Friday Facts #304 - Small bugs; Big changes

Regular reports on Factorio development.
User avatar
BlueTemplar
Smart Inserter
Smart Inserter
Posts: 1812
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:16 pm
Contact:

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

Post by BlueTemplar » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:10 pm

morsk wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:01 pm
[...]
Early bots are for anyone who wants early bots. The same with trains, or combinators, or feeding two coal miners into each other. It's not only for people who know how to do it the first time. At that rate, trains would require blue or purple science, and beacons and electric furnaces would take space science.
Please, don't make silly comparisons. Trains only need stone, steel, green circuits and basic engines.
While conbots also need lubricant and batteries, and 45 red circuits per roboport to actually use them. (And personal roboports need 50 blue science.)
And guess what, blue science also needs red circuits... and in 0.17.0 solid fuel, which is probably the easiest of all petrochem products.
One could even say that blue science is easier to set up than conbots !
(As suggested multiple times already.)

Now, that extra (200-)250 blue science sounds to be non-negligible - that's 375 red circuits, 125 solid fuel and 250 engines...
slay_mithos wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:04 pm
Funny enough, the ones that will suffer the most from these changes are new players and those slightly less new, all of the people that already struggle in learning how to defend against bitter attacks.

Until now the tips we could give them were along the lines of "use piercing rounds in turrets and put some walls, but try to quickly unlock laser turrets and construction robots (you don't need that many at the start so it doesn't matter if your factory is sub-par for making those parts just yet), those will help you make your base a lot safer and the robots will repair damage caused by the bitters and spitters, letting you earn enough time to safely research tanks, flame throwers and damage upgrades in order to have the tools to both defend and attack".
Now, the laser turrets and robots come much later and the turrets start significantly weaker as well, so good luck newer players, I hope you like running around with repair packs and grenades.

I'm pretty sure all of us more "experienced" players will figure out ways to negate the lack of solid fuel, laser turrets and construction robots by changing the order of some researches so it won't impact us all that much, but for newer players this will mean potentially a different wall.
[...]
(emphasis mine)
You still need to set up batteries for laser turrets.
Flame turrets are available much earlier, and you can plop them down even before you have a pumpjack placed and powered !
(And looks like flamethrower ammo will be much easier to make too now!)

The very fact that so many "experienced" players seem to completely forget their existence, shows that delaying laser turrets up to blue science is probably a good thing !
_Attila_ wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:36 pm
I don't know how many new players will continue to play beyond oil after these changes, but I know that there will be many people who will have lots of their videos, blueprints, tutorials and mods made obsolete.

It is my understanding that old saves will not migrate well, so many people will be playing with the current version, offering no feedback on whatever comes after until they are ready to start a new game.

Such a fundamental change at this stage of development just seems very odd to me.
What exactly about "Early Access" and "experimental version" don't you understand ?!?
(P.S.: And it's not like 0.17 hasn't already introduced larger changes than this...)

Serenity
Filter Inserter
Filter Inserter
Posts: 597
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:16 am
Contact:

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

Post by Serenity » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:13 pm

V453000 wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:48 pm
I really don't like cracking early as it just adds another 1 in 1 out (ignoring water but eh) recipe to the already endless tasklist of setting up oil.
At least it means having a bit more of a chain instead of inputting the raw product and getting the most desired refined product right away. And cracking can get more complicated later on when you maybe add circuit balancing.

Getting petroleum so easily is not going to reduce the overall work needed to make something useful out of it. You still have to set up plastics, red circuits and blue science. The time needed to set up those follow industries is what makes the refineries back up now.

cazzaaa
Manual Inserter
Manual Inserter
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:00 pm
Contact:

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

Post by cazzaaa » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:21 pm

I agree with a lot of the sentiment about this proposed oil change being bad.

Anyway, Oil is a wall, but a great one to have, but nothing was really taught prior to it about multiple outputs. If an assembler stopped working, we can easily trace back the belt to see when either power or materials was/is lost. It is a much better feedback as to how visual it is, and with a lot of inputs for something each put on a singular belt or at least side by side another on the same belt it is easy to tell. So prior to oil, we learn about multiple inputs and material shortage which can stall production, we also learn to look back over the chain of production to sight a bottleneck.

