Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

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AenAllAin
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Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by AenAllAin »

I've been playing and enjoying Factorio for a little bit now, and tried out different settings and mods. One issue I keep noticing is (1) a lack of resources when using default settings; they run out fairly fast. I tried (A) adjusting the resource settings to max, but then it becomes boring without any challenge, and I run out of things to do with all the resources. Then I tried (B) installing different infinite resource mods, but those all had the same (or worse) results as doing (A). I also went with (C) many different approaches to just expanding in a vanilla game setting; however, basic expansion just ended up being a brutal, mind-numbing grind.

I. Problem
So, my reasoning is that (A) and (B) are not the solution to the problem. If the map is infinitely large, then the resources are already in a sense infinite; so infinite resource mods are interesting, but they don't really add anything necessary to the vanilla gameplay. So, my feeling is that the real issue, and the solution lies in expansion.

II. Expansion
If I were to analyze and break down my expansion experience, I would say overall it is tedious, monotonous, and uninteresting.

(II.A) Clearing Aliens; at first it starts out somewhat reasonable and manageable; the aliens are not very evolved or expanded at first and you can clear out what you need to get to more resources. But as the game progresses and you clear out more and more aliens, they evolve, they expand, and they sort of merge together into an all encompassing puddle of Aliens and Hives. You cannot attack one without triggering all the nearby Aliens, they are clustered too closely together to not be considered nearby, and you have no room to maneuver. The whole thing just bogs down into a kind of trench warfare. I always end up slogging through so many Aliens that I never have any shortage of Alien Artifacts (unfortunately, there is not much you can do with Alien Artifacts ...but that is a different issue).

(II.B) Infrastructure; at the beginning setting up basic infrastructure, then upgrading to the electric drills, then getting some simple blueprint patterns to expand better; it starts out interesting and dynamic ...then it just stagnates: no new tech, no new drills, nothing really changes. As you expand you have to (should) stop using conveyor belts and start using trains and the building and planning of railroads, stations, trains, etc. is interesting and fun at first but then you have to keep repeating it as your infrastructure grows, and there isn't really any effective way to automate the process. You have to do a lot of planning and preparation to stage for any kind of automated approach using blueprints and robots, which can be frustrating with lack of bag space, or even trunk space, and I find it just ends up being faster doing a lot of it manually, but then that perpetuates the boredom and monotony of the process.

(II.C) Security; protecting yourself and your infrastructure against the Aliens again starts out dynamic and interesting, but then it just stagnates and turns into a grind of mindless repetition. The aliens evolve, they get harder to kill, and more frequent ...they don't change tactics, they don't require any kind of adaptive approach. Walls, Turrets, Ammo, Robot Repairs, Robot Replacement; Done ...rinse and repeat; apply liberally. You start out building your perimeter with defenses, establishing your DMZ safe-zone to work in; then the only question when you expand is do you extend or do you try to take a modular approach of building resource outposts to feed your main factory. (i) extending your perimeter; honestly this method turns out to be the best approach overall: kill all the Aliens, wall in everything, defend everything. (ii) Outposts; (1) if you don't secure your expansion outpost it will be destroyed, of course. Some of the infrastructure, such as, railroads and power poles is safe from harm usually, but everything else is a target. (2) If you try to partially, or minimally defend your expansion outpost (or half-ass the job), you will be trapped in an endless cycle of monitoring, and returning to repair or reclaim your outpost. As You expand it becomes a huge drain doing this for every outpost. Also, the constant barrage of endless warnings and alarm sirens in end-game is nerve-grating. (3) Completely and comprehensively defending your outpost turns out to have a large manual element to it, and it is rigid and repetitive. Just the other evening when I was playing a game with default settings, I expanded for some copper, built an outpost, I tried to just do a simple defense, the Aliens started to gang-bang it, I kept coming back, until I finally had to set up a complete self-sustaining defense perimeter, I finally got it finished ...and all the resources were gone; I burned through the resources faster than I was able to set-up the defenses.

III. Bottom-Line
Expansion just doesn't fit well into the gameplay; it is clunky and just doesn't flow well or keep up. Expansion absolutely kills the momentum of the game. Playing without the need for expansion seems to take away the challenge. Right now every game seems to devolve into boredom or tedium.

