Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

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Adamo
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Adamo »

mmmPI wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:28 am
... then you are not really making constructive criticism apart from voicing strongly your disagreement to the whole idea of simplification. Which is useful but has its limit.
I can hardly be blamed if someone doesn't take the time to read the entire thread, thus seeing all of my detailed attempts to explain why this is a bad idea. I doubt anyone who did wants me to repeat them.
mmmPI wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:28 am
thinking as delaying the problem is not a good solution, but the more i read this thread the more i understand the middle approach taken by the devs, most of the fan-base is very against simplification, so having a small intermediate steps that don't change the end game, but allow people to understand the game faster and with less external help was attempted.
This is a terrible argument. The progression as is provides a better technological balance than anything suggested in this thread. Just give the players an explanation so they know what the parts are. Simple, done. It's almost a cop-out to change the game instead of explaining the mechanic.
mmmPI wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:28 am
if it's simpler then it's tutorial-worthy
I think it's tutorial-worthy as is, and that would be the best solution.
mmmPI wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:28 am
why not you take the mods that fits your personnal taste
Many of us in the modding community think that mods should add to a game without changing the vanilla gameplay elements. There are many reasons for this, and I will not explore them here. Suffice it to say, "just make a mod to fix the game" is not a good solution.
Last edited by Adamo on Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

conn11
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by conn11 »

The new oil processing teaches player, it isnβ€˜t any different from copper or iron, mine (pump) it, have a basic transformation either by smelter or new BOP and then use it for intermediate products. Nothing learned about the real oil handeling witch would come later. So the wall will be hit a couple hours later. Doubtfully to be learned magically just for some lubricant and this obscure useless (considering no ratios) LO. So in a few month one could possibly ask, why not remove LO and make HO identical in use to lube so it’s easier to get.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by PacifyerGrey »

I will throw in another idea in addition to my previous post with more in depth analysis.

We can go from chemical science packs here as the source of difficulty spike. So let us make it further.

We can encourage player to utilize all 3 liquids. This was tried by adding solid fuel to it but I would go further.
  • Make basic sulfur recipe require Light Oil instead of Petroleum
  • Make chemical science pack require Lube (pipe input, or optionally barreled lube to add steel requirement), Sulfur and plastic
  • Add Sulfur recipe made of petroleum to AOP
This will:
  • Make the name of the pack consistent with contents
  • Familiarize player with all oil products
  • Show player clear use for all 3 outputs of the refinery
  • Simplify chem pack resource wise lowering ore requirements
  • Open up options to make Light Oil more suited for sulfur production but will leave fallback route to all-crack-to-petroleum
This change will still not help player fight initial output blocking problem as it is still an UI problem imo.

Also I think oil research should require liquid handling (tanks) research to incentivize usage of tanks during oil setup as those help a lot with problem diagnostic due to having a clear visual indicator.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Illiander42 »

Another reason why the oil change is bad:

Set up a line of refineries, all next to each other.
Run a solid pipe all along each side of the line. The new recipe encourages this.
Try to change the recipe to advanced refining.

**You won't be allowed to!** You'll get a random message about not allowing fluids to mix instead.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Omnifarious »

Illiander42 wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:26 am
Another reason why the oil change is bad:

Set up a line of refineries, all next to each other.
Run a solid pipe all along each side of the line. The new recipe encourages this.
Try to change the recipe to advanced refining.

**You won't be allowed to!** You'll get a random message about not allowing fluids to mix instead.
Well, to be fair, that problem happens with the current refineries. I've put down blueprints that assume advanced oil processing when I only had basic, and then I was left unable to change the recipe because then the water input pipe would be connected to the oil input pipe (because its recipe hasn't changed) of the refinery next to it. At least the oil change prevents this.

Of all the things about this change, the one that is actually really positive is not having both inputs be crude.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by irbork »

I am ready now. Hit me with the patch!

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Jan11 »

Me too.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by mm.lion »

mmmPI wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:28 am
thinking as delaying the problem is not a good solution, but the more i read this thread the more i understand the middle approach taken by the devs, most of the fan-base is very against simplification, so having a small intermediate steps that don't change the end game, but allow people to understand the game faster and with less external help was attempted.
I completely agree. This BOP change does not even affect me in my sea block game. So why should I care? But it do affect my wife, which recently start loving this game to play sometimes by her own. Now I'm sure that she will not stuck forever at her first oil experience. Previously, to be honest, I was very afraid about this moment, since most likely the old BOP (with all its puzzles at the same time) will completely ruin the game for her.

