Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by Light » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:06 am

The oddity of the campaign is that it's entirely unnecessary to build anything of a large scale. The mission with the trains gave you what felt like millions of ore, but you ultimately needed a small smelting setup and small number of assemblers to achieve the goal. The mission with the plane also didn't require very much to create said plane.

If you play the campaign first and jump into the real deal, you're likely assuming you need a small setup to launch a rocket and therefor don't plan ahead. Thus you make a small smelting setup and/or assembly areas thinking it's good enough and probably believe that for quite some time until you get bored from the slowness and look at videos just to learn how massive factories can truly become just to launch a single rocket. It's a good ten or twenty times bigger than what you likely built in the campaign.

That was my first experience anyhow. First-timer me would be shocked at the grand scale of what I build today just to accomplish a single recipe. (That doesn't even get into mods which can extend the size by a good hundred times the size of a large vanilla factory. My family factory is insanely massive and I love it.)

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by Idix » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:31 am

I've enjoyed the current campaign, it acted quiet nicely as a tutorial and the story didn't feel dumb.

I also like the new campaign idea, it reminds of Warzone 2100. It's a RTS game where you start with a tiny map and as you progress through the campaign the map becomes bigger and bigger, also your tech tree was preserved through the missions.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by zOldBulldog » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:41 pm

The main suggestion I can give if you are making revisions to the tech tree is to place some link between technologies being available for research and their prerequisite plants.

I still remember how frustrating it was when I was a new player, still didn't understand the dependencies and I finally completed construction robot research (or at least I think it was that) and not being able to build them and use them - for a looooong time - because I had not yet built an oil processing plant, plastics, red circuits, sulfuric acid plant, battery plant, etc.

Seriously, we are allowed to research some technologies much too soon. Not a problem for the experienced player, but new guys will tend to waste research bottles on "what looks cool and useful" without realizing that it is pointless to do it so soon and that they could benefit much more at that moment in time by researching something else.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by kisss256 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:52 pm

I like this direction.

Looking at the Production vs Science tech trees made me realise though: there needs to be a strong visual distinction between the items in one tree vs the items in both trees. A quick glance make me think "oh nukes! Much more useful than robots, I'll research purple first!" only to realise later that "damn it, i need yellow too :( ". There are of course the research dependencies, but there are also the dependencies of which items I already have production of / are familiar with.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by Avezo » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:02 pm

As for me, I'd rather have purple and yellow science packs merged into one, the changes after alien science was removed were an overkill imo. Or maybe remove military one and push later research from it to purple/yellow ones? Idk to me is feels like there is too many different science packs.

Also, interior maps would work well with propsed 'science zones' imo.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by eradicator » Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:35 pm

Yay. It's campaign talk time! I hope we finally find out why we are on this forsaken planet in the first place :P. Here's a few thoughts:

"Scroll Direction":
While i'm really happy that you decided to go with an expanding map style campagin your mockup shows the map expanding downwards only. I'm sure there's some personal preference to my argument here, but "downwards only expansion" feels wrong to me. If we look at the totally different genre of scrolling shooters we know that those always "expand" (==move) either upwards or rightwards. So if i was focussing on one direction only i'd certainly pick one of those. If you're fine with expanding in different directions i'd suggest a good mix, ending in freeplay after the last mission. Maybe something like this (sligthly golden spiraly):
text4200-326-2.png
text4200-326-2.png (21.78 KiB) Viewed 1518 times
Remnant Factories:
Having remnant factories to be found is a great idea to introduce new layouts and also to reduce the amount of new factory that needs to be build, which helps not stalling the campaign for too long. Maybe the use of the radar could be expanded to show a map "ping" near them to lead the player into the right direction. Combined with the "interior map" feature suggested by @avenzo i could also imagine having to reactivate/free of infestation/etc a preexisting building from the inside to later utilize it's unique features from the outside. Maybe some sort of precursor (free-energy) power plant, or a warehouse containing a large but limited supply of a certain item before the player can actually produce it, for example red circuits before oil is available on the map (==smoother transition towards own oil production), or a bunch of "old gunturrents" to strenghten up the base defenses before a scripted biter raid.

