Close, but no cigar.

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Dr. Bob
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Close, but no cigar.

Post by Dr. Bob » Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:39 pm

When a few weeks ago FS16 was on sale I couldn't resist buying it after having played FS14 up to the point where the frustrations became stronger than the pleasures of the game. Unfortunately I have now (already) reached the same stage with FS16. And I reached it after a mere 5 days!!! I expect longer enjoyment from a game.

1. What is it with this extremely annoying limitation of 45 items of equipment in FS14 and 75 in FS16? It is THE most frustrating factor that is taking away 80% of my enjoyment of the game. I mean... even with 500 items of equipment in the database it would still be an extremely small effort to maintain for even the simplest phone or tablet. And rendering them can't really be a problem either because you will never have all of these items in view at the same time. You would use them spread around, all over the map. I can see no reason why this limitation should exist. So unless you can give me a good reason for it please increase this value to a number that would never become a limitation.

What good is earning game money when you can't use it to buy more equipment so you can farm the fields more efficiently? I don't want to keep spending lots of time driving equipment around and changing equipment hooked up to tractors. It's a Farming Simulator, NOT a Driving Simulator!

You want an equipment 'train' for each cluster of fields. Preferably for every two fields and eventually you could have one for every field if you would want that. You want a short time between harvest and sowing. To achieve that you want to use working in parallel if you want to do some forestry and baling too and want to keep the cows, sheep and slurry tanks 'fed'. A harvester (+ 2 headers?), then cultivating, fertilising, sowing, each done with it's own tractor, makes nine items. Plus a tipper with tractor stationed nearby to collect from the harvester and drop it off at the silos. That's 11 items. I had similar trains with all three meadows. Mower/tedder/windrower with three tractors and one baler for all fields but I had to sell most off to buy other equipment. I now have a tractor with mower at every field and only one tedder. Sold three windrowers (they are basically useless anyway) and two tedders and reassigned the tractors. I should have been able to buy extra balers so I could have one at every meadow. I ran into this limit when on top of the four central fields and three meadows I had bought the largest field.

Forestry: One Scorpion and two Buffalo's because they are slow when delivering to far away locations with best price (where they then regular get stuck (saw mill) - very annoying) plus a tractor with stump grinder. Five items.

Of course Pickups attached to the milk tank and wool wagon plus a personal 'command vehicle' with which to collect the bonus wagons or deliver products to buyers parallel to a worker with the truck when you have a large amount to deliver during Great Demands. That's three pickups plus a tipper that's always free for these personal deliveries. Four in total.

Plus three loader wagons with tractors. Two large ones to park over the unloading points at the stables to prolong the period before bales start to be used and one small one because the large ones get stuck with workers on two of the three meadows. Another six items.

A truck with loader and low-loader. Another three. I bought AND sold the dolly TWICE!

Since there is no place to store excess bales I use Autostacks for that. I ended up buying nine of those to store grass and straw bales when doing a baling run. Now I am forced to ask myself whether I should sell some again. I do not want to have to make such decisions that are only frustrating me. They ARE useful. They gradually get used and then I fill them again with another baling run.

And more... (for potatoes, sugar beets etc.)

I believe there are about 52 DIFFERENT items in the store. That alone should be an indication you need the possibility to buy MUCH more equipment than you can now.

So I repeat. Please make it possible to buy MUCH more equipment and lift this unnecessary and very frustrating barrier of 75 items in FS16 (and 45 in FS14).


2. The whole workers getting stuck thing. On fences/buildings/ponds/road vehicles/road barriers/fuel stations/fertiliser refill stations/car wash... just about everything. Unloading loader wagons at the plant or the sheep shed also mostly fails. It cannot be THAT difficult to fix. Just do us all a huge favour and FIX IT! It has been present for several YEARS now. If you fix it by improving the algorithm that moves the vehicles I expect you can use this fix in ALL versions of the games so it would seem a good use of development time. Frankly, games like this should never be released to market with such a huge 'bug' (or probably better called 'unfinished code') in them. Before I ran into the max equipment barrier this was the most frustrating 'feature' of the games. To alleviate such failed automation problems a GoTo function where you can simply tap on a destination location on the map would be a GREAT help. Please create it.


3. The UI. Why on earth did you remove the functionality of the small map to move through the map and switch focus on vehicles? It was a very effective and convenient way to switch vehicles and keep an eye on the status of fields. Switching vehicles was much better than now with the large map. Yes of course that large map is very useful too with it's expanded functionality but it's not best for everything. To switch vehicles the smaller slide-out map is superior by far. Please bring it back. I play on a 12 inch tablet and am left handed. Having to move my hand from the side of the tablet to the map or menu buttons so far to the right so frequently is quite inconvenient. Please offer alternative layouts (tablet!) to choose from or make it possible to freely rearrange the layout of these UI elements.

