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

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

Post by McGasior » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:21 pm

Hey. I'm thinking about the tutorial as a story.
Example:
Ship's disaster on the planet. You do not know where you are. (some traffic information in the stop window)
When you will find another surviving NPC who will tell you what to do. "Thanx God, I am not alone, help me and cut the tree". it should be in short cutsceen, which can be skip using the tab.
In another episode, the player participates with other NPC locations what tells you how to use more advanced technology, but it must be a logical part of the story

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

Post by Merssedes » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:45 pm

For me forum width is about 60% of the page now...

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

Post by Klonan » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:59 pm

Merssedes wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:45 pm
For me forum width is about 60% of the page now...
You can change to wide theme here:
ucp.php?i=ucp_prefs&mode=personal

It will then be as wide as the window

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

Post by Dry Hairy Tree » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:18 pm

Excuse me if this has already been pointed out I'm not reading three pages to check...

For the solar panels the correct message is 'doesn't connect to wire' and for connectables, 'wire can't reach' or similar.

Your message 'can't connect to wire' is not clear on the difference. Not sure my descriptions are either :D

re: The Tutorial: The messages are so useful, but so clunky. If not for the gameplay hooking me, the message delivery would have lost me.

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

Post by Philip017 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:58 pm

when i played through the tutorial, i did not read the messages and tab cleared them immediately on pop up. I prefer to try and figure it out on my own first. when i can not get it, i have no way of revisiting the section and seeing a review of the steps. but the tips function helped a bit. lucky i had good friends that helped me with the odd question.

realistically the lack of balance in the tutorial left me with playing a heavily unbalanced game until i learned this way would be better. luckily your game can be played that way as it will just work, even if it doesn't work best. so that is a major plus. but i think learning the balance of some things would be helpful in the tutorial.

i will be testing the new tutorial when 17 experimental is released and will give you feedback for sure.

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

Post by Jap2.0 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:00 pm

Aww, I was expecting you to, you know, fix the performance. Any news on optimizations for 0.17?
There are 10 types of people: those who get this joke and those who don't.

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

Post by Philip017 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:10 pm

Jap2.0 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:00 pm
Aww, I was expecting you to, you know, fix the performance. Any news on optimizations for 0.17?
they are always fixing something, but factorio is a very hard on cpu usage, and the fastest single core performance you can get is what this game is all about.

im unsure if they can or will make it more multi threaded, like moving fluids onto a separate thread. but i guess we will have to wait and see what they come up with.

for now, buy the fastest single core performance machine you can afford or get your hands on to make the biggest mega base.

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

Post by TsBandit » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:12 pm

By the time I played the Factorio tutorial, I had already watched a Let's Play of Factorio beforehand, so I already had some idea of how the game could be played.
WeirdConstructor wrote:
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 ;-)
How awesome would it be to have a video in-game of your good friend kovarex explaining to you how to play Factorio at the beginning of the game?

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

Post by Merssedes » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:24 pm

Klonan wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:59 pm
Merssedes wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:45 pm
For me forum width is about 60% of the page now...
You can change to wide theme here:
ucp.php?i=ucp_prefs&mode=personal

It will then be as wide as the window
Thanx :)

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

Post by Klydon » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:37 pm

My two cents on the tutorials.

First, there is going to be no "one size fits all" when it comes to a tutorial. People learn different ways. This could be even tougher than say school because at least the students are roughly the same age. Players of a game are all ages stretching from young to old.

The more flexible the tutorial is, the better.

My experience as an instructor over the years and as a trainer is that the best way for people to learn something and have it stick the best is not to show them or give them a very regimented step by step, but coach them through it. Let them handle the controls and work with it. People will pick it up at varying speeds, but for most, it will stick better with them running things with a little prompting and help when needed.

How you work that into a computer tutorial scenario will be a tough task and no matter what, some are going to be confused a bit. Something else that may help as well are tutorial videos as well. Very short and about one or two items you are trying to address.

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

Post by 5thHorseman » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:55 pm

LOVE the little floaty text things. That would have been EXTREMELY helpful the first time I tried (and stopped) playing Factorio. In a similar vein, a little text when you connect a pipe with water in it into a steam output (or vice versa) would help about 90% of the streamers I've watched :)

I don't know about the moving text but if people are having trouble with it I'll defer to them.