Science Pack Dependencies:
While i strongly support the change to seperate bottles out of the technologies for better visibility i'm not so sure that they should work like regular technologies. That means i think they a) should not be explicitly "requirement" for any further technologies. As that requirement is already expressed on each technology with the little bottle icon. I also think that it might even be better if the "bottle technologies" themselfs didn't require "researching" at all and are instead automatically unlocked when all prerequesites are completed. An overwiew of all techs linked to a specific bottle could still be shown when the bottle is clicked.

Voice Acting:
Currently factorio is a silent game. Only the sound of the factory to be heared. You said you wanted to make it feel less "lonely"? How about having some left over voice recordings of other exploreres who failed their mission. Nothing conveys loneliness as good as hearing voices of (presumed to be) dead people. Though... you probably shouldn't focus too much on the depressing side of things, not everyone likes that *cough*. But really... nobody watches silent movies these days any more, but especially "indi"-games (does factorio still count as one?) come completely without voice far too often for my taste. I know i know, voice acting costs money. But it also adds so much more emotional binding to a game if done right...


_____
Btw, i don't even play on steam, but if there was a statistic for it, i'd probably have something like 1 rocket per 1000 hours :P. I usually overengineer my factory before the rocket stage, and then start over before actually launching one. And i haven't done a single "infinite technology" yet.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by Avezo » Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:44 pm

bman212121 wrote:
SHiRKiT wrote:I certainly think that science packs need to be rethink, but don't know what is the best solution. But I think this:
Whatever you do, please make construction robots available ASAP.
You already get the unlock for construction robots plenty early. In order to build them you need electric engines for the robot frames, which requires you have oil processing setup. So the minimum amount you can actually use them requires green science packs, and if you wanted to use them on your person you actually need blue science to get a personal roboport. So all of the required items to actually use construction robots already require green science, so there's no benefit to unlocking them sooner as you won't be able to build them until you have: Electric engines (Meaning lubricant), batteries (sulfuric acid), advanced circuits (Which requires plastic).
I would think that's what poster you quoted meant - you need almost entire of oil processing set up to actually produce construction bots - not use, but produce them - which creates an awkward situation when it comes to research costs vs actual production costs. It weren't the only situation like this, but can't remember others from top of my head.

Also, 'almost entire oil processing' being set up is just a tiny step from having both purple and yellow science up too, which STILL makes construction bots feel like they belong to these two, even if you can research them with just green and red science. Things like that really need to be rebalanced.

The worst of it all is that the moment when I'd want construction bots the most is the very beginning and spamming furnace rows all over again...

Generally, if you can research something with just red and green science, you shuould be able to produce it with just red and green science too, it's not the case for construction bots and I feel like at least 1/3 of other things.

Devs, please rethink entire science tree having in mind actual production costs/techs required too.

-

My proposal is - remove 'flying robot frames' from the game, produce straight construction bots with ONLY red/green science materials OR logistic bots with higher tech materials.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by BiBaBeluBaB » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:57 pm

I like those changes.

As a casual player my opinion on guided campain:
I'm playing Anno1404 right now. I love the easy start through the campain. Its kind of comparable techwise. You have diffenrent tech levels with more advandced getting recepies. To learn the game the easy way the campain is great. e.g I come to an island where half a production line is finished and i get the quest to fix and improve it. In this way i learn how the game and recepies work. And sometimes i like to play casually without "working" out what i have to do. Just sit down and relax playing (my opinion). So i would love to have a campain

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by Dune » Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:48 pm

abregado wrote:So far I would say the testing versions of the NPE feel less like a tutorial and more like a playable trailer (but I am biased).
Can you not use acronyms please? I've no idea what a NPE is, and the closest I get is NBE (Non-biological-extraterrestrial) if anyone gets the reference.
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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by Dry Hairy Tree » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:03 pm

Campaign stuff. I agree with much of what Eradicator says and like the layout he presented for an expanding campaign. Having ship wreckage strewn all over the larger area will allow for all sorts of 'introductions' to tech.

I love campaigns, the bigger the better, but in digestible chunks accessible from a menu once unlocked as the current campaign is.

