Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

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

Post by TheBloke » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:32 pm

meganothing wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:01 pm
In most cases I trust the judgement of a developer who has shown that he can produce a great game more than the mass of users in a forum. Especially since forum users have a big resitance to change in any form. I've seen it with 7D2D more than once, forum is protesting a change, half a year later everyone agrees the change was good. I don't want to get a game produced by comitee, sorry.
Yeah, definitely this. I really find it quite strange - though sadly not surprising - that a few people in this thread will go as far as throwing insults against the Devs, while simultaneously describing their love and passion for the game. The game created and nurtured by those very same devs, who apparently were good enough to create a game worth so much, but suddenly - apparently in the view of these people - now can't be trusted with making changes and are considered to be contemptuous of the players in doing so.

Case in point..
Yandersen wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:13 pm
seeing devs stuffing customers' opinions down their asses while doing whatever they want with the game.
I don't know what thread you've been reading. But every developer comment I've read in this thread has been thoughtful, considered, and appears to be honestly trying to explain the developers' thought processes whilst simultaneously attempting to understand the viewpoints of users. For you to characterise this as 'stuffing customers opinions down their asses' is baffling, to say the least, and surely entirely unhelpful.

And guess what: of course the devs are going to 'do whatever they want with the game', and they must. Because otherwise, as meganothing said, it's design by committee and that never works.

From all that I have seen in the 8 months I've been playing, Wube are extremely good at a) communicating their intentions, b) throwing those intentions out for discussion, and c) listening to the resulting feedback. In this very same FFF we see a change reversed as the result of past feedback.

We can give our feedback on proposed changes, but ultimately the devs have to make a choice, one that attempts to take into account every user, of every experience and skill level, the vast majority of whom will never post on this forum. And I believe that history has shown that they arrive at very good decisions, else we wouldn't be where we are today with a fantastic game that arouses such passion.

FWIW, I too am leaning towards the group that feels that maybe there is be a better solution than the one so far described in the FFF, that could both meet the goal of softening the new-user curve while having less overall impact throughout the game. I'm a little concerned about reducing the uses of intermediate products, and the pushing back of bots. And I share the view that the planned new tutorials and guided freeplay will on its own have a significant impact on the difficulty curve that exists for new players today. Though I imagine it's quite possible that it's the planning for/creation of those campaigns/tutorials that has lead the devs to make this decision - perhaps finding that it was hard to clearly narrate the point at which the player first gets oil, because there's more new concepts introduced at that point than before or after. Just a guess.

Regardless, even if the changes go forward exactly as described, I believe that they would be a net positive for new users (some could cope with more complexity, but others will appreciate less) and, at the least, not catastrophic for existing/longer-term players. I also don't buy into the slippery slope argument put forward by some; if the devs were thinking of removing refineries completely, or anything close to that, they'd have done that in this change. But there's nothing to suggest they're thinking anything along those lines, or will in future.
Last edited by TheBloke on Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:08 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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

Post by tk0421 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:39 pm

Oh wow, that Oil change. YES!!! tytytytytyty!

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

Post by BlueTemplar » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:28 pm

Barhandar wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:10 pm
[...]
"7 days to die" and many other games are only in EA for a different reason - namely, it allows them to not have responsibility for bugs and extreme changes exactly like the ones you're describing; they can just excuse it as "it's early access" exactly like you're doing right now. Lack of save migration is also a symptom of bad development practices, and so is calling the game "alpha" seven years into development.
[...]
Well, at least they haven't remotely deleted saves from before a major (post-release !) update (for a game with typical game durations pretty similar to Factorio), with the excuse that "it would require us to spend too much time on tech support for players having issues with their old saves loading them with the new version!"
Barhandar wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:10 pm
Additionally, the idea that release means the game is to no longer be developed, barring DLCs and expansions, is utter nonsense. Minecraft had its release seven and a half years ago. It's still being developed. Don't Starve has been released 6 years ago. It's still being developed - at the same time as Klei are finishing up another game, at that. Terraria has been released 8 years ago and an update is now in progress, with zero "expansions and DLCs" involved - they're claiming it's going to be the last feature update, but I remember same claim about previous updates. For pretty much every sandbox game "release" is just a checkbox.
Things were also different when those games were released : for one thing, Steam's Early Access initiative hadn't launched yet (except for Don't Starve, released one month after, so doubtful that they could have made advantage of it).
I'm aware of at least one non-indie game that could probably have succeeded if they had Early Access as an option... Instead, they were pressured to release early, in a heavily bugged state, and crashed and burned.

