Results: 2022 Mod Portal Survey

A place to talk about the official Factorio mod portal (https://mods.factorio.com)
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vinzenz
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Results: 2022 Mod Portal Survey

Post by vinzenz »

In the last weeks we collected your opinions about the mod portal and we got 1170 responses! Here's our writeup about the survey results.

Questions
Q: How would you describe your role in the Factorio community?
With the first couple question we tried to get a feeling of the roles in which people are using the mod portal. Nearly 50% of respondents play modded Factorio several times per week and 39% have worked on mods at least sometimes.
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Q: How many mods do you usually use?
Even with the high amount of modded Factorio players it still surprised us a bit that 2/3rds of you usually have more than 10 mods active.
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Q: How much do you like the mod portal? How would you rate usability/visual style?
Despite everyone having a lot of feedback in the later sections, the mod portal got a lot of appreciation in the answers to this set of questions. (With 5 meaning "Very good" and 1 "Very bad")
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Q: How much do you agree with the following statements?
Next up we tried get a bit more detailled opinion about some mod portal use-cases out of you. One could say we're doing pretty good with >50% approval for all questions. Opinions diverged most on the mod feedback question, which was somewhat expected. It's still not clear if we should invest more time into the discussions feature or instead give better options for creators to integrate their own platforms like Forums, Discord or GitHub Issues.
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Q: Which parts of the mod portal would you like to see improved most?
Now we tried to let you become product managers for the mod portal and see on what you would like us to spend the most development effort on.

Our attempt somewhat backfired in that you where more happy to tell us where we shouldn't spend much development effort rather than where we should.

Your responses where quite evenly spread out between different parts of the mod portal. But with mod categories and the frontpage coming out as leaders, we will count this towards the general need for better discoverability on the mod portal
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Q: Which features would you like to see added to the mod portal most?
Staying with the product manager theme we now wanted to know which features would get you excited. Here you didn't hesitate as much as in the previous section. The tag system and bookmarking features where voted to the top, followed by subscriptions and stable/experimental release channels. You also had a lot of suggestions for additional features/improvements. For example: a revamped search, better notification system or an improved mobile UX.
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Conclusion
We're very happy with the results. People are already quite pleased with the mod portal it seems and you left us a lot of nice feedback. It also showed that Wube and the community have a very similar view on where it can be improved. It's always hard to decide on features to implement and to be honest reading all your feedback didn't necessarily make it easier. We also have to ensure that the mod portal codebase doesn't evolve into a big sprawling spaghetti mess. So you'll probably won't see the rate in which we add features increase by that much. But be sure that we have heard you and will keep working on a better mod portal for everyone.

If you want to look at the data yourself you can download a CSV of the responses in this attachment. We stripped out all the potential personal data (Responses to "Other Feature", "Feedback" and "Username") questions.
Mod Portal Feedback 2022 Pruned.csv
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Muppet9010
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Re: Results: 2022 Mod Portal Survey

Post by Muppet9010 »

It would be interesting to know how the responses differ between respondents who say they are a mod maker, vs a mod user.

i.e. as a mod creator the Mod Detail Pages are very important to me as they limit how I can describe and demonstrate my mod. As a mod user I would likely not realise that it doesn't support a lot of layout and navigation features and thus not realise what they are missing. Obviously this example is written from my viewpoint slant.

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Re: Results: 2022 Mod Portal Survey

Post by Hornwitser »

I made a diagram with the stats for divided up by respondents saying they made mods/tools sometimes or more often and the rest of the respondents that don't say this. It's mod and tool authors respond very similar to the rest with the only major difference being how easy they find it to upload/update mods and stay in touch with users.
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Re: Results: 2022 Mod Portal Survey

Post by vinzenz »

Hornwitser wrote:
Wed Jul 13, 2022 5:44 pm
I made a diagram with the stats for divided up by respondents saying they made mods/tools sometimes or more often and the rest of the respondents that don't say this. It's mod and tool authors respond very similar to the rest with the only major difference being how easy they find it to upload/update mods and stay in touch with users.
thanks! I had something similar set up too, but as you say the difference is not so big so I didn't include it in my summary.
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Re: Results: 2022 Mod Portal Survey

Post by Hornwitser »

vinzenz wrote:
Wed Jul 13, 2022 9:01 am
We stripped out all the potential personal data (Responses to "Other Feature", "Feedback" and "Username") questions. Mod Portal Feedback 2022 Pruned.csv
Will you share some of the Feedback and Other Feature requests you got?

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Re: Results: 2022 Mod Portal Survey

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vinzenz wrote:
Wed Jul 13, 2022 9:01 am
Q: How many mods do you usually use?
Even with the high amount of modded Factorio players it still surprised us a bit that 2/3rds of you usually have more than 10 mods active.
I linked this to the other question on the frequency of plays, " i play modded factorio several times a week", "i play un-modded factorio sometimes" were the main answers, maybe you did a survey that interested more the heavy mod-users who represented a higher share of respondant than the average user.

