Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

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Mike5000
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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by Mike5000 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:15 pm

Twinsen wrote:Apart from the fact that's it's a nice tree view, the mockup explains nothing about the details.
One of the virtues of the tree view is that it doesn't need explanation.

What will people do when they see a tree view? They will left click and expect to select or open. I'd prefer select-for-placing-ghosts. People will also right click to see what further actions are available. No need for a wiki to explain shift-right-click to empty, mouse-wheel-scroll, and all the other weirdness that causes users to repeatedly lose their blueprints until they have a few hundred hours of Factorio muscle memory to protect them.

Blueprints just wanna be files. Books just wanna be folders. Blueprint items (rare but valuable) just wanna be symlinks.

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by Azzinoth » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:43 pm

The blueprint library button will be disabled until bots are researched or until any item is added to the library for the first time.
I have highlighted the second part because some people here can't read. It means that for players who already have blueprints in their libray, they have access to blueprints right at the beginning of a new game, because the library is shared between games. So it is not locked behind any research, that is only true for NEW players which don't have any blueprints at all.
NIronwolf wrote:I couldn't stand the hand drawn mockup I had on my longer post. Here's a better one.
If you compare your makeup with the one on reddit you can see that it has indented item names, which gives it much more visual clarity than yours, where all names have the same indent. I think you should change it to indented names and place the icons after the names (if you even need icons, because they are useless for blueprints anyways in my opinion). Otherwise i think thats looks great!

@Factorio devs, I think the tree file explorer is the best design, but if you are still going for the grid design, at least show the blueprint names under their icon (like in windows folder view), because having to mouse over every blueprint to read their name is a total waste of time.
Twinsen wrote:Allow books in books: this makes shift+scroll up/down strange.
Shift+scroll up/down is bad anyways. Lets say i have to scroll through 10 blueprints to select my required blueprint. That means i have to scroll, look at the blueprint, scoll, look at the next blueprint times 10. How long does that take compared to a single look at the tree? Yet, i still use the blueprint scroll in the current version. Why? Because clicking directly on a blueprint in the book will pull that blueprint out of the book, and later i press Q and it gets dropped in my inventory, messing the entire blueprint book up. Once you fix that issue, i will never use Shift+scroll up/down again!

On another note, i don't see any benefit in blueprints as items. I never needed their item characteristics. Blueprints are not a limited resource like iron because they can be copied. They are not used in any machine in the world. If i can share them via chat and via library, why would i ever need them as items? I also never felt the urge to place them in chests by my oil setup or something like that. What if i want to correct something in my oil setup blueprint. Do i run back to that chest to update the blueprint? Never...
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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by T-A-R » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:20 am

Is there a red tread to spot in our posts for you as devs? And is is reasonable to implement? Which are the limits of our imaginations?

Perhaps when more rules and shared ideas (of unanimous accordance) are set out clearer and more specific questions can be formed and awnsered. Now we just trow up our workflows in the hope they will be taken in account. What do we have so far in in summary, and what options can be scraped?

Which limits are we bounded in, what rules are fixed? For example A3 is really clear for us, we have to work with grid-shaped books (FFF#249):
Changes that will be done no matter what

First of all, blueprint library and blueprint books will not have this list of blueprints. It will have a grid similar to the one in inventory, so you can arrange the blueprints better.
Ok well, That would work in your inventory for grouping active blueprints, but i agree with A2: mixing books and folders will become confusing, but that leads to an other conclusion: we have to solve the A1 problem, since since we need the books in the library to behave as folders to make a tree. We need to be able to place them inside each other. Is removing the key bind a option?.

A book (with only a grid inside) makes it feel as an item, because of it' s simplicity.

Any file system i know uses folders, so books will be expected to behave as a folder when building your hiarchical library. But what is the difference between a book and a folder structurewise? The way of displaying/viewing (grid/list) is far beside the issue if we are not even sure if books can be placed in books.

