Factorio Design Issues

Place to discuss the game balance, recipes, health, enemies mining etc.

Factorio Design Issues

Postby Syrchalis » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:23 am

- Work in Progress -

TL;DR
Things I believe should be high priority after next update and why.

By now I've played 250 hours in Factorio. Some of you most definitely have much more. It was more than enough time for me to gather information and see how most if not all mechanics and aspects of the game play out to judge what they add to the game and whether they are in a good state or not.

It's a collection of topics, not a collection of suggestions. I want to focus on the problems more than the solutions, as I want to leave the latter for the devs to figure out, because they are much better at that than players like me.

1. Missed opportunities
There are quite a few things in Factorio that are simply missed opportunities. They could be fun, engaging, meaningful game elements, but they are not.

1.1. Energy
TL;DR
Energy is boring. Binary problem - "I don't have enough energy" with one answer: "build more energy sources". No decisions to be made, just two solutions with one being clearly superior (and probably not expensive enough).

Energy issue explained
Of these missed opportunities, this one is the most important one. Many will already know it, there is not much to energy in Factorio. You just copy paste Steam engines or solar panels to satisfy your energy. The other part is building the network. The latter is actually fun and can be challenging to get right (or aesthetic if you want). Problematic is the former.

There is simply no decisions to be made. Need more power? Build more power.

I see two approaches to improve the mechanic. First, the available and future energy sources could be more interesting choices. Right now you have only two options. Steam, which is cheap to build, but costs coal to maintain and generates a lot of pollution. Or solar, which isn't that cheap to build and you need lots of it, but it's free energy forever. The latter might be a problem in general, because it is hard for other energy sources to compete with solar.
One could of course just make solar so late-game and expensive (e.g. requiring efficiency 3 modules for each panel/accumulator) that it simply stays the best energy source, but is also the most expensive to build. I personally like this idea and it would solve the above problem - which stems from how cheap solar actually is. If you don't believe me, get solar right when you have green science automated and set up a solar panel factory - it's easy to run your factory on solar WAY before oil/accumulators during the day.

The other method of making energy more interesting would be to create interesting choices in the existing energy sources themselves. When you build solar panels or steam engines there is no decisions to be made. 25:21, 1:14:10 - ratios, that's it. For example more boilers per steam engines = more energy, but less efficient and causes more pollution. Less boilers = less energy, but less pollution and for each coal you get more energy. Don't get stuck on the example please, just take in the general idea. Instead of building the same thing over and over you have choices in how you set up a particular kind of energy source to correspond to your needs.


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1.2. Combat
TL;DR
Look at Starcraft 2 and Crimsonland to borrow mechanics to improve Factorio's combat.
Combat issues explained
The devs said it a few times - the combat is very basic at the moment. I feel it's in not too bad of a shape, because it could be much worse. It could be a lot better too though. Here is a lot more text, but it's not as important as energy, because in the end combat is secondary in Factorio, but energy, resource management etc. is the primary focus of the game.

I would look at other games to borrow mechanics and ideas. There is two particular games I would look for inspiration at - one is Crimsonland, a not so well known shooter game (top down, alien planet, surprisingly similar to Factorio in a way) the other is Starcraft 2.
Let's take on Crimsonland first. No buildings at all, but loads of enemies, spawners and tons of weapons (and perks). It's as much fighting as Factorio is automating. Both send you to an alien planet to survive alone with just a pistol to start. As much as these two are different, they are strangely alike in theme and feel.
Most importantly, the combat in Crimsonland is as addictive as Factorio's base building is - AND THAT is why it's perfect as example. Why take anything less than an addictive fun combat system as example?

So what exactly could you borrow from it?


1.2.1. Combat mechanics
  • Aiming - in Crimsonland you need to aim with everything
  • Reload - while short for most weapons, it exists and it is fun, because you need to account for it
  • Bullet speed - most weapons have not that fast of a bullet speed in Crimsonland, so you need to aim slightly ahead, it makes the whole experience even more cohesive and fun
  • Enemies are slower

1.2.2. Weapons
TL;DR
More weapons, more variety between them, and clearer strengths/weaknesses for each
Weapon suggestions
Most notably I would recommend the Gauss Weapons that they have. These shoot extremely fast bullets that penetrate everything in a straight line until they hit something they don't kill. The normal Gauss Gun shoots slowly, but they have a fast shooting one (with longer reload) and a shotgun too. I wouldn't recommend those, as they lose lots of the drawbacks. The role of this weapon would be something like a sniper rifle, but in a less "lame" way.

