Truck optimization still needed

With the recent bugfix patch stopping most of the disappearing trucks I’ve been having fun finally setting up road infrastructure in a zen mode playthrough. Trucks have seen a lot of positive changes since their introduction but they don’t quite yet feel good to use in a game for a couple of reasons.

  1. Truck job scheduling still needs a lot of work.

A few patches ago we got the ability to use a slider to try and optimize mines for truck use. I’ve found that when storage exceeds the target (e.g. 5) and a truck is dispatched that multiple truck loads of minerals/isotopes will be ready by the time the first truck arrives. Despite this it seems like all of the other trucks dispatched after the first only arrive to transport 1 or 2 minerals at a time (despite the mine having more than 5 in storage the whole time). I wonder if its somehow not too cost prohibitive for a worker to recalculate the transported resource amount when it arrives, or perhaps to have the slider only dispatch requests for deliveries of the unit value set by the slider (limited to current max truck capacity).

This inefficiency also happens with the smokestack and waste accumulating in residences. A colony with a larger number of free workers will still see nearly all of them occupied driving roads with a single container of resources/waste for a majority of their work time. All this driving leads to problem #2.

TLDR: the slider on mines helps a little bit, but that system still allows lots of inefficient trips with trucks. Maybe the functionality of the slider can be revisited to force pickups of X size. Smokestacks also generate very inefficient truck traffic.

  1. Truck pollution is pretty intense.

In my current play through i have around 55 employees and 35 citizens. Citizens are primarily housed in the residential building and work in office towers. The residential area is built remote from most of the pollution producing industry, but is served by a road/truck system to remove waste. The inefficient transportation of single waste packets requires a large number of air purifiers in order to keep a viable population. In the example below there are 2 residences and 2 office buildings. Pollution generated in the bottom of the image comes primarily from a smokestack and truck traffic. There are 7 level 3 air purifiers that are working to try and keep the residential area safe. 5 or 6 were insufficient to handle the truck traffic collecting waste from the 2 residences. This means that 21 out of my 55 workers are just trying to keep the air clean in a small pocket of my city. (Add a couple more that are running the power plants responsible for keeping the purifiers running)

Pollution might not actually need tuning if traffic were more optimized.

  1. Truck fuel usage doesn’t currently feel meaningful.

While the pollution proves a challenge to manage under current conditions, i cant say I’ve ever noticed the fuel drain from truck use. The fuel turbine building usually generates a large surplus relative to what energy plants consume and Xethane seems quite easy to come by from fissures on the default map generation settings. I currently have enough to generate ~ 475 energy and fund trucks with just 2 level 3 fuel turbines placed near 2 different fissures.

Anyone else have thoughts about the improved trucks?

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I agree with the trucks on needing to really require more fuel as it would be more of a challenge. I have still yet to fully test the trucks. The only question I have on your air purifiers is are they fully staffed and have you considered combining purifiers ?

The purifier’s are fully staffed. I noticed the level 3 purifiers range gets reduced to 0 when connected, so I’ve avoided connecting them this time around. (not sure if just a display bug or an actual reduction in their work area)

the air purifiers are useless. You need a lot of them to have some effect in small area. So its cheaper to transform all citizens to workers. And do not have any citizens at all.

If I need them I just buy them and instantly transform them to workers before they die of air pollution.

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I think that fairly obviously goes against the design intent, but I get what you’re saying. Nearly half my population of employees is working in the air purifiers to combat truck pollution. Some tweaks to pollution might be necessary when employees incur a constant credit cost and population simulation gets more fleshed out.

Thank you for this awesome breakdown! We will be implementing a response into the game for each point you have made. I hope this moves the gameplay closer to something more optimized and balanced for you. It’s been tricky to get the balance right, and with so many moving parts, I have easily overlooked some things.

It is with the help of the community that we can make this game better! Thank you again for this detailed write up.

  1. Truck job scheduling still needs a lot of work.
    I like your suggestion regarding the slider. Changing the slider to focus on “carry limit” rather the “pickup threshold” will take a bit of time to implement, so it won’t make it into this next update. I will keep this in mind when we start adding sliders to Smokestack and Waste buildings.

  2. Truck pollution is pretty intense.
    I have reduced the pollution they emit by about 30% for the next update. There was also a bug with Air Purifiers that has been fixed that hopefully makes them more viable. Keep in mind, Purifiers will not resolve all pollution problems and are designed as a band-aid. Creating pollution is easier than removing it, just like real life.

  3. Truck fuel usage doesn’t currently feel meaningful.
    I will increase the amount of fuel usage. In addition, I agree that Fuel is a bit too abundant right now. I will address this as well.

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Thanks much for the reply! I’m excited to try out the changes as they make it into the game! Regarding the purifiers, I like the idea that they shouldn’t be able to scrub the whole atmosphere and are a band aid. I like also like that they have a significant power and worker cost to discourage that gameplay. I typically try to locate my residential block far away from industry to help combat pollution so I was surprised to see how many purifiers it took to finally stabilize the civilian population.

It’s encouraging to watch the team consider community feedback during the development process and to see the level of communication you’ve provided thus far. Keep being awesome!

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Why aren’t trucks electric? And require charging at truck depots with energy from the grid? More truck pollution means I’d rather just use more workers.

That’s a cool idea! We can explore that as an alternative option in the future.

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the trucks being electric could be a special research to unlock a new building that has those types of trucks this way it creates a push to get into the game further and challenge people in how they develop their cities.

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