Gameplay Help FAQ (Updated 2018-08-03)

Don't know how to use a machine? Looking for efficient setups? Stuck in a mission?

Gameplay Help FAQ (Updated 2018-08-03)

Postby Kayanor » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:54 pm

Welcome to the Gameplay Help FAQ!

If you are experiencing technical problems (FPS/UPS issues, crashes, etc.), please go to the Technical Help FAQ located in the Technical Help board.

This FAQ won’t cover questions covered by the Tips and Tricks (Shift + Slash) and the Mini-Tutorials (‘Tutorials’ button above minimap). Please read/complete these first before searching your question here.


» How do I change the language?
To change the language, go to the ‘Interface’ settings (Main Menu -> Options -> Interface) and select the language you want the game in. The percentage next to most languages identifies how much the game is translated to a language. The game needs to restart after changing the language.

» What is the hotkey for XYZ?
Look through the ‘Controls’ settings (Main or Game menu -> Options -> Controls). If you look close enough, you might find it. You can also use the search function to search for the hotkey you are looking for. The search function is located in the top-right corner of the GUI window.
Here are some commonly searched hotkeys:
  • Toggle Alt-Mode: Alt
  • Enter/leave vehicle: Enter
  • In-/decrease tile building area: Keypad +/-
  • Shoot on anything: C
  • Change active weapon: Tab
  • Drop items: Z
  • Pick items up: F
  • Cycle through quickbar rows: X
  • Pause game with GUIs open: Shift + Space

» How to access quickbar slots 6-10.
Quickbar slots 6-10 are accessed by pressing Shift + 1-5.
To change this, go to the ‘Controls’ settings into the ‘Inventory’ tab.

» Which key opens the chat or console?
The chat (called ‘Lua console’ in-game) can be opened by pressing the Grave key. On the US keyboard layout and the US international keyboard layout, this key is located in the top left corner of the keyboard, to the left of the 1 key.
If you are using a regional keyboard layout, like the British, French, or German keyboard layout, the Grave key is detected somewhere else on the keyboard. The best way to deal with this is to change the ‘Toggle Lua console’ to a different key.
Please note that even the changed keys might not resemble your physical keyboard layout. The set hotkey should work nonetheless.

» What credentials is the game asking for?
When the game asks you to enter some credentials, you have to enter your credentials in order to access the Multiplayer Matching Server and/or the Mod Portal.
  • If you already have an account on, just enter its credentials and continue. If you don’t have an account, you can create one by pressing the ‘Create account’ button.
    This only works in the multiplayer menu on the Steam version when trying to access the Multiplayer Matching Server (‘Browse public games’).
  • If you bought the game on Steam, you can create an account by pressing the ‘Sign in through Steam’ on the login page.
    Please check if the account is actually linked by going to your profile page (click on your username in the top right corner) and, if necessary, link your account there once more.
  • If you bought Factorio on GOG, go to your GOG account and click on Factorio. Press the ‘More’ button and click on ‘Serial keys’.
    Then create an account on or, if you already created one, log into that. On the profile page, click on the ‘Upgrade’ button next to ‘Membership’ and enter the serial key from GOG in the text box.

» How can I install mods?
In the Main menu, click on the ‘Mods’ button to open the Mods menu. There, press the ‘Install mods’ button. If you need to enter credentials and don’t know which, read the paragraph “What credentials is the game asking for?” above. You will then connect to the Mod Portal where you can search and download mods from within the game.
Use the arrows in the table’s head to change sorting or search directly for the mods you want, then click on the desired mod to get more information. A click on the ‘Install’ button will install the mod.
When the option ‘Automatically enable new mods’ in the Other options is enabled, the game will then restart and automatically enable all mods you just installed. If this option is disabled, you will have to restart the game manually to refresh the mod list. After the game restarted, go back to the ‘Mods’ menu and enable or disable all mods you want to actually use. The game will restart again when you leave that menu. Once the game has started back up, you can jump into your modded Factorio adventure!

