Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

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pingger
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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by pingger » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:37 pm

Proposal 5:
Like Proposal 4, but you can save different ActionBar configurations to disk (like creating a savegame) (and later load it)

Issues solved:
- Limitations

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Artman40 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:59 pm

Is it possible to implement multiple options at the same time and let the players choose what works best for them?

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Tergiver » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:54 pm

I want proposal #1.
I also want to be able to click with the blueprint (or book) "in hand" on a library item to change the library item to what is in that blueprint.

This allows me to grab a blueprint from the library, place it in the world, make changes to the world, 'copy' the world, and then replace the library blueprint with just one click.
Or I might build something in the world, realize that this is better than a blueprint I have in the library, grab a blank blueprint, copy the world, then one-click replace the library blueprint.

That takes care of all use cases for me.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by WithAnF » Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:06 pm

I put a lot of thought into the blueprint library issue this morning... and I read the post at least 3 times to make sure I understood my thoughts (and I hope yours). The current version of the blueprint library is functional, but clumsy. It mostly works bcs those of us that have logged thousands of hours of play have learned to work around it's flaws. I use blueprints extensively and I would love to see them improved! And to echo something you said in the linked FFF: "Factorio must be the best game no matter what!" Agreed! :) I play Factorio more than any other game. I am willing to weather any change that is necessary for the advancement of the game - keep up the good work! Also if you want to pay my moving expenses to Prague, I am open to working there. (only half-kidding)

tldr; I like Proposal 3 best - It should be simple to code. I like the idea of blueprints not being items. I can make the pages work for organization and having them not confused with the actionbar is actually a plus to me! :D


Current version
Clutter - I get clutter in my inventory all the time of blueprints I only grabbed out of my library to make once, or needed for my initial set up of Oil Refining, or something I just wanted to copy once. Deleting them is not too much of a hassle, but I forget until my inventory has 10+ of them sitting around and I have to look and see which ones I want to keep.
Versioning - I am constantly going back to previous games to find something I updated or redesigned and forgot to push into the library.

Changes that will be done no matter what: I love the idea of being able to arrange my blueprint library better. And having one-time copy/paste blueprints would be great.

Prop 1:
This sounds workable, but also complex - having the blueprints be one thing here and another thing there...

Prop 2:
Even more complicated... and it sounds like a nightmare to code. I would have to start on a mod to "fix" this if it is the choice :) Also complication increases the chances for bugs as well as the time it takes to make it.

Prop 3:
I think this sounds simple and easy to use. I don't think of my blueprints as items anyway. It has always seemed a little weird to have them there in my inventory.
Shared between games or not... I tend to play each game for many hours and the blueprints I need at the beginning of the game are definitely not the ones I need later. I guess they could be different pages - page 1 is for beginning things, page 2 for oil, etc.
Shortcut access... blueprints are not a thing that I use the quickbar shortcuts for usually.

Prop 4:
This is definitely not as simple as Prop 3... but it has it's merits. Your idea of having the blueprints and items needed for one thing - like rail construction - is interesting... but I think about it a little differently. Once I have construction bots, I don't often lay rails manually. When I do, I am altering my normal 2 or 4 rail pattern to go around an obstacle or something. I just use Q to grab a rail and start planning around it.
The storage limitation isn't a huge problem. But having the same blueprints for every game would be a bit of a hassle as I like to experiment with mods like Bobs/Angels and I have very different blueprints for those. But that is not a deal breaker.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by T.Shirt » Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:08 pm

The first thing I want from the blueprint library is longer visible blueprint names. Instead of a grid of Icons with 8-10 character names below, perhaps a list view with icon to the left and a longer text string to the right.
I don't want to name my blueprints like I am storing them in DOS.

The current Q behavior is annoying to me. I want the Q behavior to not clutter my inventory so if I grabbed one from my library the copy in my hand should be destroyed.

As someone who lets the kids play: I really need my library blueprints to be separate from in game blueprints to avoid total disaster of the Library.

