I don't feel like your questions have anything in it that would make me feel that way.
The simplest way to understand the Formula effector is to put just a number into the formula field. When you use a 1.0, all parameters and results of the effector will have 100% (if not limited by other sliders in the Cloner, for example, or Fields). So, if you place a 0.5, you get half of the values. Even the gray value (Cloner Color -Transform- set to black)
Each Clone typically has an ID. Which are integer numbers, like 1 or 6 [not 1.3 or 6.1]. You wanted to have four clones, so I used the Modulo to divide it by four, which gives me the remainder. As a result, you get four gray values.
These four gray values are fed then into the Colorizer or Ramp to translate them to Color.
That would give you a static result. So I use the f -slider, and since that is a Real number (6.1, for example) and animation would not blend from one color to the next, hens the Formula, which cuts the .1 from 6.1 (for example) away. This means it adds only full integer numbers, creating a running light.
The gray values are not easy to predict for the editor and rendering simultaneously, as we have gamma and linear values in the game; hence, I suggest rendering to see what happens. To have linear values in the display is not easy to work with. So we have to deal with both
All the best