Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

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Mike5000
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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Mike5000 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:34 am

The more I re-read this FFF the more I think it is completely misguided.

Most people don't calculate mining times, and certainly not new players. Why would you? You're on a new planet. You start trying things. Oh, it takes about this long to mine something and about this long to smelt it. I need more iron - do I add more miners or do I add more smelters? You realize you need about the same number of miners as smelters but you actually lay out a whole lot more miners because you don't want to come back every time one is depleted.

With experience you start figuring out some ratios - 3:2 for green circuits; 5 red science to 6 green science. Maybe you memorize 800 items per minute on a belt. Anything beyond that you use a calculator.

This grab bag of unnecessary changes breaks thousands of hours of modding work. For what? Nothing. By all means hide some of the more obscure attributes from the UI but don't break things for no reason.

If really you want to improve Factorio then just make mining and smelting a lot more productive. There is nothing edifying or satisfying or realistic about manually laying down a couple hundred miners and smelters before construction robots come along.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Nickjet45 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:40 am

Please do not remove the assembling machines limitations
Like people said earlier going through that upgrade is one of the greatest accomplishments and it puts pressure on you to upgrade so that you can begin automation

I’m sure most of us find Factorio addicting because of the complexity behind it, while making some parts easier is better in the long run. Not everything has to be simple for the game to be good, and this is one of them
Peace is not the absence of tension but the presence of justice ~ MLKJ

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by RobEVO » Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:57 am

Maybe remove assembly machine rotation for fluid inputs? People constantly post not realizing you can rotate them.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Jürgen Erhard » Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:57 am

Calculating how many miners can fill a belt is now quite a straightforward task
Which I never did even once. If the belts are full and some miners don't do anything (because the belt in front of them is full), who cares? I don't. And if the belt isn't full: put down more miners! Easy, that.

That other classic game designer mistake: confusing a (loud/visible) part of the player base (those usually called "min-maxers") for the typical player. Yes, they're very active. But even in an MMO, where retaining active players is very important, this is often focusing on the *wrong* players. They may be the most active and visible, but they're not the *most*.

I'll shut up now. Maybe. ;-)

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Nickjet45 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:04 am

Nova wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:30 pm
In my opinion the devs should not care much for mod compatiblity in the next version. Backward compatiblity is nice, but always has some disadvantage about making changes that improve a game / program.
They don't have to break mods just for the lulz, but "that change would break mods!" should be a very low priority for a con. At what time should mods be broken if not in early access in advance to version 1.0? That's the best time to do it. I may even irrationally LIKE the idea to break mods for 1.0, just to have a clean start for everyone - but that would be really mean for the mod devs like Bob. ^^

Concerning assembler: I always disliked how I can't make basic inserters with the first assembler tier. That is a weird stop in my "build flow", having to first get blue assemblers. Can't say if this change is all in all good or bad, but THAT specific details is good. ^^

Removing pickaxe: Yeah, good decision. At the start I build 10 pickaxes, and after unlocking steel pickaxes I throw the remaining ones away and build 10 steel pickaxes. Done. Annoying and useless.
Considering how Bob and Angel are the largest mod creators, millions of downloads and probably hundreds to thousands hours they put into their mods, the dev should atleast keep options for mods

While I understand why you say devs shouldn’t worry about mods, but the fact that this huge change just comes unannounced it’s not hard to feel bad for them.

I honestly hope the devs can reconsider many of these things
Peace is not the absence of tension but the presence of justice ~ MLKJ

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Jürgen Erhard » Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:13 am

Reika wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:09 pm
bobingabout wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:08 pm
the reduced number of damage types means I'll probably have to add them again for my enemies and warfare mods, or just streamline
And that is if they do not end up removing that functionality from the engine as well, which I cannot get a clear answer on. If they lock us to just those damage types, how in the hell are we supposed to have things like dirty bombs or bullets that are great against some enemy types (eg spitters) but not others?
In this case, the functionality will still remain for mods to use.
Since this is the only place Kovarex mentions "it will remain for mods to use" I take the rest as hard removals from the core engine. Could be an oversight, but then why mention it here only?

