Resource and Crafting Rework : Resource Container and RMFI

NeonGreenShades

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#1
Manufacturing block's rework is long overdue. Even after the introduction of components, it did not solve a lot of the core design problem of how resource and crafting works.

With Payload asking the community for suggestions on crafting, I'm proposing a rework concept to make resource and crafting less complex and less prone to break. While it has its downsides , I believe it will be easier to implement in co-op immensely instead of either completely disable manufacturing or attempt to forcefully add into co-op.

What problems exist with our current system:
  1. Players may found creating a whole new production line for a block discouraging to use Fabricators as selling resource and buying blocks is a lot more convenient.
  2. Following 1, current conveyors plays a factor as they are easily jammed or bugged, it is also one of the source of performance issue.
  3. Following 1, there are players who enjoy creating crafting base or multipurpose base using conveyors (despite 2) causing conflicting standpoints
  4. More to discuss.
The concept comes in multiple parts,

1. Remove the concept for conveyor belts
This is going to be the most controversial part, I'll elaborate further later.
Without conveyor blocks, resources will not bottleneck near refineries and factories. It will also put a lot less strain on processing each single resources in the world. Now resources picked up from collectors will directly transfer into the tech instead, providing they have enough space on it.

2. Resource Container Blocks and Resource Transfer-er
RCB.png
Re-purposing Resource Blocks, instead of fabricated from a certain amount of the resources, they act as 1-type silos to expand your tech's resource inventory, the more containers, the more types of resources you can store.
  • Container size will be depended on which corporation's container Blocks. GeoCorp has the biggest, venture has the smallest.
  • Resource Transfer-er works like Chargers but for connecting techs and transfer resources between them. Their transfer rate and range doesn't have to differ from Corporations as I see no reason other than being a hindrance, but possible.

pickup.png
  • If the container is destroyed with resources in it, 50% (can be changed for balance) of them will drop as a indestructible cargo pickup that can be collected by running it over / with a collector. Storing Containers in SCU will also drop cargo but fully. Same as in co-op when ran over.

3. Resource Management Function Interface
RMFI.png
(Make-shift UI)
Resource Management Function Interface or RMFI (Re-mi-fee) is a tab located above your block inventory button , it shows the each container on your tech and how full it is. It will also be used to control manufacturing blocks
  • Refineries will refine raw resources into refined ones as long as there's extra storage containers to place them. You can select which type of resource to be processed and how much by dragging the slider or ticking "Repeat". Refineries will look similar to the existing one, but will not have input/output and has a tank behind. Different Corporations has different processing speed and capacity. GeoCorp's refinery can process a lot at once, while Venture's mobile refinery process very quickly
  • Delivery Cannons has the same slider. It will fill a capsule and launch resources. Again, different corporations has different efficiency.
  • Power generators can be toggled on and off, it will automatically take any burnable resources as fuel unless you mark a certain container for it.
  • Fabricator will have the same UI, but more on that later.
Edit1: Continuing the Disadvantage List
Edit2: More about Disadvantage List and updated intro
Edit3: Adding more on Disadvantage, adding "problems with current system", and separating the parts for word limits.
Edit4: My point on removing conveyors, more moving.

Continued in the comments.
 
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Mr-Vagabond

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#2
Disadvantage :
- No cool looking base

-No more satifaction to find a design that work

:(

Yes I like making big sorting/stocking/crafting base

the idea is good, but i dont like it, and that will give dev a lot of work when they have already so much to do
 

DrShadox

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#3
Reason: It's hard to store many types of components without using the current silo.
Reason: There's no need to build around conveyors in mind.

I don't use silo since something like 0.8

My main base have 11 GC fabricator set to "repeat" for each Ressource Block existing.


Also make a working conveyor belt system for auto-mine-reffine-selling erudite is one of my last pleasure in game since i've already did everything (beside building).

