Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Regular reports on Factorio development.
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Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by slpwnd »

Even though not much has happened this week, there are still FFF: http://www.factorio.com/blog/post/fff-105

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by Greg40 »

This is the binary to run on linux servers without graphics card
YES !

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by Klonan »

I noticed on the presskit page it says steam realease 'early 2016' is that still the forecast or just a cautious estimate?

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by Kane »

Another Friday closer to steam release. I'm really excited not for myself but for your handwork to be thrown onto steam and all the new blood coming into the community. Will have to as a community help monitor and post on the steam forums. Just remember there will be 100's of trolls when the day comes. Don't lose your cool and don't fall in their traps. Just be cool headed and always smile :P

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by Zeblote »

You've put the high resolution steam engine in the press kit, so I guess we will see those textures soon?

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by oLaudix »

I don't think I agree with Factorio being Tower defense genre.
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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by Smarty »

Slpwnd, Twinsen can i join in with dont starve :lol: :lol:

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by safan »

Klonan wrote:I noticed on the presskit page it says steam realease 'early 2016' is that still the forecast or just a cautious estimate?
iirc its more a question of timing: november has major AA titles releasing, december has steam winter sales. So a new release is likely to get more frontpage action in early 2016.

My opinion is that factorio doesn't need a greenlight, and should wait to release a full game summer or autumn 2016 ... I have seen released games in worse condition then factorio.

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by Drury »

oLaudix wrote:I don't think I agree with Factorio being Tower defense genre.
Image
It's pretty obvious what Factorio is - a walking simulator :twisted:

Okay, now for what I think of the presskit, if it really bothers anyone:

Trailer first, great idea. As I've said before, the trailer is excellent, great length, shows the actual game, good music, good timing, simply gets one hooked. I still want my money back for that train horn timing.

As a general overview the one you have on the main page works much better I think. Journalists, like all people, want to be fed simple, to-the-point information first. Unlike other people, they want it as raw as possible. The front page description strikes a good balance I think, if it may be a bit short for a press release. Your current press release is a bit cheesy. It's also too short to make an article out of.

You should put some logos up on the page.

The first screenshot is good, whoever made the factory in the second one should be beat up with a rusty pole. It better be just a placeholder.

The videos... Entirely too long. Nobody who has yet to play the game is going to watch any of them. Especially not journalists whose time is even more precious.

I like the idea of a documentary, but I think it would be better to make an introductory video next, in the style of our beloved and widely recognized SpaceChem. Portal did the same thing. Simple idea - trailer hooks you, the introductory video clears out confusion about what the heck you've just seen, slowly, step by step, dissecting the core features of the game. The current trailer already kind of tries, but in the end, there's no actual gameplay. It's more or less about watching things work, except the little bit at the start where the player places down two miners. It's comparable to SpaceChem's main trailer on those terms.

First you locate resources - a short take of running around the map. Cut. Then you mine them. A 2-second take of factoriodude swinging his pickaxe in a field of iron ore. Then you craft a furnace out of those resources. A few seconds illustrating crafting UI. A few second take of placing ores in furnaces and smelting them. Then comes automation. Craft belts and connect miners to furnaces with them. Use inserters to place materials onto belts and into various objects. Fast forward. Set up your electricity network - a few seconds of placing down a steam engine and connecting assemblers to it. Use assemblers to automate production. A few seconds of setting up an assembler that produces gears. Fast forward. You've got a sprawling factory. Another take - Expand. A few takes of placing down rails and setting up train stations and placing miners in remote places (like 1-2 seconds per take). Fight. Random shots of fighting biters, placing down solar panels, power armor UI, cars. Reach the stars. A few takes of the endgame. Factorio logo. End video. The thing shouldn't be much more than 2 minutes and does the same job as a 40-minute video which never gets touched simply for being solid 40 minutes of something you're not sure whether you're fully interested in yet.

A documentary is a good idea for the steam page still. But it should be the third video. Hook -> explain -> elaborate on your intents and behind the scenes stuff.
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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by CorrettoSambuca »

This here is some solid advice.
I wanted to give my own two cents but this guy up there just said everything I wanted to say and more, in a better way than I could have.

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by cpy »

Smarty wrote:Slpwnd, Twinsen can i join in with dont starve :lol: :lol:
Heh i have DST too, fun little game. :D
Never found more players to play it with. HF with it, back to diablo 3 :D

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by slpwnd »

Drury wrote:
oLaudix wrote:I don't think I agree with Factorio being Tower defense genre.
Image
It's pretty obvious what Factorio is - a walking simulator :twisted:

Okay, now for what I think of the presskit, if it really bothers anyone:

Trailer first, great idea. As I've said before, the trailer is excellent, great length, shows the actual game, good music, good timing, simply gets one hooked. I still want my money back for that train horn timing.