I do not agree that grid is better to arrange blueprints, i think that we would prefer multiple layers of sorting over the mess of a two level hierarchy of all our sets of blueprints. A grid is nice for storing and grouping multiple blueprints but not for searching by X. Maybe adding/removing rows/columns and being able to rename them could possibly buff the grids a lot in their useability.

We want to orden and sort them in our personal blueprint archive in our own way
Of course there are small problems and gotcha's, last years been invested in making a great game, not in developing a great ui, that time is now, time to put the cherry on the pie.

Should users care if blueprints are items or system if they can use them how they want to. Do they have to be real items to be placed in chests etc?
My interpretation: Blueprints only need to be item to be placed in chests/printers:

Code: Select all

 We could diffentiate between blueprints (read/write) and linked copies (read only).

-Blueprints are nonitems when stored in inventory or library (editing and saving)
-Blueprints are nonitems when making and cant leave inventory
-Blueprints can be updated by reassigning them. (write)

-Linked copies can be made in real game item from a blueprint. 
-Linked copies can be used (building and chest-storing) or converted in to a new blueprint (to edit or save in own library)
-When storing a linked copy in your library it converts into a blueprint so link will be broken
-A link to a link can not be made (but linked copies can be copied infinite for sharing purpose)
-Linked copies can' t be reassigned (They are read only). 
-Linked copies can be made from player library blueprints and server library blueprints 

-Only linked blueprints (linked copies exist=true) are needed sharing on a server " library" 
-The server library blueprints are only provided as linked copies, (cuz blueprints can be reassigned, shared ownership)
-Ofcourse sharing more than the necessarily blueprints in this library is encouraged

Having a game lib is essenially what we need, if we can put both our factory prints and show-off prints in there. That could replace the current system and be much more clear at the same time.
I think being able to put books in books and having treeviewer to read this hierachy and your position in it would be a great step in the right direction. But without the right direction defined it is hard to give the right awnsers.

What are the questions in the current/prop 0 idea of having items? Are those questions problems or unknowns. How far is it from reasonably practical in the means of coding?

Most of the times a single FF give enough thoughts to not seen back for a long time, but having a multiple week session makes me feel we're taken seriously and is really interesting. Since we patiently waiting for the Fluids update we sure have another weer to spare for this topic, which is clearly an important topic where we love to give our feedback so dont hesitate for a follow up.

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by Thylacoloe » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:38 am

Hey everyone, not sure if you seen this, there's this great reddit post I thought was worth mentioning. :D
https://www.reddit.com/r/factorio/comme ... blueprint/

Seriously though, it's a good idea. I'd rather see the blue prints as items worked around this concept, than try and work trees and folders into an item grid. I think the difference here is that the grid is linear (in 2D) whereas the directory suggestion is fractical, and fractical works much better with the development and catogorisation of ideas. Which is why we see the same pattern used for mind maping software as well.

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by zugbo » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:38 am

Twinsen wrote:By making players share items, organise them in chests, protect them, it leads to way more emergent situations that can be fun in multiplayer. "where is the steam engine blueprint? it's in a chest next to the boilers, use that to build more".
By making players do extra work to share blueprints, it leads to people only using their own blueprints and never sharing. "Where is the steam engine blueprint? I got it off reddit, go find your own. Can you believe these lazy newbies nowadays?" Also, whatever emergent situation you're imagining would be easily bypassed by sharing chat links to blueprints, or even sharing web links to blueprint strings- if someone can skip walking to the chest by asking for a link, they will always ask for the link instead of walking to the chest. Now we are spamming the chat for something we used to do instantly and silently. So skip the chat and just share everything.
Twinsen wrote:But it's quite probable that in multiplayer games there will be a separate "game" library that all players can add and remove blueprints from, so that can cooperatively build that game's blueprint collection.
If you have to explicitly add blueprints to the game library then every game library will have the insane person's never-built 1,000,000 electric furnace blueprint, a book of train blueprints that mixes left-handed and right-handed tracks, and nothing else. Maybe this idea would work if every print that was pulled into the game from someone's private library got automatically added to the game library, but at that point why not just share everything?

