factorio launcher / profile manager

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Qcor
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factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by Qcor » Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:29 pm

Problem:

There is no easy way of handling different game instances.
If I want to have a few separate worlds (SP, some test world, MP or just different mod packs) the only options are either shuffling with directory names (or copy-pasting modpacks in/out of mod folder) or creating different shortcuts for each world and passing cmd line argument there.

All of those solutions work but none of above is an elegant.
This also is prone to version compatibility issues.
Example:
modpack AAA is compatible with Factorio ver X.
Factorio patch changes to ver Y, which makes AAA not playable... but I still want to play it. To make it possible I'd have to have 2 different factorio versions installed at the same time.

So in the end I'd need not only different sets of 'mod' folder but also different factorio versions.

Possible solution:

Not much to invent here - just use solution already tested and working in other games with same exact problems - use launcher which allows you to create profiles.
To simply put it - in the launcher you create profile1 and tell it to
1) use certain factorio version
2) use certain modpack located in path xxx
3) use certain folder to keep saves. (optional, could also use path from 2) )

You could also use this launcher for whole bunch of other stuff like presenting/downloading modpack/texturepacks or setting more advanced stuff like how much ram it can use (for MP servers) etc.
If you think you saw it already being done in for example in FTB launcher and Curse launcher then you are correct! Already proven solution.. so why not use it.


tl;dr
It would be nice to have a launcher to create and manage all factorio instances.

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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by MF- » Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:56 am

Keeping multiple factorio ".zip" instances is perfectly fine to me,
as well as keeping different .ini files for different configurations.

As prg pointed out in the other thread, the launcher would simply add one more mouse click to the work.
I hate having superfluous profile managers enforced on me. They are less flexible and force that extra mouseclick.

If you want to do that extra mouse move and click, you can create a directory on your desktop.
That would open up the file manager a.k.a. the "factorio profile manager", where you'd select the right shortcut.


Bottom line:
Minecraft didn't have a profile manager till 1.8-or-so, all those were external and optional tools.
Since it's easily possible to do that by "ourselves" instead of taking time from the team,
I'd preffer factorio to go that way -> In my eyes this should be in "Modding requests", not "Factorio direction".

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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by ssilk » Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:57 am

MF- wrote: In my eyes this should be in "Modding requests", not "Factorio direction".
I think modding this is not possible, and if it is a big security problem.
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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by Qcor » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:15 pm

This is not the question of 'is this needed?' or not.
It IS needed. Period.
And it WILL be done sooner or later regardless of if you like it or not.
The only question here is - will it be done by devs or 3rd party?

Why I am so sure of it? Simple -
a) it happened to all other games of this type where you had to juggle with config files manually.. and this one will not be an exception.
b) not every user is willing to google how and what he/she should change to have multiple instances. Not every user want to spend time learning that. You may call that lazy but that rly doesn't matter.. the argument stands. They are also clients.
c) from a markets perspective it is not a professional solution. Client always want a gui to config things.. ALWAYS. You NEVER EVER tell the client to "change something manually in .ini files" nor "just copy this there and edit that" nor any other bullshit of this kind. That kind of thinking gets you fired from the job.

So once again - it is not a question "if it is needed" - IT IS and no amount of smart-asses telling you ".. but I know how to do that manually" will change that fact.
It really doesn't matter if YOU know.. rly...

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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by MF- » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:59 am

ssilk wrote:
MF- wrote: In my eyes this should be in "Modding requests", not "Factorio direction".
I think modding this is not possible, and if it is a big security problem.
Of course it is.
You just need to remember that modding can be done outside the Lua too :)

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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by MF- » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:19 am

Qcor wrote:This is not the question of 'is this needed?' or not.
It IS needed. Period.
-snip-
It really doesn't matter if YOU know.. rly...
Oh please re-read what I wrote. I was not oposing you. :)
I stated my opinion.
I did that because I fear that I'll lose ability to manage factorio by plain easy config files.
Just like it happened with minecraft.


PS: Another win of the plain easy config file is, that it'll be very easy
to modify from an external program. Config files are almost like an API :)
And it already contains all a modder will need to write "your" launcher.

Why should devs waste their time on that?
You've got all the tools you need. That's the spirit of factorio after all.

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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by Wyrm » Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:24 am

Uh... Minecraft does use "plain easy config files" — never seen Minecraft or any of its mods use anything different. The problem with MC's configs is just that the mods have gotten way more complicated and for a while it was hard to manage a bunch of numeric block/item IDs (thank goodness MC went to string IDs!). Most of the headaches from tweaking config files for modded Minecraft came from that fact — managing block/item IDs for over a hundred mods (each of which adds its own stuff) is going to be a logistical nightmare, "plain easy config files" or no.

But yeah, Minecraft does use "plain easy config files" exclusively. Adding a launcher won't change that.

EDIT: Also, why should the devs waste their time? Because Factorio claims support for mods, not just that you can mod it. That requires a whole suite of capabilities from the game, including the ability to easily manage mods and sets of mods — because mods do interact.

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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by MF- » Wed Jul 01, 2015 5:05 am

Do they use a plain text file even for their now-quite-old launcher?
I thought I saw human-unfriendly xml being involved.
Also adding a mod stopped being a "dump mod into mods dir, edit config, run" zeroclick type of deal.
Did they finally resolve that ID thing? That "api" truly sucked at scaling.

