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Lost resources - 9/14/2012 4:35:10 PM   
Bingeling

 

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I spent 11 years of game time watching traffic at a gas mine (of a mature empire). It is clear that something is wrong with resource tracking, and that reserved resources are sometimes "lost". I believe they are reserved forever, blocking cargo space.

The planet had Hydrogen, Caslon, Helium, and Krypton sources.

At the start (2811.12.04) reserved resources was:

Hydrogen 1023
Caslon 6409
Helium 10460
Krypton 7509

The civilians runs hydrogen, military caslon. And since I was just watching the mine, mostly hydrogen is assumed used (though some caslon too, of course).

Over 10 years I see a lot (a few each year) of hydrogen transports. Some rare instances of small amounts of caslon. In early years, transports taking away 53 and 20 helium among other wares (topping up colonies, I guess). No other transport of helium or krypton.

From 2812-11-07 (at least, I don't track stores at all times), Krypton reserved is at 7927.
At 2814.09.20 Helium reserved settles at 12829 and will remain there.
Also the amount stored will equal reserved at those numbers.

There is steady traffic of Hydrogen, in 2815 there is 0 reserved, so that works.

Caslon starts in 2811 at 5390 reserved, some frigates refuel now and then (short term reserved?), but reserved amount increases to 15000 at the end.

From 2811 Caslon leaving on transports are by year.

2813: 874 + 1595
2814: 759 + 1179
2815: 26
2816: 2182 to the colony next door (with 4276 hydrogen).
2817: 0 (listed as item on a transport, but amount is 0).

And nothing more until 2823.05.24.

This is some 6615 in all, quite near the amount reserved in 2811, but I guess that is pure random. It seems amounts are mostly reserved when a freighter gets the job. And 10 years should be enough to get there for those initial orders.

At the end all caslon, helium and krypton is reserved, and have been for years. It is not strange that the military refuel traffic disappeared (colonies have loads of fuel, though).

Lost resources is one problem. It would be fun if there was better support at watching them at work. Proper little order objects that allows to see who has reserved the items, and objects that nicely allows reserved lists to be cleaned up whenever ships/colonies are destroyed or change owners.





Post #: 1
RE: Lost resources - 9/14/2012 7:42:31 PM   
feelotraveller


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I observed a somewhat different 'lost' in my last game.  Just adding here to consolidate.

One of my starting gas mines mined Caslon, Hydrogen, Argon and Helium.  The first few years it seemed to work fine and I did not watch it closely.  At some point it literally stopped producing Argon.  (There was still quite some room in the cargo bays and the other three gases were regularly transported).  On my expansion planner list of resources Argon was clearly listed at that location; mousing over the planet showed that it contained the four above resources but for that following several years while I watched it did not produce a single unit of Argon.  There was neither any stock listed nor any reservations made.

I would second Bingleings resource tracking/able suggestion.  I'm pretty sure that I have seen reservations made in the early game which have never been picked up (only pretty sure because it is possible that the cargo was collected and the exact same amount re-reserved without me noticing).  On the other hand I believe that I have repeatedly seen the case where reservations are made only for those reservations to disappear with being collected.  In my current game I just saw the first 400 oddd units of Zentabia Fluid get reserved (yep, reserved at the planet, no doubt) and found the freighter en route to collect it.  However a week later there is no reservation (none at all except the planets own demand); the freighter is still on its way with the order to transport Zentabia.  I believe that it will collect unreserved Zentabia, possibly contingent on no other 'sticking' reservations being made meantime.  This behaviour becomes difficult to spot and be sure about once there are multiple reservations.  Sorry to hijack the thread but I believe that there are a cluster of problems here not merely a single aberration.

(in reply to Bingeling)
Post #: 2
RE: Lost resources - 9/14/2012 8:05:45 PM   
pipewrench


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Bingeling & feelotraveller,

Thanks for the heads up.