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

Post by BlueTemplar » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:41 pm

Philip017 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:39 pm
[...]
as far as moving worker robots behind blue science, i always push that out very early because i want to see the ghosts of what was previously there when something gets destroyed, blue science comes 6+ hours in the game for me, where i have ghosts with in 1.5 hrs. :x not happy with this change, i think you had this planned all along with the gimmicky remnants that you added, not a fan of them, still prefer the actual ghost, hence the push for worker robots so early, even if i cant make them yet. i might just command in worker robots research complete at the start with a few other commands i run to enjoy the game better with this change. :(
[...]
IMHO, ghost of destroyed entities should just be one of the advanced features that players (at the very least the not first time ones) should be able to toggle in the options from the get go,
like the feature that places ghosts if no items are in inventory, or the blueprint features/shortcuts.

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

Post by Meta_Boy » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:51 pm

So, the team thinks the problem with Basic Oil Processing is that new players can't handle the 3 outputs?

I guess it is easy to see why. Constant posts by all kinds of players asking why their refineries stopped working, does give the impression that there is a problem.

There is a problem, but it's a little offensive to put that blame on players in general, especially new ones. "Those bleepin idiots can't even handle 3 liquids, ugh, fine, we'll reduce it to one, for the babies." is what I'm hearing from the dev team.

The problem isn't the players, the problem is the recipe. Players who post about their backed up refineries consistently display that they set up everything correctly. Crude oil goes in, 3 other "oils" come out, and most of the time those are connected to chemical plants or at least fluid tanks. Because new players aren't braindead idiots, they can "read" the game systems, and they have reacted correctly to the new resource.

It's Basic Oil Processing that doesn't work properly. Never has, and even with the proposed change, never will.

Taking away 2 products does not fix what you think it will fix. Yes, it eliminates the 2 commonly backed-up resources, and thus reduces some of the pipe-spaghetti. But what does that do to the player? It sets up false expectations, and when fluid back-up hits them once they switch to Advanced Oil Processing, they should be in a position where they can play around with all the cool things Blue Science unlocks, but instead they're forced to suddenly juggle 3 oil products AND Cracking all at once!

The problem isn't that Heavy and Light Oil exist in Basic Oil Processing, the problem is that they don't work properly. There is way too much of either, even when you're immediately making solid fuel out of both AND storing thousands of units of the stuff in tanks. It's almost like the New Player Experience, but also the 700th playthroughs of veterans, would be MUCH simpler and easier to manage if refineries had the Advanced Oil Processing ratios from the get-go. WAY less oil, probably just enough to help blue science tick over every now and again - which is exactly what this FFF wants. Blue Science. Nothing but Blue Science. ALL the useful things from now are behind Blue Science. Make Blue Science. Make Blue Science NOW!! And that's all the oils will be good for, until you get Cracking.

Then we get to Cracking, which at this point should be the only thing the "Advanced Oil Processing" tech unlocks. Oh boy. Cracking. New Players get stuck and give up because their refineries stop working, because Basic Oil Processing doesn't work correctly, because you 1000% want every player to suffer through Basic Oil Processing for 20 minutes to 20 hours (depending on the type of player), because neither of your oil processing recipes work right, because you want the players to be cracking. Because you need the players to be cracking. Because Cracking, not the oil processing recipe for the refinery, is your solution to the backed-up fluids.

And I admit, I don't understand cracking. It is the ONLY instance in the entire game where you put in 3 resources, and out come ... the exact same 3 resources, just in different numbers. Yes, they're staggered, you're not putting in coal and getting coal. But you're not actually making anything new. Every other process in the game makes something "new", even if it's only gear wheels. Even that weird-ass uranium conversion process squeezes more glowy bits out of the dull bits. That's a "new" thing that comes out of that machine.