Oil has the problem with three outputs from the get go (two inputs is minor and really not a problem as you should know about it already) with one of them being used quite heavily compared to the other two but little in the way of dealing with those besides storage or solid fuel IIRC. The kicker is though due to how important PG is many might overlook the other two to focus on PG due to its more apparent use.

This proposed single output doesnt help as it doesnt teach someone about multiple outputs when BOP should be a great place to learn. The change will ultimately give you the wall at a later stage, just now you have the appropriate tools to solve it.
BOP should be a two output process, either through a solid fuel like object or just solid fuel, just at a lower rate and PG. Then introduce a cracking like tech that can turn that solid fuel or solid fuel like object into HO so people can turn it into lube, again not being super efficient. This then introduces HO and another fuel source into the mix along with cracking so then you eventually get AOP, you have learned a lot about oil and understand what can be made from it but now you have LO and HO along side PG.

Three outputs, which with proper cracking tech you can adapt to your needs but know what oil can be used for. Hell, even giving LO and HO more apparent use early on would be great, like a crude cracking process for them to PG
As for questions about LO and how woukd people know about it, once you know about solid fuel from BOP show a recipe that shows Solid Fuel from LO greyed out so people curious about it will check the tech tree which will see what it does
These are just some thoughts that i feel will help with Oil, thanks to others saying what i might have said before me as well.

EDIT:Fixed a few typos i noticed along with a little bit of wording
Last edited by cazzaaa on Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:46 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Theikkru
Fast Inserter
Fast Inserter
Posts: 188
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:18 pm
Contact:

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

Post by Theikkru » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:26 pm

V453000 wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:48 pm
I think that inherently by having a puzzle after knowing the basic mechanics of the process, it already does distribute the challenge better. Indeed the multiple output process is the new problematic part.
Ah, herein lies the rub then. When I think oil, I think first and foremost of the multiple outputs puzzle; as I see it, the multiple outputs problem is THE basic mechanic I associate with oil and all its processes, so while I can understand shuffling recipes around to (reduce distracting logistical complexity and) make it easier to tackle, it makes little sense to me to separate it from the introduction of oil itself.

V453000
Factorio Staff
Factorio Staff
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:51 pm
Contact:

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

Post by V453000 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:29 pm

Theikkru wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:26 pm
V453000 wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:48 pm
I think that inherently by having a puzzle after knowing the basic mechanics of the process, it already does distribute the challenge better. Indeed the multiple output process is the new problematic part.
Ah, herein lies the rub then. When I think oil, I think first and foremost of the multiple outputs puzzle; as I see it, the multiple outputs problem is THE basic mechanic I associate with oil and all its processes, so while I can understand shuffling recipes around to (reduce distracting logistical complexity and) make it easier to tackle, it makes little sense to me to separate it from the introduction of oil itself.
I see. I believe the multiple output problem, and "learn the new production chain" as in recipes and fluids/items, are two different things to learn/solve and thus can (and are a good idea) be separated.

Maybe your perspective is heavy influenced by the fact that you had to go through the BOP puzzle the first time and that's how you remember it / the iconic part of it, especially now that the items/recipes are just "another recipes" retrospectively.

jcranmer
Long Handed Inserter
Long Handed Inserter
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:59 pm
Contact:

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

Post by jcranmer » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:32 pm

Let's add some more fuel to the fire of oil changes:

The oil cliff is definitely real, even for advanced players. But why does it exist? After you've set up red/green science production, your choices of expansion are to move into better logistics (trains, red belts), which you likely don't have a reason to need; to start solar production, but solar is weaker without accumulators; or to start working on unlocking the oil gate, which everything else depends on (by virtue of needing blue science, red circuits, or batteries). So your only real choice is to start working on oil.

Oil is the first new resource in the game since the early game, so you have to build the entire production chain. This production chain has no useful intermediates, until you get the oil output products of plastic (or, the real goal of oil production, red circuits) or batteries; further more, there's also no real intersection between oil processing and your existing copper/iron/steel/stone factory, with the exception of demanding the raw resource of coal and the refined resource of iron plates. So it's a new factory that's almost completely unrelated to your existing factory.

