Idle Hands Do The Factory's Work
May 26, 2016 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Kill some time building a production line with factoryidle, an idle game about factories.
posted by cortex (232 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
Every upgrade I had to rearrange my whole layout again. Time was killed. Now I'm waiting to get my $34M or whatever.

Tip: click and drag the screen around to see what neighboring areas cost to find out which to buy.
posted by Phredward at 12:39 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh god yes
posted by rustcrumb at 12:52 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


This game is amazingly fun and interesting. I feel guilty saying it, but I like it way better than Factorio. It's simpler and more friendly for tinkering whereas with Factorio I feel like I have to tryhard.
posted by Nelson at 12:54 PM on May 26, 2016


Dammit. Blocked at work. *PriceisRight fail music*
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 12:57 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


I played it for a couple hours and now it won't load in my browser again and there's still time left at work waaaahhh
posted by backseatpilot at 12:58 PM on May 26, 2016


* ties belt around bicep, taps the vein *

I'm burnt out on Clicker Heroes (I'm at ~2600, all there is to do is go higher and get the newer heroes).

BRING ON THE NEXT CRACK!
posted by numaner at 1:12 PM on May 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I have a Metals Lab feeding Metal Reports into a Research Center, but I don't know what that actually does.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:12 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


One hour left at work today, then off for an extra-long weekend. I wonder what will await me on my return.
posted by zinon at 1:17 PM on May 26, 2016


I have a Metals Lab feeding Metal Reports into a Research Center, but I don't know what that actually does.

The reports increase the workfulness of the research center, making more research. And if you feed metals in the lab it will increase the lab's workfulness, making more reports.
posted by Emma May Smith at 1:18 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Metal Labs seems to boost Research Center production by a small chunk for every "report" unit it conveys into the RC. So, by paying a premium (MLs are more money than RCs both to build and to maintain), you can get better research generation per square foot with an RC and an ML than with just two RCs.

It gets a bit crazy once you start feeding metal into the ML, because then it produces a bunch more reports each interval, which then boosts the RC's output considerably as well. But that's a bit pricey because at that point you're generating e.g. iron that you then turn around and spend on fueling the ML instead of selling to generate cash.
posted by cortex at 1:19 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


oh boy, web Factorio!
posted by boo_radley at 1:59 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I guess this is the same guy as made reactor idle
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:06 PM on May 26, 2016


If you enjoy this, you should read The Goal.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:13 PM on May 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah this is like clicker Factorio? When does Stardew Valley Clicker come out? I better get to marry Shane...
posted by msbutah at 2:38 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I see that the help mentions my metal labs should be making waste, but they're not afaik. Not that I'm complaining, but I put a recycler in and it was just chewing up my metal reports.
posted by JauntyFedora at 2:41 PM on May 26, 2016


I have to start over. I suddenly got in the red.
posted by zardoz at 2:57 PM on May 26, 2016


This is interesting. Really kinda wish it showed how much it costs to buy more land, though.
posted by kafziel at 3:14 PM on May 26, 2016


... nevermind, you have to click and drag.
posted by kafziel at 3:23 PM on May 26, 2016


Oh I do love a bit of tetrising. Figuring out a more efficient layout is like a little tic tac of joy, it reminds me of modifying ships in Infinite Space. About the only thing I'd wish for is a higher frame rate so I can watch the little bits smoothly zipping about.

Should I just get Factorio if I'm enjoying this?
posted by lucidium at 3:25 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Steel factories aren't much good, are they? Coal costs so much that it just seems to make more sense to stick with iron.
posted by koeselitz at 3:27 PM on May 26, 2016


Steel factories aren't much good, are they? Coal costs so much that it just seems to make more sense to stick with iron.

Once you buy some upgrades (for both production output and cost reduction) steel gets much, much better.
posted by cjelli at 3:31 PM on May 26, 2016


Should I just get Factorio if I'm enjoying this?

I think there's room for both, but yes. Factorio ditches a lot of the "build it and wait" elements of clicker games and instead you're building and running stuff at the same time, constantly.
posted by JauntyFedora at 3:44 PM on May 26, 2016


I'm kind of stumped on how to make steel production profitable, but that's because I'm a terrible captain of industry.
posted by grumpybear69 at 3:48 PM on May 26, 2016


To make steel production profitable the foundries need to be at or near 100% efficiency. Preferably the coal too. I don't think the cost of any of the building scales down if they're operating at lower capacity. Make sure to balance your inputs/outputs. The specifics of what you need depends on your upgrades though.
posted by JauntyFedora at 3:52 PM on May 26, 2016


If you hover over a building on the left hand bar it will show how many of each building you need to feed another to 100% efficiency. Build according to these ratios. When is a building is built, hover over it to see if it is working to 100% efficiency.
posted by Emma May Smith at 3:53 PM on May 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


You can build conveyer belts to other buildings.
posted by jeffamaphone at 4:09 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow, Factorio looks really cool, and really, really intense. The closest comparison I can make is to OpenTTD or one of the Anno games, maybe.
posted by teponaztli at 4:13 PM on May 26, 2016


You can build conveyer belts to other buildings.

You can also loop them outside then back in if you're in a tight squeeze. And you can build conveyor belts which cross over other conveyors.
posted by Emma May Smith at 4:16 PM on May 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Thanks JauntyFedora, I'll have to check it out.

Re waste from metal labs, it looks like the creator removed that recently and hasn't updated the help text.
posted by lucidium at 4:20 PM on May 26, 2016


goddamn you cortex
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:36 PM on May 26, 2016 [15 favorites]


This is pretty much my job, so, just the exact thing I don't want to do at home. While I'm at work, as a "training tool", however.....

Also, take heed of Jacqueline's suggestion. It's an easy read.
posted by Fig at 4:50 PM on May 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


> You can also loop them outside then back in if you're in a tight squeeze. And you can build conveyor belts which cross over other conveyors.

This makes a huge difference, I almost doubled my earnings thanks to the conveyor belt advice.
posted by lucidium at 5:30 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


One word for you all. Plastics. (Feeling smug because I hit that 10x income inflection point that is the hallmark of clicker games.)

I like this game so much. There's two very clever bits of game design.

One is how the building upgrades change the ratio of things so that you're constantly redesigning your layouts. Ie to start the ideal ratio for iron buildings is 4 buyers : 2 foundries : 1 seller. But then you upgrade the buyers so you only need two, and demolish the other two, and suddenly you have new space to expand to. Etc etc.

The other cleverness is the irregular factory spaces to build in. It seems super-annoying at first, but the layout puzzle would be a lot less interesting if you just had a blank rectangle. The ability to conveyor materials between buildings is particularly intriguing.
posted by Nelson at 5:47 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, plastics is a nutso jump once you hit it it turns out. I'm slowly tearing out all my hard-won steel-production infrastructure in favor of little self-contained units of plastic production, though it costs like $600,000 to deploy a new line completely so I've had to sort of build, wait, build, wait, etc. But it's sure going faster now that a few are up and running.
posted by cortex at 6:03 PM on May 26, 2016


Discovering you can build conveyors outside the buildings is one of those great moments of gaming revelation, I really enjoyed it.
posted by xiw at 6:53 PM on May 26, 2016


Ok now I'm really starting to get this game. I thought it was some dumb clicker at first but nothing could be further from the truth. Fantastic!
posted by zardoz at 11:04 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


This scratches an itch I never even knew I had.
posted by Spatch at 2:29 AM on May 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


The ability to conveyor materials between buildings is particularly intriguing.

You tell me this now, when I'll be away from my computer all day?
posted by nubs at 5:24 AM on May 27, 2016


I'm looked up from the screen and it was 1:00 AM. I burned 4 hours on this game and didn't even notice.

Damn you cortex!!!!
posted by Doleful Creature at 5:25 AM on May 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


So you can get from Iron to Steel economy within maybe an hour or so. After that, you have a bit of a slog to pick up metal research tech. Along the way you probably can buy the four expansions along the bottom and left side of the board. Once you set up a metal lab and fill your space with still production, it seems like you have more or less an overnight/workday of idle time to build up enough research points to buy plastic tech. Beyond that, I don't know. Yet.
posted by rustcrumb at 6:10 AM on May 27, 2016


Have "Bonus ticks" shown up for anyone else?
posted by lucidium at 6:12 AM on May 27, 2016


Yeah, when I came back to the game after dinner last night, I had "bonus ticks" but I'm not sure what they do. I was busy trying to move from iron to steel.
posted by nubs at 6:31 AM on May 27, 2016


How exactly do these metal labs work? Do they need to be fed with steel or something? Because I can't get mine to do anything - they sit at 0% productivity, and there doesn't seem to be any explanation of getting them going.
posted by koeselitz at 6:56 AM on May 27, 2016


It's not very well explained, but just sitting on its own with an output, it should spit out a single metal report every 20 ticks. If you've input any metal, it will use that up and spit out an extra few reports at the same time.