Also about crafting to be honest i've pretty much never craft things ; i've around 47 millions BB without selling any block (only ore) , so (1) i've enought money for buy everything and (2) , i've already gather enough block on killed mob.

About crafting disabled in coop , it will be "fixed" in the futur i think , so even if for now it's not cool to be limited about that , i can wait.

So yeah , i can understand , but i'm against ^^
 

NeonGreenShades

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#4
Let's talk about pros and cons.

Advantage

  1. Simplify manufacturing without changing the core loop (Harvest -> Transport -> Storage -> Craft/Sell) while adding a new potential source of resource (Enemy resource transport techs).
  2. Following 1, this will also encourage players who only buy block to actually use the fabricators, as they no longer need to build a production line just for it.
  3. Less physic engine processing and junk creation
  4. Following 3, Easier to implement in co-op
  5. Reason to build around protecting storage and transportation
  6. Eliminates the long bottle neck problem that has been haunting Payload studio and release notes

Disadvantage

This will be listed with reason, work around or notes (If apply)

  • Building around Conveyors maybe a great experience for the players
  • Components will be irrelevant, so does factory.
Reason: It's hard to store many types of components without using the current silo.

Work around: Introduce a dedicated Component Storage Block that stores all types of Components, but requires a storage block to be scripted with storing different types of item in mind

  • Most of the current system will be scrapped and rewrote from the start
  • Techs and bases will be simpler, slapping on a refinery and calling it a day
Reason: There's no need to build around conveyors in mind. But at the same time it will brew up new type of Large base designs.

  • Many existing blocks and techs will not work
  • More to list that we may not seen yet.
So why removing Conveyor, why not fix/replace it with pipes or some sort?
If Payload can fix conveyor belt, they would have done it when they introduce components. I believe there's a reason that they are now asking community for suggestion instead of fixing conveyor belts, in fact, I think the current system won't have an issue at all if conveyor isn't buggy and processing power demanding. Maybe Payload has hit a roadblock on conveyor belts and are also thinking alternatives for it. That's why my take on conveyor belts is no conveyor belts. Hey, we don't need to wire batteries together, so why not built-in conveyors for every blocks.
Pipes are basically conveyor belts that doesn't show the resource chunk while instantly transferring them, and it seem like a good idea in the first place. However, I can't agree on this half-baked idea as it also eliminates the need to design production lines, which is the big point for players who wants to keep conveyors in the first place. So I'm personally more of removing it completely

I hope to see your view on this and discuss on it.
 
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#5
As a novice in the field of coding, the concept of pipes to replace conveyor systems would not be as taxing on processing power in a 1 for 1 scenerio. There are many things going on that will cause lag issues with the convayers including;
  1. The code to search for direction, occupied/non/move... essentially to get one object from X to Y - per conveyor unit.
  2. The beam graphic that follows the resource assigned to the conveyor node.
  3. The positioning of the resource as it moves, or as the tech moves (interaction with the physics engine in general)
  4. Mechanical function dependant heavily on visual factors

There are two options from a coder's point of view: Visual pipe and Digital Pipe.

Visual Pipes would be glass-like, allowing one to see inside, and more importantly, the flow of resources. This would replace conveyors. The Up/Down would become the Elbow, and the Alternators would become 3-way, 4 way or 6 way splits. This removes the beam graphic, and allows for a more "compact" but not micro factory. Pipes can be run side by side, top and bottom without worrying about clipping resources. It also removes the interaction with the physics engine to calculate drag when on a moving tech. The different factions can hasten how fast a resource can move through a pipe - which would be as fluid as ... well... fluid. X time to move from point Y to point Z. X variable based upon Pipe faction.

The downside is that this leaves the problem of bottlenecking...

DIGITAL Pipes would remove the restraint of having to visually convey that X resource is moving through that pipe. Digital Pipes could be used to allow resources to "overlap" or for a chance that a T intersection will "pause" the main route to allow the intersecting pipe to feed a material in, much like an inverted Alternator.