An additional and seperate quick bar slot with an alias/link to the last used blueprint would be helpful.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Jaertof » Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:47 pm

I like option 4, but I don't like the limitation of 30 spots. With different sets of mods you might need similar but different books and the collection can grow quickly that way.

How about you can save/load different action bar layout including the books? Then when you play a different mod sets you can simply load a different action bar layout, and not have any bars that are not usefull for the current mods or game phase.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Rahbek » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:16 pm

I am not sure if this has been previously mentioned as I don't have the time at the moment to read through 6 Pages of comments.
However after reading the recent Friday Facts I wanted to point out a problem that I have run into a few times that hasn't been mentioned in the blog and potentially would lose all players Blueprints especially if they aren't items anymore.

I have Factorio installed via Steam which nicely backs up all my saves and allows me to play on multiple machines or reinstall the game and still not lose progress (e.g. after a system wipe which I had to do multiple times the past year cause of hardware issues or upgrades or simply because you removed the game cause it is too addicting and you need to get stuff done - and then reinstall it just a week later cause you wanna play it again :lol: ).

However Steam only backs up the save files and no mods or any other settings including the blueprint library. That meant I lost all my blueprints every time I had to reinstall or moved to a different machine unless they were saved as items in the inventory or in a chest in some save file.
As a solution I started using a dedicated map for making designs using the creative mode mod (https://mods.factorio.com/mod/creative-mode-fix) and "stored" my important blueprints there in build form from which I could still manually re-make a blueprint of my designs - but it's not an ideal solution and requires even more effort to keep them updated and you won't always have all the things you wanna have blueprints of build out or stored in a chest. So you still end up losing some blueprints.

Whatever approach you take I'd love for you to allow for players to backup their blueprint library ideally via steam-cloud for convenience.
Connected to that I guess it would be nice if the mod list would sync as well and allow you to re-download all previously installed mods after a fresh factorio install - however not losing the blueprint library is far more important. :)

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by testasdf » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:33 pm

Intuitively I like 4 more than 3 because, a single item in a pure action bar is basically just a single item blueprint (with the extra ability to build things manually and use items).

But 4 alone doesn't feel like a good idea. The action bar alone without changing blueprints could be a good feature. But most importantly, if I'm switching quickbars, it's very likely I'll keep using the same blueprint book in most of the cases. That is, it doesn't actually avoid the linking problem, and improves almost nothing for a player using blueprints like me.

Having two quickbars reduces the problem a little. It's difficult to imagine when will I switch quickbars now. But if I do, it's likely there would be a case I'll switch both when I'm doing two related tasks together. The blueprint books and certain military tools would be better duplicated than absent.

I have a blueprint book, a temporary blueprint and a deconstruction planner in my quickbar. If I'll copy these to every configuration, that's already 30. I have another blueprint book in the inventory. And the most problematic part for me, though, is the deconstruction planners. I have 6 deconstruction planners for different situations in my inventory. But that could be solved in another way, if they could be added to blueprint books in future versions.

Another problem is, it may discourage people from loading another player's save file and follow their instructions to do something, and doing things consistently in multiplayer when you already have a similar blueprint. It would also break the sequence if I load a very old game that is not played for very long. And how do you migrate 50 versions of the same game, each with 2 minor modifications of blueprints?

I don't have much experience about all these. But everything in my library except outdated versions of the two books, are random imported things, and their modified versions, for me to see what other players are doing. They have nothing to do with my game at all, and could be experimental or decorative. And potentially I may want to import similar things, and keep every version, to avoid miscommunication. I'd be disappointed if the game begins to discourage this.

I also have some "controller" blueprints with one constant combinator. If it's multiplayer, it's quite likely I'll put them in a nearby chest. Having actual constant combinators for them to blueprint is another option, but they will have to manually name each blueprint, as they all look the same. Anyway, it's quite likely these things built by different people can't be used interchangeably, and need different blueprint books to avoid mixing up, and may not want them share the same limit across games.