Feed those reports into a research centre, and it will spit out extra research points each time is has a report in stock.
posted by lucidium at 7:10 AM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Bonus ticks show up under a "Fast" forward button. You can use those ticks to temporarily speed up production.

I've got plastic unlocked but found it terribly difficult to produce anything without the sorter tech as well. My first attempt at a plastic line was a comic fiasco: I'd set up two output conveyors, one to the plastic seller and one to the garbage, and all the plastic dutifully marched down the line to the garbage while all the actual waste piled up outside the seller. I was glad I had saved my giant steel line before trying for an upgrade in the name of progress.
posted by Spatch at 7:10 AM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, so, yes! That mixed output bit! I figured it out sort of with a bit of experimentation and then got confirmation from something somewhere (mefightclub? some post on a subreddit maybe?), but here's the skinny:

If you have a factory unit that shoots out more than one item on a tick, like the Plastic Maker with it's starting output of 1 plastic and 1 waste, it'll spit them out into its available output conveyors divvied up one per conveyor until it's done emitting, looping back around to the output channel as needed.

It does so in a fixed order: it goes clockwise from the left-most conveyor on the top face of the unit. So a Plastic Maker is a 2*3 unit, which means you could in theory attach out conveyors in ten different places; two on top, three on the right, two on bottom, and three on the left. Those could be counted starting from the leftmost of those top spots as 1, 2...3,4,5...6,7...8,9,10, where it counts clockwise and 8, 9, and 10 are the lower, middle, and upper of the left-side spots.

In practice you're more likely to have only one or two outputs. And if you have two outputs, the Plastic Maker will deliver a plastic to the first, in order, and a waste to the second. So the trick there is to make sure you've got the right conveyor going to the right target: have your waste output attached to a more clockwise spot on the Plastic Maker than the plastic output.

Spatch is right about the sorter as a general solution, but you don't need a sorter to deal with plastic output. The two-channel system will do you pretty easily. (If you're not careful when you first set up the channels to Plastic Seller and to Recycler while the machine is running, you might get clogged lines because of waste trying to flow into the Seller, in which case just zap that conveyor and rebuild it. Pausing helps if you want to not take the risk of a messy tick.)

Further to that, though, you can also pull it off with one output conveyor from the Plastic Maker, which then splits into two channels. A conveyor branch point like that functions the same way as a factory unit: at the branch it'll serve the incoming material up divvied out evenly in clockwork order. For a single conveyor that branches into two paths, that means 1, 2, 1, 2... going first to the earlier path clockwise and then to the later. So you could have a single output from your Plastic Maker, and then wherever is convenient have that branch to give you your plastic and waste paths, if you're in a tight spot where you can't spare the extra room for two outputs.

(This seems also to work for tri-branching points in a conveyor, divvying 1, 2, 3, 1, 2 , 3... clockwise, but I have nothing yet that needs to divide by 3s so I haven't used it for anything.)

This message brought to you by Americans for a Sorter-Free America
posted by cortex at 7:36 AM on May 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


Woke up this morning to enough research and capital to significantly upgrade my plastics production. And then completely wrecked everything for awhile with the resulting imbalance; if you don't run a plastic factory at 100% efficiency you waste a lot of money. And with plastic tech 1 the carrying capacity of the conveyor belts become a problem; the plastic factory consumes 20 items / tick, which I think is exactly the max capacity of a belt. I had problems with things getting jammed up until I split the inputs to two belts.

Some extra resources.. There are a few Help screens in the game worth reading, it explains how the sorting thing cortex just described works. The subreddit is useful for tips and spoilers. There's a bookmarklet there that resizes the game area so you can see the whole map at once.
posted by Nelson at 7:41 AM on May 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


oh my god, i'm not going to get anything done at work today and i'm totally going to get fired and this is all your fault cortex for posting this :(
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 7:50 AM on May 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


While we're all here, how's everyone doing with cookie clicker? I'm still waiting on the last couple of "Have 300 x" achievements.
posted by lucidium at 7:54 AM on May 27, 2016


I finally came back to Cookie Clicker after a long time away, some time after the 2.0 update dropped, and am almost topped off now; I'm a day away from 300x Antimatter Condensors, and then it'll be a slog for Prisms, and I've got almost the entire ascension skilltree bought up and will probably finish that off next ascension.

I was also delighted to discover the achievement you get for clicking on the ? tile for that un-earned achievement.
posted by cortex at 8:18 AM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd like to think that somewhere there's a financial analyst with their head in their hands, a graph of global productivity on their screen, a tiny little notch on a line that would be seemingly insignificant if it didn't represent countless trillions lost, a tragedy marked by a plaintive label: "Cortex posts Factory Idle to Metafilter"
posted by Eleven at 8:23 AM on May 27, 2016 [7 favorites]


I liked that one, eliminating ways to interact until you end up clicking it.

Steel production gets hard to keep efficient once you hit the "50%" upgrades. It's recommending six coal and four iron foundries per three steel foundries now.
posted by lucidium at 8:23 AM on May 27, 2016


I haven't experimented with it yet but is there a capacity to the conveyors? If I have a steel foundry that has to get fed coal and iron, can I have the coal output to the same conveyor as the one that feed iron into the foundry or will that jam up the conveyor?

Also it seems that the game doesn't really run when you've got the window closed and instead generates bonus ticks. So, when you come back to it, if you have a bunch of research and can unlock stuff, it would make sense to upgrade what you want to upgrade, re-build your assembly lines, and THEN use the bonus ticks so you burn them up on what should be higher income output.
posted by VTX at 8:25 AM on May 27, 2016


Conveyors do have a max capacity, yeah, something like (don't quote me on this number) 1 item per tick after which the conveyor itself becomes the chokepoint for stuff trying to deposit output onto it. I've had a couple of nasty traffic jams as I upgraded various components to higher output rates and consequently flooded my heavily merged conveyor systems; you just end up needing to lay a little more road, as it were, to handle the throughput.
posted by cortex at 8:28 AM on May 27, 2016


> Also it seems that the game doesn't really run when you've got the window closed and instead generates bonus ticks.

Ah, that makes sense. Nice way to do it.
posted by lucidium at 8:36 AM on May 27, 2016


I did eventually get to the point where my iron ore production was upgraded to the point where it took more than one conveyor to empty each one.
posted by ckape at 8:36 AM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


is there a way to rotate things?
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 8:51 AM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Bonus ticks are really helpful when testing a new configuration; you can accelerate time and see how it converges.

BTW this game seems to be by Inditel Meedia of Estonia, which I think is really just Oliver Leisalu. There are some other projects on the site including at least one other game. FactoryIdle has some modest ways you can pay to accelerate the game a bit. I'd like to throw him a few bucks, but buying these things always feels like cheating to me. Maybe I'll just buy some tickets and not use them.
posted by Nelson at 8:57 AM on May 27, 2016


is there a way to rotate things?

No! That's the fun.
posted by Emma May Smith at 9:00 AM on May 27, 2016


Another question for those who have taken a deeper dive into the mechanics than I have been able to (stupid really important conference I'm attending with my boss so I can't play). Does the length of a conveyor matter? I've been trying to keep everything short to ensure speedy delivery but my anecdotal observations last night made me wonder if it matters.
posted by nubs at 9:04 AM on May 27, 2016


If everything else is otherwise the same, length doesn't seem to matter, no, unless at some point some much more complicated track timing/switching mechanics come up that I haven't seen so far as I dive into plastics.

The main downside to using a lot of conveyor is that's taking up square footage that could in theory be used for machinery instead. But depending on how stable your current workflow is and how much space you have to work with (and how willing you are to tear everything down to try and rebuild more efficiently) that may be something to just shrug off on the short term as maybe wasteful but hey it works.
posted by cortex at 9:07 AM on May 27, 2016


The length matters when you have machines that take two types of input (iron and coal, for example). If your iron has to come down a long conveyer you may fill up the steel machine hoppers with coal before any iron arrives, since no work can be done without iron. This will backup the coal feeds. If you merge the inputs so that they come in on a single line, this can cause both inputs to backup and no work gets done at all until you clear the lines and rejigger everything.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:12 AM on May 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wow, I didn't know you could merge two types of input. Time to rework everything.
posted by Mitheral at 9:14 AM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Plastic! That is a big jump in money, I'll be able to afford another plastic line in almost a tenth of the time.
posted by lucidium at 9:19 AM on May 27, 2016


I love this so much that I had to ban myself from logging in at work. Thankfully, the power of the Idle game comes in leaving it the hell alone... though I will admit that I did have to drag myself away from optimizing my plastics line *just a little more* before leaving for work (late) this morning.

Has it been confirmed that it makes more economic sense to research with Iron than Steel? The steel doesn't seem to give much more of a "production bonus" based on what it costs (in space and resources) to produce compared to Iron.

I'm looking forward to the wonders that unlocking Aluminum will bring.

