Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Koub » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:18 am

On a second thought, what I like most about the oil changed has been pointed out by the 5th horseman here
I have NEVER been able to remember which of the refineries both inputs I had to "reserve" during basic oil processing use for water with advanced oil processing use. Each and every time, I had to either go and see the wiki, or try and have a 50% chance to fail.
I don't like the mandatory wiki consultation when playing a game, so I really hope the recipe-dependant fluidboxes will remain.

My first game, I remember having used all the inputs for crude oil, and I had to refactor my refineries when I reserarched advanced oil processing.

I also think that blowtorches would be the perfect answer to the "output saturation" problem beginners may be facing. It's no-brain, and it clears the need of thinking for a solution when you're already learning the basics of handling fluits in pipes.
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by RamiTech » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:35 am

I don't really like the oil changes....

Something I do when I reach the oil stage and not consume the oils equally is to remove the tanks and replace them, so that I just get rid of the not used oils and send them into the void....

My idea is:

Why don't we have a pipe thing that lets us throw the extra oil in the water ? or just burn them in a flare ?
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Adamo » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:54 am

SmakDaddy wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:44 am
... but I am not sure if building pollution can vary by product.
Unless I'm mistaken, there's a pollution modifier value for the recipe, so you could tell it to pollute 3x times as much for a flare-stack-heavy recipe, for example. Based on the chemical process involved, I think this would be not only reasonable for a "flare-stacking" recipe, but necessary.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by psihius » Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:12 am

Koub wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:18 am
On a second thought, what I like most about the oil changed has been pointed out by the 5th horseman here
I have NEVER been able to remember which of the refineries both inputs I had to "reserve" during basic oil processing use for water with advanced oil processing use. Each and every time, I had to either go and see the wiki, or try and have a 50% chance to fail.
I don't like the mandatory wiki consultation when playing a game, so I really hope the recipe-dependant fluidboxes will remain.

My first game, I remember having used all the inputs for crude oil, and I had to refactor my refineries when I reserarched advanced oil processing.

I also think that blowtorches would be the perfect answer to the "output saturation" problem beginners may be facing. It's no-brain, and it clears the need of thinking for a solution when you're already learning the basics of handling fluits in pipes.
But fluid boxes reservations, aka knowing where the input and output is, is not linked to the recipe change itself though. They are 2 separate changes. People voice their reservation for the recipe change and what it affects, everything else in FFF is well received.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by irbork » Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:13 am

There is another problem with new basic oil processing that I have not seen mentioned. It will affect mostly new players for whom the simplification is made.

Most will just put several refineries in the line and put a line of pipe along the input and output. When it will come to upgrading the recipe they will get a message that they cannot mix fluids. I bet it will be confusing to them and take some time and probably tearing down the old setup to figure it out.
It is kind of happening now as well since many new players connect both or wrong oil input, but after the change they will also have to know about the outputs as well.

All the inputs and outputs should be marked at all times properly (oil, water, all kinds of products) no mater when the recipe is or will be :!:

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Koub » Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:20 am

psihius wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:12 am
Koub wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:18 am
On a second thought, what I like most about the oil changed has been pointed out by the 5th horseman here
I have NEVER been able to remember which of the refineries both inputs I had to "reserve" during basic oil processing use for water with advanced oil processing use. Each and every time, I had to either go and see the wiki, or try and have a 50% chance to fail.
I don't like the mandatory wiki consultation when playing a game, so I really hope the recipe-dependant fluidboxes will remain.

My first game, I remember having used all the inputs for crude oil, and I had to refactor my refineries when I reserarched advanced oil processing.

I also think that blowtorches would be the perfect answer to the "output saturation" problem beginners may be facing. It's no-brain, and it clears the need of thinking for a solution when you're already learning the basics of handling fluits in pipes.
But fluid boxes reservations, aka knowing where the input and output is, is not linked to the recipe change itself though. They are 2 separate changes. People voice their reservation for the recipe change and what it affects, everything else in FFF is well received.
I totally understand this, and the purpose of my post is that if the devs decide to undo what they are planning for basic oil processing, at least, I hope they'll keep the fluid box thing :)
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Illiander42 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:01 am

Please, Please, Please don't do that to the oil recipe!

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by kreisa » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:36 am

As a disclaimer, I am a rather new casual player, on my 3rd playthrough, first ones took about 60 and 40 hours at a leisurely pace, using the default settings.
Now I am trying out a railworld map, so far I enjoy it.

I too welcome the rail planner and beam changes.

And I dislike the thought of changing the oil processing.
Reserved inputs are a good idea, I too usually don't remember or check from the wiki. And if there's a 50% chance I will miss, I will miss 90% of the time.

