[0.17.1] intro too hard

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mward
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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by mward » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:19 pm

There is nothing in the tutorial about pollution, and therefore no way for a new player to know that the green circuits that they are still producing are causing the massive waves of biters to attack!

The attack waves should be capped at a level where a couple of turrets on each side will hold them off. Then the player can concentrate on more automation: whether expanding research or feeding ammo to the turrents via belts is up to them to choose.

I loaded "autosave-survive", turned off research and green circuit production, then set up a couple of rows of auto-loaded turrets (one on each side). Then the biters were no problem. But there is no way that a beginning player would know that this is how to play the tutorial.
Last edited by mward on Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by CDarklock » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:47 pm

Bilka wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:55 am
However, I am an experienced player who did not "pretend to be a noob". Because it is not possible to pretend to be a noob like that.
It's totally possible! Most people just forget what it's like.
It took them 5 hours to complete it.
I took four. If you only take two, as a lot of people are reporting, you are NOT playing like a noob.
But they had no problems with attacks. They used only ONE copper miner. 3 labs. 2 ammo machines.
One copper miner, two labs, and four ammo machines. I had two iron miners and two ammo machines running, at first, but I added a second pair of each about 50% of the way through research.
They survived with only one turret protecting the eastern wall for the longest time!
(I've only watched three hours of the stream, so I've not seen this part of it yet.)

Looking at it as an experienced player, all you need is two or three turrets that can hit any particular area of the wall. If you have three overlapping turret areas in a given section, that is good enough.

Looking at it as a novice, MOAR EMENY NEED MOAR GUNS.

So I had nine turrets on each side. I didn't have a calm, peaceful moment to reflect on the best strategy, so I didn't. I let myself panic. Because that is a thing a new player might do.
they are producing pollution like an expert, but fighting like a noob.
I don't think most people understand the core element of being a noob: you don't want to be a noob. You're trying to do a good job.

Here, try this. Think of some song you can sing pretty well.

Sing it badly.

Not like, horrifically cringefully badly like you're insane, but like you really love this song and want to sing it right - you just can't.

That's hard. It's a skill you have to specifically practice. And you have to study bad singers. You have to know what "bad but trying" really sounds like. Like... go to karaoke bars, and look for the guy taking himself WAY too seriously.

If you don't practice the skill of being a noob, you won't be any good at it. You'll just think you are. And it's a really weird skill to practice.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by xng » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:42 pm

Feels good that I wasn't the only one getting stumped first time.

My first thought when reading these is that I don't understand how this can be meant as the first experience for a new player. You start with not knowing how to even move around or open your own inventory to 30 minutes later getting attacked by 50+ biters per 5 seconds while trying to learn how build belts and production lines properly, how the electricity and liquid networks work and understanding fighting/life/armor mechanics, and what all the popup windows and different slots are.

I think the people making this tutorial did it for us 1k+ hour people that know how to overcome problems like these, but forgot that there might be new players wanting to learn the game through the introduction too.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by antichaos » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:04 pm

I managed to win second time around by turning off all science (and circuit) production until I had got 4 assemblers producing bullets and belting them to the fronts. I also went big on automating walls. When I then turned science back on, I had no problem with attacks until the end, when my I started to run out of ammo just as I finished green science. This makes sense in retrospect given what has been revealed about the difficulty ramp.

I feel like if the tutorial had explicitly talked about pollution, a new player would know that 'less is sometimes more' is sometimes a good tactical option. However I don't think that should be the subject of the tutorial. If you say new players are likely to find this easier because they don't go big straight away, then maybe that is what the tutorial should be encouraging.

Also I'd like to add my voice to those pleading for the inclusion of underground belts. Trying to belt ammo to the front led to some glorious spaghetti.
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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by Xeorm » Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:46 pm

So I played through and did fail as well. Looking at the reasoning behind how the biters work compared to my methods, I can see why I failed.

See, normally I'd say the game focuses on automation. You want to be producing enough to meet your needs, which usually means enough for science, enough for biter prevention, and enough for expansion. In order to decide that I'll use my prior experience, which tends to say that biter attacks ramp up slowly. Deathworld strategy for example is all about keeping up with that passive expansion by building up enough that it's kept at a manageable percentage of overall output.