Have "Bonus ticks" shown up for anyone else?
I'm pretty sure that Bonus ticks are the result of leaving the game paused for a long period of time. They are a way of catching up to where you would have been if you clicked "unpause" before going AFK for awhile.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:28 AM on May 27, 2016


I haven't figured out how to run things with the upgrades I've got. It says 4 iron + 6 coal for every 3 steel, but my iron keeps getting backed up and clogged. I think something is wrong with the way I have the conveyers arranged but I can't figure it out.
posted by quaking fajita at 9:45 AM on May 27, 2016


A screenshot could help, qf. But chances are you might need to separate out your iron lines (for example, if you are collapsing them down to one and then distributing out to 3 steel plants).
posted by sparklemotion at 9:50 AM on May 27, 2016


something to just shrug off on the short term as maybe wasteful but hey it works.

My overall design philosophy in a sentence :). Thanks, I am trying to maximize space efficient, but sometimes I wind up needing to run a longer line in an effort to maximize inputs.
posted by nubs at 9:56 AM on May 27, 2016


If you use the arrow to hover over a building it will show an Efficiency number. That's a good way to check whether you're getting max production.

Also some of the upgrade descriptions seem wrong. Like the Plastics Seller 1 upgrade says "sells 50% more resources", which made me think it was going to sell an awkwardly odd 3 plastic at a time, but actually it seems to upgrade 100% to 4 plastic at a time. The tooltips on the buildings themselves seem correct.

I just learned that it's way, way more efficient to have like 3 metal labs feeding a single research center. Doubled my research by deleting a bunch of research centers and replacing them with more labs.

If you haven't figured it out yet; two conveyors can cross each other at right angles. This is remarkably useful.
posted by Nelson at 9:57 AM on May 27, 2016


Screenshot here. I am a terrible captain of industry.

On a related note, I had a great time last night playing Banished, which is....remarkably similar.
posted by quaking fajita at 9:57 AM on May 27, 2016


qf, the chokepoint where all the iron comes together onto one belt is an issue. What I ended up doing was a single belt from 1 iron foundry to each steel foundry and then a fourth belt splitting into 3 to add the extra third each steel foundry needs.
posted by Hactar at 10:11 AM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


That's odd. I have a lab which seems to produce no waste but produces enough reports for two research centres.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:16 AM on May 27, 2016


I created a picture with what I was talking about. I erased the belts that need to go and added black for where the new belts go. To avoid confusion (hopefully), the red is a belt that crosses one of the black belts.
posted by Hactar at 10:23 AM on May 27, 2016


Looking at it some more, if you're still running into efficiency problems, try having each coal buyer have it's own belt into the steel foundry.

And I'll be leaving now.
posted by Hactar at 10:25 AM on May 27, 2016


I'm loving this! I needed 1/4 of the metals to go into the metals lab for optimum report density so I split the pathing out of the steel foundry:

I can see myself playing this for a long time, holy cats.
posted by one of these days at 10:35 AM on May 27, 2016


Quite pleased with this lab setup. It gets a little under four research points per tick.
posted by lucidium at 11:09 AM on May 27, 2016


Thanks Hactar, got everything to 100% now.
posted by quaking fajita at 11:23 AM on May 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is where I'm at.
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:03 PM on May 27, 2016


Your images are making me anxious to pull my laptop out. Fuck the afternoon keynote!
posted by nubs at 12:19 PM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


And now I need to idle for a while. Maybe I should play factorio while I wait.
posted by advil at 1:13 PM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah! Fuck it!
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:17 PM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm torn between ditching some income on renewed research, and bearing it out for a while idling with my current pile of plastics-related income. Once you can buy into production efficiency for various plastics sources and steps you can get the footprint of a production unit down really far, and squeeze a lot of production capacity out of the sub-billion-dollar portions of the initial map.

Here's my favorite bit of that setup at the moment: a tiny plastic dynamo squeezed into the bottom left corner, A2 I think, all at perfect efficiency. The rest of my map isn't currently as tightly structured because I laid it out while I needed more gas per plastic maker and I haven't quite wanted to tear it all down and rebuild just to optimize around that.
posted by cortex at 1:22 PM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


That's odd. I have a lab which seems to produce no waste but produces enough reports for two research centres.

Oops, yeah, me too now. I didn't understand why labs took multiple metals. Iron was the cheapest so clearly I should just supply the lab with iron and be done with it. I only realized later that if you supply a lab with two things (say, iron and steel) then it will use both of those simultaneously to produce more reports. I haven't worked out quite what's most efficient, but given the running costs of the labs and research centers anything that maximizes output has to be worth it. I'm reproducing the same sort of thing now in the oil/gas/plastics tier.
posted by Nelson at 1:32 PM on May 27, 2016


OK, I could be headed home for a long weekend, but I'm too busy with my fake factory (while sitting at a real factory) instead. Thanks a lot cortex.
posted by Fig at 3:19 PM on May 27, 2016


Configuring sorters is not obvious at all. Someone get this game a UI Interaction designer!
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:54 PM on May 27, 2016


I think I've hit a plateau after the gas & oil lab, unless I'm missing something about how to get the most out of it.
posted by lucidium at 4:43 PM on May 27, 2016


I monkeyed around with RC2s and the Gas&Oil Labs and am getting a little bit of traction there, with a well-developed plastics setup; my current, not-optimal but not-bad setup is getting 19.1 research/tick out of two RC2s, two GOLs, and an oil buyer, a gas buyer, and a third of the output of a plastic maker feeding the GOLs to boost gas&oil output to the saturation point for the RC2s.

Costs a fair amount to run, I think it's eating on the order of $1000/tick out of my revenue (which is about $6500/tick as a result now, thanks plastics!), but it's also producing a lot more research in a lot less space than I was seeing with the earlier, more sprawling RC1 setup.
posted by cortex at 4:51 PM on May 27, 2016


Do you have a few research upgrades bought? I've got two plastic powered labs feeding four RC2s (it's enough that one can't absorb the papers), but I'm only getting 17.3 r/tick. I'm going to upgrade my plastic chain and redo it entirely in a bit, so maybe that'll make more of a difference than I'm expecting.
posted by lucidium at 5:33 PM on May 27, 2016


Yeah, I've bought two each of Research paper bonus and Max stock size. The latter is the one that makes the big difference, I think; the more papers you can jam into an RC each period, the more total research output you'll see, in a linear fashion. So going from e.g. max 8 to max 12 means a 50% jump right then and there, assuming your labs are producing a full load of reports. The paper bonus is more incremental, but worth it if you've got money to burn.
posted by cortex at 5:38 PM on May 27, 2016


I felt like my factory was beautiful and efficient but it's taking me ages to get enough research points to get plastics (WHY did I research metal lab first!?)

Also, I am trying hard to resist the urge to download factorio- should I? Or should I keep my life?
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 6:00 PM on May 27, 2016


I'm enjoying seeing other people's layout philosophies, so here's my setup with 3 each steel and plastic productions (just after getting plastics): Teslaville.

I apparently do things more organically than most. When there is space, a plan grows from the walls to fill it. If an upgrade creates voids I'll reorganize things in a rolling wave towards other voids until I have enough space to create something new.

I theoretically like the idea of systematic placement and resource themed conveyor belts, but it hasn't felt right when I try it.
posted by tychotesla at 6:39 PM on May 27, 2016


Thanks cortex, the stock size upgrade got me to 19.1.
posted by lucidium at 7:13 PM on May 27, 2016


tychotesla, I had mine looking very similar at that point. I don't see how to really improve that.
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:49 PM on May 27, 2016


Here's my current layout. I tried rebuilding to see if I could squeeze one more plastic factory but honestly it wasn't worth the time. I need more money to get the next level of efficiencies I think. Also not really sure the sorters are worth it?
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:29 PM on May 27, 2016


Plastics is more efficient than steel so when I unlocked plastics I just tore everything out and converted the whole thing to plastics. Except for having re-added a couple sources of iron and steel just to fuel research. GO Lab soon ...
posted by kafziel at 11:05 PM on May 27, 2016


OK, post-plastic the input of one building no longer aligns neatly to a multiple of the output of another building, and suddenly things are messy and neat!

To deal with this I've concocted a slurry of two parts steel and one part iron, and am injected that into veins I've constructed across three buildings. The veins feed labs that subsequently expunge papers into a separate circulatory system that feeds into local research stations.
posted by tychotesla at 11:06 PM on May 27, 2016


Here's my current layout. I tried rebuilding to see if I could squeeze one more plastic factory but honestly it wasn't worth the time. I need more money to get the next level of efficiencies I think. Also not really sure the sorters are worth it?

There's a lot of empty space in those rooms. Empty space can be filled! With things!

Here's my layout right now. It's sort of half-done, I tore out a bunch of Oil once I bought the upgrade to go from needing 4 to fuel a plastic factory to needing 1 to fuel it, but didn't completely redesign everything because dropping to 1 Gas per factory is soon.
posted by kafziel at 11:12 PM on May 27, 2016


Update. I got the Gas upgrade, and the G&O labs, so I rebuilt for the overnight session.

