Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Regular reports on Factorio development.
Post Reply
User avatar
Smart Inserter
Smart Inserter
Posts: 2173
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:19 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by steinio » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:03 pm

TaxiService wrote:First of all, changes described in fff #191 would be amazing. i would love to see those.

that said, i... kind of don't like any of the proposals in fff #249. :(

I like having blueprints as items, especially in multiplayer.
(Also i don't like the idea of having a specialized hotbar mostly because i don't want the bottom of the screen to clutter. There are up to two bars there already!!)

What if there was a way to make blueprints not clutter your inventory but while still keeping them as items?

Consider this:
- Blueprints are still items but, when they're on you, they only appear in a separate tab in the inventory window.

Image <Grid view/List view> Image

The size of the grid/list could be limited to an arbitrary number of slots or it could grow ad infinitum.
(also when you die your corpse should have this Blueprints tab as well? or you shouldn't lose bp's between deaths maybe?)

- You can make new blueprints/books/decon planners using the top-left buttons.
- You can easily delete an item or export it to the Library by dragging it to the bottom of the panel.
- You can view items in either a Grid mode or a List mode. You should be able to arrange items freely in both modes. (think of a GIMP/photoshop layer structure)
- You could have a sort button in both modes that could list items alphabetically (not pictured)

Instead of linking blueprints, what you could do is:
- When you export something, the game checks in the library for an item with the same name.
- If there is such an item, a confirmation dialog will pop up and ask if want to overwrite the one in the library or rename the new one.

Last thing to do would be adding a list view to the Library itself.
(and add comments, date and version to blueprint metadata 0_0 but not necessarily)

With these changes it would be so easy to manage your blueprints that you would have no more reason to forget updating your library. ;)

TL;DR: Make...
- an inventory tab exclusively for blueprints with easy access to bp creation/deletion/export; AND
- a confirmation dialog when exporting to library. (overwrite/rename)
Never one problem again forever! :)
loving it
Last edited by steinio on Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Transport Belt Repair Man
My little mods: Link | My favourite mods: Bob's Mods | Angel's Mods | Yuoki Railway Core | EvoGUI | Logistic Train Network
Factorio Cheat Sheet by Denis Zholob

View unread Posts

User avatar
Manual Inserter
Manual Inserter
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:46 am

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by MrKizle » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:04 pm

I love the idea that blueprints are items and part of the in-game world, because I haven't seen anything like it in other games and it adds interesting game mechanics and possibilities for both the players and modders.

That is why option 2 from the blog is what I'd like to see, but it certainly isn't an easy thing and I've changed my mind three times today thinking weather it is clever at all, but here is where I currently stand (which is very much subject to change it seems):
  • The blueprint item could be called a "blueprinting device"
  • Player's blueprint library is separate from the collection of all shared blueprints (which could be called a "blueprint cloud")
  • With the blueprinting device player can do copy-pasting, which is an idea I really like, but it also allows the player to upload and download items from either the blueprint library or the cloud
    - Downloading and uploading a blueprint book is a bit tricky, but thinking it through, the same device could handle a book as well (I'm omitting the details for your sanity)
To avoid problems with the links in multiplayer (and single player):
  • Only by using the device, a player can modify a blueprint, and all the modifications are local to the particular device, but the stored item has a unique identifier pointing to either player's blueprint library and/or the shared cloud (same id is used for both, or no id at all if the blueprint is new)
    - There is an indicator that shows if the linked version differs from the local version and there can be quick options for uploading and download the linked version
And this final bit may cause grinding of teeth, and annoyance in fellow gamers because everyone plays games different and likes different things, but someone might also really like this idea, so here goes:

By having blueprints as items they open up doors for even more unique game mechanics and I wouldn't mind seeing blueprinting even included in the tech tree and be part of progression:
  • There could be three levels of blueprinting devices
    - Basic tier to do copy-pasting which should be available from the very beginning
    - Advanced tier to have upload, download and text import/export capabilities (introduced after little bit of research)
    - High-tech tier that is similar to advanced with the difference that it allows handling and ghosting of blueprints with constructions that are not yet researched by the player (introduced a little later)
  • A higher tier device can be crafted from a lower tier device and the basic tier could have a simple material cost (keeping in mind that one device can be reused for different blueprints or books)
  • Assemblers could be used to refresh contents of devices (personally, I'm amused by the thought of requester chests requesting devices with outdated content and assemblers churning through the device pile the bots are hauling)
Through such progression the new players could be introduced to blueprinting step by step, and while I understand some veteran players might be feeling toothless in the beginning, I don't see this kind of progression artificial. We all have to chop down the first tree ourselves without the help of bots anyway, and I think this would fit into Factorio's concept of "start small and manual and end up operating a huge automated complex."

