Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Regular reports on Factorio development.

Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby SceneKing » Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:53 am

Love the Friday Facts! Tells me that you folks at Wube are thinking of us (instead of just taking our cash and wishing us luck ;) ).

I just did all the tutorials and thought they were very well done for a 'first draft.' BTW, I was able to access them through my established game (didn't have to start a new game just for the tutorials) and I don't think it messed my game up.

Regarding some of the suggestions for improvement already given, I agree with, and is probably what I consider the first priority, is to add a type of intuitive "hints" box in the tutorials that triggers as a result of incorrect actions (or just a button to open it - lol). For example, rail chain signals, placement to give track priority requires serious thought and planning, and I would have liked to see a tips box specific to correcting what I'm doing that isn't working, and a short why. Also, the tips/hints box could have also let me know that I can delete some signals, instead of assuming that the layout just needed to be added to.

I can foresee that if you expect to add a lot of tutorials, a tech tree type organizational method is likely to be needed.

I've got plenty of hours into the game, use YouTube, reddit, Wiki, etc. to learn more, but I have yet to do anything with circuits; would love to see a basic tutorial for that. I've yet to figure out the new blueprint system completely - lol. And I'm finally attempting to extract the 2 uraniums from the ore, and it's not working - more research.... ;)

Ratios of items needed to efficiently supply higher end items was mentioned; would it be possible to add a ratio calculator into the game? Or is there a mod that already does that?

All in all, Factorio is the most engrossing game I've ever had the pleasure of digging into, even with one of the most anticlimactic "endings" I've ever experienced. I'm totally hooked on it, and I couldn't even explain to anyone what the draw is for me. It's incredible the intricacies put into this game. :)
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Epicnoob » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:22 am

ftvkyo2011 wrote:Tutorials taught me HOW to do something, but now WHY should I do it, as I think. Sorry, I can't explain better.


For a concrete example, I will use the chain signal tutorial (I don't know if you did that tutorial, but I hope it will help communicate the problem).

What I suspect you are saying (for the chain signal example) is that the chain signal tutorial does teach you WHICH signals should be chain signals, but does little to nothing to explain you WHY those signals should be chain signals and other signs should not.
I did the chain signal tutorial, and after the tutorial I forgot if the explanation of how the chain signal works even appeared at all. It did, but only in one textbox. It might have been too easy to click past without grasping the idea or reading it fully. Afterwards there is no button to bring up this explanation again, and the rest of the tutorial contains just 'quizzes'.

This also gave me several (somewhat related) improvement suggestions I want to throw in here:
  • Maybe an improvement could be to have some sort of train block visualization in game or in tutorial. It is the key concept for working with trains.
  • Maybe an ingame 'wiki lite' or glossary would be great to explain things with more than a one-liner.
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Twinsen » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:38 am

chris13524 wrote:Why is all the code so closely coupled? Isn't it good design to loosely couple stuff? Especially between GUI and networking stuff, that sounds crazy.

To give an official answer to this:
The way we code things is very pragmatic. If we want something done in the code we go and do it without overthinking the class design. We don't make big class hierarchies and abstractions unless we think it will be used in the future. This also means we don't think about coupling, since most of the times it just gets in the way of implementing actual gameplay. On the other hand the other reason is we don't have any kind of design document or coding guidelines, new programmers in our team are give the code and are told "here you go, get it done", so often things are coded with no regard to any kind of coding rules.

So far the coupling has not given us problems. The wireshark plugin contains all of factorio and so does the headless server. In the long run maintaining and enforcing loose coupling would have been much more work than just adding a few runtime checks such as "if (headlessServer) dontInitializeGui();".

There are more important things that cause problems and they are more subtle. Such as a very unintuitive and undocumented GUI system that breaks whenever you forget to change some obscure field that only the person who added it knows about. *cough**cough**cough*
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby timesinker » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:36 pm

id love to read a fff about interactivity of music , if there is any. i think there is but maybe it takes away some magic if it is explained....
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby stootachtig » Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:26 pm

If you want to be certain that the tutorials are understandable and paced for every player, get some 10-12 year old kids to test them. If they succeed, the tutorials are foolproof ;) Just half a day at a local school should do the trick.
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby QGamer » Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:37 pm

Adding tutorials to the game was a great idea. Factorio is one of those games that is incredibly complex, and I needed to check the wiki to really learn a lot of things. I would prefer to be able to learn these things in-game, and the tutorials are a great platform for doing that.