As a general overview the one you have on the main page works much better I think. Journalists, like all people, want to be fed simple, to-the-point information first. Unlike other people, they want it as raw as possible. The front page description strikes a good balance I think, if it may be a bit short for a press release. Your current press release is a bit cheesy. It's also too short to make an article out of.

You should put some logos up on the page.

The first screenshot is good, whoever made the factory in the second one should be beat up with a rusty pole. It better be just a placeholder.

The videos... Entirely too long. Nobody who has yet to play the game is going to watch any of them. Especially not journalists whose time is even more precious.

I like the idea of a documentary, but I think it would be better to make an introductory video next, in the style of our beloved and widely recognized SpaceChem. Portal did the same thing. Simple idea - trailer hooks you, the introductory video clears out confusion about what the heck you've just seen, slowly, step by step, dissecting the core features of the game. The current trailer already kind of tries, but in the end, there's no actual gameplay. It's more or less about watching things work, except the little bit at the start where the player places down two miners. It's comparable to SpaceChem's main trailer on those terms.

First you locate resources - a short take of running around the map. Cut. Then you mine them. A 2-second take of factoriodude swinging his pickaxe in a field of iron ore. Then you craft a furnace out of those resources. A few seconds illustrating crafting UI. A few second take of placing ores in furnaces and smelting them. Then comes automation. Craft belts and connect miners to furnaces with them. Use inserters to place materials onto belts and into various objects. Fast forward. Set up your electricity network - a few seconds of placing down a steam engine and connecting assemblers to it. Use assemblers to automate production. A few seconds of setting up an assembler that produces gears. Fast forward. You've got a sprawling factory. Another take - Expand. A few takes of placing down rails and setting up train stations and placing miners in remote places (like 1-2 seconds per take). Fight. Random shots of fighting biters, placing down solar panels, power armor UI, cars. Reach the stars. A few takes of the endgame. Factorio logo. End video. The thing shouldn't be much more than 2 minutes and does the same job as a 40-minute video which never gets touched simply for being solid 40 minutes of something you're not sure whether you're fully interested in yet.

A documentary is a good idea for the steam page still. But it should be the third video. Hook -> explain -> elaborate on your intents and behind the scenes stuff.
There are some valid points there. Thanks for writing this up. Especially the point of having a "extracted gameplay" looks quite powerful. Maybe I should do some rethinking here.

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by jorgenRe »

*looks at the code for useful space industry*
I'm happy to be of help :D
Now to find out how I am to get the mech to work like so that the belts are a car entity and the top part of it is a turret entity. But I wonder if it will be possible to put certain objects into a specific render layer so that one could easily add in something like an upgrade module that instead of creating a full new sprites heet, one just add the entity to an above render layer :)
#FakeTrains :o

Edit ok the underground may be the worst one coded as I umm used to do the beginning of gui on load until it gave an error :lol:
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Noticed the told change in FFF #111 so il continue to use my signature ^_^
Thanks for listening to our suggestions, devs :D!
I would jump of joy if we could specify which tiles spawned in a surfaces

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by DaveMcW »

Wube is supposed to be pronounced woo-beh? I would never have guessed that.

Maybe spelling it WuBe would make it a bit clearer.

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by Marconos »

It all kinda reads like it was written by developers. Get someone in marketing to help you create this stuff. It will make a world of difference. Use the right people with the right strengths. Companies like Blizzard don't have their developers doing their marketing working, they have them writing code. Really want you guys to make a huge splash and the things that you have put together made my eyes kinda glaze over and I love this game. It had to pop and be enticing and make you want to see more.

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by cpy »

slpwnd wrote:
Drury wrote: A documentary is a good idea for the steam page still. But it should be the third video. Hook -> explain -> elaborate on your intents and behind the scenes stuff.
There are some valid points there. Thanks for writing this up. Especially the point of having a "extracted gameplay" looks quite powerful. Maybe I should do some rethinking here.
Original trailer for Factorio made me think like this looks good but meh i won't buy it. Video that i saw that had actual gameplay sold me on this game. From trailer i thought you are playing RTS and giving commands to things including that guy who drove here by car. It gave me idea that you are a god like commander and not that actual guy who walks around and build stuff.

But i'm more of a TD/Survival game fan and not fully creative only game kinda guy.

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by Peter34 »

slpwnd wrote:There are some valid points there. Thanks for writing this up. Especially the point of having a "extracted gameplay" looks quite powerful. Maybe I should do some rethinking here.
The primary message you guys at Wube need to get across, is the one to counter the reaction that many people have when they spend a few minutes watching Factorio YouTube videos: "This looks boring, this looks like work. I play computer games to have fun!" They see a guy standing there with an axe mining coal, mining iron ore, mining stone.

The counter to that is to emphasize that if you're working while playing Factorio, then you're doing it wrong. To emphasize, to hammer in, that the success criterion for Factorio is to do as little work as possible. To minimize manual labour. To automate as many processes as possible.