On the other hand, my personnal feeling when browsing the mod portal is that of a kid in a toy or candy shop. There's some out there that are my all time favourite, some QoL or very slight changes, that are often included and i don't even notice they are here and/or count them things, plus i do games that revolve around larger mods or overhaul that often times comes in several packages.

The main obstacle used to be thinking about multiplayer, but i know now that if someones wants to join it's easy to synchronize them all provided they were taken from the portal.

Those makes it quite easy to download "more than 10 mods" at once. just AAI vehicules+signals+zones+structures or "angel+bob" would represent more than 10. And if you are used to a faster start or a special weapon or vehicule, or just that little mod that allow you to extend your range or walk through pipes and one to turn wood into coal or plant trees, those easily adds up without even the feel for a big overhaul mod like space exploration krastorio or nullius.

10+ mod at a time is not all that much once you start with one or two small one that works flawlessly, and if you enjoy a big one, you will be tempted to try the others big ones while still keeping the small ones, i think it's only later that you try to combine many of the big mods together, 50 + mods feels already like an extensive knowledge of small mods, or an attempt at combining several "big mods" imo.
vinzenz wrote:
Wed Jul 13, 2022 9:01 am
If you want to look at the data yourself you can download a CSV of the responses in this attachment. We stripped out all the potential personal data (Responses to "Other Feature", "Feedback" and "Username") questions. Mod Portal Feedback 2022 Pruned.csv
That's pretty cool, transparent, yet privacy is preserved.

Hornwitser wrote:
Thu Jul 14, 2022 10:14 am
Will you share some of the Feedback and Other Feature requests you got?
I was interested into the tag system, because i think the already existing category are useful and may be developped. I use them to find new mods to play with as i'm not a creator of mods myself, and i would use such features more if there were more to use. I think they are good to give visibility to the different kind of mod that exist. I am no shy of giving my opinion, i tend to do it a lot and i saw an opportunity there, but maybe other people wouldn't like their private writing published. i'm afraid you only get to read my boring feedback for now :) but maybe other people would fulfill your request !

I felt like the average non-original person according to your chart, when i play modded it's several time a week, which is everyday when i'm on an active continuous game, otherwise it's "sometimes" i launch the game to do contraption with combinators or little setup to share on the internet , un-modded. Often time i see a new mod that trigger the will to launch a game, or i want to play and i seek for a collection of mods to make it a unique game since i've played a lot of them already. games are around 20 to 200 hours or so, when computer can't keep up or when i am entertained enough and it's no fun anymore, or when i have finidshed what i wanted to do or when i want to launch another one but different ( and then i go to the mod portal :) ).

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Re: Results: 2022 Mod Portal Survey

Post by vinzenz »