Proposal 1 might be better, whether the action bar is also implemented or not. But if you are going for proposal 2, you could allow setting different links for each player, and the link becomes inactive if leaving the inventory and could be activated again. You may disallow two blueprints with the same active link in the inventory (by automatically deactivating the other), and add a revert button in the blueprint library, to make sure nobody complains. Also, 3 isn't that bad. But it just doesn't feel like what I expect the game to be, but an obvious patch of the difficulty of explanation of 4 without the switching feature and the limit.

The Ctrl+C idea is basically just an extra slot that could only store blueprints, and probably couldn't even be copied to elsewhere. I personally usually blueprint something and use them first, and consider whether to save it later. Using Ctrl+C would be counterproductive, unless you have another option to import from clipboard everywhere. A probably better way would be two keyboard shortcuts to create and destroy blueprints.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by drmason13 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:38 pm

I think proposal 4 is successful for its simplicity.

To address some reasonable concerns I've seen:

Mods mean useless actionbar 'pages' and wasted slots.
Limiting the number of blueprints players can keep.

I think both of these problems should be solved by modifying the 4th proposal.

Have the synchronised toolbars be optional on a per game basis solves the first one. Start a new game and decide "do I want my synced toolbars (often at the start of a new game they wouldn't be useful yet right? You won't have most of the items yet anyway!)
If your game is a modded game you wouldn't have to sync it with your vanilla setup.

As for limiting blueprints, couldn't we keep a spare infinite inventory to replace the blueprint library? This would sync with your toolbar by default, but I would add tabs for easily switching between modded blueprints and vanilla (or whatever players want to group by)

Still no blueprint items. The infinite blueprint library could easily have a "shared" section for multiplayer. With shared areas for each team too?

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Jürgen Erhard » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:34 pm

bman212121 wrote:
Rseding91 wrote:
torham wrote:I think I would vote for proposal 3.

I mostly use blueprint books, and each blueprint is rarely used often enough to put it in the quick bar or inventory. What annoys me most is that if you open a blueprint book, look for a blueprint, use it and hit Q, it is moved from the book into your inventory, creating a totally useless item ( since I have just used it and no longer need it).
That sounds like you aren't aware you can hold the book as an item and scroll between the blueprints by shift + scroll wheel. No need to open the book and browse around for one.
Not the same person, but I'm also aware of this and find that just as cumbersome. The interaction with the blueprint books just seems really weird and it's difficult to hit the right combination of keys to pick up the blueprint and scroll through it and find the one you want. I only use the book because if you don't it clutters your inventory too badly. But then with the book you end up with 20+ blueprints, and you need to use that really oddball key combination to get through the book. It's certainly not obvious or intuitive to try to hold down shift while using the scroll wheel. Then you have to sit there and study the blueprint to make sure it's actually the one you want because there is no label or anything telling you which blueprint you're currently on.

That actually brings up a good point that if we could actually name our blueprints and have a name pop up, that would be far more useful to me than little icons and pictures. I'd rather see a blueprint that's a list of names like a train stop than an inventory screen. The inventory screen makes sense when a picture can accurate represent an item, and any item with that picture is the same item. But using the game items to try to describe what a blueprint is is almost impossible to remember for me. I'll end up with 4 blueprints with a train track on it, but then even if I make one train track + iron plate, and one that's train track + copper plate, I'll never remember what the difference is.
First, of course the blueprint name is displayed when you "scroll" through a blueprint book. *IF* the blueprint has a name in the book.

Also, it sounds like you use books just an uncluttering tool. Books are an organizing (and uncluttering) tool. Put similar BPs in the same book, and the book both gets smaller and the BP gets easier to find. I have a book with balancers (yeah, yeah, I got the string off the Internet :D), nicely arranged so it gets as easy to use as, say, a dictionary (the made-with-paper thingies).