» How to enable experimental updates?
The way you enable experimental updates is depending on where you downloaded the game from.
If you downloaded the game from or GOG, go to the ‘Other’ settings (Main menu -> Options -> Other) and enable the ‘Enable experimental updates’ option. After restarting the game, you might need to enter your credentials. If you don’t know what credentials to enter there, read the paragraph “What credentials is the game asking for?” above.
On the Steam version of the game, the process is a bit different. In your Steam Library, right-click on Factorio and open the ‘Properties’. In the properties window, click on the ‘Betas’ tab and select the ‘0.1X.x – Latest 0.1X Experimental’ entry where X has the highest count. Steam should download the update then.

» What is the fuzzy search and how does it work?
While the non-fuzzy search directly searches for the string you entered into the search box, you will get pretty accurate results. You can search for “electronic” and will only get you electronic circuits.
The fuzzy search on the other hand searches for the order of the letters. With fuzzy search enabled, searching for “belt” will result in everything that has these four letters in that particular order. To narrow down the search, you can enter a second letter combination after a space. “belt trp” will only result in items that have both search strings in them. These results are the three transport belts, as well as the big electric pole, since it coincidentally matches both strings, too.

Power Production
Power Production

» Am I producing enough power?
You can quickly look up if you are currently producing enough power by hovering your mouse cursor over any electric pole. In the information view on the right is an Electricity bar. If that bar is green and completely full, you produce enough energy.
Please keep in mind that this might change if laser turrets start shooting or assembling machines start working.

» During night time, why are my steam engines running, even though my accumulators would produce enough energy?
Accumulators have a lower priority as a power source than steam engines, so the accumulators only begin to serve when the steam engines can’t produce any more power.
You can work around this by building an accumulator-controlled power switch to turn the steam engines on when the accumulators run out of charge.

» I just built my nuclear reactor, why are the heat exchangers not turning on?
The heat exchangers don’t tell you about this, but they have a temperature threshold of 500 °C before they turn on and produce steam.

» What do all these triangular (power related) symbols mean?
  • Not plugged in:
    This is the most common power-related alert icon, indicating a machine being not connected to a power source. The disconnection might be caused by a missing power pole or a power switch.
    If you go to map view by pressing M and then click on the power pole button on the right below the minimap to make the power lines visible on the map. With that enabled, you can search for the issue.
    • In the first frame you can see an interrupted power line. The power Is coming from the right, but it can’t supply anything beyond the gap since there is no connection to the power grid on the left.
    • The second frame shows a power switch. The green connecting lines mean that the power switch is turned on, so there is nothing to worry about here.
    • The power switch in the third frame has red connection lines, meaning that it is turned off, leaving machines beyond it with no power. If the power switch is controlled manually, just turn it back on. Otherwise check your circuit network setup.
  • No power:
    This icon starts blinking if your machines don’t receive any power. This mostly happens if your factory consumes more power than it produces, slowing down the drills mining coal for the boilers to work with, making them stop working, or if your accumulators go empty during night.
    The solution to this would be to unplug most of the machines from the power source and let the mining drills catch up with coal delivery. Increase your power production and reconnect the unplugged machines.
    When working with accumulators your main goal is to build more of them. You might need to adjust your power production so the accumulators can fully charge during day when using solar panels.
  • No fuel:
    If any machine running on fuel items instead of electrical power runs out of fuel, this icon will appear. Give it some fuel and build an automatic fuel supply if applicable.