Hornwitser wrote:
Thu Jul 14, 2022 10:14 am
Will you share some of the Feedback and Other Feature requests you got?
Here's a selection of interesting or funny "Other Feature" answers:
I don't play with exclusively the same collection of mods, and like to assemble my own collections of compatible mods for a given run. Managing these is a pain, and pretty much entirely manual. Something to assist organising/switching between/updating/tracking this sort of thing would be great. Also on a tangent, for various bug or compatibility reasons I don't always want the latest version of a mod, but clicking update-all in-game by mistake has no undo or record of what changed, manually fixing this is also a chore, I suspect portal based user made modpacks can also provide a solution to this.
Mod Groups - Ability to have a list of mods groups that related. Either as personalised or as public and then have a button click to load it to factorio
I would like to pay mod creators for mods, so mod authors can be compensated
Id like to see something like "Editors' Choice" to see mods that are upraised by Wube or Factorio communuity. I have little time to play this days, so its hard for me to browse infinite amount of mods to try to find a jewel to try. Best example of such highlight was FFF with Industrial revolution. I would miss it if it was just published silently on the mod portal.
Work on dlc, do not waste time
A button that does nothing. (I will not elaborate.)
And here are some answers to the "Feedback" question:
As a new user I often have to go outside the mod portal to find recommendations or discover great mods. I'd like to have things like "editor's choice" for high quality or innovative mods. Downloads & trending don't really give too much information because I'm not sure what the timeline is and I can't change the timeline for that filter. Additionally, having "featured" or "highlighted" mods by maybe community vote would be nice? Not exactly sure what the best way to do that would be. It would be nice to be able to "fork" (like GitHub) mods and show hierarchy/relationships for when someone updates or enhances an existing mod. Also a better way of viewing related mods or "mod packs" that have several mods that make up a whole would be great. I find the categories completely useless and discoverability is rough. I like the idea of tags, but at the same time it can get out of hand if you don't moderate the tags. Some sort of user feedback/reporting/contribution mechanism for tag relevance might be the solution. Finally, having some quality control or suggested template to have mods provide basic information on what the mod does or how it works would be nice. A lot of mods have very vague descriptions or I don't know what the difference is (e.g. "ore-eraser (continued)" vs "ore eraser (fixed+re-published)"). Having the ability to include images and videos showing mod functionality would be really nice.
Would be cool if the submitting a mod process encouraged more details, screenshots, etc. Nothing annoying like "ENTER MORE CHARACTERS TO GET MORE DOWNLOADS", just a little suggestion on the bottom to add more details so people don't have to ask what the mod does, etc. While not a big problem, there are some instances of people taking a mod, making unknown changes (if any), and uploading it as their own. One instance I saw the editor add a V2 with no credit to the original author or what the changes were. It really irritates me. That's why I always ensure to credit the original authors in the summary for my edits and in the description for my mod packs. I would love to have the tag system because I had to go through the ENTIRE portal for v1.1 to find all the mods I wanted to use. Granted I can't use 1000 at once, but now I don't have to try to manually search for any mods I would like. I originally tried searching, but had no idea what to search for. Combined with only knowing Bob's and Space Exploration, I wanted to create smaller packs that I (and others) can enjoy. A tag of 'flight' would've mostly saved me from making my aircraft+ modpack. Perhaps a tag of 'mid-sized mods' would be helpful to distinguish from large overhaul mods like Krastorio and "changes stack size to 10000". That would've helped me find Realistic Fusion Power faster since searching "fusion" turns up the portable fusion reactor, fusion trains, etc. While getting into Factorio mods first with Bob's or Space Exploration can be good, it can scare many people away since they make lots of big changes. It did that for me for quite a while. A really great (but probably tricky to implement feature) would be a recommendations tab that recommends mods based on ones you downloaded. Before I made all my modpacks, there weren't that many modpacks. Most of them were focused on "streamer's modpack", "no practical use", and "I made a shitty modpack, but at least you can actually run it". Instead of a recommendations tab, even a recommendations list that excludes big and popular mods and favors mods that are the middle ground between the most popular and useless mods in downloads, update frequency, and discussion thread activity (if not disabled). That can also help promote good, well-made mods that don't make the popular tab and aren't well-known enough to be trending. Tl;DR Perhaps suggest adding more words and pictures when submitting a mod and boost mid-sized mods so they can get the love they deserve, whether it be through a tag system, recommendations, or a fancy algorithm. Overall, the mod portal community is great, but it can always improve!
I would appreciate more feedback from users. So far they've only posted in the Discussion tab whenever they found a bug (which is still nice), but I would like to know general usage experience too, you know? Now, I know that's up to the mod users, ultimately. But maybe add an option to prompt the users for feedback every now and then, if they agree to receive such prompts? Right now there is no incentive for them (with the exception of bugs) to post feedback on the mod portal. :P
The categories are difficult to use and sort by - often, mods are mis-tagged by creators or don't really fit in any specific category, and the categories are far too broad for effective browsing (for instance, if I want to look at mods that add belt tiers, the best I can do is search for "belt" or sort on "Logistics" - which is unhelpful and recently caused me frustration). In addition, it's often hard to explore for good new mods to play: I know all the standard mods, like PyCoal, AngelBob's, and K2/SE, but there's many newer contenders on the scene like Nullius and many minor mods like Specialized Fuels that I only know about from keeping a regular eye on the "recently updated" page and getting lucky. There's also some mods, like Realistic Fusion Power, that I only learned about because they were in Alt-F4. In short, there's no good way to find mods with a small number of downloads because the mod portal "sorts" with a heavy preference to what other people have already downloaded - that is: if you sort by "recently updated" you get a never-ending stream of completely random stuff; if you sort by "most downloaded" you get the same mods always at the top (and they're ones you played years ago); "trending" is effectively useless because it's not normalized and therefore becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that copies "most downloaded"; and "popular" has the same problem of showing "major" mods at the top. There needs to be a way to find mods that are newer, but ambitious and actively maintained - a sort of "forty under 40" view. You might be able to achieve that by looking at a normalized heuristic for recent downloads or by proxying in some statistics for things like whether the mod author is actively responding to discussions or how frequently (not just recently) they're updating the mod. The point is, you need better recommender algorithms that are "smarter" so the mod portal doesn't just auto-sort itself to surface only AngelBob's, Space Exploration/K2, 5Dim, and PyCoal as the first ten pages - because doing that means only those mods get downloaded and creates a positive feedback loop that "hides" newer mods and less well-known mods - which are what it should be _emphasizing_ because most people returning to the mod portal for the umpteenth time aren't looking for the big modpacks they've already played multiple times.
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