Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

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Drury
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Drury »

steinio wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:23 am
Drury wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:35 am
You can't truly appreciate accessibility until you've made a game, had someone play the game for 5 minutes - and then drop it, telling you it's fun but not their thing... far before they even got to engage with the main hook of the game.

The most insidious part of this kind of failure is that it doesn't show on critic scores. People who lose interest in the game are usually not going to blame it out of courtesy (even though it makes logical sense to do so - it is the dev's responsibility to get people hooked). It does reflect on word of mouth though - and I'm noticing Factorio has a rather bizarre image in the public consciousness. It is seen as this nerd bait game, something that requires feverish dedication to enjoy. The worst thing is they're only partly wrong. The game does play itself after a certain point, but getting up to that point requires a fair bit of blind faith that you'll get there eventually, since the new player experience can be described as anything but "playing itself", as it were. And there's no reason it should remain that way, either.
I hate 'playing itself' games. Look at transport fever or any other economy sim. If your first route makes profit why expand at all? The bank account fills without extra work.

Factorio is not that type of game.
Not what I meant. By "it plays itself past a certain point" I meant what psychologists and game designers sometimes refer to as "the zone". Simply put, the point where the game clicks and you engage with it without friction, frustration, confusion, or boredom. Even more simply put, the point where it gets "fun".

This doesn't happen instantly with Factorio, in fact it happens quite a ways down the line. It should happen sooner. In other words, as a new player, you should start having fun sooner. You shouldn't run out of patience and drop the game before the fun kicks in.
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Scottathew »

I never played the new tutorial. The old demo was great for me. I got the hang of the game. Saw the power of automating a few low-level things. It left me craving more. For me the old demo did exactly what it needed to do. Here I am $30 and 1,663 hours later.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

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Drury wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:47 pm
Not what I meant. By "it plays itself past a certain point" I meant what psychologists and game designers sometimes refer to as "the zone". Simply put, the point where the game clicks and you engage with it without friction, frustration, confusion, or boredom. Even more simply put, the point where it gets "fun".
Is that possible with a truly great game? I think the best games also should somehow be frustrating or otherwise it will just be boring and bland. In my opinion Anno 2205 is an example where they have got to far with the tutorialization of the game and what is left is just to click where the game is telling you to click without any experimentation or strategy.
I big part of the fun in Factorio is to figure out stuff on your own. If everything is perfectly served to you what is left. I hate hidden mechanics in games, factorio is good in the sense most of the info is visible in a way that it's possible to figure out if you try. It's also important that you feel it's possible to improve and progress and not geting totally stuck.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Drury »

Lubricus wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 8:59 pm
Drury wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:47 pm
Not what I meant. By "it plays itself past a certain point" I meant what psychologists and game designers sometimes refer to as "the zone". Simply put, the point where the game clicks and you engage with it without friction, frustration, confusion, or boredom. Even more simply put, the point where it gets "fun".
Is that possible with a truly great game? I think the best games also should somehow be frustrating or otherwise it will just be boring and bland. In my opinion Anno 2205 is an example where they have got to far with the tutorialization of the game and what is left is just to click where the game is telling you to click without any experimentation or strategy.
I big part of the fun in Factorio is to figure out stuff on your own. If everything is perfectly served to you what is left. I hate hidden mechanics in games, factorio is good in the sense most of the info is visible in a way that it's possible to figure out if you try. It's also important that you feel it's possible to improve and progress and not geting totally stuck.
The flow/zone/"fun" is actually a rhytmical progression between frustration/anxiety and boredom. They're both a part of the package.
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Klonan »

Drury wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:36 pm
The flow/zone/"fun" is actually a rhytmical progression between frustration/anxiety and boredom. They're both a part of the package.
Yea, there is no satisfaction without frustration

Getting your first coal mining automated doesn't have meaning unless you went through the pain of mining the resource manually.
Getting your first science pack automated doesn't have meaning unless you had the pain of handcrafting them and waiting on each tick of progress.

This even continues through the whole game,
Getting construction bots is meaningful because you had the pain of building manually,
Same with logistic bots

Getting power armor with exoskeletons has a massive sense of power because you suffered for so long moving so slowly (same with concrete, which adds to the base-building satisfaction).

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Drury »

Klonan wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:40 pm
Drury wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:36 pm
The flow/zone/"fun" is actually a rhytmical progression between frustration/anxiety and boredom. They're both a part of the package.
Yea, there is no satisfaction without frustration

Getting your first coal mining automated doesn't have meaning unless you went through the pain of mining the resource manually.
Getting your first science pack automated doesn't have meaning unless you had the pain of handcrafting them and waiting on each tick of progress.

