Rethinking the (very) early game

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Yemala
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Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Yemala » Thu May 15, 2014 12:41 pm

Right now, the pre-electric game is just.. a bit of a silly grind. The problems with it, as I see it, are as follows :
1. Too many individual things to refill
2. Initial structures are useless after the burner 'tier'
3. Burner buildings are useless after initial phase, as they are obsolete as soon as you have power, and never reused in construction

The easiest fix that I see is to remove the 'burner' tier, and instead create some kind of 'basic' electric infrastructure - probably generators with very small capacity and coverage, or being incredible fuel inefficient - to cut down on the grind and make the transition from the start of the game to a 'real' base a bit less crap. This means ditching burner inserters (or making them some kind of pre-circuitry slow inserter), and probably making the burner drills into the 'basic' tier of drill. This would mean your basic infrastructure and base construction doesn't have to be torn down as soon as you get steam engines up, and also gives you a bit more latitude to get basic production going in a realistic way, rather than just grinding out the resources to get your real production going.

Thanks for reading.

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Chthon » Thu May 15, 2014 1:33 pm

I wouldn't say the burner stuff is completely useless after you get power. I find small pockets of resources all the time that are too remote to bother running electricity to. There is nothing stopping me though from dropping my burners on them, a few boxes in front of them, and stocking them with coal every now and again, and before I know it I have an extra influx of whatever it was.

I find it especially helpful in my current game where I haven't found a major single patch of stone anywhere. Just a small pocket here and there.

Anyways, electricity requires infrastructure to be able to manufacture. It realistically requires more than the game actually forces you to make. I think it's fine the way it is.

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by andzoak » Thu May 15, 2014 2:47 pm

The problem is that people go to electricity to fast. We should need to use burner inserters. Power plant should be much more expensive so we need to go through burner tier instead of skipping it.

Edit:
Pumps and boilers should be more expensive too. Electric mining drills also should be more expensive.

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by schwarzie2478 » Thu May 15, 2014 3:13 pm

maybe not the pumps or a boiler since they are not very complex machines

but I can certainly see the price for a steam engine to be much, much higher, requiring tonnes of steel ( actually iron in the game) at first and becoming cheaper with further technologies.

Or maybe you need lubricant to keep the steam engine running at full capacity, slowly degrading and maybe breaking down if left alone for too long.

I don't want to have maintenance for the entire factory but it would make growing your powerstructure a bit more challeging

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Phy » Thu May 15, 2014 3:42 pm

@Andzoak/schwarzie2478: Why would you want to lengthen the time spent in early game? The game doesn't really start until you begin research. Slowing that down wouldn't benefit anyone.

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Bleda » Thu May 15, 2014 4:47 pm

I agree that the beginning of the game is rather boring. Even more than the burner stuff it's the mining things yourself. I guess this is some leftover from the minecraft origins of the game. While it's nice in theory, to go from nothing to a fully automated factory, it's boring to repeat this every time. I suggest to leave it in for the campaign and a purist mode for the freeplay mode, but in normal freeplay let us start with enough material to build a complete small factory instantly. If you want to keep the burner tier, then this could be like

4 burner miners (one for each resource)
2 stone furnaces
2 wooden chests
two stacks of belts
10 burner inserters
1 pickaxe

this way you can set up a decent starting setup that produces the iron and copper you need to start researching and automating without having you run from one chest to another like crazy for the first 20 minutes of the game.

as another option, there could be freeplay mode that skips the burner tier directly, by giving you

4 electric miners
2 stone furnaces
2 wooden chests
two stacks of belts
12 electric inserters
1 pump
2 boilers
1 steam engine
32 small electric poles

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Sedado77 » Thu May 15, 2014 8:22 pm

Maybe it's just me, but i LOVE the early game. I take it as a personal challenge to set up my electric things without even making 1 burner anything. AND it is possible.
I usually put the provided burn miner in the coal, make 2 furnances and get enough iron and copper manually to set up my boilers and steam engines.

I think early game is GREAT, especially if you're on a dethworld game. It makes you feel the urgency of setting up everything as quickly and efficiently as possible...
The only change I'd make is to start already with a pickaxe intead of the resources for creating one... because this is what EVERYONE does. You can't start playing the game without it, and I've had to restart the game more than once because i missclicked and created something else instead of the pickaxe... and then you're Fu***d up, because you need LOTS of time for mining and smelting the iron again :S

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by andzoak » Thu May 15, 2014 8:51 pm

Burner tier is so boring because it hasn't any goal. If burner tier will be a first step to reach another it would be more interesting. I don't like that I use something only by 5 minutes. I want something to build and upgrade, not to skip as fast as possible.

After burner tier you can easily change burner inserters and drills into electric.

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Nahon » Thu May 15, 2014 9:59 pm

Bleda wrote:4 burner miners (one for each resource)
2 stone furnaces
2 wooden chests
two stacks of belts
10 burner inserters
1 pickaxe

[...]

