Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Regular reports on Factorio development.

Which do you prefer?

Poll ended at Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:08 pm

Limited content width
80
32%
Scaling width to window
173
68%
 
Total votes: 253

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Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by kovarex » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:08 pm


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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Yehn » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:14 pm

Good writeup as always, but... that comma style is killing me.

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Amarula » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:15 pm

The tweaks for usability look fantastic! Giving you just what you need, just when and where you need it - especially "the wire can't reach that far!"

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by KubeRoot » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:20 pm

I feel like the tutorial might fit in as just first time tips, though undeniably providing a campaign would allow for a better experience. However, many games provide misc tips during gameplay, outside of the regular tutorial, which can help remind players of concepts they saw on the tutorial but didn't spend enough time working with to fully memorize them.

As for the forum, I personally prefer limited content width, though an option to toggle it is probably the best idea, since many people seem attached to full screen width.

As always, great work, especially with the error messages, though I suspect those might be too small and moving too fast for somebody not expecting them - would it look good if they started out stationary for a moment before they begin moving?

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Ojelle » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:22 pm

Just don't forget an UI option for guys with to much time to disable the UI reminder/popups :) I can imagine its annoying when you know what happens to see it written down half a million times. (default on ofcourse) (and might be less then half a million. I do misclick often dough)
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sillyfly wrote:kovarex just posted the thread... but with #118 in the title. I think they had too much beer :D
It's a wonder how good the game is, if you consider how bad they are with the FFF numbers :mrgreen:

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Lonami » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:27 pm

KubeRoot wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:20 pm
would it look good if they started out stationary for a moment before they begin moving?
Or maybe some ease-out transition would be cool (start slow, and speed up). Regarding the tutorial, how about free style but if the player is stuck for too long show a hint? Maybe a combination could be the winning solution!

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by psihius » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:28 pm

Appreciate the wide theme - default was just too narrow even for 1080p.

Regardless tutorial - I'd say you can't really tech basics to people who will not pay attention or think they know stuff unless you pause the game, so that's that :) It's a tradeoff. But I'm sure you can just hit `Esc` and continue, right? :)

Notifications why an action could not be done - great, why no one though earlier now when someone did it :D

On windows performance - yeah, that's tricky as usual. One thing windows game mode can be used to alleviate that on the user side, but could there be some windows trickery to basically tell systems it's a game so it does not bounce the frequency on the core so much?
Also, I found out that game is way more stable in performance in tight resource situations (for me it's playing game, recording in OBS for stream via CPU and in parallel recording via nvenc video card a local file) when I set core affinity (I usually give Factorio 2 cores out of 4 - works out brilliantly). Could Factorio do that on start maybe? :)

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Gergely » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:34 pm

Finally! The forum is now 10% more of what I am used to!

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Aidiakapi » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:40 pm

Especially on higher resolution (I'm running at 1440p), the fixed width is a blessing. With variable width, you end up with really long lines, making it hard to read. Zooming in also works better at a fixed width, keeping everything in proportion. However, as with all things like this, having it as an option for the people who want it would be best.

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by HammerPiano » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:43 pm

I really like the new error messages, especially the one about the assembly machine, took me a while to notice that every machine has an ingredient limit.
Also the inserter and miner indications are super usefull, love them.

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by mmppolton » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:01 pm

i did not get why the blog post where say about the Browser since i know some of people like me wont close it just for the game they just want it solve since i often have 10 tabs open and if i try close them 4 days later there all are back and i look at them often while play the game it is play game for 20 minuets look at video or other site like the discor or redit and come back to game

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by seludovici » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:03 pm

Aidiakapi wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:40 pm
Especially on higher resolution (I'm running at 1440p), the fixed width is a blessing. With variable width, you end up with really long lines, making it hard to read. Zooming in also works better at a fixed width, keeping everything in proportion. However, as with all things like this, having it as an option for the people who want it would be best.
How about variable width up to a certain maximum? (Say 1024 pixels?)