Switching vehicles by using the left/right buttons can be very convenient too but only when you still have few vehicles. As soon as you have more it becomes inefficient. Efficiency could be restored if we could reorder the sequence in which they are cycled through. A list of vehicles where we could drag them up and down in the list would give the opportunity to place vehicles in a logical order within the 'functional clusters' that you use in different areas of the map. Once you've switched to a vehicle in that group you can then use the left/right buttons to switch vehicles within that functional group.

There's one thing that I can do with FS16 that I can't with FS14. That is making a back-up with Helium/Carbon. If you spend over 100 hours on a game you want to safeguard all that time and effort. With FS14 I can't do that the way I want to.


Summarising:

1. Raise the limit of maximum number of equipment you can buy SIGNIFICANTLY! To 500 or so. So I can actually make some game PROGRESS again, which now I don't feel I can. Only five days after I bought the game I reached the 'Garage Full' stage.

2. Please just fix this #@$%&! getting stuck EVERYWHERE on EVERYTHING bug/unfinished code. It's about time wouldn't you agree? We've waited for it MORE than long enough. And give us a GoTo function.

3. Restore the functions of the small slide-out map, please make a reorderable vehicles list and provide better UI layout options.

4. Oh... and bring back the manual 'Save' option please as it exists in FS14. It IS very useful to have that function. Even better. Give us the possibility to save the game to a file on the device that can be loaded again and can be backed up.

5. Almost forgot. Please fix this 'Honk for collection' function with the harvesters. It is VERY erratic and doesn't work properly WAY too often.


So currently my verdict has to stand at: 'Close, but no cigar.' Please make me want to offer you that cigar.
Last edited by Dr. Bob on Sat Oct 08, 2016 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JohnDeere318
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Re: Close, but no cigar.

Post by JohnDeere318 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:30 pm

Dr. Bob wrote: 1. Raise the limit of maximum number of equipment you can buy SIGNIFICANTLY! To 500 or so. So I can actually make some game PROGRESS again, which now I don't feel I can. Only five days after I bought the game I reached the 'Garage Full' stage.
I would say, probably the reason why is probably the mobile devices can't handle that much stuff in the game like PC's and Console's can do. When you have that many vehicles (500), it starts to LAG... Big time! Even on the PC and Console. I would just buy a PC or Console, it would save you a lot of trouble in the end. :smileynew:
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Dr. Bob
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Re: Close, but no cigar.

Post by Dr. Bob » Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:45 pm

JohnDeere318 wrote: I would say, probably the reason why is probably the mobile devices can't handle that much stuff in the game like PC's and Console's can do. When you have that many vehicles (500), it starts to LAG... Big time! Even on the PC and Console. I would just buy a PC or Console, it would save you a lot of trouble in the end. :smileynew:
No. I fully expect it WON'T lag. There's no reason to expect it will. Like I said, maintaining such a small database is absolutely peanuts when it comes to CPU/memory load. And 500 records in a database IS small by any reasonable current standard. And since it's highly unlikely there will be more items in view than there are now in the game at any given time/view there will neither be more graphics load. And even then you can simply reduce the distance at which equipment will be rendered as happens now with the different graphics settings.

Navan
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Re: Close, but no cigar.

Post by Navan » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:35 pm

Dr. Bob wrote:
No. I fully expect it WON'T lag. There's no reason to expect it will. Like I said, maintaining such a small database is absolutely peanuts when it comes to CPU/memory load. And 500 records in a database IS small by any reasonable current standard. And since it's highly unlikely there will be more items in view than there are now in the game at any given time/view there will neither be more graphics load. And even then you can simply reduce the distance at which equipment will be rendered as happens now with the different graphics settings.
While yes, 500 items is nothing, we're not talking about a full blown SQL server here behind the game. Likely it's one like maybe SQL Lite or a NoSQL variant. Regardless their performance on a phone is not likely the problem here. If the game is trying to render every piece every second, for a phone 500 items could become too much data to crunch. Further the graphics settings may well do nothing about extra equipment. After all the AI can still get stuck on objects that are not inside your current render distance. This means the game has to track each of those items in terms of their coordinates and hit box each second just to determine if an AI driver can go from point A to point B. If it could freely ignore those outside render, then what happens if the player moves and brings the a moving AI into render distance while it's moving through another piece of equipment?

Point is the small size of the database means nothing if it's not the source of the bottleneck. The query for equipment could be tuned to perfection, but if the code using the data isn't then you can end up with problems if too much data is pulled.

While not an ideal solution, you can consider using a set of tractors for 3-4 fields that allow for a loop with minimal driving between. I actually run all 6 in the NW corner this way. You should think about the time it takes to reposition the train to start a new cycle on one field compared to moving to the next field. I find by the time the harvest, plow and sowing are done on the last field, there is more than enough time to position them on field 1 and move to another set of tractors to move in their cycle. Honestly I tired of playing before getting all fields into a fully operational setup so i can't say what's optimal.

