As we fix the last few bugs on Alpha 23, I’d like to show off an improvement that Designer Luke, Engineer, Max, and Artist Malley made to all crafters: the introduction of input and output bins.
Honestly, I’m having a little trouble understanding the efficacy of the input and output bins. I generally build my towns with proximal access to a communal stockpile, which later gets upgraded to a warehouse-like configuration of storage crates. So all of my crafters are near the stockpile. In times when my worker supply is low, I tend to disable hauling for crafters so they focus on crafting and not on storage management. This keeps them occupied making things and not hauling their creations, and they only have to walk a short distance to the warehouse to grab raw materials.
I guess what I’m saying is that the player can maximize worker efficiency with a little urban planning. Though I can see how stocking certain raw materials close by as a high priority would allow efficiency to improve even further.
Though, as I continue thinking about it, if a crafter is burning through raw materials, you’ll tie up a second hearthling just running materials to their input bins to keep it topped off, when they would otherwise be working on build tasks and other hauling needs.
I suppose at later games stages when towns are larger and there are more workers on hand to help out, the bins would help maintain efficiency more common to the early game? Hmm.
Hey, some of us don’t think ahead… >.>
But in all seriousness, this has kept my crafter pumping out items much quicker when I have a huge influx of things needing to be built (example, when you push the BUILD button on a building).
Just them not having to run that extra little bit (in your case) or a LOT of extra bit (in my case!) has varying degrees of efficiency upgrade.
But mostly, they just look cool. And things that look cool AND have function are the best.
Totally agree! I don’t mean to be a downer about them. I’m actually pretty excited about them, both aesthetically and functionally. I’m just not too clear yet on their functional value. Definitely going to playtest them to see it in action before passing any kind of real judgement.
No matter how close your stockpiles are, there is no guarantee that your hearthlings will place the recent acquired logs there for your carpenter. Maybe they will stock it in someone’s house crate, who knows.
You would need to play a lot with filters to make that work, and yet, the only way to guarantee it is to disable all the wood from all other storages in the whole town. That alone would be difficult, and also limiting. Once your wood stock filled, there will be no place to store the other logs, and items that require the “all” filter will not be stocked either.
The value of the inputs are that you force it to have the needed material for your crafter, without limiting the other stocks, which would work as an overflow in this case.
The input/output bins looks great, and I feel they solve a problem that has often bothered me. However, I have found a major flaw in its current implementation.
Some times piles are put into the input bins (I have only seen it with wood piles, but I assume it could happen with all the resources that has piles), and since the crafters can’t break up the piles, they just end up hogging the space.
I guess the easiest solution to this problem would be to filter out the piles from each resource, though I guess this may turn out to be hard to do in practise, depending on how the resource is requested, and whether there is any efficient way to differentiate between single instances of a resources and piles.
It should be considered a bug.
That would be the same bug that happens with clay, where it was storing both the raw and the bricks version. It can be fixed in the code by adding more specific tags for each item.
Input boxes accepting piles and bricks is fixed in the next version.
Huh, it wasn’t made clear to me in-game that the input/output bins were priority treated. Might be something to add to their description! A very welcome and long awaited addition, function and aesthetically pleasing!
Now I think of it, these input bins can be really useful for building. Place a wooden input bin next to a to-be-builden building, let workers fill it with wood, and then they can start building with their own stash of wood just around the corner.
I’ve been thinking of suggesting something similar, but as a temporary stockpile that you can place as a last step of a building assignment. It would be closely connected to that building and what resources and items it needs. Once the building is finished and the stockpile is empty it is removed automatically.
In the same way you could make a temporary stockpile for output from other tasks, like mining and chopping trees. Once the task is done and the output has been moved to a permanent stockpile the temporary one is removed.
These temporary stockpiles (as well as the new input och output bins) could probably work really well with something like a wheelbarrow. Instead of having a wheelbarrow that just works as an upgraded backpack for a worker that the worker takes with it all over the place, the wheelbarrow can instead be “picked up” and used by anyone when there is a need to moving a lot of items at once, from one stockpile to another.
I’ve been craving something like this in every major city-building/town planning/management game I’ve played since Zeus and it’s stockpile “request” system. The only game to really manage it lately (that I’ve played at least) is Factorio, and for most of that game it’s a case of manually setting up every item flow until you hit end-game and can automate things with robots that fly between ports arbitrarily.
This is going to be a massive improvement to the game for players who are all about efficiency, and plenty more besides! Even though I’m very much a “narrative player”, I always try to optimise my storage around providing needed materials to workshops (it helps to keep the crafter near their workshop and thus make the space more “theirs”.) I try to ensure every single item is stored in a deliberate location next to the workshop/s which will use it, specifically in order to cut down on travel time for crafters. But this change allows me to use centralised storage overflow without having so much of the “cluttered work camp” feel in the early game – I can put my carpenter’s shop next to the forest and keep a supply of logs on the other side of town for my blacksmith to use, instead of trying to find “the sweet spot” where I can have both a lumber and mining site for the sake of keeping all the wood in one place. From a perspective of creating a story while playing, this is awesome! From a perspective of optimising efficiency, it’s just as good too!
The fact that the new containers look so awesome is just the cherry on top! I can see a bit of influence in some of them from the awesome storage mods (e.g. the shelves are clearly inspired in some part by the awesome shelves added in various storage mods), and that’s really great to see. It allows those modders to reasonably easily convert their items into working with the new system, so they can even better fulfill their intended role. Most importantly, IMO, it allows us to build homes that look “lived in” by having a better variety of furniture with stuff clearly on it/in use.
Honestly I think the biggest benefit for me is the fact that I can now make houses which include a workshop, and tie the two rooms together aesthetically as well as functionally. That’s a massive improvement compared to a single communal workshop, which was previously the most efficient way to do things.
Could we please get some confirmation, though, about which hearthlings are able to draw from input bins? Are they only for nearby crafters, or can we do as @nikosthefan suggests and use them to help out with things like building too? If workers are able to draw required items from nearby input containers, it allows us to prioritise those materials required for building and thus it allows further optimisation of the building process. Of course we can already fill up crates with the required resources and move them to the construction site (the hearthlings will prioritise the nearest resource for the job), but those crates won’t have a filling priority like the input bins do. If workers are able to use bins for the same thing, it means we can “set and forget” a ratio of bins to builders to haulers and make sure the builders are always supplied with what they need.
I can understand why this seemingly simple and obvious improvement took so long to complete, but now that it’s working (well, there’s always polishing and refinement heheheh) it’s going to be something so useful that later on we’ll look back and wonder how we ever made do without it.
I was going to complain about too much simplification or limiting decoration choices by requiring functional stuff when I first saw these pop up in the video… but it totally won me over by the time it ended. They look good, and seem reasonable for a town. And I’ve been trying to make displays for my shops forever, so the output bins are really exciting. And wow, there’s a lot of variety. It’s been a while since we’ve gotten so many new items!
I believe this works, though I’ll ping @max99x for the details
Now that is putting another use for decor. Looking forward to these improvements.
These new items are amazing. I was going to implement containters showing their contents but you were faster, so I’m curious how it is coded - via a new component or altering an existing one?
It’s a renderer for the existing storage component. See