If you are an experienced player and you are complaining about too much simplicity -- just install a mod. Hardness for newbies is the same, it is only divided into parts and delayed to AOP, which seems to be very good idea.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by conn11 »

mm.lion wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:32 am



I completely agree. This BOP change does not even affect me in my sea block game. So why should I care? But it do affect my wife, which recently start loving this game to play sometimes by her own. Now I'm sure that she will not stuck forever at her first oil experience. Previously, to be honest, I was very afraid about this moment, since most likely the old BOP (with all its puzzles at the same time) will completely ruin the game for her.

If you are an experienced player and you are complaining about too much simplicity -- just install a mod. Hardness for newbies is the same, it is only divided into parts and delayed to AOP, which seems to be very good idea.
I agree absolutly, but making the beginning easier is one thing propably removing the need of doing AOP in a large scale is another. At least some oil specific complexity (balancing, cracking) should remain in BOP, to avoid becoming just your basic smelting with fluids. Mods should not restore the base game, a subjective opinion of course

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by BlueTemplar »

_Attila_ wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:34 am
BlueTemplar wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:10 pm
_Attila_ wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:36 pm
I don't know how many new players will continue to play beyond oil after these changes, but I know that there will be many people who will have lots of their videos, blueprints, tutorials and mods made obsolete.

It is my understanding that old saves will not migrate well, so many people will be playing with the current version, offering no feedback on whatever comes after until they are ready to start a new game.

Such a fundamental change at this stage of development just seems very odd to me.
What exactly about "Early Access" and "experimental version" don't you understand ?!?
(P.S.: And it's not like 0.17 hasn't already introduced larger changes than this...)
This sounds rather condescending to me, so I feel I need to reply to you.

This game may technically be "Early Access", but it has been in development for 7 years and it is only supposed to have graphics and UI changes before its 1.0 release.
Uh, where did you get that ? The game is also clearly marked as "alpha"... (maybe except on Steam?)
This means that it's subject to potential (major) feature changes.
Like, as recently as 0.17.46, there were (finally!) major changes to defender robots (and some tweaks to tank).

And there's a whole campaign that is going to be added in 0.18 !
(A beta candidate ? Or perhaps the first 0.17 stable will be marked as beta?)

_Attila_ wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:36 pm
Also, 0.17 may be the experimental branch, but this oil change affects the stable 0.16 version the same way.
No? Why? 0.16 is not going to be touched anymore...
(And considering the ongoing freakout, I wouldn't be surprised if this change was postponed to 0.18...)
mmmPI wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:04 am
[...]
Another thing that approach with the version 1. is a potential boost of everything related to mods, such as people waiting for version 1 to try and make their own, to the increase in their compatibility due to having less frequent update just to maintain, it could act as a more stable base that allow to pile up more mods at the same time without updating 5% of the factory every week as each major mods gets a new receipe every week to adapt to the latest FFF
[...]
They chose that.
They could have kept playing the stable version with mods (and perhaps the experimental vanilla in parallel).
And modders could have waited for stable (at least for public release on the mod website, to minimize the troubleshooting).
(Also, "total overhaul" mods that are in-development tend to have major changes anyway, just perhaps not as frequent...)

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Frightning »

I don't like the BOP change. Because the problem with BOP isn't actually BOP itself. It's the lack of easy access to solutions to the new problems it creates. I think most people will figure out, easily enough how to set up their first Oil Refinery and hook all the pipes into storage tanks for the relevant fluids. Where they run into problems is once one of those tanks ends up entirely full and starts blocking the production of other products that they need. There is a solution for this, but at the R+G science stage (when you want to get Oil processing started because Plastic bars and Sulfur require Petroleum Gas and are used in many R+G science-level recipes) does not yet give you an effective general solution to this problem. You're only option is to dump into Lubricant and Solid Fuel to use excess HO and LO respectively. This also only works until those buffers fill up, so you're back to the same problem sooner or later.

The real problem with BOP is that you don't have the tools you need to regulate the relative quantities of HO, LO, and PG that you're producing and you can get yourself pretty stuck trying to solve the back-pressure problem, as currently oil cracking requires advanced oil processing...which requires blue science.....which requires Advanced Circuits which require Plastic bars which require Petroleum gas which is probably what you don't have enough of and can't make more because back-pressure on HO/LO blocking output.