What I find interesting is that in Crimsonland the flamethrower feels very bad and unsatisfying, while in Factorio it feels like the best weapon by far. The Rocket Launcher in Crimsonland is the reverse, it feels very good, but in Factorio it feels horrible. Either game could benefit there if they looked at each other. I would love to explain why they feel this way, but it's hard to describe. Let's just it's due to their effectiveness.

I'm not saying "copy all their weapons" - I'm just saying look at them, take them as inspirational material and improve the arsenal of Factorio with it.


1.2.3. Other mechanics
Things not too look at when looking at Crimsonland
I want to mention the other three major mechanics of Crimsonland here. Powerups - probably fit nowhere in Factorio. It would just feel weird. Interesting enemies (walkings spawners, enemies that split into two smaller when you kill them, etc.) - could enhance the game, but I have a similar idea that is probably better suited. And lastly perks. While most are too gamey and gimmicky for Factorio, some ideas are pretty good and would be great if you could get those perks through combat, so that fighting yourself (instead of your automated defenses) actually feels rewarding.



Let's go towards Starcraft 2 and what you can borrow from it.

1.2.4. Turrets & Enemies
TL;DR
Use Starcraft 2 as example for stregnths and weaknesses in strategic combat games done right. Make biters evolve traits from a pool of traits each game to add variety and the need to build different defenses each game.
Details about RTS combat mechanics
In Starcraft 2 it is very clear what is good against what. Take Marauders - they are a tanky infantry unit that deals high damage to armored targets, but low damage to anything light. They are countered by for example zerglings, because they are many light units with high dps. They are also countered by any air unit, because they cannot attack air units.

What I am missing for Factorio is clearly defined "what is good against what" mechanics. Take laser versus gun turrets. Both have their small advantages/disadvantages, but they both deal relatively the same way with enemies. What if gun turrets were only good against enemies without high physical resistance (e.g. big biters)? What if there were turrets shooting tank shells that are only good against armored high health targets, but are bad against many low health enemies?

What I would suggest is that enemies evolve specific traits. They are chosen randomly each game. For example they could get the "hardy" trait which spawns less enemies, but they have higher damage resistances (particularly flat damage resistances) so you need Gauss/Shell/Rocket Turrets (suggestions right there). Lasers might deal okay with them and gun turrets would become very ineffective.
Or the "swarm" trait to make them spawn much less big versions but considerably more smaller enemies, making gun turrets super effective.

Every x Evolution Factor they get one trait - there should be at least twice as many traits as they get in total, so that the combinations stay varied. Since this changes every game you would need to adapt your strategy for turrets every time. It means there is not "this one turret layout" that is optimal. And that is interesting.

Bonus idea: Make it not just per-game based, but "per region" based. Say "enemies south of starting area" and "enemies north of starting area" evolve traits seperately, so on different parts of the factory you need different defenses.

This would also improve combat outside of automated defenses.


1.2.5. Terrain
TL;DR
Terrain is way too open in Factorio, so enemies tend to come from every direction, making building defenses feel unrewarding and awkward. Additionally it forces you to build huge walls which is tedious, instead of forts at choke points , which would feel great.
Terrain details
A very important and often overlooked aspect in Starcraft 2 is the terrain. All these narrow passages make turret defense a lot easier and fun in it compared to Factorio, where you need to defend enormous walls across the countryside. I like the general idea of large walls that need defending, however just to a certain point. Once you need several hundred turrets and thousands of walls just to bridge the gap between two lakes on a single side of your base it becomes tedious instead of fun.

What I think Factorio needs is something that blocks biters but is not a large hindrance to factory building. Imagine canyons or cracks in the surface - just one to five tiles wide. They barely take up space, unlike water, but they could force biters into more predictable paths and reduce the amount of work required to secure an area. I wouldn't mind walls and turrets getting more expensive to offset - I just want to not spend hours building the same thing over and over, especially before robots.


1.2.6. Turret Creep
Construction time for turrets placed by bots - should be simple enough? I actually don't get the problem with turret creep, because I haven't encountered an enemy base I couldn't kill with ease with just destroyer capsules and a flamethrower. And I destroyed bases that yielded 3000 alien artifacts alone. Can someone bring me up to speed with the problems of turret creep?

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2. Mechanics/Items with limited use
There is quite a few things in Factorio that have very limited use cases. Some have upgrades that make them obsolete very quickly, some just don't have many uses to begin with.