Of course as a human I'm not building everything equal. I'll build, say, a bunch of iron miners and let them work, then build the furnaces, etc down the line. So expansion of overall production is uneven and bulges if you will at certain points. Then I'll also see that, say, power generation isn't keeping up and build a bunch of that and so on.

So with the intro I'm building some production, then working quickly on the next step, then moving on. I've got enough production for the stage, and don't make a lot of excess. That's a big difference between me and a noob I think. I'm focusing on finishing each section as I can, and a noob is going to take longer. Which is understandable since they're a noob, but chances are that means they're also stockpiling a lot.

For me I'm doing the bare minimum. There's not a large stockpile and I'm treating this like an easy match. I'm not going to take a tutorial seriously. So I hit the research section with minimal stuff and at first I'm not going to have a problem. Things look fine. Then more and more biters come out. Things start looking not fine. My response then is that I need more production. Science production doesn't take much resources because red beakers are so cheap and I start there. Less time for the biters to evolve should make things easier, right? Wrong! I'm making the problem worse. A lot worse even. More of my production is being put into science which means more biters meaning more of my production needs to go towards biter prevention.

Next response then should be to go for more production. Since I'm used to science performing in the background, I leave that on. See if I can hold on while I expand production, which again in the short term means less iron for ammo and more production meaning more biters. Doesn't take long for me to die.

Major takeaway is that my knowledge of how biters work in freeplay differs enormously from how they operate in this demo.

How would I change that? My suggestions:
1. Offer a quick blurb earlier about production and pollution angering the aliens. It's an important mechanic that isn't introduced at all to the player. I don't think a new player needs to know about the specifics about how it's calculated, but they should at least know that making things produces pollution, especially mining. And they should learn that more pollution makes attacks worse and is what triggers attacks.

2. Change the final science to making something demo-specific that really angers the biters. That'll telegraph that things are going to get harder as you progress along the technology progress so the player knows to expect it. It'll also keep from teaching bad habits for freeplay in potentially making the green science acquisition seem like a bad idea to do early. Just in general show that it's abnormal and tutorial specific.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by MoleOnDope » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:36 pm

After messing around with the new freeplay I finally tried the campaign as well today, here's how it went:

I lost, hard.

I won't go into detail about how exactly I tried not to get overrun because that must be really boring to read. But you'll just have to believe me when I say I didn't stand a chance. At no point did I have a clue how to keep up with attacks that were so tightly paced I couldn't even move away from mining without instant losses. After only a couple of minutes the biters had taken down the first turret and when I ran to the stone mining site to see if it could be rescued, I got surrounded by biters and mauled to death, straight up disabling my movement. That death was so unprecedented in its fierceness in over 350 hrs of game time that I couldn't help but chuckle.

Was I not giving it my best? Absolutely was, especially seeing that mob plowing towards me.
Was my strategy bad? Well, yeah, obviously.
Could I do better? Sure, but I think trial and error is the most demotivating teacher there is, so I don't even feel like putting more time into it.
Was my experience so extremely bad by coincidence? I'd say that's certainly possible. But if the introduction allows for even rather experienced players to fail so gravely so easily, then there's something seriously wrong, at least in my eyes.
Am I against a high difficulty ceiling in factorio? No way, all those buttons and sliders in map gen are there for a reason and they do exactly what they're supposed to do. But presenting this here as "First Steps" is... just crazy

Mind you, I have been pretty modest about the difficulty tweaks up until now. Freeplay after all was way easier than originally intended, partly due to bugs, and who doesn't like a challenge? But if I had been thrown into this campaign when I first started the game, I don't know if I would have kept playing for long.

