Suggestion: Depots

I’m not a huge fan the way imports and exports work at the moment, primarily due to realism concerns. Not just realism, but I think it’s a missed opportunity to create a fun way to manage just how much we can import and export.

Right now, the primary limitation for every map is the number of available importers. This bothers me from both a fun and realism standpoint. Fun, because every production line I design is always hamstrung by the availability of importers. Realism, because despite having worked in several industrial environments I have never experienced a work place that is limited by how quickly it can receive and send goods. Every single one, without exception, is limited by its ability to perform its various jobs within the space available. In addition, again realism, goods are never imported/exported piecemeal, they are instead shipped in batches. I suggest we implement something along these lines.

So, allow players to create their own import and export slots. Not like the earliest versions of the game, where they could be placed without restriction, but with a new limiting factor. It just so happens that all the maps are pretty much perfectly designed to accommodate this idea.

I suggest depots.

Depots would be a special tile that can only be placed outside. Importers/exporters can only be placed on a wall when a depot exists on the other side. The depot would be responsible for holding cars ready for export or storing components before they’re needed inside the factory. Larger depots can store more goods at a time, which means items may be purchased in larger quantities at a time for a discount and cars can be stored for larger exports, reducing the overhead for transport costs.

How does that sound? I think it could add an interesting new element to the game while also making it a little more realistic.

Are importers a speed bottleneck? Maybe you can research faster importers so you are not throttled by its input.

In reality you do procurement and place orders which is abstracted by these importers automagically depending on the need.

An import “depot” you could just build one or more stockpiles and storge items in a buffer.

Yes, importers are a bottleneck on every map. Even with maximum upgrades and no extras or on-site manufacture, you need 4 importers per exporter. If you go for on-site manufacture and the optional extras, it’s more like 5.

It really takes me out of the game to have production capacity throttled by import capacity because no one does this. Why rent/buy floor space you can’t use? Why build production capacity that spends a lot of its time doing nothing? Why hire staff that spend loads of time standing idle? Every business owner prioritises local transport option over floor space for these reasons.

In the same vein, every map has idle space outside the factory units, even when you own the whole of that particular industrial estate. It’d be nice to be able to use a whole map.

I’m very interested in any ideas on this issue. I agree that the limitation of import slots can be a pain, and am open to suggestions. I do quite like the current system of them being in fixed locations (presumably you buy an existing factory with existing doors and loading bays), but am open to the idea of allowing the player (at some considerable cost) to create new import bays and export bays along any exterior wall.

How about a tech that is basically ‘import bay expansion’ that unlocks the ability to place new importers on any external facing wall, but at 4x the cost of an existing slot?

I like the idea of restricting it in this way so it becomes something thats is only viable in the late game, when you start needing it.

I can’t say I do, because it’s neither fun nor realistic. I understand the concept of sacrificing one (usually realism for fun) for the sake of the other, but not both. No one buys/rents factory units if they can’t push the available space to the maximum profitable limit. This is why I think we should have options to have more.

It certainly helps with the realism aspect.

Would you consider some sort of “bulk storage” concept to add another layer of design & construction to the game? IMO, it would be quite fun managing import and export stock in such a way.

The research tech is a great idea, it would certainly help in the late game. I don’t really like that import and export bays are different in the first place. I think there should only be one type of bay and I get to decide if I want to use them for import or export. I always end up having export slots I can’t use in the exact spot where I need a resource importer. I think the import slot should basically work like a stockpile that connects to the import bay.

I like the idea of having the ability to create my own import/export bays and it should be a late game option.
To make it a true late game option you could make it a special research option for import and export slots separately. With special research I mean that once you research the import bay for example you get a +1 counter on import bays to build and you will have to research it again if you want to build another import bay.
This also keeps research labs viable in the late game as you will never run out of research this way.

What about building a loading bay where a truck comes regularly and offloads a batch of materials. The loading bay has a small stockpile like all the other slots. Then you have to move them to a bigger stockpile. Then you have a huge area for storage, like a warehouse. More bays = more trucks coming in at once.

And you could add a new storage slot like this:

Then you basically have a parts warehouse where you store your buffer of materials. And since it can be piled up on height it doesn’t have to use as much space as the flat stockpile.

The disadvantage is that the delivery is not instantanous, so you have to wait a bit for a new truck to arrive with goods. But that is part of the planning.

You could also make an import/order interface where you see the goods needed by the factory, and you can prioritze what goods you want the trucks to deliver and how many goods are incoming.

I couldn’t agree with the OP more … for more realism I think there should be some kind of warehousing implemented. Ordering parts in bulk then from the warehouse/depot parts would then be transferred out onto the shop floor. The stockpiles could still be used as a go between from the warehouse/depot and the production line itself. I don’t think this would detract from the fun as it would only add another aspect to the production line… there could even be a research aspect that auto buys for you depending on your sales.