For new players, there are two challenges. The obvious challenge is that they have to grapple with replicating their belt-based logistics setup in a pipe-based logistics system, which means replicating the effects of splitters and chests with pumps and tanks. The other challenge is that refineries are their first introduction to multiple-output systems, which requires a more complex logistics system to handle. Breaking these two challenges into separate steps is probably a good idea.

Compounding the challenge is the fact that pipe-based logistics is objectively harder to diagnose than belt-based logistics. When you look at a belt, there is a clear visual distinction between "full and stopped" (i.e., the throughput of the system is currently 0) and "full and moving" (i.e., the throughput is not 0). When you look at a pipe, there is no such visual distinction. Furthermore, the need for lubricant and solid fuel, especially in the early oil phases, is minimal, and the tools you have for turning heavy and light oil into the valuable petroleum are locked behind the oil gate in advanced oil processing research (is there anyone who does not select that research as their first blue science research?). Finally, the practical solution for actually managing oil products involves the use of the circuit network, which most players will have no reason to use before then.

With the proposed change, you've pushed the challenges beyond the oil gate. But... you haven't actually made any of the challenges easier, or given players any improved insights into actually solving the challenges. You've just pushed the newbie wall of "why isn't my refinery working?" from blue science production to yellow science production and they're no closer to solving the problems themselves. Players will eventually face the multiple-output system challenge in the space of belts when they reach uranium processing, but I don't know how many newbies are going to try uranium before bots.

A better solution, IMHO, would be to convert the challenge from solving the multiple-output system with fluids to one with solid items. Introducing such a system before oil processing is the best answer, but it's hard to see where it could be non-artificially introduced (steel is the only idea I have, and I'm not sure I like it). The next best solution, which is probably workable, is to insert in oil refining itself. Instead of refining crude oil into heavy/light/gas, break it up into gas and a condensate, where the condensate is further refined into heavy and light (or, alternatively, ditch heavy/light entirely and refine condensate straight to lubricant, flamethrower ammo, solid fuel, and cracking to petroleum gas). Then, when newbies build their first oil refineries, they're likely to hit the situation where they have no petroleum, but their chest of condensate is full, leading to the obvious workaround of "add another chest while I work out how to get rid of it" which is familiar to people dealing with U-238, Bob's salt, or Angel's crushed ore and slag.

User avatar
Mike5000
Fast Inserter
Fast Inserter
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 3:57 am
Contact:

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

Post by Mike5000 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:39 pm

V453000 wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:29 pm
I believe the multiple output problem, and "learn the new production chain" as in recipes and fluids/items, are two different things to learn/solve and thus can (and are a good idea) be separated..
Oil as in 0.16 was one of the best parts of Factorio - a fascinating puzzle that didn't involve tediously placing dozens of boring repetitive smelters with their associated power poles and inserters.

Theikkru
Fast Inserter
Fast Inserter
Posts: 188
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:18 pm
Contact:

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

Post by Theikkru » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:56 pm

V453000 wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:29 pm
I see. I believe the multiple output problem, and "learn the new production chain" as in recipes and fluids/items, are two different things to learn/solve and thus can (and are a good idea) be separated.

Maybe your perspective is heavy influenced by the fact that you had to go through the BOP puzzle the first time and that's how you remember it / the iconic part of it, especially now that the items/recipes are just "another recipes" retrospectively.
The thing is, the new recipes/items/fluids aspect strikes me as a "known" or "accepted" factor that will accompany the new player throughout his/her first playthrough, and cannot be divorced from other problems no matter how hard you try. As case in point, the multiple outputs puzzle will always involve new production lines and recipes by the simple consequence of introducing additional outputs (i.e. heavy/light oil) that must then be used in new production chains to produce new products. Every tech in the tree introduces at least 1 new production line, so I posit (and remember from my own first playthrough) that, after the first couple of tech upgrades, new players take on new technologies/production with the implicit assumption that new items/recipes/fluids will be involved, and that it's the extra puzzle (e.g. multiple outputs) on top of that that adds an extra spice to newly discovered production chains. It is certainly true that my association of oil with multiple outputs was influenced by my first playthrough, but I think that it's a good association to have, and it gives the oil production chain a strong, interesting, and unique identity.

