This post is about the experience of crafting using industry in the early game. I am fully aware that as you build resources these concerns decrease, but .. this still leaves us with a less than ideal early game experience - which is the issue I want to address.
So, early game, you're building things in your nanocrafter and you're starting your industry...
You build the parts for the Assembly Line S (skipping the XS as it's useless initially), then you build the parts and Assembly Line M, then you build the parts and a Smelter, Refiner, Electronics, Metalwork, 3D Printer, and containers galore. The progression here is fine, the issue is that because you have to use the nanocrafter to produce the parts required (typically into a linked container as input to the assemblies), and because you have to manually alter the recipe each time, you're essentially tied to your base, for long periods of time, doing "nothing".
Sure, you could be building the base .. but.. typically you've used all your starting honeycomb and don't want to make more, yet, as it would slow down your industry creation.
Sure, you could run off and mine.. but then your nanocrafter queue will put the current output in the wrong place (because you leave the linked container range) and then it will stall (as all the inputs are in the linked container, now out of range).
So.. instead, you sit with your thumb up your .. doing "nothing". This is a "not much fun" gameplay loop which I would like to see improved.
I think the solution is to add queues to industry units.
What I mean by this is that we ought to be able to queue a "make X of Y" request, just as we can in the nanocrafter. I am not suggesting we queue "make infinite" or "maintain X, and Y, and Z" or anything like that. So, industry units can either be processing a queue of make X of Y OR doing one of those other things, not both.
So, lets start by listing and attempting to refute the common objections to this:
1) this would make large factories redundant
If you can build everything with 1 electronics, why have more? Because one electronics can only do 1 thing at a time. So, if you want to produce something with 5 ingredients, you would have to wait for one electronics to produce all the input, one ingredient at a time, and your "factory" (of 2 units) would be super slow and inefficient.
Given this, you still need large factories, especially once you reach the scale where you want to "maintain" a range of input ingredients to keep your factory production constant and efficient. Queues have to be queued manually, so they're not appropriate for a fully automated factory.
In short, queues won't change how large factories operate, so they will still exist just as they do today.
2) this would reduce the "value" / "cost" of items in the game, and "ruin" the market.
If things are too easy to build, who would buy items from the market.
Yes, this will make it easier for new players to build the smallest, cheapest, T1 elements in the game. But, doing so will still take them quite some time (see point #1 above) even if they have a few industry units, so they might prefer to buy these items some of the time. For higher tier items, with more ingredients and longer build times for those ingredients and the item itself.. those players are going to have an ever better reason to buy the items instead of making them.
Another way to look at this; even late game players might prefer to simply buy, in bulk, lower tier items. If crafting these is easier for new players, then they may even be selling on the market. This is actually a net positive for the market, even if the price per unit is lower, there will be more items being bought and sold.
In short, queues may have an effect on the low end of the market (positive and negative), but very little effect on T2 and above.
3) Any other objections?
If you have any, please let me know, keeping in mind the points made in response to objections #1 and #2 above (as I can think of some potential objections which these points refute).
This is not just my complaint
I am not the only person who has issue with this gameplay loop.
I recently watched this video where they express the same concerns about crafting speed and having to sit round doing "nothing".