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by Lubricus » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:46 am

zugbo wrote:
Twinsen wrote:By making players share items, organise them in chests, protect them, it leads to way more emergent situations that can be fun in multiplayer. "where is the steam engine blueprint? it's in a chest next to the boilers, use that to build more".
By making players do extra work to share blueprints, it leads to people only using their own blueprints and never sharing. "Where is the steam engine blueprint? I got it off reddit, go find your own. Can you believe these lazy newbies nowadays?" Also, whatever emergent situation you're imagining would be easily bypassed by sharing chat links to blueprints, or even sharing web links to blueprint strings- if someone can skip walking to the chest by asking for a link, they will always ask for the link instead of walking to the chest. Now we are spamming the chat for something we used to do instantly and silently. So skip the chat and just share everything.
Twinsen wrote:But it's quite probable that in multiplayer games there will be a separate "game" library that all players can add and remove blueprints from, so that can cooperatively build that game's blueprint collection.
If you have to explicitly add blueprints to the game library then every game library will have the insane person's never-built 1,000,000 electric furnace blueprint, a book of train blueprints that mixes left-handed and right-handed tracks, and nothing else. Maybe this idea would work if every print that was pulled into the game from someone's private library got automatically added to the game library, but at that point why not just share everything?
For me the multiplayer games have a tendency to get very similar with almost the same blueprints thrown down. Removing automatic sharing can maybe lead to more dynamic games with more variation and more player interaction. Embrace others building style and the chaos in open multiplayer or play single players or with selected friends.

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by ratchetfreak » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:01 am

one way to help with the book awkwardness is to create a hotkey to open the book dialog and let the player navigate it using the keyboard:

I have a book in the cursor and press the hotkey

the book dialog opens with the current blueprint highlighted

I can use mouse and/or wasd to navigate the grid and use space to select the blueprint and close the dialog, selecting a book goes down the hierarchy, there is a button (and hotkey) to move up the tree.

There is also a searchbar that another hotkey activates (make that one consistent across all dialogs with a searchbar) to filter, will optionally search recursively into the tree.

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by PacifyerGrey » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:53 pm

Why are you holding to those books so bad Twinsen?
Books were introduced when blueprints were clogging inventory space badly. When books were not enough library was introduced. Every tool has its roots and there is no shame in changing paradigm.

When we are talking about tree structure books can be completely replaced with folders especially in the case of blueprints no longer being items books lose their purpose completely.

So A3 is real. Folder can act as a book no matter if it has sub folders or not. You can still scroll through it. The only question here is the order of enumeration of subitems.

It is even more beneficial as you can not only link the folder to your hot bar but also share it using both text export string and chat link and you can share a selected part of your library in this manner which can include several sub levels. And importing player can dedicate a folder in his library for this import and not mix this big stock of blueprints with his own.

So I do suggest you think about A3 and how nice it can actually be if you remove books and replace them with more generic folder functionality

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by Oktokolo » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:49 pm

PacifyerGrey wrote:Why are you holding to those books so bad Twinsen?
There is a high probability, that books will work like folders. When reusing the library grid code for book grids, preventing the storage of books inside books would need additional work without gaining any benefit. So i expect that we get recursive books regardless of the first implemented view.
As soon, as recursive books/folders arrive i will organize my blueprints as modset->structcategory with optional game phase as another hierachical level.


Thinking more about views: We could use a hybrid view with a book/folder tree left of the view displaying the items of the selected book/folder - like in the Windows file manager. The items view should be switchable between grid and list (for few items or when icons are not enough to differentiate between items) views and memorize last used view for each book/folder.
The compact grid view is perfect for lots of blueprints featuring descriptive icons (production stuff, balancers, most train stuff...).
The list view is perfect for items where four icons as a description just don't cut it (complex multi-goods production, whole bases, complex train-stations...). In my library, for most stuff four icons are descriptive enough. But there are ten to twenty (only that few because i am somewhat creative with the icons) blueprints of wich i have to read the name to be sure that i get the right one.