I see all these scattered empty pockets throughout the map, this dead space that could have things in it, and I keep wondering whether, if I tore everything out and rebuilt it all just a little bit better, if I might be able to fit another set of something in there. I mean, that bottom left island - thank you for that design, cortex - that fits a full plastic operation in a 45 square space, and 3 of those squares are dead (or 6, if you count non-mandatory conveyors). If a full plastics mill can fit in 39 squares, then I've got enough leftovers here and there for like two of those!
posted by kafziel at 1:24 AM on May 28, 2016


Steel seems super inefficient. I seem to make way more money with just a bunch of iron works. I can only guess that I haven't figured out the right supply ratio, but everything I've tried ends up bringing in less money per click than just having tightly (and I mean tightly) packed iron works.
posted by teponaztli at 2:24 AM on May 28, 2016


Where I'm at with my upgrades, I can get $3/tick from an iron seller, and over $20/tick from a steel seller (after subtracting operating costs for the supply chain). And the chain for selling steel is maybe 2-3 times bigger in surface than one for selling iron. Keeping the efficiency at 100% (or close to it) is important, especially when you have operating costs like with steel.
posted by bjrn at 5:34 AM on May 28, 2016


Keeping the efficiency at 100% (or close to it) is important, especially when you have operating costs like with steel.

It's all about solving the riddle of steel.
posted by nubs at 8:47 AM on May 28, 2016


I saved up a billion and change last night and bought the Kilofactory, which for a billion dollars gets you a nice big 17*16 square lot (plus other billionty dollar lots for purchasing in the long run). I decided to turn it into a research park, and after an initial less dense but more readable go I've tweaked it pretty hard to cram in 7 near-optimized RC2s with the labs and plastic/gas/oil supplies needed to supercharge them.

Behold: Cortex Labs.

That shit is costing me over $4000 a tick to run, of course, out of the maybe $6500 being generated in the original factory area. But I'm generating 87.8 research/tick with this monstrosity, which along with the 19 or so I'm getting form my smaller research park back home means I'll be able to research electronics in less than a day. And I'm hoping that's where the reaaaal money is.
posted by cortex at 9:29 AM on May 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Cortex, I think the lower lab on the left needs an output belt.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:51 AM on May 28, 2016


Good golly, you're right! Fixed, and there's an easy 14 or so extra research per tick. Good eye.
posted by cortex at 9:58 AM on May 28, 2016


I'm definitely at the point where I see conveyor belts when I close my eyes.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:06 AM on May 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


OK well I figured part of my problem out- sometimes even if the tooltip tells you something has a 1:1 ratio, you might need a different ratio due to rounding. Time to raze and rebuild! Those efficiency percentages are apparently *key*.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:15 AM on May 28, 2016


I'm torn between ditching some income on renewed research, and bearing it out for a while idling with my current pile of plastics-related income.

Given the way that the cost of the real estate scales up, I'm certain that the income from the higher level products does too. So the fastest way to make more money is to put your resources into research to unlock the higher level production stuff. The costs of that stuff scales up too so you want to try and make sure you've got enough money to build the new stuff as you unlock it.

If you REALLY want to optimize, you'd set it up to max out research and enough income to cover costs before you close the tab. Then, the next time you come back, spend the research, wipe the board and re-jigger for income with the new, unlocked stuff, and then run the bonus ticks.
posted by VTX at 1:32 PM on May 28, 2016


Got up to 35 plastic makers (not including the research source one). I think there's technically room for two more if it were perfect, and ideally I'd combine the research runoff plastic seller with the one for the final odd-numbered plastic maker, but I don't think I'm going to touch this until I pull it all out for electronics.
posted by lucidium at 2:02 PM on May 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


It is terrifying looking at the list of possible materials in the sorter interface. A long way to go...
posted by xiw at 3:01 PM on May 28, 2016


okay, are people upgrading their buyers or something? i see tons of layouts here with only 2 oil buyers, but when I build i need 4 oil buyers per plastic factory to get 100 percent.
posted by Iax at 6:56 PM on May 28, 2016


i guess yes!, i didnt see the upgrade tab, jeeze
posted by Iax at 6:57 PM on May 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ha! That should help some, yeah.
posted by cortex at 6:57 PM on May 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hint for microoptimisation: you can swap the order that a y-junction conveyer sorts out waste/plastic for example if you build the offshoot while items are already moving.

For example, check out this

The left-moving centre conveyer would normally split the wrong way, sending waste west and plastic south - but because I added the south branch while in motion, it splits backwards.

If I hit clear tracks this breaks, but it's real handy for eking out that last few squares to get fully optimal plastic generation.

Here's my current layout focusing on money - 39 plastic plants in the west half.

This game makes you feel like a wizard when you realise you can swap a couple of conveyers and gain two vital spaces to shuffle everything else over to fit in another moneymaker.
posted by xiw at 1:18 AM on May 29, 2016


Has anyone else had a problem with the plastic maker putting the plastic in the trash and trying to send garbage to the seller? It keeps happening to me and I have no idea why.
posted by teponaztli at 1:35 AM on May 29, 2016


Oh, apparently there's a specific output order. I guess that's intentional? I can see it being useful, but it's kind of annoying when it comes to getting stuff to fit in the space.
posted by teponaztli at 1:49 AM on May 29, 2016


Just to write out how the reports work because I only just think I've got it straight:

Every 20 ticks, a gas & oil lab will produce 1 report, and also use up 1 of each stock material it has available to produce the equivalent number of bonus reports. So if it has gas and plastic, it will produce a lump of 13 reports every 20 ticks. (1 default + 2 from gas + 10 from plastic)

Every 20 ticks, a research centre 2 will produce 4 research points. It will also use it's entire stock of reports to produce bonus points for each of those four initial points. So if it has 12 reports in stock, and gets a 4.5 bonus from each of those, it generates 4 × (1 + 4.5 × 12) = 220 research points every 20 ticks, or 11/tick.
posted by lucidium at 7:13 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think you got the reports writeup right, lucidium. An important addendum is a research center has a Max stock size that limits how much total research it can produce every 20 ticks. It's upgradeable. In general the report labs and research centers are very expensive to run, so it's really valuable to maximize their output. Not so much to save space (as with money makers) but to get the most research / $.

I spent $10 on the game and upgraded my research speed to 3x. It feels like cheating, but I wanted to give the guy some money and also I'm a little running out of patience.

I also bought my second factory, which has a nice big square room for easy building. The game design is odd here; your upgrades you bought for $$ do not carry over to the second factory, you have to buy them there again. I wonder why it was made that way? It seems to encourage specialization; one production factory, one research factory.

Just peeked at the items list for the Sorter outputs. WTF, rockets and tank parts? Boo. Part of what I like about this game over Factorio is there's no sense of conflict or danger. I'm assuming I won't be building a base defense, but I wish this were a teddy bear factory instead of a war machine.
posted by Nelson at 8:35 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


That disappointed me a bit too, just for being such a default end point. It would be cool if you could reskin the resources so we're making a toy factory, or developing a space elevator, or building MeFi. Start with beans, combine with plates, analyse them in overthinking labs to produce flags.
posted by lucidium at 8:51 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Military parts are astonishingly high margin, and they skew manufacturing badly. So later on in the game when you destroy your hard-won steel and plastics infrastructure to make more room for rocket and tank part production, congratulations, you've just retold the story of 20th-century American manufacturing. Yeah, I'd love high-margin teddy bears, too.

I'm curious if anyone plays this game while voluntarily avoiding military parts. Kind of like trying to ascend in Nethack as a vegetarian.
posted by phooky at 10:04 AM on May 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here's my map. I have the oil upgrade (1 oil per plastic), but not the gas (so still 2 gas per plastic). I ended up throwing in a research lab to use the last bit of space. Once I have the kilofactory and possibly the 2.9 billion property I'll look at research again. I imagine it's worth getting into electronics before the 40 billion piece of property makes sense, so I should switch out of money and back into research before then. Has anyone done that? Would it be even better between kilofactory & the 2.9 billion property?

I don't know if it's possible to skip over the military manufacture, but I'll either be doing that or stop playing at that point. I can't see how making guns would be fun.
posted by Margalo Epps at 1:58 PM on May 29, 2016


I got the Electronics research after spending $1B on the kilofactory and making it my research center. Electronics is a nice upgrade, it lets you make an extra ~$3000 off an existing plastic selling operation. But it costs $380M per upgrade, so it's very capital intensive. And of course the new bits take more space so you are in for some rebuilding.

The next production item after Electronics is Guns, so I guess we are reifying the 20th century military industrial complex afterall :-( I'm going to keep playing and assume "Guns" is a strange translation from the original Estonian which actually means "Teddy Bears". I can't imagine it matters any more than the words and icons.
posted by Nelson at 2:03 PM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]




Okay, this is pretty fun! I made a tactical error at first, attempting to find some balance between money and research. Turns out research is really expensive! I guess you really have to go for the research only when it's essential for future progress, but keep the short-term focus on the money to buy upgrades. It's lots of fun to tinker and re-arrange things over time.
posted by antonymous at 3:02 PM on May 29, 2016


Okay, this is pretty fun! I made a tactical error at first, attempting to find some balance between money and research. Turns out research is really expensive! I guess you really have to go for the research only when it's essential for future progress, but keep the short-term focus on the money to buy upgrades. It's lots of fun to tinker and re-arrange things over time.

