1.0 "Create Modules" mode for workbench.

Discussion in 'Design Suggestions' started by Puzzlemaker, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. Puzzlemaker

    Puzzlemaker Member

    It would be really nice if there was a "Create Modules" mode for workbenches that will attempt to automatically build any modules you have placed, cycling through until it finds one that can be built with the current materials. It would just be a good quality of life thing so I don't have to remember exactly how many of module X I just placed down for larger colonies.
    Geoffrey, Asid, Exile and 1 other person like this.
  2. Nicholas

    Nicholas Technology Director Staff Member

    This is... hmm.

    One of the things that is an issue with adding either a queueing mechanism or this is that we want to avoid serious overhead with the UX/UI. This isn't bad on that front. Let me investigate how easy this is and get back to you, please.
    Asid, Exile, EleSigma and 3 others like this.
  3. Unforked

    Unforked Member

    Heres hoping! If this could be done, it would go a long way to appease players with one of the biggest complaints about the game, the perceived micromanagement.
    Exile and Puzzlemaker like this.
  4. Nicholas

    Nicholas Technology Director Staff Member

    So backing up the train a bit.

    The overarching problem with the game and the workshops and perceived "micromanagement" is that users do not understand that each module in the game is a slot in a priority queue. If you want a bunch of things to be run in some sort of queued order, similar to how Dwarf Fortress or Rimworld operates things, you simply queue them on your modules. The problem right now seems to be that players are either unwilling, or unable, to build enough modules and to use them as a queueing system (with the exception of advanced players, who typically have much larger workshops than their peers.)

    What everybody complaining about yells is "why don't you build Rimworld's terrible advanced queueing pane", which is (frankly) also awful.

    Here, for instance, is a review from Josh at Game-Wisdom: http://game-wisdom.com/analysis/clockwork-empires-review and the pull quote:
    So here are the questions:

    1. Why do people get trapped in a loop of micromanaging their workshops?
    2. Does having a "Create Modules" mode (or "have the overseer manage this workbench" button) help anything, really? What is the specific problem that it addresses?
    3. Why do people keep not finding that the modules system is a queueing mechanism?

    It may simply be as awful a problem as "people expect a Rimworld queue because DF/Rimworld did it"; in this case, we're serving tripe and they want steak (despite the fact that some people like tripe.) Or maybe the reference is backwards there, I don't know.

    In order of easiest to hardest things to fix, we have:

    - add UI feedback to indicate what you are supposed to do, and alleviate friction within the existing queueing system. Alternately, we should ask "well, do you really have to queue THAT much stuff up?" If you need to queue up 40 things, then yes, your carpentry workshop would be enormous and we should look at that, but I don't feel like that's the case.

    - "overseer run workbenches"/DF manager system

    - Somehow trying to make per module queues make any sense to anybody, which they just won't/can't, and this is a black hole of despair that destroys us forever.
    Exile likes this.
  5. Puzzlemaker

    Puzzlemaker Member

    1. I often do because I like planning out large sections of my colony at a time, and unless I have ten assembly workbenches in my carpentry workshop I can't have everything built at once. I must wait for one thing to be built, then start the next, then the next, which can be tiresome. It's a lot to keep track of, and oftentimes I have to check to make see what I have already built versus what's already placed, etc.

    2. Yes, it solves the following problems:
    • You don't have to keep track of the exact number of an item. I just built a pub and a barbershop, how many chairs did I order? I feel like I shouldn't have to count them.
    • When you built a large number of disparate items, you can have one workbench handle the production without any micromanagement. I just built a pub, it needs X chairs, X vats, X Chair and table sets, etc. Instead of waiting for the Chair to finish, then build the vats and wait for that to finish, then build the chair and table sets and wait for that to finish, you can simply set a "Create Planned Modules" order and let it build them all for you.
    3. I actually don't know what you mean by this point.


