What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

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Elvenkind
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What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Elvenkind » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:19 am

I have watched a "For Beginners" series on YouTube. I've read the Quick Start Guide on The Official Factorio Wiki, but when trying a game for myself I have huge problems and usually get eaten by biters or simply just give up, while trying to get started with Iron Plate production and making an automated area for this that satisfy my need for symmetry and order (OCD). I'm not new to strategy games, survival games, building games, city building games, but this game in it's ability to become something extremly complex by the use of simple means and rules, I do have problems finding a way to master, or even understand.

So I ask all those of you that might be reading this: If you were a complete newbie, that had never played Factorio before, but actually feel you really master it and can send a rocket off the planet and build up a functioning base in several ways: How would you go about to start to really master the game again, if you were you as you were when you were like I am: Brand new, with a tingling feeling inside, with a deep desire to start a new game and make everything neat. :?:

Where would you start? What kind of basics would you focus on. At what order would you do things? Also any other tips to enjoy a symmetric way for everything, with a pleasing feeling to look at it all - is very welcome. :idea:

For me the thing is trying to get a flawless method of making iron and copper plates, being ready to be split into wherever I need those materials to go. And also coal, it's needed everywhere in the beginning.

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Koub » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:43 am

I wouldn't fear playing in peaceful at first, so that time is not an as precious resource as with normal biters.

Option 2 would be just start with a BIG starting area (max size or just below). This gives a very significant amount of free time before having to actually cope with fighting (depending on how aggresive is your early development : the bigger you build, the bigger you pollute, the earlier you attract biters).
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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by DaveMcW » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:46 am

It sounds like you want a "main bus".

1. Design a smelting area that fills a yellow belt with iron plates.
2. Blueprint the smelting area (press B) and build a few more copies, some with copper plates.
3. Direct all the yellow belts into a straight line.
4. Build all your machines on one side of the line, leaving the other side free to add more belts later.

This is not the most optimal design, but it is very logical and straightforward to use.

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by mmmPI » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:10 pm

When I discover the game I had lots of free time and split it in 3, one part I was building/playing, anoother part I was looking at videos where a youtuber was doing the same "step" as me, and i was visiting multiplayer server an ask question( this was VERY impressive to me ! )

Luckily factorio is not a game that attracts too many baitclick videos and the community is welcoming.

I watched speedruns too but you need to have played a little before to understand what's going on, they give you a good idea of the progression dynamic in the game (the splitting time are usually key milestones for a game) and also a general idea of the relative shape and scaling of things, ( number of furnace/ assembly/ steam engines ect). At the time there were less science so one person could solo the game in less than 2 hours, now there is more to "learn" :)

In order to have a neat and symetrical base, starting with a main bus, without pollution and/or without ennemy are very good advices, richer ressources too may help you can also keep in mind that you have no penalty cost or whatever to remove and modify things, you can have temporary ugly little spot and it feels good to remove them once you have made the more permanent thing, it's hard to keep things neat all along the game.

I would also cut 3 main topics, base game ; robots ; and trains. You don't NEED the 2 later to "finish the game" but if you talk about "mastering" it if such a thing is even possible :)

Then you may want to understand those entities separately, without the pressure of enemies or time, robots are generally speaking a huge quality of life improvement, you can use them to transform your game into a sandbox where you can easily test other things even though they are not mandadory for you to "win" the game I would recommend getting familiar with them and not think " it's too complicated i'll see late game" for example, which you could do for trains as long as you have the ressources not too too far away.

In the base game, you could also cut different topics, like furnaces/science/power/oil and so on, it feels easier when you focus on one subject for a few time, try your thing, watch others do the same, and why not ask them questions, until you can rely on a version of your own for that subject, that you can improve over time.

I understand the feeling of "needing to learn" but factorio is also well designed in a way that could just follow the pace, add a little here, a little , there , change this a little, and have a very enjoyable experience that will teach you stuff anyway, it would be the "simplest" way if not for the pesky biters, i may have described a method i think is oriented to learn enough little things from the others to feel like you follow guidelines more explicit than the tech trees for example :).

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Greybeard_LXI » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:14 pm

I'm in it for the building. I don't care for the fighting so I turn off the biters.

But I launched my first rocket in 0.14.23 (stable). Back then you had to collect alien artifacts from the biter villages to complete science. I did a ribbon world, just as high as my screen would allow on max zoom out. Then I only had to protect both ends.

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Zavian » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:00 am

Also if you are playing with aggressive biters, don't build too big at the start. It takes too long, uses too much material and your pollution cloud probably reaches the biters before you get turrets setup. What you want is a small setup that will make enough iron and copper plates for red science, plus some extras for base building and defences.