1) Please put a "TUTORIALS" button in the main menu. New players will thank you, and it will make learning the basics a lot easier for them.
2) Add some early-game tutorials, or use the demo campaign. Right now all of the tutorials affect mid-game play, and new players need early-game help. The tutorials screen should recommend the demo campaign. I got the demo version of Factorio before I got the full game, and the demo campaign was a very effective tutorial for me.
3) Add circuit network tutorials. The circuit network is very complex and I didn't understand it at first. It took me a bit of playing and checking the wiki to grasp the basics. Add a tutorial for turning entities on and off, and a tutorial for the combinators.
4) I'd also like to see a nuclear processing tutorial, and maybe some logistic network tutorials.

I do agree that Factorio needs to be more friendly to newbies, because the first few hours of gameplay constitute their first impression of the game. Make it easy for a newbie to get in-game help and advice, for example by recommending the starter campaigns and some basic tutorials.
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Rseding91 » Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:00 pm

Twinsen wrote:... There are more important things that cause problems and they are more subtle. Such as a very unintuitive and undocumented GUI system that breaks whenever you forget to change some obscure field that only the person who added it knows about. *cough**cough**cough*



Whaaaat... that never happens. :D except those 15,000 times...
If you want to get ahold of me I'm almost always on IRC and Discord.
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Shenpen » Sat Jun 24, 2017 4:28 pm

@Klonan: A few weeks ago I went looking for your very nice modding tutorials on youtube and could not find them on your channel. Have they been pulled permanently and will they be replaced by something else?
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Claudius1729 » Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:27 pm

My feedback on the rail tutorial:

I didn't touch rails before 0.15 but really wanted to include that to my game in 0.15

- The tutorials popped up at a weird time (as soon as the research is done...which is not when I want to do them, I want to do them when I'm learning to use rails later).
- The tutorials that taught you to put down signals and stations were great, at least it felt so. I had no problem completing each exercises.
- But I actually had a hard time completing the first tutorial. The controls on how to lay rails just weren't intuitive, and the tutorial didn't help me grasp how to use them. Now that I've used rails a bit, I've no problem with the controls, but I'm just saying that the tutorial didn't really help me with it.
- Overall, I'm a bit disappointed with rails in Factorio. It should be much simpler to lay down rails and build a great network, given that this is supposed to be a core part of the game according to the devs. But it's more to do with how tedious and limited building is in Factorio, till the very end-game where you have bots and a decent logistic network.
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Sonik-HSC » Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:27 pm

The tutorials should allow we repeat the topic we want for example im training i last tutorial of trains and im i the 2 or 3 topic but i haven~t understand it and after i finish that he advance to the next automatic... if i want repeat the second i need to restart everything again!
The tutorial must be include some kind of junctions and best configurations of signals. ( " T junctions ", " + junctions " , " O junctions ", O T and O+ Junctions " )

In some topic of last tutorial they make us put signals to make trains advance , but don´t explane were ! if i want i change all signals to advance signal, ( that shouldn't be allowed )

Im tutorial the game only need to provide-us withe a limit quantity of signal!
For example: U want us to switch normal signal to advance signals but but for the best configuration we only need 2 ... And the game provide-us with 50!

If the dev team want see if tutorials are fine there is an best solution to test it!! Invite an young player or a friend of dev team to the office and put that person pass by itself the tutorial and at end ask in what he learn and explane what they think...! Of course need to be a person who never play factorio but like video-games.
The tuturial is easy for the dev because they are the programmers of that and they understand best than every one what to to whith that. :D
Keep the nice work.

1 sugestion for free. The devs must include kind a book in game with recipes ant their ratios .
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Patashu » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:29 pm

QGamer wrote:Adding tutorials to the game was a great idea. Factorio is one of those games that is incredibly complex, and I needed to check the wiki to really learn a lot of things. I would prefer to be able to learn these things in-game, and the tutorials are a great platform for doing that.

1) Please put a "TUTORIALS" button in the main menu. New players will thank you, and it will make learning the basics a lot easier for them.


