Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Regular reports on Factorio development.
abregado
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by abregado »

Reika wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:26 am
I am also glad that you are open to the idea of abandoning new ideas if they do not work out - too many designers refuse to do this.
I totally agree. Earlier is better but it is never too late to revisit old decisions.

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Drury
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Drury »

abregado wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:18 am
zebediah49 wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 6:50 am
I have a potentially simple solution
...
E: Upon further consideration,
Welcome to the rabbit hole!
One of the things that Kovarex and I agree on, is that the burner phase of the game is currently the right length. Any shorter and you may as well remove it, and any longer it would become annoying.

When I originally deconstructed the game and organised it's parts by priority, one of the parts Kovarex liked very much was Progression. Sadly both of us failed to realise how important the burner phase was to that progression, so I rated it as a lower priority to Research progression.
That talk sounds like it would be cool to listen to. Devs discussing their own games with each other is always fun.
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by dasiro »

klonan wrote: I wonder how long till three million... Any bets?
Depends on your sales graph and the potential amount of players vs the amount that already own the game. It's been pretty polished and on sale for so long that I'm afraid most people who wanted it aren't waiting for the launch. Surely it will bump sales a bit, but not boost them to unseen monthly volumes. It's not "new" anymore and thus I wouldn't be surprised that it will take another 2 years to reach that next million copies

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by jockeril »

Congratulations on reaching 2M sales and is no wonder Steam had that much contribution - as one of the early adopters (thanks to Mangledpork, Klonan and the demo I tried first), I a also a Steam member and was happy to have another game with achievements that I felt I can enjoy and achieve so I too rushed to get my key,

I thank you for this game, for over 2000 hours of enjoyable play and openness to the community and the modders that it unparalleled !

Hail wube !
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by abregado »

Drury wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:25 am
That talk sounds like it would be cool to listen to. Devs discussing their own games with each other is always fun.
After we complete an internal Post Mortem it would be great to write a FFF about it, but let's see if there is time.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by seltha »

I feel like tutorials and welcome missions are what you end up with when you don't have a campaign (or at least some form of in-game guidance).

In Starcraft, you don't play a tutorial, the whole campaign serves as your tutorial, drip-feeding you units, upgrades, concepts, etc until you're ready to do battle.

In Stardew Valley, you don't play a tutorial, you get an intro video and some NPCs give you some seeds and tell you how to get started, and gradually the quests you complete serve as a way of learning the ropes.

I get that neither example is in the same genre as Factorio, and it's a bit hard when the only NPCs to give you quests are biters, and the only quest they want to give is 'die already'... but I felt Compilatron was a step in the right direction, but perhaps the wrong implementation? Perhaps it needs to be non-corporeal... the Factorio equivalent of Cortana/Siri/Alexa? Someone in a stasis pod? Or (changing the narrative) the AI of a colonization ship that won't land until you've secured the planet?

Whatever it is, it's someone telling you 'Ok, we made a mistake, the probes didn't show hostile fauna, especially nothing big enough to destroy the lander... but it is what it is, and now your first task is to cut down some trees to power your burner drill and mine rock so you can make a dozen stone furnaces to start mass producing the resources we need to secure this colony'. (For example, you get the idea). The story is part of your sandbox and your sandbox is part of the story.

You'd need to proscribe fuzzy goals, not 'build a stone furnace exactly here with a conveyor belt exactly there', since you want people to build their own base in their own style, but there should be a common set of steps that gets you well into the early game... quests (I use the term loosely... 'tasks' might be better?) to automate smelting of each of the main resources, automation of green chips, building your first wall/feeding gun turrets, etc. Might not hurt to have biters 'peaceful' (with scripted attacks) until you reach a certain part of the tech tree (red belts?) and it defaults to standard pollution behavior.

First scripted attack should be just after the quest to automate green chips, and must be able to deal with using a pistol. Maybe the behavior of the attacking force is to destroy 1 smelter, damage a second, and then path to attack the player? This then spawns new quest paths, one to repair/rebuild the damaged buildings (learn something new), one to research military tech and build your first SMG and armor (so the next scripted attack can be a bit stronger), possibly another to introduce you to radars and turrets and walls and gates?

This gives a new player the guidance they need as well as the ownership of their base, plus defines the reason for being on the planet in the first place, and the reason to keep sending rockets up into space at the end of the game is you need oodles of satellites to survey the planet properly for colonization.

