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Concerning Changes to Algae Terrariums


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The change is good, but not good enough. Terrariums now consume less water, but much more labor, as a dupe has to get their body wet to "unplug" the terrarium.

They're still not an alternative - or even a supplement - to deoxydizer or electrolyzer. I mean, you can have a deoxydizer-less colony, but it is painful and very slow to get it going, and ironically also less algae efficient. Every dupe-second spend on being useless and having to unplug terrariums is a waste of ~80g of algae.

And that's not even counting the extra time (and electricity) spent on massaging the stressed dupes (wet feet). And manually refilling water is even more time costly than the massages.

EDIT: I forgot about the hidden benefit of new algae: they're a great heat sink - they can take 75C water and produce 30C pWater, which you can then heat up and sieve.

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To challenge myself on this new play-through and to test out the 'new' terrariums, I decided to see just how long I could survive just on them alone.  I didn't build a single deoxydizer at the start and just beelined into basic farming for them.  I only recently built some deoxydizers to supply air for some Exo-suits, along with the two electrolyzer units in the last 50 cycles.   I have since taken some space from the top of the room to make space for my electrolyzer units I only just put it.

 

I designed it as a single room with everything it needed crammed inside so that I could just allow 1 or 2 Dupes inside to service all the terrariums and it worked fairly well.  Having the labor of one Dupe lost to it isn't so bad.  At one point, I had 22 terrariums going non-stop in there for 10 Dupes and I had more oxygen then I knew what to do with!  (It still do :D)

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The major problem that I realized, after some time, is that it goes through a prodigious amount of SAND and, indirectly, coal.  22 terrariums ends up producing over 5KG/s of polluted water, which means that a sleve burns through 1KG/s of sand to convert it back to water.  I actually ran out of sand at some point where normally I might have 100+ tons of it just sitting around.  Sure, there's plenty of sand still on the map, but I felt this wouldn't be easily sustainable, in the long run.  I ended up having a Dupe beat on the rock granulator for a few tons here and there while I had the rest of my Dupes work on other stuff.

 

The other issue is that it doesn't power itself like electrolyzers can (And, in fact, produce excess energy) so I was burning through coal pretty quickly.  But, that had probably has more to do with this aqua-tuner steaming/condensing system that I built around this geyser.

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Since this geyser doesn't produce all that much steam, I decided to build this overly-complex, but fun and functional steamer unit around it.  It not only condenses the steam from the geyser, but also the steam it produces from boiling polluted water, and still further manages to produce enough packets of cool 25-ish C water within the loop that I siphon off to my water tank within the main part of the base.  Which has been steadily refilling up.  Once I got it all up and running and tweaked, I was surprised that it works exactly how I envisioned it.  It's just a power hog, of course, since it runs all the time.  :D

 

The thing is, there's no way that it could keep up with all those terrariums since they output polluted water at 30C.  It's just too cold.  I'd have to come up with a more purpose built boiler for the job to handle +5KG/s of polluted water.  I know there's designs out there from around last year that can do that.  But... why?  An electrolyzer system is sooo much simpler and more efficient.  Especially if water isn't your main concern in the later part of the game once you find a geyser or two.

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6 hours ago, Coolthulhu said:

The change is good, but not good enough. Terrariums now consume less water, but much more labor, as a dupe has to get their body wet to "unplug" the terrarium.

It drops a bottle.

They don't get wet unless your terrariums are in a bath.

--

For me, terrariums are good in the mid game when I have to send my dupes far afield but I don't have suits yet.

I allow them to breathe a controlled amount of germs, keep vitamins in production, and I place a few terrariums in completely unbreathable areas, in strategic spots..

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12 hours ago, Coolthulhu said:

Then you spend 3x more time on refilling than you would on massages to remove stress.

True, but you also save 240W by keeping your dupes off the massage table.  Not that you can't keep stress low even with soggy feet, but it is worth mentioning.

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Oh they changed them making them worse?  I already avoided using them since water is too important early game to use in one.  I've always built a deoxidizer around cycle 2-3 with another one later and transition to electrolyzers well before I use up the starting algae.