All this said, whatever the outcome, I have full confidence that this community and the devs will come up with something cool and Factorio-like. :) Keep up the amazing job you're doing with the game!

Burner Inserter
Burner Inserter
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:01 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by macross » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:13 pm

I'm all for option 1.

I don't want more items taking up inventory space, forgetting where I put them, forgetting to add them to the library, etc. The key to making this work well is the making the blueprint library amazing - as long as people can organize and find the blueprints they want, in the way that they want to, then this is a great solution.

User avatar
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 10461
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:35 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by ssilk » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:25 pm

- BP have several more problems, not just that described in FFF.
- BP not as item: YES. It's a small technical problem, nothing to cry about, cause leaving it as item adds more and more illogicallities, for example cause blueprints are virtual, not real, like the other items.
- Locially BPs (and destructors) should be handled by a device like an handheld. See the game Fallout. No extension of the belt.
- current BP-library is implemented from the sight of a librarian, not the sight of a player. It needs a much clearer distinction between those roles.
- Creating a blueprint needs a real (map-)editor where I can copy parts of my map into. See the blueprint lab mod
- In game I would like to sort my blueprints just on simple "pages" with blueprints on it. Like apps on a smartphone. No books! An imported blueprint is a link to the library it is take from.
- A version handling of library blueprints seems to be a must, otherwise no backwards compatibility.
- The library should have categories (books).
- There is more than one library possible.

Long version:

So I was very glad to see, that the many issues/suggestions about blueprints are not ignored. Lately I was so frustrated about blueprints, because of the many problems the current implementation has, namely
- I accidentially deleted whole blueprint-books (instead of blueprints) - both looks/handling is too similar
- I hate how books works: If I select a blueprint out of a book it doesn't "jump back into the book" when used (Q). Instead it pops up into the inventory. The selection via using the book is when using a trackpad really bullshit. At minimum I would like to have a behaviour like macos dock or windows taskmanager. Much better would be a 2-dimensional area, cause I can remember much better the position of something in an area, instead of a ring.
- The handling of big blueprints (say bigger than 100x100) gets more and more difficult with size. Ever tried to edit a 200x200 blueprint in the current editor? Frustrating!
- There is no way to say "I PLAN to build up something here, but don't build it up now". Anything is build randomly, I cannot say "this first".
- Ghosts are so badly visible. I need sometimes to drop my glasses and zoom in very near to see if there is ghost or not.
- The destroy-tool is in my eyes also some kind of blueprint: "I want to make something here".
- The icons are good idea, but there is too much actions needed to "complete" a blueprint. It should work much more like apps work: When creating a new blueprint I need to add a new name and icon and then I am in a "map-editor" and can use the map to copy me parts from a game into the blueprint.
- There is no clear concept behind the blueprints. Some devs seems to see it as just as a part of a map. For me it is a description of what to build where (so logically the destroy tool is also just specalised blueprint).
- The current handling "blueprint is a copy of a part of a map" could be made much simpler by having a copy/paste mechanic with a scrollback-bufffer to the last ten copies. No blueprints needed for that. Already mentioned in the FFF, but if you think about it deeper, you see, that blueprints need a much better editor.

And so on, I could list much more annoyances. ;) So I would say the four proposals are showing me only the aspects of how the blueprints are stored in the game. Which doesn't fit to my usecases.

One of the main aspects here is, if blueprints are still handled as items. I don't think, cause they are not items and the current handling as items are quite illogical.
Whoever now screams "Oh, but I really need this...": Handling them not as items doesn't mean, that similar mechanics aren't possible! Kovarex' explained a method how to exchange BP via chat. BTW: I don't believe that using the chat for exchaning blueprints is a good idea, cause I would never come to the idea to drag a blueprint anywhere out of the game, namly the chat, that is just too obscure or needs much explanation by the game, that every player understands this mechanism - my opinion. Besides that it's a good idea.

And for self-building factories I think it's easy to invent something to store a BP into something. It's just a small technical problem to have blueprints not as items.

