Thoughts on the future Roadmap of Factorio

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theloeschzwerg
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Thoughts on the future Roadmap of Factorio

Post by theloeschzwerg » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:18 pm

I see a lot of people complain about the recent changes of the game.
Therefore I have the feeling I need to present my point of view.
This includes the love towards Factorio the same as with a sales aspect.

Factorio is about to leave Early Access and I guess this makes everybody of us happy (Yay!!)
Considering that Factorio is still a niche game for people like me that like to discover a game even if it is bloody difficult to learn from scratch.
This basically is one core aspect of Factorio: Have consecutive epiphanies. The game is hard to learn and therefore your brain gets rewarded every time you learn to make something the better way. I call this the Masochist.
Masochists like to play games like Dwarf Fortress, where little goals are hard to achieve.
Another core aspect is to build the base of your dreams, make yourself a base that follows your own set goals. Like a sandbox game should do. I call gamers that like this the Builder.
And then there is the Slaughterer that only wants to kill mobs and doesn't really care about building a base, not to be messed up with builders of a fortress aka Tower Defense. They mostly like RPGs and stuff where you can gratify yourself on your level of achievements. Games like DOOM serve their visual demands and brutal needs.
And of course there are the Casuals that only play a game for a short amount of time once or twice per week, where they can just relax and don't need to care about calculating the throughput of a machine they have to tend at their jobs. Sims is a good way to do this. Just hang in there for an hour and be achieved a dozen of things.
Counting this together we have a range of gamers that would choose this games difficulty from insane - hard - hardcore - very easy (can you spot the Slaughterer?)

So.. Why bother about all these types of people when the game just fits my personal style???
The answer is money. Every developer studio needs to pay there people and therefore they need to earn money.
In return when they have more money available than necessary they can hire more similar minded devs and thus work on more features, tend the community, develop new awesome and better games than triple A does with our money.

Ok. The games beginnings were mostly aimed towards the Masochist. Having a cool game with endless possibilities about building factories. Calculating throughput rates and optimizing production. Maybe not even the devs knew exactly what effect a number had before the community did.
With time the Builder was served by making the game easier to understand and research saner. The Masochist is still served, because there is still tons of stuff to learn. The Slaughterer begins to have fun because there are nukes. Nukes sound cool. Nukes need to be crafted. What? I need to build a whole bloody factory just to make a single nuke??? Okay fine. There we go. First nuke crafted. Where are those filthy little twats??? Here you go! 2 hours of playtime to kill that Spawn! Wait.. what? THAT should have been a nuke? That graphical piece o' shit? ALT+F4...
Ascending in frequency of occurance we arrived at the Casual, that doesn't understand this game, because there is too much to do and he couldn't reach the goal of the rocket within 2 hours. He tries it maybe one more time and instantly gives up, because he has no idea what all this stuff he has built before does and doesn't want to get back into it.

And because there are these several types of players I propose a thought:
Enlarge the ways of playing Factorio.
Currently you are super strict bound to the research tree and are forced to be introduced to all techniques. Which is great if you are a Builder or Masochist that will research the whole tree either way. But if you just want to launch the rocket or mow through those nasty base invaders, that only hinders you to reach your personal goal / playing style.
There needs to be a lot of dynamics added to the game. Decide which branches you want to go. Skip stuff that might be too complex for your current skill level.
Effectively you would want shrink and enlarge the Research Tree and make necessities for crafting recipes smaller, maybe more expensive. Give the possibility to skip complexity for the sake of effectiveness. The Masochist is most likely eager to anticipate belt balancing, while the Casual will give up at train automation. The Slaughterer will find it unnecessary to launch a rocket, if there are hordes of aliens running to his base and he has to fend them off... As long as there is a big enough arsenal of weapons for him to research. And explosions. And nukes! (Maybe loot boxes all over the world might be a thing for these guys)
My guess is that the casual gamer doesn't want to deal with fuel reprocessing and coal liquefication to launch a rocket. These are things that those nerds shall deal with. I don't understand what that should be, I just want to launch that rocket and see the credits. BAM! Done. Oh shit.. I need to bring out the trash, before my wife's parents come over.
The current game is not made for Casuals or Slaughterers. However there is the potential to have that.
A first attempt could be to split the game into different game modes or difficulties, where you cut off certain branches of the research tree and skip certain steps in production.
The further we go, the more specific we can get:
Dynamic fluctuation in a miner output, steady lubrification of highly advanced belts, … Basically add features that would add complexity like some mods do.
On the other hand, complexity for lower technologies need to be kept simple. A coal burner inserter needs coal to function. That is clear and understandable. But why do I need to automate sulfuric acid for nuclear power? (I know there are readers whose fingers are itching to explain that right now ;) )

