Uncertainty factor

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Daddie
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Uncertainty factor

Post by Daddie » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:49 am

As I am playing the game I miss uncertainty factors. I mean, I just have to look at the screen and I know what I can and cannot setup at that spot. This makes every game the same. Same for reaching goals. Every thing you build has the same parts/resources. What if the planet does not have oil? The player is forced to look for other options, for example producing oil themselves (http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/ ... teria.html). Introduce prospecting, to find oil for example, and the game has an extra layer of dept which turns every game into a more unique game.

That being said.. damn this game is addicting :mrgreen:

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by Natha » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:39 pm

That is a very good suggestion. It should be possible to choose one of several planets. And each planet has a appearance, e.g. desert planets have iron and copper, no water (at best in underground), no trees, ...; ice planets have water and oil, barely iron and copper...
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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by beny166 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:34 pm

Natha wrote:That is a very good suggestion. It should be possible to choose one of several planets. And each planet has a appearance, e.g. desert planets have iron and copper, no water (at best in underground), no trees, ...; ice planets have water and oil, barely iron and copper...

yes, but that means you have to programm 3 completly different games

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by Xterminator » Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:49 pm

H!m yeah I can see your point. Some more variety and randomness could help quite a bit.
I actually quite like the idea of different worlds to choose from. I don't think it would require programming different games, just different world gen code. And perhaps have some effects besides resources limitations for each world. Like each one could have a type of biter that is unique to it that shows up only on that world. Many options.

Luckily though there are tons of mods, so a lot of depth and variety can be added through those right now until the devs can add it to the actual game. :)
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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by Piranha » Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:00 pm

All you're suggestion is essentially a preset during starting a new game.

When you start a new game you can pick how rare or common and how much yield you will receive for all of the ores/stone/oil. You can also set the water and terrain segment.

It sounds like you would either like a preset 'planet' which would just be setting the ores/stone/oil, to a certain value and then just changing the terrain since that one isn't really controllable (ie. desert, forest, etc) for each planet type.


Another way would be to just add a random value option in the drop down bar for all of the settings which would at least give some randomness to the game because you wouldn't know what materials have what value at the start since you didn't set it up yourself.

So it seems to me like very minor coding for adding a random value option or some probably more complex coding to add a new menu that just has predetermined values, aka planets. At least that's how I read this...

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by Daddie » Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:40 pm

Well.. that.. and missing resources which forces the player to find a replacement for it. But in order for a player to know which resources the planet has he/she needs to prospect. Starting with early game prospecting, eg just digging some holes, to late game prospecting which requires advanced gadgets. For example if a planet misses oil, the planet offers alternatives. Same for other basic stuff like iron, copper and coal. Why not drop an asteroid which carries materials for some advance stuff..

Basically some randomness and uncertainties..

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by beny166 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:43 pm

Well if you limit the amount of some resource to minimum you have to rebalance the game completly (takes time) or you end up with chest full of 1 material but complete lack of another. Which is not good.
On the other side if you add some mechanics to obtain resources in different ways it would definetely add a lot of depth into game and would be very cool to have, but it takes a lot of time and money.

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by Daddie » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:03 pm

The game is very addictive and has a lot "before I head to bed... - damn.. is it 1 hour later already?!" moments. But as I play a fresh game, it feels a bit too predictable. I just gave some examples and I am sure the devs will have their own examples. I just want every fresh game to have a twitch and memorable moments.

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by NotABiter » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:57 pm

For an example of a good game with prospecting, check out Imperialism (developed by Frog City, originally published by SSI but now owned by Ubisoft).

Note that a game with prospecting and one without (both having a "random" resources option) are not the same thing. With just the random resources option you would have people doing what a lot of them already do right now - gen map, look at it, don't like it, gen a new map, look at it... rinse and repeat as many times as it takes until they find a map they like. With prospecting just looking at the map after generating it tells you nothing about what resources you have (other than trees, land and water). You may find some iron right away and have plenty for the early game, and 2 hours in you start trying to find your next iron patch and at that point you have no idea if there is any (and if there is, where it is - other than "not where you've already looked"). It also means you can't just plan your whole game out from the start - you'll need to be prepared to adapt to whatever you find.

One key element of prospecting in Imperialism is that you can perform that action in territories you don't actually own/control. In Factorio this could be done by having something like a radar, but it would be much slower (e.g., scanning one sector taking something like 30+ times longer than radar) and possibly more energy intensive as well. And the game (as Imperialism does) could give the player the ability to control exactly where it scans (sector order) so the player can engage in strategic exploration (taking into account things like where they can build / expand to soonest, likeliness of finding a resource due to proximity to an existing find, using a sparse search pattern hoping to quickly locate the middle of a large patch while risking missing smaller ones entirely, and any other choice mechanisms the devs care to provide).

As far as balance is concerned, if the game were "tech guy vs tech guy (with bugs attacking both/all)" rather than just "tech guy vs bugs", and if all "tech guys" had the same/similar reliance on resources, then there would be no need to "rebalance" for different levels of resources on the map because all (non-bug) sides are affected by the same lack or surplus of resources. (And in a "tech guy vs tech guy" game prospecting takes on a whole new urgency because you really want to claim and build defenses on/around a major resource find before the other guy does.)

