Posts by Gus_Smedstad

    Fair point about the Eating Plant. That one generally isn’t on my radar because it’s difficult to breed (no level 5-7 crops share keywords with it) the requirements are a bit stiff and awkward (lava underneath it), and ordinarily the demand for cactus is very low (dye only). I’ve got a cactus autofarm, but I don’t care that it’s only produced 300 cactus in months of play because I don’t use much.

    With yield and growth 10+, I suspect it could cross the 2 cactus / second required to keep up with a mining rig, but the effort required to do so is high enough that I probably won’t explore that. It’s mostly the lava requirement, which is a PITA and potentially dangerous.

    It doesn’t help that it’s not possible to test IC2 crops in creative just by plopping stuff down. Breeding a particular high-stat plant is just as time consuming in creative as in regular play.

    There is another way in getting water: you can grow cactus as ic2 agricultural crop (there will be pretty high yield if you invest some time in selection) and put them in fluid extractor.

    I started a new mining site in the middle of a desert, far enough in that shipping water in from another biome didn't look much more practical than just shipping drilling fluid from my home base. So I looked into this cactus-for-water idea.

    It doesn't work. IC2 crop sticks won't take cactus, it's not a valid IC2 plant. Reed is, but not cactus.

    Agricraft's crop sticks, which are based on IC2's, will take cactus. But yield is the Cactus Green dye, not cactus, and it can't be extracted for water.

    I tried straight vanilla cactus, harvested either with an Ancient Warfare farm, or a Forestry multifarm. The growth rate is so slow that even with a very large (16 x 16) plot devoted to cactus, the water yield is trivial. Maybe 1 L / second, about 1/1000th of the demand of a mining rig.

    For the moment the site is running on imported drilling fluid, but it's slow. I need to look around to see if I have any other options (short of using an infinite water source, which is against my personal rules).

    For the majority of the gasses and petroleum products I move around, I’m using tiny plastic pipes because they’re cheap and I don’t care too much about flow rate.

    Off the top of my head, the main exceptions are steam, which requires huge volumes and which I move only short distances, water, and oxygen. For water and oxygen I use normal plastic pipes (7,200 L/sec) for the trunk and tiny pipes (1200 L/sec) for the branches.

    My impression is that most mods are in the 1200-2400 L/sec range for maximum flow. Because most mods use less materials than GT, including less fluids.

    Anyway, for the moment I’ve taken a break from power plant engineering and plumbing tangles and I’m prospecting for tungsten via seismic prospector. It’s been pretty tedious. I’ve found some better oil sources, but otherwise it’s mostly been ores for which I already have known sources, like iron, Oilsands, uranium, and emeralds.

    Because of the ore drilling rig I’ve got a real storage problem. My main ore repository has 50,000 crushed ore in it, and I’m hand-carrying the excess to my secondary storage, which has another 65,000 crushed ore in it. Most of which I’ll probably never use.

    I wish I could figure out some automated way of putting the excess into the secondary storage, but there’s no way to test for “I’ve already got a lot of that.” I guess that’s why people indulge in things like Applied Energistics or Storage Drawers. Those always felt cheaty to me, but I haven’t had such excessive storage needs before.

    I looked at Pressure Pipes, and my initial thought is that it’s too powerful for my taste. Infinite transfer speed and infinite varieties of liquid in one pipe is too far in the other direction for me.

    On the positive side, it’s microblocks compatible. You can’t color code the pipes, but you can slice any block you like to make covers for it, so you can make colored wrappers easily enough.

    I’ve used the 4 and 9 pipe variants. They work.

    The main drawbacks are that you really must use fluid filters with them once a specific fluid branches off to a destination, and you can’t really color code them since they’re carrying multiple fluids.

    I think of fluid filters as being expensive, since they require 2 Advanced circuits each. That’s somewhat legacy thinking, since I have a MV electronics assembly line that produces Advanced circuits somewhat cheaply, though it takes time. I’m also really awash in most materials at this point below tungsten, so material expense isn’t that important unless it’s tungsten or osmium or something.