And this process is so damn weird and out of place and a band-aid for a wound you deliberately gave us 2 in-game hours ago, that I cannot even begin to come up with a "fix". I mean, so far I have not proposed any fixes to anything (the Advanced Oil Processing recipe is already in the game and already works better, I didn't come up with anything). I'm not a game designer, I'm a dude who plays video games; I can only attempt to describe why playing with your oil products feels bad to me and other players.

I do get that there probably needs to be a way to control the amounts of oils and gas in larger factories. Come to think of it, I don't even know if us minimal-effort losers can get away without cracking at all, if all we're making is plastic and solid fuel. Both are constantly being used until the end of time, by blue science. That change was one of the best thing the team ever put into this game. It is so goshdarn useful. Above all, it massively improved the early-oil situation for new and intermediate players. You guys clearly know how to do this.

So really, I almost agree with this proposal. You're right that Basic Oil Processing right now feels bad - but you're wrong why. You're right that Blue Science should probably be the key to all those other things we want - but you're wrong that locking EVERYTHING behind it makes anything easier. Both on current version and in the proposal, "Things unlocked by Blue Science" and "Mandatory Rework of my Entire Oil Setup" happen at the same time. You need to seperate those. YOU, the devs, NOT the newbie player who can't get this fluid thing right, need to fix YOUR oil product ratios. They need to work just about well enough very early on (and current Blue Science already does most of the work); and they need to work well enough when we set up S.Acid, Explosives, and Batteries - without cracking. THEN you can task us with precise fluid manipulation via cracking, for specialized oil modules, for science-only production, for only making rocket fuel for the rocket(s), for the unquenchable thirst of a module3-only factory, etc.

... and then we can keep items researched by green science but built with advanced circuits. Everybody wins.

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

Post by Yijare » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:55 pm

TheBloke wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:32 pm
In this very same FFF we see a change reversed as the result of past feedback.
They reverted nothing. they just added pause ticks again.
TheBloke wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:32 pm
We can give our feedback on proposed changes, but ultimately the devs have to make a choice, one that attempts to take into account every user, of every experience and skill level, the vast majority of whom will never post on this forum. And I believe that history has shown that they arrive at very good decisions, else we wouldn't be where we are today with a fantastic game that arouses such passion.
History shows us that they dont give a damn about it. The game is declining in new players and in player base because something changed. Not because Satisfactory came over the Horizon. (that game is even more unfinished than it should be) Not because Minecraft has an 'rise from the dead' Moment because som Swede decided to pretent he is Bad at Skyblock.
Its because this complex game is broken piece by piece into what feel like an generic throw away game.

TheBloke wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:32 pm
[...] And I share the view that the planned new tutorials and guided freeplay will on its own have a significant impact on the difficulty curve that exists for new players today.
Only option to get new players to play campaign/tutorial is to force it or lock free play behind it. And there will then still be the ones that as stupid questions. Yes I do that too, and i'm tousands of hours in.
TheBloke wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:32 pm
[...] if the devs were thinking of removing refineries completely, or anything close to that, they'd have done that in this change. But there's nothing to suggest they're thinking anything along those lines, or will in future.
We are moving to a "make it very simple to get to late game but dont make the game worthwhile" here, so, just put water or oil in any input, it's not like that matters anyhow. I'd have rather a step learning curve that is unforgiving than this. And if that throws people off from playing further than they werent interessted in the game in the first place, because they hit something that resited thier ignorance a bit. Those are not the customers you should cater to.
Madness? No, just insannity!

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

Post by mm.lion » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:20 pm

Dear devs, please do not pay to much attention to swearings around. This happens only because we all love your game and worry a lot about it. Obviously, the best game has the most demanding community. :)

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

Post by RokRoland » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:22 pm

I will just chime in with an opinion on the original oil system. Also, I am probably classified as a noob so I thought it's a change to have some noob come write on the forums, as opposed to the experts who typically come to every forum with their inspired insights.