User avatar
BlueTemplar
Smart Inserter
Smart Inserter
Posts: 1812
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:16 pm
Contact:

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

Post by BlueTemplar » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:58 pm

jcranmer wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:32 pm
[The oil] production chain has no useful intermediates, until you get the oil output products of plastic (or, the real goal of oil production, red circuits) or batteries
Solid fuel, YMMV (hah!) regarding its usefulness for you.
Fuel/ammo for Flame turrets/throwers. (If biters are an issue.)
And explosives as another useful end of the chain. (Ditto for biters. Also vs Cliffs.)
jcranmer wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:32 pm
the tools you have for turning heavy and light oil into the valuable petroleum are locked behind the oil gate in advanced oil processing research (is there anyone who does not select that research as their first blue science research?).
Other good first candidates are currently Personal Roboports and Mil3 => Tank...
jcranmer wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:32 pm
A better solution, IMHO, would be to convert the challenge from solving the multiple-output system with fluids to one with solid items. Introducing such a system before oil processing is the best answer, but it's hard to see where it could be non-artificially introduced (steel is the only idea I have, and I'm not sure I like it). The next best solution, which is probably workable, is to insert in oil refining itself. Instead of refining crude oil into heavy/light/gas, break it up into gas and a condensate, where the condensate is further refined into heavy and light (or, alternatively, ditch heavy/light entirely and refine condensate straight to lubricant, flamethrower ammo, solid fuel, and cracking to petroleum gas). Then, when newbies build their first oil refineries, they're likely to hit the situation where they have no petroleum, but their chest of condensate is full, leading to the obvious workaround of "add another chest while I work out how to get rid of it" which is familiar to people dealing with U-238, Bob's salt, or Angel's crushed ore and slag.
Yep, this is an interesting idea. (Though already suggested several times here IIRC, but probably not as well.)
(What about this condensate directly replacing the current solid fuel?)

FuryoftheStars
Filter Inserter
Filter Inserter
Posts: 389
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:01 pm
Contact:

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

Post by FuryoftheStars » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:59 pm

mmmPI wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:59 pm
they just don't want to think too much when they play a video games, they want to have fun fast.
This is kind of why I feel we have “so many” new players quit after hitting oil. They’re looking for a different type of game. I was hoping that Factorio would not turn into that kind of game...

mcdjfp
Long Handed Inserter
Long Handed Inserter
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 12:42 am
Contact:

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

Post by mcdjfp » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:31 pm

PLEASE POSTPONE THIS UPDATE.

This is far too disruptive a change for this point in 0.17. Look at how many other changes are required to deal with it, and being supposedly so close to stable for this version, There is no time to properly address all of the other balance changes that will result (there will be more). Look at what it has triggered in the community. Many people hate it, some like it, others have ideas. The only certain thing is rushing this the worst idea of them all.

Save the basic oil processing change for 0.18 instead of ramming it down our throat now. Finish 0.17 first, take time to really listen to what the community thinks. Who knows, a far better solution may be out there. The thing is, will you be willing to revert all of the changes this solution requires to implement that better solution? Or will the response be good idea, but too late?

Before doing anything else,
1. Restore oil to the starting area. Allow a new player to practice with the one or two initial spots of oil before having to deal with outpost construction at the same time. You are citing too much at once as a leading problem, well this would eliminate some of that. (This could be a toggleable option for experienced players looking for more challenge)
2. Create a tutorial to teach it. You may not be able to force people to learn, but you can at least try to help them.

