The factory must sprawl
Firstly, congratulations and thank you to the mod developers – they’ve done a fantastic job. It seems like whenever they were faced with a decision between ‘sensible and balanced’, or ‘hella fun’, they’ve gone with the latter. This mod is hella fun.
My playthrough broke down into several distinct phases. The early game is similar to vanilla. There are a few twists – new recipes, new intermediaries, new ores, new buildings – but my usual main bus approach got me ticking along. I took my time, expanded slowly, and felt my way along. That squiggle to the north-west is where I started out.
Once I’d unlocked the early-game science cards, I started building out my intended rail city-block. Each repeating module consists of four blocks. Trains can only ever turn right, which means it’s much easier to handle traffic. Initially, at least. The length of each block is governed by the reach of the early-game roboports. They can connect to a roboport 50 tiles away, so – with one port in the middle – that meant each block is 100 tiles square. I stamped down a bunch of these four-block modules, and let the bots get on with it. Because I was playing ‘unspoiled’ (ie, no idea what was going on) that approach was very forgiving. Stamp something down; have a play; get it working; stamp down some copies.
10,000 tiles is not much room – especially when there are multiple train stations required. I ended up making several small furnace blocks to process each ore. This meant my distribution of resources was uneven. Some furnace blocks were stripped, while others backed up. I built a depot in the centre of the factory where all plates went for distribution, and this worked great. Initially, at least. As raw plates overwhelmed my depot, I shifted them out to their own depots, and kept the central distribution depot for higher-level intermediary parts like blue circuits and low-density structures. This lasted until the end.
Copper depot – space for two trains to unload, and two to load.
K2 introduces a process whereby ores can be converted into a fluid ‘matter’, which can then be converted into other kinds of ore, or other precursor materials. Another new addition in K2 is the ‘wood’ ingredient. Wood is grown in glasshouses, and requires only water and power. As eventually occurs to every K2 player, I thought, ‘what if I could use masses of wood to create matter, and run my whole factory just on water?!” So I went ahead and did that. By game-end, my wood blocks were producing 400,000 wood per minute, which I was turning into generic matter, and then shipping out to create everything else. Eventually, my wood nodes – themselves – were running on water made from matter (and primed with a stack of wood). It got very silly. I regret nothing.
K2 metal smelting can include a new refining step. This boosts the eventual yield, and also provides another opportunity to add ProdIII modules, for one more shot at 40% extra.
Eventually, matter is all you need. I set up a node where a matter train would make a drop, a flurry of stuff would happen, and finished low density structures would pour out the other end. Then I stamped down several copies and LDS were ‘solved’. A lot happened in the last handful of hours of the game.
Making Low Density Structures from ‘matter’
Toward the end, my magnificent arrays of Assembler IIIs each got replaced with a handful of Assembler IVs, surrounded by a scrum of beacons. K2 includes little 2×2 beacons, that allow the vanilla 3×3 beacons to crowd around the outside. This makes for absurdly speedy constructors.
Each build ends up looking kinda the same, but throughput is phenomenal. The only hold-out was rocket fuel, as there is no late-game building that produces it. I built one block early on, and never needed to touch it again.
My upgraded steel mill. Four assemblers, and many beacons.
The antimatter artillery/nuke is a lovely addition to the game. Every so often, my screen would white out briefly, and I would know my artillery was taking care of business. Using the remote, their range extended waaaay out into the dark. Even with large numbers of air purifiers on the go, my pollution cloud was enormous, so a modicum of defence was required. This was the first game I ever built mines. Mines are great! I will not neglect them again. And laser artillery, oh, yes.
If you’re intrigued, I’d encourage you to spend an hour early on writing down what builds what, crafting speeds, ingredients, building dimensions etc. It really helps with those planning sessions, and stats are hard to find online.