Dyson Sphere Program requires players to understand and master the use of Sorters. These infinitely useful and pliable little devices can ferry items from a belt into a building, or vice versa, or even from buildings to other buildings. Without Sorters, you won't get very far at all in this game, so this Dyson Sphere Program Sorters guide will hopefully help you to understand how these tools can be used and manipulated in various ways to increase the productivity and efficiency of your planet-spanning factories.
On this page:
- Dyson Sphere Program Sorters overview
- Sorter Speeds & Distances
- Using Sorter Filters
- Placing Sorters
- Powering Sorters
- Sorter Cargo Stacking upgrades
Dyson Sphere Program Sorters overview
Sorters appear very early on in the player's journey in Dyson Sphere Program. The first tier of Sorter is unlocked alongside the first tier of Conveyor Belts as part of the Basic Logistics System research technology. Sorters are essential for automating production tasks, because buildings such as Smelters and Assembling Machines can't be directly fed a belt of items like certain other buildings can. You have to set up a Sorter to ferry items from belt to building, and vice versa.
But Sorters don't have to be placed on a belt. If two buildings are close enough, you can also directly connect them (depending on their type). This means you can have, for example, a Sorter which takes completed products from an Assembling Machine and places them directly in a Storage Building; or takes these same products and places them in another Assembling Machine where they're part of the recipe for an even more complex product.
Every building which can attach to a Sorter has predefined points where a Sorter can be attached to them. You'll see these points when you hover over the building with a Sorter in your hand. Your cursor will snap to the nearest one of these points automatically. Some buildings have a more limited number of Sorter snapping points, which means you'll have to think about how best to place Belts and Sorters around them.
Sorter Speeds & Distances
As with belts, there are three different tiers of Sorters that you will unlock over time, each of which is more expensive but faster than the last. But it's actually a little more complex than that, because Sorters can also stretch across multiple tiles, and this (quite logically) affects their speed of item delivery, because they're having to travel further each time.
Just like belts, Sorters can only transport a certain number of items per second. In the game this is described in the form of "1.5 trip/s/grid", to take the example of the Mk1 Sorter. What this means is that the Mk1 Sorter will pick up and deliver items at a rate of 1.5 items per second if it's stretched across just the one tile (i.e. the minimum possible length for a Sorter). At 2 tiles length, the speed decreases to 0.75 items per second. And at the maximum length of 3 tiles, the speed is just 0.5 items per second.
Below is a handy table of the speeds and lengths of all the tiers of Sorter in Dyson Sphere Program:
|Mk1 Sorter (Yellow)||Mk2 Sorter (Green)||Mk3 Sorter (Blue)|
|1 Tile Length||1.5 items/s||3 items/s||6 items/s|
|2 Tiles Length||0.75 items/s||1.5 items/s||3 items/s|
|3 Tiles Length||0.5 items/s||1 item/s||2 items/s|
Using Sorter Filters
Another special ability of the Sorter is that it can be used to filter specific items. This means you can tell each Sorter to only carry a specific type of item, and ignore any other type of item that is within its reach.
This becomes relevant when you have the Sorter connected to a belt or a building which is outputting multiple types of item. You can quickly toggle between the possible filter types by hitting "Tab" between placing the first and second part of each Sorter: or you can click an already-built Sorter and set its filter in the panel that appears. With this second approach, you can set a filter for any item in the game, rather than just one of the preset filter options that the game has detected to be relevant.
You can't place a Sorter without the start and end points of the Sorter already being placed. You can't, for example, use a Sorter to attach a Belt to a point in space where there is not yet a Smelter, and then add the Smelter afterwards. The game requires you to place Sorters only between existing applicable points.
To place a Sorter you must first click on the desired starting point, which is where the Sorter will be picking up items. Then, you must click on the desired end point, which is where the Sorter will drop off the items it's carrying. So the order of the two clicks is very important.
Placing Sorters can sometimes be a little abstruse. The game will try to help you by aligning the Sorter automatically to the best possible grid line, which is nice; but it will also sometimes attempt to connect to impossible points instead of using the obvious connection - and then complain that the impossible thing is impossible. In these cases, the problem is generally because the logical connection isn't actually valid because the angle is too wide. If it's happening to you when you're trying to connect a belt to a building (or vice versa), try extending the belt by a single tile and see if that fixes the issue.
Another problem that some players run into is the problem of power. Sorters don't require much power at all to run (although many Sorters running at once is of course a different story). The problem occurs when you place Sorters very high up, to deliver items to and from stacked buildings or elevated sections of your factory. If the Sorters are beyond a certain height threshold, then they'll be outside the range of your nearest Tesla Tower, and won't function.
To power a Sorter that is vertically very high up, you'll need the third tier of power distributor, which is called the Satellite Substation. This Substation has an extended range which can reach the Sorters that are out of reach of normal range extending power poles. You'll get this building by unlocking the Satellite Power Distribution System technology (at the end of the bottom row in the tech tree). It takes yellow Matrix Cubes, so until you've reached that stage you'll have to avoid using Sorters too high up.
Sorter Cargo Stacking upgrades
One final topic to touch on is the Sorter Cargo Stacking chain of upgrade technologies. These technologies can be unlocked once you've reached yellow Matrix Cubes, and each tier will allow the Mk3 Sorters (ONLY the Mk3 Sorters) to carry an additional item per trip. This means the first of these upgrades will effectively double the transport speed of the Mk3 Sorter. The next upgrade triples the original speed, the one after that quadruples it, and so on.
The fourth Sorter Cargo Stacking upgrade will allow the Mk3 Sorter to empty (or fill) and entire Mk3 Belt by itself. This is because with each trip it will carry 5 items, and at 6 trips per second it can match the speed of the 30 items per second Mk3 Belt.
That's enough Sorter wisdom to be getting on with. If you're still hungering for tips and knowledge, then you may want to take a look at our guides on how to find Titanium or Sulfuric Acid in great abundance. You may not need those materials yet, but you will soon.