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by leoch » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:59 pm

I'm not bothered how you present the blueprint library, but my main issues with blueprints:
  • there is no easy way to copy a blueprint
  • modifying blueprints only allows removal of elements; adding something requires recreating it which is a lot of work for some large blueprints
  • there is no versioning of blueprints in the library, so working out which of two copies is newer is not trivial
  • it is too easy to accidentally delete a blueprint from the library
Maybe I'm too used to DVCS (git), but version control would solve the last two items nicely. :D

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by Ambaire » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:17 pm

mooklepticon wrote:Have y'all seen this reddit thread on blueprint menu? I prefer it to blueprints as items. Why are they items, at all? I understand why they were items previously, but I think they can be abstracted, now.

https://www.reddit.com/r/factorio/comme ... blueprint/
Quoting this because I feel it would be the best solution to the blueprint problem.

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by meganothing » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:58 pm

Azzinoth wrote: Shift+scroll up/down is bad anyways. Lets say i have to scroll through 10 blueprints to select my required blueprint. That means i have to scroll, look at the blueprint, scoll, look at the next blueprint times 10. How long does that take compared to a single look at the tree? Yet, i still use the blueprint scroll in the current version. Why? Because clicking directly on a blueprint in the book will pull that blueprint out of the book, and later i press Q and it gets dropped in my inventory, messing the entire blueprint book up. Once you fix that issue, i will never use Shift+scroll up/down again!
Exactly. Shift+Scroll is one of the first things a new blueprint system should try to improve. Just 10 BP's make a book tedious to use. Whatever new system gets selected we have to be able to select the BP through "random access" instead of "linear search with zero lookahead".
Shift+scroll at the moment is like a narrow keyhole we are peeking through.

Just showing the grid or list is a first step. Even if you still had to scroll to get to the BP you would at least immediately see how far you have to scroll.
But selection by mouse would be much better. Since you already have your eye on the right BP you can point to it really fast, that's how the mouse works best.

And I would be outright happy if additional to a fast selection by mouse you could select any BP by a keyboard sequence. I.e. if a grid is used, maybe add chessboard digits on the sides and select a specific BP with 'N' '8'. Or with books in books 'A' '6' 'N' '8'. Okay, okay, that is just icing on the cake, but Shift+Scroll has to change.

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by ekffie » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:54 am

I vote very strongly for tree view with subfolders.
As for scrolling through the books - I like the ideas mentioned like just going deep level first. Also the idea to have a gui pop up with a list to select the print.
Atm books can hold 1000 prints if I remember correctly but have you ever tried scrolling through these? It gets tedious fast.
Also I need the desciptive names in text. I simply can not think of a good use of icons on them and I am constantly hovering over all prints to find the one I am looking for. Takes up much of my playing time.

And for taking away shared blueprints in multiplayer I can not disagree more.
See lastly a new player asked about how to build his first trainstation. I showed him in the world and invited him to look at several railbooks I had afterwards. Scrolling through them he asked what those wires were for. Ten minutes later he built his first own circuits. I would never have showed him these stations to not confuse him and it would have taken so much longer until he discovered it. Another friend of mine would never show me his in his opinion probably for me to complicated builds - only If I would ask specifically(which I can't not knowing they exist). He would also never place them in a chest for anyone, just because he likes to build everything from scratch - every time. Yet I got so much ideas from looking at his prints. Learned tricks. Discoverd parts which I never used before.
Really just don't take it away.
For me it is one of the things I love about multiplayer as it starts conversations. We almost never use ingame chat btw. We are in audio chat always.

I strongly hope that your console command does not mean you can't get achievements for a save as I tend to reinstall factorio everytime in a new folder for each modconfiguration so I can choose which one I update and which one I don't. Which means that from the games perspective I am a new user on every play. Getting the achievments on a save is a lot of fun. I therefore would love a mapconfig option as well. More freedom to choose for everyone.