To give some background: Bought the game late 2017, finished my first playthrough late 2018 because I pretty much stopped in the middle. This does not mean I was really taking it that slow; I guess game time was around 80 hours but I never pushed for the finish. Yes, I used bots and blueprints, and yes, the main base was sections of massive spaghetti. It's been a while since the last time I had a real go at Factorio, even the latest released version, so some information is probably obsolete.

Anyway, oil was really exciting to start with. At first I could not figure it out at all. Turns out I had to travel quite far for oil (by my initial standards). I put up some pumpjacks and plopped down a bunch of refineries next to them, three I guess. Of course it was a massive mess of pipes traveling around the minibase and to the tanks next to the train with pumps every here and there. Useful to power flamethrower turrets though, which were extremely cool and powerful at that point. I had to do a lot of trial and error to make all the pipes work, deal with pumps in the middle (probably not necessary but how could I know). In the main base I recall a bunch of tanks again, and some crowded chemical plants.

It got more interesting after a while, with advanced oil processing, because water had to go into the mix and I didn't have any water near the pumpjacks. So, add more tanks. Of course I transported the water initially by the means of barrels before I realized a fluid wagon does the same. Anyway, this seemed to produce more petroleum, which I was constantly running low on. I guess I set up a (too big) production of plastics and sulfur, there always seemed to be too much lubricant, and light oil was going to solid fuel to power some steam generators, with coal in the mix too.

The big deal for me was the eventual jams in production due to the excess produce of mostly heavy oil which was hard for me to trace (no I did not use any production charts, what are those for?). For the longest time - almost the whole game - I seemed to always be low on petroleum, and cracking somehow seemed ineffective (eventually I did use that too). I thought I was low on crude oil at one point. Actually my initial three refineries were only running at 2/3 because of fluid mixing due to the changes made as one or two were supposed to run advanced oil processing, but at least one never did. Really, I didn't notice for 10 hours or even much more that one refinery set up for advanced processing wasn't doing anything due to some errant pipe containing a bit of water. By this time I'd also set up another refinery at another oil well. Of course there was some issues with stuck trains because the off base mining areas were using the same carefully constructed railway with advanced planning rules applied with discretion as my tanker.

Anyway, in my case the excess heavy oil supply taught me to put a chemical plant for heavy oil cracking behind a power switch. I'd never used one before. It was pretty good until I forgot it in the wrong position and ran out of lubricant. I can't remember if this was the main reason for learning the circuit network basics, but then I put one of those in (I guess load balancing some train feeding chests was the main motivation). I don't think I'd have gone for the circuit network without using the power switch first, anyway.

Until I'd finally set up nuclear power and enrichment facilities, I found interest both in explosives (artillery) and blue belt production. The oil supply became important again as this needs yet more petroleum, particularly for the masses of artillery shells as I'd taken my time in the game and the map was red. Of course suddenly the plastics were really bottlenecking too. However at this point I was quite able to design any needed (balancing not required, of course, so just insert many plants) oil processing after grueling hours of figuring out where I can fit that thing because building more walls is so painful, yes? Of course with a twin unit nuclear reactor, so light oil and solid fuel area not interesting either.

So, going back and thinking what happened with oils in the beginning:
-Lots of pipes required, fluid mixing happened and not being able to traverse the pipes was annoying
-Pumps? Do I need pumps? I'll just put a lot of pumps.
-Tanks? Better put many of those down at every possible stage (I am glad I did a 3 storage tank design at every fluid output stage from the get go)
-Transporting the fluid... a train issue
-Because of point 3, it took a while until I got to the "producing too much of one thing" issue and this was not a problem in the start.

Setting up the oil system seemed like a real achievement.

However, the persistent feelings were "what the hell am I going to do with all this heavy and light oil" and eventually "what to do with all this heavy oil and lubricant". It took a long time to set up any production that used lubricant in anger and by then there's such a need for processing units which essentially are a petroleum hog too, that heavy oil was never a thing other than "it makes other oils" (particularly with setting up excess coal for liquefaction near the end).

