Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Regular reports on Factorio development.

What kind of player you feel you are?

Achiever 100%
3
2%
Achiever 75%
20
14%
Achiever 50%
22
16%
Achiever 25%
20
14%
Explorer 100%
10
7%
Explorer 75%
27
19%
Explorer 50%
21
15%
Explorer 25%
17
12%
 
Total votes : 140

Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby kovarex » Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:08 pm

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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby DaveKap » Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:38 am

I'd love to comment on your whiteboard but it's honestly very difficult to read your handwriting!

The only feedback I really have about multiplayer (because I have no doubts you're going to get most of it right, as you have with most of the game already) is that you simply MUST allow drop-in/drop-out play. This is probably already obvious to you as you have used Minecraft as an example over other design documents and Minecraft is a drop-in/drop-out game but I just wanted to make sure that this was mentioned in the off chance that you are envisioning Factorio's MP as a match-making, versus mode sort of game. Not that I'm against that idea but I'm really excited to simply have a Factorio server running on my machine and allowing my friends to come in and out of it leaving behind their little assembly lines to help us build whatever great wonders will eventually exist in the game.

Slightly less obvious things that other indie games have failed at (like terraria and risk of rain) is making sure that IP addresses are PASTE-able into the UI and allowing DNS lookup for hostnames. :)
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby y.petremann » Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:14 am

Thank for that update, I could finaly finish the scenario I've started in 0.9.3 because of an unsolvable objective (those accumulators) without cheating.

DaveKap wrote:The only feedback I really have about multiplayer (because I have no doubts you're going to get most of it right, as you have with most of the game already) is that you simply MUST allow drop-in/drop-out play. This is probably already obvious to you as you have used Minecraft as an example over other design documents and Minecraft is a drop-in/drop-out game but I just wanted to make sure that this was mentioned in the off chance that you are envisioning Factorio's MP as a match-making, versus mode sort of game. Not that I'm against that idea but I'm really excited to simply have a Factorio server running on my machine and allowing my friends to come in and out of it leaving behind their little assembly lines to help us build whatever great wonders will eventually exist in the game.

For that point, I agree and don't agree ...

With the possibility to become a multiplayer game, Factorio has the possibility to have a lot of style of gameplay :
  • Freeplay and Sandbox like now ...
  • Testmode or Creative Mode ...
  • Cooperations scenarios.
  • RTS like Gameplays :
    These Gameplays would act as match, so it would not let someone coming in the middle of the game
    Players could play against each other, so turrets could kill another player and stranger robots
    • Wonder AoE like match
    • Last survivor wins (you should need to research a specific technology to being able to defeat your opponents, you could just make it weaker before)
Some of these gameplay, not all, can't allow drop-in/drop-out play.

DaveKap wrote:Slightly less obvious things that other indie games have failed at (like terraria and risk of rain) is making sure that IP addresses are PASTE-able into the UI and allowing DNS lookup for hostnames. :)

Also I think that implementing Servers-lists is a must.
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby Balthazar » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:57 am

To me the achievement aspect isn't competitive in the sense you're describing it; i almost never play anything competitive. What i want is simply a difficult problem and i think building the achieving around biters is problematic, because they are a really trivial problem to deal with, just add more turret. Fundamentally, dealing with biters just boils down to producing enough turrets and supplying enough power to keep them firing; it's really no different than making a big machine that eats a lot of power and keeping it running.

What i would REALLY love to see from factorio is something like a boss battle, but not boss monsters; biters with abnormally high stats are dealt with the same way as everything else. I'd love to see something like a boss-base. A while ago creeper world was posted on the forums, a game where you're fighting an evil blob of angry goo that destroys anything it touches and you have to fend it off and destroy the points that are generating it. Having a hostile factory doing something undesirable, like patrolling a huge area while indefinitely replenishing its forces that you have to find some way to shut down would be awesome. Maybe the production area is incredibly well defended, but produces a lot of polution, and if you could shut down some kind of pollution filter, causing the pollution to go nuts and cover a massive area thus attracting an overwhelming force of biters would be awesome. Maybe you do this not by shooting at it, but by f.x. pumping petroleum gas into the air filter, clogging the pipes and shutting it down until it can clean itself, while protecting the spot you're pumping it in from patrols. Or maybe a base that launches hundreds of missiles every second at anything that moves into it's range, and you can build structures to redirect the missiles and use the bases aggression against itself. I think that would make a much better achievement than simply seeing how fast you can do X in the current game.