» What information does the Electric network info screen give?
The Electric network info screen, which can be opened by clicking on any power pole connected to the electric network you want the information from, contains various information.
  1. Satisfaction: This bar tells you how much power the machines get. If you produce enough power, the bar will be green and filled completely. Should that bar be yellow or red and not filled completely, you don’t produce enough power for all your machines, slowing them down. In that case you should build more power sources.
    In the example above, all machines together are supplied with 13 MW of power.
  2. Production: The second bar at the top shows you how much power your factory produces. It gives a visual representation of how much energy is currently being produced and how much can be produced at most. The emptier the bar, the more surplus energy is available.
    If this bar reaches the end, your power sources are under full load, trying to produce enough energy for your factory. This probably means that your factory is drawing too much power. Either there are too few power sources or you are running out of material to burn.
    In the example there are currently 13 MW of energy being produced while at most 144 MW can be produced, if needed.
  3. Accumulator charge: The charge of the network’s accumulators is shown here. The bar shows the charge level in percent while the value to the right shows how much potential energy is stored in the accumulator. During discharge, the potential energy is being released, and gets stored again while charging.
    In the example there is only one accumulator which controls the main power line and turns it off when the accumulator’s energy has been released to a certain point. As written above, accumulators only turn on when the other power sources don’t produce enough energy to supply the factory, so this accumulator turns off the power when more power is drawn over a short amount of time than the steam engines can produce.
  4. Time scale: These buttons allow you to set the time scale for the last four things on the info screen.
  5. Detailed consumption: This list shows the average power consumption of each machine type over the set amount of time.
    In the example all 16 radars consumed an average power of 4.7 MW over the last 10 minutes, followed by the 12 refineries consuming averagely 4.5 MW over the last 10 minutes.
  6. Detailed production: This list shows, just as the consumption one does with the machines consuming power, the average power production of each power source type over the set amount of time.
    In the example, all 160 steam engines produced an average power of 16.9 MW over the last 10 minutes. The one accumulator didn’t produce any power since the steam engines were able to fully supply the factory with power, as seen in 2.
  7. Consumption graph: This graph shows how the power consumption for each machine type changed over the set amount of time.
    You can filter the graph by selecting the machine type(s) you want to see. To select, simply click on one or more machine type in 5. Click on them again to deselect them. Click on the arrow button in the top right corner of the field to deselect all.
    In this picture only refineries, assembling machines, and pumpjacks are shown in the consumption graph displaying a time span of 10 minutes.
  8. Production graph: The second graph shows the change of the power production of each power source type over the set amount of time.
    Select and deselect power source types to filter the graph, just as with machine types in 7.

Logistics and Automated Construction
Logistics and Automated Construction

» What’s the difference between an active and a passive provider chest?
Passive provider chests provide their content to the logistic network. If you or any requester chest requests the item the chest provides, your logistic robots will start bringing the items from the provider chest to their destination.
Active provider chests want to move their contents into other storage containers in the logistic network, so they will force logistic robots to bring their contents to storage chests, as well as buffer chests and requesters, as long as they request that item.
Since the active provider’s contents are moved out of the chest, you might need to limit production via logistic network condition.

» What do all these triangular (logistic related) symbols mean?
  • Not enough materials:
    You can see this icon, if there are any construction requests where the logistic system does not have (enough of) an item.
    This issue most likely fixes itself when more of these items has been produced by the factory. Otherwise you can put some of the needed items into a provider or storage chest.
  • Not enough repair packs:
    This is generally the same problem as the above one, but with repair packs this time.
  • Outside of logistic network:
    You probably saw that icon when you built a logistic chest before building a roboport. This icon tells you that there is no logistic network coverage at that point where the chest is.
    You can either move the chest into the coverage or move or expand the logistic network coverage.
  • Not enough construction robots:
    This icon starts appearing when there are not enough construction robots in the logistic network to complete a construction request.
    This will resolve itself when some of the robots start doing the work of the missing robots or you give the logistic network more construction bots.
  • Not enough storage space available:
    When you select trees, rocks, machines, etc. for deselection and the construction robots have no storage chest to put the deconstructed thing into, this icon will appear.
    Just build a storage chest into the logistic network coverage so your construction bots can bring the items to that chest.
  • Item request slot:
    This one is only used when you place a blueprint with modules in machines. It only appears when there are no or not enough modules for the machines available in the logistic network.
    So, if you have 10 speed modules and 5 efficiency modules in storage, put down a blueprint that contains 12 speed modules and 4 efficiency modules, then you will have 2 speed modules missing. These are requested with the ‘Item request slot’ which has the blue triangle icon.
    To cancel the request, simply right click on the blue triangle.
All alerts send some advanced information to the alert centre, located to the right of the quickbar.
These information contain the type and number of needed items, the number of missing repair packs or construction robots, and the type and number of items needing storage space. The item request slot sends its information as missing material.
The logistic alerts also play two short “ping” sounds every once in a while, so if you hear them, take a look at the alert centre.