To hypothesize on the change and associated noob friendliness. I think there is a big part of Factorio (at least for noobs) which revolves not around design, as much as it does around understanding why something isn't really working like you thought it would. Fluids work similar to factories, when output area is full, no more production happens, but you can't really see it on a conveyor because the outputs are several and they are on pipes, furthermore you're interested about petroleum and not about heavy oil. Hence, the reason for blockage should be really visible and understandable upon observation to the user. I think this is really important, regardless of what happens to petroleum.

To the actual petroleum change itself, it makes producing sufficient petroleum easier, but as side effects the other oils become more of a curiosity. I think the replacement of coal with solid fuel should be clearer (is there even a tutorial for fuel efficiencies? I just noticed the experimental release uses that for science, which is cool), and lubricant could be made more sexy in some way. Because previously it was a case of "what the hell do I do with all this junk, build more tanks than East Germany?"

Apologies for the wall of text. As I was trying to post, the above popped up with a writeup by Meta_boy and I agree completely the current basic ratios are awry, the advanced ratios maybe too because light and heavy oils are a sideshow to gasoline, but instead of making them more interesting and sensible, they could now be completely bypassed in production, and worst of all, the overproduction stopping refineries issue is slightly sidestepped though the focus should be in helping the user what happened. It doesn't seem optimal.

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

Post by jcranmer » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:55 pm

I sincerely hope that FFF#305 will be a response to the massive feedback (to put it lightly) of the oil change. I also hope they're still reading all of the entries in this thread, even if they aren't responding to all of them.

As I see it, there are several options for moving forward, which aren't exactly orthogonal:
  • Option 1: Do nothing (keep basic oil producing the three outputs)
  • Option 2: Go ahead with the proposed change
  • Option 3: Introduce multioutput recipes before oil processing, but using solid items instead of fluids
  • Option 3a: Make oil processing itself have a fluid and a solid item output instead of multiple fluid outputs
  • Option 4: Move cracking to not require blue science
  • Option 5: Add some way to destroy unused fluids (e.g., flare stack)
  • Option 6: Improve the consumption rate ratio of heavy and light oil to petroleum gas
  • Option 7: Give some sort of tutorial for oil processing
  • Option 8: Improve the UX for discovering that oil refining shut down because you backed up on heavy or light oil.
Personally, I find option 3a the best option, although options 6, 7, and 8 are all also worth considering hard.

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

Post by mcdjfp » Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:09 pm

Meta_Boy wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:51 pm
It's Basic Oil Processing that doesn't work properly. Never has, and even with the proposed change, never will.

Taking away 2 products does not fix what you think it will fix. Yes, it eliminates the 2 commonly backed-up resources, and thus reduces some of the pipe-spaghetti. But what does that do to the player? It sets up false expectations, and when fluid back-up hits them once they switch to Advanced Oil Processing, they should be in a position where they can play around with all the cool things Blue Science unlocks, but instead they're forced to suddenly juggle 3 oil products AND Cracking all at once!

The problem isn't that Heavy and Light Oil exist in Basic Oil Processing, the problem is that they don't work properly. There is way too much of either, even when you're immediately making solid fuel out of both AND storing thousands of units of the stuff in tanks. It's almost like the New Player Experience, but also the 700th playthroughs of veterans, would be MUCH simpler and easier to manage if refineries had the Advanced Oil Processing ratios from the get-go. WAY less oil, probably just enough to help blue science tick over every now and again - which is exactly what this FFF wants. Blue Science. Nothing but Blue Science. ALL the useful things from now are behind Blue Science. Make Blue Science. Make Blue Science NOW!! And that's all the oils will be good for, until you get Cracking.

Then we get to Cracking, which at this point should be the only thing the "Advanced Oil Processing" tech unlocks. Oh boy. Cracking. New Players get stuck and give up because their refineries stop working, because Basic Oil Processing doesn't work correctly, because you 1000% want every player to suffer through Basic Oil Processing for 20 minutes to 20 hours (depending on the type of player), because neither of your oil processing recipes work right, because you want the players to be cracking. Because you need the players to be cracking. Because Cracking, not the oil processing recipe for the refinery, is your solution to the backed-up fluids.
Still not 100% convinced a change needs to happen, but this is an idea I could probably get behind. Far better than any oil in one product out starter recipe.