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Jürgen Erhard » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:39 pm

Repeat after me: BPs are items. I like them as items. I *want* them as items. It just feels more proper.

"But…" Nope, nothing. Shush. You can, for example, link the library and the BP items, don't see why not. No need to de-itemize BPs (because internally they're objects anyway).

One problem is the synching, but that… well, I don't see from skimming the proposals how the "can't edit (actually *EDIT*) BPs" gets solved. Which is one of the worst problems, and is the root cause of the library disaster. How do you edit a BP? Place it, either wait for bots to place everything or not, but remove bits you don't want or want changed, and place new ghosts with the new bits. Then recreate the BP *and delete the old one*. Or not.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Jürgen Erhard » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:43 pm

This would force the player
Those are words I do *NOT* want to hear from a dev, and especially not from a Factorio dev. "Force" players not to overuse bots. Force players to play *OUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY*. You still appear not have learned the bot lesson: Factorio is immensely flexible, and that's a *huge* part of its success. Forcing players into specific avenues by closing other avenues is *BAD*.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by KhakiKiwi » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:56 pm

Hi,

My wife and I are currently working on a 1 per second rocket launch map as we have finished all the achievements and needed something to do :) (Acheivements for rockets per hour would be great - 1 per hour, 10 per hour, 100 per hour, 360 per hour!)

We have never put blueprints in chests, however we have multiple blueprint books each for organization. We should be clear, we do not scroll through our book to select plans, but rather pull out the plans we are currently using and put them back in when we move on to a different activity. We do not see any need for blueprints to be real items and in fact would find it very helpful to have a couple of blueprint quickbars to place the ones we are currently using in - or to have slots in these quickbars reference our library.

Option 1 is our preferred option. We would prefer to have pressing Q to place it in a special quickbar slot for last used item - see below.

Option 2, blueprints being items that are linked to the library, has all the disadvantages of the current system of blueprints as an item, with additional complications of keeping track of how they are updating, and no further advantages than having blueprints as quickbar references that are linked to the library.

Option 3 would leave us with too many blueprint bars and a hard time to keep track of all the blueprints. We do love the idea of a separate blueprint bar, though, for plans currently in use.

Option 4, the multiple toolbar idea sounds good to us for items, as long as you allow an item to exist in mutiple bars. A separate and multiple blueprint bar would also be useful. However, for organisation of blueprints, a library with books that these blueprints reference as in option one would be much more preferable that the bars being the only storage.

Having a limit to the number of plans sounds problematic in the long term and we wanted to raise the point that the plans you use at different stages of the game are often very different. This means that the ability to organize a lot of blueprints is really important. (Late game versus early game blueprints, rail versus factory blueprints etc) It is also useful to be able to organise multiple deconstruction blueprints. A deconconstruction blueprint book, or the equivalent under the new organisation, would be very helpful. Option 3, a separate blueprint bar, would be our preference for blueprints. the blueprints on there could be accessed from the library, not real blueprints.

For the slots being assigned on the quickbar and not being actual items, we do find it frustrating to have an item in hand, and try to pick up another item and just get a beep because the item in your hand is not allowed in the slot that the item you are picking up is in. To solve this, we suggest that when this happens the item in your hand is automatically placed elsewhere. In order of preference, it would go into: 1, It's own assigned slot. 2, An unassigned slot on the quickbar (if you've just used it, you're likely to want it again soon). 3, Into your inventory.

For the copy paste and blueprint experience we have a suggestion: Have three special quickbar slots (to the left?) one each for items, blueprints and deconstruction plans. Have these always update to be the last thing you used. You grab an item out of a chest? It's in your most recently selected when you leave and you can drag it into quickbar. You ctrl-c a blueprint? It's in your blueprint slot and if you want to keep it you just drag it into another slot. If you dont, it gets overwritten when you select another blueprint or ctrl-c again.