I will also keep a closer watch next time I fire the game up. Pad and pen in hand maybe this can be tracked and might solve some other underlying issues.

Just thinking off the top of my head with Bingeling's problem it sort of sounds like an research tech went thru in the middle of a transport. Total speculation....



< Message edited by pipewrench -- 9/14/2012 8:09:42 PM >

(in reply to feelotraveller)
Post #: 3
RE: Lost resources - 9/15/2012 10:45:37 AM   
Bingeling

 

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This is of course something going on all the time. I don't decide to take notes of the traffic on a gas mine on pure random. I have in the past seen 6000 spice reserved by my ally to game's end. That is annoying, because even if you got the source, there is not unlimited amounts.

My chief suspect is that something interrupts the transport. An attack, a retrofit, a retire order, other amnesia. If attacks resets it, it could explain this happening quite often. The "escape" should be a new, temporary order, not a replacement for the old. And if it replaces the old, the ship should release its reserve.

I did not see any production of krypton and argon either, but I think that is about the base working at its storage limit. I think it works to try balance the cargo among its products, and either don't produce argon or jettison it.

What it is not possible to know, is if there suddenly is a huge argon demand, that the private sector could figure out "hey, we got 10k sitting reserved over here, let's get some".

To test this a work, I would suggest a quiet game where not much happen. At least not military ships hunting for fuel. It helps if your ships use either a mix of fuels, or hydrogen. Build a resupply ship, and park it at a pure caslon source (or at least one with no hydrogen). Wait for it to fill up. Then move it to either a mixed caslon/hydrogen source, or a hydrogen source. I think you will see it reduce it caslon store (which is of course not reserved) to make room for hydrogen. I have had worries around this in the past, and it has worked out fine. It is not necessary to junk your caslon filled resupply ships when you switch to hydrogen, you just need to park them at sources with hydrogen.

About my Argon and Krypton, I don't think these are resources used to a large degree. And they are often supplied with caslon and hydrogen. My empire had over 40 sources for each fuel. And probably 20+ for each of argon and krypton just as a side effect of that. I am not so much puzzled by the lack of traffic in Argon and Krypton, as in the amounts reserved for years on end with no one to pick it up.

This hinges on my understanding of a reserve. I believe a reserve is only placed when construction starts, and when a freighter is on its way. When you start building a small space port on your fresh colony, the materials are reserved. And you see 0 amount 1200 reserved and such. This makes sure no one else can run away with these items if they ever appear on the colony. For fuel, I also think items are reserved once a ship gets "refuel at" order. This is quite easy to test on a resupply ship, btw, since there are no freighters confusing things there. Freighters refuel if possible when they pick up stuff, I don't think any reserves are involved in this. The same as a fleet refueling at retrofit. They happen to grab if anything is around.

(in reply to pipewrench)
Post #: 4
RE: Lost resources - 9/15/2012 11:13:13 AM   
Bingeling

 

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Some more testing. Contents is one resupply ship sitting all alone (apart from a frigate that had refueled) in the south. Remnants of the early war (and it never hurts to have a resupply ship on the border).

It sits on a caslon/helium source, but has hydrogen in store.

7491 caslon
5789 hydrogen

I send a 15 ship fleet on a travel for 4 sectors to the system to spend some fuel. When they arrive at the star they decide to refuel at the resupply ship (and they are not on auto).

The 15 ships have 600 size fuel tanks, and sit at around 300 fuel each. My estimate is that they miss around 4400 fuel.

6891 caslon is reserved on the resupply ship.

I notice one cruiser sitting outside with no order. Not enough fuel? There is still 600 unreserved on the resupply ship (enough for a full tank, but he needs only 300).

After refuel the resupply ship has 4976 caslon. If 4400 was spent, it must have mined quite a bit while refueling.

I let the ship fill up, and it seems content at:

7253 caslon
5789 hydrogen

Which is 240 less caslon than before all of this. Strange.

I move the resupply ship to a pure 35% hydrogen source, but it did not change its contents at all.