The solution is simple enough: Make oil cracking it's own tech, behind at least BOP, but it must not require blue science. That way, if you get stuck, there is a non-oil product requiring solution to your problem that you can research and then setup. BOP is important as is because it teaches you about multiple output recipes for the first time (there are only a few in the game, and they are the interesting to setup and mess with from a design perspective). Fixing the tech access problem for practical solutions to controlling HO:LO:PG ratios will address the BOP woes that most people have while maintaining the important new design challenges and problems that it presents. AOP would then be mostly about reducing need for tons of HO cracking and improving efficiency of oil production absent massive demand for HO (typically only happens when making lots of blue belts).

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by SmakDaddy »

Adamo wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:54 am
SmakDaddy wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:44 am
... but I am not sure if building pollution can vary by product.
Unless I'm mistaken, there's a pollution modifier value for the recipe, so you could tell it to pollute 3x times as much for a flare-stack-heavy recipe, for example. Based on the chemical process involved, I think this would be not only reasonable for a "flare-stacking" recipe, but necessary.
Perfect, I'll admit, recipe pollution is not something I've really paid any attention to before (If you need to produce something, you produce it). 3x the building pollution for basic and 1x for advanced feels about right.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by AlienRaven »

Have thought about this change for the whole weekend and decided to throw in my 5 cents. While I completely understand, why this change is being made, one thing really bothers me.

One of the most enjoyable findings in Factorio game design to me is that the game forces you to come back to your already built setups from time to time and refine them. Or plan in advance to decrease this "upgrades time". The most common example would be furnaces. You build stone furnace, its working. As soon as you upgrade to electric furnace, boom, you need more space. So you have to replan and rebuild for more efficiency. Same goes with belt upgrades. You increase throughput of items and suddenly those three assembling machines is not enough to process all belt contents, you have to rebuild the desgn to improve it.

I would love to see that logic implemented here as well, for consistency. Perhaps, basic cracking of oil can be done in Chemical plant? It has less size, can have two same inputs and two same outputs and is a bit easier to get, unlike huge oild refinery. Or maybe an assembling machine, that will have input for crude oil and will force players to use barrels on early stage of the game?

Reading this FFF also reminded me of another suggestion I wanted to post for some time, but was delaying to think about it. Since you say, that you are currently gathering feedback, I posted it in ideas and suggestions: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=73541

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by peet1993 »

I post this for forum user AntiElite as he currently has no access to the forum. Opinions (and all spelling mistakes :D) are his, not mine!

Firstly I have to say I'm shocked you did take the speedrunners into consideration, because that is really something you should not do when balancing the game. We will always find our ways, however we may still have some insight that other people don't have. So rather ask us but never design for us. I think the simplification to oil processing is very reasonable since getting into oil is always a major step for beginners and I remember what a trouble it was not knowing what to do with the light and heavy oil, since my solid fuel buffers always went full and I didn't even knew about advances oil processing to clear the backing up. I am not sure about the position of the petroleum being at the edge instead of in the middle. It looks kinda weird if you don't know the upgrade coming. Maybe it should be swapped.
When thinking about it there is one design flaw that I think would be great to change, but is not an easy task and would even go further. Actually with basic oil processing you unlock all the stuff you require for high-tech outputs such as batteries, plastic, blue chips and solid fuel at once. Petroleum is the much needed thing. With advances oil processing you only unlock lube and increase efficiency.
In an ideas case you would unlock the low level fluid first that you can use for the low level stuff and than with advances oil processing you would unlock the higher tier petroleum for plastics and batteries that you need for the high tech stuff. Obviously that is not possible with the current recipes. I just want to give an idea of what advanced oil processing could be like. Unlocking even more of the high tech ingredients later.
I think bots clearly do belong behind the blue science tech as of now a very reasonable change.
The laser delay seems reasonable too, because gun turret gain a bit of a meaning. However I still not sure upgrading them is ever useful. Maybe there can be a bit more impactful or cheaper upgrade on gun turrets to buff them and make off for the delay at the stage around unlocking oil. Maybe a buff on red ammo can do that also.
Lastly I am a bit afraid that heavy oil could be short on heave blue belt production. You may want to consider to increase the output at advanced oil processing from 10 heavy to 20. Leftovers can still be cracked easily, but a shortage cannot be taken care or anymore.
Also I think experienced players will have trouble with fuel when there is no good way of getting solid fuel early now. The coal patch in the starting area is kinda small. Maybe there is a possibility to buff the coal patch size in the starting area only slightly to compensate?
Changes look good to me overall though!