So much for the grave part. To end this on a constructive note, here's how I would suggest fixing the campaign:
  • I do think seperating the First sections into different parts is a very good idea. However, I think 3 would be better:
    Functional: GUIs, Inventory, interaction... Elemental stuff.
    Creative: Designing mining, smelting and production, introducing the concepts of upscaling and diversification in production. Teaches (very basic) skills in factory building and is an introduction to freeplay, which is probably going to feel similar in the first hour or two.
    Survival: Putting the player to work under pressure. An ever inclining difficulty curve calls for quick reactions and new strategies, it can be seen as a foreboding to deathworld.
  • Start out moderately difficulty wise during the Survival Phase and move up from there slowly. Nothing speaks against a steepening difficulty curve and a high skill ceiling, but starting out by being boiled alive isn't representative for factorio in my eyes.
  • More Compilatron, I like the guy!
So yeah, that's my take on this topic.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by CDarklock » Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:38 pm

MoleOnDope wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:36 pm
I won't go into detail about how exactly I tried not to get overrun because that must be really boring to read.
Noooooo, this is totally the most fascinating thing going on right now. I mean like, you can PM me if you're embarrassed or something, but this stuff is great. I love reading about how other people played.
But if I had been thrown into this campaign when I first started the game, I don't know if I would have kept playing for long.
Here's the big question: will you try again?

I'm on my fifth campaign playthrough right now. The first, I won - barely. I forced a loss in the next two, once by chopping down all the trees and once by mining all the copper. I don't think either of those was a "fair" loss, because it was literally me going "what would you do if I was so stupid I ruined the game for myself?" and the answer was "nothing, gg dumbass" which is probably exactly what the answer should be. Then I bailed on my fourth playthrough because I didn't think I was onto anything interesting. Now I'm stockpiling red science in the first area.

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The idea is to rush the tech tree in the next part, then slow-build the defence network. I'm going to load the save repeatedly, so I can try different approaches. One thing I want to try is a really large collection of labs, so I can research green tech in like a minute. Another is a heavily reduced number of turrets; I used 18 in my first playthrough, but that's way too many. I want to try both more combat research (speed 2 at least) and less combat research (no speed at all). More walls (three thick and maybe dragon teeth) and fewer walls (only surround the turrets). Automatic loading is a must.
More Compilatron, I like the guy!
I know! He's like the paperclip in MS Office! :mrgreen:

I feel like the first thing he says should be "It looks like you're trying to escape an alien planet."

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by sunnyskies » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:34 am

Just reading through all these remarks about what a “new player” would theoretically experience is honestly puzzling me. Mostly the remarks on the controls. Does it really take that long to learn the basic controls? Honest, sincere question.

I’m probably an oddball, but the first things I do whenever I load up a game, especially one with keyboard and mouse, is look at the controls. And study them. It’s a keyboard. I’ve played many, many games with important functions bound to ridiculous places (inventory to I might as well be the ocean if there’s a mouse in your right hand).

Well. Okay. I’m definitely an oddball because I study them with the intention of purging all WASD nonsense to something comfortable for a typist to use. ESDF is the rightful, holy place for fingers to rest. ;)
Sure, WASD was innovative when Quake first came out, and I couldn’t type to save my life at that time anyways. Ah, that first computer and good ole Windows 95.
This means weeding out conflicts and guessing at what certain functions do before I’ve even started playing. I sometimes make adjustments as I learn a game, but in this case, I found much of Factorio’s default key setup exceptionally sensible. And not only that, it’s intelligent. If you play the tutorial with custom keybinds, it recognizes the personalized binds, not the defaults.

I thought the Q cancel was brilliant. I still do. So much less interrupting than esc, and besides, esc is for pulling up the exit and options menu. I remember I had most definitely not committed Q to muscle memory before finishing the old tutorial, but cancel is an extraordinarily important function to remember, and I was making a point to work on it.

That said... It seems like the point of this new tutorial is to teach all of us, new, old and middle-aged alike that surviving has become serious business, and this is how you learn.

It certainly makes a memorable impression. Whether or not that’s a good thing, though... *shrug* Carry on :)

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by CDarklock » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:46 am

sunnyskies wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:34 am
Just reading through all these remarks about what a “new player” would theoretically experience is honestly puzzling me. Mostly the remarks on the controls. Does it really take that long to learn the basic controls? Honest, sincere question.
If you've only ever used a game controller or a touch screen? Yeah. And that's not so uncommon these days. But I hesitate to suggest that Factorio should be anyone's first PC game, or that Wube need to cater for this possibility.
Well. Okay. I’m definitely an oddball because I study them with the intention of purging all WASD nonsense
How dare you disrespect Thresh. ;)

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by elendiastarman » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:54 am

Bilka wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:55 am
However, I am an experienced player who did not "pretend to be a noob". Because it is not possible to pretend to be a noob like that. Every person in this thread that said that they "played like a noob" and then posted a screenshot had their screenshot clearly show that they did *not* play like a noob. This is how a noob plays: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/387484549. It took them 5 hours to complete it. But they had no problems with attacks. They used only ONE copper miner. 3 labs. 2 ammo machines. This is very little if you look around this thread. They survived with only one turret protecting the eastern wall for the longest time!
Of course it is impossible for experienced players to truly play like newbies. I definitely used a few keyboard shortcuts to cut down on time moving items around. That said, I took a look at that guy's final base and altogether, he had more infrastructure than I did!

