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Fuel Supply - 6/19/2013 4:54:20 PM   
Osito


Posts: 851
Joined: 5/9/2013
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Still struggling to understand why I canít fuel my fleets.

I made a post here:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3347322

about running out of fuel. Iíve had this problem with every Shadows game I have played. In my earlier post it was suggested that I ought to post in tech support, in case thereís technical issue. I have to say, Iím not sure this is a tech support problem, but I thought I should make the post, because I just cannot see how to avoid this problem. Having said that, it doesnít seem to be a problem everyone else is experiencing so Iím inclined to think Iím doing something wrong, especially as Iím hardly the most experienced player. I have also uploaded a save game as ďFuel Supply.dwg.Ē

In my present game, I have taken some additional steps beyond my previous games to try to control the fuel. Specifically:

- Heavily restricted building lots of large spaceports.
- Put my private fleet on hydrogen as soon as I could.
- Built plenty of hydrogen and caslon gas mines as soon as I could.

One thing I would say is that I always play in size 1400, 15x15 galaxies. Maybe at that size the private fleet canít keep up with demand.

Anyway, here are the specifics of the situation I find myself in (the numbers are approximate):

My planets have:
60k caslon/1k hydrogen (over 50% of the Caslon is at one planet)

My gas mines have:
470k caslon/440k hydrogen

In transit I have:
0.2k caslon/0.2k hydrogen

For unfulfilled demand I have:
126k caslon/212.9k hydrogen.

As you can see, itís not that Iím short on fuel, I just donít have it in the right place (i.e. in my spaceports where Iím building/retrofitting fleets).

I have about 80 large freighters, 130 medium freighters and 200 small freighters with a total cargo capacity of around 1500k. The entire freight fleet currently contains about 42k of cargo, and 40k of that is steel. The maximum cargo on any freighter is about 4k, but most of them contain less than 0.5k cargo. The cargo size of the small freighters is 5.2k. I canít see why the freighters are all almost empty, transporting such small amounts of cargo. On this basis, itís a total waste of resources and fuel to build a freighter with a cargo capacity above about 5k.

I have about 30 gas mining ships, all but three of which have no mission.

I did wonder whether the freight fleet had simply run out of fuel. It is possible to envisage a situation where the whole private fleet runs out of fuel and everything simply grinds to a halt. But the majority of the ships do have fuel.

There seem to be a few problems here:

1. My demand for fuel is higher than anything else (apart from steel), but my freighters are not prioritising getting it. (In passing, I note that Iím not sure why I have such a high demand for steel Ė itís not like Iím building, or retrofitting much, as far as I can see.)
2. My gas mining fleet seem to think the best place for their arses is a nice warm sofa, rather than getting out into space and actually doing some mining for a living. What do they mean, ďItís dangerous out there!Ē?
3. When my freighters do actually get around to fetching a resource, instead of loading a good quantity of it, they load a baby portion.

If anyone has any suggestions, Iíd be delighted to hear them.

Osito
Post #: 1
RE: Fuel Supply - 6/19/2013 7:40:44 PM   
Darkspire


Posts: 1989
Joined: 6/12/2003
From: My Own Private Hell
Status: offline
Is this a standard game? No theme needed? If so I will have a look for you.

Darkspire

_____________________________


(in reply to Osito)
Post #: 2
RE: Fuel Supply - 6/19/2013 8:03:04 PM   
Osito


Posts: 851
Joined: 5/9/2013
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Actually, no, I forgot about that. It's using DW Extended 3.02, along with my own "realstarnames" as systems.txt.

Regardless of whether you're able to look at it, I really appreciate that you're prepared to do it.

(in reply to Darkspire)
Post #: 3
RE: Fuel Supply - 6/19/2013 8:39:37 PM   
feelotraveller


Posts: 1040
Joined: 9/12/2011
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From the symptoms you are mentioning I wonder if too fast expansion is the cause? Having little or no fuel for the private sector at your ports is often a symptom that private shipbuilding has been floushishing for some time since they load their tanks when first built. The demand for steel can also be explained by the need for all those fuel cells and cargo bays plus it is now consumed by colonies.

Having a large galaxy will compound any fuel problem, you are right about that. Restricting large spaceports probably doesn't make much difference as I think that the civilians will still want to build the same number of ships (=same fuel required). The major cause of civilian shipbuilding is colonies. Perhaps try a game with a much more harsh economic start, or otherwise try to slow down your expansion? Keeping your early empire compact also helps - more freighter trips from shorter journeys.