You already tried to balance the resources spawned on the map with respect to the amount needed to "win the game." Do the same for the oil processing recipe. Provide a reasonably well balanced oil processing recipe with the basic oil processing research. It won't be perfect because everyone builds differently. But since it won't be deliberately off (to encourage changing later) it will be much easier do deal with the excess (the steam boilers, fuel for smelters, or a couple of chests will make it vanish). Get rid of the advanced oil processing recipe. The advanced oil processing research would only give the cracking recipes which allows for fine tuning of the output. Need more heavy oil, then there is coal liquefaction. A fairly foolproof heavy oil multiplier could be build by routing the heavy oil from the oil processing straight into coal liquefaction, and from the coal liquefaction to the rest of the base.

This keeps the oil puzzle, and encourages solving it earlier (maybe a helpful tutorial as well) in the game when it is not as entrenched in the base. A better balanced ratio keeps the excesses down and reduces the pressure to rush to advanced. If the ratio ends up a bit off in the lategame there are plenty of solid fuel sinks (trains and of course rocket fuel). I don't bother with coal liquefaction now as I haven't needed it, this even gives it a good use. Plus the other stuff can be left alone.

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

Post by _Attila_ » Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:20 pm

One of the things that comes out from all these posts is that the proposed oil change is "not Factorian" for many people.

The devs added features over the years and people liked them. More complexity was added - and that was good. Then something changed. The pendulum started to swing the other way:

Pickaxes removed, assembler input limits removed and now reducing BOP complexity. If this is the way Factorio is going, I think there are going to be bigger problems than just BOP. This is because if BOP is such a big problem for new players, what will they say when they get to yellow and purple science, not to mention building the rocket.

Following the current trend leads me to believe that the game should end sometime after blue science and with much less of a ramp-up to build the rocket - to satisfy the players who think that the oil hump is too great for them.

I think Factorio is one of the best games ever made, but that's because the original vision was good. Many people here seem to think that that vision is changing and are rather vocal about it.

This is a no win scenario - you can't please everyone. The question is: will this game be the best it can be or will it cater to the lowest common denominator?
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by RokRoland » Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:22 pm

I did forget one thing from the above post of mine and it's a bit late to edit now so here it is:

With the proposed changes, the light oil seems even more obsolete. Why do you have this fluid in the game when all things can be made from other fluids too? It becomes just something that works more efficiently (ratios are better for solid fuel). There's no real value and it could be merged as a concept with the heavy, just have "crude oil", "refined oil" and "petroleum".

Yes, this is not a serious suggestion to do it. I do think however if you have some concepts in the game, they should be made into more important, not less important.

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

Post by Adamo » Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:42 pm

_Attila_ wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:20 pm
Pickaxes removed
I just want to say that this is an excellent example of a change that was a good change. I didn't realize some people complained about it, but those people were silly. The pickaxe served no meaningful purpose in the game; it had no value. It was right to remove it and at least those among my little corner of the universe agreed this was so. My point being we're not against change, but we are trying to stop a bad change.

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

Post by Reika » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:13 am

Adamo wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:42 pm
_Attila_ wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:20 pm
Pickaxes removed
I just want to say that this is an excellent example of a change that was a good change. I didn't realize some people complained about it, but those people were silly. The pickaxe served no meaningful purpose in the game; it had no value. It was right to remove it and at least those among my little corner of the universe agreed this was so. My point being we're not against change, but we are trying to stop a bad change.
A better example would be the removal of boiler efficiency, or mining hardness, or the (fortunately abandoned) damage type simplifications and removal of fluid temperature. All mechanics which are a big piece of many mods and allow for more nuanced behavior than the comparatively simple vanilla utilizations of those features.
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Adamo » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:28 am