A mandatory launcher changes that, since I'll probably overwrite any changes I do to the nice plain config files,
based on it's own and probably not so nice anymore configuration.

See above. They claim support for mods. That include a nice interface for writing launchers/profile managers.

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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by Takezu » Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:18 am

Wyrm wrote:But yeah, Minecraft does use "plain easy config files" exclusively. Adding a launcher won't change that.
And thats not only minecraft, it's almost everywhere, if you want an extra instance you've to set up it by yourself.
And befor someone comes with a third party launcher ala FTB, nope thats pre build instances and their is a lot of work behind them.
And if you want to change something on them, you have to fiddel in the configs, or you have to fiddel in the launcher loading unloading mods, which have in the end to be configured, in the configs.

And honestly it's relativ irrelevant if i start the instance per extra icon oder per launcher, almost no difference. Loding takes longer, you have first to load the launcher and then the instance.
If it's worth it, adding extra loading time for the convinience just to load an instance which i could also start without extra loading time over a desktop icon?
The work to set up the instance doesn't get any smaller. More the opposit, you'd have to set up the instance and then set up the launcher to load it.
Well i'd go with no its not worth it.

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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by Wyrm » Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:56 pm

MF- wrote:Do they use a plain text file even for their now-quite-old launcher?
I thought I saw human-unfriendly xml being involved.
Also adding a mod stopped being a "dump mod into mods dir, edit config, run" zeroclick type of deal.
Did they finally resolve that ID thing? That "api" truly sucked at scaling.
XML is actually very human friendly, considering. See, you have to realize that the tightest way for the computer to store data is a binary file, which is completely opaque to human readability. And adding a mod stopped being a "dump mod into mods dir, edit config, run" deal? Have you done it recently? It's still that way.
MF- wrote:A mandatory launcher changes that, since I'll probably overwrite any changes I do to the nice plain config files,
based on it's own and probably not so nice anymore configuration.
Baloney. The launcher won't know the invariants of any particular mod's configuration files, so it can't assure that a change won't cause the mod to crash. At worst, it will relocate those files to a new place, where they may be easily accessed by the end user, and organized by instance. And that's a good thing!
MF- wrote:See above. They claim support for mods. That include a nice interface for writing launchers/profile managers.
"Support for mods" isn't just an interface for modding, but a complete set of tools to make modding as nonpainful as possible. The difference between mere capability and full support is the difference between OOP in C and in C++. You can program in an OO paradigm in C, but it's a hassle to manage all the factors that you need to make it work (you have to write virtual look up tables yourself, etc), so C does not support OOP. C++ does provide you with specific language constructs that allow you to use the OO paradigm to its fullest without all the busywork. Granted, in any nontrivial program, there's still a lot to do, but at least the core OO mechanics are handled by the C++ compiler.

In short, "full mod support" means that Factorio comes out of the box able to manage mods.

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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by Wyrm » Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:20 pm

Takezu wrote:
Wyrm wrote:But yeah, Minecraft does use "plain easy config files" exclusively. Adding a launcher won't change that.
And thats not only minecraft, it's almost everywhere, if you want an extra instance you've to set up it by yourself.
And befor someone comes with a third party launcher ala FTB, nope thats pre build instances and their is a lot of work behind them.
And if you want to change something on them, you have to fiddel in the configs, or you have to fiddel in the launcher loading unloading mods, which have in the end to be configured, in the configs.
None of the above changes with or without a launcher. Balancing a modpack (especially if configs can conflict like in the bad old days where Minecraft used numeric block/item IDs) is a logistical task. The mods FTB support in their packs have many interactions that need to be considered. When you have that many mods that need tweaking so that they work well together, there's a lot of work involved, period.
Takezu wrote:And honestly it's relativ irrelevant if i start the instance per extra icon oder per launcher, almost no difference. Loding takes longer, you have first to load the launcher and then the instance.
If it's worth it, adding extra loading time for the convinience just to load an instance which i could also start without extra loading time over a desktop icon?
Oh, come now. The launcher is not going to be even nearly has heavyweight as the game itself. The launcher time will be trivial compared to the instance launch time.
Takezu wrote:The work to set up the instance doesn't get any smaller.
But once you do, using that new instance is, and it becomes more reliable. Instead of having to change the .ini file every time you want to use that new instance, you just need to use the drop-down.
Takezu wrote:More the opposit, you'd have to set up the instance and then set up the launcher to load it.
Come off it. Setting up the instance is a one-time cost. Setting up the launcher is a one-time cost. You pay it once per instance, and once you do, you never have to do anything more than to click a button on a very lightweight program and maybe select a new instance from a drop-down. It also means that Factorio now actually supports mods instead of just enabling you to use them.

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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by ssilk » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:02 pm

The solution for the launching of a game will be made step by step. Currently: They added more startup-options for the Factorio.exe ; maybe one, which enable to start F. with a different config.

If there is in the end a profile manager or something else, who cares?
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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by MF- » Thu Jul 02, 2015 7:41 am

^^ that.

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Re: factorio launcher / profile manager

Post by MF- » Wed Jul 08, 2015 6:43 am

Also: You've been heard I guess? https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... 69&t=13327
Other existing tools are mentioned throughout the thread as well.

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