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by eradicator » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:06 pm

FFF wrote:The approach in the current tutorial is to feed the player with the basic knowledge of how to control the basics of the game (the first mission and the start of the second mission) in the fastest way possible.
I've just experienced again how annoying this can be. I'm playing an $ActionRPG and at the beginning it stuffs you full with all sorts of information on how to do $ComboMoveX, $ComboManeuverY etc pp. While the pacing during the tutorial phase is pretty good (not too slow or too fast) i do get problems now after 10s of hours of play because items/skills give bonuses to i.e. $ComboMoveX but i don't actually remember which one of all the special moves exactly IS of type $ComboMoveX. Mostly becaues at the time of the tutorial using special maneuvers wasn't really required to win. So i'd really prefer an in-game method to review tutorial information at a later point. Most RPGs nowadays come with some sort of built-in dictionary. And i've long wanted something like that in factorio, though it is ofc a lot of work. And i explicitly don't mean a solution like "just play the tutorial again". A player that has already completed the tutorial once will only need a short hint to remember the information they need.

@Frustration when not figuring something out:
You could add a "give me a hint!" button somewhere, either after the player fails to figure the thing out for too long, or simply always. Ofc if there's always a hint button some players may tend to skip thinking again, but i think most people will want to figure stuff out for themselfs. (Analogy: Recent Tomb Raider games have a hint system that the player has to manually activate if they feel stuck.)

@Flying text
While i love the general idea of giving info when stuff doesn't work, i'm not too sure i like the "flying text" approach. Especially in menus i'd much prefer a non-moving text. (Or at least a config option to make the text fly away less fast.) From experience native/proficient speakers of a language wildly overestimate the reading speed of other people.

@Power Mode (anecdote)
I've had almost sinus-shaped performance breakdowns (with a 5min ish period) for some time with factorio and draw the same conclusion: must be some mod that causes spikes. But after quite some while i noticed that it was actually the system overheating and clocking down the CPU until it had sufficiently cooled, during which performance was really bad. Then after having cooled it went to normal performance again until it got too hot again :D.
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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by ledow » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:19 pm

mmppolton wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:01 pm
i did not get why the blog post where say about the Browser since i know some of people like me wont close it just for the game they just want it solve since i often have 10 tabs open and if i try close them 4 days later there all are back and i look at them often while play the game it is play game for 20 minuets look at video or other site like the discor or redit and come back to game
Factorio pushes computers hard. Much harder than you might expect given the "era" of its look-and-feel.

Fact is, most modern browsers are stealing GPU by using OpenGL etc. acceleration of their rendering, and a lot of CPU in their Javascript etc. on every tab. It's not uncommon for even an "idle" browsing session to be taking 10% of your CPU and quite a chunk out of your GPU too.

And when you have people who need every bit of performance, they will realise that that means - closing your browser. 10 tabs open is ten sites loaded which could be megabytes of Javascript constantly executing, a ton of video memory dedicated to its rendering and quite a lot of background rendering happening. Modern browsers knows and try to do things like "background" your tabs so that they aren't doing things when they're out of sight, but it's hard.

Fact of the matter is: You want the best performance, close your browser when you play games. Always been true, by the way.

But Factorio is a particular hit - especially if you have the HD textures, and a high resolution, and a huge discovered maps, and millions of aliens, and 100,000 bots running around and millions of squares of belts... it all adds up.

Same way that Minecraft is "just blocks" and looks damn ugly. Now go turn on full render-distance and it can bring the average machine to a complete grinding halt if you're in an open space.

The moral is: Don't moan about not getting the best out of your machine if you have three browsers loaded with 10 tabs in each of them.

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by T-A-R » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:42 pm

When playing freely in a new game it is really helpfull is there is some sort of help button where functions are grouped together with short explanation pages (like the smelter one) a sort of ingame encyclopedia so you choose when to watch it (" i'm stuck, click help and search the right topic).
The help button content could also be assembled from the items that are currently visible on screen. (just like Prison architect selects the usefull items when you are building rooms). Another option would be to show small clickable hints/tips, just as it is, requiring a click to expand and pause the game. If instructions are not opened the form a list or can be dismissed. Having an option to watch back all unlocked help pages in a single screen is great for people who learn try out things first for themselfs.

The step by step missions things is fine. but opting in for in depth instructions could give you way more feeling of being free.
The way you explain things by pictures is great for being universally translated to anyone.

The tooltips about the assembling machines feels like consequence management, and should probabily not be needed if assemblers and their specs are introduced well (in a pictured info screen comparing assembler specs) early on after the basics are tought. (around unlocking T1/T2 assembler).
I hope these tooltips (cant reach, wrong assembler) wont reach the sandbox mode to easy. They are a nice addition for new players, but once you know the mechanics they are overinforming and makes you feel stupid. Consider them to show them only when failing a action more than once.

