Friday Facts #314 - 0.17 stable

Regular reports on Factorio development.
malecord
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Re: Friday Facts #314 - 0.17 stable

Post by malecord » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:24 am

Regarding the wow analysis, I agree that convenience killed the game. Dungeon queue with random people, instant teleport and so on. But imho also the reduced difficulty. Dungeoning in vanilla was pleasantly difficult. Burning crusade was maybe even to much difficult (although I loved it). Then wotlk became too easy and from there on it was just mindless clicking. But in my opinion the ultimate reason for having less fun isn't not that to much convenience kills the fun. It is that to much convenience and simpleness simply removes value from social aspects. In vanilla it would matter a lot having a large guild with competent players. Having a large guild would ensure somebody was always around in your quest zone, to lend a hand with an elite or a camping rogue. Whilst having competent friends was helping doing dungeons cleanly. Convenience and simpleness killed that. Easy teleports made so it wouldn't matter having more than 3-4 friends. They could reach you anywhere in any time even if they where on a different world. Simpleness instead killed the necessity of good friends since without challenges you could easily clean up instances even with random guys found on dungeon queue. Wow became a game where a lot of players do their single player stuff but in the same world.

I however disagree regarding the discussion with level scale killing fun in gaming. Leveling is a "cheap" way to give progression gratification. Gratification works better when it really comes from player experience rather than avatar experience. In Factorio for instance you have progression in terms of technology. But the real difference is made by the experience of a player, how one is able to make good designs and administer priorities and resources efficiently. A game where leveling is almost non existent and everything is tied to the skill a player acquired by playing the game is Magicka. Give a try to Magicka2 if you find on sales it cheap. You will see that from the very beginning you have all combinations available to you. Yet to progress you "only" have to learn how to cast spells effectively. The difference between veterans and noob does not come from gear or levels. It comes from skill. Once you end the game and replay the campaign you'll become so good that you will run through early levels with closed eyes. As if you were a lv60 player surrounded by lv5 mobs. Battleblock Theather also has has that. By the time you end the game you will have growth so much in skill that early levels will feel ridiculously easy. And tons of others games where it's the player the one that levels up, not the avatar.
A little bit of that "experience it matters" was also present in wow vanilla, despite the level system. Being a veteran who knew the the secrets of every zone, the shortcuts in the dungeon was important. For instance I hated dungeoning in blackrock depths when I was a noob. Yet during the last days when I was playing people were looking for me to guide them there. I really felt unique because of the skills acquired as a player, not because of my gear. When dungeon was made linear and quest objectives became integrated with the map, that ceased to be a thing. And with the simplification of rotations and dungeons, the gear became the only metric to measure a player.

melichor
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Re: Friday Facts #314 - 0.17 stable

Post by melichor » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:41 pm

One more thing you might've missed, that is the problem of level scaling.
It's not that the progress disappears, but to the player it appears to be going backwards.
Like whenever you level up, everything around you levels up too, but your gear is the same. Unless you get better gear, everything around you is stronger if you level up, and you are a bit weaker, until you get the better gear.

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Re: Friday Facts #314 - 0.17 stable

Post by wakeboarder » Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:26 am

I think a belt tool would be awesome. Instead of denying the use of one, you should make players earn it by having it be a technology and item similar to the belt cancellation moment tool.

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Re: Factorio version 0.17 - Now stable

Post by meganothing » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:54 pm

Factory Overlord wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:43 pm
I just want to say your Assesment of World of Warcraft analogy of "LFG" is horrifically wrong.

You claim people are likely to have find a solution around the group if they have a new player?
That is because WoW Classic is in its Honey Moon Period.

In reality look at existing games like Guild Wars 2 which also does not have an LFG system.
Instead of people "treasuring" their group they completely ostracize anyone who isn't a veteran.

Warframe also has the exact same issue no LFG System for things like Terralyst and Previous Raid Mechanics that were removed.
Again people end up not "Treasuring" what they have but demand people with only experience.
New players and casual players end up again being kicked to the curb.
I can't comment on warframe, different game, different situation.

In WoW I was a casual player. And I found a guild of likeminded players who did lots of dungeon runs but without any pressure to be hardcore. And even though I mostly ran through the world as a single player I understood the need for being in a guild. Not only for the group content, but for the additional value of sozializing with others of the guild. That really made the difference between a SP game and an MMO, the chat and the banter.

After quitting WoW I returned for a few weekends Blizzard offered for free. And got multiple invitations to join a guild, even my bank-toon who seemed like a new player at lvl 8. So there was never a problem getting into a guild to go into dungeons with them.

On the other hand, if you only want to play with the "big boys", the hardcore players, you will be kicked to the curb and ridiculed unless you are already a top player (in any game). And if you want to keep to yourself and still sample the group content of an MMO you got an up-hill battle too. Pushing the players to join or create guilds was playing to the strengths of an MMO.

Even without a guild, pushing players to behave well in a group so they would be invited again was also playing to the strengths of an MMO. In old WoW the chance to get a well-behaved fun random group was much higher than in modern WoW.

