Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

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BlueTemplar
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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by BlueTemplar »

But Wube specifically tried to make the tutorial and campaign more distinct with the new not-tutorial/demo & campaign ?

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About the story : Come on Wube, don't you want to have a legion of teenage girls writing Factorio fanfics ? :lol:

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There's one thing that Factorio can do in mission transitions (for better or worse), that most RTS can't : blueprinting your whole base, picking it up, and then putting it down again ! (I should try again that game with super-low resources where you have to keep relocating...)
You could, in the manner of Homeworld's "quick auto-collect all map's resources once the mission is won", have Compilatron do it for you with a click of a button, and serve as a big "box on wheels" ?

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Deadly-Bagel
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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by Deadly-Bagel »

Wow, it has been a long time since I played the campaign. I only briefly played the new one, but then realised I had mods enabled that made it impossible to finish xP

What stuck with me in the old campaign, and that I can remember vividly even now, was coming across a ruined factory. There were still a number of buildings standing, but power was dead and a lot of the assembly line had been destroyed.

I found this a really powerful tool to learn with. It showed me an efficient way of setting up furnaces, showed me how a factory can link together. But it wasn't as simple as "here's a working factory" because I actually had to work out how it was set up to work out was going wrong and thus how to fix it, first with getting power restored, then with finding little blips in the production line like missing Inserters or belts. It was simple enough to plop buildings down over the destroyed remnants, or in one case I decided I knew a better way and did that instead.

The great thing about this is the player isn't being forced to do anything. It's like a "here's help if you want it" but delivered without the slightest interruption. It makes me want to write a scenario of being aboard a ship or something and needing to go through areas repairing and upgrading bits of it here and there, because it was a really great part of the original campaign.
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bobingabout
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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by bobingabout »

I vote option 1. Keep the expanding map mechanics. I'm sure you can make it work.

Also, I was there for Spiff's Friday stream. I didn't try to join the game, but yeah, he wasn't having much luck staying online.
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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by mrvn »

The game has in-game tutorials that come up as you research stuff. Why not expand on that with campaigns?

This also helps with the problem that your first factorio build will be rubbish. So e.g. when you research oil and need to learn about complex fluid mechanics and such the game offers you the Oil Campaign and you build some oil processing, plastic, new science packs and as the campaign processes you see where your design doesn't expand well. At the end you go back to your game and do it better.

Another benefit of the in-game campaigns would be that you could provide a huge iron/copper/coal/... setup all pre made and you could concentrate on the new oil processes and science packs alone. No need to have the player build / expand 100 green circuit factories to meed demands for the campaign as he will have to do in the real game.

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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by Enduinn »

> No story.

A campaign is a connected series of scenarios to create a story. This is just an extensive tutorial. Factorio needs a campaign, not a start-to-end tutorial; YouTubers do that better anyway. Also, the game has been out a long time, many people know how to play and there's loads of community resources for that. A story is what would bring everyone back to play again.

The current tutorials pieces are great. When I wanted to know, "EXACTLY how do you make these train signals work?", it was a great help. Several more of those I think is all that the game needs for tutorials.

Mechanically, I think an expanding map is the best way to continue the story without recreating the factory from scratch.

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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by <NO_NAME> »

I would like to play expanding map campaign just because it is something new and it would be fun to try it.
I wanted to write more but I'm too lazy.
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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by popop78996 »

Hello, I have just now really looked at the factorio updates on steam and have to say that I'm really happy that the game may be getting some more of a guided campaign. I think that the expanding campaign would be the correct choice as it allows for the personal touch of building your own factory. I think that the issue of different player states could be resolved by having it tell you about the production tab at the end of the first section and at the gate to each next section give a recommended production rate for each resource. This would give the new player a gauge as to whether they're making a lot or a little as that changes as you progress.

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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by theorderofthings »

I was playing factorio with a friend that got the game recently, and I noticed that most of the problems they had weren't technical - they were psychological. There was an inherent fear that factorio was too complicated for them, and that made the game a lot harder. For example, when we started to get to the point when we had to automate green science, my friend sort of just froze - they saw the recipe and almost gave up right there. However, when we started to work together to automate each of the steps, they realized that each step was surmountable and started to have a lot more fun.

I tutor students in mathematics, and this actually reminded me a lot of the psychological problems students face. They see a problem and completely freeze up - even if its very much with in their ability to solve. In fact, the same thing that worked with my friend in factorio works on my students - you get them to realize that the problem can be broken up into distinct easily solvable chunks, and you give them the space to realize how those chunks fit together to get the solution.

I was reading the FFF blog and while there was a lot of discussion about how players interact with the tutorial, it didn't seem like there was much about how to improve the perception of the player - to remove those mental blocks. I think the main barrier to learning how to play factorio is psychological. If you are going to remake the tutorial, I think that view has to be kept in mind - all of the players who open factorio are capable of solving the puzzles factorio poses, but many of them think that they are not. The best thing a good tutorial could do is to make the player understand that they are more capable than they think they are.

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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by Ext3h »

Deadly-Bagel wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:10 am
What stuck with me in the old campaign, and that I can remember vividly even now, was coming across a ruined factory. There were still a number of buildings standing, but power was dead and a lot of the assembly line had been destroyed.
That type of hand-holding is great for some players, who like to learn from example. But to be honest, it's too early in that case. That map for example should have better started with a free-build option first, and locked the sample behind exploration. Let the player try on his own first, and only when he starts wandering around clueless, have him discover examples.