Basically you can break it down to:
  • You want the full potential of the game? Learn it, earn it!
  • You just want to play for fun and don't care about all the stuff you could do? Do it!
For the second category you should stick to the acronym KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid

Please don't get me wrong! This is not a thing for 0.18 or 1.0. This is a thing to attract a bigger player base, so maybe a 2.0. There is a lot of work to be done until we can get there! Tweaks have to be done to the research tree, visuals have to be reworked even further, studies have to be completed to research how to get to a rocket launch without taking away the fun for Masochists, further goals have to be thought of to ideally keep every player playing. And yes, there are mods that probably do all of this. But if I don't want to get into the whole research tree, why should I even look for a mod that fits my needs or actually write a mod myself!? Just too complicated.

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Re: Thoughts on the future Roadmap of Factorio

Post by mmmPI » Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:28 pm

That's interesting to read others' view.

However, i think factorio is not "hard" to play, and is not "for masochist".

I think many people find it difficult, but it shouldn't be, the game is supposed to make you feel like you are programming AFAIK.

Sure learning a langage is not easy, but then using it feels easy and rewarding . ( or should).

I think people who consider factorio hard are mistaken just because they (and I too ) found it hard to learn. ( sometimes at a time when is was tougher because it was earlier stage of developpement).

So we are biaised feeling proud of ourselves after overcoming a difficulty. ( learning a langage).

And some feel personnaly attacked if you talk about removing this difficulty , since they get part of their self-esteem from that ( weird but kinda obvious in certain cases).

Some people even think this difficulty is the core of the game !

So i do understand your view ( i think) but i do no think the game should be as if you don't "need to learn a langage" , i think that's a mandadory step, learning stuff, possibly in a easy way, so that after you can practice with what you have learned ( and enjoy), if you can keep that and still pleases the " slaugtherer and casuals " then it's fine, you'll teach them something :).

But you might have some people reacting : IT WAS HARD FR ME SHULD BE HARD FR OTHER TOO

Which states 2 things : (1) you are not that smart (2) you are not nice person, Yet it's sadly a common attitude since when you not really smart you can't see you're not smart.

Interesting to read argumented opinion anyway !

PS: masochist plays with mods that makes the game HARDER, some others play with mods that makes the game EASIER.

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Re: Thoughts on the future Roadmap of Factorio

Post by theloeschzwerg » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:28 pm

However, i think factorio is not "hard" to play, and is not "for masochist".
Masochist is just a category I put players into, it is not meant literally. And 'hard' is a players point of view. People who learnt the game won't find it hard anymore. Especially with the new tutorial system there is a lot to be learnt on the fly. But you can still dive into the game without doing the tutorial first. For me that would be more fun than actually doing the tutorial. Only the controls will be a bit of a hassle.
[…]the game is supposed to make you feel like you are programming AFAIK.

Sure learning a langage is not easy, but then using it feels easy and rewarding . ( or should).
See… This is one point of view. My concerns also target new player acquisition. Not every player wants to play it programming style but maybe in a more rigorous way. People that are new to programming don't even understand what an if-clause does.
If you try to acquire new players by saying 'Learn our game' most people will say 'nope!'
So i do understand your view ( i think) but i do no think the game should be as if you don't "need to learn a langage" , i think that's a mandadory step, learning stuff, possibly in a easy way, so that after you can practice with what you have learned ( and enjoy), if you can keep that and still pleases the " slaugtherer and casuals " then it's fine, you'll teach them something :).
Sure, but you don't have to make it hard to achieve something. Players that don't want to learn the whole game instead of just the basics are totally lost in Factorio because you are forced to do so by the game. As I said, the way you play Factorio should be made more dynamical. If you want to go grind on Aliens, do it. If you like optimizing your factory, do it. If you want to produce a special item without focusing in depth on stuff you need to automate before, Wube shouldn't make it hard to do that if this doesn't match your playstyle. To draw the metaphor to programming: If I want to learn TensorFlow, but everybody says 'Sure, but first you have to understand the GPU' this is not a way to encourage me learning a framework.
But you might have some people reacting : IT WAS HARD FR ME SHULD BE HARD FR OTHER TOO
I don't actually think anybody sane would say that and fortunately Wube doesn't need to react to people saying this.
PS: masochist plays with mods that makes the game HARDER, some others play with mods that makes the game EASIER.
And yes, there are mods that probably do all of this. But if I don't want to get into the whole research tree, why should I even look for a mod that fits my needs or actually write a mod myself!? Just too complicated.
I don't think that Stuff that is not already in the base game will probably persuade potential players purchasing Factorio.