    I am terrible at keeping track of how many modules I have placed, it would be nice if the game could remember for me.
    Exile likes this.
  6. Nicholas

    Nicholas Technology Director Staff Member

    Okay, so how many assembly workbenches do you have in your workshop, and why don't you build that many of them?
    Exile likes this.
  7. Naffarin

    Naffarin Bureaucrat-Inspector Exemplar of The Empire

    ad 1. when i build a colony i have a planned ahead colony, so i have buildings jobs queuing 15 simple cabinets, 15 practical cabinets, 10 cots, 10 practical beds, 2 - n practical chair and table etc. You can also multiply by n because usually i layout several buildings + modules in advance with full recognization of the fact that they will take eternally to complete, mostly because that i am unable to expand a building later on, so mostly i already define a mine with a steam distributor although the actual research/build of a steam distributor is far away.
    Since i have limited manpower at this point i usually operate with a workforce of 1-2 labourers + overseer for carpentry and ceramics. Therefore i can only handle 2 workbenches providing planks, one decor workbench and one assembly workbench. It is quite a headache to switch between these work modules to produce the boxed modules i need.
    ad 2. It would solve the amount of switching workbenches to other productions all the time. Work Shops (especially in the beginning of the game) are limited in size by available resources...i tend to build 4x12 or x15 now with some experience on the game but this amounts to 5-6 workbenches in total with the needed decor to ensure a good building quality.
    ad 3.) probably because i (maybe we) understand queuing as the possibility to have one module produce multiple items depending on resource availability.
    Exile likes this.
  8. Puzzlemaker

    Puzzlemaker Member

    I usually build 2 to 4. But for the carpentry workshop, it gets ridiculous with all the different jobs you can have. Lets say you are expanding, and you build a laborer house, a overseer house, and a pub, fully furnished.

    You would need the following orders:

    Chair and table sets
    Practical beds
    Practical chair and table sets

    That's 6 items. I could build a carpentry workshop with 6 assembly workbenches, but the game punishes me for it by having the quality of the workshop plummet.

    That's a very important point:

    By creating more workbenches to make the UI easier to manage, the game punishes you by making the quality of the workshop go down.
    Darkmere, Exile and Naffarin like this.
  9. Unforked

    Unforked Member

    I don't have much time to go into depth here, but what I think these new players want is... less clicks.

    If you put down a blueprint for a module, you go through a list of modules, place it, and have the expectation it will eventually be made. After that (or before) you have you go through another list to create that module. If that manual creation step could be eliminated, folks would be ecstatic. That is, the workgroup auto-builds all modules for available blueprints if the conditions are correct. This kind of eliminates the need for cueing altogether. Maybe hovering over the module blueprint might show you why the workgroup hasn't built it yet (lack of materials, needs the right bench, etc).

    The horror in making this all work from a dev/game design perspective is another matter entirely.
    Exile likes this.
  10. Nicholas

    Nicholas Technology Director Staff Member

    So to summarize:

    - Users want to queue up 6-8 module types for construction at the start and have the game work through them (cots, chairs, chair+table sets, practical beds, practical chair/table sets, vats) but do not have the modules and the space to do so at the start of the game and/or do not build their carpentry workshop initially large enough to have one
    - Users cannot remember what modules they have placed down
    - Additional slots (hence modules) in the queueing system also penalize the workshop quality.

    Missing anything else here? Are there objections to the system *other* than when you build modules?
    Exile likes this.
  11. Puzzlemaker

    Puzzlemaker Member

    That's basically it, yeah. No other objections from me, honestly the system is pretty good but it just needs a bit of tweaking.
    Exile likes this.
  12. Naffarin

    Naffarin Bureaucrat-Inspector Exemplar of The Empire

    I still miss a kind of priority system...if you know gnomoria, the workbenches showed an editable list (up, down, top, bottom) of the current orders. This way you could micromanage (the auto generated) tasks of a work module. The work orders would be executed in the order of the list and available resources so if a steam distributor is at the top of the list it is not blocking the processing of a smithing forge in terms of CE
    Exile likes this.
  13. Naffarin

    Naffarin Bureaucrat-Inspector Exemplar of The Empire

    As an example
    Here i have placed somewhere 10 cot blueprints. They created a job at the carpentry, increasing by 1 for each module i place.

    Now i have done a overseer building with 5 practical beds. They also created a job entry at the carpentry at the bottom of the list. If i wish i can move the practical beds to the top.

    But i see that this is somewhat hard to implement with the current system of fixed multipliers for producing entities with tier 1 and tier 2 modules, but from the user interface point of view it would probably be easy to understand
    Exile likes this.
  14. Darkmere

    Darkmere Member

    Expanding on point 1:
    I have no idea how much space I'm going to need in a workshop when I first place one. Demolishing one later leaves all the materials on the ground permanently, and I can't add on to one that's already completed (anymore? this was in once a long time ago wasn't it? did it mess up the building renderer?).