So just build about 8 stone furnaces smelting iron plates + 2-3 for copper plates, and probably 2 steam engines for power. Start making red science and start research with a couple of labs. Research automation, logistics and military, then build a couple of turrets with 20-25 ammo in strategic locations and research walls. Add a wall around your turrets and now you are ready to start expanding production and scaling up. (But don't go overboard and build something huge yet either. The biters will evolve, and you need better ammo and damage upgrades before you can build a huge base).

You can plan for a larger setups, and even reserve space with ghost or blueprints if desired, but don't build them until you get some turrets running. Personally I tend to kill any bases that my pollution cloud touches, to keep the number of attacks down. (That might not be practical on deathworlds, but I don't play on deathworlds).

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by slippycheeze » Sun Jun 30, 2019 3:37 am

Elvenkind wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:19 am
I have watched a "For Beginners" series on YouTube. I've read the Quick Start Guide on The Official Factorio Wiki, but when trying a game for myself I have huge problems and usually get eaten by biters or simply just give up, while trying to get started with Iron Plate production and making an automated area for this that satisfy my need for symmetry and order (OCD). I'm not new to strategy games, survival games, building games, city building games, but this game in it's ability to become something extremly complex by the use of simple means and rules, I do have problems finding a way to master, or even understand.
I agree with others: turn off biters, and get mastery of the production basics down. Once you have that, turn them on in a new game, and deal with both.

Alternately, balance: turn them down to half their default settings, so they still there, but smaller, slower, and less aggressive in expansion. You still have them as a problem, but much less than default.

Other option: figure out the path to gun turrets and automated ammunition manufacturing, and pursue that from the second you start. Then you can build inside a defense line that'll keep them away from you. You still gotta deal with them, but your focus is on "this is my big problem, fix it first."

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by hale42 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:42 am

when I started playing factorio I would pick something and "learn it" before that I fiddled around just to get a feel for the game.

manual insert->basic automation->balanced automation->mass automation.

knowing me I wouldn't want to turn off biters at all..ever because, that would invalidate a large chunk of the game (military). It also forced me to adopt a strategy that would incorporate them.

I would like to ask what problems are you having with smelting

Edit: I what would you describe as flawless?

my method when developing something (lets say an ore train blueprint)

Ill list my objectives (like small, universal, plonkable, able to place in godmode etc etc)
then work from there. but since you are pre-blueprint/bot right now in your game its all about just getting to the next phase of things. as you progress things get easier.

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by SkiCarver » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:24 am

I would also suggest getting some starting blueprints. These can be placed and get you used to the basics of the game. Do a web search for factorio starting blueprints is one option. You could also look at some of the youtube video producers like Katherine of sky who include links to their blueprints in the subjects of their videos.

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Koub » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:34 am

I respectfully disagree with SkiCarver : I don't advise using others' blueprints at least not as long as you haven't come with your own solutions. Finding blueprints online is a "I win" button.

However, if you come with solutions of your own, comparing them with other peoples' clever (or not) solutions can be very enriching.
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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by SkiCarver » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:38 am

Koub wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:34 am
I respectfully disagree with SkiCarver : I don't advise using others' blueprints at least not as long as you haven't come with your own solutions. Finding blueprints online is a "I win" button.

However, if you come with solutions of your own, comparing them with other peoples' clever (or not) solutions can be very enriching.
to be clear, I am only suggesting using them to get over the initial hurdle, to know what the different items do. While it was a long time ago now, I used a number of sources to understand what was going on. once you get used to assemblers and inserters .... it becomes clearer.

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by mmmPI » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:23 am

As a middle option, I used someone else nuclear reactor blueprint when it first came out, I wanted to see how it looked and worked. Then I delayed trying my own for a long time, because I had a working one. And it didn't feel as rewarding trying to build something that I already had a working version of. Plus the blueprint looked quite complicated and intimidating and it was providing power just fine. Only when I tried myself from nothing I found out that I would do a bit differently, and the whole thing appeared less complicated since it was my own contraption it looked familiar. Now when I look at a nuclear reactor blueprint, I get ideas on how to solve the problems I tried to solve. I don't see just a big square that will sit there providing power while i hope it doesn't break.But I had to look up on the wiki for the formulas, and do the math on my phone while playing, and also change multiple times my original idea as i realised in the way i made mistakes, some of them I see other do in their blueprint, and some others use the blueprint not knowing or not caring for the small % loss here and there.

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Elvenkind » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:28 pm

Thanks for the varied answers everyone! :D I realized I had downloaded and watched hour after hour of "Factorio for beginners", before I realized "Why don't they got Uranium?" and I figured out it was from the alpha version in early 2016. :roll: Still the Nr.1 Google suggestion though.