I never used the library yet. Cause I think the idea behind the current library is just wired: The library as part of the game has no clear distintion from the blueprints in the game.
Currently it is only useable IN the game. I need to start a game to work on my library. So there is no clear distinction between a game and the library! What Kovarex describes as
Making any changes to the blueprint would automatically update the blueprint library version and, upon loading any other save that has blueprint linked to the same blueprint, the blueprint in the inventory would be also update to the new version.
would be in reality much much more confusing. Say I'm in map A and have a blueprint "Train station" in the lib. Now I change to map B and change that BP. Save the game and switch back to A. Now the formerly well fetching train-station blueprint doesn't suddenly work anymore, cause in map A I use the train stations a bit differently than in map B. Handling blueprints in that way makes backward compatibility problems. This idea works only correctly, if you are not going back or live with backward compatiblity problems. Well my answer to that would be to have some kind of version control system. And it sounds logically to me, that a "library" knows different versions of a blueprint.

Which brings me to the unclear concept between "blueprint", "book" and "library". I must admit, I don't understand the current concept. Cause it's seen out of the sight of a librarian: A library contains books, which contains blueprints. Sounds wonderful, but is bullshit for the player, cause the player don't sees a library as books, he just sees a "page" with the blueprints on it. A bookshelf. Something like "things on a wall, which are somehow orderd".

Reminds me to this:
Or this:
But that is for me much too small, I really recommend to make it look like apps (Icon + Name below), which needs more space of course, but that's also the point: there is no need to save space, like in an inventory. All I need to know as player is the page and there the position on the page. I really would not like to extend the Toolbelt, even if the current concept of dropping items into it sounds nice. I would recommend to have a device more like a smartphone, where I can drop all this "virtual stuff". See the game Fallout.

And that's the point: Inside of the game I see the blueprints much like that: If I click that I have a tool to change the map like the title says. Outside of the game I see it more like a librarian: I want to have more systematics, ordered into categories. Folders and subfolders (and sub-sub-folders?).
Such as that:

This was tried to implement, but - in my opinion - hase been failed, cause the border between game and library was not made clear enough.

Newxt step: I want to move the blueprints from a library into my game. The game shows all the blueprints of one book at one or more pages in the game and when I hover over it it shows me from which library/book I imported it.

And yes: There are more than one library. I think to blueprint libraries at or github or so. Which is in my opinion also the only way to have some kind of "global libraries", I mean something where I can download blueprints, like mods.
Cool suggestion: Eatable MOUSE-pointers.
Have you used the Advanced Search today?
Need help, question? FAQ - Wiki - Forum help
I still like small signatures...

User avatar
Filter Inserter
Filter Inserter
Posts: 493
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:31 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Gergely » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:51 pm

TheRaph wrote:Sugestion: Use 2nd proposal and make linked BluePrints green.
Well, that would definitely not be blue.

Filter Inserter
Filter Inserter
Posts: 445
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:07 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by aober93 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:08 pm

A mix of 3 and 4 please. I like the idea that blueprints are always library items, and the library becoming more accessible. I proposed it since the library was implemented.

User avatar
Fast Inserter
Fast Inserter
Posts: 159
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:24 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Omnifarious » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:27 pm

TaxiService wrote:I like having blueprints as items, especially in multiplayer.
(Also i don't like the idea of having a specialized hotbar mostly because i don't want the bottom of the screen to clutter. There are up to two bars there already!!)
You bring up an excellent point, it's really useful for them to be items in multiplayer. And I have another reason that I think they should remain items.

If blueprints weren't items, then a mod that brings that back suddenly creates all the problems that we currently have with blueprints because they are. So handling them as something other than items is just side-stepping the issue.

And there's a very abstract argument here too... there's a '4th wall' in a game. Nobody thinks the buttons on the user interface are part of the game world. They're part of our world. People wouldn't think of creating a game object that could manipulate a button on the user interface, or of being able to drop a button into a smelter.

A lot of the solutions for blueprints move them out of the game world and make them part of the player world as well. So they make things like the recursive blueprints mod harder to think about. Additionally, they make future mods we don't know exist that manipulate blueprints in the world in some way harder to come up with..

Burner Inserter
Burner Inserter
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue May 01, 2018 7:24 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Quarnozian » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:26 pm

Proposed Modification for Proposal 2
Image <- Blueprints accessed from here in their own inventory screen. Also provides quick access to the deconstruction planner.

