Freight Forwarding is a small mod for Factorio that reduces stack sizes dramatically, but allows resources to be packed and unpacked into containers for transport. It also provides new logistic options, in particular cargo ships and associated island based play.
To increase complexity the author recommends adding Tungsten, Natural Gas, and Noble Metals from the BZ mods collection. (It includes Lead & Titanium by default). In hindsight I probably didn’t need quite so many additions: the extra complexity exacerbated what otherwise would have been minor issues. The logistics heart of the mod could have been enjoyed more fully with default settings.
Launching an interstellar satellite to win the game took me about 55 hours.
Using default settings, biters were a non-issue. I triggered virtually no pollution based attacks, and never saw any behemoths. This was as expected, the mod documentation suggested biters would be on the easier side. After using Rampant on my last run I enjoyed the change up.
For the full logistics experience, I avoided any train logistics mods (like LTN or Cybersyn). You can get a long way with train stop limits these days, and it also meant I could attempt to handle container return in the same train. This was fun until it wasn’t.
Item re-use shows up in two places in the mod: containers can be packed and unpacked, and batteries can be charged and discharged. Both of these processes had a failure rate built into them (1% initially), meaning that systems needed to be continually topped up. I liked this idea but in practice it was frustrating:
- Regular trains were changed to use charged batteries, which discharge with use. With a stack size of 100 and trains having 3 stacks of fuel, this meant that each double headed train could buffer up to 600 batteries before stabilizing. (Being able to read fuel values out of a train would fix this and many other issues!)
- Packed containers had a stack size of 1, where as unpacked had a stack size of 10. This means you can’t rely on “just fill the train” conditions and instead need to rely on circuit conditions. Not the biggest deal initially, aside from finding it immersion breaking. Once cargo ships came into the picture, and without cross-island circuit networks, there’s no way to avoid large buffers or tell exactly how many containers are in the system at anyone time. It made it effectively impossible to do shared depots in a reliable way … but that’s exactly what is encouraged both mechanically and aesthetically by cargo ships.
Ultimately this was frustrating enough to push me away from regular trains and back to fuel loaded mini-trains. If I were to play this mod again I’d remove the failure rates and reduce the empty container stack size to one to match packed containers.
- Mini-trains are SO COOL. I love them.
- Also loved cargo ships.
- Really enjoyed oil platforms. Having hard to access but then subsequently abundant oil was a fun gameplay change up.
- Final logistics challenges were hard (cobalt and titansteel), mostly due to extreme distance. Demoralised me for a bit, but was satisfying once done.
- Used Factory Planner and Factory Search for the first time. They are becoming standard in my QoL mods.
- Making long waterways has the same ergonomic issues that making long rails lines does, requiring either multiple back and forths or a stop-start pattern to place two-way routes with signals. This exacerbated early game by the excrutiatingly slow patrol boat. Unlocking hovercraft was a major quality of life improvement.
- Heavy combat aircraft should have a logistics slot so it can self refuel and rearm. Also needed more ammo slots. In practice wasn’t that useful for taking out more than a single base, except for loading up the grid with personal lasers which didn’t feel that satisfying.
- Aircraft make a high whining sound. Which is realistic but also too aggressive to actually play with. I disabled environmental sounds as a result.
- Cargo aircraft has a tiny inventory, annoying and meant couldn’t serve its purpose that well.
- Lava pools don’t appear until after you research Titansteel. Aside from being immersion breaking, I wasted a large amount of scouting time as a result.
- Too much complexity in mall items such as assemblers (likely from adding too many BZ mods.) Discouraged early mall building, which combined with limited stack size led to more manual work.
- Even after massively upgrading cobalt production, it felt so rare that I didn’t want to use it for anything except rocket launches, cutting off some end game tech like advanced solar and fancy batteries.
Mistakes and opportunities (minor spoilers):
Mostly just notes and reflections to myself!
- Rich copper ore should be thought of as primarily a source of Noble Metals, with copper as a by-product. Ended with very lopsided production.
- Tried having a shared battery fueling setup for trains, but given the buffering issues it required a truly enormous number of batteries, and continually ended up lopsided. In the late game I switched back to fuel powered mini trains to avoid these issues.
- Didn’t put big miners on titanium mines early enough, suffered through shortage much longer than needed.
- I never was able to consistently remember which color the chain and regular buoys were, and I oftened placed the wrong ones only to be discovered much later.
- One train per resource is a standard approach, but feel like this mod would really shine using mixed deliveries. Experience likely tarnished by how unreliable both fueling and container provisioning felt especially across multiple trains. Possibly needs either cross-island circuits and/or Cybersyn to really make it work.
I created a mapshot of the factory for posterity, where you can scroll and zoom around. I overall enjoyed this mod, though would recommend sticking to default recommendations for a shorter experience.