Sorry for the late reply, I didn't realize I had to link my account here to Steam, and I thought the post had been ignored by the admins, since it was not listed as being in existence, but it was approved and here when I just signed up for a new account with the same name and mail.

I've read everything, and I found I don't like making it too simple by turning off biters/spitters. The defense of the base seem to be a large part of the game as hale42 point out, it's the same as when I started playing Minecraft almost 10 years ago now, actually, I've NEVER tried creative, but started on survival with normal difficulty and took all the deaths that came from monsters, since it made it feel more of an achivement to survive while having a threat nearby, it's a think I really like about Factorio...

And also I don't want to use blueprints, as Koub disagree with doing and I don't think that's the way to learn this, by using a copy of something someone else have made. I rather want to see how it get built from scratch, so I can learn it as it is and then experiment to figure out my own way of doing things the way I like it best, both productive and symmetrically pleasing to the eye. In this regard, of course I love the concept of a main bus as DaveMcW exain. :) I've done the 3 first missions now and have found a new tutorial/walkthrough from the new version. I didn't like to see no pickaxe anymore, but will watch a totally basic tutorial I like.

I'm glad to hear how other would learn to play, and thanks again. I guess I'm a bit too much in awe to believe I can actually learn to master the game, when I look what people manage to make of amazing stuff, like redstone-wizards in MC making computers and similar, not to compare the two though, for heavens sake. I'm guessing this is a game that isn't that popular among children, but more of an adult thing? Also the use of maths in the tutorial really scare me, since I can barely add and divide, if I got a calculator... :lol:

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Elvenkind » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:59 am

I have problems finding tutorials for beginners, where everything basic is explained, so I think I'll just start a new game and use the wiki or the forum if I get stuck. Just finished the first 3 missions in the the first of the campains and feel like I'm beginning to not dread this game so much, here's how I built the base in the last minutes I just played, using radar to scan for my downed spaceship, and beginning early with defense, sub-machinegun, ammo-production started a bit late, but the turrets was enough. I actually liked how I used the iron, copper and coal in this one, but the electricity grid became a bit chaotic... :oops:

https://youtu.be/HBOs2nzOBNc

Looking at how I've done stuff in the video, do you see something I'm clearly doing wrong? Personally I'm thinking I didn't need a fraction of all the copper plates, but I could do well to double the iron output, as early as possible, but in general I like the transportation of the materials. Things feel ok, just a bit slow to get the pace up, but then I was finished. Was thinking it's going to get fun for later to see, when I know all the tiny details of the game.

I got all the 22 pictures from Steam, using them as wallpaper, that's a great form of inspiration too, so much pretty and good ideas there, even if much of it look more like spaghettii then a huge factory. :lol: Here they are if others got two screens and would like to make a slide-show:

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Oktokolo » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:36 am

Elvenkind wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:19 am
I've read the Quick Start Guide on The Official Factorio Wiki, but when trying a game for myself I have huge problems and usually get eaten by biters or simply just give up, while trying to get started with Iron Plate production and making an automated area for this that satisfy my need for symmetry and order (OCD).
If your OCD leads to getting eaten by biters because you keep constantly redesigning your base, you probably would be best off installing Creative Mod and start with designing blueprints for your base in cheatmode first. You can design building blocks while having infinite resources and the ability to copypaste stuff instantly. So you can move around buildings until you are satisfied with the look and function.

When you are sure, that you have good looking blueprints for all the things you need in your base, you can start a new game without creative mod (or with it but without using the cheats).
You will get the best of both worlds that way:
Your own right-looking base designs without pressure and the feeling of "winning" the game by yourself.

Some random hints:
- Cliffs can be turned off in the map generation dialog.
- Build a radar, some turrets and ammo production right after getting red science working.
- Time-based biter evolution is pretty slow. Rushing leads to high polution wich travels further and triggers attacks if it reaches biter nests. So start slow and don't use more smelters than needed.
- Limit all your chests to how much stacks you actually need to keep in stock (most often one or two).
- You don't have to start a rocket if you don't want to.
- Don't forget to drink, eat and sleep. ;)

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by zOldBulldog » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:31 pm

I would say that the simplest way to learn is to follow Nilaus 'Base in a Book" series. It is old but it teaches you to think in Factorio terms.

DO NOT grab his blueprints. The whole point is to learn, not to build his thing.

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Ranger_Aurelien » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:44 pm

I've built a few worlds up to launching rockets, and personally only used others' templates for railway. The exactness of multi-track turns and load/unload stations / chain signals, etc I find is not worth reinventing the wheel (particularly if you have to worry about biters, etc).

Once you get personal construction robots, I encourage you to make your own BluePrints and use them where it makes sense, if nothing else, CONTROL+C (optionally R rotate) and Control-V. That saves SO much headache. (Say first manually set up one power pole, two inserters for in/out on a furnace and some conveyor on each side. CTRL-C it. Then just CTRL-V and paste a dozen copies along the line and watch the robots do the work!)