2.1. Wood and Coal
Wood is the resource we all love to hate. You get so much of it due to the abundance of trees, yet you need so little of it, even early in the game. Later is has no use at all but to serve as bad fuel or if you manage to die in multiplayer and need a new shotgun. There is mods that allow you to make coal out of it, which is nice but...

Coal has not many uses either. It is used for plastic - and that's pretty much it's state in the game. As furnace fuel it becomes quickly obsolete, just as boiler fuel, due to solar panels being so cheap and accessible so early. Some mods allow you to process it into oil, which is good, though in the end it would just be replaced by solid fuel then.

2.2. Car and Tank
TL;DR
Car/Tank machine guns should have bonuses to seperate them from the player submachine gun and make them feel good to use. Trees are too abundant to make car really usable. Tank needs upgrades or be available earlier to have more than a niche use.
Why Car and Tank feel bad
These two have some use, but as it is, they might also not be in the game without me missing them much.

The car has the big downfall of being very hard to use in areas with lots of trees, which is the majority of areas. I can't really think of a way to fix this aside from changing tree generation or make the car bulldoze trees like the tank, but both seem suboptimal. The gun on the car could also benefit from turret upgrades or at least get some bonuses to make it better than the submachine gun. However, I feel this is debatable.

The tank has more serious problems. First, the shells. Hard to produce and of limited effectiveness. The normal shells are very good at sniping worms, but get blocked by big biters/spitters which hurts due to low rate of fire. Explosive shells are really meh. The machine gun on the tank should really be superior to the submachine gun. As it is the tank has trouble dealing with anything that isn't a building or small enemies. Also, why is there not a single upgrade for the tank? It is available only in the late midgame and by then other methods of fighting become superior (laser turrets don't need blue science for example).

The main use for the tank I have is to use it as 1000 health shield to place turrets in the enemy bases and let them do the work instead. Also to snipe big worms. But that's about it. Once one gets power armor with shields the tank is really really obsolete.

Since we are at vehicles - I just want to say that trains are great. They underwent a lot of development and they turned out great. So why not give the car and tank some love?
Last edited by Syrchalis on Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:45 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: The grand collection of improvements

Postby vtx » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:39 am

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3394

You should keep one suggestion per thread as multiple suggestions it's hard to keep discussion about multiple subject in same thread without loosing focus on some suggestion.

Also if dev decided to implement one of your suggestion all other suggestion will be lost as the topic will be moved.

As I play without ennemies I can only talk about one subject here "energy".

What exactly did you suggest on that matter? Next patch will bring another way of producing energy "Nuclear". But it'll allways be build more energy when you need more energy and it's seem the most logical route!
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Syrchalis » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:09 pm

vtx wrote:https://forums.factorio.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3394

You should keep one suggestion per thread as multiple suggestions it's hard to keep discussion about multiple subject in same thread without loosing focus on some suggestion.

Also if dev decided to implement one of your suggestion all other suggestion will be lost as the topic will be moved.

As I play without ennemies I can only talk about one subject here "energy".

What exactly did you suggest on that matter? Next patch will bring another way of producing energy "Nuclear". But it'll allways be build more energy when you need more energy and it's seem the most logical route!

I mean I can make 10 topics and flood the forum with that, but I dislike that. If that's what the mods/devs want though I have no problem doing that. As ssilk wrote - every rule has it's exceptions - and this was not supposed to be "some random suggestions thrown together" but a priority based list of things that I would improve or like to see improved in Factorio. Also these are mostly not concrete suggestions - I should probably change the title.

I didn't make a concrete suggestion about energy, I merely said what needs improvement and why. Sure, you build more energy if you need more - there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is that it's all there is to energy. There is nothing but this one problem "I don't have enough energy" and the one respone "build more energy".

It's like asking someone to solve a mathematical equation and then ask them to do it again. It's not fun. It's merely tedious.

I generally don't provide concrete suggestions for many topics, because the devs know their design better than I ever will, so they can come up with better, more fitting ideas. I can point out the problems and ways to solve them though, which can help the devs develop a solution. I think that is more helpful.

Edit: Also I made a TL;DR for all of the topics that were longer than 1-2 tiny paragraphs, because it was really needed.
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby vtx » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:03 pm

Syrchalis wrote:I can point out the problems and ways to solve them though, which can help the devs develop a solution. I think that is more helpful.


I understand the problem you try to expose : you don't like "build more when need more"

Still the solution missing.
What for you should they do that will improve for you that concept ?

