Biomes

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YourConscience
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Biomes

Post by YourConscience » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:43 pm

I have been playing Factorio for several hundreds of hours, some of these together with my kids and we've had a tremendous amount of fun with that. However, by now replayability, or late stage goals have run out. When thinking about how to add late stage game fun we came up with the following idea, based on also playing the similar Fortresscraft Evolved.

At some point I also read the 150 FFF: https://www.factorio.com/blog/post/fff-150 which prompted me to think about biomes. But I wanted to sort the principles of what was missing to the idea so that when and if someone from the team starts implementing them, the principles will guide them to fill in the details as the implementation process goes. Here we are:

We need Biomes. Not just cosmetic ones, but functional ones. The design of a biome needs to go along the following principles:
- It should be a challenge (i.e. going there unprepared will eat you, your equipment and any machines you build there). It should also force you to acquire new tricks on how to design things so that you don't sink in boredome, because of simply applying the same optimal technique everywhere.
- Is should provide a reward, such as access to a new ore and thus new machinery, enable some new feature of the game (even if it is just a tiny thing such as axpanded toolbelt).
- There should be a natural feel of progression: One biome should be the stage for accessing the next harder biome. This makes people tell each other: Woah, I already got to #BiomeX and it was tough!
- As added by ssilk, there should also be plausibility. A great example of how to add plausibility can be found in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=80&t=13022

This would automatically give a reason to do expansion on the map (currently the only reason really is to get more of the same resources, and have space for solar cells).

For example let's think about the following possible biomes:

Underground:
- using the "faces" that kovarex I think implemented and described a few FFFs ago, we could research and introduce a lift that brings you up or down, and a cargo lift or something that can bring stuff up or down
- there are alsready other ideas for partial underground implementation: viewtopic.php?p=202481#p202481
- in fact there is a mod in work to add something like this: viewtopic.php?f=97&t=25444
- in fact^2 there is yet another mod in work to add something like this: viewtopic.php?f=97&t=13876
- underground only a limited selection of machines would work - anything that doesn't require air. Trying to set up a machine that does require air would quickly create a deadly area around itself with no oxygen and cease functioning shortly thereafter
- but underground would have infinite ore veins with slow extraction rates, and any patch of underground would first have to be dug out before seeing it
- a scanner would allow to search for ore veins
- and cave-ins would follow, if digging out too much without building supportive structures
- big battles happening above ground above such structure would damage them, so it would be vital to ensure that the area above is "pacified"

Desert:
- transport belts wont work because they will quickly be covered by sand. You either have to use logistic bots for everything, or build walls next to transport belts to prevent sand from covering the belts.
- sandworms will come and eat your machines from time to time. You will have to develop stumpers which attract sand worms and surrend them with turrets to kill them off. Stumpers have a certain range, so you will have to place them in regular patterns next to any equipment you built.
- in the desert you will find some special ore patches which can only be found in deserts, and which you need for a number of more advanced machines, or higher-tier versions of existing machines.
- most importantly, the new ore could be something with which you can create ultra high voltage power which is necessary to build the machines for the next tier of ore:

Alien Growth:
- It could be some kind of "cancerous" structure that slowly grows by eating pollution. The more pollution, the more it grows.
- It should be possible to discover a tech that helps to "harvest" it, rather than just shooting it, and the harvested material would be yet another important new type of ore.
- if it grows into the base, it will indiscriminately eat anything it finds, preferring to grow tentacles towards the most polluting machines.

Space:
- difficult to get there
- but obtain some really powerful weaponry (to beat the endboss?)
- some people already started to mod it in: viewtopic.php?f=97&t=30380

It would be fun to have even more biomes, such as volcanic, with a volcano constantly creating new patches of molten lava randomly around itself, which you could only build on if you have cooling technology, which would require tremendous amounts of power. Creating this amount of power is in principle possible by normal means, but you could cover only tiny patches of lava, so you would have to find uranium for a nuclear power plant, which can only be found in the next biome, which would be high mountains, or frozes plains or something.
Last edited by YourConscience on Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:08 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Biomes

Post by Smarty » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:13 pm

moved to ideas and suggestions

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Re: Biomes

Post by SiC » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:17 pm

All really good ideas, and reminiscent of games like Anno 1404, where you have two different biomes (occidental and oriental) that both require goods from eachother, requiring the player to set up a trade system. Even all the islands in the same biome can't all produce the same goods, so that in the end you have tons of boats going everywhere to get things to where they are needed. Factorio already has an excellent train system, and this would be getting a ton more use out of it too. I am definitely in favor of new biomes requiring new items/mechanics etc. requiring big rethinks, or more thorough understanding of the game systems.

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Re: Biomes

Post by YourConscience » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:52 pm

Indeed, one of the goals of biomes should also be to force the player to develop new designs, breaking his habits (and therefore also challenge him). The comparison to Anno is pretty good, didn't think of that.

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Re: Biomes

Post by hitzu » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:21 pm

I think these changes are too big for Factorio 1.0.
Although they are really good and could be made for an Expansion Pack in the future.

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Re: Biomes

Post by afk2minute » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:54 am

hitzu wrote:I think these changes are too big for Factorio 1.0.
Although they are really good and could be made for an Expansion Pack in the future.
Ill agree on that. Maybe not even for expansion but for a mod.