This even continues through the whole game,
Getting construction bots is meaningful because you had the pain of building manually,
Same with logistic bots

Getting power armor with exoskeletons has a massive sense of power because you suffered for so long moving so slowly (same with concrete, which adds to the base-building satisfaction).
Yes, however at the start of the graph the juxtaposition should be slight, whereas in Factorio it's way out of whack. It takes hours before you even start automating. It leaves people confused and bored.
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Zavian »

Drury wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:05 am
Yes, however at the start of the graph the juxtaposition should be slight, whereas in Factorio it's way out of whack. It takes hours before you even start automating. It leaves people confused and bored.
That is an exaggeration.

Whilst I agree that once you know what you are doing, starting a new game in Factorio can be a little slow, it doesn't take hours to get started (assuming you know what you are doing, and have used the map preview to pick a reasonable map). For me the start of a new game goes something like this.

First minute.
Mine a few bits of coal or chop some wood. Place the starting burner miner on an iron patch and the furnace beside it. Feed them the coal/wood. About 60 sec, assuming there was wood/coal and iron not too far from the starting area.

Minute two to three.
Mine some more coal or chop more wood, and maybe remove a large stone or two for some coal and stone. Feed the burner miner and furnace. Mine/hop more fuel. After about another 90 seconds the furnace should have 18 plates. Take them, mine some stone if necessary and craft 2 burner miners.

Minute four.
Place them on coal feeding each other. Go back to the first furnace, gathering some more wood/coal/stone on the way.

Minute 5.
Add more fuel to the drill and furnace if necessary. Mine some stone if necessary. Grab the next set of iron plates, and craft another burner miner and another furnace. Place them on iron.

Minute 6.
Head over to those 2 miners on coal. They should have around 50 coal. Collect it. Yay. No need to mine any more coal manually.

Minute 7.
Head back to the iron furnaces. Collect the iron plates, (should be about 50) and top up the drills/furnaces as necessary.

Minute 8.
Mine a rock or some stone, craft another 2 burner miners, and 2 furnaces.

Minute 9.
Grab some more coal (if necessary), place another burner miner + furnace on iron and the others on copper.

I now have a net positive production of about 5 coal/minute, 45 iron/minute and 15 copper/minute.

Minute 10. Grab some iron and copper plates and start building a minimum power setup. (1 offshore pump, one boiler, one steam engine. Maybe a pair of underground pipes between the offshore pump and the boiler).

Minute 12. Grab some more iron and copper plates, and build a couple of electric drills and belts to feed coal to the new power setup. (Note that I have just automated power).

Minute 14 start handcrafting a lab and 11 red science flasks.

Sometime in there I probably also spend a minute feeding more coal to the burner drills and furnaces.

By minute 15 I should have a tiny power plant running, and have automated coal mining, and be starting to think about what to work on next, where to build furnace lines etc.

I still need to top up those starting iron and copper burner drills and furnaces occasionally, but I can add a couple of electric drills mining coal (into a chest, possible I even use the two mining drills for the power plant, and just use an inserter to output from that chest to the coal belt running to the power plant), so I can give them a full stack of coal. I can then move those burner drills I placed on coal to mine stone (into a chest), or more iron or copper.

By minute 20, I probably have a basic science/research setup making red science. (One gear assembler feeding one or two red science assemblers feeding a lab or two. Iron and copper from a chest at this point. Yes it is just a temporary setup, but it frees me up to work on something else whilst early science ticks along).

Next I typically start work on a small automated iron smelter. Not very long, just 6-8 furnaces worth. (I'll probably place a longer blueprint, but I won't actually build the whole thing yet. I just build enough for my current iron needs. Next I probably add a couple of temporary assemblers to automate belt and gears into chests). Then I'll start doing the same for copper, then start working on a bus, and a proper science setup.

But the point is within about 15 minutes you should be automating things.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

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Zavian wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:02 pm
Whilst I agree that once you know what you are doing, starting a new game in Factorio can be a little slow, it doesn't take hours to get started (assuming you know what you are doing, and have used the map preview to pick a reasonable map). For me the start of a new game goes something like this.
The context of discussion is new player experience.
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by toketsu_puurin »

I haven't played either tutorial, really. I was dragged in by some friends and just told to build to rockets. That said, I did at one point try the pre-16 tutorial and found it pretty painful once I already knew the mechanics. I was looking forward to seeing the newer tutorial, so I think I'll have to try it out now.

I will say that I noticed something this week. Only 5.4% of steam players have the "You're doing it right" achievement. And the average playtime if 78%. This horrifies me and leads me to conclude that loads of people a) aren't doing the tutorials (because people....) and b) they are seriously doing it wrong or doing no-robot challenges.