Similarly with the forums. If people want 500-word text lines that stretch across their walls I'm not going to tell them they shouldn't have it, even though the thought makes me shiver. I just make the forums that do that a bit bigger and am happy with it.

I think the best tutorial in a video game, ever, was Portal. You didn't even know you were doing a tutorial and suddenly you knew every control in the game. The worst tutorial in a video game that I've seen was Mirror's Edge. They gave a text description, let you try the thing, and then moved on to the next thing. For about 50,000 things it felt. After the 4th or 5th one I was getting bored because I signed up to play a game not sit in a class all day, and also because I wasn't using the skills I was learning by rote I was NOT learning them.

Don't know what I'm getting at here, but in short: Be a Portal not a Mirror's Edge.
Last edited by 5thHorseman on Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Nexarius » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:06 pm

Giving the width of the website content a fixed max width is really bad and sadly a lot of websites are doing that.

I have a 4k screen which makes this really obvious and annoying.
Right now the forum has a maximum width of 1352px while my screen can have a width of 3840px. Most of the screen area (65%) is just empty space.

Please always make dynamic width to support bigger screens.


Zaflis wrote:
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.
1) If you don't maximize the browser window then you don't really have to care for something that affects the people who maximize it.
2) 1920px is just the width of Full HD. The 4k screens are getting more popular all the time (I have one) which has a width of 3840px and that means that only 35% of the screen area is the forum and the other 65% is just the grey background. This is not good.

Klonan wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:59 pm
Merssedes wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:45 pm
For me forum width is about 60% of the page now...
You can change to wide theme here:
ucp.php?i=ucp_prefs&mode=personal

It will then be as wide as the window
NICE !!!
Last edited by Nexarius on Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by FactorioParadox » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:50 pm

If you're going to have inserters highlight the entities that they are "connected" to, then I would suggest only highlighting the far side of belts that inserters are placing items onto so that it's better understood how they work with belts without needing to consult any external documentation.

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

Post by Rokani » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:30 pm

I like being told what the controls are for a game and then being allowed to figure things out on my own, with the ability to look into guides/ tutorials as needed. Maybe the best option though is to ask the player before they start how they want the tutorial to be, brief control description with optional guides or hand holding or some kind of mix.

I also don't remember reading any of the tutorial, granted that was a while ago and I watched some videos of the game before finding the demo and then buying.

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

Post by melind » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:16 am

Some feedback regarding the new player interaction.

I think the goal with new player interaction is to minimize the amount of time players spend reading text instead of playing the game. I would suggest most of the information prompts should be optional and players can read them while playing the game. Only the prompts that describe the core concepts of the game (what an inserter is, what a factory is, how to read the UI) should actually pause the game. Later text should be more optional and not pause the game: players can read, and re-read it as they want while the play.

In terms of how to guide players, why not leverage both approaches? Allow players to select the level of detail they want/need. For example you could give a high level task that says something like: automate red science. There could then be a button on the tasks that says "details" or something and it provides a list of optional subtasks to complete this (eg, set up factories to automate belts, set up factories to automate inserters, insert science into factories) and then check off the subtasks as they complete them. It could even get more detailed such as 'use inserters to load iron into belt factory' or something. It would probably require a fair bit of testing to get this dialed in but I think would give a better experience.

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Mike5000
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Re: Friday Facts #261 - Performance + New player interaction

Post by Mike5000 » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:35 am

... if the first 15 minutes of a game feels shitty, there is big chance that the player will not play any further.
A million people tried the demo, learned from the tutorial, and went on to buy the game.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the first 15 minutes and in my opinion the first 15 minutes are excellent.

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

Post by Jap2.0 » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:49 am

Philip017 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:10 pm
Jap2.0 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:00 pm
Aww, I was expecting you to, you know, fix the performance. Any news on optimizations for 0.17?
they are always fixing something, but factorio is a very hard on cpu usage, and the fastest single core performance you can get is what this game is all about.

im unsure if they can or will make it more multi threaded, like moving fluids onto a separate thread. but i guess we will have to wait and see what they come up with.

for now, buy the fastest single core performance machine you can afford or get your hands on to make the biggest mega base.
I know, it was more of a joke about their obsession with performance. They are considering moving fluids to a different thread, but they can't move much more than that for various reasons.
There are 10 types of people: those who get this joke and those who don't.