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Re: Biomes

Post by SiC » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:02 pm

Yeah, from the sounds of things I think all we can count on for now is the addition of nuclear power for 1.0, and anything else would have to come from an expansion. But while mods are nice and occasionally great, this kind of thing would be perfect for an official expansion.

I mean, sure, the maps are big. Really big, and can stretch to infinity as long as your computer doesn't burn before it does. And while there are certain biomes in place with a few more to come in the future, the only big change for biomes at the moment is amount of trees. You get big forests or no forests close to you, and that change can have a big impact on the early game because big forests check pollution and give you more time to prepare defenses. The last map I started put me in between two big forests to the left and right of me, and I can put a basic factory in the middle of them and only worry about defenses to the north and south for now. But every expansion I will make from here can only provide so much interest, as all of them will be simple ore/coal transports, or oil transports.

But you can have so much more. Imagine for example an irradiated wasteland where you can find the majority of items required for nuclear power. You could go green with solar panels at home base, go wild with steam engines etc., or risk an expansion somewhere to get a ton of nuclear power. But going there might require a specialized suit to protect yourself from the radiation, which requires research, etc. And you could have mutated biters there too, which would be a special kind of nasty.

You could also do bonus resources that are not required, stuff like diamonds. Which would be found in other biomes, but could be used for special drills that might allow you to get more resources out of existing patches by being able to dig deeper (bedrock preventing them earlier). Bunch of things like this would be very interesting to have, especially if they are rare enough that you might not get them every playthrough.

You might have rivers where you could find the occasional diamond, and by following that river to it's source (a mountain maybe? That would be cool) you could find a good mining spot to get a decent income of diamonds. But you don't have to if you just want to expand regularly as you did before. But it could be a cool option for people who are very new to Factorio and didn't leave themselves enough space for more train stations etc., you could say "Ok, alternatively, you could go for diamonds and upgrade your existing drills so they can go for longer, instead of having to redo your entire factory".

It would be cool if Factorio made you 'play the map' more, kind of like Civilization 6 is doing.

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Re: Biomes

Post by aubergine18 » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:15 pm

Partially related: viewtopic.php?p=202481#p202481

Image
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Re: Biomes

Post by ssilk » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:54 pm

Added to viewtopic.php?f=80&t=342 Events (Environmental Disasters and Weather) / Biome-Types
and
viewtopic.php?f=80&t=13022 World Generation / Map Generator / Game Modes / Scenarios / Biomes

I think one of the keys is the picture from there:
Image
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Re: Biomes

Post by YourConscience » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:04 pm

That picture indeed fits very well to the ideas I posted. My ideas focused on it more from the game mechanics perspective (like, why would it add more fun and longetivity, but the post that picture came from focuses more on plausibility, which combines very well with what I focused on).

Btw if I may make a compliment: You guys really do keep a tidy ordering of the ideas and suggestions. Looking through all of them, it really seems like there is enough materials for at least three full scale expansions, or a Factorio 2.

Given how many hours of gameplay factorio gave me compared to the money I paid for it during early access way before steam, I would immediately buy a DLC almost irrespective of the price that implements even only 10% of the suggesstions.

I never thought I would say that, but please, do give us (more) DLCs! Also, please do that to earn more money, hire more people and use them to produce even MORE DLC.

And please make this biomes idea be at least one such DLC. :)

(or maybe not, because probably it could cost me my job, because I couldn't stop playing anymore...)

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Re: Biomes

Post by ssilk » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:49 pm

Thanks. Always good to hear such compliments... :)

Maybe you havn't read one of the lates FFF: They are about to add two more biomes.
https://www.factorio.com/blog/post/fff-150
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Re: Biomes

Post by YourConscience » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:16 pm

Actually, I have indeed read them, and that is what prompted me to write this thread. It just took me a couple of weeks to cook the idea properly, because when reading the FFF I had the feeling that something was missing to the concept of biomes and I wanted to put the vague ideas that popped into my head into a few simple but powerful principles. This is relevant, because when and if someone then starts implementing them, principles guide him towards something that will feel well afterwards to the players. (without the player necessarily becoming aware of why it feels well)

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Re: Biomes

Post by aubergine18 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:01 pm

It would be nice if each type of alien (biter, spitter, etc) had an adverse reaction to certain terrain types. For example, worms couldn't go on sand, biters couldn't go on damp soil, spitters try and avoid trees... Player could then use biome features as part of their strategy against the aliens.
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Re: Biomes

Post by ssilk » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:29 am

YourConscience wrote:Actually, I have indeed read them, and that is what prompted me to write this thread. It just took me a couple of weeks to cook the idea properly, because when reading the FFF I had the feeling that something was missing to the concept of biomes and I wanted to put the vague ideas that popped into my head into a few simple but powerful principles. This is relevant, because when and if someone then starts implementing them, principles guide him towards something that will feel well afterwards to the players. (without the player necessarily becoming aware of why it feels well)
Oh?! Do you know, that is an important information for this kind of suggestions!
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Re: Biomes

Post by YourConscience » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:49 pm

I have updated the original post accordingly, and also included all the good links people provided here already so far.

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