Don't care too much for bots, I usually have rather small bases and use bots only in endgame. Spaghetti almost all the way.
But as they are vital to much of the player base, I would be cautious in making them harder to get.

Flamethrower ammo from petroleum doesn't make much sense.
I do like the challenge of managing the oil products as it currently is.

I absolutely oppose the idea of adding a flare stack, imo it doesn't fit in to the Factorio way of managing things.

If you would like to change something about the oil processing, I think that Adamo made some good points.
I would like to have the game follow real life chemistry too, but like he already said, this would likely lead to a rather big overhaul of the whole oil processing and thus it would be very hard to start balancing new mechanics.
I would recommend leaving the oil recipes as they are at the moment, if you would like to have changes, I would then change everything, but that would most likely be really difficult, if not impossible in regards to the development stage of the game.

Keep up the good work, you are awesome! But please be careful with changes, good luck in processing the opinions in this thread :)

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by TheCornishman » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:42 am

Deadlock989 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:12 pm
Really surprised by the oil change. Feels like a completely bizarre retrograde dumb-down to be honest, coming out of the blue. Fortunately modding it back again won't be much work.
Yes, hugely surprising, and not in a good way. The FFF says
We decided to change the Basic oil processing recipe so that now it only outputs petroleum gas.
It then goes on to discuss the consequences for recipes and progressions, but does not give us a good idea of the problem which such a radical change is supposed to address. Not the least issue is: farewell, every saved game ever that got as far as building a refinery... I've got twelve or thirteen, not counting the 0.15 and 0.16 ones which I wouldn't expect to work with the experimental branch. I remember being baffled by oil processing the first couple of times, but I got over it about 1900 game-play hours ago. I *like* being challenged and not understanding, when I am confident that there is an answer to be found.

Cue CJ: "I didn't get where I am today by building namby-pamby 1-in 1-out refinery setups!"

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by conn11 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:00 am

What about BOP only yielding HO and LO in addition with basic (waterless) cracking repices. This would show new players quite directly how oil processing and products are suppose to be done from the beginning, by forcing them to set it up in the first place. Getting PG from LO somewhat comparable of steel from iron plate. Logically is beneficial to get the most useful resource PG only by cracking with BOP and directly with AOP. Any compansation for the loss of PG should be in LO, so BOP isn't more beneficial to coal liquifidation. This would also keep the well working balance of pre blue science intact (and would not force players to use inefficent ways to get solid fuel) and would also blue science much more meaningful and AOP a real game changer, by acquiaring PG directly. a new player would most likely directly crack everything into PG, a much more simpler start and only gradually branch off HO/LO for SF and lube. The great benefit of AOP than comes with the need for balancing, but propably not an complete messed up oil facility, wich would likly result from te FFF suggested BOP. In other words as complex as you want it to get in your own pace (but with loss of PG hinting strongly to the), one of the greatest features of factorio. The "oil wall" furthermore shows the need for an oil tutorial, probably even with auto start or at least strong recommedation to start it. If any dumming down seems necessary rather add in an flare stacker than making BOP a no brainer.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Illiander42 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:06 am

conn11 wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:00 am
What about BOP only yielding HO and LO in addition with basic (waterless) cracking repices. This would show new players quite directly how oil processing and products are suppose to be done from the beginning, by forcing them to set it up in the first place. Getting PG from LO somewhat comparable of steel from iron plate. Logically is beneficial to get the most useful resource PG only by cracking with BOP and directly with AOP. Any compansation for the loss of PG should be in LO, so BOP isn't more beneficial to coal liquifidation. This would also keep the well working balance of pre blue science intact (and would not force players to use inefficent ways to get solid fuel) and would also blue science much more meaningful and AOP a real game changer, by acquiaring PG directly. a new player would most likely directly crack everything into PG, a much more simpler start and only gradually branch off HO/LO for SF and lube. The great benefit of AOP than comes with the need for balancing, but propably not an complete messed up oil facility, wich would likly result from te FFF suggested BOP. In other words as complex as you want it to get in your own pace (but with loss of PG hinting strongly to the), one of the greatest features of factorio. The "oil wall" furthermore shows the need for an oil tutorial, probably even with auto start or at least strong recommedation to start it. If any dumming down seems necessary rather add in an flare stacker than making BOP a no brainer.
Someone suggested farther back that if you want BOP to only have one output, then having that output be Heavy Oil is the way to go. Have some techs for unlocking basic cracking and heavy/petro to solid fuel, and a blue tech for light to solid fuel.

Making the Light->Solid be a blue tech makes it obvious that it's the best one.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Bilka » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:16 am

I like the oil change.