As for nasty language, try "new player trap." As it stands you are encouraged to find something to do with the light oil, such as producing solid fuel the one thing that it is best at. The proposed change REQUIRES using petroleum gas for any sort of initial solid fuel production (the wrong choice in the long run). It allows for badly designed refinery areas without enough space for multiple fluid types. Now once the new wall at advanced oil processing hits, not only is the multiple output management problem exposed, but the complete rebuild of the refinery area, the decision whether or not to rebuild the fuel production, and more likely a much more pressing need to get the other fluids working immediately. It is far easier to fix bad habits at the beginning then later on when they have been established. Putting off a lesson like this is a problem itself.

This change simply moves the oil crisis (or whatever you want to call the issue) from the early-midgame transition to the mid-lategame transition. You will get fewer complaints of course as other complexities drive away players looking for a different kind of game, but the spike will still be there. If basic oil processing is enough to stop them, how many are going to get through the utility science pack before giving up?




One last comment:
I am really tired of games I love getting near 1.0, and suddenly ripping out the very things that I liked. The very things that motivated me to pay money for the game. I am tired of the bait and switch. The decision to update and lose some (or perhaps all) of what I enjoyed, or to pass on the updates and the bug fixes that come with them. It has happened too many times. Break that trust, and for future products I will wait for the first major sale post 1.0, or maybe a year or two more for the ultimate edition before deciding if the value is there. I have already done this before, and there are too many companies who have already earned themselves a spot on the wait before buying list.

Before you ask, there are plenty of games out there that I don't enjoy (too hard, too easy, or whatever the reason), and I don't want those games changed in a vain attempt to appeal to me. I beg those companies to not ruin their current customers experience to try to attract me to a game I won't really enjoy in the long-term.

User avatar
Deadlock989
Smart Inserter
Smart Inserter
Posts: 1485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:41 pm

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

Post by Deadlock989 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:54 pm

If new players are finding oil to be so difficult, just do what's been done with everything else - put the dumbed-down hand-holding version of it into the New Player Experience campaign and leave the base freeplay game alone, for people who weren't born yesterday.

FuryoftheStars
Filter Inserter
Filter Inserter
Posts: 389
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:01 pm
Contact:

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

Post by FuryoftheStars » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:59 pm

BlueTemplar wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:10 pm
Flame turrets are available much earlier, and you can plop them down even before you have a pumpjack placed and powered !
(And looks like flamethrower ammo will be much easier to make too now!)
Well, technically, I think they only made the change to the ammo used by handheld? Still a bad change, imo, and I hope they didn’t do it to turrets, too.

meganothing
Fast Inserter
Fast Inserter
Posts: 219
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:04 pm
Contact:

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

Post by meganothing » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:02 pm

V453000 wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:46 pm
I am quite surprised how many times I have read "the problem of multiple output refining is just delayed" in a bad meaning.

The fact that it's split (delayed) is a huge benefit - first time around you learn how basic pumpjack/fluid transport/refinery/chemplant works, and second time around you can actually do a puzzle as you already know the basic mechanics. Doing a puzzle AND learning the mechanics at the same time is the problem, and it's really not necessary to do both.

One of the less complicated but still contributing factors is that suddenly there is 5 different fluids that you need to do something with, and they go into plastic/sulfur/explosives on top of that. It's not complicated, it's just one recipe after another if you take it slow. But it's a many step process with many unfamiliar items compared to almost any other unlock in the game. I'm not saying all researches should only unlock one extra processing step, but oil has been too much for years and we have been trying to soften it since then.

I don't really understand the argument of "it's making the game simpler" and I feel like many people take it in the "git gud" way - "we understand it, make newcomers suffer too" (I don't assume all of people who posted this argument think along those lines, but I'm getting that feeling from many posts). Advanced oil processing is still completely mandatory to go through, it's just a bit later. The thing that changes is that you can access anything unlocked by Chemical science pack, but you can only get robots after you get Advanced oil processing going. You could say the puzzle and the reward is exactly the same as it was then - except cracking provides a solution to the oil puzzle other than adding storage tanks to fix the problem temporarily.

I've read many times the difference between getting solid fuel from petroleum gas and light oil. I think you massively overestimate how much a new player cares about efficiency, and how much should he. As long as the process runs, it's fine. New players also don't get 4 rows of full-belt smelting from the start, yet they still have fun and do progress in the game. However for now I did reduce the Petroleum gas price for solid fuel from 20 to 15.