It could also allow for double flow, or "return" pipes, perhaps a higher tier item for moving unwanted objects back to sender when a fabricator is calling for a specific item. Arguably, this could be done with the Visual Pipes, but it would be heavily compacting two pipes into one space with tiny visuals - losing the glorious effect of transporting goods.


This is not to say the two options are exclusive. Visual pipes have a lot of the same drawbacks as Conveyors, but are less dependent on physics to move, and don't take up 3 high spaces and are prone to bottlenecking. Digital Pipes are the improved big-daddies... and as such could easily be the same pipes, reskinned and higher tier. Give them a little animation like dots flashing in the direction of the flow, like the current conveyors have arrows.

And if you want that instant transport... Max tier "Summon Modules" or something for those who just want their crap now.






As for using the Resource Blocks as silos... That would reduce the amount of entities in the environment. I like it, but again worry it might mess with size. This could make micro techs almost as commonplace as the wall of lasers. I like it, but I'm not sure what the developers are really aiming for by redoing the crafting. If they WANT it convenient and as a mainstream part of the game, the ability to tack on one or two primary resource blocks to a viable combat tech would be amazing.


If there's enough interest in the code side, I'll elaborate more. For now, this was a quick thought for a quick response.
 

Captain Load

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#6
Manufacturing block's rework is long overdue. Even after the introduction of components, it did not solve a lot of the core design problem of how resource and crafting works.

With Payload asking the community for suggestions on crafting, I'm proposing a rework concept to make resource and crafting less complex and less prone to break.
I don't use silo since something like 0.8

My main base have 11 GC fabricator set to "repeat" for each Ressource Block existing.


Also make a working conveyor belt system for auto-mine-reffine-selling erudite is one of my last pleasure in game since i've already did everything (beside building).

Also about crafting to be honest i've pretty much never craft things ; i've around 47 millions BB without selling any block (only ore) , so (1) i've enought money for buy everything and (2) , i've already gather enough block on killed mob.

About crafting disabled in coop , it will be "fixed" in the futur i think , so even if for now it's not cool to be limited about that , i can wait.

So yeah , i can understand , but i'm against ^^

So the devs asked for opinions on crafting? Yet another thing I somehow missed, like all the other cool stuff I hear about but never see anywhere in the forums.

The ideas put forth by many folks are commendable but often miss the central point which DrShadox pointed out: crafting is currently meaningless. In the 0.6 days crafting meant something. Sometimes the only way you could obtain certain blocks was to to fabricate them. That's almost never the case now..in fact, its exactly the opposite. You'll find all sorts of blocks that you haven't unlocked yet just by hunting techs. And if its not unlocked you can neither build or buy a block so the incentive is to hunt techs full time. "Manufacturing" now consists of:

1. Buy a dozen dirt-cheap autominers.
2. Stick trios of them on erudite seams in starting forest area.
3. Put a refinery and d-cannon with a couple well-placed receivers next to each mining spot.
4. Profit! I mean, yeah, obviously...but you can have enough wealth before you max out a single license to buy anything. Run missions and kill techs while raking in the BB and you'll be wondering what to do with your money.

That's the extent of of people's manufacturing activity now - automining, refining and selling. Sure, you could craft components and sell them but you'll never make money as fast as you would just selling refined chunks. The crafting system needs a complete overhaul and everyone knows it. So..what to do? I think the answer is a combination of the old and the new but somewhat re-imagined. The first thing I would do is change the block group name from "manufacturing" to "industry". Its just more accurate. NOTE: the suggestions that I'm about to put forth will make the game more like it was a couple years ago when crafting was actually important. Most of these changes could be tied to a higher difficulty level if such a feature were introduced.

TBC due to absurd 5000 character message limit (*sigh*)...
 