I have noticed that the rest of the galaxy 'steals' my fuel (well they pay but I wish I could close up shop sometimes ). Last game I thought I was cruising just after having got to Gerax drives (@ 2 colonies), with close to 200k caslon banked... then within the space of a year close to 150k of it was sold, and my expansion sucked up another 30k (mainly filling up those empty freighter tanks the first time around). Steel and lead also seem to be bought out a lot...

When you say plenty of hydrogen and caslon mines what are we talking? Personally I find that at least half of my mines early and upwards of 2/3 of them later need to be fuel sources.

A final thought - you haven't recently discovered improved fuel cell technology have you? This can lead to severe shortages at all spaceports for a while as all the freighters try to fill up their now larger bellies.

(in reply to Osito)
Post #: 4
RE: Fuel Supply - 6/19/2013 9:04:23 PM   
Osito


Posts: 851
Joined: 5/9/2013
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quote:

ORIGINAL: feelotraveller

From the symptoms you are mentioning I wonder if too fast expansion is the cause? Having little or no fuel for the private sector at your ports is often a symptom that private shipbuilding has been floushishing for some time since they load their tanks when first built. The demand for steel can also be explained by the need for all those fuel cells and cargo bays plus it is now consumed by colonies.

Having a large galaxy will compound any fuel problem, you are right about that. Restricting large spaceports probably doesn't make much difference as I think that the civilians will still want to build the same number of ships (=same fuel required). The major cause of civilian shipbuilding is colonies. Perhaps try a game with a much more harsh economic start, or otherwise try to slow down your expansion? Keeping your early empire compact also helps - more freighter trips from shorter journeys.

I have noticed that the rest of the galaxy 'steals' my fuel (well they pay but I wish I could close up shop sometimes ). Last game I thought I was cruising just after having got to Gerax drives (@ 2 colonies), with close to 200k caslon banked... then within the space of a year close to 150k of it was sold, and my expansion sucked up another 30k (mainly filling up those empty freighter tanks the first time around). Steel and lead also seem to be bought out a lot...

When you say plenty of hydrogen and caslon mines what are we talking? Personally I find that at least half of my mines early and upwards of 2/3 of them later need to be fuel sources.

A final thought - you haven't recently discovered improved fuel cell technology have you? This can lead to severe shortages at all spaceports for a while as all the freighters try to fill up their now larger bellies.



That's a very interesting reply thank you. In my earlier post I wondered whether I had expanded to fast. On the other hand, I'm playing with a sector colonisation limit of 1.2, which tends to motivate me to colonise all new star systems I can. Having said that there are a large number of planets I could colonise, but haven't. My other worry is that if I don't keep colonising I'll end up falling behind. I'm way ahead of the other empires on population and economy, but they always seem to keep up with me, or often ahead, when it comes to colonisation. I worry that their extra colonies will come back to bite me later in the game. I still don't really know how many colonies you need to win this game. Perhaps I should try playing a game with just, e.g., 6 colonies, and see where that gets me (probably face down in the dust with what passes for a foot on the back of my neck!)

So far as mining is concerned, I'm sure I have a lot of hydrogen and caslon mines: I really did prioritise them this time.

I have discovered some additional fuel cell tech, I think (I'm away from the game right now). Anyway, I'm over half way through the tech trees, so I must have done. I design all fleets myself, and I have probably given them the latest designs. Maybe that's something I need to change - restrict the range of the private fleet, to reduce its fuel consumption.

I only partly understand what you say about the need for steel. Yes, I understand that the private sector needs steel to build its ships. But it's not actually building the ships at present. Does the need show, even when the ships have not yet been ordered?

I think I may start again, taking into account some of the things you have mentioned, but there's still something I don't understand. My economy has masses of resources sitting at mines, and it has a massive fleet capacity which is largely well-fueled (for now). So why are the freighter moving around with less than a 10th of their full cargo capacity?

Anyway, once again, thanks for taking the time to reply.

Osito

(in reply to feelotraveller)
Post #: 5
RE: Fuel Supply - 6/20/2013 3:12:11 PM   
feelotraveller


Posts: 1040
Joined: 9/12/2011
Status: offline
Thinking about your game a little more without seeing it (note: if you upload your theme folder along with your save I think we will all be able to check it out...) I would chase down what is going on with steel in your empire. Where are your freighters getting it from (a long way away from destinations?), are there only small amounts to be had (though perhaps repetitively) and where are they taking it to (one place or many? spaceports, colonies, other bases?). Given your spaceports are dry and that no major ship building has been going on then the problem is likely to have existed for some time.

Probably best to figure out what went wrong before it happens again in another game.