Adding cracking with basic oil processing and having basic oil processing only output heavy or light I don't find to be a good solution. It would mean it just extends the refining process by one (in case of light oil) or two (in case of heavy oil) rather basic steps - when we already have a lot of basic steps.

Allowing the player to select individual recipes (heavy or light or petroleum gas only) would allow to completely avoid using Advanced oil processing. That's surely dumbing it down significantly. Adding flare stacks has the same effect of making Advanced oil processing completely optional additional complexity for more resource efficiency.

I believe Advanced oil processing should be mandatory to go through in order to finish the game, but it does not have to be when the player is completely new to the whole concept of oil. You didn't learn quadratic functions before learning to count on fingers either.

Getting robots a bit later is quite tough to justify as being a good thing if you don't think about it further, but there's a lot of factors that soften this. The extra additional delay really isn't that much. You only need to set up some chemical science and do a few cheap researches with it (currently you need total 275 chemical science packs total for construction robots). Also consider that setting up the refinery is less tedious as you don't need to pipe light and heavy oil, so chemical science pack is set up a bit quicker, and with perfect reliability that doesn't clog if you added too few storage tanks.

I think robots fit into the tier of Chemical science very well actually - along with Electric furnaces, Power armor, Nuclear power, Tank and now Laser turrets for example.

I wonder how many first time players actually use robots, too. I certainly didn't use them first time around, I didn't even know they exist and I had no idea that I need the storage chest for them. These things are better nowadays, but still. They are a powerful tool but completely optional.

Extreme case side note: It's quite likely UPS optimized megabases will use Basic oil processing as much as they can to avoid using cracking as much as possible - using Advanced oil processing only for the necessary lubricant and I guess the rest of light oil would go to solid fuel, possibly eliminating cracking almost completely. I don't think this is a big problem, it's just another solution that is heavily relying on single-purpose (SPM) ratio math.
The best argument for the change till now. I can agree to a lot of this, I personally don't care about the robots delay for example. And that this would be the first time that advanced oil was absolutely unavoidable is a point in favour of this change, the first unique advantage over other proposed changes, though also unrelated to the central problem. I say the first time, since up to now you merely needed to research advanced oil processing but NOT use it in a refinery. But it didn't matter because you already had the puzzle in basic oil production.

For me as advanced user it is the light oil->flamethrower ammo vanishing which troubles me, as it is one of only two use cases of light oil (I don't consider cracking to be a use case). Intermediate products with only one use are a bad design. If you either keep light oil as the most efficient way to flamethrower ammo or find some other use for it, that would greatly reduce my reservations against this change.

I'm also not convinced this change will really remove the obstacle for most new players, but obviously I can only theorize here. Half of the problem is that the GUI has a lot of unexplained information which a beginner has to master or successfully ignore. Half of learning the game is learning the GUI. No glossary, no in-game way to easily find out what the difference between energy consumption and drain is, what pollution, productivity exactly mean... Factorio's in-game infos are really minimal. When I was a beginner I patiently looked for all places those words came up and found out such information by myself, someone near a complexity overload will not have that patience. So essentially I assume the output blocking obstacle will still be the stumbling block for most new players whether at BOP or AOP.

I'm not saying that the proposed change is absolutely unsuitable to help with the central problem. It seems to just have more disadvantages/disruptive changes compared to some the other proposed solutions and no real advantage (up until you found one). Some of the disadvantages were only slight, like the robots delay, some bigger like the light oil irrelevance. Even for beginners the win seems slight as they will have nearly the same complexity if they decide to upgrade their chemical factory in place and get the blocking problem on top of the usual pipe maze that upgrading to AOP produces.

In essence, if you remove the light oil single use problem, you got me on your side, even if only by a small margin. For beginners most of the solutions will be equally effective (which is to say I doubt the difference will be much noticable)
Bilka wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:39 am
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.
May I ask since when are those indicators in the game, the status line for example ? If only since A17 (I don't remember seeing them before), do you already have statistics that point at beginners still not getting it and the changes therefore ineffective?