One last thing I strongly whish for a long time. Could it be possible to get a ghost of a building/inserter whatever even before you reasearched it or what you cannot currently build because you don't have the items on you to print it? (out of a similar view you see when you choose things in the circuit network?) I walk so many time just to catch stuff and can not finish the structure I am building - I would like to leave a ghost for me to see or the robots to place later. Would be awesome! (I now there are creative chest and creative mode but I just don't like getting things in the world by magic.)

Thanks for listening :)

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by Linux_user404 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:29 am

Blueprints as items give more flexibility when you need to make copies. Copies just for this game and copies without some of the entities on a blueprint
On the other hand blueprint menu allows to have submenus, while you can't put books into books... Useful if you have a big blueprint that consists of multiple parts that you would like to place separately(I don't want beacons until I have enough power), or maybe switch between them(I want to place assemblers 2 for now, but later I want to switch to assembler 3 with modules).
Oh, there was a question about 30 blueprint books limit. I know people who has a lot more than 30 books in their libraries(oh man, when you play a multiplayer game and try to list through that player's blueprint library to find some other player blueprints... You should be able to fold blueprint libraries by player in multiplayer!!!). I have just around 30 books(this is what people usually need with 1000+ hours in game! I have 2177 hours right now). And I mostly play vanila. Imagine if you like to play with different mods and how many extra blueprint books you would need for blueprints useful for different mod sets, subsets, scenarios, etc...

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by Avezo » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:21 pm

I remember in one of threads about UI there was mention of World of Warcraft UI. That's how I would like Factorio to be - you have essentially 'spells' on your toolbar, completely separate from your inventory, which when 'casted' put item from your 'backpack' on the ground. That way toolbar can be separated from inventory, which IMO is very desired, because you can make toolbar work with 'blueprint spells' (which wouldn't be 'items' in your 'backpack' anymore), which allow far more flexibility with new blueprints implementation.
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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by eradicator » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:58 pm

Ok. So i'm probably the last guest to this party. Much has already been said. But i felt that a picture says more than many words. Didn't have too much time, so excuse the rough mockups.
Detailed Mode
Personally i think that the "manage lots of small things" is a problem already adequately solved by todays file system explorers. And the "search" problem is imho solved by browser bars. So my ideal BP Library would combine the best of two worlds. I've never used the BP library much because it truncates all my carefully chosen blueprint names and forces me to search through a heap of symbols, hovering over every single print to finally find what i want. So my main concern is ofc...FINDABILITY.
forum__blueprint_library_detail-mode.png
forum__blueprint_library_detail-mode.png (157.5 KiB) Viewed 1072 times
Classic Mode
I realize ofc that not everyone likes this. But this has also been solved by file browsers long ago. Just open a windows file browser on any recent system, and you can use ctrl+mousewheel to change from tiny icons to huge thumbnails:
forum__blueprint_library_classic-mode.png
forum__blueprint_library_classic-mode.png (73.26 KiB) Viewed 1072 times
Super Thumbnail Mode
And when names and icons just aren't enough, and you just want to search quickly through a more visual representation:
forum__blueprint_library_super-thumbnail-mode.png
forum__blueprint_library_super-thumbnail-mode.png (305.12 KiB) Viewed 1072 times
Dear Devs: Is this a huge heap of work? Yes. But i sincerly believe that different view modes for different people is the best - or maybe even the only - way, to please the maximum amount of players.
Author of: Hand Crank Generator, Screenshot Hotkey 2.0
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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by derpumu » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:34 am

it will be an inventory which can hold only blueprints (maybe also deconstruction planners?)
Yes, PLEASE! Especially in modded games, I often use multiple different construction planners that should go into the library (because they are a pita to set up), and sometimes into books. While you're at it: upgrade planners as well, please...