» How can I get rid of unwanted items from my inventory?
The first way to get rid of unwanted items is by researching ‘Character logistic trash slots’. This will add some slots in your inventory where you can put unwanted items for your logistic robots to take away. The items will then be available in logistic storage for later requests or constructions.
The second method is used when you want to get rid of something permanently, like a single underground belt. Put these items into a wooden chest and shoot on it with the C key until it is destroyed.

» Why are my rail signals blinking in alternating colours?
If a rail signal – normal or chain signal – is blinking in alternating colours, then there is another connection of the incoming block with the outgoing block which needs a rail signal, too.
In the above animation you can see that when holding any signal in the cursor, the ‘rail block visualisation’ will become visible. With that, you can see where all the rail blocks end and place signals to separate the blocks. At best, there is a signal between every junction and crossing of rails.
Signals will only stop blinking in alternating colours, if the outgoing block is a different than the incoming, as indicated by the block colours when holding any rail signal in the cursor.

» Why can’t my train find a train stop, even though it’s directly connected to it?
If a train can’t find a train stop on a linear track with no signals, chances are high that the train stop the train is trying to find is built on the wrong side of the rail. As a rule of thumb: Depending on the direction the train is driving, the train stop is always to the right of the train.
You can also hover your mouse cursor over the train stop. This will show wagon and direction visualisations, allowing you to see the direction from which trains can stop at the station and where their wagons will be.

» How can I fix my train saying ‘No path’ on a bidirectional track with signals?
Rail signals, apart from only letting trains pass or not in one direction, also block any automatic train coming from the other direction. This is useful if you want to build railway networks with one or more tracks for each direction.
If you want to build a single rail for both directions, you will need to build rail signals on both sides of the track. The spot where the second rail signal has to be in order to work is marked with a white square instead of a green one when holding a signal in the mouse cursor.

» Why are trains with fluid wagons leaving the station too early?
If a train with fluid wagons is set to leave a station when empty, you might encounter a train departing with 0.4 or 0.7 fluid in a wagon remaining. This is caused by the fluid signal being rounded down in train stops and the circuit network, making the train depart even if it isn’t empty.
You can delay the departure by using a transport belt and having the train leave when an item is detected on the last belt segment.

» What are these coloured wires I can craft?
The red and green wires can be used to connect various things in your factory together. This allows you to control production a more advanced level. For example, you can control whether an inserter should only be turned on if there are enough resources available or if the number of available products falls below a certain point. You can have an alarm going if the petroleum levels fall to 0 and lights indicating how much crude oil is left for the refineries to process. You can have a train’s departure controlled by the flow of items on a transport belt and even turn the train stop off if there aren’t enough items for the train to load.
To start, left-click on any container you want to read the contents of with a wire in your cursor. Containers like chests will send their contents as signals over the coloured wires, called the ‘circuit network’, to its destination.
Without putting the wire away, left-click on the entity you want to control. If these two are too far away from each other, you can use power poles to cross distances. You can control many entities, for instance inserters and power switches.
When container and entity are connected and you have put the wire away (press Q), left-click again on the thing you want to control to open its GUI. From there you can control how it should behave. The most basic setting is the ‘Enable condition’ controlling when the entity should start operating. Some entities like inserters and train stops allow sending of signals to the network, too. This can be activated by ticking the corresponding checkboxes in the entity’s GUI.
This is an example of a fast inserter connected to both, red and green circuit wires. There is a “fast inserter” signal coming from the combinator just below it once in a while which turns the fast inserter on. It will then grab the one copper cable from the chest and put it on the transport belt on the left. While the fast inserter is holding the cable in its hand, it will also send that information over to another combinator which then does more calculations with the “copper cable” signal sent from the inserter and the transport belts. In this case, both circuit wire colours were used to separate incoming from outgoing signals.