    Lack of color coding bothers me, since I’ve found color coded pipes highly useful for understanding what I’m seeing at a glance, and for finding existing pipes if I need to route a fluid somewhere new.

    One thing I could try, which may or may not work, would be to paint the pipes for the color of one fluid, and slap colored covers on the pipes to identify the others. So I could do a yellow pipe with periodic green covers to identify a bundle with light fuel and oxygen.

    That’s somewhat pricey in terms of materials, since each cover is an ingot, but as I said I have lots of materials. I’m not sure what colors are available off the top of my head.

    I’m reluctant, but not totally opposed to adding mods to solve problems. I don’t like to feel like I’m “cheating,” and most mods tend to have lower costs than Gregtech, but I can always use Minetweaker to adjust costs if it really bugs me.

    So I’ll take a look at Pressure Pipes. My main reservation is the pipe identification issue - most mods don’t let you arbitrarily re-color their pipes. Some have transparent fluid pipes, like Thermal Expansion’s pipes, but that does not help if the pipe is currently empty.

    Like when I put my first nuclear reactor online in factorio all I thought was "oh neat, power is no longer a concern".

    When I was putting together the distillation tower and the supporting desulfination machines, hydrogen sulfide processing, and processing to create light fuel, I kept thinking about how oil refining works in Factorio.

    Factorio doesn’t give you a single-block distillery like GT5U does. Basic refining in Factorio is akin to the GT5U distillation tower, you get 3 outputs (heavy oil, light oil, and natural gas). What was uppermost in my mind is that somehow, despite having 3 dimensions to work with instead of 2, plumbing for the distillation tower in GT5U is a much uglier problem than in Factorio. I’ve learned the art of clean design for moving Factorio’s petroleum products around, and yet tackling a similar problem in GT5U ended with a tangle of pipes.

    Seriously, recently I’ve been thinking that GT5U is primarily a game about plumbing (and somewhat about wiring). I spend more time on that than anything else, and it’s a problem that gets steadily worse every time I add another pipe to the web.

    Maybe it’s just that it’s all crammed into a much smaller space. Factorio bases are huge, sprawling affairs by mid-game, and I’m still more or less in a 64 x 64 space. With a lot of stuff stacked vertically, since the 3rd dimension is there and I try and take advantage of it by building stuff on multiple floors instead of spreading out horizontally.

    I’ve never had that problem. Every time I’ve had a multiblock fail to form, it was because I’d forgotten one of the casings. Usually on the bottom layer, where I couldn’t see it.

    I generally only place cables and pipes below a multiblock before building it. Anything that’s going to connect above that, I do after I’ve placed the multiblock. I usually find pipes pipes placed before to blocks get in the way of building it. Items below the multiblock I place first for the same reason - the multiblock is going to obstruct my view of the pipes or cables below it.

    Which brings me to the other thing that’s on my mind - I’m feeling burned out.

    I’m doing a lot of work to upgrade my power generation. Which for the moment feels unnecessary since the upgraded steam setup is providing 95% of my energy needs. It’s only the remote sites that absolutely need fuel to run, and they only really sip at my fuel production.

    I’m aware, though, that the next steps involve upping my power usage to 8K, maybe 10K eu / tick. Tungsten processing requires 2kV electrolysis, and the epoxy board electronics are all 2kV assembly recipes. The steam plant is simply not up to providing that kind of energy.

    Which brings me to wonder “why am I doing this?”

    Getting seriously into 2kV and 8kV tech feels like a repetition of what I’ve done before, only with bigger numbers. A lot of the qualitative changes in play are behind me. Now it’s more about graduating to better materials without changing much.

    Most of the real changes feels like they’re on the energy side, actually. The completely new tasks like distillation towers, fuel crackers, more complicated fuel synthesis, and maybe even a liquid-cooled reactor are all about power production.

    I finally got my first distillation tower up and running, converting crude oil to heavy fuel, light fuel, naphtha, and refinery gas, and converting the heavy fuel and naphtha to light fuel for eventual conversion to cetane diesel.