Image <- Inventory screen holding all blueprints. Books on the left. Individual on the right. Everything Persistent. Not Auto-sorted.
  • Blueprints/books/deconstruction planners in this inventory cannot be added to the player's item inventory. Only to the toolbar as Links to blueprint items in your blueprint inventory.
  • Newly created blueprints and blueprints/books shared with you (from other players) should populate the middle column (below where the blank books/blueprints are displayed), allowing you to find and sort them easily.
  • The Blueprint Book icon in the equipment slots should display a number of how many unsaved blueprints you have waiting, similar to the ammo count/tool count.
  • Blueprints added to chests create an original blueprint item, but trying to pick it up only opens the blueprint creation GUI allowing you to save it into your personal library, and also gives you access to the delete button if you want to remove that blueprint from the chest.
  • Inserters and robots do not see Blueprints, and will not pick them up.
  • Blueprints dropped anywhere other than a chest/player immediately disappear.
  • Deconstruction planner cannot be dropped anywhere except the toolbar. However, if dropped in the toolbar it should create an individual deconstruction planner (not a link) so that you may have multiple planners with different filters.
The unsorted/unsaved blueprints/books in the middle column should not be usable from that location except to view, move to the Trash slot, or save in the blueprint inventories.

Since blueprint books are essentially unlimited, the limited space for un-booked blueprints shouldn't be a catastrophic problem.... but feel free to add multiple pages of inventory space however you see necessary.

Last two ideas...

Holding a blueprint from the inventory screen and pressing delete should delete the blueprint, the same as dropping it on the trashcan slot. (Doing this from the toolbar should only delete the Link, and not the actual blueprint)

Clicking the trashcan slot while not holding a blueprint should open a list of the last 10 deleted blueprints.

Manual Inserter
Manual Inserter
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:52 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by TheZebinator » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:43 pm

SootStack wrote:For proposal 4.

I would love a button which opens up all 10 rows at once on screen and allows me to add more rows and assign an Icon to the row.
This way its more like an inventory. If i have to scroll through bars one at a time, it would be difficult to find the right bar.
This would be very nice, and like the example Kovarex mentioned where in you would have one hotbar for fluids or oil is great, I can come up with many different uses for individual but changeable hotbars, this way I can just start a new game and have everything set already, my mouse is broken too so the middle click doesn't work 75% of the time so if I can just pick the right hotbar where everything is already locked in place that would be very helpful.

I think that the menu that shows all the hotbars should also allow you to drag and drop the hotbars with the mouse to the active hotbar so to speak, so you open the menu and you just drag the hotbar you want to the hotbar slot at the bottom of the screen and you're done. You should still have some sort of key to toggle up and down through the list of hotbars without opening the gui so you can do it fast, for example if you build railway and get jumped by biters you can quickly switch to the "combat" hotbar from the "railway" hotbar without fiddling with a menu.

The argument I have seen the most against making the blueprint no longer an item seems to be the sharing of blueprints in multiplayer sessions and I see that is a valid argument, I have however another idea that brings the best of both worlds, instead of sharing a blueprint by dropping the item and the other person picking it up, I think there should be an easy way to just share the info. You can do this several ways, one way is to allow you to print a blueprint string directly from the blueprint itself in to the chat and everyone who wants the blueprint can just copy it, or you could have a dedicated "share blueprint with" in the "edit blueprint" mode, so you take the blueprint you want to share, you go in to edit it and press the "share with" button and a list of online players come up, then you chose what players should recieve the blueprint.

These are just my two cents on the matter and feel free to expand on my ideas or come with counter arguments to this as I think this is an important issue, I have also crudely made a mock up of what I think a hotbar menu could look like
Blueprint Inventory Idea.png
I was kind of lazy but I did it in a hurry so that I wouldn't forget what I was thinking ;P
Blueprint Inventory Idea.png (23.54 KiB) Viewed 1215 times

Fast Inserter
Fast Inserter
Posts: 173
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:11 am

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by bNarFProfCrazy » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:56 pm

I guess it has been stated a few times already.

But I need to be able to modify a blueprint without actually modifying the library.

Common scenarios:
* Remove certain incompatible buildings (don't place the belts for a train station)
* Replace buildings with a different tier
* Only build a portion of the factory due to resource limitations.
* Remove belts/inserters/powerpoles to (temporarily) disable portions of the factory

Maybe add a dialog: "This blueprint is linked to your library: [Create Copy] or [Update Library]"

Manual Inserter
Manual Inserter
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:09 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by jpom » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:21 pm

I vote for proposal 4!