Reika wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:13 am
A better example would be the removal of boiler efficiency, or mining hardness, or the (fortunately abandoned) damage type simplifications and removal of fluid temperature. All mechanics which are a big piece of many mods and allow for more nuanced behavior than the comparatively simple vanilla utilizations of those features.
Well, if you're making the case that the pickaxe removal removed the possiblity of making certain mods that people liked, I wasn't aware of that, and that would have been something to think about, although I don't want to go down that path at the moment. Regarding the other things, good lord, I would not want the devs to remove them. One of my base mods, "Adamo Physics", actually reimplements those FEATURES, and to the correct amounts that correspond to the vanilla ratios, e.g., 2 steam engines to 1 boiler, but it turned out that when I did that, the steam temperature actually made more physical sense (the steam temperature in the vanilla game now is ridiculously low for the power it puts out). In the end, this in invisible to the player, unless they're a trained chemist or engineer who knows what steam temperatures should be, so I haven't made any big deal about it. I wouldn't have cared myself, except that to normalize oil-based fuel with my nuclear rework I had to make things more physically sensible. Like I said, I want to avoid changing the base game as much as possible. But with this oil change, we're talking about fundamentally changing how players approach a major component of the game (oil processing), don't you think? I think it's a bridge too far. I guess we've all covered that that's our opinion, though.

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

Post by Astrella » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:34 am

I would love to at least see an ingame tutorial before any major changes are made. I'm not opposed to any other changes but the lack of a tutorial considering signaling and other topics have one does strike me as odd.

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

Post by FuryoftheStars » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:35 am

Adamo wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:42 pm
I just want to say that this is an excellent example of a change that was a good change. I didn't realize some people complained about it, but those people were silly. The pickaxe served no meaningful purpose in the game; it had no value. It was right to remove it and at least those among my little corner of the universe agreed this was so. My point being we're not against change, but we are trying to stop a bad change.
Reika wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:13 am
A better example would be the removal of boiler efficiency, or mining hardness, or the (fortunately abandoned) damage type simplifications and removal of fluid temperature. All mechanics which are a big piece of many mods and allow for more nuanced behavior than the comparatively simple vanilla utilizations of those features.
Pickaxes I could take or leave. They didn't bother me, but nor did they add any real value that I found overly useful. That said, had I not been busy around the time the announcement and changes were made, if I saw enough people asking for them to stay, I may have chimed in for simple support. If they want them, I'd be fine with that. Again, they didn't bother me.

Other things like the boiler efficiency and mining hardness, I really wish they had taken better advantage of these things and actually made some things interesting through their use. Yes, to some degree it did confuse things cause they just stuck these raw numbers out there and left it up the the user to try and do the math. Especially in the case of mining hardness, it would have been better if instead of having the raw numbers on the gui (or maybe in addition to), that they went ahead and did the math for you and put the final number out there for you to see.

As for fluid temperature, that one I'm sort of leaning towards removal. As I understand it, there's a lot of calculations that have to be done because of it and removal may increase performance some. I believe bobingabout supported it, too, with some caveats (his suggestion was last post of the first page).
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=64499

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

Post by Adamo » Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:24 am

FuryoftheStars wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:35 am
As for fluid temperature, that one I'm sort of leaning towards removal. As I understand it, there's a lot of calculations that have to be done because of it and removal may increase performance some. I believe bobingabout supported it, too, with some caveats (his suggestion was last post of the first page).
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=64499
I think the main issue with removing fluid temperature is this: Without it, each unit of steam fluid has the same amount of energy. So if a boiler puts out more energy than some less-advanced boiler, many times the amount of energy in the case of the heat exchanger relative to the chemical fuel boiler, then it has to create a larger amount of steam fluid proportional to the difference in output energy of each boiler. With allowing temperature, and computing stored energy relative to the temperature and heat capacity of the steam (which is a constant in Factorio), we are able to "compress" the amount of energy stored in a single unit of steam. As someone who took the time to recreate the energy values in Factorio to be more realistic, while also maintaining the original game ratios valid under vanilla gameplay, this would have been impossible to do without manipulating the temperatures appropriately. Of course, being able to mod something isn't necessarily important to everyone, so that's fine. Just in terms of UPS, though, it seems to me that the UPS is related especially to the number of fluid entities (e.g. pipes) needed to carry the fluid and the amount of fluid being carried. Removing the temperature altogether would mean having to increase steam throughput linearly with energy output, which could well be UPS-intensive if some other solution isn't introduced (e.g., two types of steam: one for low-energy chemical fuel boilers and one for high-energy heat exchangers).