In my sense you talk about a pivot concept of the game that applied to everything.
Not enought ore / buid more drill
Not enought plate / build more furnace
Not enought item / build more assembly
Not enought throughtput / build more belt / train / roboport
Not enought defense / build more tower

Why energy is an issue for you and not everything else ?
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Rseding91 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:24 pm

It sounds like you want combat in Factorio to be something it was never designed to be. Factorio isn't StarCraft: you aren't ever going to get balanced and refined combat. It's meant to be automatable in that you setup defenses and you can leave it be and not have to micro-manage it.

Factory design is the main part of the game. Even more so in 0.15 with the removal of alien artifacts.
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Yoyobuae » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:39 pm

Syrchalis wrote:1.1. Energy
TL;DR
Energy is boring. Binary problem - "I don't have enough energy" with one answer: "build more energy sources". No decisions to be made, just two solutions with one being clearly superior (and probably not expensive enough).

Energy issue explained
Of these missed opportunities, this one is the most important one. Many will already know it, there is not much to energy in Factorio. You just copy paste Steam engines or solar panels to satisfy your energy. The other part is building the network. The latter is actually fun and can be challenging to get right (or aesthetic if you want). Problematic is the former.

There is simply no decisions to be made. Need more power? Build more power.

I see two approaches to improve the mechanic. First, the available and future energy sources could be more interesting choices. Right now you have only two options. Steam, which is cheap to build, but costs coal to maintain and generates a lot of pollution. Or solar, which isn't that cheap to build and you need lots of it, but it's free energy forever. The latter might be a problem in general, because it is hard for other energy sources to compete with solar.
One could of course just make solar so late-game and expensive (e.g. requiring efficiency 3 modules for each panel/accumulator) that it simply stays the best energy source, but is also the most expensive to build. I personally like this idea and it would solve the above problem - which stems from how cheap solar actually is. If you don't believe me, get solar right when you have green science automated and set up a solar panel factory - it's easy to run your factory on solar WAY before oil/accumulators during the day.

The other method of making energy more interesting would be to create interesting choices in the existing energy sources themselves. When you build solar panels or steam engines there is no decisions to be made. 25:21, 1:14:10 - ratios, that's it. For example more boilers per steam engines = more energy, but less efficient and causes more pollution. Less boilers = less energy, but less pollution and for each coal you get more energy. Don't get stuck on the example please, just take in the general idea. Instead of building the same thing over and over you have choices in how you set up a particular kind of energy source to correspond to your needs.

For a while now I've been playing with a really silly concept: Wood powered factory. No coal, no solid fuel or rocket fuel used as burnable fuel source (can't even use them, due to No Fossil Fuel mod xD). And I'm also not using solar panels since it severely cheapens the challenge.

OMG, you wouldn't believe just how much energy even a really small factory uses. I'm constantly in a state of "what?!? is all raw wood gone already ?!?".

Syrchalis wrote:2.1. Wood and Coal
Wood is the resource we all love to hate. You get so much of it due to the abundance of trees, yet you need so little of it, even early in the game. Later is has no use at all but to serve as bad fuel or if you manage to die in multiplayer and need a new shotgun. There is mods that allow you to make coal out of it, which is nice but...

Coal has not many uses either. It is used for plastic - and that's pretty much it's state in the game. As furnace fuel it becomes quickly obsolete, just as boiler fuel, due to solar panels being so cheap and accessible so early. Some mods allow you to process it into oil, which is good, though in the end it would just be replaced by solid fuel then.


Funny thing is that my wood powered run turns trees into a valuable resource. I'm constantly thinking where to cut trees not to worsen the pollution spread too much (specially since I removed pollution absorption from everything except trees and spawners xD). There's also the very real concern that all the local trees might run out if I'm not too careful. Probably will need to setup wood trains and wood farming roboports at some point. xD

Coal is such a ridiculously powerful source of energy (kinda like in real life, lol). I mean you put few drills in a coal patch and that's it, energy for days. It's so ridiculously cheap and easy.

And solar is even worse. It just takes a bit of iron and copper plus a modest amount of energy (which you can easily get due to OP coal).

Ignoring the coal situation for a bit, at least solar panels should require some kind of precious+scarce resource. That way it's not just a matter of making+placing them, but actually having to setup several mining sites in order to support their production.

But I guess that energy is meant to be brain dead easy in factorio. Being strapped for energy makes Factorio feel completely different. "I could do this and that, but that costs quite a bit of energy...", maybe that's something the devs wanted to avoid. Might be a bit too stressfull. xD
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Syrchalis » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:26 am

vtx wrote:
Syrchalis wrote:I can point out the problems and ways to solve them though, which can help the devs develop a solution. I think that is more helpful.


