Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Regular reports on Factorio development.
L4m3ness
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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by L4m3ness »

Maybe more than usual, we are curious about what you think. If you have any comments or tips regarding the areas mentioned above please let us know on our forums.
Hm, your news on trying to get more organized and your work on improving project management immediately struck my interest. In case you (or no one in your team) haven't read it yet, I think I would suggest David Allen's 'Getting Things Done'. The book focuses on the question, how one - by proper self management - can improve the productivity of oneself and one's surrounding. I think it gives very helpful hints on how to deal with the daily grind better, so there is more resources left to effectively steering your project where you want it to be.

On a higher level, though in my opinion less focused on immediate applicability, the work of Peter Drucker (Management) or Fredmund Malik (one of his pupils) may be valuable, too. They write about how to organize your organization/company/... in order to be most effective and productive at fulfilling its set goals. This includes talking about common pitfalls in communication and problems with time-wasting meetings. Or what kind of functions and goals your 'management' should have and what not.

In the end, however, the productivity always comes down to how productive and effective the team members are - aka how well they manage themselves. If they notice a problem, do they communicate it in time? Or only when it's about to blow up? Do they constantly 'drop the ball' and forget things that were agreed upon (which then blow up eventually)? Do people get stuck and (basically) start procrastinating because the tasks feel too overwhelming? Because they don't know what to do next, because it's not concrete enough? Because they don't know where the ship is even sailing? Or because they think it's someone elses responsibility?

Thus I personally would recommend Allen's book first - it deals well with common problems such as drowing in workload and losing control - and shows solutions to them. It frees up the necessary time to then deal with the 'higher level' aspects of visions. In the end, the basic skills ('What you have to do to be productive') are the same as needed to lead others/the team to more productivity (-> Drucker, Malik,..).

The idea of splitting direction giving and 'managing every day things' made me cringe. Giving direction and setting goals is part of good managing. If you split up 'having the idea' and 'overlooking the implementation of the idea', I think you'll end up with a communication nightmare. If you want to implement an idea, you have to control whether it's actually being implemented as intended - which is 'managing'. While you can delegate plenty of footwork concerning implementation, this doesn't remove the need to manage the whole thing. Management is about how to handle your (own) workforce and energy most effectively - and thus includes all the fun creative parts of having good ideas, that then need to be implemented and managed properly to become real.

Overall it sounds like you're on a good path^^

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by tehroach »

Have to love the idea of more turrets, the flamethrower looks awesome!
I would love to see the day when setting up defenses in Factorio was more strategic/tactical and didn't simply involve creating lines and walls of turrets
Kazaanh wrote:Speaking off flamethrower weapon could use some love too, some buff maybe.
Darloth wrote:The biters do not apply themselves. biter variety would be great, different biter behavior can also make a VAST difference :)
I would really like to see the bitter AI actually scared of flamethrower weapons and consider the possibility of retreat after seeing their fellow bitters die is such a terrible way.

roaringdragon2 wrote:I think that the flamethrower turret should be able to use either flamethrower ammo magazines or some oil product brought in through pipes.
I second this idea :)
it would be great if you could place a flame turret and opt to feed it manually or opt to go automatic and set up assemblers to pump the flame ammo into pipes.

Kazaanh wrote:I just hope his reach is as long as the laser turret. Otherwise you wouldn't need a pipe to maintain it, also that huge barrel. I mean that barrel is huge, its gonna spit liquid for a long distance.
Personally I think that the laser turret is a bit OP atm and could do with its damage getting an attenuation penalty.
Then something like the tank cannon, mounted in turret form could be introduced to pick up the slack as the long range defense.
Proxy wrote:dude, i would love some Nuclear Rockets, or Rods of God...
What if the player was given the option to purpose the rocket silo for this, sure they might have to add uranium ore for the Nuke part (which in itself could add a whole list of possibilities), but a conventional missile or a huge slender chunk of steal falling from space would be quite cool.

