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

Post by Nova » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:35 pm

Well, max content width is useless in my opinion - I even manually change some websites to have a max width so I don't have to read 200 words per line (for example ^^). The wikipedia is a good example.
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Escadin
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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Escadin » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:43 pm

If I may give you some advise for your tutorial problem from what I've learned in interface design:

User agency is important

Being in full control of the process at any given time is important for interfaces in general. This includes making sure the program doesn't skip too many steps and generally announces what it is planning to do next, displays the progress and afterwards confirms what has been done. It also means that users have to have control over pacing and feel like they can undo or fix whatever mistake they potentially could make at any stage.

Translated to your problem I'd say give people the free choice to look at those text boxes at any given time. Make them aware of where they can find the info should they need it and make accessing it easy, but leave the choice to look at them at all to the player. Also, you should define clear boundaries for the sections of your tutorial. Make sure the player understands what the game is trying to teach them in this section, in terms they understand before being taught and also make sure the lessons come at a pace the player dictates.
Don't load multiple topics into one section. If it gets obvious and drawn out for the player let them skip ahead but tell them what they're skipping. If it gets confusing because they missed a detail let them return or look-up.
Provide additional, OPTIONAL and more indepth explanations where the player requests them because they find something interesting.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by Escadin on Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by ManaUser » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:46 pm

Just wanted to add my two cents regarding the tutorial. I think in general you're moving in the right direction by letting people discover more of it for themselves, because the choppiness of having all the tips pop-ups definitely cut into my enjoyment when I played the demo. But on the other hand, even with the tips I got stuck in one place, setting up my first steam engine. I think that was back when they were 1x1 buildings and steam, as distinct from water, didn't exist yet so this is probably less confusing now, but in any case, I got a taste of that "OK, I have no idea what to do now, I guess I might as well quit" feeling.

Easier said then done I can imagine, but trying to mostly stay out of the way, while allowing the player to pull up some kind of help screen if needed seems like the best solution. Have you considered using the "mini-tutorial" format for this purpose? Currently it's mostly used for more advanced topics like trains, but I don't see why there couldn't be mini-tutorials on things like "How to automate smelting" or "how to generate electricity" in there too.

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

Post by Zaflis » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:52 pm

People seem to favor scaling width, i don't see why. There's a reason books aren't 1 meter wide. Apart from being clumsy to hold, your eyes can't physically keep track of what line you're reading if it's too wide. It would cause eye strain to read. I don't maximize browser window even with 1920x widescreen resolution, 60-70% of the monitor width is perfect.

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

Post by meganothing » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:01 pm

Asking us about a beginners tutorial is like asking the yeti about dinner rules. But nevertheless:

I think the new approach is much better, having to hit the <tab> key is much more disrupting than it sounds. I would add infos and descriptive pictures to the objective box so you can read the info as long as you haven't completed the task.

And there should be a button "solution" in the Objective box that opens up a (possibly even animated) picture of the whole solution. Not just a hint, or tip, the complete solution. If someone got confused and doesn't know how to proceed the program can't know at which part he got confused or what hint is useful for him.

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

Post by Zaflis » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:10 pm

I guess there could be a skip option for the game-interrupting tooltips, so more experienced can go through with the scenarios and still have some fun doing it. But the tips could be collected in a list for easier access at any point in time, in case you missed anything.

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

Post by thriem » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:19 pm

Despite i know that UI is under construction, I might say something...

I for one, think that the menu should be more categorized. Like, 5dim mods do (for example) - maybe not that specific.
But it would nice to see "logistic stuff" at a separate tab, vehicles (& fuels), pipes, belts & inserter, production entities... you get the point.

It might be a little "empty" at some pages, but think of mods. If you install a couple of content-mods, they do not gather all at one tab (hopefully).
In addition, it would be somewhat easier to find specific things, if the "tab icions" are well chosen
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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Oktokolo » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:32 pm

We already have mini tutorials we can start at any time. Make more of them and teach players how to start them at the very beginning of the NPE. Then you don't have to explain anything else in the NPE itself so that people who like the puzzle aspect of Factorio, can find stuff for themselves and feel good about that.
You would only have to get the difficulty (availability of resources and space, bitters) curve right and the story convincing enough in the new player tutorial/campaign. It would just be a regular campaign starting a t lowest difficulty and raising in difficulty slowly without heavy spikes as you progress.
All the actual teaching is done by the player finding out stuff for himself and using the mini-tutorials whenever he is stuck or just curious. You would not have to directly teach the player. Just make more and more mini tutorials available as the player gets access to new stuff.

Regarding text on the internet in general and this forum in particular:
I like my text columns to not be screen-width. I always browse with my browser window beeing a littel over half the width of the screen and know how to zoom though. So i only have to fix broken sites locally when they set a min-width too high or mess up other things badly.
For this forum i made a user style sheet to fix the color sheme that looked overly washed out after the redesign. I then removed the hover effects and fixed the quick links menu by expanding it and shortening the link labels. I also fixed quite a bit of layout inconsistencies, odd spacings, ugly buttons...
But i did not had to fix any text line length issues because i am not a fullscreen browser person since switching to a screen featuring an absurd aspect ratio of 16:9 (wich was the aspect ratio providing the best price per pixel at the time of purchase).
The most annoying part of modding a site's style generally is removing the hover effects. People like the one creating the CSS for this forum seem to like getting absurdly crazy with them and spray them over everything like cum in cheap porn.