Maybe too much work for 2020... but that's what I've been feeling has been missing on all my playthroughs... that helpful quest/storyline that keeps leading you through the sandbox... formalization of the tasks... like you know in the back of your head you have to automate speed modules at some point, but it's not until you try to build a yellow assembly machine factory that you realize you should have already done that, and now your plans have gone up in smoke. But if you had quests spawning with each tech unlock (and you kept on top of them), that would be quite helpful. And if it gets to be too long of a list, maybe you could add a plugin to sync quests our quests to a private Trello board... ;)

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by irbork »

As it was quarter to midnight on Friday night (CET) I was sure that after 326 consecutive FFF releases, the streak will end. Boy, I was wrong! As far as UTC is concerned the streak is on!

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by RobertTerwilliger »

2kk congrats!
Holding formation further and further,
Millions of lamb stay in embrace of Judas.
They just need some bread and faith in themselves,
BUT
THE TSAR IS GIVEN TO THEM IN EXCHANGE!
Original: 5diez - "Ищу, теряя" (rus, 2013)

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by irbork »

Just for clarification. The old tutorials are the pop-up windows at the start of the game?

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Lubricus »

abregado wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:18 am
zebediah49 wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 6:50 am
I have a potentially simple solution
...
E: Upon further consideration,
Welcome to the rabbit hole!
One of the things that Kovarex and I agree on, is that the burner phase of the game is currently the right length. Any shorter and you may as well remove it, and any longer it would become annoying.

When I originally deconstructed the game and organised it's parts by priority, one of the parts Kovarex liked very much was Progression. Sadly both of us failed to realise how important the burner phase was to that progression, so I rated it as a lower priority to Research progression.
The burner phase is bugging me because it's more complex to automate than the electric version. I think the progression should be to build increasingly complex and powerful stuff. So the burner phase should maybe be just a short half automated phase.
One example of "strange" progression is to switch from steel furnaces to electric furnaces. Where the later version is not more powerful until you have modules and beacons. So the reason to switch to electric miners is that it's simpler to set up.

I don't say you should change anything or that I know how to make it better.

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Philip017
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Philip017 »

congratulations on 2 million copies of the game sold, and yes i agree that the game is no longer "new" it is still being polished and made better, imo so long as you are still polishing the game, sales will remain steady at the rate you have, and it will probably take another 2.5years to make 3 mil.

sharing my experience, i was unaware of the game until it's steam release, so for me that was where i obtained my copy. steam is a great platform to spread your game to the masses, and that you have almost all your sales there is no surprise. i got the game in v0.12 and have been enjoying it since, i don't know if i consider myself a veteran yet, but with over 5000 hours in the game i still enjoy it. because i enjoyed the game so much i sought out your forums and looked into how i could help promote the better development of this wonderful game.

how i feel about the campaigns -

first the original campaigns were solid, i enjoyed them quite a lot, i missed them being absent in v0.17 but i got to play with the new tutorial.
I dont feel like the new one is bad, per say, yes it is a bit awkward to not be able to hand craft things and be forced to use a "broken" assembly machine instead, but some of the early on headaches with compilatron destroying our stuff and killing us was bad, imo a flying compilatron makes more sense, and being a guide to help you learn the mechanics feels like a good step forward.
instead of scrapping the new introduction you could refine it a little more, and keep it as an additional campaign, the idea of having burner assemblers and research labs makes sense too, and i recall a mod that extended the burner stage a little to do just that and it was fun (industrial revolution) you could get rid of some of the stuff, like the broken assemblers, the hacky reactor for power, and damaged ship for a lab, scrap metal? and have burner assemblers and labs (labs that only can do red science?), and make steam power a research able item. yes i can see how the burner stage can be difficult to automate, but i build small in the start, manual coal feeding and rip it all out once i have power. my only gripe is that i am left with burner "junk" that either goes in a wooden box and shot or left over to be logistic trash in a yellow chest somewhere.

having tutorials to help you learn new mechanics is also a good idea, but perhaps having the ability to play them whenever you want as opposed to only from the freeplay area.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by AndrewIRL »

There is a 0% chance I would have ever heard of Factorio, much less bought it if the game wasn't on Steam.

I already had a payment/trust relationship with Steam that I wouldn't have been willing to create with some random "Wube" company. Of course I wouldn't have gotten that far as my only game discovery mechanism is gigantic advertising campaigns (Borderlands 3) or Steam's recommendations so Factorio wouldn't have gotten on my radar at all.

