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Now I wouldn't be surprised if something like this was already planned, but I had an idea for an item to help make automation chains easier. Right now, the only way to automate the transfer of items over a distance is to use a chain of auto arms, which is both hugely power inefficient and unreliable, so why not instead have a sort of conveyor system?

I got the idea from seeing a very early clip of gameplay where tethers could transport items. I'm thinking something similar to that, except it's a separate item like the power extenders, except maybe with more range between segments (power extenders have a short connection range, I think the conveyor would be better with a connection range similar to tethers) The advantages of an "Auto-Conveyor" would be the ability to transfer items over a larger distance with a single line, and it would use less power than auto-arms. The tradeoff, however, is that the Auto-Conveyor lacks the versatility of the Auto-Arm, it cannot have item filters placed upon it, and it cannot pull from storages or deposit items in storages, so Auto-Conveyors would need to be loaded/unloaded either manually or with an Auto-Arm. Like Auto-Arms, Auto-Conveyors would only be capable of transferring Tier 1 items/resources, and would be one-way with an input and output side (although it would be very useful to be able to switch the input/output sides without having to rebuild the entire line) So if you wanted two-way resource travel, you would need two Auto-Conveyor lines.

I imagine Auto-Conveyors would be unlockable/accessible at around the same time as, if not before, Auto-Arms, allowing the player to, say, create a conveyor line out of a mine and place resources upon it as they fill their inventory? Also, in the event that an item is waiting to be unloaded at the output, and another item arrives behind it, I imagine it and any more items arriving would simply wait patiently behind the first and move up as items are unloaded, meaning Auto-Conveyors could serve as a makeshift, if totally impractical, storage device. (on that note, perhaps storage sensors could be used to detect if a conveyor line is fully backed up or not?) Assuming a conveyor is backed up all the way from the output to the input, the conveyor would simply not accept any new items until space is freed VIA an item being unloaded. Perhaps, like Auto-Arms, the speed at which items travel the conveyor would be affected by how much power was available?

Note: Perhaps for balancing reasons, the player would be able to remove or place an item anywhere along the conveyor, but Auto-Arms would only be able to load/unload from the inputs/outputs respectively? Just a thought. Also maybe conveyors can only accept power at the input? So as not to make power extenders less relevant? or maybe not.

I think it's a pretty cool idea and I would love to build little conveyor lines all over the place. Either way though, I'm excited to see what comes next, and keep up the good work!

Edited by Sackboy338

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I have the same thought, but I am thinking to use an auto-rover (or auto-tractor) that works with a new implemented cable line.

The "cable line" just like the sensors, have a base, and can placing cable on the ground.

Each "base" work as a station, the auto-rover will stop there let player (or auto-arm) do loading/unloading

"Cable line" can be placed two/multi point end-to-end, or loop.

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I have an addon to this idea:

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Making it not so accessible in the beginning but good for mid-to-late game.  Make the research kind of steep as in say 5000, and change the idea to a rigid pipe with slightly steep power requirements.  But something that has to be considered is that the game devs have some heavy distance culling for performance reasons on all systems to take into account with the design of the new system.  My take on this would be a pipe system that contains minimal animation and doesn't do item specific design like the new canisters on their sides.  My idea is that each pipe length can be up to 4(large) build plate length, with the shortest being 2(medium) build plate length.  It would terminate with an item puck on both side and would be monodirectional.  Also to discourage those who are still early in the game, make the power quite steep.  0.5U/s for short length pipe, and 0.75U/s for long pipe. Also to make it expensive for early game but reasonable for late game 2 Steel, 1 Tungsten to make a pipe bundle of 20 short or 12 long.  It could come out of the printer like the tether bundle, but it would be a 4 puck(large) piece.  You then select your length by clicking interact and then hold holding interact to pop out a pipe.  If it is a long pipe, 1 will pop out at a time, but when you select short pipe 2 will pop out at a time.  When placing down it will follow the terrain you are placing it on and a single run will be limited to 1 bundle of pipes.  The pipes would be held up by a platform spike leg on every segment.  The termination of the pipe would as said before be an item puck, and also be a cable port for power.  The pipes for game performance reason should only be able to transit a small amount at a time, say long pipe holding 3 items and do 1 item output per second and short pipe containing 1 item and outputting 1 item a second.  

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Now for the second part of this a "flexy pipe" for angles and turns. Have as a second item to spend research bytes (2500) and another recipe.  Have the recipe be 1 silicone 2 rubber and print out a bundle of 4.  This hose would not hold an amount of items, just the pipes, and have it be 1/2 power cable length and set by placing it on the first pipe length and then leading it to the second pipe length.  You should have to attach the power cable separate from the hose due to the materials in recipe.

°/_\°

And for the third part of this addon idea, a pipe splitter/collecter piece like the power splitter. Have it be a triangle with a mode switchable input/output menu and with 3 item pucks and power cables plugs. Make the recipe 1 copper 1 silicon and 1 steel to fit the pattern of the pipe's and hose's recipe.  Have it be able to do items sorting for splitter mode with a simple (X) this item icon menu and O this material. Have the speed for it be 1 item per second to match the pipes for performance reasons. 

This idea is incomplete for all the details.

This is just an idea that Sackboy338 reminded me of having a while ago and I thank you Sackboy338.  If the devs have any questions feel free to email me at the email provided on the account.

 

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