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

Post by Koub » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:33 pm

Concerning the tutorials, what I don't like much is the pause with "press Tab to continue". I'd rather have a mobile window/frame I can drag wherever I want, with the tutorial steps I should follow, and arrows to skip to next, and get back to previous step.
Another thing that would be useful would be the ability to highlight the structures the tutorial is refering to. Like that, you could direct the player to pay attention to something in particular (Example : "here, we have highlight the inserters. These structures are meant ot take an item from one side, and drop it on the opposite side." ...).
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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Soniq » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:54 pm

The most important question.

When we might hope to see all this glory?

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

Post by AcolyteOfRocket » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:56 pm

The best tutorial is good documentation.

The best way to document a game has already been invented - in Caesar 3.

All else is life lost in the wind.....

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

Post by Therax » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:16 pm

I would suggest something like "Too far away" rather than "Can't reach." Describe the temporary condition that the player can change (by moving the player or connecting entity closer), rather than the permanent property of the entity (max reach distance).

I found the existing tutorial effective, even though I did find the constant modal pop ups very disruptive. I think having them be non-modal, so the user can continue interacting with the world while the tutorial text stays visible, would be a solid improvement.
meganothing wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:01 pm
Asking us about a beginners tutorial is like asking the yeti about dinner rules.
I have to reiterate this. I'm aware that I personally learn well from reading text and viewing examples. Asking your existing player base for feedback is pulling from a biased population: the people who successfully learned how to play the game.

Have you considered collecting metrics during the campaigns (time for a player to reach the progression milestones, and a full replay of their experience), and having an OPT-IN button for the player to send it to Wube for review?
Last edited by Therax on Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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

Post by Speadge » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:18 pm

the popup error messeges are moving to fast!

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

Post by brunzenstein » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:27 pm

Key binding for Mac users are frustrating trial & error as there is no „middle mouse button” and other tweaks necessary before one can even start.
Therefore the Factorio Mac version download should incorporate a adapted key setting / and that incorporated as well in the basic tutorial.
Last edited by brunzenstein on Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Gecko » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:27 pm

I'm using a UWQHD. I have this screen for a reason: > no. endless. scrolling. Extremely convenient in text writing/editing!
I'd appreciate having the width scale automatically to the max possible.
Thanks!

Oh, and... The windows power state options are rather intriguing, have been playing around with it on other occasions. I think it definitely depends on the processor, too. My AMD FX 6350 doesn't give a shit. Probably mainly due to AMDs 'fancy' processor state management Intel didn't have at the time this processor was new.

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

Post by Beuteschema » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:35 pm

new players i have played with (my sister, my dad and my grandfather), while being together in one room, have struggled with "far away" and the error sound. there updates are really going to help!

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

Post by bobingabout » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:54 pm

Yehn wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:14 pm
Good writeup as always, but... that comma style is killing me.
I write with lots of Commas too (Some people are taught that if you pause while talking, you write a comma.)

On the point of fixed width vs fill to width, well, my thoughts are fairly well documented in the topic linked to the the news... however, I'll repeat the basics here.
1. If I wanted a narrower window, I would resize my browser to give me a narrower window.
2. I can't tollerate "Walls of text", some kind of condition like a phobia, so my desire and abillity to read something is heavilly based on the number of lines, the fewer the number, the more likely I am to actually read it. Therefore, the longer each line is, the fewer the number of lines, and the more likely I am to read it, even if it is the same number of words.
3. Not related to the width, my eyes hate "Dark themes", I need dark text on a light background to be able to comfortably read it. if I get it the other way around, my eyes end up "Banding", where I basically have lines in my vission from the high contrast of text and the dark gaps between it. I don't get this with the light theme. Though to be fair reducing the contrast between the text and background on a dark theme would help also.
Last edited by bobingabout on Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by <NO_NAME> » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:02 pm

That tutorial could use some better plot. The monologue of the protagonist is passable but they could be some longer texts at ends/beginnings of missions. I'm not talking about wall of text but some summary written in a way that is fun to read and underlines player accomplishments, maybe some clever humor. Something that would be a nice break from the gameplay.

I don't think that player should have too much help at the beginning. This game is about thinking and finding solution so don't treat player like a robots which can only follow orders. State the goal, give a few hints and let the player figure out the rest. You could set some time limit after which more specific instruction would be provided in case the player stuck. The current system of flooding player with small easy tasks is just boring.
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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by leofairlight » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:07 pm

so I think the best way for me to learn something in factorio is by watching someone do it, and just briefly show what buttons to press, why dont you have a ghost npc (of the player) placing ghost items, to give the play an idea of what is trying to be accomplished?

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

Post by WeirdConstructor » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:13 pm

I have yet to see in game video tutorials where a pretty lady/guy (depending on your preference) explains things ;-)

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