It seems like you eventually hit a point where the next set of upgrades to your moneymaking enterprise are just infeasibly expensive given what they make - that's why Sellers seem to cap out at two upgrades. So when you have your moneymaking setup in place and upgrades are distant in the future, that's when you should be looking at the next thing to research.

I just researched Electronics and it's going to be a loooooong while converting my economy over to that before I can consider grinding 300m research points for guns.
posted by kafziel at 3:38 PM on May 29, 2016


Apparently the dev just put out an update, to v1.06. I noticed because research I'd been saving up for was suddenly cheaper than the milestone I was waiting to hit!

Sounds like it rebalances a bunch of stuff to be a bit less tedious; there's also now an UPDATES tab over in the Help menu that lists changelog stuff, including appropriately enough the fact that there's now an UPDATES tab. Heh.
posted by cortex at 6:08 PM on May 29, 2016


IMPORTANT IMPORTANT IMPORTANT

When using Bonus Ticks to fast-forward, those appear to apply to the factory you have selected and not any other factories!
posted by kafziel at 9:06 PM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Eppstart Labs -- I got the oil upgrade so that I could use one oil per plastic maker and managed to fit 8 research centers with plastic supplied labs for each of them. I looked at adding some gas and/or oil to labs, but 11 reports kept the centers from jamming with reports. (The stock is 12 right now; adding gas takes it to 13.) When I upgrade the centers' stocks from 12 to 16, I can see about adding oil and gas in again.

Cortex Labs helped Mr. Epps see how I needed to switch up my plastic -- thanks for that. I didn't realize on my first build that you need to split evenly before shunting off the various labs. For instance, to supply 4 gas&oil labs, first you have the plastic & recycling split, then the plastic splits into two again, and each branch needs to go towards two of the labs. (I was initially trying one plastic line going to all four in a line; doesn't work.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:30 PM on May 29, 2016


kafziel: That doesn't seem to be happening for me - I'm spending bonus ticks right now on a factory with negative cash income and my money is going up because the other one makes the money.
posted by xiw at 10:08 PM on May 29, 2016


... well, dang, something weird musta been happening for me then.
posted by kafziel at 11:21 PM on May 29, 2016


(I was initially trying one plastic line going to all four in a line; doesn't work.)

I think it does work, you just have to wait a while for the first labs on the line to fill their inventories and back the feeder lines up. Once that happens, the later ones are supplied at 100%. Here's mine. (needs the 2x plastic, 4x gas, 8x oil, 4x coal, and 4x research stock upgrades for full utilization)
posted by Wemmick at 9:02 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'll add mine to the sentiments of frustration that all the game amounts to is another tank building simulator.

The mechanics are terrifyingly addictive but even though I've paid a little, I'm not sure I want to keep playing.

I am to become death,
posted by an animate objects at 2:14 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just discovered that you can make four way junctions like this, where the inputs at the top and the bottom are evenly divided out the sides.

Also the pause applies on a per factory basis, so be careful about tinkering with your money making plant while a research one bleeds cash.
posted by lucidium at 3:08 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just discovered that you can make four way junctions like this

whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat

Also the pause applies on a per factory basis, so be careful about tinkering with your money making plant while a research one bleeds cash.

On the upside, it does mean you can get a nice research plant laid out and then go nuts with it when you need the research to build, and pause it when you don't to save the cash. That was nice for me when I was first saving up research to unlock electronics, then trying to save up cash to convert my plastics works to (really pricy to deploy) electronics stuff.

I'm currently working on improving my per-tick cashflow after sinking like $23B into a slew of upgrades for my whole plastics+electronic getup. Turns out that, at least until you can afford to dump several trillion dollars into further upgrades, the layout for a higher-turnover electronics getup is a lot more sprawling and difficult to build out than the earlier version was. So it's yielding a cash bump, but only after a lot of fiddling and even then only on the order of 30-50% improvement so far. I guess guns in a day or two is going to have to be the next actual big improvement.

I'll add mine to the sentiments of frustration that all the game amounts to is another tank building simulator.

I hear that. I was saying elsewhere (specifically, mefightclub, a fine mefi-friendly place to spend time talking about video games and where I'll be hanging out as well after this thread closes after a month if I'm still playing) that my headcanon is that they're symbolic rather than utile weapons, that it's all part of a yearly post-apocalyptic anti-violence ceremony, The Rebuke, in which the civilization that rose from the ashes of WWIII build afunctional weapons and then melt them down by the millions to forge new buildings and tools and so on, as a reminder of what came before.
posted by cortex at 4:45 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I am stuck with some really weird ratios right now, like 4 plastic makers producing enough plastic for 3 electronics makers. Until just now, I was really stuck because I could not think how to redirect 2/3 of the items one way and 1/3 the other. I was stuck thinking only of dividing streams of items in half. But you can divide them into thirds! You can make a junction of 4 belts, with one going "in" and three going "out"
posted by rustcrumb at 7:04 PM on May 30, 2016


You can also just have three out conveyors, but that might take up less space.
posted by kafziel at 7:19 PM on May 30, 2016


How do you make that four way junction? I did it once by accident and now I can't do it on purpose.

Is the Kilo factory all broke up like the starter factory? I'd really like if there was a great big room where I could make a good looking assembly line without having to deal with wall constraints.
posted by Mitheral at 9:57 PM on May 30, 2016


The kilofactory first room is one big 16x17 room with a few alcoves - it's lovely.
posted by xiw at 10:00 PM on May 30, 2016


hey cortex, you can improve on the tiny plastics dynamo by making space to have an extra oil producer on the right side, and here's two complete plastics factories in the top left while we're at it.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:02 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Alternative double plastic factory in top left. I don't like the single split plastic output because it doesn't seem to matter what I do they end up mixed up.
posted by Mitheral at 10:13 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ooh, I like how you split the gas across the oil and coal inputs to get only two inputs on the lower-left plastic maker.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:36 PM on May 30, 2016


It's really interesting how the complexity ramps up as you start getting producers and consumers that make/take more than one item per tick. Like I have coal buyers buying 24 coal per 10 ticks, so not only do I need to have two plastic makers to balance those outputs, I actually need four output belts. I'm actually kinda not sure if there is much of an efficiency gain to these later upgrades. Like on paper there is, but much of the space efficiency is lost to the extra belts that are needed, and you lose so much flexibility of placement that you end up with even more wasted space as empty squares or long awkward belts.
posted by rustcrumb at 8:47 AM on May 31, 2016


The four way junction has the inputs facing each other, so you can make it by building a T-junction with inputs for the bar, then pulling out from the top (or the opposite, outputs on the bar, adding another input to the top). Alternatively you can draw two corners rotating the same direction, such as N in E out, then S in W out.

Totally copying that split gas input.
posted by lucidium at 8:50 AM on May 31, 2016


So I think I'm totally wrong with my advice about optimizing up-thread.

It seems like, when you close the window, everything stops. When you next start the game, it just checks on how long it's been and then gives you the bonus ticks based on that. So really, if you're in the middle of building out stuff and run out of time or patience, just save and close the tab.

When you come back later, you can finish building, optimize everything as much as you want, then run the bonus ticks and when you're done, it will be like your current production was running the whole time since you last touched it.

It's also nice to build everything out, shut down the game, then come back with fresh eyes so you can make tweaks before running the bonus ticks.

The bonus tick system (vs. it running just server-side when you close the tab) actually makes it really easy to put it down and pick it back up again later. You can even pause the bonus ticks mid-run if you notice that you hit a point where you can upgrade.
posted by VTX at 9:46 AM on May 31, 2016


I was bothered by the militaristic connotations but maybe we're just building giant death rays
posted by an animate objects at 9:51 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


VTX: " You can even pause the bonus ticks mid-run if you notice that you hit a point where you can upgrade."

This is the key advantage to the system and why I'm still playing this game where I otherwise wouldn't. Because I find myself staying up later than I'd like to ratchet production that would otherwise be wasted time. IE: if it's 11pm and time for bed and in 30 minutes I'd have enough money to buy another silicon buyer I'm tempted to stay up late playing other games to reap the 7.5 hours of production out of that buyer that would otherwise be lost. With the bonus ticks nothing is lost. I fast forward in the morning until I can afford the buyer; pause, buy, build; and then fast forward the rest.
posted by Mitheral at 10:46 AM on May 31, 2016


Well, the bonus ticks do not correspond 1:1 with time spent. You get something like one second's worth of bonus ticks for every four seconds the window is closed. So it's still in your interests to leave a browser open overnight.
posted by kafziel at 11:26 AM on May 31, 2016


(I was initially trying one plastic line going to all four in a line; doesn't work.)
I think it does work, you just have to wait a while for the first labs on the line to fill their inventories and back the feeder lines up.