I understand the problem you try to expose : you don't like "build more when need more"

Still the solution missing.
What for you should they do that will improve for you that concept ?

In my sense you talk about a pivot concept of the game that applied to everything.
Not enought ore / buid more drill
Not enought plate / build more furnace
Not enought item / build more assembly
Not enought throughtput / build more belt / train / roboport
Not enought defense / build more tower

Why energy is an issue for you and not everything else ?

The difference is that setting up ore, furnace, assembly machines, belts or defenses requires thought and can be challenging. I'm not saying it always is, but often times you have to overcome problems while expanding those things. As example, when you expand ore you need to:
  • Find an ore patch
  • Play the "how can I fit miners on this weirdly shaped patch and combine the belts to make them work properly" minigame
  • Transport the ore to furnaces (often this means trains) - this is why RSO is so popular, it gives a new problem to "not enough ore" - the logistics and that is often fun

Energy has none of that. All you need is to find space and as I mentioned, Factorio tends to have wide open areas, which makes this problem nearly non-existent.

Rseding91 wrote:It sounds like you want combat in Factorio to be something it was never designed to be. Factorio isn't StarCraft: you aren't ever going to get balanced and refined combat. It's meant to be automatable in that you setup defenses and you can leave it be and not have to micro-manage it.

Factory design is the main part of the game. Even more so in 0.15 with the removal of alien artifacts.


TL;DR:
I believe that having more variety in enemies and along with that more variety in defense (not just gun/laser turrets) will make the defense part of combat CONSIDERABLY more fun.


Combat in details
Hm, maybe I formulated it in a bad way. What I want is the combat to require some thought and strategy, but not to make it the main focus (that's what I said in the first paragraph too, I know factory building is the main motivation and idea behind factorio) but why does it mean that combat has to be basic and boring? Anyone who doesn't want to bother with combat at all will just use peaceful mode, a mod to remove enemies or simply a huge starting area in a forest biome, in all cases you can avoid combat pretty much entirely.
I never saw anyone who disliked combat "deal with it" or use even hard settings.
During my time playing with other people in multiplayer I noticed the desire of many to actually incorporate enemies - we wanted to build huge factories but we also wanted enemies to be close and threatening.

In the end enemies turned out to be mostly a nuisance though instead of a challenge. Not because they weren't strong enough, but because we can just use the same tactics over and over without ever having to adapt to anything. All you ever need to do is move your defenses.

Let's go to Starcraft for a second. When you build defenses in Starcraft, why could they fail?
  • Lack of micromanagement (i.e. they focus the wrong enemy, they get outranged by siege units)
And yes, this we both do not want. No one has time for that in Factorio and it surely will get annoying very quickly. Especially units outranging your turrets would make for horrid gameplay.
  • Overwhelming enemy force
This is already in the game, I mean if you don't build enough turrets the biters will just kill them. Though, this is again just a "build more" kind of problem.
  • Wrong type of defense
Here is the main difference - in Starcraft you need to pick your defenses depending on your opponents strategy. In Factorio there is just no variety for the enemies so there is no need to adapt and that removes the fun out of it pretty much.

That said, the player doesn't have many tools for defense either. Gun and laser turrets essentially. Especially the later are boring, because energy is boring. Gun turrets nicely tie in with Factorio since they need automation to even work. When I was new to Factorio and I watched Zisteau's Youtube Tutorial where he build tons of turrets, a belt of ammo etc. I was really excited for the combat and defense in particular.

https://www.factorio.com/blog/post/fff-169
This also illustrates my idea nicely. Sure, it's just a scenario map, and not part of the base game, however, do you notice something? Choke points! One huge part why defense is more annoying than fun in Factorio is due to the fact that you just have to defend such large areas. And when attacks come they are mostly small and non-threatening (in other words non-challenging). It's more about having some turrets everywhere than a strong and correct(!) defense in the important spots.
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby ssilk » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:32 pm

I think this should be moved to Balancing.
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Frightning » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:53 am

1.1 Energy

Been talked about at length elsewhere, common complaint is that Solar+Accum is braindead simple to implement. It's main downsides (yes it actually does have them) are cost per MW, and space used (if you don't think space is an issue, try powering a prod+speed beacon factory with only Solar+accum...90% of the space you will end up using will be for your solar, I know from experience). Nuclear power will likely add a nice alternative to the cheap and dirty coal and clean but more expensive and space hungry solar. I expect Nuclear to have the most involved logistics/setup, but also be the most space efficient source of power of the three. I also think part of the feeling of solar being 'too good' will subside if other things start gobbling up more resources in the late game than they do currently. At present expensive power is a non-issue because it's easy to produce large amounts of resources and there isn't too many things to eat that massive production worth investing in.