Conclusion: A refueling fleet (with that order) reserves a huge chunk of fuel which is released once done. It is probably a good idea since usually they don't sit next to the target, and estimating fuel getting there is not so easy. The only bad side is blocking others for a while.

Another fun fact. When I spotted the cruiser with no order (it moved outside the planet with the resupply ship), I gave it (the ship) a refuel and repair order. It headed for the nearest colony. At that time there was at least 600 caslon unreserved on the resupply ship, and the cruiser fuel level was 327/600.

Sounds familiar, Feelo? :)



(in reply to Bingeling)
Post #: 5
RE: Lost resources - 9/15/2012 12:03:37 PM   
feelotraveller


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It does sound familiar.

On the reservations for ships/fleets - the reservation is made for the total capacity of the fuel tanks on board the ship which is refueling.  So in your final example the cruiser will reserve 600 fuel.  This fuel stays reserved until the ship refuels (270ish in your example) but the remainder then goes back into the unreserved stock.  This can explain why sometimes only part of a fleet will refuel even though there is sufficient fuel in total.  Doing it in stages can sometimes allieviate this problem.

I will have to have a play with resupply ships to test stuff some time when I get bored. 

I remember posting about the problems ensuing from reservations not being canceled even though the transport was when the freighter was attacked by pirates some time ago.  Probably back about the initial release of Legends.  I observed this phenomenon frequently.  I suspect you are right about when freighters are destroyed too, and my recent experience suggests that retrofitting could possibly trigger the same behaviour.  The pirate attack case is just much easier to track and be sure of (especially in the early game when you can follow the freighter and see that it never returns to the transport order and can easily tell that no reservation is cancelled).  I certainly experience the problem of decreasing 'workable' cargo space frequently (unworkable cargo space is that which is tied up in reservations that will never be collected).

I haven't played on in my game much but I noticed that a second freighter got assigned to collect Zentabia, reserving the 480ish cargo (400+ of which was already reserved by the freighter ahead of it).  My belief is that it thinks the whole lot is unreserved but that when it gets there the freighter which is a week or two ahead of it will have cleaned out most of the Zentabia.  It would explain scenes like the train of freighters I have observed going four sectors to a newly conquered independent to pick up Otandium (unnecessarily I might add since there has been a source within half a sector of my homeworld since the start of the game and my homeworld already has many thousands of units in stock).  If each thinks it is going to pick up over 2000 units, compared to the mere 1000+ units available much closer then that is reason for them to go one after the other.  Unfortunately my observation shows that after the first one, or two maybe (since extraction takes place while they are travelling) each freighter only gets 20 or 40 units.  Whatever has been extracted since that last freighter cleaned the place out.  I think that each of these freighters probably have reservations for the whole 2000+ units which was available when they started their journey; reservations which had already been booked by many freighters preceeding them.  I am anticipating a long and rather useless Zentabia train - it is about six sectors one way...  Wish the private sector paid me for fuel. 

Sheesh, there would be riots if these were hotel reservations. 

(in reply to Bingeling)
Post #: 6
RE: Lost resources - 9/15/2012 12:51:55 PM   
Bingeling

 

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I started a new easy game at full automation and watches the "home system" caslon/hydrogen mine.

One thing is clear. It does not see much traffic, and the spaceport was not short of fuel.

All reservations that I saw was ships refueling (reserve the capacity of their tank), and freighters booking their future cargo. Reservations appeared alongside the travel vectors (I love those vectors!).

I have previously suggested a trade network, where goods are shifted among space ports, and from mines to nearest space ports. I would think it is possible to get closer to this than is currently the case, without doing much work.

The space ports ordering from a mine, should believe it is always better to fetch as much as possible. Give priority to having resources at colonies above mines. Mines are easier shot up than colonies are conquered too.

