Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Satisfactory: Plastic And Power

Apparently this gameplay status update series is a thing I’m doing lately. Hey, at least it means the ol’ WordPress site is getting some use. I made a fair chunk of progress in Satisfactory this week and wanted to share some details about how that went.

To achieve my next research and milestone goals, I need petroleum byproducts. Which means I need to tap into the oilfields over on the west coast of the game map. After finding my way to the right spot and subduing some of the more aggressive local fauna, I began construction of a facility to make Plastic and Rubber (which will then go on to help produce more complex items, like Computers and Jetpacks).

(Yes, JETPACKS. Heck yeah.)

One could be tempted to suspect that some sort of petroleum byproduct is what’s in the never-spilling never-empty mug in my hand, but… well, it’s probably not that. Probably.

This will be my first experience dealing with unwanted waste materials, in this case Heavy Oil Residue which will be turned into Petroleum Coke, a potentially useful item that I shall (for now) churn directly into coupons via the “Awesome Sink” mechanism because I’m not really set up to worry about coke products just yet.

I feel like this stage of the game is all about learning how annoying it is when pipes and conveyor belts want to occupy the same spaces.

Four refinery buildings take the oil and turn it into Plastic and Rubber (two refineries each) which are loaded onto conveyor belts for transport. The fluid residue goes out along more pipes and into two other refinery buildings.

Yes, there’s a bit of the hilltop clipping through the foundation. I’m going to ignore that as best I can every time I visit this site. Somehow.

I sited the storage bins for the new materials down by the Hyper Tube (personal high-speed point-to-point transport system) portal for (relatively) easy access. At some point, of course, I’ll build a fully automated delivery system back to the main workspace.

An idyllic scene of industrial productivity. (Screenshot taken less than 60 seconds before everything came to a sudden halt.)

With everything in place, I ran power to all the equipment and watched with joy as my finished products entered the prepared storage bins. This feeling of joy lasted for three, possibly even four, entire minutes before I heard the CLUNK sound of my entire power grid collapsing.

Satisfactory has an interesting quirk: Power is only drawn from the grid when a machine is in active use, and that only happens when the machine has sufficient material to produce its output and when that output has somewhere to go. I’m not at the stage of the game where true maximum efficiency is in the cards, so machines tend to go through frequent cycles of activity and idleness.

I had 750MW of power capacity on my grid but due to the weirdly spike-y nature of the power draw, especially of the refineries, all it took was for enough machines to all want to do their thing at the exact same time to clobber the grid and trip the breaker. Everything shut down. Everything.

So, it was clearly time to add more power. I snipped the power line to the petroleum processing equipment and reset the breaker. Back to the coalfields!

For whatever reason, the game developers made the water extractors uniquely incapable of aligning to a grid. Luckily, one doesn’t need to place water extractors very often.

I looked at my previous coal power plant and measured out how many foundations I’d need. (I got the numbers wrong thanks to the changes I had planned, mind you, but I tried anyway.) I also decided to try using a shorter vertical space below the generators. In the first coal power plant, I built several wall-tiles’ worth vertically before placing the generator floor. This gave me almost too much room for pipes and conveyors. It’s ugly and awkward, and I wanted to try making it neater.

As with the previous coal power plant, I used glass foundation tiles to provide daylight to help with lining up the pipes and, of course, to make things generally prettier. Which all coal plants should be, right?

Of course once I built nearly every block of foundations for the crawlspace and the generator floor I realized that there was no logistical way to make the water pipes and the coal conveyor belts live in that short space since they’d have no vertical clearance to go over or under one another.

Whoops. Oh well, so the conveyor belts would run “up top” instead. At least I could make the pipework nice and neat!

I had to place those pipe standoffs on the foundation edges to prevent the pipes from clipping right through the foundation tiles on the way to the generator inputs. Early Access game, yeah.

And that worked, up to a point. One problem is that with the reduced vertical clearance, not only could I not route conveyors around the pipes, I found myself trapped in my own pipework. I ended up deleting wall sections so I could get in and out of the system, and then I had to expand horizontally somewhat so I could route the supply pipes in a way that would allow for the four splitters needed to feed the eight generators.

While placing the generators I realized that the most important thing about their alignment was making sure the water inputs were directly across from one another for each of the four pairs facing the supply lines. This meant I’d only need four pipe splitters and eight neatly placed pipe sections to keep the water supply tidy. I’m rather proud of that part of the build.

I got it all to work, but then I realized I needed to install pumps. In order to raise fluids past a certain amount of elevation change, you need pumps, and pumps need power. Also, the pumps need to be close to where you’re going to be doing the elevation change. Thus, two more foundation floor tiles had to be removed to make it all work.

Writing this post, I now realize I might have been able to use wall-mounted power supply devices down below instead, but I’m not sure whether the pumps could be “rotated” enough to not stick out “through” the foundation anyway. It’ll just stay like this after all, I guess.

In the end it’s still a bit of a dog’s breakfast, but I learned things and it’s somewhat neater than the previous effort, so I’m calling it a win overall. A bunch of conveyor belts and a quick upgrade to the coal miner (from Mk1 to Mk2 to supply enough coal to keep eight generators running) and huzzah, 1350MW of power is in the system.

The conveyors are slightly wonky, which I prefer to the pipes being VERY wonky, so I’ll take it.

Which means that now I’m making Plastic and Rubber again, finally, for real. Now for the next challenge!

2 Comments

  1. SinKayne

    Haha, love the commentary. Sounds like you’re having fun, this game rocks! looking forward to more updates

    • Karel Kerezman

      Thanks! I am having fun, no doubt about it. (Mind you, I’m not a big fan of alpha beasties. My computer, for whatever reason, absolutely hates any time I TURN in this game so getting into critter fights is a losing proposition if I can’t take them out quickly.) More updates to come, definitely… I have a week’s vacation coming up, if nothing else.

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