1.2 Combat

Also been much talked about elsewhere, common complaints: combat is frustrating for player character in early and especially mid game, late it's easy, but at earlier techs, laser turret creep makes player versus biter combat obsolete (only need red+green science and little bit of oil to get enough laser turrets to clear any biter base, regardless of size or evolution factor). I personally think part of the problem is how much flat physical resistance Medium and Big biters have (-4 and -8 respectively), because those values result in many of the player weapons being nearly useless against them even with the upgrades of the relevant tech level (even fully upgraded, SMG and even Combat shotty feel ineffective v. Behemoth biters, especially the SMG). Apparently the devs are looking to make some adjustments to combat for 0.15 that will probably make the progressions match up better and make combat feel like less of a chore/dangerous depending on point in the game in question.

2.1 Wood and Coal

Are pretty ok as is, might be nice to have some better sinks for Coal come late game (ditto Stone btw), but they are otherwise not bad, making logistics to handle using Wood as fuel when available but also to use Coal and/or Solid fuel when Wood isn't available is actually a nifty challenge (simple enough if you feed fuel users from a 'master' fuel belt).

2.2 Vehicles

The Armored car actually feels perfectly fine to me, it's an early-mid game vehicle that's more of a scout vehicle than a combat unit, though it's Vehicle machine gun is like a slightly better version of the player's SMG (it has 20 range v player's 15, which is significant v. Small worms, which the Car can exterminate with impunity, unlike the player). The Tank however does need improvement imo, it feels tough enough, but lacks firepower, partly because the machine gun on it is lacking just like player SMG in dps in mid-late game, but also because the Cannon is very disappointingly underpowered. As long as something is done to address its lack of firepower, I think the tank will be just fine with all else as is.
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:45 pm

Creating ten topics (actually you would only need four) would be tider than the mass of random discussion that could potentially go on here.

I'm with Rseding, biters are supposed to just be a nuisance, they're not meant to offer interesting and engaging combat. You're looking at other games for inspiration but Factorio is very unique and has its own style of play, mashing in elements from other games will just feel tacked on (like landmines). They're a resource drain for ammo and/or power, ensure you build walls and keep everything in roboport repair coverage, and offer more research opportunities (weapons, damage, etc). The only thing I think does need looking at is the way their nests behave when you attack them as currently the best two viable options (before Destroyers) is turret creep, or kiting all the biters while you shoot their nests.

For energy, it isn't really feasible to have mechanics such as resistances and distance. It would introduce too many new calculations and lower the performance of the game, so we're basically limited to "add more power". Regardless of the power source, that's always what it's going to be. I assume you haven't been reading the Friday Facts, nuclear power in 0.15 is going to be the endgame power source and it will be more interesting as "add more power" won't be so simple, you need to consider the layout of the reactor for optimal power production.

I do however agree with all the various superfluous items. There's no sense in building the expensive Modular Armour and Power Armour when it's little more effort to skip to MK2, regular Inserters are closer to an ingredient than a usable entity, burner inserters have extremely limited uses and to be used sustainably require coal at their pickup point which is usually tricker to provide than power, the car and tank are underwhelming and quickly become redundant, wood and iron chests are cheaper but as you generally don't need thousands of them the overall difference in resource use is negligible so they become a nuisance when upgrading to logistics, and I won't mention combat as that's hopefully being addressed in 0.15 but most of these have pretty simple solutions to encourage players to use them more.
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Syrchalis » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:45 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote: I assume you haven't been reading the Friday Facts, nuclear power in 0.15 is going to be the endgame power source and it will be more interesting as "add more power" won't be so simple, you need to consider the layout of the reactor for optimal power production.

And do you really believe there won't be "the one best setup" within 1-2 days of 0.15 release? Or even before release.

That's not an interesting problem.

Getting required resources to your factories in a production setup, that is usually interesting, because it tends to be very different depending on what you're producing and how you set up your factories. There is many ways to do it and there isn't really an "optimal" one.

Take steam or solar - they have ratios and they are built pretty much the same way all the time. I barely see any new designs ever and if I do they are flat out inferior.

