How about a game status update for the thing that has taken over most of my free time this past month? (Yes, I bought it on Dec 3rd 2020 and here it is, Jan 3rd 2021 and the honeymoon ain’t over yet.) I managed to send up another shipment via the space elevator, which means I unlocked the potential to make petroleum products such as plastics and fuel from the newly-available oil.

The operative word there is, “potential.” In order to take advantage of the ability I’ll need to craft a bunch of materials needed to build the production facilities. I have a spreadsheet for tallying up the requirements.

Yes, a spreadsheet. For a video game. No, I don’t know what sort of stranger I’m becoming, either.

At any rate, a big part of today’s session involved retooling my meager copper operation into something which can crank out more materials, faster, routed and stored more usefully. I need Wires (made from copper) to pair with Steel Pipes (made from steel, which is made from iron and coal) to make Stators which, when paired with the Rotors that the iron works produces, makes Motors, and I need hundreds of those to get the oil fields project running.

You get the idea. Maybe.

Let’s see how bad it looked at the start:

The day/night cycle happens fast in this game, but I didn’t want to wait long enough for daybreak to get a brighter screenshot. I had things to DO, time was a-wastin’!

Oof, right? Conveyor belts strewn about, nothing lined up neatly, mixed materials going to insufficient storage, and nothing even remotely resembling efficient use of the source copper node.

All of that had to go. After considering the question of where to smelt and where to manufacture, I decided to expand my existing ironworks structure. That saved me building a whole other building somewhere in the tight confines of my selected hub zone, and it meant I could keep using the ironworks as my main storage shed.

Part of me wants to beautify the ironworks, which is currently kind of an eyesore. Part of me knows I’m just going to rip it all out entirely at some point anyway, so why bother?

The three new sets of bins on the right in the above image (which are the smaller shorter Storage Container type because I didn’t realize when I built the ironworks originally that the improved version would need a lot more vertical clearance) are for Wires, Cables, and Copper Sheets respectively.

I made space above and below, then made some more space. A primary tenet of playing Satisfactory is that you always, always make sure you have more room than you think you need. With that done, I started clearing out the old copperworks.

Just a pure copper node, some storage bins, and not nearly enough foundations. Seriously, concrete is the unsung hero of this game, you need so dingdang much of it for laying foundation tiles.

I knew I wanted storage bins nearby just for copper ingots, because sometimes this game throws you a curveball and wants to use ingots directly for various things, such as the FICSMAS event ornaments. I never again want to face tearing apart existing infrastructure to make that happen, so storage is being built into this plan from the start.

Too bad I didn’t put the bins in the right spot at first. And even then, two bins is twice as many as I’m likely to need. Whoops. So I removed them and rebuilt one at a more appropriate location, after placing a whole mess of Smelters.

Pictured: Not an actual mess of Smelters, as they’re actually neatly arranged in a row on foundations, as the gods intended.

A pure copper node can generate 240 raw ore per minute. Each Smelter can process 30 ore per minute into ingots. This is almost as easy as the math gets in this game.

At this point, however, I decided to overbuild this just a bit. Conveyor belts can be split and joined at a maximum ratio of 1:3 and 3:1 respectively. One input, up to three outputs. Up to three inputs, one output. And given the available reference material regarding how combiners and splitters and different quality belts work to best balance conveyor belt loads, I probably could have deployed fewer splitters & combiners than I actually chose to use.

But I went for a one-to-two-to-four arrangement for the Miner-to-Smelters setup, and four-to-two-to-one (kind of, more on that later) for getting all the ingots onto one high-speed conveyor belt headed over to the materials production area at the ironworks. I can only handle so much tricky complex thinking, folks. Luckily the game doesn’t really punish you for over-engineering things. Heck, one could easily argue that over-engineering things in this game is part of its appeal.

The only problem I actually had with this part of the build was an aesthetic quirk: The belts to & from the Smelters bend oddly instead of doing neat & tidy right-angle corners. D’oh!

This arrangement has two main benefits to me: It’s easy to tell how much of what is going where, and it’s easy to modify if I need to divert resources at some point in the process. Which is what I started doing almost immediately!

That big entryway in the middle of the wall was made possible by spending tickets generated via that big machine off to the side.

The machine visible in the above image is an AWESOME Sink. It takes unwanted materials and turns them into tickets. The tickets can be used at the AWESOME Shop for unlocking new buildings & equipment, such as walls with doors in them. Or walls with glass windows. Or actual ladders & staircases.

The game doesn’t just give you such quality-of-life items, after all. You’re supposed to be on this planet devoting yourself to harvesting all of its resources in the most efficient manner possible. Why should you be provided with niceties like, say, guardrails and walkways? But if you want to buy them by turning (supposedly) valuable materials into tickets, well, knock yourself out!

Anyway: I’m diverting some of the ingots (using a Smart Splitter’s “overflow” function, so only ingots that can’t currently progress toward the production site will be taken out of play) into that AWESOME Sink to make tickets.

Have I mentioned how much I love the glass foundations? Because I absolutely love the glass foundations.

After half an hour or so more of fiddling around and going back & forth to the storage bins for more materials, I got everything laid out, then connected all the power lines to commence operations.

Yes, I could have placed the Smelters a whole foundation block’s span closer to the Miner and it would’ve been neater and tidier. On the other hand, what else would I use that space for, really?

Then I went up on the ironworks building to create a bunch of Constructors and route their inputs & outputs accordingly.

It took a few tries to make it look & work even as well as this, and I’m still not actually happy with the results. It’ll do. It’ll have to do.

One of the resources I need next is some kind of grid planner for laying out the actual physical machinery and conveyor belts, because what I just built? It works, but it’s such a dog’s breakfast. I look forward to the day when I can replace the whole mess outright.

But for now, it’s doing what I need it to do. Tools down! We’ll come back to it another day.

Meet the new copperworks. Award-winning, it ain’t, but it does the job well enough for now.