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Ah I really misread it.  Still would not want to use it if it needs to be unclogged often.

yu can use algae deox and the scrubber if you want polluted water. Still better to try and save as much co2 as possible to feed a slickster army.

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9 minutes ago, 0xFADE said:

yu can use algae deox and the scrubber if you want polluted water. Still better to try and save as much co2 as possible to feed a slickster army.

I've personally found that the NGG and/or Oil systems provide plenty of CO2 for the slicksters.  The 200 - 300 kg that's spread around an early/mid sized bas takes up a lot of room and is always in the way. It's a lot easier to have an early/mid game solution for that problem which is basically just coal and dupe CO2 and not enough of it to be useful but too much of it to be simple to deal with.  Terrariums offer a nice lower tech (but higher dupe cost) solution to simply using a Skimmer+Sieve component in the lower right of your base.

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21 hours ago, Coolthulhu said:

Then you spend 3x more time on refilling than you would on massages to remove stress.

I mean, we're talking about probably 2 or 3 strategically placed terrariums to access the entire width of the map. If oxygen is a limiting factor for accessing some remote area, plop down just one terrarium near a dig site somewhere. Just place them carefully.

I feel like one group of people is trying to make terrariums a mainstay. I on the other hand am just taking advantage of the fact they require NO setup. So yeah, someone goes out there to dump a bottle once in a while, but I can also toggle the thing off when we've got a few low pressure pockets of oxygen around.

If you find yourself spending lots of dupe labor on terrariums you're probably trying to do something different than what I'm describing. They should actually save you cycles by virtue of needing zero connected systems. If they become a drain on dupe labor or stress instead, something's wrong.

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2 hours ago, avc15 said:

I mean, we're talking about probably 2 or 3 strategically placed terrariums to access the entire width of the map. If oxygen is a limiting factor for accessing some remote area, plop down just one terrarium near a dig site somewhere. Just place them carefully.

The whole change is obviously intended to make them more comparable to deoxydizer/electrolyzer. It didn't improve their ability to produce small "whiffs" of oxygen for wheezing - in fact it made them worse at this specific job, as they require emptying now.

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The simple fact is that the Terrarium doesn't have a viable role in the game.  They don't produce enough oxygen.  They don't remove enough CO2.  They require too much Water and Algae.  They now produce P-Water waste.  The actual act of emptying the P-Water takes too long.  Not to mention the trekking back and forth from where they are located to where your Pitcher Pump(s) and Bottle Emptier(s) are located and back.

While the change is somewhat positive (they are no longer mass negative, and while under Light are in fact mass positive), they still lack a role.  Until they have a role, they can't be effectively balanced.

Honestly they need a complete rework.  And with how much Algae Pacu will consume, and how little can be derived from Pufts, perhaps we should revisit the idea that they produce Algae instead of consume it.  Let Algae be the product, with Oxygen and CO2 removal being the byproduct.

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My view is that the terrariums are useful early in the game to both reduce CO2 build up and produce a little oxygen. They aren't a long-term solution, and they aren't a large-scale solution.  However, a couple placed in strategic locations makes the early game flow a bit more smoothly.  They augment algae deoxydizers, but they don't replace them.   Also, they aren't that great in handling CO2 from things like your coal generator, but they do a wonderful job at managing the amounts of CO2 produced by your dupes.  

So, TLDR: Algae terrariums are great if used in key places or during the early game cycles.

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I don't see how they are useful even early game. Algea deoxidizers are simpler to set up, even early game, and a simple pit handles CO2 better than the terrariums do.

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47 minutes ago, Mlah said:

I don't see how they are useful even early game. Algea deoxidizers are simpler to set up, even early game, and a simple pit handles CO2 better than the terrariums do.

Deoxidoers consume electricity and produce heat.  Terrariums do not.

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Sure but heat isn't a huge concern early game and a hamster wheel and a battery can keep a deoxidizer going for quite a while as they only need to be turned on in brief bursts.

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