    The refinery gas I’m converting to LPG. It’s currently set up to only burn LPG if demand outstrips what the boiler / turbine setup can provide. I probably have to set up something to force it to burn LPG earlier if the LPG tank gets full. Otherwise the other lines can potentially stall.

    That’s a problem that’s only going to get worse if I delve further into petroleum refining. Cracking light fuel or refinery gas ends up producing a couple of other flammable gasses like ethane and methane, each of which will need its own management system to ensure they’re used and the distillation doesn’t stall.

    I guess the alternative is to set up the distillation towers so they don’t care about overflow for some output hatches. Right now the crude oil distillation tower is set up to stop if any output hatch fills with 75% fluid. I could change it so, for example, it doesn’t care if refinery gas gets thrown away.

    I’m also aware that I should probably set up high octane gasoline synthesis, which means the emphasis goes from producing light fuel (as it works at present) to producing naphtha, with some cracking required for the trace additives like butene. Light fuel then becomes an intermediate product that gets converted to naphtha in a distillation tower.

    The number of steps involved make my head hurt, though. There’s 6 additional compounds - butane, butene, tert-butyl ether, acetic acid, and methanol - that I’m not currently making, plus the mixing.

    Not to mention there’s some logistics issues in changing over. I’ve got a storage tank for cetane diesel I’d want to use up, plus trains that are currently set up transport fuel to the fuel and ore rigs.

    Yeah, that can happen with boilers. Boilers generate steam on a per-second cycle, not per-tick, and your output hatches must have enough space to contain a full second's steam output.

    This isn't as much of a constraint as it might seem, since you can have any number of output hatches in the top layer. If a hatch is full, excess goes to the next hatch, so it's only the total space that matters. I typically go with 2-3 output hatches depending on what pipes I can make and afford when I build the boiler.

    Since a LV output hatch holds 16,000 L, if you have 2 hatches this only becomes a problem when you hit Tungsten Steel boilers. Usually it's the pipes that are the limit, not the hatches themselves. If you only build a single hatch, it's a potential problem as soon as you upgrade to steel (24,000 L/sec).

    Larger input hatches definitely do not help. Large input hatches actually hurt the large steam turbines for the reasons I outlined, and a large water input hatch for the boiler doesn’t really change how it behaves at all. About the only thing you get from a larger input hatch on the boiler is a larger water reserve.

    My distilled water reserve is a small external tank. Even so, as long as the reserve is large enough to hold all the water generated by the turbines when the steam tank bottoms out, and thus all the stored steam is converted to water, the reserve tank size doesn’t matter.

    I’ve taken a couple of steps to address it, because the water destruction was actually getting kind of serious if I put the system under significant load. The destruction is per boiler startup, and if the system runs continuously for a while, the repeated boiler starts (every 12 minutes or so) were outpacing my MV distillery’s ability to keep up.

    I’ve added a 2nd MV distillery, which increases the amount of water converted, but the main thing I did was throttle one of the boilers by 5000 L/sec, so they boilers only outpace the turbines by 5,000 L/sec instead of 10,000 L/sec. This means that if the turbines are running continuously, a cycle takes twice as long.

    There’s no loss of steam, and I have fluid regulators on the turbines setting the steam flow to exactly the optimal flow rate.

    However, there’s no way to avoid excess steam in the input hatch before a turbine starts running. A turbine rated for 18,000 L/sec, 900 L/tick of steam with an input hatch holding 16,000 L of steam will have an oversupply until consumes all the extra steam. After that it’s limited by the flow into the hatch. So for about 2 seconds it will eat 1,350 L/tick of steam for no extra energy output.

    However, even if the turbines voided the extra steam rather than converted it to water, that’s only about 100 L of water loss on startup before the fluid regulator limits the steam input. I’m seeing far, far more loss than that.

