Satisfactory – Post Coal

Steam says I have 24 hrs in, and I’m trying to fill up the items for the next phase of the Space Elevator to unlock ranks 5-6 research. If that means nothing to you, Satisfactory has 4 main “phases”, blocked into sets of 2 ranks of research. 0 is the intro, 1-2 are the starter, 3-4 are the basic (coal + steel), 5-6 are mid (oil), and 7-8 are the end (nuclear). So I guess I’m at the end of the basic phase.

Sandbox

Satisfactory is bound by two main factors – belts of mined items and power. It doesn’t matter what you want to build, the power limits are going to prevent you from automating much to start. Even coal power is quickly consumed with the need for massive (I think) power plants to get things running, then large powerlines to get it where you need.

The coal miner way in the distance
My 600MW set of factories.

It took me a while to figure out this layout and the math required to make the water pressure make sense. Let alone the sheer volume of Mk2 Belts needed to get the coal there in the first place. Mines have different production rates, and you need to make sure the belt can deliver it to the intended target.

Mk1 Belts are really easy to get going. Mk2 require Reinforced Iron Plates, which comes from screws and prior plates. At a rate of 7.5/minute. My coal run above has nearly 300 pieces of belt. That’s 40 minutes of waiting, assuming I don’t need the pieces for other bits (I do). Mk3 are based on Steel Ingots, which are used for even more things. It’s insanely tedious that basic logistics are so painful to manage. Heck, my Sulfur mine is a good 600 belt pieces away (30 belt pieces per 100meters).

Map Size

No sense in shying away from it, the map is frickin’ massive. I’ve seen maybe 5% of it in 24 hours. DSP is massive – it’s solar systems after all – but it also comes with some serious improvements to player movement early on. And getting stuff from one location to the other is not about walking for 5-10 minutes.

I will state that having a world THIS big and no map is beyond dumb. (I know I can unlock it, with Quartz 1.5km away.)

I do read about vehicles being an option, even jetpacks. That would be awesome! There’s even the option for trucks and trains at some point! Wouldn’t that be great! For now – I get jump pads to move vertically. Honestly, it’s just better to build ramps everywhere, even if they are kilometers long.

Conveyor Belts

This is the general way to get things from one place to another. The expectation here is that belts work under cardinal rules, meaning 4 directions possible and that you need to worry about belts overlapping not about them being able to connect to the end point. Satisfactory has guide lines to help with belts, but that only applies to items with a single entry/exit point. If you have 2 things going in, then it’s a right nightmare to line it all up.

It’s also quite weird to be able to overlap belts without issue (not the splitters/mergers). I can certainly make it all work, but I’d need a fair chunk more space… and the inability to easily move vertically at this point makes that a painful experience.

This shouldn’t even be possible.

Blueprints

Building a factory gets even more finicky as the game progresses, as you need to start splitting and merging more lines. The game doesn’t automatically line stuff up, which makes for a lot of trial an error to make the whole thing make sense. Blueprints would dramatically help in setting up basic lines – or at the least a better “grid lock” system. It’d be really cool if the foundations you laid down did a better job of “locking things”.

This is about 2 hours of effort to build.

MAM

I thought progress was only in the main base, but it actually is a lot in MAM. Not only do you unlock key items here (like explosives for rocks) but you can also research “alternate” recipes. The screw I mentioned above takes 1 iron rod (1 smelted iron ore, crafted into 1 rod) at a rate of 40/minute. A steel screw takes 1 steel beam (1 iron + 1 coal ore) and gives you 260/minute. Ridiculous efficiency… and hidden behind RNG. I only know this recipe exists because of the wiki and figuring out what Hard Drives were. There are more hard drives than there are recipes, so that’s cool. But it’s probably 40 hours to collect them all.

Factory Goals

I wrote earlier that a good factory game focuses on the numbers and making the logistics balance. It is not about resource scarcity, it’s about optimizing the resources you have. It’s not about waiting for things to happen, it’s about testing things out for hours.

Satisfactory is about exploring first, then about not having enough materials/inventory on hand to get the things you find back home. Then fighting with the interface to make supply chains. I am convinced there is a balance point somewhere, where the logistics finally take shape and I can build a real factory. Like cripes, just let me build a ladder – I have a vertical belt but no real way to use it. Right now, I can’t fathom waiting hours to build new belts to get all my stuff to a new location (since I’d have to build new power plant). I’ll be parking this until it’s spent a bit more time in the hopper – it has rough edges in a space where there’s no room for it.

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