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by DRY411S » Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:09 am

+1 to the brigade that don't like the removal of Assembler ingredient count limit. To be honest I don't really understand the explanations for the other changes, but there isn't really an explanation at all for why ingredient count removal is a good idea. And it also mentions a negative impact on LB.

Perhaps instead the Assembler 1s could handle a maximum ingredient count of 3 instead of 2, and be incapable of fluid recipes? They could then be used for a heck of a lot more early game, including making themselves, people would start automating, earlier, and avoid the rush to Assembler 2s?

You would though need to consider how much power an Assembler 1 requires, and the pollution it produces. Both would need to be higher in my opinion.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by SkullTitsGaming » Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:26 am

This is the most concerning FFF I have read yet.

As I recall, the lesson of red science was "hey, sometimes you have to build intermediate products. Green science teaches you that 1: some items are large and have many parts, and therefore cost more to make/take more time, and 2: research priority requires strategy and planning. Military guides the player to defend themselves, blue gets them into oil production, and then its a decision between what late-game areas they wish to tackle first.
Now that the assembler works as it does in more simplified"automation" games, what is the point of green science? "Here are more items you are likely using already?" "The only challenge to building complex items is feeding the assembler?" "Just choose research at random, nothing bad could happen?"

As for miners, my favorite part about mods like angel's and bobs is that builds are inherently asymmetrical. Does it make it way more complicated that mining a full belt of X ore takes a different number of drills than Y ore? Yes. Is that frustrating? Initially, or if I have forgotten, of course! Is my ability to overcome that challenge, to stick it to the "cruel and sadistic mod-maker [Love you Bobingabout, Arch666angel, Yuoki, and others!]" by figuring out their tricks and beating them at their own game feel so immensely satisfying that I've now devoted 2000 hours to this game? Yes, and I imagine that those who call that time spent "chump change" would agree.

I came to Factorio because I found a game about logistics management that wasn't simply a basic Logic Gate Simulator like Redstone in Minecraft. I wanted mechanisms that ran continuously until met with the inevitable results of my human error. I wanted to be confused, to be lost, to be scared of getting something wrong and then rewarded by being able to use critical thinking to solve the problem. Factorio is a game in which a complex set of rules dictates bounds for a methodology of progressing from point A to point B and is rewarding entirely due to your gaining mastery over them. Removing or simplifying those rules is removing the foundational challenge of the game, and as for the math, well, as soon as i memorize every formula/blueprint that matches the proper ratios, i lose interest; challenging, complex math like the miners/belt/ore ratio is half of what keeps me up at night, in the good way.

I wonder if this decision was made because it is difficult to make a tooltip for "hey, some buildings can only build things with X number of ingredients, and upgrading the building, even with a smaller recipe, will still result in a quicker speed" that doesn't overwhelm the player with information. How does one teach "this ore is harder than that one and your burner drill is less-effective at mining it than this electric drill" without first punishing the player for not knowing it in the first place? I think these are good things to recognize, but I do NOT think that the solution is to remove from the development path any challenge deemed too daunting for the development team. If you need help with ideas on how to explain these differences, your community is here to help; don't just take away the complexity we love and continually plead you will add more of to the game (see: the modding community, esp. seablock, angels/bobs/yuoki/py, dangOreus, the map-building over at RedMew, etc) .

If these changes, ESPECIALLY the assembler one (but the miners, too) make it into the 0.17 release, I will be disappointed, but will survive; at least I got 2000 hours of the game before that happened. Someone will likely mod it back in anyhow, and all this complaining will be for naught. But to be fair, I'm still sad we didn't get the cooling towers. The simplifications make sense from a "how to get the casual market to care" viewpoint, but I didn't buy Factorio in early access only to get another casual game, I got into it hoping its complexity and challenge would grow. Finding out that the developers are instead striving to simplify the game is distressing and makes me worry that all my hopes have been in vain.

