Auto-Sweeper range/occlusion inconsistent and confusing

  • Branch: Live Branch Version: Windows Pending

I've been building an automated material handling system (warehouse and distribution lines) and am having a lot of trouble with Auto-Sweepers being able to access things in a way that is clear, understandable, and consistent. One major way this manifests is that sweepers seem to be able to reach through tiles for some tasks but not others - although it's not entirely clear when/why this is the case, either.

The biggest use case I'm having trouble with is storing and then retrieving materials in storage compactors. The sweeper can deliver materials to any compactor within its range, no matter what tiles, doors, etc. exist between the sweeper and the compactor. When it comes time to retrieve materials, though, the sweeper can't access the contents of many of my compactors, roughly corresponding to the sweeper's line of sight to each compactor.

Here's a shot of one warehouse room I used for testing, specifically using the left-hand sweeper and the compactors in its range:


(Note, the conveyor receptacle is set to 5 so the sweeper will ignore it during testing. Not related to the issue.)

All of the compactors in the left-hand block (everything above/below the conveyor receptacle and leftwards) are set to accept cultivable soil. By toggling priorities, I verified that the sweeper can deposit material in all of them. I also found that it can't pull materials out of any of the compactors marked with priority 1 in the screenshot.

I then deconstructed the sweeper and rebuilt it one tile lower to see if that affected its access to the compactors. Here's how that worked out:


The sweeper still delivers to all compactors. It can now pull from the full bottom row, but loses access to the two left-most ones in the middle row. Interestingly, it can also now access the top left compactor: The fact that that one sits on an airflow tile (which doesn't block other line-of-sight features like decor) makes me think that the sweeper's ability to "see" the compactor is what is limiting its access for pulling materials. If I have time, I'll try replacing all the floor tiles in this room to see if that allows the sweeper to pull from all the compactors.

Note that I haven't tested this LoS theory with other storage types. I think I've seen sweepers pull from receptacles they can't see, but I'm not 100% sure.

(Edit to add: I went back and replaced the floor tiles with airflow tiles as mentioned, and the sweepers can now pull from all the compactors. This seems to confirm the LoS idea.)

In any case, I hope this gets investigated and resolved. It seems like a bug, and even if it's working as intended, it's an extremely confusing and annoying behavior that needs to be re-examined and more clearly communicated in-game.

Fool's Testing Hope.sav

Steps to Reproduce
Simple test case: 1) Build a storage compactor completely enclosed in solid tiles within range of a sweeper. 2) Set the compactor to accept some material the sweeper has access to and give it a high priority. 3) Once some material has been delivered, change priorities so that the sweeper "should" try to empty the compactor into other storage within range. It will not be able to pull material out of the enclosed compactor. I've also attached the save where I did my original testing and took the included screenshots. You can find the warehouse complex on the left side and test with the same room I used, if desired.
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I can confirm your findings.
Also, it seems that sweeper can sometimes "see" through when two full tiles are placed diagonally of each other, where the corners are next to each other. This, for example, allows the sweeper to fetch stuff from very hot areas.

I hope to remain to be able to fetch (very) hot stuff with sweepers.

Replacing insulated tiles with airflow tiles is not an option because the sweeper would soon overheat and break.


Edited by Master Miner
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Not sure if you posted before/after I edited, but note that I went back and replaced all the floors with airflow tiles, and as suspected the sweepers could then reach all compactors. So between that and your observation about diagonal openings (which I've noticed dupes can see through) it seems pretty definite that the LoS of the sweeper is the limiting factor.

My preferred resolution would also be to remove the LoS requirement and allow sweepers to pick up from anywhere within their range, as this seems to be one of the biggest things differentiating sweepers from dupes. It allows for interesting designs that rely on closing areas to dupe access.

Failing that, if the devs want to keep the LoS limit in some form, it needs to be communicated clearly in game. The simplest way to do that would be to restrict both depositing and fetching by sweeper LoS and then update the range grid behavior when placing a sweeper to properly account for that. But, that would be a significant downgrade to sweepers which seems unnecessary and un-fun to me.

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