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by irbork »

peet1993 wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:32 am
I post this for forum user AntiElite as he currently has no access to the forum. Opinions (and all spelling mistakes :D) are his, not mine!
I am not sure about the position of the petroleum being at the edge instead of in the middle. It looks kinda weird if you don't know the upgrade coming. Maybe it should be swapped.
...
Lastly I am a bit afraid that heavy oil could be short on heave blue belt production. You may want to consider to increase the output at advanced oil processing from 10 heavy to 20. Leftovers can still be cracked easily, but a shortage cannot be taken care or anymore.
...
Also I think experienced players will have trouble with fuel when there is no good way of getting solid fuel early now. The coal patch in the starting area is kinda small. Maybe there is a possibility to buff the coal patch size in the starting area only slightly to compensate?
All very good points.
The petroleum output in the middle was on my mind for quite some time, since it would allow nicer and easier fully beaconed advanced oil processing builds with integrated cracking.
In deed it happens quite often now that I set some or all of my advanced oil processing back to basic to get some heavy oil when I am short.
As for the solid fuel from what I understand, we will get a buff and will be easily able to feed our power plants with solid fuel from basic petroleum.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by gGeorg »

peet1993 wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:32 am

Lastly I am a bit afraid that heavy oil could be short on heave blue belt production. You may want to consider to increase the output at advanced oil processing from 10 heavy to 20. Leftovers can still be cracked easily, but a shortage cannot be taken care or anymore.
You sounds like an experienced player. Advice me, what product I get most from coal liquid tech?

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by vampiricdust »

V453000 wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:46 pm
I am quite surprised how many times I have read "the problem of multiple output refining is just delayed" in a bad meaning.
It's delayed because you're not actually helping players realize there is a new puzzle to be solved, you're pushing the problem back. Adding the mod bottleneck into the game or something just for oil so players can see where the problem is. With belts, it's easy to see what is not producing and follow it back. With liquids, pipes will show on alt view as having liquids in them even when it's a fraction from the way flow mechanics work. It's hard to look at an oil setup and know which product is not getting drained without tanks.

V453000 wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:46 pm
Getting robots a bit later is quite tough to justify as being a good thing on the first sight (my own reaction to hearing this idea from kovarex was WTF, but then quickly calmed down when thinking about it a bit), but there's a lot of factors that soften this. The extra additional delay really isn't that much. You only need to set up some chemical science and do a few cheap researches with it (currently you need total 275 chemical science packs total for construction robots). Also consider that setting up the refinery is less tedious as you don't need to pipe light and heavy oil, so chemical science pack is set up a bit quicker, and with perfect reliability that doesn't clog if you added too few storage tanks.
Bots have been pushed back and back and back in the tech tree even though some of us find them to be the funnest part of the game. They help tremendously with base building and logistics, which makes dealing with oil so much less frustrating. By pushing bots behind oil, you're now forcing new players to deal with the mess of oil and get not get anything really interesting or fun for a long time (new players won't blow past this as fast as experienced players). Bots were a really nice reward for getting oil started and keep players motivated to power through the puzzle. I love bots, but dealing with oil was a nightmare on my first attempts to figure it out. If I didn't have bots, I don't think I would have really enjoyed the game as much dealing with it.
V453000 wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:46 pm
I wonder how many first time players actually use robots, too. I certainly didn't use them first time around, I didn't even know they exist and I had no idea that I need the storage chest for them. These things are better nowadays, but still. They are a powerful tool but completely optional.
I got this game specifically because of the bots. I loved this game for being about puzzles that didn't force you to keep using those puzzles the whole time. Figured out belts? Great, here's bots so you can either copy & paste it instead of hand building hundreds of entities or figure out new layouts with logistic bots so you don't need as much resources for low tier stuff.

I think the dev team sees bots too much as "not fitting the game" and not enough as a reward figuring out early game while easing the tedious building of massive chains of belts. I don't see how pushing the reward behind the oil mess is good for new players. It's just more incentive not to use bots at all because they come so late that it isn't worth using them unless you're going to play past the win condition.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by FuryoftheStars »