While I agree that generally speaking, a tutorial that gives representative game progression is a good one, you might very well want to keep the newer tutorial as a scenario. One commenter earlier called it very good as a demo. My vote is to leave it in and call it "Demo Scenario" for people who want the fast paced sampling that introduces the higher-level concepts.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

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toketsu_puurin wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:29 am
Only 5.4% of steam players have the "You're doing it right" achievement.
I'm pretty sure there is a bug with it. During a game where I had launched over 300 rockets, and was spam-building productivity-filled machines, solar panels, accumulators, etc it said I hand-built TWICE how many I put down with robots. Either 50,000 or 100,000, not sure exactly, but I was like "...how is that even possible". When I started playing with mods, same thing, even though I know in a single game I had nowhere near 10s of thousands of things placed, and was using robots since I could research them.
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Lubricus »

toketsu_puurin wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:29 am
I haven't played either tutorial, really. I was dragged in by some friends and just told to build to rockets. That said, I did at one point try the pre-16 tutorial and found it pretty painful once I already knew the mechanics. I was looking forward to seeing the newer tutorial, so I think I'll have to try it out now.

I will say that I noticed something this week. Only 5.4% of steam players have the "You're doing it right" achievement. And the average playtime if 78%. This horrifies me and leads me to conclude that loads of people a) aren't doing the tutorials (because people....) and b) they are seriously doing it wrong or doing no-robot challenges.

While I agree that generally speaking, a tutorial that gives representative game progression is a good one, you might very well want to keep the newer tutorial as a scenario. One commenter earlier called it very good as a demo. My vote is to leave it in and call it "Demo Scenario" for people who want the fast paced sampling that introduces the higher-level concepts.
It's surprisingly common with players just purchase a game or starting it without giving it a real try.
The numbers for Factorio could also be due to that players quickly install some mod or change to the non steam version.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by meganothing »

One simple idea for a mini-tutorial, not sure it is new or even that it works, but it might get the player to experience the core game play relatively fast:

If the player sets the option to play a tutorial/beginners game, give him a generous starter set consisting of say 3 miners, 3 burner inserters, ~50 belts, 3 wood chests. a steam engine, a boiler and a water pump. Tell him his task is to substitute one of the burner inserters with a working electrical inserter.

The difference to the normal free play is then that much of the slow start and especially much of the tedious wood cutting is removed and the first puzzle can be solved easily(?) in the first 5 minutes.

When I first played Factorio, I wasted a lot of time with wood cutting and it felt like a simple RTS for much of the first hour of game play.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by abregado »

Zavian wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:02 pm
Drury wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:05 am
Yes, however at the start of the graph the juxtaposition should be slight, whereas in Factorio it's way out of whack. It takes hours before you even start automating. It leaves people confused and bored.
That is an exaggeration.
In the context of a new player it is most certainly not an exaggeration.
Zavian wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:02 pm
By minute 15 I should have a tiny power plant running, and have automated coal mining, and be starting to think about what to work on next, where to build furnace lines etc.
Generally, even players who have played before will take an hour to get up to electricity (with freeplay starting resources). It isn't just about having the resources available, since new players (less than 30 hours) spend a higher proportion of their time on strategic planning, moving the character and reading. Those that play less strategically will spend even longer on removing and replacing structures.

Brand new players dropped into freeplay will take ~2 hours to build power, and there is no guarantee that they will have anything automated (not that they can because they need to research Automation first).

The old tutorial did smooth this out and speed it up. By early in the third level a new player is using electricity (but not research). This usually takes about 1 hour. This level is completable without using Assembling machines.
New players are finishing the new tutorial (first half of the Introduction) after about the same time, but we can be sure they have used assembling machines, belts, inserters and electricity, although steam power is shown in the second half.

Having seen this from two different tutorials it seems that dropping brand new players into freeplay is not such a good idea.

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by meganothing »

steinio wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:23 am
I hate 'playing itself' games. Look at transport fever or any other economy sim. If your first route makes profit why expand at all? The bank account fills without extra work.

Factorio is not that type of game.
Oh it is in a way. A friend of mine stopped playing the game after having automated research at a very slow speed. It seemed to them at that point that there was no reason to expand further, that they would have just to wait for all the research to succeed and meanwhile there was nothing worthwhile to do :)

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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Jap2.0 »

abregado wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:13 pm
Zavian wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:02 pm
Drury wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:05 am
Yes, however at the start of the graph the juxtaposition should be slight, whereas in Factorio it's way out of whack. It takes hours before you even start automating. It leaves people confused and bored.
That is an exaggeration.
In the context of a new player it is most certainly not an exaggeration.
Quick question: does mining and smelting not count as automation nowadays?

(And by the way, "this has to be hyperbole" was the first thing that popped into my head while reading Drug's post.)
Last edited by Jap2.0 on Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

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Jap2.0 wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:52 pm
abregado wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:13 pm
Zavian wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:02 pm
Drury wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:05 am
Yes, however at the start of the graph the juxtaposition should be slight, whereas in Factorio it's way out of whack. It takes hours before you even start automating. It leaves people confused and bored.
That is an exaggeration.
In the context of a new player it is most certainly not an exaggeration.
Quick question: does mining and smelting not count add automation nowadays?