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Captain Load

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#7
MINING BLOCKS

* Galactic Survey Organization Autominer: Uses current autominer model and mines at half that block's speed if unpowered. This would be the "Basic Extraction Rate" (BER) and the basic unit of measure for all extractors. Supply the autominer with enough juice to idle a GSO repair bubble and the extraction speed increases by half (i.e. 150% BER). The cost of the Autominer will be double what it is currently and other miners will also see cost increases commensurate with this. Its frankly insane that such a useful and complex device is cheaper than a Pacemaker.

* GeoCorp "Highwall" Autonomous Mining Rig: 50% larger than a GSO Autominer this machine is pretty tough and doesn't get knocked off its node easily. Includes its own solar panel and internal battery which powers it well enough to mine continuously almost twice as fast as an unpowered GSO Autominer (i.e. 175% BER). If its provided external power equal to what's needed to idle a GSO repair bubble the mining speed increases to 225% BER. At most you'll be able to fit two of these on a single node. Has a special attach point just below its output port. If a chunk-receiving block such as a conveyor or refinery is hooked to that AP the output port swivels down to direct chunks to the accepting block. Needless to say the Highwall is in a different price range than GSO's bargain bin extractor.

* GeoCorp "Hydra" Core Mine: Twice the size of a GSO Autominer a single Hydra covers a node completely. Nearly as tough as the GC Highwall, the Hydra deploys multiple robotic drill heads to pull up ore even quicker than its smaller cousins. Requires external power equal to what an idling GSO shield bubble demands. By default it mines at 200% BER and it has a special top-mounted tractor pad to neatly store the fruits of its labor for pickup. Also has a socket that only accepts GC Hydra Dongles (zero-depth attachments similar to a fuel gauge or GSO 1x armor plate). There is a dongle for each type of ore and if the attached dongle matches the ore being mined the extraction rate increases to 250% BER and the mine's power demands increase slightly as well. This unit will also alert its owner via the tech manager if it can no longer extract ore for any reason (played out node, unanchored, etc).

* GeoCorp Hydra Dongle - [ore type]: see previous entry.

* Venture "Wildcat" Mobile Mining Rig: The product of extensive R&D by Venture contractors who may or may not have done time for claim jumping. This small mining rig doubles as a portable anchor and if deployed over a resource node it will do its best to extract the contents. Normally it mines at 75% BER but if provided with enough power to run an idling GSO shield block the rate increases to 100% BER. Its rather heavy for a Venture block so lightweight mobile techs really need to be built around this unit for successful operation and getting more than one to successfully anchor on a node is very difficult. (One of these really needs to be the only anchor on a vehicle to work unless you're very patient and clever.) While its only about two-thirds the size of a GSO Autominer it costs twice as much and takes more advanced components to build.

TBC due to stupid forum limitations...
 
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Captain Load

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#8
MANUFACTURING BLOCKS

Refineries, fabricators, factories and d-cannons would run at 75% of their current speeds by default. This should help with the jamming I keep hearing about and should also encourage the use of more silos. (Personal note: as long as chunks always have two free spaces extending out from the side that's opposite the conveyor block their hovering on I never see a single jam. Typically that would be two open spaces above a chunk but could be to any side of it depending on the orientation of the belts, silos and so on. Be especially aware of this when using ramped or curved conveyor blocks.)

* GSO Pacemaker: Must be attached to the production circuit it is affecting. In some situations this could require the use of multiple pacemakers on a single tech to maintain a uniform speed. Pacemakers have the following speed settings: Paused, half, normal, double and triple. Double speed will cause all fabricators, factories and refineries in the production circuit to use a small amount of energy (each drawing perhaps 30% of what's required by an idling GSO repair bubble). Triple speed will double the amount of power needed.

Scrappers: All scrappers will operate at 50% of their current speed by default. If part of an industrial circuit that is set to double or triple speed by a pacemaker the scrapper's energy usage will be x1.5 that of other accelerated blocks.