Another way of approaching balance would be for the map generator to always provide "enough" in a given area (with the area being larger if the player has selected sparser resources or set such sparseness to "random"), while still requiring prospecting (not revealing where the materials are in the given area). What "enough" means can be somewhat flexible if the game provides alternatives. (Right now the game doesn't provide that much in the way of alternatives. But one example would be that the map generator could give you a bunch less stone and a bunch more iron. Then maybe the player responds to that situation by using pipe instead of walls. Another would be a map with less coal but more oil for solid fuel or more iron and copper for solar panels and accumulators.) Though, perhaps this approach to "balance" results in preserving too much gameplay blandness.

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by Daddie » Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:21 am

Prospecting during MP pvp would be fun.. if you see one of your opponents building defenses in the middle of nowhere you know you want to start heading that way... or is he just trolling me? :mrgreen:

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by kovarex » Wed Apr 08, 2015 12:07 pm

The idea is good, but the main problem is, that the game first need to have alternatives, which is not the case currently.

The only real alternatives are:
  • Coal vs solar
  • Logistics (Trains/Belts/logistic robots/inserters)
Example:
There could be alternative of burning coal versus burning trees for example, but to make it viable, there would have to be done several things
  • Automate the tree production (Some kind of the treefarm variation)
  • Some worlds (big areas) would have better tree farming conditions, while other would have rich coal deposits
The same could be applied to many things, like different technologies to create the same product, while the player would use the one that is suitable regarding what resources are rare on his world.

But this is a lot of work to do, so it will not happen anytime soon, but I guess that some of the good mods can help with this for now.

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by ssilk » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:19 pm

I point to https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... ion#p70243
because that is the key.

In my opinion the current map generator generates nice maps, but sometimes not useful. In my opinion a player wants to play "his game", which means, that the map should be generated not completely random, it must/should/might fit some kind of scenario. The scenario is in my eyes a mod that does all that complex stuff.

Besides that there is another way: Enable the game/player to play even hopeless maps, but keep a good balancing. But that is really complex.
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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by Daddie » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:53 pm

Well.. my topic isn't really about map generation but more about a "less predictable" game. Every game plays out the same. The map generation maybe a part of it, but mainly because resources are visible from the start. People just start a new game until they find the starting point to their liking. Which in turn makes the game even more predictable.

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by ssilk » Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:10 pm

Well, I mean the point is: You have good reasons to want to play completely random. And maybe then you find some situation, which is not playable and you might create a mod to fix this (add a small boat for example, if you landed on an island).

But other have also reasons to play a map, that is for example without coal, to take Kovarex example. Only trees. Then there needs to be some place, where some minimum amount of trees are growing.

And there you see, how important the map generator and what you want to play is. This is completely mixed together; you can have a very random map, if you turn off starting area for example. But the question is, if that is fun to play. I had really good maps with that, but also really ugly, so I can say "Uncertainty alone doesn't make a good game".

In other words: What you (and we all) want is reliable uncertainty. :D
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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by Nagshell » Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:07 pm

I think it all comes to fact that world generation is almost all randomness.
Gameplay gets a little repetetive, because there is not that much happening durning game that could make it more interesting.

The next phase that was introduced in developers blog could change end-game with some random content, which is great imo.

I think that there could be a little more into mid-game, like:
-natural disasters
-"shop" with different stocks
even something like more enemies types and maybe more than 1 enemy faction could be something that could really change way the game is played.

Many of above "solutions" have been modded into game already, so check that Mods subforum and look for what interests you.

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by Daddie » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:20 am

I am more of a purist and don't like use mods.

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by 5thHorseman » Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:14 pm

ssilk wrote:In other words: What you (and we all) want is reliable uncertainty. :D
We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!
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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by taiiat » Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:25 pm

in the more short term, as the things described here are certainly very cool and interesting - but also requires making a spiderweb of many games in one game:

Map Generation could have a 'Random' button, that would select all map generation aspects randomly? random for your... random.
idea being it would also do the same with Terrain generation - being absolutely random.

but, like any randomized Terrain Generator, we know that 100% random Terrain looks stupid and would be uninteresting, tiled stuff. so just loosen the upper and lower clamps of each thing, rather than releasing the clamps entirely.
that should give some of the wanted result from here, without going off the deep end in extra Development Work.

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by GewaltSam » Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:29 pm

Daddie wrote:I am more of a purist and don't like use mods.
I know where you're coming from, though especially with a game like Factorio, I have to say you're missing out on a lot. I'd say, take a look at the new mod portal they're setting up. Mods are already not difficult to install, there are many that work flawlessly and add completely new stuff, challenges, comfortable information/function and so on. You really should take a look at some of the stuff at some point, if you want more Factorio in general :)

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Re: Uncertainty factor

Post by ssilk » Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:22 pm

A while ago I created two suggestion threads to this, which are more or less interesting/related:

viewtopic.php?f=80&t=13022 World Generation / Map Generator / Game Modes / Scenarios
viewtopic.php?f=80&t=16592 Game Setup, Game Configuration, Init Screen
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