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

Post by IronCartographer » Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:48 am

jcranmer wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:55 pm
I sincerely hope that FFF#305 will be a response to the massive feedback (to put it lightly) of the oil change. I also hope they're still reading all of the entries in this thread, even if they aren't responding to all of them.

As I see it, there are several options for moving forward, which aren't exactly orthogonal:
  • Option 1: Do nothing (keep basic oil producing the three outputs)
  • Option 2: Go ahead with the proposed change
  • Option 3: Introduce multioutput recipes before oil processing, but using solid items instead of fluids
  • Option 3a: Make oil processing itself have a fluid and a solid item output instead of multiple fluid outputs
  • Option 4: Move cracking to not require blue science
  • Option 5: Add some way to destroy unused fluids (e.g., flare stack)
  • Option 6: Improve the consumption rate ratio of heavy and light oil to petroleum gas
  • Option 7: Give some sort of tutorial for oil processing
  • Option 8: Improve the UX for discovering that oil refining shut down because you backed up on heavy or light oil.
Personally, I find option 3a the best option, although options 6, 7, and 8 are all also worth considering hard.
What about Option 4a: Move cracking to be part of basic oil, with basic oil giving only Heavy so it's deadlock-free but inefficient--and change the chemical science recipe to solid fuel, electric engine, and something like red logic wire to maintain the copper price (possibly inspiring people to play with logic wires, no less--bots may make them free, but if they were automated, they'd see much earlier experimentation...).

Image
  • Advanced oil would be optional, yet well worth solving the 3-output-problem, just like learning a(n also-optional) solution: Circuit logic.
  • Basic oil and blue science would be simple--no water, no cracking (unless you're clever: one step of cracking is more efficient for solid).
  • Incentivizes the production of gas/red circuits/batteries through chemical science unlocking all kinds of toys built with them, so that they will be familiar and automated for production / high tech science, whichever the player chooses to go for next.
It fits well with the theme of productivity vs. high tech being a choice. New players get some breathing room to explore at their own pace and ultimately bump into something making them focus on one or the other. In the meantime, tanks, power armor, robots, nuclear power...--all the really fun chemical science unlocks require gas and red circuits, so they're going to prioritize them anyway!
Last edited by IronCartographer on Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by Omnifarious » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:02 am

Yijare wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:55 pm
TheBloke wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:32 pm
In this very same FFF we see a change reversed as the result of past feedback.
They reverted nothing. they just added pause ticks again.
You didn't read hard enough. They returned obstacle avoidance for rail building. A feature I sorely miss, as well as many other people.

I've been critical of the devs, and sometimes not so pleasantly (most notably a bug report involving ghost rail building), but I try hard to be reasonable most of the time. The devs for this game are some of the most reasonable and careful devs of just about any software product I've ever had experience with. Some Open Source communities are better, but it's far from common even there.

So, I also get irritated when I notice that someone is acting like somehow the devs are bad, incompetent, or malicious in some way. I don't feel that it's warranted.

Personally, my biggest objection to the change is the way it moves bots farther on, and the way it forces me to painfully convert pet gas to solid fuel. I think moving construction bots farther out is a big mistake. The other problem is just a pet peve.

My favored solution is still to have cracking early and have refineries only produce heavy oil. That makes it so that understanding fluid backup is the key to efficiency, not the key to progression. Maybe it doesn't reflect what an actual refinery does. But lots of things in the game don't. And it's close enough to not be ridiculous.

I never had a difficulty understanding what the problem was (and how to deal with it) when I first encountered fluid backup. But it seems like a lot of people do. I'll let the devs decide how important it is to deal with that problem. I trust their experience with game development and the testing they've done more than I trust my judgement in this matter.

I also like the idea of making the lubricant recipe slightly more complicated. But that's a side issue here.

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