I've largely avoided using blueprints up till now because they're such a mess. I don't want them in my inventory: they clutter it up. I don't want to store them in chests. They don't feel like they should be items.

However, they do feel like action shortcuts. I can imagine creating and organizing a huge number of blueprints; even so 30 slots with blueprint books for the lesser-used blueprints would be plenty.

And this would be a great change for new players. Right now the blueprint library is intimidating; this would make it a lot simpler.

Burner Inserter
Burner Inserter
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 7:20 am

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by mingo888 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:24 am

I do not yet favour one implementation over the other, but I do want to ensure that, no matter what, blueprints can be shared between users on a multiplayer server. Right now, the easiest way to do this is as an item by placing it in a chest or dropping it on the ground, but I'm also sure that other methods of blueprint sharing can be conceived if they will not exist as items in the future. Chest storage of blueprints is not necessary, but being the ability to share them with my friends is.

Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:55 am

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by pleauser » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:07 am

I have to say I like option one the best. all of the other choices are to limiting in one way or another. keep the flexibility. You usual tutorial excellence will help new players understand what they need to.

Burner Inserter
Burner Inserter
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:18 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by tigar » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:19 am

The one that TaxiService posted up would be amazing really something along those lines

User avatar
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:50 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Mini-Me » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:59 am

I think proposal 4 sounds great. If you have a button to create a duplicate of a blueprint you can still easily create a variation of a blueprint "just for this game", except of course that it'll be available in all games. I think that would be max flexibility.

Edit: and I love that the FFF are now properly readable in mobile browsers :).

Burner Inserter
Burner Inserter
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:43 am

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Arcania85 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:14 am

Option 4 sound great

One idea though, you wanted to make the step towards blueprints smaller for players
Currently Blueprints early game are pretty much non existent because you still need to manually place it over the ghost prints and its still the same amount of work.

Make it so that if your close i.e. 3 spaces from the ghost print, the game checks if it is in your inventory and places it for you.
this way blueprints become reaklly handy realy earlly on.

In order to make a personal roboport still a big upgrade either make a placing (0,5sec?) delay for close by placings (possibly removing it when a robotport module in is your armour)
and maybe increase the roboport range if it still feels unbalanced.

Blue printbooks not being the same among every savegame currently is my biggers #1 annoyance.

User avatar
Filter Inserter
Filter Inserter
Posts: 987
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:16 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by BlueTemplar » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:23 am

Arcania85, an idea was mentioned recently about a "player-mounted" inserter that would auto-place items (with limited range and speed) :

( There's also the (consumable) Nanobots mod that seems great : )

Smart Inserter
Smart Inserter
Posts: 1014
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:02 am

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by PacifyerGrey » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:40 am

Reading through suggestions and thinking more about it I become more and more sure that making library a tree structure reflected by folders and blueprints as files is a way to make it as convenient as possible. This will allow players use such tools as git, google drive, steam cloud and other tools to sync and share whole libraries or their parts ( like books before that). It would be also convenient to all players to use it as a familiar tool (file system folders), will allow having infinite size while maintaining strict structure, and is also cross platform to implement

You can also allow players to link multiple libraries to their game including not only local folders but possibly web shared folders. This can possibly remove the need of global game library previously used to share blueprints in more games or add a second game port just for this purpose

Long Handed Inserter
Long Handed Inserter
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:35 pm

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Tankh » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:35 am

How many people out there would have actually problems with the limitation of having around 30 blueprint books?
The second problem that might be the fact, that you can't make a blueprint "just for this game" without putting it into the library.
See, that "second problem" is potentially why the limitation might become an issue. I would personally just delete any temporary local blueprint I'd make (for moving something for example), but some blueprints might be a local blueprint that you'd still want to keep around but it would still make no sense to have in the library.

I do agree that blueprints as items in inventory is a bit annoying though, and the blueprint library is in need of attention to clear up some of these versioning issues you mention, so I'm liking this fff a lot!

Filter Inserter
Filter Inserter
Posts: 315
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:40 am

Re: Friday Facts #249 - Dead end exploration

Post by Ghoulish » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:14 am

I'm always struck by the fact that something which seems relatively simple, never is when you start digging in to solutions.

I like the 4th proposal the best. The highest criteria for me is to have one place where everything blueprint related is done, which gets updated across game saves or new worlds.

Post Reply

Return to “News”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users