For the logistics with your main base, I dislike the typical methods of spaghetti, main belt bus and city grids. Reasons are in the below spoiler tag to shorten the appearance of the post and not everyone is going to be interested.
>! I hate using a belt for a main bus, especially with mod overhauls; you don’t know how many belts you need in advance without asking others, they scale poorly and even neat ones end up looking messy with all its splitters, undergrounds, balancers etc!<
>! Spaghetti is well… spaghetti, again doesn’t scale well with mod overhauls, difficult to trace issues and some of us don’t like working in a mess even though the end product, as can be seen by some users’ submissions, can sometimes appear quite beautiful.!<
>! City Grid using trains to transport products on the other hand are then, within the aforementioned context, the solution; neat, scale excellently, rails are cheap and perhaps cheaper overall then belting 10000’s of red/blue belts everywhere (I have not confirmed this). !<
>! Unfortunately, it suffers the issue of requiring a lot of time and patience to learn the system, more so than anything else in the game, and once you do you still have forward plan, lay the tracks down, design the intersections, t-junctions, loading/unloading stations, signals etc which, if you don’t like the process and don’t want to use someone else’s blueprints i.e. solutions, can be painfully tedious and fraught with trial and error which some of use don’t want to have to deal if especially if they’ve invested lots of time into their current playthrough, building their own blueprints and it all goes wrong and rebuilding it all is…..!<
>! Furthermore, I don’t like the city grid design simply because it’s not my idea, it’s strong metagaming and I dislike going through the motions implementing someone else’s design especially when it’s so much work to get it up and running...!<
Not satisfied with the current options, I looked to mods and found Transport Drones (TD) by Klonan (link). Basically it adds road-based vehicular drones to the game which use petroleum to transport solid and fluid products from a supply depot to a request depot via designated roads (requires road placements). Drones are fueled via a Fuel depot.
My concern using them was based on what others had said; they're overpowered. I really wanted to use them and so I have looked into the users’ claims and my opinions are as follows.
“They don’t require power”
Yes, TD does not need electricity but neither do belts and trains. However they do need fuel (0.025 per metre/tile) to function unlike belts and like trains (don’t know cost per metre).
“TDs make logistics too easy”
Logistics is easier, you still have to decide where you want each drone to go, build roads to connect the supply/fuel/requestors depots and ensure you have enough drones to meet the requester’s needs and update where necessary but this is still easier than trying to tame a modded/megabase main bus with all it’s split offs, balancers and undergrounds whilst making it look good and easier still than train city grids. If you find main bus/train city grids to be boring and/or laborious and/or done them to death already TD will let you focus on the game element you enjoy.
“TDs save too much space”
Again, this is true. TD roads a few tiles wide will save a lot of space vs an equivalent rail system. However, by mid-game they will take up equivalent or more space than a belt main bus (if 1-2 chunks dedicated for belts). Space saving is redundant playing on peaceful/default biter settings but of course its a clear advantage over trains in late-game deathworld.
“TDs replace trains”
Speed - The closest train equivalent to a drone is a 1-1 wagon. The max speed of 1-1 trains with solid fuel is 272km/h, drones max speed before research is 22km/h, 44km/h at tier 5. Yes, train acceleration needs to be factored in but trains are the clear winner. Admittedly, trains require time to unload whereas TDs don't, which helps close the gap. The further the distance the more trains excel at covering large distances.
It would require 6 drones at tier 5 speed to compensate for the speed differences (7 drones at 44km/h is 264km/h).
Throughput - More importantly is the stack size limits. A 1-1 train can hold 40 stacks, a drone 1 stack before research, 6 stacks at tier 5 (no infinite stack research) and thus you’d need 7 drones at tier 5 to match the throughput of a single 1-1 train. Of course, trains can have many wagons and scaling drones to match 1-4 trains or higher would get difficult cost-wise, in terms of congestion, pollution and perhaps UPS. Also, research costs for stack size increases are very expensive at non-megabase levels requiring 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000 science packs respectively per tier with each tier unlock requiring the next science pack to progress capping at yellow since at tiers 4 and 5.
Therefore, TDs can replace 1-1 trains inside your main bus but at a huge expense but the moment it becomes 1-2 trains or more or need to visit far away outposts they become less and less desirable vs trains.
“Infinite TD speed research after 5 is OP”
Limit yourself to tier 5 for balance or, as will be mentioned below, use less drones but keep increasing speed.
“TD setup is too cheap”
Resources are basically infinite and easy to acquire so expense is a kind of mute point. However, I will address this; by the time you’ve made 100’s of drones, dozens of depots, made 1000’s of road blocks (10 stone, 10 coal each) and 1000’s of purple and yellow science packs to get tiers 4 & 5 of speed and stack size any notion of cheap disappears. I’m willing to bet that TDs are more expensive than a similar SPM late-game main bus or train system.
Those are the main counter-arguments to TD. Quick summary and other points:
- Space efficient vs. train city grid
- Cleaner looking base design vs alternatives
- Comparable logistical difficulty as main bus (both easy), perhaps easier. Excellent if you’re weary of main bus belting or train city grid logistics.
- ‘Less metagamey’ base can grow organically rather than having to Death Note/Enders Game level plan everything out beforehand on those higher difficulty modded/megabase playthroughs.
- 7 drones at tier 5 max speed/stack size per requestor depot is equivalent to a 1-1 train if not a bit better due to instant unloading; use 6 drones instead to compensate somewhat for it.
- TD Circuit networks can be researched to control deliveries.
- Petroleum cost might make advanced oil refining easier for those with inefficient oil setups.
- Not a full replacement for trains, belts or bots.
- You hate main bus/train grids and have nothing to do with whether or not you’re capable of doing them.
- Fuel costs are higher than trains while belts are fuel-less.
- TDs generate pollution, problematic on default/deathworld maps.
- Highest setup costs especially late-game vs alternatives mostly due to road blocks and speed/stack size research. Drones and depots are not exactly cheap either.
- Late-game roads system would probably take more space vs main bus if total surface area totaled (if you have dozens of sub factories/modules).
- Throughput is limited to that of a 1-1 train with 7 drones per requestor at max tier 5 speed/stack size. More drones/depots required for more throughput. Alternatively, keep increasing drone speed at its crazy cost to reduce the number of drones on road. Example: Getting speed tier 10 (another +100% speed increase over tier 5) is like getting 50% more drones than tier 5 (but at 1000x+ the cost LOL of just building 50% more drones)
- Following on from the last point, it takes until late-game to get all the requisite tiers due to hefty purple/yellow requirements. Could have been made easier by Dev as TDs are not imbalanced (imo) even at tier 5 but not a big deal.
- Inefficient for transport products from outposts/ore. Former use trains, latter use belts to their respective smelters.
- Not for purists.
- UPS issues for those using one or more other UPS heavy mods with very large bases. People have been able to run 100’s of TDs with no UPS hit. UPS depends on a multitude of factors.
If you have any other pros/cons let me know.External link →