Being on Steam also made it easier to convince friends to buy the game - because it only took them a couple of clicks with a trusted vendor.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Lubricus »

I tok the time and watched the linked videos. The firs one "A Love Letter to GOTHIC's Open World Design" is quite interesting with an analysis on why the game is good the others is most rants with little substance.
I am skeptic about Game design concept and strategies. A video game is such an broad concept and can be almost anything so one game design concept can't be good for all types of games! What is important is to understand what makes your game "tick". Then improve that and trying to "fix problems" without diminish what is good about the game.
Apply random game design rules will often diminish what the specific game is good at.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Drury »

AndrewIRL wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:13 am
There is a 0% chance I would have ever heard of Factorio, much less bought it if the game wasn't on Steam.

I already had a payment/trust relationship with Steam that I wouldn't have been willing to create with some random "Wube" company. Of course I wouldn't have gotten that far as my only game discovery mechanism is gigantic advertising campaigns (Borderlands 3) or Steam's recommendations so Factorio wouldn't have gotten on my radar at all.

Being on Steam also made it easier to convince friends to buy the game - because it only took them a couple of clicks with a trusted vendor.
That reads so funny to me, I just blindly dropped a couple dozen euro on them before they even had the name of the company figured out.
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Deadlock989 »

abregado wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:18 am
One of the things that Kovarex and I agree on, is that the burner phase of the game is currently the right length. Any shorter and you may as well remove it, and any longer it would become annoying.
It's as near to zero length as makes no odds already. The "burner phase" in vanilla Factorio is smelting enough metal and chopping enough trees to make your first offshore pump, boiler, steam engine and a handful of poles, and you can never automate wood production anyway. I wouldn't even call it a "phase". I never, ever crafted a burner inserter in a vanilla game, unless it was to fuel boilers.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by conn11 »

First congratulations on 2Mega copies sold. Seems the website needs an update.

As to the tutorial situation. I found all of the videos quite agreeable and concure that the NPE in contrast to the old tutorials rather much more try to enforce a certain playstyle, then just to leave the optimal to be discoverd by the palyer himself. After playing the NPE again, especially the forced (not beeing able to handcraft gear wheels, copper cable and green circuit) and early used of assemblers is rather quirky. It definetly came along more naturally in the old tutorials, because there automatisation was a relief once beeing fed up with handcrafting. So the desicion to switch back, is, although undoubtely a though one, the better choice.
But then again, the NPE is quite well made and especially the second part (after abandonning the crash site) is much more representative of freeplay and with all the easter eggs hidden quite effective of presenting the main game concept.

Therefore maybe you should consider to let the NPE be aviable as standalone demo.
This would likely imply some changes at the crashsite-phase, but I got the impression, that making the handcraft-research aviable directly after ressurecting the crashed lab, should "patronize" the player much less.
Of course there would be some repetition from NPE to the old tutorials. Considering aside from basic stuff (the use of WASD can be classified as common knowledge shortly before 2020 I think) the specific factorio-commands are something new for a new player, so some repetition mustn't be that bad.

PS: nice 1.0 debris the rocket is flying to ;)

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by AndrewIRL »

Drury wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:18 pm
That reads so funny to me, I just blindly dropped a couple dozen euro on them before they even had the name of the company figured out.
How did you even know they existed? I certainly didn't know until Steam told me about this cool indie game I might like.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by theolderbeholder »

Interesting sales graph. I would have expected gog to be more represented.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by bNarFProfCrazy »

Deadlock989 wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:29 pm
abregado wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:18 am
One of the things that Kovarex and I agree on, is that the burner phase of the game is currently the right length. Any shorter and you may as well remove it, and any longer it would become annoying.
It's as near to zero length as makes no odds already. The "burner phase" in vanilla Factorio is smelting enough metal and chopping enough trees to make your first offshore pump, boiler, steam engine and a handful of poles, and you can never automate wood production anyway. I wouldn't even call it a "phase". I never, ever crafted a burner inserter in a vanilla game, unless it was to fuel boilers.
In vanillaish factorio I mostly skip through the burner stage as well. I usually use mods with early electric furnaces to save me the hassle with the coal, because after 50 times setting it there is no fun in it at all. But if I play with friends its a good way to let them learn the basics. Especially if you use the usual two rows of furnaces with a dipper and two splitters at the entrance.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by MEOWMI »

I always thought the new 0.17 demo was a great take on a demo, but that it lacked the soul of the old campaign, so much so that I would take the old one over the new, despite how dated and less polished it is. I suppose kovarex is onto the same thing here.

I loved the pacing of the old campaign and how it taught through level design. That being said, I always felt Wube's approach of "guided freeplay" should be a perfectly good way of making new tutorials, but I can't predict what it will or should look like.

I sincerely hope this works out well; tutorials are the biggest remaining thing I see Factorio needing. This isn't to say the numerous polishments are unneeded, quite the opposite they also help make the game that much better and I'm very excited to see how they play out.

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