(And by the way, "this has to be hyperbole" was the first thing that popped into my head while reading Drug's post.)
Nowadays, the hook of the game is automating your production to research new technologies faster (which has been the case since 2012 iirc). You don't yet know what the hook of the game is if all you're doing is smelting plates.

Ironically, there are players who never even get to that point because they believe handcrafting everything including science is supposed to be the hook, as highlighted in the FFF.
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Ranger_Aurelien »

Honktown wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:44 am
toketsu_puurin wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:29 am
Only 5.4% of steam players have the "You're doing it right" achievement.
I'm pretty sure there is a bug with it. During a game where I had launched over 300 rockets, and was spam-building productivity-filled machines, solar panels, accumulators, etc it said I hand-built TWICE how many I put down with robots. Either 50,000 or 100,000, not sure exactly, but I was like "...how is that even possible". When I started playing with mods, same thing, even though I know in a single game I had nowhere near 10s of thousands of things placed, and was using robots since I could research them.
But how were you building the objects? Until I had more experience with construction/logistics zones I was laying down lots of ghosts and construction robots would fill them (MANUAL). If you use blueprints or CONTROL-C + CONTROL-V, then Automated gets the credit for the build.
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Jap2.0 »

Drury wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:10 pm
Jap2.0 wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:52 pm
abregado wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:13 pm
Zavian wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:02 pm
Drury wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:05 am
Yes, however at the start of the graph the juxtaposition should be slight, whereas in Factorio it's way out of whack. It takes hours before you even start automating. It leaves people confused and bored.
That is an exaggeration.
In the context of a new player it is most certainly not an exaggeration.
Quick question: does mining and smelting not count as automation nowadays?

(And by the way, "this has to be hyperbole" was the first thing that popped into my head while reading Drug's post.)
Nowadays, the hook of the game is automating your production to research new technologies faster (which has been the case since 2012 iirc). You don't yet know what the hook of the game is if all you're doing is smelting plates.

Ironically, there are players who never even get to that point because they believe handcrafting everything including science is supposed to be the hook, as highlighted in the FFF.
Au contraire: I'd argue that basic resource production does give you a (small) taste of automation already. On the other hand, I see how some (although I highly doubt that there is not a significant number that do otherwise) could see handcrafting as a way to the end. I propose that this not be solved by removing the early-game progression represented well in the demo/tutorial already, but by supplementing it in some way with automation of some materials (quite likely science), whether in the same level or another (keep the story with the radar and go to science/the abandoned base or replace that goal with some research).

Also, I'd argue that science has really only been the ultimate (post-endgame) goal since ~2017 with space science Misread that, agree that it's the "hook" for most of the game.
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Honktown »

Ranger_Aurelien wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:07 pm
Honktown wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:44 am
toketsu_puurin wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:29 am
Only 5.4% of steam players have the "You're doing it right" achievement.
I'm pretty sure there is a bug with it. During a game where I had launched over 300 rockets, and was spam-building productivity-filled machines, solar panels, accumulators, etc it said I hand-built TWICE how many I put down with robots. Either 50,000 or 100,000, not sure exactly, but I was like "...how is that even possible". When I started playing with mods, same thing, even though I know in a single game I had nowhere near 10s of thousands of things placed, and was using robots since I could research them.
But how were you building the objects? Until I had more experience with construction/logistics zones I was laying down lots of ghosts and construction robots would fill them (MANUAL). If you use blueprints or CONTROL-C + CONTROL-V, then Automated gets the credit for the build.
I was definitely using personal roboports for the solar panels and probably a lot of other things. Does that count for the robots or me? Don't want to get off topic I guess, but this is a tutorial thread right?
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Re: Friday Facts #327 - 2020 Vision

Post by Ranger_Aurelien »

Honktown wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:45 am
Ranger_Aurelien wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:07 pm
But how were you building the objects? Until I had more experience with construction/logistics zones I was laying down lots of ghosts and construction robots would fill them (MANUAL). If you use blueprints or CONTROL-C + CONTROL-V, then Automated gets the credit for the build.
I was definitely using personal roboports for the solar panels and probably a lot of other things. Does that count for the robots or me? Don't want to get off topic I guess, but this is a tutorial thread right?
The way I recall:
"Manual" credit: You place ghosts directly, or place items out of your "hand" range so robots deliver from your inventory or from roboports.
(I enable "Pick ghost item if no items are available" so I don't have to carry everything myself...)

https://wiki.factorio.com/Ghost


"Automatic" credit: Use a blueprint or use Control-C, then Control-V to place planned buildings. It can be fulfilled from inventory or roboports.

https://wiki.factorio.com/Keyboard_bindings

Does that explanation work?
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