On 'partial factories'. The deal is meant to be that you've landed on an uninhabited (by your civilisation) planet. Finding the factory stuff in the campaign made no real sense. To counter this I propose the player finds a personal roboport, with construction bots and blueprints in the wreckage. Then the player can 'build' functional factories themselves with the plates/circuits/gears/assemblers etc they've learned to make/found prior to this point. In this manner a newcomer might transition to relative complexity with relative simplicity.

From my experience the best campaigns are immersive stories. The player needs an end goal, then several defined impediments (mini goals) to primary goal that the player must overcome. The real trick will be understanding the balance between what should be spoon fed, and what the player works out for themselves (the reward for playing Factorio is working stuff out then watching the widgets work).

Impediments: Aliens. Exploration (radar, foot, car, rail) and acquisition (ores, building site/s, oil, water). Defensive structures and use of land features in defense. Offensive capabilities. Alien evolution. Increasing complexity. Building a damn rocket already.

I disagree this needs to be huge/large scale. That is for freeplay. It could be lengthy, provided it hooks the player.

Speed runners have demonstrated the road to a rocket is not about scale. That it can be done by progressing in an orderly fashion with knowledge of what is to come. Newcomers have no idea what's coming. It is the campaign that could give them the orderly direction required to 'win' - while at the same time seeming to thwart them at every turn.

You probably know all this stuff, but that's my 2c.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by eradicator » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:04 pm

Btw, with the "end goal" of the campaign being the launching of a sattelite ofc (the rocket being the means to do so) thinking about the reason for why the player would want to do this... here's a rough suggestion: You're on this forsaken planet (for whatever reason) and need to know more about the planet (and maybe try to contact home depending on why you're there?). Radars only go so far with scanning range, so instead the player needs to build a radar sattelite to scan larger chunks of the area / the whole planet (and/or contact home). The twist at the end of the campaign would be that after launching the sattelite (and thus jumping into freeplay) instead of finding anything useful (and/or being able to contact home) you find that not only the surroundings but the whole planet is infested with bugs, and you actually landed in the *least infected part* instead of your assumption of landing in the worst part → Loneliness².
(Personal presumptions about bugs being an infestation instead of being the natives yadda, yadda... :P)

Ofc that doesn't explain why you get science bottles from space (could be fixed by breaking with the "bottle" approach and use actual things...like terrestrial scanning data...for research). Or why more sattelites don't reveal even more of the area (savegame size etc, yea i know). I.e. i really want the campaign to not only be an awesome new player experience that teaches how the game works, but also a great old player experience that gives some meaning as to why we've been building these large rocket factories all over the place.
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Dry Hairy Tree wrote:On 'partial factories'. The deal is meant to be that you've landed on an uninhabited (by your civilisation) planet. Finding the factory stuff in the campaign made no real sense.
Imho there's no real canon yet about who you are ore why, or even where you are. Looking at the campaign after ages...
"First Steps" campaign description says: "You have just landed on the surface of an unknown planet. There is no one to help you." The crash landed part is only implied by the shipwreck and dialog saying your escape module saved you, but not the others. → So it should really be an escape-pod-wreck and not a ship-wreck. Then in "New Hope" you're supposed to find the actual crashed ship according to the description, and colonize the planet. And you get a radio call by "other survivors".
Summary: You're a survivor of a (small? large?) colonization ship that just happend to crash land on the very planet it was supposed to colonize? Conveniently you don't actually need anything from the ship to start up an industry. But you don't have the ability to build anything a traditional colonization would require, like... athmosperic generators, food, buildings to live in? And what happend to the other survivors? Are you not worried about them all being dead/lost? Imho you can't keep all those elements in a consistent story. So some of them will have to be removed/revised. (I'll have to replay the campaign again next week or so to get a look at the whole picture...)

Also i just personally really like "finding and fixing/repurposing old stuff others left behind" as a gameplay/story device (not specific to factorio but in general).
_____
Dune wrote:
abregado wrote:So far I would say the testing versions of the NPE feel less like a tutorial and more like a playable trailer (but I am biased).
Can you not use acronyms please? I've no idea what a NPE is, and the closest I get is NBE (Non-biological-extraterrestrial) if anyone gets the reference.
Presumably: "New Player Experience"

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by Zavian » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:47 pm

Avezo wrote:My proposal is - remove 'flying robot frames' from the game, produce straight construction bots with ONLY red/green science materials OR logistic bots with higher tech materials.
I would rather they went with something like nanobots. (Basically expendable mini-construction robots that can be built with red+green science). That way they could move real logistics/construction bots to blue science.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by Mur » Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:08 am

Do people who play a modded version get the achievement if they launched a rocket?