Whatever path you choose, I hope it brings success, even if it means losing the interest of players {or, perhaps, whiners] like me. Until this point, being a part of this journey has been a blast and I thank you for it and bear no one any ill will if the development path diverges from what I had hoped. There will always be another game, another mod, another opportunity to get my logistic "fix." Thank you for lighting that spark within me.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Danjen » Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:34 am

Rseding91 wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:54 pm
Pinga wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:53 pm
- Is armor durability necessary? They can't be repaired, and breaking a Power Armor doesn't sound like a very appealing mechanic. It doesn't seem to have any kind of interesting interaction from the player, other than worrying that your armor might break one day.
No, armor durability was removed from the base game in 0.17. You can still use it with mods but base game armor doesn't use durability in 0.17.
Saying "but mods will fix it!" is a moot point, given that mod support is being removed for some features as already described in this thread.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Jürgen Erhard » Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:38 am

I said maybe… ;-)

The amazing (and to me, astonishing :D) popularity of Bob's and Angel's etc should tell you LOUD AND CLEAR (or should have told you, since this FFF is all about "we did this" and not "we're thinking about doing this" :( ) that a lot of players (not all) love complexity. Why else WOULD THEY ADD COMPLEXITY?

(Yes, I think you must be deaf, that's why I'm shouting)

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by DaveMcW » Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:05 am

Jürgen Erhard wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:38 am
The amazing (and to me, astonishing :D) popularity of Bob's and Angel's
Only 5% of players use Bob's mods, and even less use Angel's.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Rythe » Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:37 am

I'm going out of lurk mode to say I disagree with these mechanic changes too.

The problem here is that the devs are mostly correct about the problems they've identified, but have chosen bad fixes to those problems.

Problem: Assembly Machine 1 isn't useful enough because anemic ingredient limit, which confuses new players because their fancy new toy can't even make most things.
Bad Solution: Remove ingredient limits on assemblers (removes tech gating and infrastructure improvement needs, which are core mechanics)
Good Solution: Change Assembling Machine 1 ingredient limit so that it can craft initial recipes and/or change initial crafts to fewer ingredients (2 -> 3 ingredient limit for AM 1 and removing iron plates from Assembling Machine 2 recipe would basically fix this on its own)

Problem 1: Making a pickaxe first thing is problematic
Problem 2: Rebuilding pickaxes is an annoying, mostly pointless time sink
Problem 3: Axeless mining speed is punishing and no longer fits game design vision
Bad Solution: Remove pickaxes completely (removes early and notable feeling of tech progression that directly effects player character, which is a core mechanic, loses character customization slot for modding and misc)
Good Solution: Remove durability from axes, improve initial mining speed, start character with makeshift axe/digging rod to retain progression element, make iron axe a researchable item (attach it to armor research 1?) as an introduction to character equipment customization.

Removing Mining Hardness cleans up the base game, but yeah, annoys the modding community too much. You lose more than you gain removing it at this point. Let your game have it's weird quirks that are vaguely maybe a mistake. Adds character and flavor. Your casuals can continue to ignore it while your hard core can continue to exploit it. Really is best to leave it. The changes to Burner Efficiency are the same thing as Mining Hardness. Actually, removing Burner Efficiency is worse because that stat gives a feeling that Factorio is paying attention to the particulars on this stuff and tells the player that 'efficiency' is a core game mechanic which you want them to know because efficiency *is* a core game mechanic. You're over gamifying things here.

Streamlining resistances is something you can get away with though, but 'Generic' is a terrible category, particularly for Factorio. Physical, Energy and/or Fire, Acid, Explosive. I'd go with five, splitting Energy and Fire, as a nod to the modding community if nothing else.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Rythe » Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:41 am

DaveMcW wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:05 am
Jürgen Erhard wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:38 am
The amazing (and to me, astonishing :D) popularity of Bob's and Angel's
Only 5% of players use Bob's mods, and even less use Angel's.
You're missing the point. That 5% is the vocal minority that goes out of their way to enjoy the game. They create the hype, organic advertising, and show off all the cool, crazy things that you can get out of Factorio which makes more people want to buy and enjoy the game like they do (if typically in a less obsessed/involved way).

