Friday Facts #20 The release buzz

Regular reports on Factorio development.
kovarex
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Friday Facts #20 The release buzz

Post by kovarex »

Friday Facts #20: http://www.factorio.com/blog/post/fff-20

I'm quite curious what do you think about the conversion rate.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by MrWigggles »

Demos are kinda of a terrible. Its way, they've largely gone away.


So lets break it down.

You have a Good Game or a Bad Game.

Then you Demo can do 1 of 3 things.

Promote Sales

Not Promote Sales

Satisfy Curiosity

Of these 3 states only one of them promote sales.

So you're stuck with 6 possible states, and two of them result in sales, leaving you with %66 failure rate for the purpose of the demo.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by Apophis27 »

I haven't played yet b/c I'm waiting for a release that will be more or less a playable game. Some of the artwork early on really turned me off b/c it seemed like an amateurish game. Looking at the screenshots now it seems much better, artwork looks good. I have a feeling that you are missing the most important reason why people aren't buying the game yet. I would think that most people that do not want to play test a game in alpha (unless your a game dev). I suspect when you move to beta release you will get higher conversions.

The reason games like Starbound or DayZ are so popular in Alpha stage is b/c they already had a user base to build from. The ARMA2 mod for DayZ players and Terraria for Starbound. Minecraft didn't get popular until a few releases into Beta. If I were you I would work on getting it to a beta stage.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by hoho »

I bought the game ONLY because there was a demo out. Had there not been one I would have looked at pirating. Promoting people to buy stuff without having a demo is bad business. You might get a sale perhaps but if they find out it's bad you also almost guarantee an unhappy customer who'll be saying bad stuff about it because they are disappointed due to wasting money on it.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by Chrotesque »

Having bought Rimworld and lately Factorio, I might be able to help. Rimworld was given to me by a colleague to test it out, it's still very early and loads of features are missing but at the time I got it, I lost an entire weekend (3 days for me) with it and check daily for new updates on it. Needless to say I bought it already.

Same colleague suggested Factorio and since you guys had a demo, I installed this in my lunch break at work and tested it. After the second mission of the three mission demo campaign (if I got my facts straight that is) I was sold and bought it soon after.

Having played quite a bit my biggest struggle yet has been the control of the game. The content is exhaustingly deep and well thought through, the visuals are okay but not too good but in the end, I don't play for the graphics so that wasn't a concern.
So this might just be me of course but the control scheme of Factorio just seems off, it doesn't feel natural to me, the layout of Q for weapon switching, E for inventory, left click for removing a building and so on - can't see the game currently but I'd probably try to go with a more common layout and offer the ability to change the layout.

Other than that, the game requires loads of time to get to a point when you'll be able to build incredibly big factories, the pacing might be a bit slow for a few people, other than that Rimworld introduced the adaptive tutor, maybe it would help to create a really really simple tutorial with less popups that have to be tabbed away (again, I feel it's not natural to use tab at this point) and let's have the AI check you out and see, what you're doing and what you might want to know.

To reiterate however, I was not sold before I tried the demo, the demo did it for me as I was low on cash so I had to make sure, this is what I like and GOD DAMN THIS IS WHAT I LIKE! :D

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by FrozenOne »

Well, when i look at the old trailer it really does look terrible. Gray boxes of rotating chaos. Good that you almost have the new one.

Btw, I looked at THEIR trailer and it didn't catch me. Weird graphics, too many things happening around. So I just lowered their conversion rate:D

(change the topic name?)

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by luarvic »

Its shame for me to saying, but i bought game after playing (10+ hours) its full version downloaded for free.
:oops:

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by ray4ever »

The play test will start at saturday (tomorrow) so all the requirements must be in place, this should give us enough feedback for rough balancing and polishing.
So we will be able to join the 0.9 pretest with experimental updates enabled in the options? Or are you only referring to internal testing?

Regarding trailer views -> copys sold: Rimworld is heavily featured in Let's play series on youtube. So you might want to reach out to these Let's players once 0.9 came out in order to generate more attention. (I believe i got knowledge of your game from one of Quill18 short test videos)
Having played quite a bit my biggest struggle yet has been the control of the game. The content is exhaustingly deep and well thought through, the visuals are okay but not too good but in the end, I don't play for the graphics so that wasn't a concern.
So this might just be me of course but the control scheme of Factorio just seems off, it doesn't feel natural to me, the layout of Q for weapon switching, E for inventory, left click for removing a building and so on - can't see the game currently but I'd probably try to go with a more common layout and offer the ability to change the layout
I quoted this paragraph because i think thats a problem I had also in the beginning (even though I watched a video beforehand and already knew/remembered a few hotkeys): You are missing a real graphical overlay with buttons to press for opening the inventory, the production screen and so on. It makes the first start more difficult than necessary for (casual / not so focused) gamers.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by Cerus »

This might sound weird, but the first time I passed on Factorio was playing the demo and finding the overall aesthetic of the GUI to just feel really old and ugly. Reminded me of really crappy java UI's I've had to deal with in the past. Had nothing to do with the gameplay, which I remembered later and eventually came back to experiment with some more, but if the interface had not appalled me initially it would probably have turned into an immediate sale, rather than a delayed one.