    Boilers, oddly, run on a per-second cycle, rather than per-tick. A Titanium boiler will run for 1 second generating no steam, and then abruptly create 32,000 L of steam in any output hatches. This is fairly easy to observe if you view the contents of the output hatch, or if there are multiple hatches, the last output hatch.

    It appears that a Large Boiler -> Large Steam Turbine setup is not actually a closed system. After every turbine run, there’s less water in the distilled holding tank than when it started. Even taking into account water that’s currently steam in the steam tank, since most of the time, the turbines shut off while the boilers are running, and then the boilers continue until the steam tank is 90% full.

    I think it’s a startup cost. That is, I think that the large boilers don’t work quite right, while they’re heating up they consume water at their full rate even though they’re not making steam yet. At some point I need to do some experiments in Creative to verify where the water is going.

    It’s also possible it’s a steam turbine problem, that they aren’t returning 100% of the water while they’re spinning up, but the boilers look more likely.

    I believe that once both are running, all water consumed by the boilers is returned by the turbines. It’s difficult to say because I’m usually not stressing the system. If I’m just processing ore, system demand’s about 200-300 EU/tick, far less than the 1550 EU/tick the turbines produce, so the turbines run about 12 minutes, fill up the battery, and shut off.

    That’s just one on/off cycle for the boilers. The turbines start up, empty the steam tank, and the boilers kick in. By the time the steam tank is almost full, the battery is full again and the turbines are off.

    It appears there’s about 40,000 L less distilled water in the reserve tank after a cycle. It’s noticeable, but only about 10% of the water I’d use if I generated that much EU with HV turbines and no water recycling.

    I can live with it, but it does mean that the distillery attached to the system keeping a minimum amount of water in the tank runs on a regular basis.

    By the time you’re flying around the End, making a seismic prospector and producing explosives to run it should be easy. Data sticks are the main barrier to using it, but you should be able to make those by the time you care about tungsten.

    So, no actual shafts, just dropping the prospector and activating it repeatedly.

    Tungsten generates between levels 20 and 50, so I’m not sure how visible it would be from the surface. Yeah, I know the geography of the End is a little weird, so those levels may be more visible than I think.

    Of course, if the pack you’re playing with has altered the ore generation, there’s no way to say for certain whether it’s left tungstate generation in the End alone.

    I tend to look at EU as being free. Mainly because I emphasize renewable fuel sources (i.e. trees converted to charcoal) or largely hands off (i.e. my oil rig). The cost for setting up the power infrastructure is significant, and a project that never really ends, but once it’s in place I don’t hesitate to use it.

    90% of the reason to have any kind of dissambler is the electric tools. They’re very expensive compared to simple pickaxes if you can’t recycle them when they’re near breaking. They’re quite reasonable if you can salvage 90% of the parts.

    Even with electric tools, most of them don’t get really heavy use. It’s the drills that get significant wear, not chainsaws, screwdrivers, or wrenches. Even if you’re using ore rigs for your ore mining (as I am), there’s usually significant wear digging tunnels.

    I don’t see myself making an IV disassembler for the extra savings, even though I regularly use a MV drill, which means some loss of titanium every time I rebuild it. I’m glad I have the EV disassembler, though.

    If past experience is any guide, eventually you get to a point where things that used to look prohibitively expensive are now cheap enough to do anyway. I don’t care about the steel cost of anything since I have so much iron and I can make more steel very rapidly. Stainless steel doesn’t look so bad since I have hundreds of manganese, though I’ll probably have to drill a redstone deposit for more chrome soon. Titanium will be plentiful as soon as I finish drilling my current bauxite deposit.

    Tungsten is, of course, completely prohibitive for me since I haven’t found any at all. I imagine, though, that it starts to feel cheap and plentiful if you’ve gone to the End, killed the dragon, and flown around setting up ore drills there. I gather that tungstate is common there, though I’ve never been there.

    I checked platinum sources, and sure enough, washing crushed nickel ore with mercury is the only meaningful source of platinum as a by product, and far more productive than platinum sludge. I had around 1500 crushed nickel in storage from ore rigs, so I dumped a bunch of it into my ore processing system to get some more platinum.