We would really love there to be an 'undo' for plan clearing. A number of times we have intended to move a plan but mis-clicked and cleared it instead. this is particularly annoying if it is a plan that is modified from the library, and we have also modified what was on the ground after placement of the plan to allow for a particular problem/requirement, and so have no way to get back the exact plan we had a blueprint of. An 'undo' option in a corner of the screen after clearing a blueprint would be good for this, we usually realise right away what we have done. Occasionally we have cleared a number of blueprints at one time, so remembering the last 5 cleared would be even better.

Having a modifier key plus click and drag allowing you to select an area for deconstruction would be very useful. Even better, have it use the current default deconstruction plan so that players can choose which type of deconstruction they want to be automatic, whether that is only trees/rocks, only walls, only rail and signals, etc, depending on what they are currently working on.

We have a lot of plans that are fairly similar, and being able to pick them out of our book quickly relies on recognising them from four tiny pictures. Is it possible to add an option to have a mini picture of the plan displayed instead? And/or text instead of picture? I would love to be able to have some of the plans in my rail book labelled - T intersection, left, clockwise etc without having to highlight them to see the text. It is very hard to make it clear what our dozens of different rail plans are from four pictures, even with single letter/number options.

Adding tagging when making a blueprint would be very useful when placing it and linking belts. Either, automatically tagging the start of a belt with what was on it when the blueprint was taken, or allowing the player to tag it. Often I place a blueprint and then spend some tome wondering where the copper/iron/plastic etc actully entered the blueprint. Which belt was it on? which side? I have used filter inserters to tag plans, but it requires setting the area up with the filter inserters before copying it to a plan.

Along with the above idea, it would be very helpful to add an item to a plan as well as remove. All too often we have an excellent plan with one inserter missing, which we realise after removing a lot of things that we didn't want to include but were inside the selection rectangle, and woudl love to be able to just add that inserter. This could potentially also lead to the ability to plan out factories/stations/etc in plan mode instead of in game, which may or may not be a good feature to add.

fff-191 sounds really good. One of our favorite parts is being able to ghost plan an item not currently in our inventory. Sometimes I want to kill my own roboport bots because they steal things from my hand while I want to place more! I have gotten around this, at times, by making a plan on a single belt or inserter so that I can place more. The ghost plan included in the quick bar is a far superior option to this!

While we (hopefully) have your attention here are some other things that we think would really help:
* Make logistics delivery toggleable or switch off on your characterafter death! Dying is super frustrating and when you have "many" TM trains it happens surprisingly often (3 times each last night). The biggest pain point is dealing with your inventory explosion due to logistics deliveries. One easy solution would be to tie the logistics delivery to some base armour version so that when you lose your armour it automatically stops.
* Make train schedules an "entity" with an id. Have trains set to a train schedule. This would allow two awesome things as "trivial" consequences. 1) All trains with that schedule would update when we change the schedule rather than having to run around like a headless chicken updating 20 trains. 2) Setting the train schedule by id at a station. The opportunities here are awesome ;)
* Red and Green "each" psuedo signals as discussed in viewtopic.php?f=6&t=56890. This would allow us to do some awesome stuff in circuit networks much more easily.
* Train overpasses! They could be a very expensive, only really possible in the end game item, if this was necessary for balance. We would love to be able to have train tracks cross without the need for the trains to stop for signals. In the very late game (having launched several hundred rockets) we have so many trains running on multiple tracks, they tend to back up where tracks cross and it is very difficult to avoid this problem. They could be limited to straight rail only, or perhaps including diagonal over diagonal in the long term.
* As with train overpasses for trains, pedestrian overpasses would be amazing. All too often we are working in an area with train tracks, and have to either constantly stop to check for trains or go through the annoyance of dying. Having an area we can cross without being hit by a train would be very helpful.

Sorry for the huge post and off-topic bits!