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The Phoenixian
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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by The Phoenixian »

I like where the flamethrower is going. Setting gun turrets as item powered, lasers as electricity powered, landmines as one shot individual structures, and flamethrowers as fluid powered makes a clear logistical distinction between the various weapon types.
The greatest gulf that we must leap is the gulf between each other's assumptions and conceptions. To argue fairly, we must reach consensus on the meanings and values of basic principles. -Thereisnosaurus

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by halokissa »

i would like some shot of burning effect

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by int3grate »

I was looking at the flame torrent. The rendered image of it does a good job of depicting the mechanics of how the actual flame is produced but seems lacking with regards to how the tracking / automation would work. Maybe add something that looks like a camera or tracking sensor onto it?

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by Brambor »

Right under Back to the game you have
Michal (posila)
where 'posila' is probably czech word :)

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DaveMcW
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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by DaveMcW »

It's a czech word, but it's also his forum name. ;)

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by ScottyWired »

Will that turret be a flame-ball launcher, or the traditional flamethrower?

Image
Image

Both have their merits though I'm inclined towards flameballs because flameballs, and also because in games they usually feature splash damage and a lingering fire that damages things that walk over them

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by TN_Creator »

I love the idea of a flame turret. Laser turrets are not much fun to watch in action, and the idea of managing tanks full of flamethrower ammo is interesting!

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by Anyone »

JerryLive wrote:Just want to share my two cents on a few shortfalls I see in you "Stand-up" plan as I have been down that road and would hate to see you fail. Love the game and hope it keeps progressing.

Fist, do stand-ups daily. If people are talking to much or long user a 2 minute timer and cut them off. People will get the picture soon enough. These are "mini" planning meetings to keep everyone aware of what others are doing and to offer help were needed. Also, you will see problems sooner.

Second, don't write it down what you talked about at scrum. First off, I now have an excuse to miss and can just get caught up by reading. Encourage people to communicate by making them ask someone what they missed. Second, it becomes a status meeting and it is not that. Again these are planning sessions for the day to keep each other informed as to what we are doing. People should want to cone and it should add value.

Lastly, you might want to think about splitting into two teams if possible. I know the difficulties and issues with this but if you are looking to 15/20 people that's 30-40 minute stand-ups at just 2 minutes a piece.

There are some other red flags in the things you said for me at least being in the software world but stand-ups daily are good for anything and any team. Not sure of your family life but a quick couple minute chat with your significant other each morning can make a life so much easier, especially once you have kids and all the extra that adds.
This is what I can say as well. Basically the company I work on has 20+ developers. We work in (~6) separate project groups in 2 week sprints for most of us, each group has a slightly different approach to what works best for them. We dedicate ~10 minutes for a daily stand-up: What did I do last day and what will I do today? We have 7~8 programmers in this group. The product owners, scrum master and stakeholders are present but won't talk. We focus on delivering features within 2 weeks. So instead of focusing on projects, we focus on deliverables. The big advantage of this is that you try to work your features down to small deliverables which cause as little side-tracks as possible.

We use Jira and pretty much make an epic per project. Each sprint we will spend an hour or so refining tickets during a refinement meeting. This is something the product owner (PO) wants to have done. We will refine the issues/tickets on Jira to something we can work on. Another day we spend about an hour estimating story points for our tickets; For example to add Feature (X) I need to change this, update that and write some tests, this would be 3 points for me (feel free to make your own system, this is just our indication). Every closure of the sprint, we have a Demo, where we present our small deliverables to the Product Owner. This can range from a small button to a new webpage in our case or even just the color/position of a button.

I personally feel like this is very efficient but we use continuous deployment. We have Jenkins running, building dozens of projects as soon as a push is detected. A lot of our applications are in-house, but like them, our front-end webpages will be deployed for each bugfix/feature. This is probably the biggest difference with how Factorio releases versions. I've just bought the game yesterday and the release schedule is way too slow for me. Like a button for the train is something that could easily fit into 1 or 2 sprints: spend 1 on researching, the other on implementing: 2 tickets. This could then be build and send out as patch for players. People love to see frequent updates ;) This also means that you will detect bugs/issues earlier as people will use it a lot sooner.

