It would be cool if you eventually allowed for hiring maintenance personnel that would walk on walkways and they would repair or maintain all the robots. Realistically a machine does not run forever once you buy it.
In a real car factory you have specific walkways where people can walk to access the robots etc.
If you do not pay for regular maintenance you have the risk of machines breaking down and having to pay for repair. But if you pay for regular maintenance this chance is reduced significantly.
This would add three new layers to the game:
- People logistics, you have to plan where they walk and make space for it
- Risk/reward by paying for maintenance or taking the risk of a break down, halting your production. Might be an important choice early game if you can afford it or not.
- Money sink with maintenance
We definitely have plans to introduce breakdowns into the game, and reliability as well. I like the idea of the trade-off a player would have to make between buying the high quality expensive robots that hardly ever have faults, versus the cheap ‘budget’ robots which break down all the time
its something we will probably be adding later.
Regarding people walking around…this is more tricky. basically the most cpu-intensive thing in a game is often path-finding. The game actually does a lot of it already, with the resources that navigate the conveyor belt system to get to each slot. With the player constantly adding and removing slots and moving/editing the conveyor network, this gets really complex, and in the HUGE factories its quite a CPU hog as it is.
Adding characters who navigate between everything would be even harder. doable of course (everything is) but very tricky.
Also i’m not sure it would be the best trade-off between fun and effort but I do have a compromise suggestion that has been on my todo list for ages.
This would involve 'area-of-effect slots such as a maintenance station. Basically a new slot placed down, not on a line, but wherever the player chooses, and it has some maintenance dudes and tools. This slot would reduce the breakdown probability within a certain radius, and speed-up the rate at which breakdowns would be fixed.
I think that would be much simpler to implement and achieve a similar result in terms of gameplay, but I’m open to argument about it
You know best about the perfomance impact.
Maybe you don’t need 100 of people walking around. It kinda depends on how often you want things to be maintained or broken down. If you reduce the amount of maintenance needed there will be less people needed to do pathfinding and thus less CPU usage.
You could perhaps even remove maintenance, not requiring people walking around all the time and only send a person when something has broken down. Making each station have a reliability until they break. This makes it more transparent to the player for how long a robot works. And if you buy the better version, it has longer reliability. Then it should not occur so often.
But maybe you need to still calculate pathfinding every time you build/remove a tile despite a person walking around or not.