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Dr. Bob
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Re: Close, but no cigar.

Post by Dr. Bob » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:27 pm

Navan wrote: If the game is trying to render every piece every second, for a phone 500 items could become too much data to crunch. Further the graphics settings may well do nothing about extra equipment. After all the AI can still get stuck on objects that are not inside your current render distance. This means the game has to track each of those items in terms of their coordinates and hit box each second just to determine if an AI driver can go from point A to point B. If it could freely ignore those outside render, then what happens if the player moves and brings the a moving AI into render distance while it's moving through another piece of equipment?
It doesn't need to render every piece of equipment. Only those in view. And since they will be strewn around the map that will not happen. The activity of 'workers' outside of view are merely calculations updating values in a database which are represented on the map when that is viewed, which is pretty low performance too. Such calculations (computations) are what computers do best. It's what they're made for. The equipment only needs to be rendered when it comes into view. And not all equipment will be 'working' a lot of the time. But yes, you will have the opportunity to create more simultaneous worker threads that need to be calculated. But since they are mostly relatively simple computations I expect them to be made pretty fast.

Current mobile hardware is VERY powerful. It's basically only a few years behind the average decent desktop computer or console.

I hope I'll get a response from one of the coders from Giants. And it can't be very difficult to modify the code so it will allow for more equipment. It might even be as simple as changing one parameter if the rest of the game engine would already support this higher value. I wouldn't mind testing such a modified version of the game. Just make the .apk file available to me and I'll do it. Since I can now back-up and restore my game progress in FS16 no great harm can be done anyway.

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Re: Close, but no cigar.

Post by JohnDeere318 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:04 pm

Dr. Bob wrote: Current mobile hardware is VERY powerful. It's basically only a few years behind the average decent desktop computer or console.
I can see why it would not lag terribly. I did not know the phones were that powerful... I don't have a smartphone, so I would know much about them, I would rather have a PC or Console in my opinion. :smileynew: Smartphones are too small.
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Dr. Bob
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Re: Close, but no cigar.

Post by Dr. Bob » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:26 pm

JohnDeere318 wrote: Smartphones are too small.
For some games they definitely are, which is why I prefer to play most Android games on a tablet. Seven inch or larger. Though my latest phone with a 5,5" screen is pretty decent too. But as I already mentioned I play FS14 and FS16 on a 12" tablet. I don't really like it on even that 5,5" phone although it has much faster hardware and can effortlessly run on the highest graphics setting, which I can't on that 12" tablet. But that's mostly the graphic/video processor. The 'invisible' game calculations are done by the main processor cores.

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Re: Close, but no cigar.

Post by JohnDeere318 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:55 pm

Dr. Bob wrote:
JohnDeere318 wrote: Smartphones are too small.
For some games they definitely are, which is why I prefer to play most Android games on a tablet. Seven inch or larger. Though my latest phone with a 5,5" screen is pretty decent too. But as I already mentioned I play FS14 and FS16 on a 12" tablet. I don't really like it on even that 5,5" phone although it has much faster hardware and can effortlessly run on the highest graphics setting, which I can't on that 12" tablet. But that's mostly the graphic/video processor. The 'invisible' game calculations are done by the main processor cores.
Ah a tablet, yeah a tablet is a great choice for the mobile version of FS. :smileynew: A lot bigger than a phone. *thumbsup*
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Re: Close, but no cigar.

Post by hasab » Sat Oct 08, 2016 11:19 am

I have to agree with all of Dr. Bob's first post!

I hope that the developers will read the summary of the first post and make the suggested modifications in FS16 or in the next version of the game.

I also need some more equipment to buy in game but I cant do it because of the number limitation! :(
The vehicles always get stuck at water refill point, at the westside gas station, etc. It is frustrating and takes away the joy of playing this game.

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Dr. Bob
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Re: Close, but no cigar.

Post by Dr. Bob » Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:03 pm

Well... I found a way to avoid the 75 equipment item limit... sort of... for the time being. I started a new game, harvested the crop that is already grown when you start a new game... and then sold the harvester. :eek2:

And after I had sold the contents of the silos... I sold the tipper. :o:

And after I cultivated the second field to tidy it up a bit (but left the straw on the harvested field)... I sold the cultivator and the sowing machine too. :surprised2:

As soon as I had enough dosh (after selling the harvester) I bought another tractor and a mower and I started mowing the meadow, and as soon as I had enough for a loader wagon I bought one and started feeding the sheep and cows (and sold the straw on the harvested field to the biogas plant). The animals generate high value products and ultimately it's a more 'low user input' type of game with relatively more that can be left to 'workers'. To fully achieve that you need more meadows and enough equipment to work them efficiently in parallel, which takes some time and effort to achieve. And you need to remove some trees to allow the autonomous use of large loader wagons on some meadows. Well... one and a half and three quarters more like. Only the western meadow can be fully worked autonomously once you remove a tree.

