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Some thoughts on automation

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- Some thoughts on how automation might be able to be implemented. 

    Drone Hub module: Small module that when attached to a structure or vehicle, will provide two drones which gather items and bring them to any empty nodes on the structure or vehicle on which it is attached. 

    It could have an activation button such as what you see on a research station, trade platform, dynamite, etc., that when pressed, would bring up a console similar to what happens when you activate the research station or open your backpack. 

    In the console there would be a command along the lines of, “collect ‘RESOURCE’ from ‘LOCATION’”. Selectable resources would be all standard resources including soil, hydrazine, and even empty canisters. Selectable locations could be something fairly broad such as “Structures”, “Vehicles”, or “Any Location”, or it could even be specific structure or vehicle types for more exact control. 

    The way it would work is once programed with the selections, two small drones will begin collecting any “RESOURCE” connected to any “STRUCTURE” or “VEHICLE” that is connected to the same power grid as the drone hub, and deposit it in any empty nodes on the structure or vehicle to which the hub is attached. 

    A specific example of this in action: 
 - A Mineral extractor with a drone hub attached and programed to collect “SOIL” from “VEHICLES”.
 - A smelter with two drone hubs attached, one programed to collect “LATERITE” from “VEHICLES” and the other programed to collect “MALACHITE” from “VEHICLES”.
 - And a drone hub attached to a large rover with a crane and canisters of soil that is programed to collect “EMPTY CANISTERS” from “STRUCTURES”.

    When you roll in from an expedition with a bunch of resources and soil, once you connect the vehicle to the power grid, the drones from the mineral extractor will begin bringing the soil to the extractor. When the canisters are depleted by the extractor, the drones from the vehicle will bring the empty canisters back. While this is happening, the drones from the smelter will also be bringing the laterite and the malachite from the vehicle to the smelter. 

    You could also set up some storage, as long as it’s connected to the power grid, and use a drone hub to collect “Copper” and another to collect “ALUMINUM” from “STRUCTURES” if desired.

    The appearance of the drones wouldn’t have to be fancy. They could just be two small hovering orbs or something as far as I’m concerned. Thoughts?

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    Another option might be that, instead of needing multiple hubs for multiple resources, one hub could be programed to collect multiple resources with priority being given to resources selected at the top of the list. When all resources at the top have been collected, it moves to the next on the list and so on.

    The concept could also be simplified by removing player input altogether and having the module intuit what is needed based on the structure on which it is placed. So a drone hub mod placed on a Mineral Extractor would automatically just seek out Soil Canisters attached to any node connected to the same power grid, hubs placed on a Smelter would automatically seek out Laterite/Malachite under the same circumstances, etc.

    More player control over these things is always a better thing in my opinion, but it wouldn't necessarily have to be deep. But the deeper the better in my opinion. :) 

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I actually quite like this idea, and it seems like it could help with a lot of things. Especially in the advent of the new base building system, it would by super-nifty to have some automation.

As for a thought on the matter, and an idea, perhaps have drone bays/docks/perches/nests/whatevers be a sort of pre-programmed thing that changes function depending on what module it's placed near. Some ideas would be:

1) Smelter - From a range of around a tether, it grabs any ores from small platforms and vehicles, and places them on the smelter, ready for smelting.

2) Research Centre - Similar to the smelter, but taking research pods to the research platform, and starting up said research

3) Mineral Extractor - The drones seek out nearby players in a large radius, draining soil from canisters on the player, and bringing it to the mineral extractor.

4) Printer - In the range of a couple connections, the drones will sift through platforms to find the resource(s) it's trying to find.

Just some food for thought. Peace.

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    Lol, you must have been digging through the forum a little to find this one. Nice. I like your ideas as well, particularly your idea of them simply draining the canisters rather than having to move empty canisters back with another set of drones. They could have a "built in" canister for this purpose I suppose.. I was just thinking about automation and how some of the more tedious aspects of later game resource management could be streamlined a little bit.

   Another possible use: In addition to "COLLECT" "RESOURCE" from "LOCATION", maybe there could be a "DELIVER" "RESOUCE" to "LOCATION" as well. Then you could put a hub on one of the widget slots on a players backpack and have two drone buddies that follow you around delivering resources and or research pods to a nearby vehicle or base module when you collect them. (Or maybe I'm just lonely, I need friends.... :(  lol)

    Side note: If something like this was ever implemented, maybe have some customization options for the drones. They could have different appearances like a robotic dog, bird, etc. This wouldn't be necessary obviously, and maybe it wouldn't "fit in" with the atmosphere the developers have in mind for the game, but it wouldn't change their function. Just give the concept some "personality" is all. 

    I think that carrying a research pod should maybe require both drones rather than only one, as these items are larger, and maybe have them travel a bit slower when doing this as well. That way the player would still end up having to do some of the actual "work" themselves while their drones are busy. Or just build an army of them I suppose. lol



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