Oil processing in Factorio is a wall for new players because you have to learn many new concepts at once. In my opinion, the problem is that amount of concepts, not their difficulty. The concepts are "oil pumpjacks, oil refineries, outputs blocking recipes, chemical plants". These concepts aren't hard separately. They are hard together because have to do all of them at once, you can't naturally split them up. An example for a process that you split up would be iron - first you do mining directly into furnaces and use those plates for handcrafting. Then you build a smelter and automate plate use. It's split up. Trying to do it at once would be a wall just like oil.

The change described in the FFF reduces the amount of new concepts you learn at once by removing (delaying) one, outputs blocking recipes. So now you only have 3 instead of 4. The process can also be split up further by using crude oil for flamethrower ammo so that you already learn one new concept, the oil pumpjacks, before you even get to chemical science. It can also be split up by making the player build flamethrower turrets directly from the refinery output, so they don't need to learn chemical plants, however this needs some kind of incentive which we don't have in the vanilla game.

With the above changes, the process in no longer 4 steps. It makes sense to do it one by one, and at most the player is forced to learn three new concepts at once (if they ignore military) instead of the previous four. This removes the wall from the game that stopped many people from progressing.

Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion. I was not involved in the changes described in this post.
I'm an admin over at https://wiki.factorio.com. Feel free to contact me if there's anything wrong (or right) with it.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by PacifyerGrey » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:22 am

Yet again thinking over the topic.
The main issue here is not that people can’t solve the problem. The issue is people can’t SEE the problem. Remember those topic names - “refinery stopped working” etc.

So the task here is not to simplify oil processing but to help player identify the issue.

When I started playing Factorio I remember those nights I spent thinking of designing some aspect of my factory. Factorio is a game that targets people keen to engineering and solving those puzzles. All they need is understanding of the rules. And multiproduct output blocking is a new rule that is introduced by oil processing. Sadly this rule is not introduced properly.

Someone suggested introducing an assembler recipe with two output results as a helper step but it will not work as a single inserter will still unload it to a single belt no problem. Yes the system might get clogged by one of resources in some time but it is still not the issue here as a player can clearly see the issue on the belt which has all results exposed.

So the issue to be addressed here is purely GUI related. The player has to clearly see the issue visually and maybe has to get a hint in some form.

Again, I would suggest adopting Bottleneck mod with probably replacing dots with icons of same color.
Icons can be:
- Green check mark
- Yellow output arrow
- Red input arrow

Also inside machine interface the same icons can be displayed on top of respective resources. Mouse over the resource the hint might say something like:
- Output storage full for <resource>
- Required input missing <resource>

I am sure this alone would totally negate the issue

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by irbork » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:27 am

Bilka wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:16 am
The change described in the FFF reduces the amount of new concepts you learn at once by removing (delaying) one, outputs blocking recipes.
Wouldn't you agree that any of these would have same effect as far as introduction of new concepts is concerned but would not upset more experienced players as much:
1) have 3 different basic oil processing recipes, each with single output product: petroleum, light or heavy oil,
2) have basic oil processing as it is now but any excess of products that are not taken out will be burnt off.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by irbork » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:33 am

PacifyerGrey wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:22 am
Again, I would suggest adopting Bottleneck mod with probably replacing dots with icons of same color.
Though the Bottleneck mod provides some useful information all those dots on the machines look just ugly even more than alt mode with all inerter arrows switched on. Maybe each machine should have instead of icons some sort of display with diodes that will look nice.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by SpiffyTriffid » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:33 am

Bilka wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:16 am
This removes the wall from the game that stopped many people from progressing.
I've done quite a lot of factorio with friends, and the first time they set up oil, the question was "why did it stop". Not "how do I route the fluids" or "what do I hook to where" but "why is this specific part of the process not working". I was stumped the first time, and I wouldn't say my friends are slow, it's an issue with how the rules are presented if anything. I agree 1000% with what Pacifyer is saying:
PacifyerGrey wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:22 am
The issue is people can’t SEE the problem. Remember those topic names - “refinery stopped working” etc.

So the task here is not to simplify oil processing but to help player identify the issue.
This FFF oil change is a very big one, with a lot of knock-on effects. (These effects are changes to the gameplay that required tweaks, and these tweaks may not have had enough time in the oven so to speak, because all of the changes have just happened at once and have some concerning balance implications.)

I wonder if it might be possible to get the same results (players stop complaining about how hard oil is) with a gentler touch. Is it at all feasible to implement very visually "loud" indicators to the process and see if that resolves the issue? A small change that improves the ability for players to recognize what's wrong with their setup will trump removing the problem class every day, since showing the player what they're doing wrong lets them enjoy solving the puzzle, whereas removing the problem will rob them of the chance to create a solution.