    It's not JUST with carpentry, but that's the biggest offender. Other stuff like science materials and iron cogs and ammunition can't be "simply solved."

    Late game you can go through a lot of ammo, but there's no way to tell a barracks to just stock 100+ rounds, even with multiple weapon lockers. It turns into a regular polling chore... check all barracks to see if they're down to <20 bullets, check the stockpile to see if I have iron and gunpowder. Check to see if I have sulphur, coal, and iron. smelt hematite. make gunpowder. make bullets in surplus so my soldiers will only fire pistols for half the next fight (coz no one's gonna restock them in the middle). The game's full of little chore-chains like that that drag your attention away from the larger picture that I'd rather be managing at that stage.
    Exile likes this.
  15. dbaumgart

    dbaumgart Art Director Staff Member

    Interesting - I like the idea of multiple weapons lockers adding to the ammo stocked count. Not sure if it's at all straightforward to do, but I'll put that idea in the pot. In the meantime, will raise the minimum amount of ammo the barracks attempts to maintain.
    Exile likes this.
  16. Nicholas

    Nicholas Technology Director Staff Member

    This is the stuff of nightmares. What happens if you delete your cots? What happens if you trash your carpentry workbench, or if you trash your entire carpentry workshop? Do the cots then try to move their resource creation somewhere else? Do resources un-allocate from somewhere else? It's just a mound of Bad Cases and people getting pissed off and (presumably) blaming the developer.

    I don't mind having something that is *proactive*, but *reactive* like this is a mess.
    Exile likes this.
  17. Kaidelong

    Kaidelong Member

    One other problem with big workshops as the intended solution is that timber is horribly scarce on most maps, so you are heavily rewarded for making buildings as small as you can. Clay and stone, before you build a mine, also have this problem. Finally, there is rarely enough flat land to build big buildings right off the bat.

    In earlier versions of this game, before flat-packed boxed furniture, this sort of problem was solved rather elegantly by there only being a few different kinds of things workshops actually have to produce in a colony. Based on the blog posts, I assume that the kind of automation that was originally supposed to happen involved the use of mechanics like conveyor belts, but that never actually got done for release.

    Perhaps flat packing could be optional, with the reward being that laborers only have to fetch one thing at a time and that it can be purchased or sold at the trade depot. You would still have an incentive to build big workshops late game, but early game is more forgiving.

    Another thing that might allow this sort of ramp-up is allowing planks to substitute for logs and bricks to substitute for stone at a certain point in the game, when making building foundations. This would encourage people to demolish their older workshops and build new ones using these cheaper materials.
    Exile likes this.
  18. Trygve

    Trygve Member

    I don't mind how the production aspects of this game works, but I would sincerely appreciate if I could type in the number of items I would like to be made (or perhaps choose between fixed sums, like 10, 15, 30, 60, 90, ...).

    Right now, if I want my kitchen to produce 60 items of sausages, I have to click the counter 59 times, if I'm not using an iron oven. I realise I can set the oven to maintain an minimum number of 10 sausages, but then I might not be able to make pies, or something else. The way the game is designed you get penalised for having too many workstations in a building, and I don't want to fill my kitchens with ovens, 3 is quite sufficient most of the time.

    The advantage of the iron oven should be principally that it makes food more efficiently, not that it makes my finger hurt less.

    This is even more of a bother with planks. I don't want my workbenches to maintain a minimum number of planks, because on difficult maps with few trees I can't afford to make planks from all the logs I harvest, I also need logs for houses.
    Exile and dtolman like this.
  19. Nicholas

    Nicholas Technology Director Staff Member

    Shift-Click increments/decrements by 10, but I guess that isn't illustrated in-engine? But yes, the ability to type makes sense and I will look into what can be done here.

    Exile, dtolman and Trygve like this.
  20. Trygve

    Trygve Member

    Thanks! I didn't know that. I don't remember seeing it mentioned in the game, in the tutorial or as a tooltip, and I've played your game for nearly 150 hours, according to Steam.
    Exile and dtolman like this.