4 electric miners
2 stone furnaces
2 wooden chests
two stacks of belts
12 electric inserters
1 pump
2 boilers
1 steam engine
32 small electric poles
Here you can find one freeplay scripts for each of the above. Just extract the file in your Factorio directory. (I changed only one file, the others are unchanged copies from the data\base\scenarios\freeplay directory.)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/x3jd15nqexznw ... narios.zip

You can create a game using these in the Custom scenario screen. Sadly, however, it skips the world setup screen.

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by sonnyskare » Fri May 16, 2014 12:38 am

Perhaps research would lower the cost of things like the belts, pump, and steam engine (which is quite cheap for how large it is) later in game. A higher early game cost on pipes, belts, and the steam engine would really make the burner tier a bit more sensible. The burner tier, as I remember, made the game a lot easier to grasp when I was first playing the tutorial.

The burner tier might be more fun in more enemy populated world as well.

But perhaps it should be removed. There are too many variables for me to consider. It is annoying to have legacy equipment around in the game which takes up space, I do wish an incinerator existed.

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Gammro » Fri May 16, 2014 1:09 am

The start of the game is definitely something that can be improved on. As of now, it's more of a nuisance to get through, rather than a significant gameplay experience.

A quick start with electric gear seems a bit cheap though. I can understand wanting to start with a bit of basic equipment once you're familiar with the game, but, IMHO, it's only treating the symptoms.

I haven't read into the whole thread much(yet), but I think it's an interesting discussion worth looking into.
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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Garm » Fri May 16, 2014 1:27 am

While I agree, that currently early game is lacking....I think it has a lot of potential, if it is expanded appropriately.

Having a decent "coal age" might create a nice transition phase, where players develop enough resources and tech to finally unlock electricity. Having already established, but dated base and quickly ramping up productivity as each cog and gear connect to electric gear could potentially create pretty decent effort-reward pair that would make playing this game even more addicting.


Certain things would need to be changed however - like burner inserters, because the transition between coal and electricity needs to be as smooth as possible in order to achieve that psychological feedback. Currently that is impossible since automated coal complexes require rather different belt placement.

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Drury » Fri May 16, 2014 1:31 pm

That actually reminds me of Better Than Wolves mod for Minecraft (not sure if it's still around after all those years), basically one of those Minecraft industrial mods that inspired Factorio, except this one is somewhat more medieval.

In BTW, instead of electricity there was simple mechanical motion - you built your power networks out of gearboxes connected with axles. The power was generated by windmills/water wheels and consumed by simple mechanical contraptions, like saws, pulleys, hoppers or pumps. You couldn't make advanced factories with it, but it was fun.

I think with a few tweaks it'd be a lot of fun in Factorio as well, but the biggest problem with the suggestion is that it wouldn't fit the theme of the game nearly as much as jumping to electricity and sci-fi assembly lines right away.
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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Garm » Fri May 16, 2014 7:59 pm

I think the transition should be more akin to OTTD transition between steam/electric/maglev (without monorails)

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by JoeSchmoe » Tue May 20, 2014 4:22 pm

andzoak wrote:The problem is that people go to electricity to fast. We should need to use burner inserters. Power plant should be much more expensive so we need to go through burner tier instead of skipping it.

Edit:
Pumps and boilers should be more expensive too. Electric mining drills also should be more expensive.
+1

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by BurnHard » Tue May 20, 2014 4:31 pm

As long as burner inserters can't feed themself with coal in reach, the "burner-stage" will always be skipped as fast as possible. Personally I would eliminate the whole "burner"-phase and start with low-power wind energy-generators (that have to be placed directly near the miners/inserters) and make the steam engines/boilers/power lines more expensive.

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Drury » Tue May 20, 2014 4:34 pm

I agree.

Problem with burner stuff is that it's too tedious. You pretty much just run all across your fresh base trying to keep everything running rather than expanding and getting anything done. Electricity saves you the hassle.

I'm up for my original idea, pre-electricity inferior power network for early game.
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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by Colombo » Tue May 20, 2014 5:56 pm

I think that the burner-inserter is the problem. If burner-inserter could feed itself as well, one would not have to skip trough the burner-phase.

burner-miner are usefull even later, however the problem is that you still need electricity to make those distance bases automatic enough.

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by muzzy » Tue May 20, 2014 8:59 pm

Early game needs to be a little bit annoying, for the player to be able to appreciate the value of automation.

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Re: Rethinking the (very) early game

Post by slpwnd » Wed May 21, 2014 7:44 am

Colombo wrote:I think that the burner-inserter is the problem. If burner-inserter could feed itself as well, one would not have to skip trough the burner-phase.
They could feed itself only when handling coal, not other stuff. Now they can last really long with little fuel, so imho it is allright for the starting phase.
muzzy wrote:Early game needs to be a little bit annoying, for the player to be able to appreciate the value of automation.
That is kind of the idea. The problem is to explain to all the youtubers that the game changes drastically after a while :D

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