    I’ve got 11 Osmium and 31 Iridium at this point. 20 of the iridium is loot from treasure chests.

    I’m setting up the ore rig for bauxite. Man, compared to just going out and mining, the prep time is huge. Much of the day, really.

    Part of the issue was this was my first surface mine, the previous three were all underground. Of course that meant I had to build a shelter from the rain, and I ended up building a substantial little castle rather than just leave a big ugly stone cube on the site. It’s still rectangular in shape, but it has proper walls with anti-spider defenses and a few decorative touches like crenellations. Kind of silly for something that’s essentially throw away, something I’ll abandon once the site is exhausted.

    The actual surface site turned out to be in the plains, not the nearby desert as I thought, so I threw in a wooden water collector tank and a minimum-size (3x3x4) Railcraft tank to store water. My plan is to have lubricant and drilling fluid cars in the train, and send the train back early if drilling fluid runs out locally. Which should only happen if there’s not enough water on site.

    Even though it’s substantial work, it feels like the time investment is worth it, since drilling one site is like mining 3 sites by hand, and I don’t have to hand-carry anything back and forth or go through the tedium of branch mining.

    I also think the process of setting up drills will go faster as I get more practiced. Throwing up the drill itself goes very quickly. It’s setting up the support stuff that still takes a little time, like the on-site drilling fluid production and the redstone control logic.

    Plus there’s laying down track, though each new segment of track I lay is something I’ll probably be able to use to reach later sites.

    I don’t use a lot of nickel, so I’m not really on top of what it produces when washed with mercury. I do have nickel deposits, but I haven’t really mined them beyond getting some cobalt early on.

    I do, of course, have a mercury bath setup. In fact, just recently I set up a separate centrifuge for bulk-centrifuging redstone, and a big tank to hold the mecury. Prior to this I only had a very small (48 bucket) tank for mercury, but I was very short of chrome, and I had large reserves (2000+) of redstone, so I wanted the redstone -> ruby dust -> chrome process, but I didn’t want to just throw away the extra mercury.

    Near as I can tell, mercury has little value beyond ore washing. You can “burn” it for power in one-shot batteries, but that seems like a waste. It’s also a fuel for Magic power converters, again a bit of a waste. The extra copper, gold, and silver you get from mercury washing seems a lot more valuable.

    Up until recently, the only use I had for platinum was carbon fiber. Which it produces at very low cost (1 platinum = about 70 carbon fiber). When I looked into wireless redstone transmission to control the turbines, I discovered that those covers require EV emitters / receivers, which in turn require platinum rods. You can run through a lot of platinum in a hurry in you go into wireless redstone logic in a big way.

    I ended up going wired for the turbines, which you can do now that multi-block casings transmit redstone signals. Still, I’ve got the wireless stuff in mind. Wireless redstone is potentially very convenient, and I tested that it works in / out of Compact Machines. I could, for example, broadcast the state of the steam buffer wirelessly, and every control circuit that cares about that could listen to that signal.

    I also see that platinum is the only -1 EU/meter cable for 8kV. Clearly it’s way too rare and expensive for that. Unfortunately there’s no cheap alternative like aluminum. I guess that most people use tungsten steel cable, which is -2 EU/meter, but much easier to obtain once you’ve got a tungsten deposit.

    Iridium and osmium don’t spawn as ore veins. Yes, Gregtech has entries for ore blocks for both of them, and NEI shows ore processing for them, but they don’t spawn unless you add an entry to the config. It appears that platinum sludge is intended to be the only way to obtain them from ore.

    In practice, treasure chests in villages, temples, abandoned mine shafts, and the like are a far more plentiful source of iridium.

    I should check how much I’ve got of each. I know I’ve only got about 20 platinum, all obtained from processing chalcopyrite for sludge.

    EDIT: I looked at the vein table again, and while there’s no entry from osmium, iridium does generate as a rare block in a platinum vein. Which is a very rare vein, about 0.25% of 3x3s should have it.