IV. Solutions
Honestly, I'm not sure what should be done. One thought I had was what if the Aliens only evolved from pollution and not directly from expansion (killing hives). Maybe it would play out differently... I created a mod of an advanced mining drill and research; that seemed to help a little with the resource gathering part, but it didn't change anything about the trench-warfare or defense.

greep
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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by greep »

Killing nests absolutely needs to raise evolution for the simple fact that if you stuff efficiency mods and focus on offense, you could then conceivably simply conquer several hundred chunks with ease and then build defenses later. You could make a case for the destroy factor being lowered, though.

On the other hand, after getting a full time destroyer and dedicated distractor capsule production line you can kill nests as fast as you can walk for the most part.

Edit: Also, I'm guessing you are polluting too much. In the beginning of the game, you should at least go daylight solar, and efficiency modules in mines/furnaces. Pollution actually is the driving force for needing more defenses, evolution factor only really comes into play when behemot spitters suddenly require a large defense increase.

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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by albatrosv13 »

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bobingabout
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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by bobingabout »

I think what might interest you is a mod that adjusts the way enemies behave.

You can actually set 3 different things via modding:
How fast enemies evolve from killing nests.
How fast enemies evolve from Pollution.
How fast enemies evolve just from the passage of time. (Yes, if you just sit there doing nothing, not even polluting, they'll evolve anyway).

You can set all 3 to zero, though obviously not recommended, because then they wouldn't evolve at all.
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AenAllAin
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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by AenAllAin »

Yeah, I could tinker with config or mods, and we can all debate which strategy to use, but none of that has anything to do with the point. I want the vanilla game to be fun and popular and to succeed; I would like to see Factorio go from being a good idea, with a decent start, and small fan-base to being really, truly an epic hit. It just needs a little bit of something extra to push it over the top.

To reach critical mass the game needs to have a default experience that doesn't lose momentum at any stage or part of the game. Mods, Tweaks, config settings are for experienced players; people who are pro and want to spice it up or personalize their experience.

I'm not going to name anyone publicly, but I know a number of people who play this game from RL, and I know their individual game experience. For instance, one of them was literally fanatical about Factorio when he first discovered it and started playing; he was loving every minute of it he even dragged me into playing it with him ...now, he has just lost interest. I don't mean he has ADHD and is having attention span and focus issues, I mean he loves the game, but he burned through everything it had to offer and is disappointed in the fact that he can't squeeze any more fun out of it. Another case, is a girl I know who has a completely different personality; she is just bored with it. She played it, launched the rocket and was unbelievably disappointed. The ending, the finish line for the game is/was super anti-climactic, and it has no replay-ability for her. She wanted Steam achievements, tangible goals, and longer lasting game rewards.

Strategies, Mods, Settings cannot fix this problem. The Devs have to solve this problem; we can try to help, but at the end of the day they are the ones who have to step up and bring it. Honestly, they need to do it while it is still hot; if they wait till the newness and growth wears off it becomes a lot harder to get that community momentum back.

One thing the Devs have decided that I do disagree with is their stance on opening up the API more; they are resolute that they don't want it to be used as an engine for other people to make games. As a Dev myself, I feel that risk is minor and conversely the potential reward from the community in the form of content is major. If it were me, I would make sure my legal IP Rights were solid and milk the community for all it was worth.

greep
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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by greep »

Heh, well I think you've pretty much derailed your own thread. Now the problem is API, steam achievements, etc.

As for opening up the game, usually heavily opening up the game's code for modding only happens a few months after release (so maybe like 2 years from now?) which is totally a game creator's right. And doesn't even make much sense when you consider how much it's probably going to be refactored in that time. And from what I'm gathering it's decently flexible at the moment for most mods you'd want to make, just not a total conversion mod.