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Re: Thoughts on the future Roadmap of Factorio

Post by mmmPI » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:42 pm

Masochist is just a category I put players into, it is not meant literally. And 'hard' is a players point of view. People who learnt the game won't find it hard anymore. Especially with the new tutorial system there is a lot to be learnt on the fly. But you can still dive into the game without doing the tutorial first. For me that would be more fun than actually doing the tutorial. Only the controls will be a bit of a hassle.
I was unclear in my wording, i should have said not only the "masochist" group, as there would be the "artist" group that want to design a nice looking base, i think aesthetic is also something people look forward in those games, and there is also this feeling of "this is mine", the flavor it has is that you control stuff, you know your decisions have an impact on your world, this is securizing feeling and rewarding.

I do thing according to your criteria i would fall into the masochist group, and i was refering as "hard" as something that would be part of the identity of the game, like the Dark Souls comparaison i have read once. Factorio is also inspired by minecraft , and AFAIK a mod called redstone too, that is another layer of complex on the base game. Minecraft is totally the kind of game where you dive in without tutorial IMO, factorio though, is "hard" if you don't. Which i wanted to express that it is not primarly intented to be as such, it happens to be because there is a lot of "content", which makes the tutorial needed ( or else you need to advertise your game as a very niche even smaller in a way). [IMO]

I think the "hard" is not factorio as intended, it's something that is considered a problem that this point of view is frequent i think, as it prevent people from experiencing the late game ( which IMO is the goal, the fun , the intended experience ).
See… This is one point of view. My concerns also target new player acquisition. Not every player wants to play it programming style but maybe in a more rigorous way. People that are new to programming don't even understand what an if-clause does.
If you try to acquire new players by saying 'Learn our game' most people will say 'nope!'
( what would you call more rigorous ? )

I'm not sure i understand your point yet i don't share it. ( sorry x) ) I am no-one to say that, but i think the game as "programming style" is the driving vision from the beginning, the game's philosophy, from the receipe, the zoom and gui , the control you gave the player, the task in the game ect, i think for new player acquisition, the best shot is at new generation of player that every year will be "old enough" to play factorio. That's not 50% of every classroom , maybe more like 5-10% , maybe factorio can be a game that is so good at teaching this programming style and still fun that you will reach 15% 20% of a class of age interested which could provide enough financial interest for the devs to keep improving/ adding stuff to the marvel.

Another part would be teaching (even better) so that the artist that like symetry and regularity, or the people who like to make their own thing for themselves enjoy factorio and wouldn't complain about it being too hard to enjoy. I have friends that are slaughterer, i definitely think there are no way for factorio to appeal those there are far too many games which is the only target audience and that are better at that.

I think if you want a game that has interesting complexity BUT you don't want to learn how to play, you are wrong as a player lol.

yet at Wube they try the impossible task to make that happen, by making tutorials and teaching better, you won't get those people that wants to shoot aliens and learn from how they got killed , no way , hopefully you get those that knows how to draw nice things (if you think the interior of a computer looks nice :) ).
Sure, but you don't have to make it hard to achieve something. Players that don't want to learn the whole game instead of just the basics are totally lost in Factorio because you are forced to do so by the game. As I said, the way you play Factorio should be made more dynamical. If you want to go grind on Aliens, do it. If you like optimizing your factory, do it. If you want to produce a special item without focusing in depth on stuff you need to automate before, Wube shouldn't make it hard to do that if this doesn't match your playstyle. To draw the metaphor to programming: If I want to learn TensorFlow, but everybody says 'Sure, but first you have to understand the GPU' this is not a way to encourage me learning a framework.
Some of that echoed to my previous argument, making the game more dynamical//impossible task ?. And some playstyle are incompatible with factorio (as it is now not talking about 2.0 IMO ;) )

I have no idea what TensorFlow is, i also was never taught anything about signals and programming, i watched some videos about digital electronic, and CPU and GPU and RAM, and WiFi and many other things ( like 100's of 10 min video from teachers). This because i wanted to "git gud" at factorio.