With 0.17, you can do similar things with "Ghosts". Enable it in Settings, and then you can set your toolbar so when it runs out of something, you plant a "ghost" that robots will fill (from inventory later, or in your logistics now...) -- Also in the options I set my Toolbar to 4 high (from default 2).

(Quickbar tutorial with steps to enable things)
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=65929
https://wiki.factorio.com/Ghost
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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Elvenkind » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:10 pm

Oktokolo: For the last time, no, I won't use blueprints, mods that make things to less of a challenge, turn on peaceful mode, turn off biters etc. I haven't been killed by biters, they have just chewed on some pipes of my steam-power, while getting turned into jelly-smudge on the screen by turrets. I'm going to love starting to attack my first biter-bases. I specially like the idea of artillery and nukes. It's the thing I miss from games such as Banished, an enemy that try to make life difficult for me. Castles and knights riding out to pillage other villages in maps 10 times bigger, with multiplayer. It sound very boring to be playing factorio without the natives to be honest.

Image

zOldBulldog:
The whole point is to learn, not to build his thing.
Thanks for answering, and I'm thinking the same here. I had a look at the page and the playlist on youtube by Nilaus, and it is bookmarked. :D

The whole reason for buying the game is to struggle and figure out everything and after I've learned what seems incomprehensible now, I can sing along to "I did it my way". I've learned so much already, and next map I'm going to make room for things, and turn the direction of the copper, so it go back to assembly machines, not into boxes in the ore-field...

I've been looking a bit at different seeds today, and what strikes me is that there seem to be too little coal. Probably very difficult question, but is it possible to process all of the raw copper and iron on a default settings map, with the coal that can be found there? In theory: only using coal to power everything? Just something I'm wondering about, of course I won't even try.

Ranger_Aurelien:
I find is not worth reinventing the wheel
What?!!! But trains are one of the things that seem like the most fun aspect in the whole game!!! Much more fun then moving everything around in slow-motion, and it seems like a whole other way of transporting things, that I really look forward to.

s I said, I won't repeat my opinion about blueprints, but of course:
I encourage you to make your own BluePrints and use them where it makes sense
this I will do, but I won't share it with anyone years from now, just because I'd hate to ruin the game for anyone else by just having them copy something I made, perhaps without understanding what they are copying. Neither will I be copying large sections of the base, not just yet though. I have to get a feeling for what I need to so to make everything working like clockwork, and I don't understand how anyone can enjoy the game without having some danger of being completely overrun by an enemy that stand against your progress. Let me remind you that there's a whole section of things to do, that is purely millitary. It's not reinventing the wheel, if you think square wheels would work just fine, because that's what you are really doing: Building square wheels, because you don't bother to figure out how best to overcome the forces of gravity making a sledge you draw around heavy, but a handcart much more simple.

I don't understand this biter-scare that plague this post, but when I looked for good seeds today and found a whole bunch of little islands in a large map filled with enemies that can't cross the ocean over to that little island, it just made me feel bewildered. Like: Why don't they just turn off the biters if they don't want maps with them on, on? :?

I'm really stubborn, so this post have probably made me make sure I'll destroy every last one of the red spots on the radar, from now on, and on every map I try.

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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Ranger_Aurelien » Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:08 pm

I didn't say I don't use trains; I just meant the only thing I do find myself using others' blueprints for is for railways. All the signals, lights, crossways, etc.


Note there are a few factors advancing biter evolution: your total pollution, passage of time, and the number of spawners you destroy.

https://wiki.factorio.com/Enemies#Evolution

Note that by default each spawner destroyed counts as much as 8 minutes 20 seconds' time passing.
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Re: What's the most simple way to learn to play Factorio?

Post by Frightning » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:48 am

In map gen settings, set the starting area size WAY up (maybe all the way to it's maximum). This will significantly delay when you start having to deal with the natives compared to default settings. This will give you a LOT more time to get starting before having to address dealing with them. Learning how to lay things out will take you time to get a handle on (the basic assembly machine row* is an important concept, but the real art is in how you place different production blocks so that everything gets what it needs). Peaceful mode is also an option, but it removes the motivation for making over a dozen different recipes and also teaches you some bad habits for later (like paying attention to your pollution cloud, and being aware of how a massive expansion of a smelter/production line can impact pollution in the early game).

* Assembly machine row is basically 1-2 belts on each side of a row of assembly machines, all but one of which bring in materials needed by the production line (you can get up to 6 materials this way be using the T-shaped junctions to put 2 different item-types on 1 belt, 1 each to a lane). One belt has the sole job of taking finished product out and is in the reverse direction of the rest

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