(in reply to Osito)
Post #: 6
RE: Fuel Supply - 6/20/2013 4:32:14 PM   
Osito


Posts: 851
Joined: 5/9/2013
Status: offline
I think I'll have to give up on that game. I've tried a few things. I let the game run for a couple of years, but it seems to be locked in the path of not transporting fuel. Then I tried scrapping all the freighters and starting them again, but this was too drastic and crashed the game.

I tried following some of the freighters with their steel. It went like this:
Planet 1 has tons of steel, some of which is reserved.
Freighter A comes in to Planet 1 and picks up the steel and takes it to Planet 2.
Planet 2 has tons of steel, some of which is reserved.
Freighter B comes in to Planet 2 and picks up the steel and takes it to Planet 3.
Planet 3 has tons of steel, some of which is reserved...
And so on.

I do have a question for you. In your games, how much cargo do your freighters generally carry? Is it usually less than 500 units, as in my games?

Anyway, I'm going to start a new game and see if I can work out what's happening.

Osito


< Message edited by Osito -- 6/20/2013 4:49:43 PM >

(in reply to feelotraveller)
Post #: 7
RE: Fuel Supply - 6/20/2013 4:45:26 PM   
Canute0

 

Posts: 607
Joined: 4/30/2010
From: Germany
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The private sector allways was very ineffective in DW. Shadow didn't improve that much. And the Cargo managment is a "Just in time" variant and very fuel intensive.

You should manualy build important resource bases by yourself, special when you try to expand forwards.

quote:

I have about 30 gas mining ships, all but three of which have no mission.

The problem is at 1 location only 1 ship or base can harvest. When all locations are occupied by a stations at the area the ships stay idle. And they are too stupid to move to another location/starport to begin their work there.
And other ships can't refuel from Gas Mining ship, Gas mining stations need to be build at important locations.



(in reply to Osito)
Post #: 8
RE: Fuel Supply - 6/20/2013 4:55:50 PM   
Osito


Posts: 851
Joined: 5/9/2013
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Canute

The private sector allways was very ineffective in DW. Shadow didn't improve that much. And the Cargo managment is a "Just in time" variant and very fuel intensive.

You should manualy build important resource bases by yourself, special when you try to expand forwards.

quote:

I have about 30 gas mining ships, all but three of which have no mission.

The problem is at 1 location only 1 ship or base can harvest. When all locations are occupied by a stations at the area the ships stay idle. And they are too stupid to move to another location/starport to begin their work there.
And other ships can't refuel from Gas Mining ship, Gas mining stations need to be build at important locations.



That's interesting about the mining ships - I suspected that was the case, and it would explain why they were doing nothing.

I have been building mining stations manually. Everything is set to manual. Perhaps I just have to accept that newly built ships will need to make their way slowly to the nearest gas mining station to get fuel, rather than being fuelled at the place they are built. In other words, perhaps my perception of what should be happening is wrong, and the game considers the gas mining stations to be refuelling points at which the fuel should be left.




(in reply to Canute0)
Post #: 9
RE: Fuel Supply - 6/20/2013 8:12:41 PM   
feelotraveller


Posts: 1040
Joined: 9/12/2011
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The amount of cargo carried varies a lot. I just checked on a freighter which was carrying 1 polymer... Shadows is a lot better in this regard than earlier games. I generally aim for about 6-12 cargo bays on my freighters. More than that and you are paying good money for space which is little used. Less than that and the amounts moved under a full load don't add up to enough. More space? Add more drives and fuel cells.

If a lot of freighters are carrying smallish amounts (e.g. hundreds rather than thousands) of a particular resource then it is a sign that your network is experiencing/has experienced a crisis of sorts. The resource is in high enough demand that most times a freighter gets a new mission it will look for that resource, and since the new missions come frequently miners do not have much time to produce a large amount. So the freighters look further afield for the resource, meaning the round journey takes longer or produces less of the resource.

The way the independents hoover up resouces compounds the likelihood of such a shortage arising especially if you have a sudden internal demand (mass retrofitting/civilian shipbuilding). If your empire is spread out and/or if your freighters are slow (techwise or fuel shortages) it can take ages for this problem to clear since some freighters will be flying halfway across the galaxy and back for a handful of a given resource. By the time they get back the shortage can be long gone but in the meantime they are just flying around burning up gas (and not transporting it assuming it is something other than fuel which is short in the first place).

It IS frustrating. But it does do some sort of justice to the 'likely' problems of interstellar distance. The best way to avert problems is not just to have sufficient resources, but also to have them appropriately spread. Near major shipyards, for example, you need lots of fuel sources and lots of steel mines. But each colony also needs fuel nearby, and steel, and lead, and...

(in reply to Osito)
Post #: 10
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