Construct: Him vs Me
Iron miners: 9 vs 6
Iron furnaces: 9 vs 10
Copper miners: 1 vs 2
Copper furnaces: 1 vs 2
Coal miners: 2 electric 1 burner vs 1 electric 2 burner
Stone miners: 1 vs 0
Stone furnace: 1 vs 0
Wall assembler: 1 vs 0
Ammo assemblers: 2 vs 3
Basic science assemblers: 2 vs 3
Labs: 3 vs 4
Turrets: 7 vs 18
Walls: many vs 0
Boilers: 1 vs 2
Steam engines: 2 vs 4
Radars: 0 vs 1
Copper cable, electronic circuit, gear assemblers: 1 vs 1
Transport belt assembler: 0 vs 1

One huge thing he has that I don't is an automatic supply line for his turrets. Otherwise, I'd say we had remarkably similar infrastructures.

All that to say: I think that while it is valid to take the experiences of veteran players with a grain of salt, I don't think their inability to play exactly like a new player is reason enough to dismiss their experiences and opinions since they're not "noob"-like enough, so to speak.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by roothorick » Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:15 am

abregado wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:57 pm
The "cost" per biter sent to attack you is scaled with the %progress of the Logistic pack technology. It starts that you need ~2% of your factory output(by pollution) dedicated to making bullets (calculated from the most polluting method)

At 90% research completion it hits 100% production, so the player has no chance to keep up. Then it is just about holding out. The problem comes when a turret with 100 rounds dies, and those rounds are destroyed (but the pollution worth of biters are still there)
"100%", huh?
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More like >200%.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by sunnyskies » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:08 am

CDarklock wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:46 am
If you've only ever used a game controller or a touch screen? Yeah. And that's not so uncommon these days. But I hesitate to suggest that Factorio should be anyone's first PC game, or that Wube need to cater for this possibility.
Oh. That does put things into perspective. Now that I think about it, I did specifically buy an xbox1 controller for mercy on visiting teenage relatives...

Thanks :D

And indeed, we shall continue to direct new PC gamers to Minecraft before building spaghetti factories or striking the earth.
How dare you disrespect Thresh. ;)
Surely after two decades we're due for another revolutionary to show the world a new and glorious demonstration of the power of sensible keybinding. :)

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by xng » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:41 am

I see from the pictures here, and from my own testing, that the ones that finally manages to the beat the tutorial have a minimal base. I think the biter attacks might scale exponentially to what you have (pollution or something ridiculous like that maybe).

My first try my base used up ~80% power from 8 steam engines, and I had the whole iron field dedicated to making bullets in 8 assemblers and belted to about 15-20 turrets on each side, and it was not enough to keep them loaded. I had 6 labs preloaded with red science packs and the base was overrun after about 60% research.

When I didn't care very much to prepare it was much easier, but still kind of frantic.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by CDarklock » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:55 am

sunnyskies wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:08 am
Surely after two decades we're due for another revolutionary to show the world a new and glorious demonstration of the power of sensible keybinding. :)
(whispers)

Steam controller.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by McDuff » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:31 am

Watching that guy was definitely interesting. Simple things like "use F to pickup things from the ground," and more of an introduction to things like "this is an assembler and this is what it does, this is an inserter and this is what it does" would seem to be useful. Also "burner inserters fuel themselves first," "you can put two things on different sides of belts," all those really *basic* factorio mechanics that aren't obvious until someone tells you the first time.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by pichutarius » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:07 pm

Bilka wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:55 am

...

This is how a noob plays :

...

they had no problems with attacks

...

Play and fight like and noob and everything will work out just fine.

...
1. one special case outweighs all others opinion. cherry-picking?

