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Storage Compactor Defragmentation


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Over time, especially in long playthroughs and if the player leaves compactors set to accept more or less all materials, the game greatly fragments contents of storage compactors. Here's an example of contents of a storage compactor in my base:

KPG0pf4.png

And the situation gets worse and worse over time as duplicants pick random parts of stored amounts from compactors, then replenish the new gaps with another random materials. As a result, it often happens that single build requires multiple deliveries as duplicants are scrapping leftovers from number of compactors one by one.

I know it's possible to select only certain material(s) to be stored in a compactor and that has chance of improving the situation. However - it requires quite a lot of manual work as there's a lot of different materials in the game, and resulting compactors still look all the same, making it harder for the player to figure out which compactors are set to what material and which material may need another compactor to be set built so the material fits. I tried this approach several times in various playthroughs and it was not very comfortable to maintain.

There are multiple ways the situation could be improved.

  • duplicants could be smarter about which compactor to choose when storing materials. Such as preferring compactors that already contain the material and have enough free space over compactors that are closer but don't have that much space left and/or contain other materials. In general approaches of memory allocation aimed at preventing fragmentation could be of some use here.
  • idle duplicants could have a special "tidy up compactors" task that could kick in when they run out of all, even priority 1 tasks - identify two compactors that can be improved by exchanging some amount of material, reducing count of items in both compactor by at least one. Then they would perform that exchange by picking the material from first compactor, swapping it for selected material in the second compactor, and delivering the swapped material back to the first compactor.
  • the tooltip of material overview could report, besides the amount of material available and reserved, also amount of storage space still available for the material. That would be sum of free space in all compactors that can hold the material (even if they can hold other materials, too). When certain material is running low on storage space, it could be indicated by a marker next to the amount in the overview.
  • compactors holding just one material could display icon of the stored material on their "belly". If the compactor is set to contain multiple materials but all from just one category (e.g. seeds), it could have a generic icon of that category on it. That alone would make organizing material-specific compactors much easier.
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This is indeed common and I find myself trying to reorganize or keep my settings very narrow from the start of the game.

One additional option might be to set an item type in a compactor to 'depreciated' which would not eject it onto the ground but would halt any new storage of said material in it and allow it to be withdrawn as if that particular material had low priority in that container.

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It would be nice to see some improvements to how we manage material storage. I think the mechanics we have now are basically adequate but some better UI would certainly help. In particular, showing us allocated storage per material type and making it easy to tell where each material is currently stored (e.g. the idea about icons on compactors) would be a big step.

I would be wary about trying to make dupes smarter. In a game with so many interlocking systems and emergent complexity, sometimes it's better to have dumb but predictable/easily-manipulated AI instead of "smart" AI that does things you don't expect or can't easily control.

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I just want a mass storage container where this wouldn't be an issue. I don't want a hundred compactors. Late game tech could enable you to make a limitless storage device. It could take up a lot of space or operator like a conveyer loader, sending the content out of the asteroid into the 3rd dimension. 

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29 minutes ago, Rotintin said:

I just want a mass storage container where this wouldn't be an issue. I don't want a hundred compactors. Late game tech could enable you to make a limitless storage device. It could take up a lot of space or operator like a conveyer loader, sending the content out of the asteroid into the 3rd dimension. 

It's a fair point. There's no particularly good reason that we should have to have an array of small compactors for large-scale storage. A jumbo compactor could still hold 10t per tile, but having one 3x4 building that holds 120t instead of six 1x2 compactors for the same mass would be a great step up.

I've been working on an automated warehouse that uses converyors and sweepers to sort materials for storage and retrieve them for use, and that mitigates this whole issue a little bit, but even so I'd love to see these kinds of improvements. Re-allocating storage as needs change is still a chore with 20t compactors, even if dupes aren't manually moving things around so much.

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1 minute ago, Supraluminal said:

It's a fair point. There's no particularly good reason that we should have to have an array of small compactors for large-scale storage. A jumbo compactor could still hold 10t per tile, but having one 3x4 building that holds 120t instead of six 1x2 compactors for the same mass would be a great step up.

I've been working on an automated warehouse that uses converyors and sweepers to sort materials for storage and retrieve them for use, and that mitigates this whole issue a little bit, but even so I'd love to see these kinds of improvements. Re-allocating storage as needs change is still a chore with 20t compactors, even if dupes aren't manually moving things around so much.

Careful with that sweeper storage setup. I'd build it with debug first and see if your game slows. I spent the time to build a large one of those once, but it cost me 20 frames so I sadly deleted it. 

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There's a method I saw Grind This Game using that has worked well for me, it could be considered an abuse of game mechanics as it allows effectively infinite storage in a single tile. Set a compactor to sweep only, and sweep up any materials you want to store/have quick access to. Periodically empty the compactor onto the floor. As long as you don't sweep up the tile under the compactor you will accumulate your resources there. Try to find a place to put this dumping pile where the duplicants can reach it easily, but won't be walking past it all of the time for decor reasons.

It also helps to have a higher priority sweep compactor for any materials that might make a mess, such as polluted ice.

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2 hours ago, TrustyFish said:

There's a method I saw Grind This Game using that has worked well for me, it could be considered an abuse of game mechanics as it allows effectively infinite storage in a single tile. Set a compactor to sweep only, and sweep up any materials you want to store/have quick access to. Periodically empty the compactor onto the floor. As long as you don't sweep up the tile under the compactor you will accumulate your resources there. Try to find a place to put this dumping pile where the duplicants can reach it easily, but won't be walking past it all of the time for decor reasons.

It also helps to have a higher priority sweep compactor for any materials that might make a mess, such as polluted ice.

That doesn't work unfortunately.  If more than 100 kg of materials are on the single tile, the game starts deleting stuff.  I had to abandon my colony because all my copper vanished :(

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20 minutes ago, Zarquan said:

That doesn't work unfortunately.  If more than 100 kg of materials are on the single tile, the game starts deleting stuff.  I had to abandon my colony because all my copper vanished :(

Really? good to know. I guess I never noticed since I only swept up in my high decor areas and didn't find myself running out of those materials.

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Another issue with all these different stacks in the compactors each have to do their thermal calculations.  That means that each of those listed items does an operation, which slows down performance, especially if you have a lot of storage containers.

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