I really think you missed my point. What we need is choices. Imagine solar was much much more expensive to build than right now. Like, processing units or even T3 modules required for the accumulators. It's still free energy with basically no drawback (space is cheap). Nuclear needs resources to run (uranium), maybe produces pollution etc. - but it is much easier and cheaper to set up and doesn't require huge farms. It would allow players to choose later in the game what energy to use, depending on their needs.
The reason I like to put solar as the ultimate end-game energy source is because of it's lack of drawbacks. I just can't think of another energy source that would beat it. Maybe fusion reactors, but that's about it - and they would just be a straight upgrade again, not a choice to be made.

Maybe it helps if you imagine a skill tree in an RPG. You get presented three skills but you can only take one. They are each good in their own way - so you choose what suits YOU best or what fits the SITUATION best. Personal playstyle and circumstances are both huge factors in factorio, so there is enough reason to not go with "the one skill that is 1% better than the others".

Energy should be the same, at least late-game. Right now it's simply solar > all and depending on how nuclear will be implemented I fear it's going to be nuclear > all or stay solar > all.
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:14 pm

Yes I'm sure there won't be "one best setup" because by definition the setup changes as you want more power out of it. There will be a best setup for X megawatts and a best setup for 2X megawatts etc but you won't just be able to plonk one down on top of the other. You could have two X megawatt setups but the resources for those might be rearranged into a 4X megawatt setup.

Besides, nuclear power will be heating steam for MK2 Steam Engines which come with MK2 boilers so there will be the option of those as well, so there WILL be a legitimate choice between all three. Do you take simple-but-hungry, expensive-then-free, or compact-but-complex? Maybe a mix of all three?
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Frightning » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:54 pm

Syrchalis wrote:
Deadly-Bagel wrote: I assume you haven't been reading the Friday Facts, nuclear power in 0.15 is going to be the endgame power source and it will be more interesting as "add more power" won't be so simple, you need to consider the layout of the reactor for optimal power production.

And do you really believe there won't be "the one best setup" within 1-2 days of 0.15 release? Or even before release.

That's not an interesting problem.

Getting required resources to your factories in a production setup, that is usually interesting, because it tends to be very different depending on what you're producing and how you set up your factories. There is many ways to do it and there isn't really an "optimal" one.

Take steam or solar - they have ratios and they are built pretty much the same way all the time. I barely see any new designs ever and if I do they are flat out inferior.

I really think you missed my point. What we need is choices. Imagine solar was much much more expensive to build than right now. Like, processing units or even T3 modules required for the accumulators. It's still free energy with basically no drawback (space is cheap). Nuclear needs resources to run (uranium), maybe produces pollution etc. - but it is much easier and cheaper to set up and doesn't require huge farms. It would allow players to choose later in the game what energy to use, depending on their needs.
The reason I like to put solar as the ultimate end-game energy source is because of it's lack of drawbacks. I just can't think of another energy source that would beat it. Maybe fusion reactors, but that's about it - and they would just be a straight upgrade again, not a choice to be made.

Maybe it helps if you imagine a skill tree in an RPG. You get presented three skills but you can only take one. They are each good in their own way - so you choose what suits YOU best or what fits the SITUATION best. Personal playstyle and circumstances are both huge factors in factorio, so there is enough reason to not go with "the one skill that is 1% better than the others".

Energy should be the same, at least late-game. Right now it's simply solar > all and depending on how nuclear will be implemented I fear it's going to be nuclear > all or stay solar > all.

Try running a prod+speed beacon setup on only solar on a very small start death world and get back to me, I guarantee you will end up with a base that is 95%+ land area=solar farm, and have to clear out loads of biter just for the space that thing will need, you could achieve the same setup entirely within your starting area with steam and enough resources available therein. Land area matters if the biters are around and aggressive, I suppose in peaceful or with large enough starting areas space is practically free, but then that's a consequence of map settings, not bad design for energy, the reverse issue is easy to engineer, just make the map coal and oil poor, and suddenly Steam seems like a bad idea to even attempt outside of startup phase.
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:05 am

Just curious, why bother using speed beacons if you're only going to power it with solar? As I understand it speed modules are best used for compact designs but if you're then flooding the map with solar power it seems somewhat pointless.

I guess it could be to improve the efficiency of the productivity modules, while it's cheaper to add more machines it may not be cheaper to fill them with productivities than to speed up a smaller number?
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Hannu » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:59 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote:Just curious, why bother using speed beacons if you're only going to power it with solar? As I understand it speed modules are best used for compact designs but if you're then flooding the map with solar power it seems somewhat pointless.

I guess it could be to improve the efficiency of the productivity modules, while it's cheaper to add more machines it may not be cheaper to fill them with productivities than to speed up a smaller number?