Advanced users by the way won't notice such improvements because they learnt to look for signs that were already there in older versions.

There could be more:
1) A backlogged output should have the same RED background as an insufficient input material. Red is universally understood as a warning/error sign, yellow is the color of sunshine and hope. ;)
2) Backlogging the refinery on one or two but not all three outputs might give a signal by the toolbelt (like biter attacks or a train without fuel does now)
3) A change advertised in this FFF to have other fluidboxes closed in refineries should be extended to chem plants with two outputs of the same fluid too.
4) Add a line on the recipe itself. The centrifuge or the water pump are one of few recipes in the build menue that actually have short descriptions. The refinery has none. It might be a little difficult to put the rule of backlogging into very few words, but here it really could acomplish something as new players will often read this at least once.
Last edited by meganothing on Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

morsk
Inserter
Inserter
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:00 am
Contact:

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

Post by morsk » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:03 pm

BlueTemplar wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:10 pm
Please, don't make silly comparisons. Trains only need stone, steel, green circuits and basic engines.
While conbots also need lubricant and batteries, and 45 red circuits per roboport to actually use them. (And personal roboports need 50 blue science.)
Ingredients aren't the point; if techs were available later, they'd have different ingredients. I was being generous with trains. There's no need to build trains at all. I've seen I've seen reddit posts by people who've played 200 hours and want to start learning trains. And yet the train is available in green science, for anyone who wants to start using it.
BlueTemplar wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:10 pm
And guess what, blue science also needs red circuits... and in 0.17.0 solid fuel, which is probably the easiest of all petrochem products.
One could even say that blue science is easier to set up than conbots !
(As suggested multiple times already.)
Blue science is easier to build, but if you build it first you have to build it without bots, and then you still have to build the bots. Good choices like this should be preserved, not discarded.

Pi-C
Filter Inserter
Filter Inserter
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:13 am
Contact:

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

Post by Pi-C » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:23 pm

I've read through the entire 17 pages this thread has at the moment. There were several posts along these lines:
Theikkru wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:25 pm
I think it's important to identify what it is about oil that makes it a challenging new concept; as I wrote above, I believe it is the introduction of multiple outputs that is conceptually most significant, […]
RL interfered before I could submit my post. Now I've read 18 pages, and another interesting post on this has appeared:
V453000 wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:54 pm
FuryoftheStars wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:48 pm
Bilka wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:16 am
{...}
One idea that has some merit to me is that rather than delaying learning the multiple output, try making it so players have to handle it sooner. IE, make a regular assembler recipe, prior to oil, give two outputs.

This has the benefit of moving one of these 4 concepts to a stage of the game that has better visual feedback (as a lot of people are complaining that’s one of their issues) without having to actually change oil.

(And so yeah, for the record, I’m against even the heavy only out and this is really isn’t much different.)
This is an interesting idea but how exactly would this be done? Almost every step of the game already has something new to learn already, and oil/chemical science pack is immediately after green science. Such a multi-output solution would have to be in green science where isn't much room for it - changing logistic science pack does not sound like a great idea s the belt+inserter is IMO a great recipe as both of these things are incredibly useful. Earlier than green science is already a big thing for newcomers.
Apparently, there are no vanilla recipes that require assembling machines with multiple product outputs by the time you get to oil processing. This, so the argument usually goes, would force new players to learn that too much of one output could block the others -- and having to grasp that concept at the same time as handling the different fluids, setting up refineries etc. would be too much of a burden. But there actually is a precedent for multiple outputs even in early vanilla games!

I'm thinking of overlapping ore patches here: It happens quite often that a miner will load two different ores onto a belt. You have to separate these or else they will break things up further down the line. Of course, there are people who avoid this situation by placing their miners in such a way that they only mine one kind of ore -- but why would they do that? Obviously because they know that mixed ores on one belt could break things, so they are either experienced players or noobs with a clue. These players shouldn't find it too hard to figure out that overload on one oil processing product will block production of the others. Those new players who place their miners on a multi ore patch unawares will learn that lesson the hard way early on and should be able to apply it to oil processing as well.

