Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Regular reports on Factorio development.

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by Koub » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:45 pm

Good news for the tutorials \o/
And also nice spotlight to the self-expanding factory :)
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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by wlfbck » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:52 pm

Regarding the error message on start up: While definitely an improvement, i would suggest making it clearer that the error is on behalf of the mod, not the game itself. Something like "Mod X has caused the following error:" %ERROR_HERE% "You can still play the game without this mod.". Maybe also list dependencies on this mod, not sure if that overloads the message too much.

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by y.petremann » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:21 pm

How exactly mini tutorials would works ?
Will it be a mini scenario that pops out of the original world, like on a temporary subsurface ?
Will it be a complete mini scenario that ask to save, play this one then after reload the first world ?
Will it be like those explanations of inserters and steam engine ?

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by Furcube » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:38 pm

First tutorial should show that Inserter can extract too, not just insert.

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by apriori » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:42 pm

Vote for wlfbck's idea. We (modders) should get feedback from users to find out our mods' errors, imho. There's contact info in info.json, so it would be good to either ask the player to send a feedback or send report automatically.

ADD: Because this game is about total automation. Even when we're talking about bug reports)))
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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by Mendel » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:45 pm

Question and food for thought: Do we want there to be normal chance of biters attacking while a non-battle related mini tutorial is going on?

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by miturion » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:20 pm

I like the new mod loading. I had those moments when loading 50 mods too.

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by Doddler » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:03 pm

That mod loading seems really good. Personally, I think the best case scenario for mod loading would be if you connect to a server that's using mods, if you have the mods that the server doesn't have (but you have all the mods the server has), the game could re-launch with just the correct mods to connect to the server without playing match-a-mod. Or even auto mod downloading, that would be a dream~.

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by brunzenstein » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:26 pm

The idea with the short clips helping newbies as well as mid level players getting into grips with Factorio in is long overdue - to say the least.
Especially when they will be introduced and are directly accessible from within the program itself.

The key is that the videos are short and strongly focused on a special tasks.
3 to 5 minutes clips at most to keep the user interested and repeatability high.

A good example how to do this are the one from another world - a high class professional indie Affinity photo and Affinity designer app.
Look how well they are executed - the clips from MacAffinity (also for PC) at
https://vimeo.com/macaffinity
Last edited by brunzenstein on Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by Hamster » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:01 pm

The tutorial on the circuit network would be helpful. I have ~150h gametime, still the circuit network is a big mystery. :oops:

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by Gnarflord » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:17 pm

Wait. We got the first self-replicating factory? So it has come to this.
No seriosly. This is amazing. Should be able in the basegame.
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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by mattj256 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:42 pm

That grey goo thing is awesome!

I think there should be a mini-tutorial for total newbies: hand-mining of resources; hand crafting; mining with a burner mining drill; placing transport belts and burner inserters; power generation with steam engines; using a assembling machines to create gears and red science; place a lab and automate red science.

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by Alice3173 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:35 pm

Hamster wrote:The tutorial on the circuit network would be helpful. I have ~150h gametime, still the circuit network is a big mystery. :oops:
I'd like to second this. (Like 300-400 or so hours here.) The circuit network is the one part of the game I've so far utterly failed to wrap my head around when it seems like it'd be extremely useful. Having some functional in-game examples or something would really help. There's the combinator tutorial on the wiki but that's not the easiest thing to wrap your head around.

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by FasterJump » Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:45 am

I think that the mini-tutoriels are a good idea.
As a casual gamer (~50h played) I'd like to give you my feedback.

-Trains
Basic features are simple enough, i didn't need any tutorial. But about signals, despite my 30h spent on openttd, I had to spend 1h on the wiki and forums to understand how to do a basic signal setup. So i think a tutorial about signals could be a good idea.

-Oil
I had no trouble learning/experimenting oil stuff in the game. I don't see the point of a tutorial here, but maybe some tutorial would have make my learning curve smoother? I don't know.

-Construction robots & Blueprints, Logistic robots, Circuit network, Advanced belt usage (this?), Interface & Interactions (?)
I think tutorials about these topics are a really good idea.

Off-topic: I struggled to use the circuit network to make steam power a back-up only power source, but i found a quite simple solution. I also used the circuit stuff to display a red light when a storage go below a certain amount, but that's all.

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by Aardwolf » Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:18 am

Ideally it'd activate the matching mods (and deactivate others, unless maybe harmless things like graphics only?) when joining server without restart of game. And download mods you don't have from the server automatically. And manage multiple versions of mods if needed. And if mod has error, no too big fuss, show its error once maybe and then disable it (red or greyed out in a list).

But I can imagine this may be hard to implement now if the core game engine was built around statically loading mods at game startup...

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by porcupine » Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:54 am

Aardwolf wrote:Ideally it'd activate the matching mods (and deactivate others, unless maybe harmless things like graphics only?) when joining server without restart of game. And download mods you don't have from the server automatically. And manage multiple versions of mods if needed. And if mod has error, no too big fuss, show its error once maybe and then disable it (red or greyed out in a list).

But I can imagine this may be hard to implement now if the core game engine was built around statically loading mods at game startup...
Agreed, this would go a long way for multiplayer.

Also, if the forum default text for input boxes on the forums wasn't black on grey :D

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by y.petremann » Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:49 am

Aardwolf wrote:Ideally it'd activate the matching mods (and deactivate others, unless maybe harmless things like graphics only?) when joining server without restart of game. And download mods you don't have from the server automatically. And manage multiple versions of mods if needed. And if mod has error, no too big fuss, show its error once maybe and then disable it (red or greyed out in a list).

But I can imagine this may be hard to implement now if the core game engine was built around statically loading mods at game startup...
The minimal setup is kind of already here, everything needed is in the base/core folder, it could load it only for this purpose then load the rest of the game for additionnal packages

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by Daid » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:27 am

FasterJump wrote: -Trains
Basic features are simple enough, i didn't need any tutorial. But about signals, despite my 30h spent on openttd, I had to spend 1h on the wiki and forums to understand how to do a basic signal setup. So i think a tutorial about signals could be a good idea.
For the basics, I got stuck in the campaign on trains because I didn't know you needed to put a locomotive on both end for them to automatically drive in both ways.
-Construction robots & Blueprints, Logistic robots,
It's not that difficult to find out by experimentation. But I did fail to understand how the personal robotport works. As I kept trying to put robots in that robotport, which I couldn't do. It never occurd to me that I should just keep them in inventory.

On the circuit network
I'm a software engineer, and even I struggled with it at first. Yes, basic things like "only activate this inserter when buffer chest is below X", and "activate light when chest is below Y" are quite simple. And I think that's as far as most people should go.

I've made a factory that 100% ran on demand. So you could request a single assembly machine, and it would construct exactly the needed items, all on a single belt. But that required understanding pulse modes which really makes things more complex.

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Re: Friday Facts #178 - Minimal mode and Mini-tutorials

Post by Mortermer » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:22 am

GreyGoo Mk I must be stopped.

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