That makes sense. And actually, the main thing you shouldn't have backing up is the research reports. As long as those aren't, the plastics can continue to produce and send off the right number of plastics and trash. When I had a few too many reports my plastics backed up enough that it started sending plastics to the trash and trash to the labs. After that I made sure to give each lab exactly 1 gas with the rest going to the trash (I'm at 12 reports stock right now).
posted by Margalo Epps at 12:06 PM on May 31, 2016


Setup right you can fully feed the plastic till it backs up and then send the excess to a plastic seller. This allows for a backlog without sending plastic to the trash. Not the 100% efficient way probably but easy to do.
posted by Mitheral at 12:22 PM on May 31, 2016


I have hit an uncomfortable point where it seems like the only thing I can do is wait a couple days for research to tip me over into guns. That sucks a bit.
posted by kafziel at 1:06 PM on May 31, 2016


I was running into some frustrating conveyor belt overlap limitations. Apparently at some point it refuses to let the conveyors go over and under each other anymore.
posted by that girl at 1:29 PM on May 31, 2016


There is an issue where you can't have a total loop, apparently. Like, a conveyor can't double over the same conveyor twice, or something? The dev claimed on a forum that handling that sort of situation would dramatically increase the processing power needed for each bit of conveyor.
posted by kafziel at 1:40 PM on May 31, 2016


As long as those aren't, the plastics can continue to produce and send off the right number of plastics and trash. When I had a few too many reports my plastics backed up enough that it started sending plastics to the trash and trash to the labs.

For whatever reason the two main options for splitting waste / plastics behave differently w.r.t. backups. If you split waste and plastics by having two outputs from the plastic maker, when the plastics one backs up, it messes up the sequence and will mix up the outputs after that. However, if you have one output from the plastic maker and split them using a conveyor split downstream, this doesn't happen: it will never send waste to the plastics branch even if the plastics line backs up all the way to the split. No idea why but this makes it possible to not exactly match your plastics to labs (without trying to sell the extras, which is also a viable solution to this problem).
posted by advil at 1:42 PM on May 31, 2016


I was running into some frustrating conveyor belt overlap limitations. Apparently at some point it refuses to let the conveyors go over and under each other anymore.

I think the limitation is that you can't have two conveyors going in opposite directions that branch off to cross each other.

I got around it in my research setup by having everything fed from the bottom.
posted by reventlov at 1:49 PM on May 31, 2016


Mitheral's gas input inspiration finally got my research centre perfectly symmetrical. It takes a while to get up to speed, but when it does it gets maximum research output.
posted by lucidium at 2:02 PM on May 31, 2016


I don't know who bashed steel earlier but it seems a lot more profitable than just iron after just one upgrade. This is my setup so far, all steel with 3 expansions with 3 research labs.

This game is perfect and I'm mad at you guys for not faving it quicker so that I would've seen it first thing this morning.
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:05 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just getting back to this after the long weekend -- yikes! A single basic Plastics setup costs ... $524K. Whelp. Time to tear out the small steel mill.
posted by notyou at 5:56 PM on May 31, 2016


oh geez no. It costs more than that!

4 oil @ $40 = $120
2 gas @ $60 = $120
4 Coal @ $1 = $4
1 Plastic maker @ $240 = $240
1 Plastic seller @ $180 = $180

One Plastics setup = $664k or about 26k ticks at my current income ($25 per tick.)
posted by notyou at 6:03 PM on May 31, 2016


You probably have 5-6 ticks per second, so about an hour and a quarter of idle time? Then plastic starts at a hundred or so $/tick I think, so your second one will arrive a lot faster.
posted by rustcrumb at 6:07 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


And a garbage can = $2500.
posted by notyou at 6:14 PM on May 31, 2016


Currently a 100% at every step full electronics line is costing me around 600 million so look forward to the time when that 500K is a drop in the bucket rounding error.
posted by Mitheral at 6:57 PM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anyone finding they're not getting offline bonus ticks? I checked at work today with the same key, 50k ticks sitting there, came home, 0.
posted by xiw at 2:19 AM on June 1, 2016


38k bonus ticks waiting for me when I opened for business this am.
posted by notyou at 6:57 AM on June 1, 2016


> Start with beans, combine with plates, analyse them in overthinking labs to produce flags.

If we really want to overthink it, guns aren't okay, but oil is? The Earth weeps for future generations...


Thanks for linking, cortex, this is a ton of fun!
posted by fragmede at 8:28 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


my headcanon is that they're symbolic rather than utile weapons

My headcanon is that I have a network of covert agents around the globe carrying out assassinations and funding revolutions in order to guarantee an insatiable demand for my engines of death.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:51 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Or you can imagine that it's a simulation that has back-end out puts feeding to climate change models, I mean, it's a video game so have it with whatever head-cannon you want.

However, one of the great things about video games is that you can do all kinds of horrible things, that you know are horrible in real life but you don't really have to think about them in this context because there no consequences one way or the other. Your actions don't affect anything but your enjoyment of the game so don't feel like you have any obligation to be decent human being in the context of the game. Feel good doing bad things, this about the only context where you can. :)
posted by VTX at 9:00 AM on June 1, 2016


I've been reworking my research park, thanks to some extra cash and a mounting hunger for accelerated research performance, and so: Cortex Labs 3.0. I'm pretty pleased with a few little details of how that came together, as much about the stuff that's kind of a glorious hack as the stuff that's actually nice to look at. The three-lane highway in the main facility makes me happy.
posted by cortex at 9:19 AM on June 1, 2016


do your plastic makers not also make waste?
posted by garlic at 9:43 AM on June 1, 2016


Clean plastic is a research buyable.
posted by Mitheral at 9:45 AM on June 1, 2016


What Mitheral said, yeah. And it's such a nice headache-remover in the long run. Comes up for 15 million research, available once you've researched electronics.
posted by cortex at 9:55 AM on June 1, 2016


Your actions don't affect anything but your enjoyment of the game so don't feel like you have any obligation to be decent human being in the context of the game.

Exactly. For me, making guns will make the game not fun anymore, so I'm not going to do it. I'm glad most of you are able to keep it fun various ways, though. (I'm still happy at the electronics level right now...)
posted by Margalo Epps at 11:36 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


My new theory is that they're actually little statues of a curled and clenched bicep. They need them for The Gun Show, which everybody just got tickets to.
posted by cortex at 11:39 AM on June 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


It would explain what they need all the oil for.
posted by lucidium at 11:56 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


cortex the coal hanging out the building drives me nuts, if you switch it with the oil it will look much prettier. And that's definitely what's important.
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:19 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Heh. Fixed, just for you.
posted by cortex at 12:40 PM on June 1, 2016


I encountered a weird bug. Maybe it's just at my particular upgrade level, but the little flowcharts of how many things are needed to fuel a thing at 100% efficiency are totally borked for gun production. I thought I was needing three steel foundries and two bullet factories for every gun factory. Turns out, no, I actually only need one steel foundry and one bullet factory for every gun factory. Had to do a lot of cleanup.
posted by kafziel at 1:28 PM on June 1, 2016


The charts can be weird at a glance for some ratios because it lists whole number values for all the components, and so when you e.g. mouse over the Biceps Maker to check ratios, it's not safe to assume that the value for Biceps Maker is 1. For me at the moment, for two Biceps Makers I need two Bullet Makers and one Steel Foundry, so my layout is premised on using a single steel foundry to supply both the bicep maker itself and the bullet maker that then supplies bullets to the bicep maker. Which turns out to be pretty easy in practice but was weird to math out originally.

At one point during plastics I had some especially nutty ration of 4 plastics makers to 4 oil, 3 coal, and 2 gas, or something like that, and I think I just resolved to say eff it and oversupply coal and sometimes gas in favor of just making the layout less nutty.
posted by cortex at 1:52 PM on June 1, 2016


This game needs hotkeys for the buildings so bad.
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:48 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Or a building-picker, maybe. Hold shift to convert to picker mode, click on any tile and set the build tool selection to the building under the cursor.
posted by cortex at 2:51 PM on June 1, 2016


Yah that'd be cool too. Just something to make it easier when you need to rebuild everything, or just scoot two lines a few tiles to the left so you can cram something new in.
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:53 PM on June 1, 2016


What it needs is an upgrade to conveyors so they're not stuck at 1 item per tick. I need three lines feeding iron ore from my buyer to my foundry because it makes 24 every 10 ticks, and I need all 24.
posted by kafziel at 3:28 PM on June 1, 2016


I've been wishing for rolling upgrades rather than all at the same time -- that way you could drop in the new stuff a room at a time without right-clicking your beautiful build down to the concrete and replacing with new.