Probablily most of the flaws are coused by not hoovering over an item to show its info (for example the max ingredients of assemblers), everything is there already, people should know how to find that info themselves.

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by mmppolton » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:48 pm

ledow wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:19 pm
mmppolton wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:01 pm
i did not get why the blog post where say about the Browser since i know some of people like me wont close it just for the game they just want it solve since i often have 10 tabs open and if i try close them 4 days later there all are back and i look at them often while play the game it is play game for 20 minuets look at video or other site like the discor or redit and come back to game
Factorio pushes computers hard. Much harder than you might expect given the "era" of its look-and-feel.

Fact is, most modern browsers are stealing GPU by using OpenGL etc. acceleration of their rendering, and a lot of CPU in their Javascript etc. on every tab. It's not uncommon for even an "idle" browsing session to be taking 10% of your CPU and quite a chunk out of your GPU too.

And when you have people who need every bit of performance, they will realise that that means - closing your browser. 10 tabs open is ten sites loaded which could be megabytes of Javascript constantly executing, a ton of video memory dedicated to its rendering and quite a lot of background rendering happening. Modern browsers knows and try to do things like "background" your tabs so that they aren't doing things when they're out of sight, but it's hard.

Fact of the matter is: You want the best performance, close your browser when you play games. Always been true, by the way.

But Factorio is a particular hit - especially if you have the HD textures, and a high resolution, and a huge discovered maps, and millions of aliens, and 100,000 bots running around and millions of squares of belts... it all adds up.

Same way that Minecraft is "just blocks" and looks damn ugly. Now go turn on full render-distance and it can bring the average machine to a complete grinding halt if you're in an open space.


The moral is: Don't moan about not getting the best out of your machine if you have three browsers loaded with 10 tabs in each of them.
wont work for me i look at those website often while i am playing like play some pause game look at website and com back some time later too short to quite and start game or close website
Last edited by mmppolton on Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by zOldBulldog » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:50 pm

A suggestion for the tutorial:

If there are tutorial steps for a given item (for example the inserter or chest), it might be nice that when we open the inserter UI (like when we go to set a condition) there could be a button to launch that part of the tutorial.

That way, if someone mindlessly goes through the tutorial but later realizes he is struggling, he could get the necessary tutorial piece to solve his current problem... easily.

And once in a tutorial piece, there should be a button to go to the menu of tutorial topics so that an "initially lazy" person has a way to correct his ways later on when he realizes that he needs the know-how.

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by ledow » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:34 pm

mmppolton wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:48 pm
wont work for me i look at those website often while i am playing like play some pause game look at website and com back some time later too short to quite and start game or close website
Then you'll suffer a performance hit in comparison to people who have the same hardware but just close the browser.

They're saying "The browser sucks up a lot of the computing power we need to use".
You're saying "I won't close my browser."
We're saying "Fine. But then don't complain that you get 10 UPS/FPS slower than everyone else who does."

It's not a case of "fix it". It's like choosing to drive a particular car and getting less miles-per-gallon than you should because you "need" to carry around that half-ton stereo in the back of it.

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by hovis » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:18 pm

I think the flying error message was hard to read, even in the FFF. This is probably due to the fact that it was moving across a chaotic background. I think NOT animating the cursor would be worse, though.

Consider a soft shadow behind the text to increase readability, or perhaps increasing the font size of the message. If you did both of these, you could probably do away with the animation and make it even easier to read.

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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Dev-iL » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:30 pm

Regarding tutorials: you mentioned that ideally, a friend would show you how to play and it would take 5 minutes - I'd like to expand on this idea a bit. It's common nowadays for people to watch tutorial videos online, and this medium can be adapted easily to Factorio - via scripted animations.

Here's how I see it: make the very first part of the tutorial happen inside "a simulation" that "refreshes the player's memories" on their way to their destination while flying in their spaceship (possibly after waking from cryosleep etc). What this should look like is a mini-tutorial inside a checker-board world that has a "holographic projection" (a scripted player character) that demonstrates how to perform some action, such as placing belts etc. It can run on repeat until the player repeats the same action.

After a few of these isolated mini-tutorials, a sudden asteroid field / alien attack / thunderstorm happens, the ship crashes, and the tutorial as we currently know it starts.

Then after the player reaches some technology level such as basic electronics, they can repair their pipboy-like device, which will "have more simulations available for you in the future" - this is a way to tie in the mini-tutorials into the "lore" of the game.
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