That could then also be used to embed such clues in a "freeplay" style custom map. Lock in the player by 3 natural borders (water, cliffs, biter nests) in order to require some progression, and place examples of "abandoned" tech in increasing distance slightly off the obvious path. An abandoned armory here, a knot of belts there, some blinky LED circuit next, even a racetrack for practicing car controls or a simple train station showcasing footprint of mainbus vs railline. Invite the player to discover and reverse engineer, but only if the player is choosing to prioritize exploration over base building, which provides an indicator that base building is currently not interesting to that player, which in a case of a new player may indicate overload.

If the player goes off to watching Youtube tutorials while playing the "tutorial", it's more or less a failure. Same as importing a full blueprint library, the player is immediately given close to ideal solutions for all the puzzles. As long as the player can be given just enough discoverable hints to stop him from derailing to external tutorials, it's sufficient. But don't force hints on the player, or you risk disturbing whatever solution the player could come up with on his own.

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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by Ranger_Aurelien »

theorderofthings wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:19 am
For example, when we started to get to the point when we had to automate green science, my friend sort of just froze - they saw the recipe and almost gave up right there. However, when we started to work together to automate each of the steps, they realized that each step was surmountable and started to have a lot more fun.
What I do sometimes is draft the work out -- near where I would set up all the belts, I will put the first assembler with the final recipe (say gold science), then look at the inputs (you have ALT on, right?). Then I'll lay down more assemblers that make THOSE things, and reiterate until I have it clear what I will need to pipe/belt into the new assembling area, then put it all together in the production area. It's a strategy I developed for recipes in an MMO (albeit on paper).
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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by BlueTemplar »

Yeah, laying it all out is still the best way to do it in complex modpacks, even with Helmod and such (because you can then basically see it all in the form of a graph). Picker dollies really shine in these situations, to quickly rearrange buildings !

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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by Deadly-Bagel »

Ext3h wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:42 am
Deadly-Bagel wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:10 am
What stuck with me in the old campaign, and that I can remember vividly even now, was coming across a ruined factory. There were still a number of buildings standing, but power was dead and a lot of the assembly line had been destroyed.
That type of hand-holding is great for some players, who like to learn from example. But to be honest, it's too early in that case. That map for example should have better started with a free-build option first, and locked the sample behind exploration. Let the player try on his own first, and only when he starts wandering around clueless, have him discover examples.
You absolutely wouldn't dump the player straight into that scenario. By that point we had already been building little factories in the previous scenarios though, so, taking the campaign on the whole, I didn't consider it too early. I'd already been using everything that base had (except laser turrets, which were AWESOME) at some point in the campaign, just not nearly as tidy or on quite that scale.

What I'm getting at is that yes, you should have the player build their own attempts first to play around with and understand the concepts of the game, but once they're familiar with how things interact with each other it was a great tool for me at least to be shown a way to lay it all out properly.
Ext3h wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:42 am
But don't force hints on the player
Uh... I would call this the least forceful type of hint. Proper layout is core to Factorio, it is not something that can be ignored if you want to have any hope of finishing the rocket, so I don't think it should be hidden for the player to only discover when they've got bored and wandered off. Like I said, teach the mechanics first, let the player mess around on their own with small tasks, then hit them with the same task on a much larger scale but with a half-destroyed factory to repair.

And not only for learning, it was a fun change from "build everything from scratch" to "fix something and use it".
Money might be the root of all evil, but ignorance is the heart.

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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by BlueTemplar »

Yeah, that was probably the best scenario of the campaign !

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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by BlueTemplar »

Damn, I shouldn't have tempted the universe :
BlueTemplar wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:58 am
About the story : Come on Wube, don't you want to have a legion of teenage girls writing Factorio fanfics ? :lol:
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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by scooter010 »

To Campaign:
May u should use a combination of both strategies. At the and of each level, you could calculate a likehood of mastering the next level (e.g. by production values of assembling machines, energy level, ore production, number of defences, time to complete the level and so on) and ask the player, if he wants to
  1. try the next level on the actual map/factory (and display a level of difficulty depending on the likelyhood of mastering the next level).
  2. start over the level.
  3. start the next level with a predifined map/factory with common difficulty.
If the player didn't played a level as "good" as it may need to survive a normal game till that point, u should display some tipps, depending on the "missbehavior" of the player (a lot of handcrafting, ...), maybe with litle YT tutorial videos or an ingame "ghost player" and some texts.

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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by WarpZone »

About "Players Not Wanting To Restart..." I've noticed that in Freeplay, when I change my mind about something important, if I haven't got massive amounts of construction bots already researched and built, I find that tearing down a build is always a huge PITA. Some part of my brain is much happier starting a new map, even though researching my way all the way up the tech tree again takes a lot longer.

So. Food for thought. Sometimes the only thing worse than restarting is realizing you need to right-click everything in the map before you restart.

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Re: Friday Facts #329 - Campaign reassessment

Post by BlueTemplar »

That's curious, on most settings you are hardly space- and resource-limited, so why would you tear it down instead of building a new factory elsewhere ?
(Especially before bots, when the entities are still cheap.)

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