» How do the combinators work?
Combinators allow even more advanced setups than the wires alone. Combinators can manipulate the circuit signals on different ways, some are more obvious, some are less.
There are three types of combinators: Constant combinators, arithmetic combinators, and decider combinators.
  • Constant combinators can send constant signals to the circuit network they are connected to and can also be turned on and off manually. This is useful as a manual activator or reset switch in more complex builds. You can also use them to insert circuit signals with a higher count into the circuit network. This might be helpful later as combinators act a bit weird when they get a signal with 0 count.
  • Arithmetic combinators can, as their name suggests, do basic arithmetic calculations like addition or multiplication, logic AND, OR, and XOR gates, as well as more advanced operations.
    The more advanced operations are
    • Modulo, indicated by the % sign – example: 14 % 4 = 2 (14 / 4 = 3 R 2),
    • Exponentiation, indicated by the ^ sign – example: 10 ^ 5 = 100,000, and
    • Bit-shifting, indicated by << for the leftward shift and >> for the rightward shift – example: 25 << 1 = 50 (011001 << 1 = 110010).
  • Decider combinators have the same basic functionality as the ‘Enable condition’ has in entities connected to the circuit network, but with a customisable output. Decider combinators also allow outputting a signal in two different ways: ‘Input count’ which sends the set output signal with the count of the same input signal, and ‘1’ which sends any set output with the count 1.
Please note that arithmetic and decider combinators have two points to connect wires to, indicated by a yellow arrow. One is the signal input, the other is the signal output. Both sides can be linked to each other, too.

» What are those special circuit signals for?
  • ‘Everything’: The set output signal will only be sent when all incoming signals meet the condition. Use this as another type of AND gate but keep in mind that every signal on the circuit wire affects the result of the condition. This signal is only available in decider combinators and as ‘Enable condition’ in inserters, pumps, etc.
  • ‘Anything’: The set output signal will only be sent when any of the incoming signals meets the condition. This can be used as another type of OR gate. Like the ‘Everything’ signal, this is only available in decider combinators and as ‘Enable condition’ in inserters, pumps, etc.
  • ‘Each’: This signal is only available on decider and arithmetic combinators.
    On decider combinators, every incoming signal is checked if it meets the condition and matching signals are added to the output signal. If ‘Each’ is used as output signal, the signals will be outputted separately.
    On arithmetic combinators, the set operation is executed on every incoming signal. If the output is set to a specific signal, the results are added together and outputted as the count of the set signal. If ‘Each’ is the set output signal then all results are outputted separately.


» Which weapons can I choose from?
  • Firearms:
    • Pistol and submachine gun
    • Shotgun and combat shotgun
    • Rocket launcher
    • Flamethrower
  • Thrown weapons:
    • Grenade and cluster grenade
    • Poison and slowness capsule
    • Defender, distractor, and destroyer capsule
  • Turrets:
    • Gun turret
    • Laser turret
    • Flamethrower turret
    • Artillery turret
  • Vehicle-mount weapons:
    • Machine gun (car)
    • Tank cannon, machine gun, and flamethrower (tank)
    • Artillery wagon (train)

» How to throw grenades and capsules?
Thrown weapons don’t work as straight forward as firearms do, since you have to throw them.
If you hold a grenade or capsule in the mouse cursor, a green circle will appear around the player, indicating the maximum throwing distance of the held object. To throw it, simply click on the point you want to throw the grenade or capsule at with the grenade or capsule still in the cursor.

» What is the purpose of the combat robots?
If you don’t like boring fight strategies like turret creep or shooting everything down with regular weapons, combat robots might be for you.
There are three types of combat robots: Defenders, distractors, and destroyers.
  • Defenders provide some basic protection against small or medium enemies by shooting bullets at them.
  • Distractors can, as the name suggests, distract enemies by shooting lasers at them and make them run towards the robots instead of you or your turrets.
  • Destroyers are the most powerful of the three robot types, being able to actually defeat biters, spitters, and their bases by shooting electrical beams at them.
Please note that only distractors are stationary, while the other two follow you around. Also keep in mind that you can only have a limited number of robots following you.