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by PacifyerGrey » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:27 am

Just throwing in another idea
If we get a tree structure reflected in file system, why not allow other file types such as text notes (.txt) and pictures, and call it just Library instead of Blueprint library?
You can still dedicate folders to serve as blueprint books but players will be able to add some custom data to the library helping them sorting and sharing data.
Adding this you can also automatically add desired notepad functionality. You can also let such files link to a toolbar as well as blueprints to help players have nice hints or plans in game at their hands

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by Oktokolo » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:03 pm

PacifyerGrey wrote:Just throwing in another idea
If we get a tree structure reflected in file system, why not allow other file types such as text notes (.txt) and pictures, and call it just Library instead of Blueprint library?
You can still dedicate folders to serve as blueprint books but players will be able to add some custom data to the library helping them sorting and sharing data.
Adding this you can also automatically add desired notepad functionality. You can also let such files link to a toolbar as well as blueprints to help players have nice hints or plans in game at their hands
That is the best idea of this thread. And there has to be full modding support - so we could indeed have upgrade planners in our libraries.

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Re: Friday Facts #250 - Dead end conclusion

Post by factoriouzr » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:43 pm

what about allowing us to:
-add named categories (as many as we want) to organize our blueprints (similar to what I suggested before, and someone also made a mockup similar to my idea in a previous post in this thread)
-have categories work like directories that you can expand and hide
-UI should allow for toggling showing names of books and blueprints beside them (similar to operating system file managers). Icons and picking which row you put them in is not enough for organization. This type of management is tedious and not necessary. What I would do in this situation is use one row for each category of blueprint books, like one row for trains. Now what happens if you have 5 rows each for a different category next to each other. Now you add another train blueprint book but your train row is full. Now you have to manually shuffle all the other books down by one row if you want to keep your train blueprints in the same logical order relative to other categories. Even if you move your train blueprints down to the bottom to avoid shuffling too many blueprints, now you have an empty row which is confusing, complicates what happens when you add new books (why is there a blank row?), etc. Honestly this manual organization is just bad. Give us directories/categories and have it auto sorted. Then if we want to change the order of a category, we just give it a different name that shows up earlier when sorted.
-add the ability to mark some blueprints and books as public or have a public section you can put links for blueprints into instead of removing the automatic sharing of blueprints completely. I think the idea of a shared blueprint section should be kept but it should be under the player's control in what they share. I don't mind manually putting blueprints in chat, but that should not replace automatic sharing of selected blueprints
-I really want the ability to store deconstruction planners in the library and in books. I always set up at least 2 deconstruction planners, the default one and one that only destroys trees and rock, however I could see others being useful as well, so it would be great to be ablel to define them once and store them in books and libraries. For eg. having a deconstruction book to quickly switch what you want to deconstruct might be very useful
-books should also have their own icons. If not set, then use existing behaviour. If set, use the specified icons
-can we have an option to disable transfer all to or from the blueprint library. It's so easy to missclick on your quickbar, inventory or chest now and transfer all contents and it's extremely frustrating. I would like quick transfer of all items to/from the library and to/from the quickbar to be disabled (add an option for each of these in the game options)
-I just want clarification on the disabling the blueprint library button. I don't want this button to ever be disabled. I want my existing blueprints available even before I have bots so I can put them down and follow my blueprints even manually if I have to. I also want to be able to create blueprints of my builds even before I have bots researched. I don't see the gameplay advantage in having the player remember that they wanted to blueprint a build they made at the very start of the game at the mid game when they get bots. Blueprint library and button shold always be enabled. Other buttons are always enabled like the map and map filter buttons, trains etc. Don't overcomplicate things by trying to be too smart. It's not that many buttons, just leave them there :)

can you please implement the following features before the next majour version, they should be easy to imiplement and would really improve the quality of life:
-allow updating blueprints without resetting name and icons (just a shortcut is enough until the next majour release)
-allow blueprinting trains
-default all options to enabled when blueprinting (eg. blueprint train stop names should be on by default)

I talked about some of this stuff in friday facts 249 post in more detail when the blueprint proposals were discussed.

I also really would love the file system type approach. It was well described by a post above with screenshots.

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