And i made my own display screen with clocks S-R latch and lamps for pixels, and a multiplexor to send many quantities in the same wire, store them, compare them to display outposts quantity and manage train accordingly. That was hyper rewarding ! not because i learned by heart all the receipe of a videogame, but because it made me a different person, it has open my eyes on stuff that other people do IRL, and it made me pratice that a little, whereas if you had told me I had to watch all those videos to make the display thingy, i would have just said what's the point ? it's not worth the time investment.

To extend the metaphor even further i'd say factorio is a game for people who are not told how to do stuff, people who will naturally try to find out themselves ( and doing so will learn without being taught) . You can learn how to follow this behavior in a fun way i think playing factorio, ( but maybe you need to already feel a little that way to really enjoy factorio ).
But you might have some people reacting : IT WAS HARD FR ME SHULD BE HARD FR OTHER TOO
I don't actually think anybody sane would say that and fortunately Wube doesn't need to react to people saying this.
They don't have to be sane to be a integral part of the community, if you made a game that attract those insane people you got to deal with them afterwards that makes it harder :D
Not all 'genius' are sane, and no 'genius' is so in everything .
You will hurt those people if they get the impression that you take away the usefulness of what they learnt, and if they have to redo their base , and if now it's simpler; and if this and at the end sadly Wube DOES have to react, fortunately it doesn't means they will take direct orders and are able to find the right mix.
And yes, there are mods that probably do all of this. But if I don't want to get into the whole research tree, why should I even look for a mod that fits my needs or actually write a mod myself!? Just too complicated.I don't think that Stuff that is not already in the base game will probably persuade potential players purchasing Factorio.
I share that, I don't mind using mods making the game HARDER, as such, i'm not opposed to a simplification of vanilla, i consider you can't advise mods to make the game easier, since you start using mods once you know the game ( IMO) so at this point you don't need to make the game easier. But some people play with their children for example, or you can introduce the game to some of your casual friend one week you are on holiday, in those rare situations it would make sense :)

Overall a simpler vanilla, with more "granularity" such as harder optionnal difficulty + the mods for more dedicated players, to extend the ceiling of skill to near infinite would be fine for me, but again the "simpler" has limit, it's not like magically someone that only plays a shooter game once a week will find time /interest for factorio.

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Re: Thoughts on the future Roadmap of Factorio

Post by JimBarracus » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:48 am

What I like about the complexity:
you can either spaghetti belt your way up to the first rocket

or you can build a perfectly balanced base, which throws out rockets every minute.
"bottle neck simulator"
there is always something to improve and you run from one bottleneck to another.

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Re: Thoughts on the future Roadmap of Factorio

Post by BlueTemplar » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:22 pm

All this talk about "player types" reminds me of this thread :
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=63171
(and especially of the message that started it...)

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Re: Thoughts on the future Roadmap of Factorio

Post by ChoMar » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:56 pm

I think the initial groups in this thread are wrong.
First, let me get to Single Player. You have to be a Builder there. Different styles, different methods. But Builder. You have someone that always wants to optimize, you have others that prefer a simpler style and just throw more at a problem instead of optimizing the existing structure (like me). As soon as you reach blue science you will know if that Game is for you or not. If you're getting bored or think "thats too much work", well, Factorio is not your game. That doesnt mean someone is stupid. But to some stuff like that feels like *work* and who wants to play a Game that feels like work? I had that experience with an other Game, Stationeers. I understood the game. I build everything imaginable ONCE. But I never came back because too much of it felt like work. I guess the same thing can happen with Factorio.
Now we get to what, for me, is the *best* experience in Factorio and what should be better utilized: Multiplayer
Co-Op Multiplayer is great. Everyone can have fun. Like to build simpler things? Well, build the Supply lines. Like complex things? Built all the other stuff. Like killing Aliens? Ok, here is your Ammo. And you LEARN from each other. Its an overall great experience UNTIL...
Someone with an incompatible Style comes to your server. Now, we all have different styles and thats Ok. Most things can be mixed. I personally can connect my Style to anything BUS-Based. But sometimes two styles are completely incompatible. For example I tilt a bit when someone doesnt understand the BUS Concept and builts mostly spaghetti. And there is no real way to fix this.
And there is another Issue: PvP isnt really doable / fun. At least not from what I tried. Its a rush towards laser towers and if you get them 5 minutes earlier (in a 2 hour game 5 mins arent much...) you win because those 5 Minutes are enough to break the enemies defenses and cut their bus.
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Re: Thoughts on the future Roadmap of Factorio

Post by BlueTemplar » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:38 pm

That's because Wube hasn't even bothered to balance PvP yet, and for good reason !
https://mods.factorio.com/mod/pvp-rebalance

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