GSO Component Factory and corporation dongles: Each corp will now have their own versions of the complex and exotic dongles as well as their own versions of the components at grades two and three. Functionally they'll all be the same but recipes will be adjusted so that you need the corp-specific version of a complex or exotic component to make a corp's block. The factory could either be remodeled and enlarged enough to accommodate two more recessed attach points or the dongles could still stack but only on that AP. The factory "throne" will be the only spot where you can attach dongles, and duplicates will fail to attach. This will make each factory capable of producing components from up to three different grade and faction combos. Most players will probably opt to have a single factory for each corp but some may choose to configure factories by component levels or even some mix of the two. This scheme expands on the established paradigm of universal block compatibility combined with proprietary corp designs (as we see with the portable terminals and fabricators).

Compressed Resource Blocks and their replacement: I have never liked the CRBs..they simply make no sense to me. What does make sense is something many others have mentioned over the years: some kind of refined resource transporter. Here's my concept:

Compressed Resource Blocks: Gone, reduced to atoms.

* GSO Industrial Resource Transporter: A derivative technology to the SCU, the IRT is the same size as a GSO SCU but instead of pulling in blocks it picks up loose refined resources and components. When not connected to other IRTs each has its own discrete inventory accessible via radial menu which can hold up to 120 refined resources and components, but I'll call them all "chunks" for simplicity. When multiple IRTS are anchored and connected they combine their inventories. Mousing over an IRT will display the number of chunks it currently holds in inventory. IRTs are issued a unique number when purchased/fabricated. Extracting resources from an IRT is done the same way as it is with an SCU or store. Clicking on a chunk extracts one of that type onto the ground. There is also a radial menu option that will rapidly empty an anchored IRT but it cannot be interrupted once started. However, the IRT has another useful feature - it also works as a virtual silo and can be connected to other blocks that can request resources. When anchored and connected to a GSO Filter, Alternator Conveyor or chunk-accepting manufacturing block the IRT will switch to output mode and provide chunks and components just like a silo. It can feed to multiple industry blocks just like a regular silo can. It cannot capture and supply blocks at the same time: to switch the IRT back to "tractor" mode you have to detach any blocks that accept refined resources. Warning: if an IRT is destroyed all the fabricated blocks it contains are lost in trans-dimensional space!

TBC...
 
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Captain Load

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#9
MANUFACTURING BLOCKS (CONTINUED)

Players are able to manufacture a block so long as they have the required resources, manufacturing blocks and "blueprint" (recipe). Normally you'd need to have reached a certain tier (which correlates to block grades) with a corp license to unlock a blueprint but there may be other ways...


SPACE JUNKERS GONNA JUNK YOU UP

* Space Junkers Reverse Engineering Dongle: This block resembles the dongles used with component factories but it attaches to a scrapper instead. It activates whenever the scrapper receives a block that the player hasn't unlocked yet. The block will take twice as long to scrap as normal because its being analyzed. When recycling completes a new blueprint might be added to the Space Junkers fabricator. The dongle will emit a sound cue to indicate when a new blueprint is obtained. This will be an SJ version of the original block which is produced using SJ versions of components. The SJ knock-off will have different properties from the original (and perhaps even use an altered model). The differences could be almost anything the devs could imagine but probably shouldn't be too extreme. Some blocks might be impossible to reverse engineer until the player's SJ license is high enough. If there is no SJ verson of the block being scrapped then it is simply recycled. If the devs thought it was appropriate there might also be a small chance for the analysis to fail.

* Space Junkers Hybrid Engineering Dongle: If this block is attached to a non-SJ fabricator the blocks it produces will be SJ-modified versions. However, production will be slower and require more energy than normal. Only one HED can be attached to a single fab - attempts to attach another will fail.

SJ's own fabricator would be needed to produce the blocks that are hybrids of two blocks from different corps. I for one welcome our incindiary Megaton/flamethrower overlords.


