Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby SightedNZ » Thu May 10, 2018 1:55 pm

I have to echo what a number of players have said in this thread;

The tutorial definitely needs expanding but I think it should lead into a campaign where you have to build a base and each level is adding a layer of functionality to it.
For example, one level could be to build a suitable production area for trains, tracks and carriages then in the next mission, you build a railway line out to mining resource X then defend the train and the mining site from a biter infestation.

As you progress through the levels, your overall base remains the same and just gets built upon until you reach the end of the campaign where you finally build a rocket silo, defend it for x amount of time (time to launch it) then finally escape the planet.

There's definitely potential there, but I think it's going to be tough to pull off well due to the complexity curve as your tech level and base size increases.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby artig4n » Thu May 10, 2018 6:32 pm

I'll just add my own experience to the discussion.

When I first tried Factorio, I got through the Tutorial campaign and stopped playing. It seemed like a very limited game, and I saw nothing to keep me interested.

Much, much later, a year or so, I read some article about Factorio that led me to try it again. But this time I had some advice (from the article) that said to skip the Tutorial and just get right into Freeplay.

So I gave it another try, and was quickly hooked.

So for me, at least, the Tutorial campaign had a negative effect.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby Tiggy » Thu May 10, 2018 7:15 pm

I wouldn't have minded the grinding obstacle with the trains if it had encouraged you to develop a factory on a more epic scale to deal with it. Weirdly, I think drastically upping the amount you needed to get and using it to build some kind of hyper-big land train with cannons would have not only fixed it but made it pretty awesome. Speaking of which - I really think that large machines like the train and steam turbine should NOT be things you can just craft in your inventory from a couple of scraps. In fact, I think it should work more like a car factory with multiple arms inputting different parts. Certainly, you should not be able to carry the end product!

I'll make a suggestion thread for that idea.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby bobucles » Thu May 10, 2018 10:10 pm

I disagree on the grind. New Hope 2 as a level is not very well designed. It simply demands too many things from the player at once, including:
- Mandatory long distance expansion
- learning trains from scratch
- defending multiple outposts
- large scale resource production

Factorio's a big game but dumping everything on the player at once isn't very different from dumping them in freeplay. Mission objectives should be smaller, better focused and give players the chance to learn what it is they're working on. Once they get the hang of it, they've won the mission. There's no need to tie the experience down with a massive post victory grind.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby bobingabout » Fri May 11, 2018 7:52 am

I do like new hope 2. but it would be better if it told you how to set up a train, rather than leaving the player in the deep end to figure it out themselves.
No matter what you do, you can't please everyone.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby Tiggy » Fri May 11, 2018 7:56 am

I agree with Bobingabout, I never understood the advanced part of the train tutorial. In fact, I only ever managed as far as simple automatic routes that don't overlap.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby bobucles » Fri May 11, 2018 11:46 am

I do like new hope 2. but it would be better if it told you how to set up a train, rather than leaving the player in the deep end to figure it out themselves.

That's a very legitimate reason to not like it! :lol:

Learning how to set up and use trains is basically an entire mission in of itself. The player doesn't need to be burdened with other objectives except as proof that they can use trains.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby Festmester » Fri May 11, 2018 5:04 pm

The tutorial should explore basic concepts, one at a time. Perhaps in succession. Such as how to..

Generate materials (mining), then..
Move stuff around the map (via belts), then..
Set up smelting and basic automation, learn inserters, then..
Initiate research (objective: research one or a few basic red science research), then..
Feed a science lab with red science with what you learned already, then..
Use the newly acquired research to demonstrate that your technology has progressed.

I think this can be communicated in a way that aren't 'arbitrary tasks'. For just a short while, I think handholding is okay. If people get lost, they go to a youtube video and find some handholding there just to grasp basic function of actually DOING anything. Sure you can mine and set up belts, but WHY? Demonstrate a chain from ore to product in a few minutes, to understand what the sandbox is about. Why are we mining, converting, building and automating, why is this fun?

I can understand the need for a new tutorial. But if the freeplay is the main game, then the tutorial shouldn't take long to complete, as in be kinda short. I think making a 'gripping environment' and 'teaching by experimentation' are hard to accomplish all at once, since I think an experimentational environtment is going to turn away a lot of people not understanding the concepts immediately. Therefore by first demonstrating BASIC functions in a fast, effective manner (where are we coming from and where are we going), you can open up to more complex concepts as alternatives to the basics, and introduce experimentation there.

I guess if we don't need to build everything in the tutorial, the belts and inserters could be pre-placed and not removable, then fill in the blanks with various structures. The objective could be to place assembly machines, choosing the recipe and supplying the belts with resources. This way the player can see where things come from and go to, learn of production, supply and automation. Learning this stuff quickly holds people's attention and makes them well equipped for the sandbox experience. I know this is already in one of the missions, but I feel it drowns because of the size of the base and all the other things going on at the same time. I'd like to learn things one by one, then put it together in the end (much like an assembly machine works eh? :P )
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby abregado » Sun May 13, 2018 10:18 am

Dev-iL wrote:On a different topic, am I the only one COMPLETELY MINDBLOWN by the fact Factorio is being used for educational purposes?? TBH, that's pretty much the reason why I translated the game into Hebrew, in the hope that one day, some kid who would otherwise not be able to play it, could enjoy it and perhaps benefit from learning about algorithms, logistics and engineering.
Could we please get some more information about the context of this? What is the age group of the students? What is the declared goal of this exercise? How long do people get to play? What are their comments? Are they playing in English or using some localization (I would guess Portuguese from your nickname)? In case of the latter, would you comment on the quality of the translation? Is this a conspiracy to get kids hooked on Cracktorio and increase game revenues (in other words, what happens when students want to keep playing outside the classrom - is this encouraged? Is it ethical?)? So many questions....!