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by samr85 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:30 pm

In addition to whichever of these is picked, could we have a way of editing blueprints directly, using something like the segregated world of the tutorials? That way it'd be easy to make blueprints of items that you don't currently hold enough of on your character, or move something in it without having to deploy, modify then recapture the blueprint.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by SHiRKiT » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:46 pm

My opinion is that all of those solutions doesn't solve all the problems. Lemme give some considerations first:

First, I think that any kind of limitation in the amount of blueprints we currently have is not nice. I and many other players I know have several hundreds blueprints across more than 30 blueprint books and are not just merging everything because the current system is not nice.

Second, the whole current concept of blueprint books is a bit confusing, but can be improved a bit by allowing books inside books. I think this is extremely important for proper organization of the blueprint library.

Third, whatever you do try to make the clicking process straightforward, as the current version we have both left and right clicks in the same spots that do two different things and I always press the wrong button.

Fourth, whatever you do, allow us to search. This is extremely frustrating and people tend not to use the library just because of that.

Fifth, whatever you do, never, never allow the blueprint library to vanish. Please take special care and backup of the blueprint library when saving, I don't know, but please don't let corruption or some error destroy the library.

Sixth, make the blueprints themselves easy to update. And by easy I mean really easy, something along the lines of right click and allow us to click an "Replace" button, that would just replace the current blueprint with what you selected.

---------------------------

I think that the option 1 is the best one, if you modify to only allow blueprints to come and go the the blueprint library. Blueprints cannot exist outside the blueprint library, they are not a thing that can exist on their own. When you create a blueprint, it automatically goes to the blueprint library. Then one could create a special area for temporary blueprints which all blueprints goes.

And to magically solve the issue with players creating multiple blueprints for one special task, if you make the hotkey for clearing the blueprint and allowing us to immediately select new entities to update the blueprint, that would solve most the problems in my mind.

And all blueprints are always linked, so if you create a new blueprint and update it, it would go to the temporary place and get updated.

I honestly think that the concept of only having the blueprint library to store all blueprints is great. Allowing us to search and place books inside books would solve the blueprints in chests problem.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Mike5000 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:58 pm

PARADIGM SHIFT: Blueprints are like files; blueprint items are links.
  • 1) Copy/paste is different from other blueprint use cases. Making copy/paste a simple non-blueprint operation is a good move. Let's rethink blueprints without worrying about copy/paste.

    2) New and edited blueprints should be treated like open files in a word processor. If you try to exit the game with an unsaved blueprint you are asked whether to discard or save the blueprint to a book. The books are like directories/folders and are associated with the server, not the current player or the current game.

    3) Blueprints can be selected for use by clicking on a blueprint item in a hotbar or in a menu tree representation of the server's book hierarchy. This is the default blueprint action - select for use.

    4) Non-default blueprint actions would include "open for editing" and "create item" for placement in world or hotbar. A blueprint item whether in world or hotbar is just a link back to the blueprint saved in a book. (An unsaved blueprint cannot be an item.)
P.S. With copy/paste a separate function, please also allow select + arrow key to move a rectangular block of factory one meter in any direction.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by alefu » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:20 pm

I like both options 3 and 4, but would prefer 3, because I think that a clear separation between blueprints and normal items would be nice.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Venatos » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:29 pm

Proposal 3 is the one!
solves everything, is very simple and creates no new problems.
the others are just as shoehorned as the current one....simplicity is key!

im also psyched about the copy - paste function!

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Matthias_Wlkp » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:39 pm

The only thing that annoys me today with the blueprints is that they take item slots. Anything else I can learn to live with.

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Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Lubricus » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:54 pm

What about a blueprint tool that
1. Always store 1 blueprint and only 1 blueprint only.
2. You will be able to ad the bp in your bptool to the library.
3. You will be able to ad a copy of a bp in the library to your bptool (the old bp in the tool will disappear)
4. When you make a new bp the old one in the tool will disappear

Then your inventory will stay clean from bp and it will be easy to make a temporary bp. The library is then for bp you want to store and use several times and they don't easily get deleted by mistake.

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