TRADE AND MONEY

Reigning in the motherlode: One of the biggest problems with the crafting economy is the high return on mining. Two pieces of refined erudite can net you enough BB to purchase an autominer. Even raw resources are worth around half what their refined forms are so you can literally drive around the starting forest for about ten minutes and get enough erudite to put three autominers on a node. Unless the powers-that-be are heavily subsidizing miners this is Bizarro World economics. The payout for raw resources needs to be cut by at least 60% and the same goes for refined forms. I'd make the reduction 75% myself. This is probably the single most effective change that could be applied to the crafting economy.

Pop-up Trade Station: Occasionally one might encounter an unusual feature on the landscape. This trade station vaguely resembles some kind of landing craft and may appear at any time. It will only hang around for 48 hours before floating back up into the great beyond but it won't take off during trading - a light will start blinking on top of the station a minute before it departs, at which point an odd pulsing noise is heard. It carries a seemingly random selection of wares from every corp, some of which you may not yet have unlocked. Quantities are always very limited and the prices are considerably higher than they would be direct from the manufacturer. The mysterious TS also buys chunks but payment is a bit lower than normal and it seems to rely on SCU-type technology rather than an integrated d-cannon for processing.

Transaction fees: While there are no actual taxes on the frontier (yet) the parent organization behind the GSO does charge modest fees on all transactions between prospectors and corps, as well as inter-corp trade (after all, someone has to pay for all those GSO trade stations). The fee is 5% of the value of anything purchased or sold. Yes, they get you both coming and going. NOTE: this is a much-overdue money sink and still won't make much of a dent, but its something.

TBC, naturally...
 
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Captain Load

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#10
OPTIONAL IDEAS OLD AND NEW

Alloys: Before the age of components and dongles we had something called alloys. These were a combination of two different refined chunks and they made perfect sense in a future world of super technology. I would love to see these beauties get a second chance.
  • Advanced GeoCorp Refinery: Being a major mining concern GC has learned a lot about metallurgy as well. Currently their the only corp that knows how to make advanced alloys from the alien minerals found across the frontier. The GC Advanced Refinery will accept a pair of refined chunks and through the application of nanites and Big Pete's aftershave transform them into unique new materials that science can barely comprehend. Each refined resource is part of at least three different alloy recipes. The resulting meta-chunks can be used to make higher quality versions of certain blocks as well as unique, cutting-edge technology that has no equal (or you can just sell them for the highest profit this side of exotic components). NOTE: a new filter setting for alloys would be extremely helpful. Certain scientifically-oriented corps would probably make extensive use of alloys..
Stone: Yet another item lost to the march of game builds was stone. Once upon a time ore was only found in surface nodes (i.e. rocks and crystal formations). The by-product of grinding up those big rocks was...smaller rocks. They had no real purpose that I can recall back then although a number of ideas were suggested. If stone chunks made a comeback they could be put into a...
  • Geocorp Mobile Stone Processor: Its is a special kind of mobile industry block that accepts small rock chunks and transforms them into condensed concrete blocks. These tough 1x1 blocks can be used to build new types of items such as walls, monuments, platforms and other durable features. Concrete will travel on conveyors and can be stored in silos or fed to d-cannons though the payout is pretty low. Concrete would need its own filter setting.
 
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Hlebuw3k

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#12
I personally would want something a little more complicated for crafting, because im used to complicated stuff, and its always fun. You should make a poll with a few options like "keep the same" or "make easier" etc.
But your idea seems really good, i imagine most of the players would prefer it instead of existing one
 
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Captain Load

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#13
I personally would want something a little more complicated for crafting, because im used to complicated stuff, and its always fun. You should make a poll with a few options like "keep the same" or "make easier" etc.
But your idea seems really good, i imagine most of the players would prefer it instead of existing one
I purposely didn't make suggestions that re-added a lot of complexity to crafting like we had in the old days. The devs clearly decided at some point they needed to chase the console dollars even though a game like TT doesn't lend itself to console play at all. I try to make suggetions that I think are realistic within the limitations of console gameplay. Also, I have no idea how to make polls.