That'd probably add layers of complexity and mouse-clicking for the developer, but fair's fair.
posted by notyou at 4:18 PM on June 1, 2016


Thinking on it a bit, I feel like avoiding the obvious conveyor upgrade path makes the game more interesting. If I could just upgrade when I hit capacity, I'd stick with a locally optimal layout and save up for the next conveyor upgrade. The hard limit on the conveyors makes the other upgrades mean something more than regular old Numbers Go Up.

In a slight fit of madness, I tore out everything apart from one room of flex-factories to eke out about 833 research / tick. Hopefully I can get the next level of research in tonight.
posted by lucidium at 4:58 PM on June 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Holy cow! I salute your dedication to science.
posted by cortex at 5:14 PM on June 1, 2016


Wowie zowie. I'll have to remember that layout for my next research push.

I'm on a cash grind with guns at the moment. I'm sure this could be a lot more efficient.
posted by kafziel at 8:16 PM on June 1, 2016


For anyone trying to figure out sorters: The surface of each of the units (vertical or horizontal) is split into input areas and output ares. You can't input at an output area or vice versa. See this diagram for what is where.
posted by Mitheral at 12:44 AM on June 2, 2016


Oh except the middle of the long way of either can be either an input or an output.
posted by Mitheral at 12:53 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


And each of the "units/blocks" of the sorter can only have a single conveyor attached to it. The drop down selector then references the "unit/block" number (1/2/3 left to right and top to bottom respectively) rather than the order the conveyor is in around the sorter as with all other items.
posted by Mitheral at 1:23 AM on June 2, 2016


I'm surprised that your upgrades reset when you move to the next factory. I guess it's not too upsetting, but now I have to save up another billion to upgrade everything on the plastics line to its proper level...
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:15 PM on June 2, 2016


That's a slightly misleading way of describing it. When you buy an additional factory, all your old factories are still accessible, still producing income, and still have all the upgrades you put into them.
posted by baf at 4:31 PM on June 2, 2016


I'm working on building out my electronics manufacturing now. Here's what I have in the top right. The one on the left I'm very happy with, but I'm not satisfied with how much dead space there is on the right there. Does anyone have a better design for that building (making electronics, with waste-free plastics)? Or is it just too weird of a shape to do much with?
posted by vibratory manner of working at 8:40 AM on June 4, 2016


That building is just super-awkward, particularly the narrow connections between rooms. But here's my design for it, which might be of use. Mostly avoids material mixing too, which is a good idea if your supplies get out of balance. Too much coal can jam up a line mixed with oil, for instance.

I'm two tech levels ahead of electronics now. The complexity escalates in an interesting way, requiring more and more buildings feeding each other. At my current tech level I need 130 squares worth of buildings to simply make and sell a thing and the conveyors get quite complex. Good game design, if a frustrating puzzle :-)
posted by Nelson at 9:34 AM on June 4, 2016


Your design for the lower passageway is a lot more efficient than what I had, so I was able to squeeze everything down a little and now it looks like this. I couldn't find any optimizations based on the difference in how we've got the elements upgraded (you have one more electronics factory), so that's dead space for me, but I did notice that I could slide the oil in the top left of your image over one, there's room for some more elements there.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:06 PM on June 4, 2016


Not that I have the skills to even begin to make such a thing, but I wonder how possible it would be to have a program figure out builds, how to optimize space to maximize production of a thing.
posted by kafziel at 12:56 PM on June 4, 2016


In an absolute sense, probably not: this probably maps to the knapsack problem, which is NP-hard. As far as we know, NP-hard problems take many times the age of the universe to solve.

Packing things into a confined space is a common enough problem in the real world that there are probably some decent heuristic or approximate techniques, though.
posted by reventlov at 3:17 PM on June 4, 2016


Apparently the 1.06 update includes a $1 trillion upgrade that increases conveyor belt capacity by 100%?
posted by rustcrumb at 4:16 PM on June 4, 2016


Finally buying A8 proved very satisfying, though also made me realize I wish the game had a copy/paste feature.
posted by DynamiteToast at 7:56 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ha, very nice.

I've spent the weekend idling in the direction of Engines and the purported Trillion Dollar Conveyor, which I'll be excited to dig into this afternoon when I get a chance. I sort of hit an "eh, good enough point" the day that I was trying to get RC3 stuff to work initially and so have left that running at a pretty subpar 1300 r/t and feeling a bit bad about not trying harder; with faster conveyors and presumably at least one new material to feed into my labs, I think I'll have a good basis to try and rework R&D properly again.
posted by cortex at 9:21 AM on June 6, 2016


OK, I'm coming to this late, so I'm still in the plastics phase. Can someone help me optimize the plastic ops I've got in the lower left? Those stupid oil buyers sure get in the way.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:40 PM on June 6, 2016


This is maybe not fair advice, Rock Steady, but laying out plastic factories was just a massive hassle for me until I managed to upgrade oil, coal, and gas buyers to just the point where the plastic maker requires them in a 1:1:1 ratio. After that you're golden, as it's much easier to place the same small block-factory all over the map, only modifying it to fit stuff into corners. I'm pretty sure this happened around the time I'd upgraded all three things (gas, oil, coal) up to level 2 or so.

After that, you're good to go for a long time – researching waste-free plastic is an added bonus that makes this layout even easier to work with – until you get to the point where you're hitting the limit of the conveyors, and need more than one conveyor from each buyer to the plastic maker. That's annoying, because it means adding a bunch of extra track and spreading things out more, making me long for the simpler days when I could make these nice, pleasing blocks that were the same across the map. But it takes a while to get there - my next upgrades are all going to require multiple hundreds of billions of dollars now, so I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to finance them.
posted by koeselitz at 1:16 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've progressed to the trillion dollar phase and everything just gets harder and more complex. I now spend my money on upgrades that make my life simpler, things like clean plastics. Much less concerned with squeezing 5% more revenue out of a crowded space I'm going to have to reconfigure again in a few hours.
posted by Nelson at 8:39 AM on June 7, 2016


I am up to the first level of Tanks now. I'm using the Kilofactory for as much research as possible, and the starter factory to make tanks. I have not finished converting from engines to tank production, currently I just have one tank assembler.

I've invested a lot of cash in upgrading the first factory, and I'm kinda reluctant to buy into the third one (mega?). Upgrades are not "global", so I know that once I buy into the next factory, I'm still going to have to spend trillions of dollars to get it up to the same level of basic functionality as the starter area, plus there will probably be expansions that need to be purchased. It's frustrating that you can't see the layout you are getting and the expansion prices in each new factory. For now my strategy is going to be catching up on gun upgrades, which are currently my bottleneck in making tanks, and saving up research for the 9->10 ticks/sec research.
posted by rustcrumb at 10:22 AM on June 7, 2016


rustcrumb: This is the megafactory layout. You start with the central building.

I actually bought it before I got to tanks; I've made it into Research Park #2, which is cheaper and (at this point) seems more important.
posted by reventlov at 12:17 PM on June 7, 2016


A conveyor pathing question. I direct your attention to the upper left building in this image.

The two plastic makers on the left have one output each that branches to (in clockwise order) a plastic seller and a garbage. The output is perfectly sorted by the conveyor - plastic to the seller, waste to the garbage. No matter what I do to the plastic makers on the right, I cannot get one output to sort correctly. Whether I put the branch to the garbage clockwise or counterclockwise from the branch to the seller, it always sorts exactly opposite the way I want it to. Waste goes to the seller and plastic goes to the garbage. In these two slightly different screenshots [garbage clockwise from seller and garbage counterclockwise from seller] I think you can see what I mean. Obviously I've made it work in this case, but I'd like to know what I am doing wrong for the future. How do you conveyor?
posted by Rock Steady at 1:20 PM on June 8, 2016


You're not doing anything wrong, the conveyor junctions treat 12 o'clock as the first path and goes clockwise from there. When the recycle is at 12 o'clock, and the output at 9 o'clock it sends the plastic to 12 first. When its the opposite, it still thinks 6 o'clock goes before 9 o'clock. This is very annoying and I wish the conveyors started at 1:30.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:55 PM on June 8, 2016


From what I've read, makers and conveyor intersections both start at the top and work around clockwise. On a single output that means you need the seller to precede the recycler clockwise at the split. The other option is two output conveyors, in which case the first one clockwise will get the goods and the second the waste, whether they're on different sides or the same side of the maker.

This is what I've got in my version of the building in question, but most of my cells take advantage of the way conveyors sort like this. Here's an example of where I had to use dual outputs.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:58 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh wow, OK. It's clockwise, but always starting at 12. Got it. That's goddam beautiful, ob1quixote. I'm going to steal it.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:29 PM on June 8, 2016


Thank you, but I can't really take any credit. Any efficiency I either cribbed from cortex or koeselitz, or the "Efficient Build Master List" on the sub-Reddit. I've got 42 makers turning out $11.6K average, netting $7.3K after research from the Kilofactory. Considering I need another few days on research to get to electronics at my current rate, I'm thinking about rebuilding the Kilofactory for straight cash homey to try and get the two big buildings on the first map.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:00 PM on June 8, 2016


Although I can now report that $1.1B in running cost upgrades only netted me a $300/tick increase. Shoulda saved first.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:11 PM on June 8, 2016


The running cost upgrades are traps. By the time they will have paid for themselves, you're on to the next tier.
posted by kafziel at 5:23 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


ob1quixote: “I've got 42 makers turning out $11.6K average, netting $7.3K after research from the Kilofactory.”