Suggestions I've seen that I think are better than the proposed solution by the devs:
  • Changing/adding recipe(s) to before oil processing that have two results out.
    • This moves one of the lessons learned (multiple outputs and output blocking), without delaying it or changing BOP, and puts it in a place where it can be better visualized (belts vs pipes).
  • Move cracking recipes into their own separate tech that requires red & green science (but not blue) before AOP.
    • Cracking is an advanced recipe and, imo, should not be available at BOP (even with a simpler recipe... which would also cause recipe bloat), but it is more useful before getting AOP.
    • This may help to give a clear path to newer players if they can see these recipes standing out separate.
    • It's easier to get these recipes as you don't need a fully functioning oil setup, first.
  • Change sulfur to require Heavy & Light Oil instead of Petroleum Gas, at a 1:1 ratio for the inputs.
    • This would decrease the demand on PG, while giving a good use for the Oils, potentially balancing things out.
    • There are plenty of ways to keep the oil productions up (mixing BOP with AOP and taking further advantage of Coal Liquefaction), but if needed the amount of required fluids could be reduced.
    • This is actually a bit more logical, too, as has already been pointed out that PG is actually where your lowest concentration of sulfur resides.
  • Add a description to refineries that briefly mentions something like "Breaks crude oil down into sub products. All produced fluids need a place to go or production will stop and wait for room."


I do not support making BOP output only HO as this is really not a whole lot different than outputting PG only. It would require adding new recipes (basic cracking), which would contribute to bloat and make Oil Processing unlock that many more recipes.
I'm not sure that outputting HO & LO only is all that much different than above.

Integrating Bottleneck into the game I don't think will be useful. Integrating it straight, it'd have to be an Alt-mode feature. As some have already pointed out, many new players don't even know about Alt-mode.
While you could maybe put a light on the factories to do this, you now also have to consider are new players even going to know what this means? If they're not noticing/know what it means when the flames stop shooting out of the flare stack, or when they open the gui and some of the inputs/outputs are highlighted red, or are given messages explaining the issue on mouse hover, I don't think they're going to notice or know what it means when an indicator changes colors.
Putting extra text into the gui won't help this either. Again, if they don't notice the other things....
The only thing I can think of that would reliably solve the UI issue is if there was a popup message that "slapped" the player in the face explaining the issue in detail. Or maybe if there was floating text that would come up off from the refinery every second or two saying "output full" or similar. But there had better be options to turn this off.

Something that may help at least a little is better documentation on how to play and easy access to this info. I'm talking about an actual manual on how to play like games used to do and then easy access to this from within game. While many I know will still ignore this, at least some won't. Anyone who takes the time to lookup and head to the forums to ask for help I would certainly expect to at least briefly peruse a manual. There may be others, as well, that otherwise don't take the time to ask for help.
Last edited by FuryoftheStars on Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:55 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by mcdjfp »

Again, PLEASE POSTPONE THIS

Why are you making massive changes to the core (at least to me and many others core) structure of the game while still refusing to use one of the tools you created specifically for problems like this?
WHERE IS THE OIL TUTORIAL(S)?
Why are you risking shattering the community? Calling those that like the complexity elitists? Telling the confused new players that they are too simple to understand?
Do you really think that delaying the multiple output problem, while all along allowing the new players who don't know any better (because you won't try to teach them) to do it the wrong way will really make things better?
Will fixing the problem in a much larger base really be easier (bots won't yet exist remember)?
Will this really help them get through the game or simply cause them to quit later? Of course your playtime numbers will look better.
Will delaying the toys later and later in the game really drive people to play more?
Or just get bored sooner?

Finally I ask this.
If this change happens how long will it be before this appears in the changelog?

Removed Light Oil
Renamed Heavy Oil to ________ Oil
Updated Refinery graphics

And then, if the modding community wants the old back, or needs it for their mod, they will need their own 3 output building. Which will cause havoc unless a 3 output refinery mod becomes the default go to.
Last edited by mcdjfp on Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by meganothing »

Deadlock989 wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:38 am
I don't bother playing games that aren't complex and interesting enough to not have to crack open a friggin' webpage occasionally, like that's some massive burden. If I'd had access to today's technology when I was a kid, it wouldn't have been any different then.

I'm also far past the stage where laying down individual machines by hand is remotely interesting, so anything which delays automated building is a total non-starter for me. But apparently what people who haven't played the game yet think is more important.

At the end of the day though, this joke nerf pitched at the lowest common denominator doesn't bother me in the least. I'm long past the stage where playing vanilla Factorio is at all interesting. This game's longevity comes from the mods, and I predict there will be mods that undo this change available for download within minutes of the change going live. If they're still seriously considering it.
Exactly. You just draw the wrong conclusions from your "not bothering":

Beginners: They install the game and immediately start to play, without mods. Therefore vanilla is balanced towards beginners

Advanced Users: They use configs and mods to customize the game to their desire. Vanilla's balance is much less important.

The mod interface is available for exactly this reason. You are not a rebel by using mods, you are the use case of mods.

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