A military ship should prefer to refuel at a space port, and use mines only if much distance is saved, or there is a lack of fuel on the space port. A space port could flag its refuel status as "rather not" if it feels it is tight, and push refuelers towards gas mines in the area.

I saw twice transports booking 600 caslon, and moving it to other mines in the same system. I would prefer this to go from the space ports. It would be very fun if freighters delivering nearly always pick up as well. In this case, take whatever there is and moving it to the space port.

I don't think it is easy to catch "lost reservations" from freighters in the act. And I don't think it is possible to see what the freighter reserve until it has picked it up (it could be any fraction of the reserved amount at the target). If refuel orders are the same, it could be possible to provoke something with resupply ships and military ships, though. You can scrap every other state ship that could possibly refuel there, and also make sure that ships will be in deep trouble after getting the refuel order.

(in reply to feelotraveller)
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RE: Lost resources - 9/15/2012 1:22:49 PM   
feelotraveller


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If I don't miss my guess those 600 caslon transports were taking fuel to fill the fuel tanks of newish bases (those without any fuel, although later game they may be refueling bases).

Reservations are hard to track.  That is why I am following the Zentabia trail as there is only one source currently.  I got onto it before any reservations were made.  In my experience independents rarely if ever transport luxuries for my empire.  I am checking through my freighter list to find them as they get transport Zentabia orders.  So far two reservations (one of which disappeared quickly without being collected but the freighter which made the reservation, assuming no independent interference, is still on the way) and two freighters with transport Z orders.  I can infer how much they each reserved by seeing the reservation appear at the appropriate time at the planet.  It may get messy so as I can't follow... but I can also watch for independents collecting.  Just interested as a test case.  No other empires to interfere as won't trade it with them yet.  Okay, this is not lost resources but it is, I believe, a reservation problem.

I agree with most of what you say.  However I would have ships preferring to refuel at gas mines, all else being equal.  Usually my spaceports are dry and there is lots of fuel at my mines.  Bloody freighters don't collect anywhere near full loads even when it is available (in several game years of watching I have only seen 3 full loads on my 4000 capacity freighters and one other over 3000 - it borders on nonsensical since often there are sufficient unreserved quantities at the mines for a full load and sufficient demand at the spaceport, think 0 at spaceport, 6000 unreserved caslon at the mine and the freighter grabs 900 ) ...and they are the throttle point for me.  Resources are (relatively) easy to acquire but very hard to get moved.

(in reply to Bingeling)
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RE: Lost resources - 9/15/2012 2:15:49 PM   
Bingeling

 

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It would not be a problem if they shifted materials to the space ports... Not in units of 30s, but in full loads.

A quick study in the abused game of mine...

This is the Serene Quest. A large freighter.

It is traveling from a foreign system in the purples, to a gas mine at its upper target to pick up hydrogen.
It will end up with a transport of 4667 hydrogen to the system next doors (not the same system as the mine). A system that only have just above 4000 hydrogen in store and probably feels it needs some more. It is always nice to grab a nearby freighter for a job...

This is an image taken at the same time. It is the Far Tramp, a small freighter.

It will travel to a mine, and transport 1645 emeros crystal and 284 osalia to what is probably the nearest space port (it is two candidates for that title). The target space port has 27069 osalia and 46676 emeros crystal as it approaches, none of it reserved.

Of course, one can not be sure that the Far Tramp comes from the colonies up north, but it is rather unlikely that it comes from that gas cloud where I got no mines.

They did not start at the same time, of course, and the Far Tramp is probably not large enough to carry that hydrogen load. But it for sure has time to do two trips.

After this has happened the empire has 224 small freighters, 177 medium freighters, and 100 large freighters. If zooming in with civilian vectors on, around that gas cloud in the middle of nowhere (hard to see, but I got a station with a long range scanner in the cloud), there are 4-5 lines travelling south across that expanse. Most are empty to pick up something, another is a large freighter with 600 hydrogen for the purple enemy capital furthest north.