Here's one thing nothing in the game explains to you, that I only figured out by looking at maps from other people, particularly cortex's: you can boost your research a bit by running gas and oil lines to the Gas/Oil Labs, apparently (to my eye) by about 20-25%. As much of a hassle as that is, it's worth it for the extra research points.
posted by koeselitz at 7:04 AM on June 9, 2016


I tried to work out the math of the labs a bit further up, adding plastic in as well will get you a huge boost.
posted by lucidium at 9:44 AM on June 9, 2016


Just made the jump to guns and I don't like it. I loved how tiny and compact the plastics and electronic lines could get, and now its back to ugly iron and steel with their 2 and 3 outputs needed. Gross.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:20 AM on June 9, 2016


Well, I have to say, I had already soured on plastics / electronics for a while by the time I made the jump – just because I'd already gotten to the point where single conveyors weren't enough for each resource, so my wonderful tiny plastic layouts had to be destroyed to maintain efficiency and I had to start building annoying two-conveyor systems. So I was ready for a change.

And hey, it takes a little longer to construct a good gun production system, I end up having to build slowly piece by piece and make sure each stage had the right inputs and outputs to run at 100% efficiency, but – constructing things is what the game's about, I guess, and I have some fun. I'm pretty proud of this one right now.
posted by koeselitz at 11:44 AM on June 9, 2016


MAKE SURE YOU SAVE YOUR USER HASH IN A SAFE PLACE.

Because if you don't, you'll be sad when you clear your browser cache.

SOB

posted by notyou at 11:53 AM on June 9, 2016


The nice thing is that when you've unlocked guns, a lot of the little component's operating costs are now comparatively small enough to be immaterial. I might be able to use a single coal buying to run two steel mills but it costs basically nothing to buy and run a coal buying and it makes the layout a lot easier. It doesn't really make an impact on my total income either way so I'll focus on keeping the bigger, more expensive stuff at 100% efficiency.
posted by VTX at 7:19 AM on June 10, 2016


Oh no, notyou, that is horrible. So sorry :(

I emailed mine to myself, so I can use my work and home computers.
posted by Fig at 11:01 AM on June 10, 2016


Wow, so research gets... a lot more complicated when you get to Analytics Centers.

I still have no idea how to get these things to run at 100% efficiency. Maybe I need to increase the conveyors from the labs? But who knows.
posted by koeselitz at 2:52 PM on June 10, 2016


The key to research is running the research centers efficiency with max supply from the labs / analytic centers. The problem is the RC3 will take 48 reports but the ACs only output 40 reports. I gave up trying to make that work and just accept the 40/48 efficiency. It's not too hard to run a single AC at full capacity though, at my upgrade levels a single pair of oil and metal labs will do it. It will get more complicated again when I get to diesel.

BTW, the numbers seem really big: 40 reports, 32 reports. But those are per 20 or 40 ticks, not the usual per 10 ticks. That keeps the conveyor load down.

I like how the research factories have a very different design from the production factories. It takes very little raw material to run your research facility but a lot of higher end conversions. Production factories are mostly the opposite. I also like how the production complexity escalates, although now that I'm up at tanks it seems awful lot of work to build a single production line. I find myself wishing I could select and drag a group of buildings all at once to move things around.
posted by Nelson at 7:32 AM on June 11, 2016


Nelson: “It's not too hard to run a single AC at full capacity though, at my upgrade levels a single pair of oil and metal labs will do it. It will get more complicated again when I get to diesel.”

Heh. Well, I'm flat unable to do that. I guess I'll have to work on it a bit.
posted by koeselitz at 1:57 PM on June 11, 2016


(probably through upgrades)
posted by koeselitz at 1:58 PM on June 11, 2016


I came to this late. Hoping all you fans will see this in your recent activity. Right now with all my upgrades I have plastics and research 2. I still need 4 oil and 2 gas per plastic plastic factory. I'm trying to get the 20 million research points to get electronics. I'm not a big gamer so maybe the mechanics are more obvious to people who have played similar games. I have a few questions:

1) Do you just optimize for whatever you need (cash or research) and let it run for a few days? I've squeezed in as much research as I can but I still need some plastic factories to earn enough income to run them. I'm hardly earning any cash right now.

2) I run it on a laptop, so I can't just let it run. After I come back to it a day later all I can do is run it fast forward. Is this what you all are doing? Am I just not committing enough time to it? I've already used up my time travel ticket.

3) At this rate is seems like it's going to take a couple days to get me to 20 million research points. I think I've got about 9 R2s going at 100% for about 30 RPs per tick. Does that sound normal?

4) This is just a giant time-suck, isn't it?

5) What's the best strategy? Just earn a shit ton of money and then convert everything to research? Repeat?

It's really satisfying when I figure out a way to build a plastic creator factory in the minimal amount of space. I swear they designed the first factory to make this as difficult as possible.

Fuck all of you for getting me into this. I have shit to do, you know.
posted by bondcliff at 8:07 AM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


bondcliff, the game slows down. The first few days you play you're getting upgrades every hour and rebuilding stuff all the time. Sometime around plastics / electronics you start getting meaningful upgrades every day. I reached a point where rebuilding stuff didn't seem fun and I'm now going 2-3 days a time before redoing layouts.

"Best strategy" is whatever maximizes fun for you. For me it was alternating pushing money making so I could buy research, then pushing research so I could buy new money making stuff. Now I've bought 3 of the 4 factories and have 2 dedicated to research and the 3rd to making money and it's all coming along nicely. I also gave up micro-optimizing layouts in favor of leaving some space so things could be reconfigured without too much heartache. The jump from tanks to diesel in particular goes much easier if you leave some space near your tank sellers.
posted by Nelson at 8:30 AM on June 15, 2016


I tend to take a balanced approach and then just let things pile up over the course of a day (and yes if you can leave it run you gain more resources than if you fast forward). Currently at the engine building level with double capacity conveyors and have unlocked the third factory. Factory two is set up for research. I'm cranking out $12 million per tick and 7K research points and it's been a couple days since my last research buy. And now I'm not sure whether to step up to 10 ticks per second or buy tanks. I'm leaning toward the tick upgrade and fully acquire the third factory first then get tanks.
posted by Mitheral at 9:39 AM on June 15, 2016


Erp. I just went on an upgrade spree ... and now the Oil, Gas, and Coal buyers each require TWO out conveyors?

All my pretty assembly lines, like tears in the rain.
posted by notyou at 8:39 AM on June 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I gotta say – the conveyor upgrade (costs a trillion, available after engines I think?) is completely awesome, because it doubles conveyor capacity and suddenly you can go back to using one out conveyor for each of those things again.

Of course, that lasted about a day, until I decided to upgrade my plastics generator thingie and discovered it needed two in-conveyors for each resource again. So... well, there goes that wonderful moment.

Still, it is really nice, particularly for my iron production, which was at the point of needing three (!) conveyors from each iron ore buyer to each iron foundry.
posted by koeselitz at 12:08 AM on June 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Researching rockets. See y'all in a week I guess.
posted by kafziel at 2:18 PM on June 19, 2016


seriously though i have all the factories now, optimized for research. I'm getting 112k/tick. But I need a trillion research points to unlock rockets. That's 248 hours of just ... doing nothing.
posted by kafziel at 3:43 PM on June 19, 2016


I've finally reached a point in engine production where I only need one of every module in the production line. I'm so happy. Tomorrow I'll try to cram as many into the original factory as possible.
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:34 PM on June 20, 2016


Well the Iron foundry is overachieving by 33% but who cares that's cheap to run.
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:38 PM on June 20, 2016


Yeah, by the time you're up to engines, those upgrades are more about saving floor space than expense or production efficiency. It doesn't make sense to create some convoluted layout to get two steel foundries sharing a coal buyer just so the coal buyer is runs 100% if you're going to lose that space to extra conveyor runs. You can often tuck those things into otherwise unusable space any way.
posted by VTX at 8:30 AM on June 21, 2016


Cripes. Starter Factory all bought and stuffed with lightly upgraded Gun Lines, Kilo factory mostly all bought (need 1.26T to buy B4 and B5) and it's stuffed with slightly upgraded Gun Lines, and only generating 1.17M per tick.

I could probably squeeze another line into the Starter factory, if I blew everything up and started from scratch. Otherwise, I guess it's grind for a couple days, then switch over to Research and go for Engines?
posted by notyou at 3:00 PM on June 22, 2016


The income seems to scale up exponentially. Go for engines, you'll take a BIG step up in income.
posted by VTX at 5:08 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


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