Just as long as we don't lose any functionality, I'd consider any aesthetic improvements to the UI helpful, because it's the first thing players are going to notice about your game.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by scifispirit »

The idea of Factorio intrigued me, and the demo convinced me. Can't tell what would have happened without the demo, since it was available. I think your demo is fine, but of course improving is good. And regarding the low conversion rates, i have no other guess than that perhaps your game appeals to a narrow crowd and type of player. The interface or the controls did not deter me, only thing odd i found was that i had to bind some other key for shooting than mouse button, as that was used by mining, but the logic behind this is entirely understandable and the system works smoothly. I'm not saying it couldn't be better, but i saw nothing i didn't like and bought the game pretty fast after playing through the demo. I was surprised by the amount of money gathered by RimWorld too. (Though it is interesting.) You could be comparing your game to an exceptional case maybe?

I think Factorio also looks good and graphics seem to be only improving. It already looks good compared to some very early screenshots i've seen, and the somewhat silent audio area of the game is getting attention too, plus there is the always appreciated mod support. So i don't really know what else the "problem" could be. If this is the case, then it's not really a problem in the game. All in all, i've only seen improvements to an already solid gameplay.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by dusho »

bought game after mission 2 of demo, I believe
game seems already nicely optimized (not so usual for games before release) and feels good to play
as other mentioned.. shortkeys was also problem for me from the start.. even now I'm often pressing E instead of R and other way around. I know that it's nice to have all keys close to WASD so it's closer to reach for fingers.. but something is bit off with current control scheme (also mentioned left and right click).
Regarding Rimworld.. I knew it from Kickstarter that is more popular than Indiegogo (at least for me..). Bought Rimworld after watching some let's plays. Also Rimworld doesn't have even demo, if I remember, so you have upper hand there. Only problem with Factorio is that no one knows about it. If this will get greenlighted.. early access will give you some great sales. So try to push it to Steam more..

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by Toawa »

I agree that seeing more Let's Play type videos would be nice; I think I've only ever seen two major (more than a video or two) series out there in English. (Not saying there's anything wrong with the non-English ones, but English speakers represent a huge market.)

I was initially attracted to Factorio because it actually reminded me of SpaceChem. I know most people make the Minecraft/Terraria/etc. type survival building comparison, but I liked it for what could be called the "engineering puzzle" genre. I think perhaps a demo mode where you're given a set number of factories/mines/general building materials (disabling those recipes, of course), and have to come up with a factory to produce certain goods, might sell more to those looking for a that kind of game. I'd also like to see more game modes in that vein, early game right now can be frustratingly slow, and I usually have to restart 4 or 5 times before I get a decent map that I can set up on. Maybe provide multiple planets, with different environments (for example, a planet which removes the biters, but requires you to build shield domes around your base to prevent damage from random meteor showers).

Do get onto Greenlight.

Do publicize the game's moddability, and do more to support it. If/when you get onto Steam, Steam Workshop could help a lot there.

Do keep accepting Bitcoin. ;) I think this game might have been the first thing I ever purchased using Bitcoin.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by BurnHard »

The user interface and the look of tech tree etc are a.t.m. really the weakest points in the game.

I don't think you can rate and compare a game due to the ratio of ONE youtube video to the games-sold-rate. I think there are so many more factors. When playing the demo I too wasn't very happy with the controls, the look of the interface, and so on. But I bought the game because I liked the gameplay and knew it is still alpha and it would improve.

Btw I bought the game before I saw your trailer. The trailer would have not convinced me. I loaded the demo three times from different IPs. Don't interpret too much in these numbers there.

I am sure your game will find A LOT of buyers when the game is closer to release with all the planned features.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by Chrotesque »

Do get on Steam as mentioned previously, your game is miles ahead to a bunch of those Greenlight games on Steam, its mind boggling how good the game already is!

In terms of tech trees, I'd like to see something like this:
Image

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by Balinor »

While Factorio does have some issues (in particular balance and research) I'd be more inclined to say that the biggest problem it has is that it is not known. Discoverability is a rather large mountain to climb but it should also be exponential with any luck. I do believe it is definitely time you got some extra notice from sites such as pcgamer and rockpapershotgun though as they can make a very large difference to indie games.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by Avarant »

Factorio is much more cerebral-intensive than say Rimworld currently.

In terms of major differences, I think that Rimworld is a lot simpler. It's more about strategic management of minions than minute detail. Whereas in Factorio's beginnings (especially before any automation) you have to micromanage a lot of individual factories, carry things around as a character, etc. While engaging, it's a lot more complex than simply commanding an area to be mined, supplies to be carried, and watching your minions do your bidding.

This potential turnoff is also one of the cool things about the game, since it encourages planning ahead, setting up automation, getting bigger and better machines, etc.