I happened to mess with that capital in another test, and it was stripped for fuel when I conquered it. I have also had a trade embargo there (that disappeared after a mock war in this game).

Those top colonies are on the southern parts of the 1 line.
The purple area in the south is in J7.

I would still like goods shifted by full freighters along the trade lines, where the hubs are preferred to be the larger space ports with a minimum distance between...

I clicked through the large freighters in the ship list. 4-5 of the 100 had something like 4000+ worth of items. Most were empty. I figure the average job is 5 time units to travel to pickup point, 1 time unit spent docking and loading, 1 time unit to destination, and 1 time unit docking and unloading...

(in reply to feelotraveller)
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RE: Lost resources - 9/15/2012 4:23:03 PM   
feelotraveller


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Your images are too small for me to see.  (They blur if I magnify them.)  But I think I get your point.  I often find that two freighters at the opposite sides of my empire, at roughly the same time, will get missions to pick up resources from the other end of the empire.  They would save months of travel time if their missions were swapped.  Or perhaps that is not your point?

On travel times - it varies hugely with the map and to an extent with the shape/position your empire takes (and to a lesser degree hyper speed).  In a dense galactic core (spiral or elliptic) or cluster my freighters will often travel 1-2 sectors.  On an irregular or the edge of a spiral they travel a lot further.  In my current game (irregular, 1400, 15x15, edge start with lots of room before encountering neighbours) I find that 4-5 sectors is the average travel distance.  I expect it will creep up somewhat as I continue to expand (almost at the point of bombarding those lost colonies half way, or more, across the map from my starting position... well not really...).  4-5 sectors is months travel time.  When it is for 19 Otandium that you are already loaded with and the freighter runs out of fuel half way back (because the series of Otandium transporting freighters has drained the pickup colony dry...) my teeth start to grind.

I think this also multiplies the problems.  As far as I can tell that Otandium freighter crawling home has reserved cargo for a mission or more in advance.  So when it gets to the gas mine a year or two after the reservation has been made things have changed so much that the original order of a few hundred fuel goes nowhere near matching the currently unreserved gas mine cargo or the colony demand.  It is certainly the case that I see reservations regularly made which take years before they are picked up by which time the mine has loads more resources in stock...

I also find that freighters and mining ships often do not deliver to the nearest spaceport.  My homeworld in my current game has nearly all of them returning to it.  My first added colony, the one which got the spaceport built before freighter madness kicked in is closer to all my other colonies (exemplified by the trade lines) and yet all resources collected at the colonies go to my homeworld, an extra 1-2 sector journey.

(in reply to Bingeling)
Post #: 10
RE: Lost resources - 9/15/2012 5:01:28 PM   
Bingeling

 

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It is about freighters travelling across the map to run missions, yes. A large freighter in J7 travelling to I1 (that is one sector left and 6 up) to run a short trip. Maybe queued orders for freighters could be a part solution (who are soon done around here?)

I guess what happens is:

Colony at C1 discovers it wants hydrogen.
It decides its source, which is a gas mine half a sector away.
It needs a free freighter, and finds one 7 sectors away.

The reason why it finds one 7 sectors away, is probably that a lot of travel is travelling end to end of the empire in empty state, to run cargo...

It does not really matter much, the civilian sector works. But it would be way more fun to watch them at work if what they did made more sense. As long as freighters are busy, and you watch 100 freighters, you ought to find about half of them with cargo, and half without. I think that in the current game you will find way more empty (at least I did), since they tend to travel far to start their pickup, and the delivery itself often being quite local.

Btw, what was a bit too much shrunk was their travel lines. On the bottom it starts almost in the middle going down right. On the top image it starts in the lower right region and heads to the top right. That freighter was spotted by me before that image was taken, and it ran that image diagonally.

When I checked all the 100 large freighters, my impression was that most of them was in my core area, and probably busy there. That are the right edge part around the middle in vertical orientation.

(in reply to feelotraveller)
Post #: 11
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