or from a specific type of location (local production only maybe?). Would it be better to simply introduce more resource importers, or add a new type of importer that only imports raw resources rather than finished components? Do we need more tech that makes importing and conveyors even faster?

The easiest thing would be to leap into the code and go for the first suggested change but I want to make sure the game ends up with the best possible outcome without overcomplicating things for casual players.


#2

I would like to see 2 types of importers we can put down, 1 imports components only and not raw materials, while another only imports raw materials. Together with it’s own resource conveyor in a different color, so it’s easy to identify what conveyor is transporting components and which one is moving raw materials.
I never really noticed any difference in speed of import and conveyor speeds when doing the research, so maybe boost the speed bonus for them somewhat.
It would be nice to see the resource conveyors act the same as the car conveyors, so they don’t snap unless you tell it to do so. But for me personally, it’s not critical.


#3

I definetly agree with these ideas, even though i feel that making resource conveyors working the same way as car conveyors is more important because i don’t like to mix resource supplies lines.

Having different types of resource conveyors may be nice and i like the ideas having these shown in different colors would be nice if this is made. Maybe a part of a efficiency research, where at first there wouldn’t be any distinct lines, and then being able to specify if a line would accept raw resources, manufactured components, or both.

For the resources conveyed speed and density, i feel it’s true once i begin to use more specialized workstations since they often can stock more than one batch of resources, which makes the supplies flow less critical. This i why i trend to favor specialized workstations above efficiency. It’s surely more time consuming, more expensive at first but with much less efficiency losses due to lack of resources conveyed. I don’t know if it’s made on purpose or not though, but there may be a balance issue here. Having the resources speed and density increased more by research would be nice, especially for small factories or low budget beginnings.


#4

Hi Cliff,

I don’t know the point of view to others but on my side it’s just the fighting with the automated calculation of the source. The limitation of map design result very often in a long wall with a lot of Resource Importer slots. So when creating a powerfull production line with a lot of parallelized slots it is hard to get the importer slots balanced well enough. This may result in dedicated routes from a single Resoucre Importer to a group of production and/or manufacturing slots:


In the real world you have a powerfull software that will manage the material flow and will set the switch at the right time for the resource to pass this switch. But to get and keep such piece of software and hardware running at a convenient level is hard work … At my point of view building up a complex network of conveyors, switches routes etc. could be a nice feature to all who want to play Production Line like a production simulator.
So I’ld like to keep it as it is but at a point the missions will be enhanced with a adjustable difficulty level this would be a great feature.

This would be great to meet a bit both worlds (casual & simulation) and is my favorite. It would allow some more influence to the material flow e.g. it allows to request parts from a production slot that is far away. But this would require to have that feature at all locations where components are requested. This could allow to move parts from one stockpile to another one over longer distances …

I hope this will help and lot wish you some more feedback from others.


#5

What if we could have either filtered (using the functionality of stockpiles) importers or filters within resource conveyors… That could be a tech that needed to be researched.

Also, a possibility to edit (or remove, more likely) connections of a normal resource conveyor to a single direction. There could be an editing mode for res. conveyors that would remove an existing connection from the source tile and the chosen connecting tile. This way the normal construction wouldn’t change but the player could make changes to the network if needed.

Just my 2 cents,
M


#6

Something I’m just coding right now may help people visualize production flows a bit better. Supply stockpiles and manufacturing slots will soon have this feature, where highlighting them shows both imports AND exports (in blue)



#7

Idea, just make two or three different color resource conveyors that can’t connect to the other colors but connect to each other. I know that would also be useful for identifying where they go/what you use them for. Such as specific lines, imports/stockpile to production, etc.

Only place they should be able to connect would be a stock pile. Or maybe a special connector for that?

With out a special connector possible color means could be:

  • Blue - General connects to anything
  • Red - Imports only
  • Green - From stock pile to production line

#8

Stock piles with the ability to edit what they accept would certainly help!

The main issue is the need to split the factory into multiple “networks”(isolated sections of rail) to reduce bottle necking and to regulate what goes where (i.e. completely isolating fitters from importers to force the use of produced parts).

Stockpiles would provide an interface to control the flow of resources, currently done by seperating off diffrent demands into diffrent networks.

So while currently a production network might look like this with isolation between the two networks;

A stockpile that only accepts raw goods could be used as a filter and then all connected to the same network, (while i’ve not adjusted it here this would allow for more compact design as the current design has a requirement of no edges touching to preserve isolation.)