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Lubricus » Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:52 am

Rythe wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:41 am
DaveMcW wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:05 am
Jürgen Erhard wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:38 am
The amazing (and to me, astonishing :D) popularity of Bob's and Angel's
Only 5% of players use Bob's mods, and even less use Angel's.
You're missing the point. That 5% is the vocal minority that goes out of their way to enjoy the game. They create the hype, organic advertising, and show off all the cool, crazy things that you can get out of Factorio which makes more people want to buy and enjoy the game like they do (if typically in a less obsessed/involved way).
This is important and that is why I usually think this sort of simplifications and "clean up" of games is killing them not improve them. But reading the changes, Wube is removing stuff i actually don't care about. I hope for mod support for assembling limitations thou. And assembling limitations could be more important for new players with some exiting progression and problem to solve that is quite mute for the more experienced players.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by db48x » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:02 am

As long as you're simplifying the math, why don't you take a look at the crafting speeds? The math would be considerably simpler if you made the crafting speeds of the assemblers be 1x, 2x, and 3x rather than .5x, .75x, and 1.25x.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by ohmusama » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:26 am

Bring on the changes. From a game design prespective these are good choices and I think more should be done to get to the heart of what this game is. Building a cool big factory.

I say this having 3k hours in the game, and having played most of the big mods including yours Bob, and enjoy the added complexity those bring.

Next simplification is to nix fluid temperature since it isn't modeled anyway.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Rythe » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:27 am

Problem 4: Newbies pull pickaxe from corner and try to mine with it attached to the cursor.
Good Solution: Remove pickaxe and armor from general UI, integrate equipment management into inventory UI like everyone else designs their UIs.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Koub » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:55 am

I welcome most of these changes. Most people who dislike them do it because they have to change. would they have never known the "before", they would probably have loved the "after" even better when discovering it.

My only small disagreement is for the AM1. It has always bugged me it had only 2 slots for ingredients while AM2 needs 4 to be crafted, so I have wished from start it had 4 slots. 6 would be overkill. But this is quite minor. I welcome the rest of the changes into vanilla gameplay.

However, I hope that all mechanisms that are simplified/leveled for vanilla will remain as moddable as they are today, so that people who like overcomplicated things can still have fun.
Koub - Please consider English is not my native language.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Rythe » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:58 am

And now that I've thought about it a bit more, let me double down on the Mining Hardness and Energy Efficiency stats.

With those two in particular, you've got to consider what they're hurting (tooltip/stat clutter) and what they're helping (mod community). I think the tooltip/stat clutter is negligible harm given that modders have come up with interesting and mechanically sound reasons for those stats to exist. More, you could think of those stats as Flavor Text for the base game. Doesn't particularly mean much to base gameplay, but they provide a sort of immersion and mindset that does help players adjust to and engage with the game itself.

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Re: Friday Facts #266 - Cleanup of mechanics

Post by Ferlonas » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:12 am

My first thought when reading this was "This is a bad idea." Then I read some comments and thought "Yeah, they might be right, it might not break everything". Then I realized the way it would affect the mods and even the complexity of vanilla, and remembered that another game I liked playing was simplified in order to "make it easier for the new players" (5 points for anyone who can guess which game - hint: released 2012). That made it essentially boring for players who like the more complex mechanics before (who might have even bought the game because of some complex mechanics in its predecessor)

And so I have to ask you, the devs, these things:
  • Do you simplify because you think it's necessary to do these changes, or do you simplify because you think simplification is good?
  • I'm sure you realize that many players like building convulted and complex ways around problems. Have you considered that this might be because we actually like complexity?
  • What is your intended playerbase? The ones that like it complex or the ones that like it simple?
  • And by extension of this (sorry to be so drastic): Who do you care about more? The players that have already bought the game or the ones that might buy it in the future? I know you have to keep making money, but is this really the right way?
I realize I might be a bit harsh here, but in my experience, sometimes you have to ask critical questions.

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Ferlonas

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