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Can't get pass cycle 100


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I had the same problem when I started playing. From my experience the game is full of potential bottlenecks. The shortage of worktime is one of the first ones, then food, algae, water, slime and so on. There are tons of solutions for every single one though. Most are complex. And the game requires some patience. When you master the game a bit you are able to overcome every bottleneck. Just to find the next. 

 But it is such a great game, it takes years to master it and see most of it. People here come up with ideas I could not dream of. I have invented some heavy machinery where I can spend hours just watching it.

Hang in there, it is not the game but your playstyle that limits you. Learn and be rewarded.

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Thanks for all the help. I'll try to get back into the game after release and work on my priorities. Using gravity to control where the debris drops also seem like something that would help me - after all, that's usually what I do with the starting water.

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I don't so much want to contribute a lot of new stuff in this post, but rather consolidate ideas and put the emphasis in places that are more useful to new people trying to understand this, instead of where the emphasis migrates to when you've more of less figured out what's going on. This also means I'm going to over explain, but hopefully this just has everything in it when I'm done and people will link it or whatever.

As your base gets bigger having lots of tasks spread all over the place means that you waste gobs of time just having the dupes run from here to there. They move at different speeds though, so it can be a huge benefit to make sure that dupes with high athletics are the only dupes working on certain kinds of tasks that force them to run back and forth a whole lot. By cycle 100, hopefully you'll recognize that "Supply" and "Storage" are the really prominent tasks in your slow base that make everyone run around a whole lot.

Supply is pretty simple: grab a close lump of this material and put it into the tile that wants it. This has a nasty consequence though, as dupes will just pick stuff up from one source before they run off to deliver it somewhere, and if you've mined in certain kinds of patterns you've got hundreds of little piles all over that just don't contain very much of a material in one tile. In a more perfect system a dupe would scoop up lots of, say, dirt from a whole row of tiles, and then go to your mealwood farm and drop off little packets of dirt for each plant on that row of tiles... but they don't. Each one is a different task, so every plant if going to demand that a dupe run over to a pile of dirt, then run to that plant to supply it, then run back to the dirt, then run to another plant to supply it.
...except that's not true. They do kind of group up tasks like that, they just get worse at it as your base gets bigger and everything is more spread out. Still, it's useful to think about it like this, where you assume they're going to run back and forth way more than they need to, because that's usually a big part of what's killing your productivity.
So, the things that people do to make this actually work better mostly boil down to making sure that the material for a job is pretty close to that job, that there is a lot of material in the same tile before dupes go to pick it up, and making sure that if you're about to deliver more than 200kg of material somewhere, your dupes with high strength (or other carry capacity bonuses,) do most of the work moving material around. 

The best non-automation method for this, as I understand it, is to have all storage as sweep-only (for anything not-germ-related,) then mine out a whole biome at a time with ladders as scaffolding, so that all the materials pile up in in a single layer. Now you build a few higher priority storage containers in the middle of the floor and mark it all to be swept up. If your dupes are moving mats from or into your storage in your starter biome right now, you did something wrong and you're not accomplishing the intended goal here. Assuming that your dupes actually make good progress on this task, clean things up, and you don't have any more pressing projects to work on, you can dump these materials right back onto the floor (but now they'll be in the kinds of big piles that help speed everything up,) and then make your dupes sweep it up again, except this time you'll actually have them move the material long distances. Realistically, I wouldn't bother moving any materials a second time, until you know where you want to use them.

Now, if you've really wrapped your head around this, then you probably get that you don't really want the dupes that construct your structures to be the same dupes that carry the materials over for that job. It's much better to have only a few dupes that build who roll into an area and then blitz a bunch of build jobs in a row while other dupes run back and forth to bring all the materials in... or at least to fill up a storage bin nearby with enough construction materials before you try to queue up a bunch of building tasks somewhere that the dupes can't breathe.

 

If you've taken care of both storage and construction, your supplies are all near the jobs that will request them, and your dupes aren't able to keep up with all of the jobs that that need doing, then you probably just have too many cycling tasks for the number of dupes in your base. You should either switch to things that don't require as many supply tasks (going from mealwood planters to hydroponic bristle berry farming is a really good example of this,) or you should look into using auto sweepers so that your dupes don't ever have to work on this particular task again. The game gets kind of boring when every little thing runs automatically, but there are always lots of new jobs that you can put your duplicants to work on, as long as you're learning about new parts of the game or coming up with new designs to have them build. It's fine to have some idle dupes, especially when you fully disable lots of tasks for certain dupes that you only want to work on specific kinds of jobs that take a lot of time, but aren't quite so constant as supply tasks, and if nobody is ever idle, then you should probably investigate what they're wasting so much time on and seek to fix that.
 

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I haven't read the whole thread so apologies if this has already been mentioned.