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Jim-Bar
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Re: Friday Facts #314 - 0.17 stable

Post by Jim-Bar » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:02 pm

Jim-Bar wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:14 pm
posila wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:51 pm
Klonan wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:35 pm
Jim-Bar wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:51 pm
Do you know when Gog is going to update on their part? They are still on the 0.16.
As far as I know, GOG users should get the stable, we marked it as stable through the web interface.
macOS and Linux builds were not marked as stable, I did it just now.
Okay so I made a bit of investigations. When using Gog Galaxy (I usually don't), the last version of Factorio is indeed 0.17.69. However when downloading directly from their website what they call the offline backup game installer, Factorio is still in 0.16.51. I suspect that it will get updated at some point. But I'm a bit disappointed by Gog, it's inconsistent and it looks like they force their users to Gog Galaxy, which feels more and more like a DRM non-free solution :|
Hurray! Gog finally published Factorio 0.17.69 as an offline backup game installer! :D

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Re: Friday Facts #314 - 0.17 stable

Post by Frightning » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:13 am

I was on vacation when I first read this, but the conversation about game design and WoW was something I wanted to chime in on. As an avid gamer who is very particular about the games I like to play, I tend to pay a lot of attention to game's design choices and their consequences (especially in the last 10 years as I also have more experience with a wide variety of games and abstract knowledge of systems theory from my study of mathematics). I feel that, for the most part, you guys are Wube have done a pretty stellar job of navigating design choices (especially when addressing common complaints about the game). There are a few design choices that I have some gripes about though.

One thing that I recall someone on the dev team lamenting in one of the FFFs was that players have little desire or incentive to go exploring in the game. I agreed with the assessment that this was a problem, however the conversation at the time never really got into why that was the case. The reason is actually fairly simple when you think about it: There aren't the many different raw resources, and most of them are needed immediately. There are: Water, Coal, Stone, Iron ore, Copper ore, Crude oil, and Uranium ore (not counting Raw wood and Raw fish because those aren't automatably harvestable). Of these, you need the first 5 right away, leaving only Crude oil and Uranium ore as sources to be searched for. By the time this was seen as an issue, imo, Factorio was too far along development for it to be properly addressed. If I were to remake Factorio from scratch, I would have a greater variety of raw resources, and have less of that variety needed right away (and therefore needing to have a guaranteed source near your start location). The non-start resources could also be tiered a bit allowing for a nice progression of the player gradually needed to seek out rarer materials to continue down the tech tree and build more advanced stuff.

Another thing I recall being discussed in an FFF was how most of the recipes in Factorio are of the same form: set of ingredients go in, single type of product comes out (A many-to-one recipe). After a while, players learned a standard approach to dealing with this: assembler lines, typically, 1-3 belts bring in the components, and 1 more belt brings the product out (before logibots, at least). Because almost all recipes are this way, there is a lot of repetition in building production lines. Part of why Coal liquefaction and Kovarex enrichment were made the way they were was to give a different recipe structure (multiple inputs, like oil processing has, but a feedback loop, which was new), which requires a different design. In my opinion, Factorio could stand to use more of these 'not many-to-one' recipes, and more variety of them but (it's hard to do with relatively few raw materials and game's emphasis on 'assembly manufacturing' and very little 'materials processing' and) at this point, the game is too far along in development to be doing such significant redesign of existing recipes and item progressions.

These two problems imo are more lessons for future Wube games, but one issue that still stands out to me that is eminently fixable is the complete pointlessness of barreling fluids right now. The logistics required for using a barrelling based fluid transport method are necessarily more complex and space intensive than those for a fluid wagon based system (or pipes for a non-train setup), yet the latter also have better carrying capacity and throughput than the former. The solution, imo, is simple: buff barrel capacities or stack sizes so that a cargo wagon full of barrels carries more than the fluid wagon (it should also be further down the tech tree with this change, imo). The idea being: the payoff for the complexity of a fluid barreling system is higher throughput. I recognize that this is counter to basic intuition (a wagon that is a tank has less wasted space than a wagon full of barrels), but sometimes realism must be sacrificed for gameplay, and imo, this is one of those times.

Another recent and much debated choice was the simplification of Basic oil processing. I think I expressed in that FFF what I thought a better solution was: move cracking down to R+G science level (behind oil processing and perhaps some other R+G techs if it made sense). The current setup just delays the player learning that a multiple output recipe can become backed up by just one thing being overproduced and that you need a way to deal with this to ensure no shortage of the other outputs. With the old setup, even if you figured that out, the solution was locked behind an R+G+B tech, and that required the very thing you typically lacked to research. Leaving the player in a chicken and egg scenario (very frustrating to a first-timer). With my proposal, they can still encounter the problem, but they have the means to reach a solution and fix it without having to wriggle their way out of a chicken and egg problem (this issue is less of a frustration sources with the aid of tutorials being added to the game, but it didn't have them for long before Wube made their change to it, so I think the devs may have been left with an inaccurate picture of how problematic it is for new(er) players (before, they had no in game help pointing them towards a solution to such a problem). (Wube's solution for BOP really reminds me of the problem with WoW's dungeon finder, BOP is, imo, supposed to be a big step up (and marks the fact that the player has left the early game and entered the mid game).

This might seem like I'm hating on Wube for what I see as mistakes/bad choices, but tbh, I'm impressed with how few criticisms I have for the game. Most other games I can realistically criticize for much more and worse issues (the first two of these are not so much issues as they are missed opportunities earlier in development, which tbh, were hard to notice early enough to take advantage of, so they're perhaps better seen as 'suggestions for Wube's future games').

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