You also need to make it very clear that the early game phase is fundamentally different from what the game is like even 45-120 minutes later (depending on how quickly the player progresses). The early game is all about a dude running around with an axe mining stuff manually. But later - and not even much later - the game starts being not about that any more. At all.



As for "big splash", I'm not sure the splash can be that big. Factorio will be a niche game. My other favourite game, 7 Days to Die, has sold over a million copies, but it's a 3D game played from a first-person perspective. It simply appeals more widely.

Also, I think many who are in the target audience for Factorio have already purchased it. I'm guessing maybe it's optimistic to expect more than about 100k to 150k initial sales on Steam (and then a long and very slow tail in the following years(, on top of the 100k sales that has already happened. Although for Wube (or indeed for most publishers) another 100k sales or even just another 50k, would still be very sweet, of course.

Another thing to emphasize is the potential for cooperative multipayer. I still think coop MP is an overlooked game mode, even though many games (including 7D2D) lend themselves very well to it. It's fun to play together, striving towards a common goal. But in popular perception, multiplayer still always means player-versus-player.

In the end, though, I think it'd be a big mistake trying to sell Factorio to a wide audience. It needs to be understood as a niche game. It needs to be marketed that way.

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by Drury »

Good point about presenting the game as work. I'm not sure if it's entirely valid though. It does make sense and has firm base in common logic, but your first contact with i.e. Minecraft is watching a pickaxe swinging at grey cubes. That is work. Yet it attracts people. It's really bizarre.

Not sure if you're correct on your assumptions about the state of the playerbase. I don't want to make predictions because I can't tell the future either, but consider this: Factorio is, at this point, a deliberately isolated game. It basks in it's obscurity. That's kind of the business model Wube went with, at least from what I can tell from the factoids they feed us. Keep it obscure while it's being developed, then go balls against the wall cracking that eggshell when it's ready. It's very likely that you'd heard about the game via word of mouth. I know I did. I dare assume most people here did. That won't be the case for most people who come flocking when this baby launches. Press coverage, Steam promotion, marketing will kick in. New people WILL pour in, and I would dare say in very large quantities compared to present time. They may not even realize the game is not for them. They'll just buy it because it seems neat. Or for whatever reason. Most people who buy games don't really use their brains all that much. I know I don't. Anyway - there are still some people out there who really want to play Factorio for hours and hours and hours and don't realize it exists. Scratch that - not some. Lots. They just failed to notice it, and you can't blame them, there's kind of a crisis going on with indie game industry where shovelware begins to oversaturate the market and good titles fail to make themselves known. Not that Factorio even tries at this point. It has no reason to have attracted it's full playerbase at this point. We're still just alpha/beta testers.

Oh yeah and - there is no such thing as aiming too high with your marketing. You can't even overspend on it. It's always a good investment. A wise man once said - you can sell people absolutely anything. I forgot his name and he was pretty young. But he made a game that I considered really crappy and it sold quite a bit, so I'm inclined to agree with him. If there is a niche game, it would have to be (take a shot) SpaceChem. Yet it marketed itself sufficiently. It made a splash.

Truth is, they did not make crazy money on it. But it's still considered a classic among nerds. As a wise man half-jokingly said, had the game been called SpaceGems, it would have sold twice times as much. Chemistry and programming. Not an attractive combination for the lesser man. Fortunately, Factorio isn't boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooring industrial design lesson, it is SCIENCE! It is EXCITEMENT! There's SPARKING ELECTRICITY and COOL DEATH RAYS. You build a factory to manufacture TANKS and TANK SHELLS to annihilate GIANT SPACE BUGS and BURN their HORRIFYING SPAWNING GROUNDS down with FLAMETHROWER that YOU HAVE MADE in your FACTORY OF DOOM. Don't worry my friend. There's plenty to see for the average gamer in Factorio. They may not even realize how much they want to set up transport belts and figure out best routing solutions just to reach those ends. Sounds naive, but really that's how it works. Most people really like doing stuff they think they'd rather not touch with a ten-foot pole. As a wise man once said - you know people know things they don't know they know.
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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by Watchman »

As a couple people have said, marketing is it's own job and you definitely want someone with experience to do that job.
For some general advice though, this video by TotalBiscuit talks about how he decides whether to review a game.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pRDRCorx14

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Re: Friday Facts #105 - The Grey Zone

Post by cncr04s »

I don't think releasing on steam is going to be a benefit to the game all that much. All to frequently, I see big game launches on steam that look like they have had millions of dollars of investment into developing the game/story/graphics/engine etc.. but have low numbers of purchases even after weeks, it's sad in some cases. There are tens of thousands of games on steam, and I don't see steam's userbase growing that much. The game being bought directly from the creators is likely going to be the best option for the continuation of it's design period. Take a look at minecraft pc, they never partnered with any steams, and they did just well, plus not having a middle man taking some percent of the purchase.

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