» What is “Turret creep”?
Turret creep is a very easy way to kill whole enemy bases. In that strategy you place down some turrets, wait until they killed everything in reach, and repair the turrets as needed. If there is nothing in range left, you go a bit further, place some new turrets, and start the whole process again.
As this strategy is a bit cheaty, there is a chance that it might get patched in a future update.

» What do all these triangular (combat related) symbols mean?
  • No ammo:
    This icon only appears on gun turrets if they have no ammo in them. To make it disappear, give the turret some ammo and, if necessary, make sure there is a automatic loading mechanism (aka a transport belt or a chest with ammo and an inserter) installed.
    Please note that laser turrets use the symbols from the Power Production section of this FAQ.
  • Warning:
    If you see this icon blinking on the map, then there is a turret shooting.
    This icon also appears in the alert centre with a number indicating the number of turrets shooting.
  • Danger:
    This icon starts blinking if an entity is being damaged by the enemies. If there is an established logistic network with construction robots and repair packs, the damaged entity will get repaired, if the robot reaches it in time.
    You might need to manually kill some enemies and build additional turrets to protect against further intruders.
  • Destroyed:
    When this icon is blinking, an entity has been destroyed by the enemies. If it is covered by a logistic network that has the item needed, it will be replaced by a construction robot. Else you might need to replace it yourself. Also keep an eye on enemies that might still be there.
    This alert is also plays three ascending “alarm” sounds every once in a while, as long as it’s visible on the map and in the alert centre.

» How to use different weapons?
As written in the Options section of this FAQ, you can change the active weapon by pressing Tab.
This will only work if there is a firearm with the corresponding ammo in one of the other two weapon slots. The currently active weapon is highlighted by a red or green background.
A green background means that the weapon has ammo and is ready to shoot. A red background means that either the firearm or the ammo is missing in that slot.
If you press Tab repeatedly, incomplete slots are skipped. Nothing happens if all three weapon slots are incomplete and you press Tab.

» What is the enemy evolution?
As you progress through the game, enemies are becoming stronger over time. Small biters are accompanied by medium biters and spitters join the attack waves as well.
This is caused by the ‘Evolution factor’ which increases over time, when bases absorb pollution, and after enemy bases are destroyed.
When you enter /evolution in the chat, the game will give you the current evolution factor as a number between 0.0 (0 %) and 1.0 (100 %).
With a higher evolution factor, the probability of larger enemies spawning increases, while the probability of smaller enemies spawning decreases. Spitters also have a higher threshold before small units actually start spawning.

» How to use the artillery?
Independent of if you are using the artillery turret or the artillery wagon, they both have an automatic mode and a manual mode.
  • Automatic mode: In automatic mode, the artillery turret or wagon will automatically aim and shoot at targets (biter and spitter spawners) within their automatic range. If some enemies decide to expand, the automatic turret or wagon will take care of that.
  • Manual mode: To make an artillery turret or wagon manually shoot, you will have to left-click on the target with an ‘Artillery targeting remote’ in normal or map view.
    When holding the remote in the cursor, a number next to the cursor represents the number of available artillery turrets and wagons. To be “available”, a turret or wagon has to be loaded and the target has to be within manual range.
    Please note that the manual range is over two times as large as the automatic range.

» How do I use modular armours?
If you right-click on a modular armour, be it a basic one, a power armour or even a power armour MK2, the armour’s GUI will open.
The armour’s GUI, in this case of a power armour MK2, consists of two parts: The module grid and a list of stats. The stats will change as you insert modules into the grid.
To insert modules into the grid, hold them in the mouse cursor and left-click with them on the space of the grid where you want them to be. To remove a module, left-click on it again.

» Where can I find even more information or get help?
» Where can I send a missing question to?
If you want a question to be added to this FAQ, please contact a moderator.
You can find a listing of all moderators here. Look out for the people with the green username!

Last updated on 03 August 2018 – Original concept by ssilk.
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Re: Gameplay Help FAQ (Updated 2018-03-28)

Postby Kayanor » Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:43 pm

The Gameplay Help FAQ has been updated!
More information, updated to 0.16, an actual structure, and way less redirects.

Topic is locked, if you want to add questions (with answers) to the FAQ, please PM a moderator.
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