I do like the idea of warehouses, I have to admit. Another option might be to double-up on export bays, effectively converting existing ones to have another slot next to it?
I agree something must be done, its important to make sure it doesn’t wreck current game balance. My leaning right now is towards an expensive ‘build your own slot on an exterior wall’ researchable option (with expensive implementation).

This is an acceptable solution, as it solves the “parts import is the bottleneck problem”. However, I still feel that it’s a missed game play opportunity in the form of designing stock management, buying items in the appropriate sized bulk quantities, having to provide sufficient storage before it’s moved into the production line, etc.

Greetings all, my first post but I have been in the Alpha for a while now. Congrats on the release on Steam.

Now to the topic at hand. I’m also not a fan of the importers as it reminds me to much of Big Pharma. I wouldn’t mind seeing import slots that are loading bays that trucks arrive at and drop off parts that then go to a storeroom that then dispatches parts to the line. You could allow upgrades to the stores/warehouse area in the form of loading bays for trucks and also dispatch zones that allow more connections into the factory with an obvious limit to both so you would need to build more import areas with stores/warehouses.
I also wouldn’t mind seeing the inclusion of a new dispatch capability in the form of forklifts that carry racks of items to different points on the line such as windscreens, tyres, various large panels, etc. A pathway for vehicles to travel along would replace the current conveyors so the areas would need to have a clear roadway between the different points for access. This could be combined with the current conveyor system with upgrades as well such as more forklifts, etc. These could all be incorporated into a stores/warehouse area where part imports would start their journey, adding a purchasing system would allow tycoons to stock up on various parts and there could be sales and bulk buy discounts. This would be on top of the automated general importing of required parts but the player could also set thresholds for parts in stock so if an item drops below this number it would be ordered automatically. A delay could be added to arrival times as well making the expansion of import areas crucial to the smooth running of the production line.

Love the game so far Cliff and I hope you can continue to add features or change them in an effort to improve the game, keep up the good work.

I like some of the ideas in this thread.

As a Shipping and Receiving Supervisor, irl, we have to deal with real-world logistics on a daily basis. There is no such things as a magical window that materializes needed product instantly. Everything we order, and ship out, is due to planning.

I love the idea of having to order raw materials, and planning ahead to safeguard against shortages, or buffering against fluctuation in prices. It would add a whole new layer to Production Line, if the player had to also deal with material shortages. lol. perhaps too frustrating? idk, its just an idea.

But there is NO magical window in real life. Logistical supply is a HUGE aspect of EVERY business, and it doesnt start at the door.

well frustrating is fine, the whole game concept is basically weaponizing frustration and OCD :smiley:

So this thread has laid dormant for sometime now with, as far as I can tell, little update to the game in this respect since.

I’ve got no straight forward solution to the issue either but I do quite like the idea of some form of depot importer where you have to get the resources into the factory from. This however isn’t going to be the simplest resolution to the issue and obviously not that easy to quickly add in.

In my factory my biggest limiting factor now is the speed in which I can get resources into the factory. I simply can’t get them in quick enough. I’ve had to throttle back my initial slots on the factory by removing the extra robots to try and ease the flow and stop all the bottlenecks causing issues. I could produce far more cars an hour by simply getting the resources in quicker.

I think the simplest solution is that add the ability to create more importers. I’d quite happily research this and pay extortionate amounts of money for them too if necessary as by this point I’ve got plenty in the bank. It’s more about seeing how much you can push it.

Larger stockpiles not help? You could effectively have a custom sized stock pile, if it was “stretchable upon placement”. This means you could purchase one of the expansion units and just make it a whole supply stockpile, with a stock limit of something crazy.

You could essentially create a depot with a stockpile I agree.

In my scenario this still wouldn’t help with getting the resources in quick enough though. The issue i’m starting to get is demonstrated in the screenshot below. I have importers that aren’t particularly busy nearby to where the resources are required. They aren’t however being utilised as the route planning dismissed them as being too far away.

So turns out I can’t add the screenshot as the forum Quota is full?? Bu basically there’s about 12 slots all attached up with 3 resource importers, 2 are queuing 40+ items and one is queuing 2.

In other areas though I simply don’t have the number of resource importers to get the resources in quick enough. Even if I could stockpile before running the factory that would help with sudden bursts of traffic but that doesn’t happen in the factory, it’s a constant stream so the stockpile would be used up for the excess and then I’m stuck back with resource importers being that busy with supplying the slots I’d never be able to re-build the stockpile of resources, so it wouldn’t solve the problem.

You could upload your image to and then link it.

I guess I’ve not really gotten to the point where I have a huge factory yet to be able to witness this fully, but I do get occasional bottlenecks which are just rediculous

I’ll try get some decent screenshots to demo.