One of the tips that I got when I was in a similar situation (dupes just not doing anything very quickly), was to put my storage containers on 'sweep only'. That way, I can control when they sweep (and then only rooms). They spend a lot less time doing this now than in my earlier games and I now get much more done. Generally, by cycle 100 I haven't got nearly as far as @Saturnus example above, (I imagine they must rush a least a bit...I go pretty slow), but I do have all the basics intact as well as exosuits and wheezewort cooled oxygen generation. I usually stick with 8 dupes until I know I'm stable for O2 and food, then expand to 10...I rarely have more than that. @Saturnus power generation is way more advanced than mine is at this point...I usually just have a couple of coal generators, and certainly haven't finished the research tree...I tend to just research something when I need it. Keeps me focused having less choices of things to build! :)

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without really any specific detail, the best thing you can do is pay attention to what your dupes are spending time on and do something to make those things more efficient.

Over time you will learn better ways. But when it becomes hard to progress just stop trying to expand, and study what your dupes are doing / what isn't getting done that needs to be. Maybe make improvements in the base you have or start over and try something new. The key is to get the same amount of work done with fewer dupe errands. You can use priorities, automation, skills, tech, you name it. Your goal is to actually have that idle flag pop up in the corner, when you start seeing that you're ready to put your dupes to work.

The next biggest thing to try is actually - print fewer dupes.

I've made bases with 24 dupes, I've stopped at 6 as well. More dupes is not necessarily better, in fact, you can have a fully functional base and do everything with 6 dupes. Maybe even fewer. Having more dupes means you can branch out more quickly but it also means disproportionately higher resource consumption - new dupes start with low stats, so they consume the same amount but get less work done. You wind up causing more crisis situations because you'll run into resource shortages, dupes will suffocate or starve because they have to walk farther and farther just to get algae, etc.

A lot of other specific stategies are very individual. For instance, Saturnus' suggestion to set up atmo suits early is a great suggestion. But I personally just oxygenate all the places my dupes are going to work, early on, and eventually unlock that tech when I feel ready to. There's an unlimited number of different ways to get the job done.

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On 11/05/2019 at 12:29 PM, Saturnus said:

12-16 dupes normally. You need one to rush mechaengineer, and one/two to be decent researchers, and one that can mine the toughest rocks/abyssalite. All the rest I rush to exosuit wearing foregoing every other skill.

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That's another thing I forgot to mention. Atmosuits speed things up tremendously as dupes don't have to catch their breath all the time while digging and dropping things they carry constantly. So atmosuits for everyone as early as possible is a very good idea.

Note the cycle count.

Hey @Saturnus, what's the chance of you sharing one of these pieces of art as a save file? I look at this image almost everyday since you posted it but I feel I have much more to learn from a small base designed like this. It's simple, elegant and efficient. My bases usually are pretty big and branched out everywhere. This thread was very handy and useful in many possible ways. I really want to change some of my strategies when 1.0 is out.

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I use to struggle with the same problem and would find myself very frustrated.  I can tell you there is one thing that completely changed the game for me.

Exo-suits.  When you start building a contained area for beds and bathrooms and downtime and everything else in done in an exosuit, you will see a dramatic change in how long something takes.  If you are not using exosuits, you will never get past the mid game.  That simple.

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The best way to troubleshoot this problem is to let your tasks queues unwind until they get idle.  Then give a few commands and wait until they become idle again.  This will help you pinpoint where your time is being wasted.

Also the alternative to the exosuit solution is to break your digging and building into smaller tasks, that take one cycle or less, when you assign digging and building tasks, set them all to priority 7.   This way duplicants will stay in the area until the project is done.  Once all the 7 tasks are finished they will go back to your main base and catch up on the automatic priority 5 and 6 stuff like farming and food production.

Also setting most containers to sweep-only is a must.

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10 hours ago, greggbert said:

Also setting most containers to sweep-only is a must.

Not at all. This is the wrong approach to this game. There are many alternatives, there is no "must". For example, I have never, ever done this. It is most decidedly not needed. You can just make sure the non-critical containers are below everything else in priority and that works pretty well. Also leaves you with a cleaned up base if you let the game run unattended for a while. 

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On ‎5‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 4:33 AM, greggbert said:

The op is asking for a solution to the problem of a shortage of work time.  For that goal it's my belief that setting most containers to sweep only is a must.

I personally never sweep except in certain circumstances, usually in eventually sealed systems like my Eletrolizer or Aquatuner setups.  Gravity drop most of the debris and you will minimalize any impact.  I only use a handful of containers, and those are things like algae storage for diffusers, gold amalgam for the refinery, etc.

Having enough containers to bother with storage, to me, means you're wasting a lot of time doing something that you never even need to do.  The igneous/granite/sandstone isn't hurting anyone if you leave it at the bottom of CO2, which you don't want to be going into anyway.

In many cases I've found, personally, that the stall out is because you're not using time saving changes to your base while you start to expand transit times.  It's not a problem when your mealwood is right next to the base.  It is a problem when half your staff is 3 screens over and suddenly your farmer comes to harvest a single plant.

Use Fire Poles and floors to speed transit times.  This is my #1 priority when stalls start happening.  Also built tightly.  Don't expand in 3 directions at once.  A single tunnel down, a single refinery build.  Small tight projects will reduce the amount of floundering your dupes will do in general.

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