If this "gentler touch" still does not solve the majority of issues with new players and oil not snerk mixing very well, then perhaps taking a look at gutting the oil complexity is in order, but I feel that should be reserved as a last resort when all other attempts at guiding the player through complexity have failed.

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Bilka » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:39 am

SpiffyTriffid wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:33 am
Bilka wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:16 am
This removes the wall from the game that stopped many people from progressing.
I've done quite a lot of factorio with friends, and the first time they set up oil, the question was "why did it stop". Not "how do I route the fluids" or "what do I hook to where" but "why is this specific part of the process not working". I was stumped the first time, and I wouldn't say my friends are slow, it's an issue with how the rules are presented if anything. I agree 1000% with what Pacifyer is saying:
PacifyerGrey wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:22 am
The issue is people can’t SEE the problem.
...
...

Is it at all feasible to implement very visually "loud" indicators to the process and see if that resolves the issue?
There are already indicators. The machine says why it's not working in the status when you hover over it (as "suggested"). The machine highlights the output slots that are blocking the recipe (as "suggested"). The visual (animation) changes when the refinery stops working (flame disappears). That doesn't help, evidently, the poster you quote didn't even know that what they suggest is already there.

But, you seem to have missed the point in my post. The quantity of new concepts is the problem, not the quality. Changing how easy it is to learn the concept changes only quality, not quantity - so it doesn't solve the problem.
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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by VFaalcatnodriiro » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:52 am

Deadlock989 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:12 pm
Really surprised by the oil change. Feels like a completely bizarre retrograde dumb-down to be honest, coming out of the blue. Fortunately modding it back again won't be much work.
This. The oil-simplification ist just way over the top.
The 2nd Oil and soon to be Water-input change is very appreciated, but removing light and heavy from the outputs just doesn't make any sense at all.
I've seen (and used) many "simple oil" builds when there is a very high need of lubricant - even in mid to late game because of the very high heavy oil output of this recipe.

Also making solid fuel from petroleum is very inefficient and it's IMO a very bad thing to "teach" new players to do so.


Please revert. (Not only this, but also the flamethrower-ammo uses petroleum thing^^)

Or, as stated from others before, maybe consider an option to (automatically? dunno^^) burn not-used outputs of heavy/light oil. Don't remove them from the early game, bc. light is the best solid-fuel-source, and heavy is needed for lubricant...

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by Arcitos » Sun Jul 21, 2019 11:03 am

I can only speak for myself, but the moment I discovered that refining oil in Factorio resulted in multiple by-products, I knew this was the game I had been waiting for years. Please keep the recipe as it is and allow future players to enjoy this moment as well.

All other changes (inluding reserved fluid-inputs/outputs): Thank you!

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Re: Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Post by bleistift2 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 11:04 am

Llama wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:27 pm
[…] I don't recall my first experience with the challenge of oil being negative, just a unique puzzle to solve […]
I totally agree.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but if a player doesn’t manage to grasp the concept of “this machine isn’t working because its output is blocked”, then maybe Factorio just isn’t their game. I mean, this lesson is taught by each and every miner, inserter, and factory along the way. I can understand that you want your playerbase as big as it can get, but I believe that by making stuff easier for the (in lack of a better word, not to be taken offensive) ‘dumb’, you will lose a large portion of your players that are looking for the more intricate experience.

I consider myself a somewhat new player, with about 200–250-ish hours in on 3 maps. On my first playthrough (0.16) I cannot remember having any serious problems with the oils. Though I did see that I was producing surplus of things I didn’t know what to do with, there was always a simple solution available: Build more tanks to store the excess. Tanks are easy to build and don’t require many resources. But to be honest, I had wished that boilers would accept the oils as fuel. It seemed natural to me.

Later when advanced oil processing was available, it was easy to see that the excess was supposed to be largely cracked down to ethylene gas. This lesson was reinforced by the advanced recipe giving more ethylene gas, which clearly marks it as the more useful product.

Of course oil processing is something new. It introduces new entities and new mechanics. This in itself poses a challenge to new players. But also consider what is gained by it: Through plastics you get access to a new way of defending your base, laser turrets, a new way to power it, accumulators (which finally make solar useful), and a new way to build it, robots. I think it should be a little harder to get these goodies than the ‘normal’ game progression. In my first playthrough I got the felling that ‘Yep, now I’m in middle-game’, and was disappointed that there was no similar peak in the game’s interest curve during the end-game.

This is a belief that has grown on me over a few months now: If something is complicated (for someone), don’t make it easier, but teach your ‘students’. I think that was well done in the older (0.16) tutorial missions. We got messages telling us how to setup a refinery. I’m sad they’re gone now without a mini-tutorial.

I find it sad that this oil change gets so much attention and the other improvements so little. I really like all of them except the oil restructuring!

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