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

Post by Paul17041993 » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:07 am

Performance wise, as a low-level developer myself and one that's also had factorio on different systems, mobile intel CPUs often spike in and out of C state 0 to keep the power draw low, while maintaining a high clock speed. For the most part this doesn't affect the user that much, although in games it causes varying levels of stutter, and for factorio in particular the framerate ends up hard-limited to 40 or 50 fps when zoomed out, as the nvidia driver handles draw calls in the CPU thread. You don't get this on a desktop ryzen+vega system at all.

Another issue however, that seems to affect all systems, is frame and update timing. The game runs at a solid 60 cycles per second, without spikes, although even with freesync the game appears to fall out of sync and 'skip' a frame. This occurs with and without vsync enabled so I would say it's to do with how the update sleep timing is handled, I'd suggest altering the sleep timer to sleep for a shorter period of time, then run a spinlock on awake to time the next update more accurately. Using a spinlock waker also allows to pre-warm execution threads , as it takes time for the OS to wake them all up again.

Now, as for the forums, I personally require the width to be limited as I use a 4k display, and so would those using larger 4k and ultrawide displays require it, else they'll break their neck trying to read. Even if you have the browser window set to one side of the display...

Sub note; placing a furnace directly in front of a burner miner can be an effective intro to crafting/processing/machine timings?
Please be sure you've googled your question before asking me about code... :T

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

Post by NPE » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:48 am

Thoughts on the tutorial (similarity between user name and topic just a coincidence). It is a long time since I played the tutorial but I remember being frustrated with the 'Tab to continue' thing. I just played the first level again to refresh my memory, and it was still annoying. The tutorial puts instructions and information in two different places - the objectives window on the top left and the 'Tab to continue' pop-ups. This means that there are two places to look to see what to do next. Often the pop-ups are only informational - telling me what is happening, but not what to do next or how to do it. This means that the reward for doing something right is a frozen game. But sometimes the pop-up tells me what to do next and how to do it, so I need to read it carefully before pressing tab. And if I make a mistake I and need to refer back I cannot, because the message is gone. By using pop-ups and freezing the game you are forcing me to dismiss the tutorial instructions for the next step *before* I complete it.

It does not have to be this way. AI War: Fleet Command, another complex game with a steep learning curve, uses a similar style of tutorial to Factorio. But all the tutorial information is presented in the same place - a window on the top right of the screen, similar to the objectives window used in the Factorio tutorial. I can move past informational messages by pressing enter, but instructions cannot be dismissed until after I have completed the task. The game itself continues regardless - I can experiment with the game at my own pace, trying out the controls, looking around etc. When I want to continue with the tutorial, I can look at the tutorial window and always see what I need to do next and how to do it. Overall I find the experience much more pleasant than the Factorio tutorial.

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

Post by Killcreek2 » Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:20 am

Firstly ~ The "pause game, show message, press tab to continue" style of the old (current) tutorial bothered me a lot too. It was quite annoying to have the gameplay suddenly freeze up while in the middle of building something. I'm glad you are trying something else for the new one.
I would second NPE's mention of AI-War: Fleet Command in a previous post ~ that game has a good example of a non-intrusive tutorial system.


Secondly ~ The "floaty text" error messages are a great idea, but PLEASE use static text instead! ~ vertically moving text is so much harder to read & unfriendly to the eyes.
This goes for the existing "#item picked up"; "no path"; "item stack inserted"; etc; floaty text already in the game too! These are already kinda hard to read without tilting my head left to a 30-45° angle to adjust for the rising text ~ as my eyes are trained to read horizontally L->R, not at a diagonal from bottom L to top R.
It might be nice to have a message "fade-out time" option in the settings menu too ~ so the player can set it to zero for "do not show", or any delay to suit them. (Similar to the mouse-over tooltips.)


Thirdly ~ Maxed width on the forums please ~ I can zoom the browser window in/out as I like to make the text a comfortable size, but that can easily break with a fixed width format.


Keep up the good work!
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