My worry with trying to balance factorio is that games with highly adaptive economies, like factorio, minecraft, transport tycoon, any 4x game or my personal favorite supreme commander will spiral extremely fast. Games like starcraft remain balanced because their economies are limited by multiple factors; unit cap limits how many workers you can have so no fully saturated 8 base plays, while the amount of resources is hard-finite. (The playing field is finite as is resources. Factorio and minecraft have technically finite resources but infinite playing fields, so there are infinite resources to be acquired for any practical purpose)

I once played a game of supreme commander where me and my ally (2v2 no rush 20 :lol: ) decided to share our resources and see if we could make one of the ultimate creations of the game; the infinite resource generator. I played this mode a lot and was very good at squeezing the most out of my economy within the time limit, and because we made just a few optimizations over the other team we finished it with 3 minutes left before the fight broke out. What followed was a massacre as 30 megabots stomped across the map and annihilated their puny defenses in seconds; ultimately we had managed 100x the economic output they had by a few slight improvements. The problem here is that once you get even a miniscule economic lead, it snowballs out of control. Anyone who has played any 4X game (civilization, master of orion, etc) knows you hit a point where nothing in the game is capable of challenging you, and you're just rolling around your death fleet like a katamari obliterating everything in sight.

What i am getting at here has to do with economies that allow you to invest in faster resources. You could NEVER in a vanilla game mode of starcraft achieve 100x the economic output of your opponent, unless he's just refusing to quit a lost cause. Since factorio allows the same, you have a problem with scaling difficulty; a player that is slightly more competent than another will be able to handle 100x the challenge or more, so how do you balance this appropriately? In supreme commander, the easy, normal and hard AIs are all complete pushovers because they scale linearly, only beginners lose to them, and as soon as you pick up some basic understanding of the game you will beat all of them with ease; only the hard ai that cheats with resources is difficult, because it scales on a higher grade, notably a faster one than you do, and as a result its just irritating, because you will always be behind no matter how well you play; the only way to beat it is to exploit it's stupidity and play in irrational ways to defend against the tech it will inevitably have access to faster than you. The point being; it will be extremely difficult to create a challenge in factorio that's based on production which can challenge players without completely drowning them in cheap challenge from ridiculous overproduction.

I have a problem with the idea of the biters evolving over time as well, because you basically get rekt if you didn't do things quickly early on, or you can rush your way into flamethrowers and burn your way to success before big biters hit. I'd like to see this tie into pollution instead somehow, maybe different forms of pollution? would love to dump toxic waste in the rivers ;)

I think its also important to keep in mind what kind of "challenge" you're looking to supply. For me, FINDING the solution to a problem is all that matters; i have no interest in starcraft because the solution is already handed to me in the form of build orders that i have to follow to be competitive; its like having a crossword puzzle, only to be handed a list of all the words to fill in and a clock, then going "Let's see how fast you can do it".
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby Nova » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:04 pm

The link to gamasutra doesn't work: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6 ... hp?print=1
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby ficolas » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:05 pm

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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby xng » Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:45 pm

Regarding the achievements.. I am a highly competitive person, in that I love competing on making things the best, the fastest, the most accurate and so on. I love playing chess for example, and Quake, and in real life shooting the bow, playing badminton and table tennis.

However, I don't see any competitive aspect of achievements, they are just empty badges or icons and whatnot to me. Like killing the same boss in WoW for the 50th time to get a "You killed a boss for the 50th time" achievement. It can hold a small sense of having some statistics, and statistics is really nice to have, but it is never more than that. In fact it is much less than real statistics, and what I mean by that is that I rather know I have killed 472 biters by farting loudly than have to wait until I got 500 to get an achievement telling me this.

Yeah, I know this is mostly a question of age, I am way to old to get happy from a plinging sound and stars and hearts flying all over the screen saying I won some new word in a list somewhere, and there are most likely a market for that among the youngest players.

If achievements really have to be there, please make an option to turn the visibility of it off, so it doesn't mess with your focus of trying to build things in the game. Options are key to everything, because as long as you give it you won't even have to ask.

Thank you.
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby kovarex » Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:16 pm

xng wrote:However, I don't see any competitive aspect of achievements, they are just empty badges or icons and whatnot to me. Like killing the same boss in WoW for the 50th time to get a "You killed a boss for the 50th time" achievement. It can hold a small sense of having some statistics, and statistics is really nice to have, but it is never more than that. In fact it is much less than real statistics, and what I mean by that is that I rather know I have killed 472 biters by farting loudly than have to wait until I got 500 to get an achievement telling me this.