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by Zavian » Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:17 am

They don't get the steam achievement. So people playing modded games, and people using the .zip or .exe installer (which also don't interface with Steam and don't give Steam achievements) probably accounts for some unknown fraction of those people who according to Steam, have never launched a rocket.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by equitime77 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:08 am

"only about 11% of players on Steam have ever launched a rocket" Wow! I find this difficult to understand. With the game being as popular as it is I would have thought that this number would be much much higher. Especially as now you get science packs from launching rockets.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by eradicator » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:26 am

equitime77 wrote:"only about 11% of players on Steam have ever launched a rocket" Wow! I find this difficult to understand. With the game being as popular as it is I would have thought that this number would be much much higher. Especially as now you get science packs from launching rockets.
Look at any game on steam. In most cases about 40-70% of "players" don't even finish the first level/chapter, much less the whole game.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by Gergely » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:28 am

Alice3173 wrote:
jaworeq wrote:I understand, that from "trying to be realistic" point of view, distinction between high-tech and production science packs makes sense. With that said, to me as someone who researches unlimited techs I need both packs anyway. So I just go for robots, then build lines for both packs.

As for achievements - those 11% don't include people playing with mods. If you really want to look at steam stats, you would think that half of the people get bored/lost before reaching oil.

Maybe it could be good to allow few key achievements to be achieved in modded game as well.
Going by Steam achievement numbers is pretty unreliable anyways. It's not uncommon for popular games to have an unavoidable achievement at the beginning of the game yet it has a 60-70% rate of game owners having gotten it. For example:
Image
This means that more than 3/10 owners of Portal 2 haven't even gotten through the first five minutes or so or the game.
That is interesting... to not survive the manual override is...
That could be caused by people buying the game and never playing it because the system requirements don't match the first time and they stop being interested. I had a game for 8-9 years and only recently was I able to run it properly on my newest computer. (Not kidding!) But it is so outdated, that their website is not even up anymore.
And yet, I always had a computer that matched the minimal system requirements.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by pleegwat » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:29 am

If the premise is a colonization ship which broke apart, you could explain existing factory structures as being provided by the ship. For example, an unmanned pod successfully landed and established a small mining outpost with train station.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by bobucles » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:06 pm

I don't see the point of starting players with a completely blank map. That already exists. It's called freeplay. The campaign is supposed to provide a guided experience. A flat barren field isn't very guided at all.

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Re: Friday Facts #245 - Campaign concept

Post by Oktokolo » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:53 pm

The readability of the science tree could benefit from using slightly diagonal lines wherever horizontal lines are used now. Not connecting implied dependencies to reduce the amount of lines also is a good idea.

But i would also like to get rid of science packs alltogether!
Let the science centers consume real intermediates like all colors of circuits, modules, inserters, belts, combinators, wires, batteries, plates, ores (for mining research), guns and ammo (military research)...
It is still easy to do the science formerly known as red or green earlygame where you only need some belts, inserters, green circuits, plates, copper wire, gears, ores and ammo. Just feed everything into any centers and distribute it all by inserters between the centers as you do it now.
Midgame we would finally have an actual reason for using rainbow sushi belts. They are great but as it is now, they are never more efficient than the regular multi-belt setups wher you just dump each product on a lane.
As it is now, we mostly have low-ingredient-count-high-throughput and some medium-ingredient-count-low-throughput challenges. There really needs to be some high-ingredient-count-low-throughput challenge in the game. And making science be that thing is completely reasonable as science is commonly known for needing all sorts of stuff in low quantities.
Of course, not every research would need all the things. Players would be able to split (for example) military research from the remaining stuff, so they do not need to route military stuff to their other science centers. But you would still need to route like ten or so different goods to every science department.
End-game, most players would just spam bots and beacons like they do for everything else. But there is nothing you can do about that anyway...

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