Im actually Australian. The name is just something I came up with ages ago and it stuck. It is not related to the portugese 'Obrigado' or the star wars solar system of Abregado-Rae.

The classes I run are both after school and during holidays. In the context of Factorio my company in Australia runs a two day course called Rockets and Sprockets in which the students (8-13) play Factorio and Kerbal Space Program. The goal of this course is not to teach concepts of math and science but to simultaneously show students that those diciplines are useful and to motivate them to pay attention in school. Teachers often talk about "Teachable Moments" in which a student comes to them excited to ask a question about a topic. During these moments the Teacher can transfer huge amounts of information. We aim to provide these teachable moments to teachers at the schools of our students.

When our instructors/moderators get asked science and math questions during the Course, we encourge them to answer if they feel comfortable doing so (most of our instructors are 2nd year Computer Science students).

I am not a teacher (in the registered and certified sense) but Ive had 5 years experience working with video games and students in an educational context.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby abregado » Sun May 13, 2018 10:21 am

izealot wrote:I want to know more about teaching with Factorio. I've always wanted to do this but am waiting until 1.0
Curious if it was used in a classroom or after school activity?


Im always intersted in talking shop with other Educators. If anybody every wants to discuss pedagogy or wants tips of setting up games for classroom use, do let me know. I travel a lot and am happy to chat over a beer/coffee if I happen to be in your area.

Actual answer to your question in the previous post.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby abregado » Sun May 13, 2018 10:23 am

Tiggy wrote:Would we be maybe able to donate maps for the devs to turn into campaign missions?


I cant promise they would be used directly, but I would be happy to play them for inspiration and to discuss them afterward.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby abregado » Sun May 13, 2018 11:19 am

psychomuffin wrote:Abregado, Can you tell us more about your experiences of using this in the classroom? I feel that this game does have possibilities in enhancing certain classroom topics. But I am also a bit worried about sharing this game with others because of the crack-like addictiveness of the game which would ruin a students studies in everything else! What kinds of lessons do you use it for, and how do you keep if from being a distraction?


Thanks for pinging me via PM.
As for my in classroom experiences. In 2016 I ran a term (half semester) long session with a Year 7 Science Class, in which we replaced the Science text book with a Minecraft level. Instead of reading the text, the students had to explore the level and find the text relevant to the topic (there were no red herrings, so everything was relevant). By completing experiments at stations we had set up around the room and small written quizzes, the students unlocked new areas with new information. So imagine a text book with gates that you need to pass, the text slabs being the keys to the gates and the book itself can tell if you had read the right paragrahs.

The results were interesting. As one might expect, those students with higher Game Literacy performed better regardless of if they were previously performing well in the standard system. Motivation to come to class was increased dramatically, except in the case of the few students who were already performing well. This small group of students were, unsurprisingly, those who had very high Reading Literacy and who already had figured out "How to do play the school game". These students performed comparitivly worse, and probably just accessed the text book at home.

So this leads into the addiction question...

After writing a reply to this three times (never being happy with the content or length), I thought that if somebody wants to REALLY discuss that, we should make another thread...
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby Bilka » Sun May 13, 2018 11:44 am

abregado wrote:So this leads into the addiction question...

After writing a reply to this three times (never being happy with the content or length), I thought that if somebody wants to REALLY discuss that, we should make another thread...


Yes please, if find that an interesting topic to discuss seriously, especially since you have more experience in it than most of us.
I'm an admin over at https://wiki.factorio.com. Feel free to contact me if there's anything wrong (or right) with it.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby Tiggy » Sun May 13, 2018 12:02 pm

Part one and two of that could be combined by having an abandoned mining camp with a series of belts that correspond to different processes and require different things and have the player follow them from one place to another in a semi-guided way. This might solve several more as you are led around the places where those belts feed to.
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby Tricorius » Sun May 13, 2018 5:12 pm

abregado wrote:... Rockets and Sprockets in which the students (8-13) play Factorio and Kerbal Space Program ...


This is awesome. As a father of six and an avid proponent of STEM, thank you for your efforts and incorporating "non-traditional" education methods. Yet another reason to love this development team. ;)
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Re: Friday Facts #241 - New player experience

Postby TRauMa » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:22 pm

Koub wrote:What would happen if people with different backers.json want to play multi, and a name is chosen for one player's building that is not present in the other one's ?


My guess would be, let everyone use the server's backers.json, or make the name chosen part of the entity built event that is broadcast to all clients. But I understand if you're reluctant to add this just to enable customization you never intended for in the first place, which is why I only asked about the game updater. :)
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