The difficulty settings are too confusing for new players

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Romanchello
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The difficulty settings are too confusing for new players

Post by Romanchello »

Before game release I would like to ask developers to make difficulty settings a little bit more clear for new players and for those who don't want to search some relevant information about that on factorio wiki and forums.
The problem is that the biter evolution, strength and expantion settings are not clear for new player in their superposition. And this is wery annoying if you start new game with some preset, then after hour you totally understand that your preset is pointless. Biters are poor, they don't go anywere, they even don't try to attack your first base. You change preset for more hardcore playstyle and after hour in play you just unterstand that you can't endure the biter expantion and each biter lair became a noticable problem. You just loose the competition in evolution...
This problem have appeared when me and my friends started to play together. In game I am looking for some balanced challenge, some stress situations to be solved. But some of my friends don't like such playstyle. So we started looking for some compromise preset. But big part of those sliders in menu gave us none information about further game. So we've lost a lot of hours and gamestarts to find some compromise preset and we even didn't yet, eventually came to nothing.
Vanilla biters makes the game pointless for everyone. Mad biters shift the game to "dead-man-walking" mode. Please, make server presets more clear, more intuitive in order to predict the real strength of the biters and their evolution.
For instance: evolution settings like "0.00001 out of 0.0001" are realy confusing and you have no idea how to combine it with other sliders correctly, to make biters strong but beatable at the same time... to make the way to win harder but balanced.

bobucles
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Re: The difficulty settings are too confusing for new players

Post by bobucles »

I've been playing Factorio for years and I still don't know what the biter evolution sliders do. :lol:

Romanchello
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Re: The difficulty settings are too confusing for new players

Post by Romanchello »

bobucles wrote:I've been playing Factorio for years and I still don't know what the biter evolution sliders do. :lol:
Just hope that I am not alone with my aspiration to play Factorio with balanced challenge :)
But I really have no idea how to adjust the biter sliders to achieve that. I always generate a map with either poor or undefeatable biters and the sliders description doesn't help T__T

bobucles
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Re: The difficulty settings are too confusing for new players

Post by bobucles »

Nah, I totally get it. The evolution settings are "dev numbers" and there's no way to understand what they do at a glance.

For whatever reason evolution is a percentage number that scales from 0 and approaches but never fully reaches 1. This is kind of an iffy system because even if it's easy to get results out it's very difficult to put meaningful numbers in. I'd much prefer if evolution was a simple integer score. That way it'd be much easier to read and understand numbers. Converting from the percentage scale to a score scale isn't too difficult because all the numbers are very small:

Code: Select all

Time:        0.0004% per second         => 4 points per second
Pollution:   0.0015% per 1000 pollution => 15 points per 1000 pollution
Destruction: 0.2% per nest              => 2004 points per nest
And a few evolution benchmarks are pretty easily determined by scale/(1-evolutionfactor)

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9% 100000 points
20% 250K points (first mediums)
33.3% 500K points
50% 1M points (first large)
60% 2.5M points (end of small biters)
75% 4M points
90% 10M points (first behemoths)
95% 20M points
99% 100M points
99.9% 1B points
etc.
At that point you can put the decimal point pretty much anywhere to achieve full integer happiness.

Unfortunately the current % scale doesn't work very well for establishing evolution effects beyond 90%. Each percentage point becomes increasingly difficult to get and scaling factors become increasingly difficult to fine tune. Granted these breaking points only really happen in the post game but it would be nice to have further stepping stones for bigger and meaner biters.

Frightning
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Re: The difficulty settings are too confusing for new players

Post by Frightning »

Long story short, this is what the presets, like Dangerous and Deathworld are for.

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Re: The difficulty settings are too confusing for new players

Post by Hedning1390 »

What's your alternative? Most games have even less information, just giving you "very easy" to "very hard" settings or a number system from 1 to 10 or similar. It's still impossible to predict if 8 is hard enough or if 9 is better before you tried it.

If you ignore the numbers you can look at the sliders and pretend that they are like any other game where the preset is the "normal" difficulty.

bobucles wrote:Nah, I totally get it. The evolution settings are "dev numbers" and there's no way to understand what they do at a glance.

For whatever reason evolution is a percentage number that scales from 0 and approaches but never fully reaches 1. This is kind of an iffy system because even if it's easy to get results out it's very difficult to put meaningful numbers in. I'd much prefer if evolution was a simple integer score.
Lots of games uses the 1-1/x formula. Perhaps most commonly for armor since you don't want players to be totally immune.

I don't know the evolution formula, but I do think it is more important to use a fun curve than a simple one.

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Re: The difficulty settings are too confusing for new players

Post by bobucles »

Lots of games uses the 1-1/x formula. Perhaps most commonly for armor since you don't want players to be totally immune.
But evolution isn't armor. Why should it use an armor rating? That doesn't make sense.

Evolution makes more sense as a scoring system. As you build up a higher score you get tougher enemies. Defining breakpoints for tougher enemies is very easy and straight forward in a scoring system. At a thousand points you have one thing, 10K points another, and 100K yet another. That's not so tough to deal with.

Defining breakpoints is very difficult in a 1-1/x system. The only meaningful range is between 0-80'ish% and it only becomes more twisted towards the asymptotic end point. What's the difference between 98 and 99%? How about 99.9 vs 99.999%? Those are very large differences in score, yet it is nearly impossible to define useful biter breakpoints for them. A single % at the end point represents a vast difference in progress. That progress includes uranium ammo, unlimited research, nukes and artillery.

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Ranakastrasz
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Re: The difficulty settings are too confusing for new players

Post by Ranakastrasz »

Amusingly enough, I used that exact equation when I modified EVOGUI to display Evo factor as a score.

The only reason I could think of against it is that if you make that change, spawning new biters would have to either calculate this anyway, or use a new equation.
Not the % required to spawn, but rather the distribution of biter types, which splits on the current Evo factor.

But yes, I would heavily prefer this alternative.
My Mods:
Modular Armor Revamp - V16
Large Chests - V16
Agent Orange - V16
Flare - V16
Easy Refineries - V16

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thereaverofdarkness
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Re: The difficulty settings are too confusing for new players

Post by thereaverofdarkness »

Frightning wrote:Long story short, this is what the presets, like Dangerous and Deathworld are for.
It doesn't work though. Very low/very small bases setting is not significantly less difficult than very high/very large. The only thing that actually makes enemies more difficult is increasing the evolution factor or increasing expansion rate. Since deathworld increases evolution factor only slightly and doesn't increase expansion rate, it's not particularly difficult and certainly nothing to brag about. The smaller starting area in deathworld is nonetheless large enough to play to the end game inside if you get even slightly lucky on resource spawns and haven't reduced their amounts to below default.

The fact that the devs made a dangerous and death world (and a rail world) setting without realizing how futile it is in the current vanilla settings indicates they don't understand their own settings and apparently have yet to actually try using them.

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