But achievement to kill the boss 50 times is plain stupid, because all you have to do is to invest the time in it and repeat the same thing. I was not planning achievements of this kind at all. Achievement to get the automation research in the first 5 minutes of game for example would be challenge because you would have to make some strategic thinking and optimisation in order to achieve it.
So in my opinion, the way achievements are chosen is the critical thing that makes the difference between empty badges and challenges.
P.S. I liked the way achievements were done in the Starcraft II, you could finish some mission which was normal, but you could do something special much more challenging in the mission to get the achievement. When there was nothing like that, I sometimes made my own personal challenges, like kill everything using only zerglings or similar.
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby ssilk » Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:55 pm

I like the achievements in Battlefield II. I remember having really proud of making 46 kills (or so?) with explosives in one game. That had been really difficult without cheating.

And coming back to another point brought in by Balthazar: in most other games, when you come over a a special point, nothing can stop you. The game goes in a spiral up and ... ends. Right. But I think not for Factorio, because we have the space between everything. I think, it is not possible without good mode to go over some natural limit. The space limits the expansion by itself.
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby drs9999 » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:13 pm

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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby ficolas » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:33 pm


That was fun but I got stuck at 91 :(
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby slay_mithos » Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:52 am

Speaking about Starcraft 2 achievements, there are also a bunch of semi hidden ones that only are unlockable in "normal" games (vs computer, unranked or ranked), that are fully dependent on how you play.

I recently got "macro master" as zerg for making drones like crazy for quite a long time at the start (my enemy was doing stupid things and had no army to punish that).

Those kind of achievements that are not "destroy 50 bitter nests in a single map", or "research missile defence", but reward all kind of playing styles could make it fun.

Same goes for leaderboards, it needs to be on things that lead to strategy and thinking, not mindlessly throwing down more miners to "mine the most iron in the first 20 minutes".

You can also make some of those mindless awards ("complete mission 1"), because it seems like a lot of people like to have shiny medals, but too many would also drown the real challenge ones.



As for multiplayer, I really want to see a coop play, where there is one starting area per player, sufficiently away and close at the same time, so that meeting and teaming up would be a real decision (ditching your area early, waiting for trains...).

I also want options upon setting the server to either share research (maybe multiplying the cost by the number of player, maybe not) or to each have their own tech level, in which case the research lab only researches for the person placing it.
Both options seem to apply for different purposes, and I could totally see a team where one player focuses on "factory" tech and builds the actual factory, when a second one focuses on the military part, using the factory to make turrets, weapons and armours, as well as defending/attacking.
On the other hand, having the same tech means both players have access to the same things, making it easier for cases like teaching, or for cases where the player want to compete, but with tech on the same level, to see which player makes the "best" decisions, based on things they would define themelves (number of robots, electrical conumption...)

Lastly, multiplayer needs to support mods just as easily as the single player, because the game shines even more with mods.
But that means that the "server" needs to be the reference, and checking all installations upon connecting.
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby BurnHard » Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:42 pm

Personally I would have loved to see the game "feature-complete" and really balanced before dedicating so much developement-time to multiplayer, but of course I wish you guys the best of luck with this big project.

Regarding achievements. What I personally want to do in a game, is relaxing from hard days work. Build a big base, see how all works, build even bigger (infinite resourcefields *hint* ;)), fight a lot of biters, when I want to expand. Such things as "build as many circuits as possible in time X" just stress me out.

Regarding preventing cheating: I think this is a lost battle and will swallow HUGE amounts of time. As I see it, 99% of all multiplayer matches/coops will be played between friends etc, who really wants to cheat in such a game?
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby ludsoe » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:22 pm

I don't want to play "matches" or any of the sort. Id much prefer to setup a server to host the world, and when i want to play i pop onto the server build some things and leave. And my stuff just stays on the server world. The rest of the stuff should come later, quite possibly modded in.
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby xng » Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:40 pm

kovarex wrote:
xng wrote:However, I don't see any competitive aspect of achievements, they are just empty badges or icons and whatnot to me. Like killing the same boss in WoW for the 50th time to get a "You killed a boss for the 50th time" achievement. It can hold a small sense of having some statistics, and statistics is really nice to have, but it is never more than that. In fact it is much less than real statistics, and what I mean by that is that I rather know I have killed 472 biters by farting loudly than have to wait until I got 500 to get an achievement telling me this.

But achievement to kill the boss 50 times is plain stupid, because all you have to do is to invest the time in it and repeat the same thing. I was not planning achievements of this kind at all. Achievement to get the automation research in the first 5 minutes of game for example would be challenge because you would have to make some strategic thinking and optimisation in order to achieve it.
So in my opinion, the way achievements are chosen is the critical thing that makes the difference between empty badges and challenges.
P.S. I liked the way achievements were done in the Starcraft II, you could finish some mission which was normal, but you could do something special much more challenging in the mission to get the achievement. When there was nothing like that, I sometimes made my own personal challenges, like kill everything using only zerglings or similar.