AenAllAin
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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by AenAllAin »

greep wrote:Heh, well I think you've pretty much derailed your own thread. Now the problem is API, steam achievements, etc.
No; it's still very much on track.
greep wrote:As for opening up the game, usually heavily opening up the game's code for modding only happens a few months after release (so maybe like 2 years from now?) which is totally a game creator's right. And doesn't even make much sense when you consider how much it's probably going to be refactored in that time. And from what I'm gathering it's decently flexible at the moment for most mods you'd want to make, just not a total conversion mod.
...Now maybe this is an attempt to derail the thread; idk, I can't pretend to read peoples minds or see into the future so clearly like you seem to think you can. "decently flexible" is a subjective term, but even so it is not subjectively in the ball-park of being an accurate description. The Dev's themselves are not even trying to present the API in that light. They have a specific vision of what they want to be mod-able. My only counter-point to some of their stated reasoning is to focus on letting the game become everything it can and worry less about potential abuses. I don't think you have done any modding; at least it doesn't seem so.

But going back to the point, the Dev's are aware of what is happening with the gameplay and they have given some hints about the direction they might take it. My overarching goal with this post is not to demand anything or force a specific solution, I just thought it might help the designers if they had more articulated details about what people want or expect.

BlakeMW
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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by BlakeMW »

I think it's important that nest killing increase evolution - perhaps the effect could be slightly reduced on higher enemies settings - more along the lines of the amount of area you've cleared, than the number of spawners you've killed.

AenAllAin
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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by AenAllAin »

BlakeMW wrote:I think it's important that nest killing increase evolution - perhaps the effect could be slightly reduced on higher enemies settings - more along the lines of the amount of area you've cleared, than the number of spawners you've killed.
I think you are right; it is probably a fixture at this point, having nest kills increase evolution, but what would you do (if you could) to the game to make sure that expansion kept pace with the rest of the gameplay and didn't bog-down the player?

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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by joe_da_cro »

BlakeMW wrote:I think it's important that nest killing increase evolution - perhaps the effect could be slightly reduced on higher enemies settings - more along the lines of the amount of area you've cleared, than the number of spawners you've killed.
but that takes away from playing with more biters.

the only thing i dislike about biters is their natural evolution with time (without the player doing anything). i have no issues with them evolving with time when they have pollution on their hives. but if i was to start the game and sit there the evolution factor increases.

killing nests should increase the evolution factor as by doing so the player poses a bigger threat to their species.

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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by AenAllAin »

Ok, so here is an idea; what if the evolution factor went down by some quantity with each new nest spawning, and what if at 100% or so a hive and a queen were to spawn which lowered the global evolution by some larger amount. However, each hive and queen for some reason would pose a larger threat that you have to deal with specifically. This would make the global evolution factor more dynamic instead of just a static line going up, and it would put some real incentive behind curbing your pollution output. As it stands, no one gives a shit what happens after evolution hits 99.9%.

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steinio
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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by steinio »

What means evolution factor is 100%?
In genetics i guess it means the biters become the superior race of the planet and kill the stupid human ant instantly :)
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albatrosv13
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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by joe_da_cro »

the main reason why no one gives a shit about pollution is that all you have to do is protect pollution generating items. if biters were agressive to most player made objects, people would look at pollution differently. Although conversely it would create too many inconveniences that most players do not want.

Misenthrope is a good mod to check out if you like the idea of biters being more aggressive.

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Re: Should killing a nest increase global evolution?

Post by AutoMcD »

I think maybe the expansion problem lies in new spawner behavior.. There does not seem to be any limit to how large or how dense a spawn camp can be, causing this "wall of aliens" problem. And the idea that evolution fast-forwards just because you're clearing a trench to an ore patch is a little troublesome.

I would like to see a relationship between land+resources and the aliens which balances this density somehow. Maybe some fun dynamics like proximity to water increasing spawn rate, spawner touching ore patch itself evolving faster, etc. But other than that some type of mechanic that you need x amount of open land to support each spawner. Perhaps also that the larger biters need more of this land or resource.. I like that they are in clumps/hives, it makes them tougher. But each camp should have a minimum space between them, a new one shouldn't be formed unless it meets the "x amount of area with preference of resources" criteria.

I also think that only biters evolved from evolution should make evolved spawners.. making evolved enemies more of a problem local to your pollution. The "endless sea of red" when you explore far beyond the starting area would remain a lower level threat even when at maximum density. With perhaps the occasional monster camp just for kicks? But mostly I feel that exploring should not be too difficult.

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