Buying the forestry equipment wasn't a priority. First you need to have enough meadows and equipment to keep both the animals and the biogas plant fully supplied with no empty silos to maximise your earnings to buy more equipment and meadows. One meadow isn't enough to keep the cows and sheep constantly fed. For that you need the second small meadow too. You need another meadow to keep the biogas plant constantly 'fed' too.

In the early phase windrowing is efficient because of the horribly slow (but cheap) tractors you have to use. Later it's much easier to dispense with that and mow a meadow several times before you collect the grass.

I used a multi-timer utility on PC to mow each meadow as soon as it had regrown and fill each silo as soon as it was empty to maximise yield. When I had four mowers I synchronised the meadows and when I had three large loader wagons I synchronised the silos.

By now I have 2 JCB Fastracs for the 4 large loader wagons (more to come, they pull all machinery the fastest when working the fields, the Magnum is slower with its higher HP - the Fastrac is superior in every way), 2 Puma 160 for the 4 small loader wagons, 8 Steyrs for mowing, milk and wool transport, stump grinding and dumping filled-up large loader wagons in the silos at the biogas plant. The small loader wagons are parked over the fill-points at the animal sheds and automatically keep them fully supplied. I have 1 ScorpionKing with 2 Buffalo's and a stump cutter to remove obnoxious trees and do some real forestry, for which I now have much more time without the regular farming. Also a MAN truck and low loader (and a dolly from before I could afford the MAN) to move the Scorpion/Buffalo's around when necessary. I also have a tedder, windrower, baler and two Arcusin autostacks. The sheds have a 'bale reserve' of 24 bales and two stocked autostacks are standing by.

By limiting myself to grass and wood farming I need much less diverse equipment and won't run into the 75 item limit very soon, if ever. I now have 36 pieces of equipment. I can still use more but I more or less expect to reach the 'saturation point' before I run into the item limit.

But this is a stop-gap measure to compensate for the limitations I experience as a result of the 75 item limit. I can't really achieve any game goal worth reaching any more in my first game due to this item limit.

So please raise that limit rather sooner than later Giants.

I have one more additional suggestion regarding the many workers getting stuck problems. A significant portion of these problems could be solved by reducing the turning circles of the tractors when turning around at the end of fields. Currently rather large turns are used causing the equipment to need more room beyond the fields. When I make the turns manually using tighter turns I can make them without running into many of the obstacles the 'workers' are unable to navigate. This surely must be a very minor adjustment in the game with a potentially considerable positive effect. Please look into this, again, preferably soon.

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Dr. Bob
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Re: Close, but no cigar.

Post by Dr. Bob » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:59 am

It turns out that even with the limited scope of grass (wool/milk) and wood farming you end up with quite a bit of equipment. I'm at 61 items now. The bulk of that is made up of tractors with loader wagons. Sure, you don't NEED a tractor for every loader wagon but it is convenient and it is a goal you can set for yourself to have a purpose for your earnings.

20 Fastracs for 19 loader wagons (and one for the stump grinder). I use 15 large loader wagons and 4 small ones. Six large ones are reserved for feeding the sheep and cows. Three each will last the period I can keep the silos filled with the other nine large wagons and the four small ones. Three large ones are needed for a complete filling of the three silos and four small ones do the same. This gives me a total of four refills. Then I fill the wagons again on the meadows which have been mowed many times in between their use so the grass layer is very thick and you can fill a lot of loader wagons very fast. The small wagons can be used on the parts where the large ones get stuck. That's why I kept them and bought more. This leaves a long relaxed period in which you can focus on forestry with just regular short interruptions for mowing, refilling the silos, changing the loader wagons at the stables when they are empty and the selling of wool and milk.

When all silo wagons are used I refill them, and the ones at the stables. At the end of such a run when they are full again I top up the last wagons standing over the fill-points at the stables which by then have run down to 20-25%.

I could upgrade the Steyrs that do the mowing to JCBs too but the Steyrs are perfectly adequate for the job. They have a much smaller fuel tank but the mowing doesn't use a lot of fuel so they don't need too frequent refuelling. That won't increase my item count. I might buy an extra set of forestry machines. I could also sell and re-buy some machinery to get them in a more convenient order so the left/right buttons become less cumbersome/more useful to switch focus. (We really need a reorderable list of vehicles to achieve this.)

I am starting to feel the lack of variety that limiting myself to grass and wood farming brings more and more though, but at least I haven't had to 'fight' the game due to the item limit.

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