Ah, maybe they should be called challenges instead then and be preselected before a game, like "(x) Try to get automation in less than 5 minutes from first tree cut down.", with primary choices as Easy, Normal, Hard, and have settings forced on that playthrough. That would be nice and with mods being able to add challenges there could be lots of fun things to increase replayability, like Dytech(or whatever the name of that mod) could have it's own special challenges too in regards to the changes that mod has made.
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby Momma_Carole » Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:23 pm

I didn't get a chance to fill out the survey (just joined the forums *waves* HI!) but I'd classify myself as 99.99% explorer. That other .01% is "other" (which, in multiplayer, is "chatter" and in single player is "builder.")

Most games, I avoid dealing with monsters if possible. I'm not into killing the indigenous lifeforms of a planet. I'll protect myself, sure, but I don't go out with the intent to exterminate a species. I don't like PvP for the most part. I like working cooperatively with other players. Working out trade agreements is fun for me. I don't really care if it's built into the game or not, so long as I can give and receive items, I can work it out within chat.

Pop-up achievement boxes for me are cute, but pretty much pointless. In a setting like Steam, for instance, achievements kind of make sense, since Steam is more a social network of gamers and geeks than anything else. Achievements let other gamers and geeks see what you've been up to, and how far you've progressed in your game. Within the realms of a standalone game, achievements don't mean a thing.

Now, if achievements actually MEAN something (as in reaching a certain achievement unlocks a new level of technology) that's a completely different story. I'll work for that. I LIKE building things and crafting things. But if it's ESSENTIAL to gameplay, it has to be a reasonable achievement... "mine 1,000,000 coal to reach level 2 technology" is just... boring. "Discover three coal deposits and build a coal-fired electrical plant" makes more sense, as an example. I am aware that these "achievements" are already built into Factorio, but if you were to make them official achievements, that would be kind of fun, and more of an indicator to other players of the level the player has currently reached.

So, that's the take of a female, middle-aged gamer. I know we're not all the same, but it might be a different point of view for you.
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby Cilya » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:25 pm

I'm really concerned about multiplayer. The more one wait to implement it, the more it is likely to fail. I've seen really good projects, which never suceeded to implement the multiplayer feature. And i don't know much game either which have similar characteristic to yours: a lot of objects where small continuous changes can lead to big and discrete differences. I really love Factorio, and i fear that you have a hard problem to solve with multiplayer.

I am not an expert in network programming, you probably know more about it than me. How do you plan to do it ? If I had to do it, i would use two distinct clocks : an asynchronous one for move/combat, with classical way to hide latency, and a synchronous one, much slower, (like in Supreme Commander 2) used to deal with the automatic part (the factory) of the game. All interference with the automatic part (putting items on a belt, grabbing ones, adding/removing/destroying components) would be delayed to only happen only when the slow clock ticks. The perceived latency could be partially hidden, for instance by "reserving" items on the belt and allowing the player to only pick the not reserved ones. This way, there is no more need to resynchronize items positions.
Last edited by Cilya on Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby Gryzorz » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:57 pm

Achievements should not be (in my mind) about gathering huge numbers, or numbers in a number of hours.

They should be meant to guide player, to encourage them to try, to discover.
Examples.
- "splitter" : you built your 1st splitter. It encourages people to actually USE the new patterns they have, telling them it's the good way to do. In order them not to be afraid to experiment. It's just like saying "good you're experimenting ! that's how it's supposed to be played ! continue !". Even if it seems pretty dull for experts ("ofc I built a splitter !"), it's very newbie-friendly.
- "crazy splitter" : chain up 4 splitters. Encourages complexity contruction

It can be used to explicit things
- "Go green" : produce your 1st efficiency module. Explicitly states the direction an efficiency module aims at : no pollution.
- "Gimme all you got" : same for speed module
- "Don't spill !" : same for production module

It can be used to congratulate on the output achieved by going full way on one direction :
- number of output/energy
- number of output/material
- number of output/minute/unit of production

It can be used to congratulate on a balanced strategy :
- "the one who does not chose" or "the man in the middle" or something to make fun of a person that does not want to take part.("I take no part !" ? lol)

I'd advice you guys to build some really-easy-to-compute metrics, so that you start throwing out numbers that you think represent well certain "keypoint" to unlock some achievements. You know, just some cheap metrics to help you (us !) grasp the meta of the game.
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby gustavoghe » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:03 pm

Hello,

Have you disabled lubricants from the production line? I cant find where to manufacture it.

Thanks
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Re: Friday Facts #26 How to satisfy achievers

Postby Nova » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:28 pm

Why do you ask that question in this thread?
Nevertheless, this is from the changelog of 9.4: Moved lubricant recipe from engine technology to oil processing as lubricant is not needed for basic engine anymore.
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