I think that my labor as player and computer performance are more restrictive resources in very long games than game resources. I do not like beacons and modules but I pay the price that I can never do several rockets per minute megabases for both reasons. That would take insane time to build and my ups would drop annoyingly low (even I stand low values better than many others). If I would put productivity modules in assemblers and surround them with speed beacons, that would be just copying of large modules with robots.

I think that solar panels are not the problem. Accumulators are. I have played some time without accumulators (except one per laser turret) and that have been better experience. I have had to build power plants and logistics but not used insane amounts of coal.
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Frightning » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:40 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote:Just curious, why bother using speed beacons if you're only going to power it with solar? As I understand it speed modules are best used for compact designs but if you're then flooding the map with solar power it seems somewhat pointless.

I guess it could be to improve the efficiency of the productivity modules, while it's cheaper to add more machines it may not be cheaper to fill them with productivities than to speed up a smaller number?

Productivity modules drastically slow machines (especially T3 machines w/ 4 of them), this and the energy consumption increases massively increase energy cost/item. Using Speed beacons, in an efficient enough layout (e.g. alternating rows, which results in an average of 8 assemblers per beacon and 8 beacons per assembler) can actually lower the energy per item made, despite the Beacon energy cost (this because of the additive interaction between speed penalty of prod modules and speed module bonus). It's actually the most energy efficient way to utilize Productivity, and it lowers the fixed costs per item/sec throughput dramatically as well (notably decreasing the amount you have to spend on modules dramatically). It's all in the math (if you want me to run some quick numbers for you, I'd be happy to do so, either here or via pm).
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:42 pm

Nah I got it, one speed beacon boosts the speed of a 2x productivity assembler by some 71% and adds relatively less to the energy consumption, only 27%. Seems adding speed modules moves energy consumption per cycle towards an asymptote of 140% which is beneficial (disregarding beacon energy consumption) even for a single productivity module which runs the machine at 211%. Learn something new every day ^^
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby Frightning » Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:09 am

Deadly-Bagel wrote:Nah I got it, one speed beacon boosts the speed of a 2x productivity assembler by some 71% and adds relatively less to the energy consumption, only 27%. Seems adding speed modules moves energy consumption per cycle towards an asymptote of 140% which is beneficial (disregarding beacon energy consumption) even for a single productivity module which runs the machine at 211%. Learn something new every day ^^

Yea, it's actually pretty crazy how efficient the alternating lines of prod moduled assemblers and speed beacons actually is because of the fact that you essentially build assems and beacons in a 1-to-1 ratio (sans boundaries) and yet get the effect of 8 beacons on each assembler.
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby PacifyerGrey » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:00 am

Biter-wise all I need is artillery. It is the only thing that is currently missing from the game that can't be automated forcing you to go out and fight.
With artillery the base could keep biter nests far enough from its walls to prevent the need of too many active defense systems along the whole perimeter.
It is the main reason why people do get the Ion Cannon mod so often. You can invest considerable resources to make your life more automated and focused on the base design.

As it is there is near to no reason in producing rockets and cannon shells as they require considerable investments (really much sulfur) but I would be glad to do it for artillery purpose.
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Re: Factorio Design Issues

Postby obuw » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:24 pm

I agree with pretty much everything you say about combat. It's a shame that the devs don't actually want this to be a fun combat game like Crimsonland, they want to focus on the automated defense aspect. But it's their choice and we have no choice but to respect that.

However, mods can fix that! Shameless plug for my mod Obuw's Warfare which basically tries to make combat more arcade-y, like Crimsonland.

It makes all weapons projectile-based (no more auto aiming instant traveling bullets), buffs the rockets to make them satisfying and useful, buffs tanks and cars (gives a shotgun to the car which is pretty useful for clearing trees, gives a flamethrower to the tank, tweaks cannon shells, makes them cheaper with bigger explosions, etc.). The mod also increases player speed and reduces the movement penalty from firing, making it possible to actually kite biters and take them on even with starter weapons (with a lot of patience) instead of the combat boiling down to "if biters < 5, spend 20 iron and survive. else, die".

Makes early game combat a lot more fun. For instance I was playing with a friend a while ago, we were using some suicidal settings and the only copper ore we found had biter bases all over it. One of us had to take out the nests while the other kited a whole swarm of biters, probably took us half an hour to clear half a dozen nests (taking breaks after every nest to craft more ammo and heal up).

Oh, as for vehicles becoming obsolete, mods can help with that too. For instance bob's mods have mk2-mk3 tanks, and vehicle equipment for both cars and tanks (putting a shield on a car makes trees much less annoying).
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