I think the best way to mitigate this, is to have an engaging, easy-to-follow tutorial that sparks that production/management bug in players (like you're working on). Fix up the graphics too (also already doing) and you have a much more appealing product.


Another sales strategy suggestion I would recommend is have an overall style that you envision for a big, really cool base. A lot of simulation games generate a LOT of appeal by showing pictures of what a really well-developed end-game looks like. I.E. Simcity has vids/pics of really cool looking, interesting cities. Anno is another example. Basically you want to feed dreams to players, of what a really cool factory they could work towards. Inspire.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by muzzy »

More end-game goals and content might help in getting those Let's Play videos going which will bring you sales. If the player experiences something new in every video, you might see someone making a 20 episode series of Let's Play Factorio.

The lack of goals is really bothering me, and after playing for a while I usually realize there's nothing I want to do in-game. Kill a few enemy bases with laser turret abuse and construct a potion factory for research and suddenly there's nothing new to experience anymore and you can complete the game by walking away from computer and letting it run for for a day. There's no reason to play anymore, and nothing to talk about with friends. It's not going to help sales when new players hear about the game from people who are already bored of it because there's nothing to do.

I'd love to have some sort of exploration thing in the game, but there would have to be something to be found out there. More resource types and rare resources fields? Rare enemies? Alien structures waiting to be reverse engineered? Underground resources and prospecting fields that are invisible on the surface? Rare biomes that require special survival gear?

Another approach would be to introduce additional meta-games to add goals and stuff to do. Achievements for mining, manufacturing, killing and transportation, or outright vanity things like collecting 100 different alien flowers, taking photographs of aliens and their structures, puzzles for analyzing alien technology to unlock recipes.

For the sake of replay value, it would also be awesome if not all of the resource types were necessary to progress in the game and if there were actually different choices for base building depending on what resources are readily available. Currently there's only coal vs wood choice for early game energy generation. It feels pointless to play the game again if the experience is going to feel exactly the same as last time.

Anyway, keep the players playing and they'll become walking advertisements, no need to think about the conversion rates so much.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by ssilk »

@muzzy: very good suggestions.
Chrotesque wrote: In terms of tech trees, I'd like to see something like this:...
Fear it's more like this:
Image
:)
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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by Darthlawsuit »

I have a hard time getting friends into it due to the trailer having such basic graphics. It doesn't really show what you do in the game and it is hard to explain the game. Most of the "let's play"'s have the older graphics and it turns my friends off as they think it doesn't work as well as it really does. I usually have to open up my own game to show them how in depth it is as the trailer doesn't cut it.

You need to improve the graphics then make 2 trailers. 1 Promotion trailer and 1 gameplay/action trailer. Something that can show a clean factory being built and fighting off the hoards of enemies, show off the building aspect and the fighting aspect.

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Re: Friday Facts #19 The release buzz

Post by Calico »

Hmmm, first post but since i just stumbled upon the game a few days ago i think i can add at least what brought me here.

Let's Plays.

The next best thing to someone you really know telling you to buy/try something is seeing someone play it. If a game sparks interest you might google it, play a Demo or watch other Let's Plays... and then you maybe buy it.

I do think Factorio has a quite a bit of appeal, although i really think the graphics and UI could use a bit more of polish (like others already pointed out). The feel from playing the Demo was a bit like playing Fallout 2 back in the 90's... Factorio really doesnt look like "2014". I understand that the graphics aren't the main selling point, but i do think it really could help generate more of buzz if it would look a bit better.

Same goes for the UI. It just feels a bit outdated... the only thing you really have besides your gun is a small Inventory screen. No Tech Trees, a overview of what you have stockpiled in your chests or how much youre producing and what might be next on the list. I might have to add, i only played the Demo so far, if there is anything later ingame this point kinda goes away.

And yes, more Metagame would be cool too. Several Game Modes like Co-Op, Survival, etc. Modsupport. Creating meaningful choices could also help.

One final point i wanna add and i do think it might be the main one: Selling an Alpha state game never is easy, thanks to a few black sheep out there. Any kind of PR, from Blogs (check), videos, steam greenlight, Let's Plays etc will help. If people feel they can trust you that you won't run away eith their money and also have a plan for the future of this game, they will be much more inclined to pay some money, even if it's a Alpha. Although i got burned by the TOWNS Desaster, i still look for promising Indie Titles. If one sparks enough interest, i will do research, check out what the Dev's are planning, etc. And might buy it if i come the the conclusion that the Devs are trustworthy and have a plan for the future (like Prison Architect which i bought last week). Like many other ppl out there i don't have a lot of disposable income and even if i had i would hate giving it to the wrong ppl. Nuff said.

Well, reading this now i feel i might sound a bit harsh, i'm really sry for that. Sry for the wall of text, too. Factorio has potential (a lot of it) and i do feel that i will have to keep an eye on it.

I do wish you the very best of luck with Factorio and the future development.

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