2. restricting one play style? am i being wrong that factorio is being loved for being open in many play styles?

3. punish a player for increasing production (hence pollution) in an automation game?

4. regarding (3) , the game does not teach pollution mechanic? i learnt production kills the game via forum. are new players expected to learn how to win a tutorial via forum?

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by CDarklock » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:30 pm

pichutarius wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:07 pm
1. one special case outweighs all others opinion. cherry-picking?
Is it special, though?

The new player experience is for... new players. And most of the criticism is coming from people who, as experienced players, think the campaign is going to be too hard for new players.

That's people trying to predict what other people will experience and how they are going to feel about it, but human beings are notoriously awful at that.

It seems like the only really valid criticism would come from actual new players, and any other criticism is speculative.
4. regarding (3) , the game does not teach pollution mechanic? i learnt production kills the game via forum. are new players expected to learn how to win a tutorial via forum?
What do you do when you are having trouble with a game?

I mean, I know what I do.

1. Open the Steam overlay and click "Community Guides."
2. If I don't get any help, go to YouTube and search "<game> tutorial."
3. If I still don't get any help, type "<game> wiki" in my browser search bar.

I can see the argument that a new player shouldn't have to do this, but the idea that a new player won't do this doesn't seem accurate. In fact, I am now thinking I might want to write a Steam guide about the 0.17 campaign. Not like, immediately, but maybe in a few weeks when the devs are mostly done taking feedback and tweaking it. I expect significant changes to the campaign over the next week or so.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by pichutarius » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:10 pm

"Is it special, though?"
newbie wins, veteran lose, isnt it a special case for the purpose of analysing the level design?

"What do you do when you are having trouble with a game? "
correction: tutorial
no game should have to check forum to win a tutorial.
maybe except cuphead, that game is hard. ;)

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by CDarklock » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:24 pm

pichutarius wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:10 pm
"Is it special, though?"
newbie wins, veteran lose, isnt it a special case for the purpose of analysing the level design?
No. The newbie is the intended audience. I actively tried to play like a newbie, before this video was even made, and I had a similar experience: four hours to complete, final few minutes were scary but I made the finish line.

Playing like a newbie may be easier for me, since I have a couple hundred hours in Factorio, rather than a couple thousand. Also I have an academic interest in new player experiences and tutorial design, so I have a clinical understanding of how newbies tend to play. (This is necessarily different from the behaviour of an actual newbie, however, because of unconscious biases. Can't be helped.)

What I am hearing repeatedly from veterans is that they finished the campaign in about two hours, and it was insanely hard, and if they lost - which a lot of them did - they are really upset about it and think it's way too hard for newbies, who will also come away thinking this is a different game than it is.

But I am also hearing that biters are stronger, more aggressive, and attack more frequently outside of the campaign. It seems that this is a different game, now. We're not used to it yet. And a lot of us are upset, because change is bad. I'm certainly having to reconsider my priorities in the freeplay experience.

But the newbie doesn't see it as change. This is just how the game is. He doesn't have any experience in the previous version to compare with it. And he's also not approaching it with expectations gathered from the previous version.
no game should have to check forum to win a tutorial.
You don't. You could have worked it out on your own.

It became reasonably obvious to me that as my research progressed, the biter attacks were getting bigger and showing up faster. Once I noticed that, I increased ammo production to keep up. The initial 25 magazines per minute - as previously required by the campaign - was sufficient to weather the attack at 43%. I quickly doubled production, reasoning that if 25 per minute lasted to 43%, I would need 50 per minute to last till 100%.

This information was available in-game if you looked for it. I don't know why you didn't. If you did, I don't know why you didn't find it. But whether you didn't find it or you didn't look for it, that is exactly when you should have to check external sources for help.

The only thing the game can do is put the information there for you to find. It is still up to you to find it.

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Re: [0.17.1] intro too hard

Post by CDarklock » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:29 pm

elendiastarman wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:54 am
One huge thing he has that I don't is an automatic supply line for his turrets.
Same. I didn't build one because it seemed like a lot of work, and I didn't expect the attack waves to be as strong as they were. 20/20 hindsight, you know?

I got tired of the campaign and am now playing my previous freeplay save. I'll play more campaign later, though.

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