^ I agree strongly with this. I even knew the tutorial button existed because I was an FFF reader, but I STILL couldn't find where they are until I looked it up. Adding a tutorials button to the main menu takes very little real estate and catches peoples' attention.
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Tergiver » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:30 am

Wireshark plug-in option #4:


Build a c++ app which can generate the Lua code for the Wireshark API. This app can link to Factorio in its entirety, but is built and executed during the Factorio build process.

I have no idea how that option compares to the current solution in terms of time to get it done, but I thought I'd throw it out there as yet another option.
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby FacToRizeD » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:41 pm

Can we expect a full campaign for the 1.0 version? I feel like this is one of the most under-exploited aspects of Factorio.
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Klonan » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:45 pm

FacToRizeD wrote:Can we expect a full campaign for the 1.0 version? I feel like this is one of the most under-exploited aspects of Factorio.


I have a plan to write a new campaign, with multiplayer in mind from the beginning, some satisfying progression and story,
Whether there will be time to get it done before 1.0, I don't know
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby ske » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:29 pm

Klonan wrote:I have a plan to write a new campaign, with multiplayer in mind from the beginning, some satisfying progression and story,
Whether there will be time to get it done before 1.0, I don't know


"Plan to write" as in project plan or as in try to think about it while it sounds good?

It sounds like a big endeavour. It's like they built the whole game exactly for this project.
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Klonan » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:26 pm

ske wrote:
Klonan wrote:I have a plan to write a new campaign, with multiplayer in mind from the beginning, some satisfying progression and story,
Whether there will be time to get it done before 1.0, I don't know


"Plan to write" as in project plan or as in try to think about it while it sounds good?

It sounds like a big endeavour. It's like they built the whole game exactly for this project.


I've been talking about even, Twinsen even jokes about how I am always saying how great it will be...

But I consider it the most worthwhile task for me to do, while the other scenarios and scripts are training my skills to make it as best as I can.

For now I have a rough plan including some mission structure, the general story concepts, progression of the player through all the concepts (trains, roboports, science etc)
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Deadly-Bagel » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:16 am

I found the two "tutorial" campaigns were pretty good for introducing me to the game, it provides some simple designs and shows you what to expect in the early game. it just ended a bit early, there are other basics that need teaching before someone is ready for freeplay. The main ones that come to mind are ratios, expansion, and scope. Basically you want to show the player that a 2:3 ratio of Electronic Circuit Assemblers to Copper Wire Assemblers is efficient in resources, space, and power, you also need to design your factory with expansion in mind, and what size of factory you should expect is needed to launch a rocket.

The current campaigns have very small-scale factories so this is what the player is led to expect when starting the "main" game. I remember researching the rocket and building the silo, I looked at the rocket requirements and went yeah that's not too bad, took 15 minutes building the parts and when it ticked up to 1% I realised I had zero hope of finishing that game.
Money might be the root of all evil, but ignorance is the heart.
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Sibbo » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:38 am

The train tutorials made me a train player.
I'm not a hardcore gamer or whatever, I just like to play some Factorio from time to time. Seeing people having problems with the train stuff and chain signals was always a turn-off. I just decided to not bother myself with that, as I never play to rocket anyways.
So I played the tutorials, and my 0.15 base was the first one to include trains. For me, the tutorials made the whole thing very easy.
I like the minigame-style of the signal tutorials a lot. One thing you could do is strip the amount of examples down a bit and add some pretty weird edge cases to make players generalize the concept more. Like an n to 1 rail for example?
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby y.petremann » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:17 pm

Feedback for tutorials :
They are great, but unfortunately the tutorial system doesn't get all the love :
  1. If someone want to go to tutorial when on a multiplayer server, warn them that they will be disconected from the server during the time they complete it, then reconnect to the server at the end. Only the host can't start tutorials.
  2. A "Sandbox" Tutorial would be really appreciated, it would allow peoples to do quick test of designs and mecanics. Energy interfaces, loaders, source and sink chest would be allowed for testing purpose.
  3. As already said, starting tutorial from main menu would be great.
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Re: Friday Facts #196 - Back on track

Postby Alice3173 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:15 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote:Basically you want to show the player that a 2:3 ratio of Electronic Circuit Assemblers to Copper Wire Assemblers is efficient in resources, space, and power

I think the game could really do with some more info on input and output of a given building. It'd help a lot for figuring out optimal builds, especially if you complicate things with modules or inconsistent supply chains.
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