Regarding the workflow, we use Reviewboard with git. I don't dislike reviewboard but I don't like the workflow it introduces. I personally am a fan of the github workflow with branching and such, but each his/her own. In my opinion, every. single. line of code. MUST be reviewed. It will help a lot of people understand code improvements and will introduce harmony on the code, making maintenance a lot less. I can imagine Factorio to be a pretty big project by now, seeing the possibilities, I'm sure there will be a lot code-wise improvements when people start properly reviewing code. This will lead to less bugs and knowledge sharing as well, reviews are something you can learn a lot from, especially when hiring new people to be introduced to your project(s).

Made an account just to reply here as I think I feel like my experience could contribute to this awesome game, even if it's only minimal!

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by ArchJudge »

Darloth wrote:You say that, but right now they biters do not apply themselves.

They're more of an environmental threat than a directed one, even on pretty high biter count. While biter variety would be great, different biter behaviour can also make a VAST difference :)

Speaking of that, would be nice to have an 10x10 grid artillery structure or railway mounted gun that uses up a lot of steel, iron and explosives to operate, with rounds being hauled 1 by 1 by a special train wagon from its production site, that you would have to divert from the main rocket goal, to serve the purpose of shelling the natives from a distance, I've been trying the Orbital Ion Cannon mod but after the initial high resource demand it just has a cooldown and seems overpowered, it also comes in too late, after you build the rocket.

This artillery would serve as a counter to biters evolving their own siege weapon type that acts like a depollutor, firing globs of goo at the players factory, not doing any impact damage, but slowing down transport belts, production facilities, player movement, electricity and fluid flow, even growing trees where there's no concrete or stone pavement, essentially adding a new challenge to factory building and as ways of preventing its negative effects would be to use the flamethrower to burn the goo manually, have a 3rd type of utility drone as a stopgap measure that removes it with fire automatically (and maybe the new flamethrower turrets could help here as long as nearby production buildings get an increase in fire resistance or there isn't any other ways to cause friendly damage), or go straight for the siege creature and remove the source.

I personally think this type of counter-battery feature would add more variety to the natives and make the game more interesting.
I love the smell of concrete paving robots in the morning .... it smells like Factorio

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Marchombre
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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by Marchombre »

Scottywired, where does your first screen come from ? i don't remember this red alert game o:

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by Supercheese »

Marchombre wrote:Scottywired, where does your first screen come from ? i don't remember this red alert game o:
I'm guessing it's a mod for another game like maybe a C&C: Generals total conversion mod.

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by Brambor »

DaveMcW wrote:It's a czech word, but it's also his forum name. ;)
Ofcourse! Sorry, missed that :D

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Galacticruler
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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by Galacticruler »

Supercheese wrote:
Marchombre wrote:Scottywired, where does your first screen come from ? i don't remember this red alert game o:
I'm guessing it's a mod for another game like maybe a C&C: Generals total conversion mod.
The Red Alert Mod for C&C 3: Tiberium Wars. its a great source of 3D models for things like the Harvester mod which should most certainly use them.

The flamer looks great guys, if it is pipe-fed I hope it means we could do different interesting mod turrets like acid sprayers or water cannons.
PC is best.

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by joe_da_cro »

really love the flamer turret. the fact that you have each of the defense towers use different logistics is a nice touch.

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by Toomicek »

FRIDAY IS HERE!!! GIVE US SOME INFO :D

AutoMcD
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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by AutoMcD »

I prefer the realistic stream of flame to the fireballs. Just leave a puddle of burning wherever it's aimed and rake from target to target, leaving trails of burning polluting mess.

On that note, forest fires should be a thing. :)

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prg
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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by prg »

AutoMcD wrote:On that note, forest fires should be a thing. :)
They will be.
Automatic Belt (and pipe) Planner—Automate yet another aspect of constructing your factory!

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Re: Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Post by mixolyde »

If you are using Git for version control (and you should be), I highly recommend using Gerrit Code Review for automating a code review process.

It's a pretty simple web app that you hook up to git so that it scans the commit history for groups of changes and creates a cool web-based code review to look at. Developers can leave comments if they want. It's very flexible with work flows. You can enforce certain things like X number of devs need to approve before it can go on, or that the code has to pass some automatic processes or whatever. Once the code is approved, gerrit will push the changes on to another branch which you can have wired up for automatic testing, building, or deploying with something like Jenkins. Hope this helps!

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