Similary for when the problem is one importer bottlenecking as its the closest the same method can be used by splitting up what each importer can import so that further away ones can be uterised as well. Compared to complicated multiple-types and fiddly linking up conveyers that seems a solid way to manage imports.

One thing is this does make the game easier by removing one of the design challenges, although one that basically just boils down to finding more space, and that previously could be solved by adding a isolation tile.


#9

So how about this…
We have a new button on a production slot (whether that means fitting components to the cars, or just producing components, such as making car doors). That button would be ‘resource management’
That button would launch some new GUI that lets you select a resource, and specify whether it should only use locally produced goods, with a checkbox. Maybe an option to ONLY use local, and one to 'prefer local (ie: only use imported if there are literally no locally produced goods anywhere).

In the absence of such rules, the current behaviour still stands, but this lets you select specific slots and specific resources and force them to use local stuff.
Yes?
No?
Would doing that be enough to fix the behavior people want without having to make changes to the auto-linking of resource conveyors?

I also think it would be fun to lock that button behind ‘resource management’ technology in R&D :smiley:


#10

I think just from the visual side of it- there should only be a single “pole” from the floor to the ceiling that is more centralized to the tiles and has the same 2 arms, just so it looks less cluttered…

As far as the import management problem goes, it really depends on how other things are developed as well. Like stockpiles. So, unfortunately, I think its too early to say which system would work better or not.


#11

I have just found and fixed a bug where supply stockpiles stopped working immediately after load (until routes changed) which may make the whole system seem much more controllable :smiley:


#12

That would solve the issue of not using imported goods, but not the issue of the nearest importer getting super overloaded while further away ones are barely used. Where as stockpiles would allow for more distributed importing as well as managing local vs imported.


#13

I think while both having non-auto-connecting Resource Conveyors and an option in each production slot whether it should use locally produced components or imported ones or at least prefer locally produced ones would be “nice to have features”

… I think that both approaches eventually wouldn’t fix the problem of the same few resource importers being clogged. Some players who don’t optimize their layouts by separating the resource import lines from one another would still complain that a lot of slots go for the same few resource importers because they don’t know that the slots will only look for the two nearest slots.

So the problem would persist… and eventually I think the only real solutions to the underlying problem is one of the following:

  • Each slot looks for more than 2 reachable Resource Importers and using a penalizing factor to pick a resource importer using a formula like
total_time = importer_queue_length * time_per_spawn + importer_path_length * time_per_tile

And then pick the reachable resource importer with the shortest total_time.

But that of course would be a performance trade-off because each slot would have more alternatives to check.

  • The other solution would be to give each resource importer the option to manually override which resources/components it can import. That way it would be impossible for all slots to clog the same few importers.

#14

A simple fix could be selecting a stockpile or machine, and then choosing what importers to link them to
This can be done in a single file line, or queue, or a parallel line so that you have the load separated to 50% or 33% etc across 2 or 3 etc importers.
So if you have a queue of 2, and if one of those 2 or 3 importers in the line get overloaded then the secondary importers will handle it so that you have that 50% load sharing in tact.

Serial:
Import1 100% load
Import2 backup

Parallel:
Import1 50% load, Import2 50% load

Parallel with a queue:
Import1 33% load, Import2 33% load, Import3 33% load
Import4 backup, Import5 backup, Import6 backup


#15

Well that’s a player issue surely? The solution there is guides and learning, maybe some in game description of how importers work could be added before release.

The issue as it stands is comberson to get around, in some instances involving large ribbon-cable esque lines of resource rails, but with stockpiles and a resource GUI puts the tools in players hands to solve in a more sightly manner.


#16

With that viewpoint then nothing needs to be changed about how resource imports, conveyors or stockpiles work currently. Everything works just fine if you actually know what you are doing and how to get around the limitations.


#17

Still missing a button so: +1 / I agree :slight_smile:


#18

This is a long thread so I haven’t read it all so sorry if my suggestions have already been made. However for me my biggest frustration with the importers is how hard it can be to tidy them up once they are laid. So if you lay a factory out one way, then decide to rearrange it, you will end up with a lot of “unneccesary” resource conveyors. In a big factory removing all the now unwanted conveyors can take forever. So my overwhelming vote is to be able to select a whole area of conveyors to delete in one go. If we had that I think it would solve a lot of other problems, because it would be a lot easier to “trial and error” different routes.


#19

Thats a good point, maybe demolition should be put in place first.

http://positech.co.uk/forums/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=18140


#20

Somewhat adrift here - it would be helpful the conveyor overlay appears when you click its icon, rather than when first you start drawing them.