So, even new players can have the chance to learn about overload of one product blocking everything else early on. However, that chance depends on how the ore patches are placed on the map -- with some luck, they won't overlap and new players won't get to learn this lesson. I therefore suggest to change the map generation process in such a way that at least two ore patches in the starting area will overlap so everyone is forced to cope with multi product (ore) output right from the start! New players would then be somewhat prepared for basic oil processing having three output products, and you wouldn't have to change basic oil processing at all. :-)
A good mod deserves a good changelog. Here's a tutorial (WIP) about Factorio's way too strict changelog syntax!

PacifyerGrey
Smart Inserter
Smart Inserter
Posts: 1042
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:02 am
Contact:

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

Post by PacifyerGrey » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:35 pm

I will try and make one more try and keep it calm. Sadly I am posting from a mobile so sorry about mistakes and formatting.

You said we have to solve all problems in a valid solution so let us identify these exact problems and go from there.

1. New production chain, new recipes and machines. I see no issues here at all as the player had quite the same experience before while setting up steam power.
2. Dealing with multiple liquids at a time. Here I see the only issue with potential liquid mixing. This one is real.
3. Output blocking with multiple results. This is the worst of them all.
4. Dealing with byproducts.
5. You pointed out AOP should be required to progress. I can not see why this should be so. Remembering my experience with it I did choose that research knowingly understanding it will dramatically increase petroleum production and I did need that for my red chips that I knew I need more of. I did know at that very point that I have excess byproducts which would crack into petroleum. All this was my personal experience as a result of living for some time with BOP. This was my reasonable choice.

So let us try and address issues we found.

1. I can propose replacing red chips with plastic for chemical science pack. This alone will dramatically decrease the complexity of this step.
2. Liquid mixing is an issue player should be taught and it was not really a problem on a stopper level. I am sure that latest work done on this by devs is great and nothing should be added.
3. Output blocking. I have written already that first of all this is a GUI issue. While Bilka states that there was much done to this but facing the reality what is done is not enough. Being output blocked should state this clearly and you should not miss it. Bottleneck like functionality helps a ton on main screen, and inside machine interface this should blow up your eyes with blinking icons and big warning sign plus a text explanation. If a player knows exactly what is the problem he will have no issues solving it.
4. Currently the only way to deal with byproducts is making solid fuel. Chem pack does already hint you can use this recipe. To simplify this it was suggested to add Flare Stack. Actually adding a flare stack (1x1 entity) to both HO and LO outputs of a refinery results in your current solution but in more obvious way. The benefit here compared to your solution is that a player gets familiar with existence of such liquids and will know he has them and will know that there is an issue to be looked at later which was currently just bandaided.

And maybe it is me but on my first play through I made robots the moment I saw them in tech tree as I thought based on naming that it should be a pinnacle of automation so delaying them is awful. Even now I use them to lay down steel furnaces rows long before electric ones. However if chem pack would only require plastic and not red chips it would be fine for them to require those. You will need quite a few red chips for roboport and modular armor anyways.

One issue with a complexity leap is also amount of other resources needed for chem packs along with the new oil tech. And red chips are a major part of that. To progress the player is required to ramp up resource processing as well as learn oil tech. So it would be wise to split these and force a player into ramping up production AFTER chem science. This is also wise as the player will get access to robots at this point and can organically expand with the help of those

Syilphion
Manual Inserter
Manual Inserter
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:30 pm
Contact:

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

Post by Syilphion » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:45 pm

what was your rationale of changing blue science to require solid fuel?

My assumption is to give another solution to fluid backing up problem, hence why it's solid fuel, not battery, not sulfur, not lube

the upcoming change will remove the problem on basic oil proccessing, I'm on the don't care camp so I will take any change and just think of it like usual buff nerf in many other games I play, but after thinking it again, don't you think this change means you need to look at blue science recipe again? now the backing up problem will be gone entirely, why not change the solid fuel in the recipe into sulfur, or even change both solid fuel and engine into battery, while you're at it, change the recipe for other sciences to make advance oil proccessing much more neccessary (maybe by adding rocket fuel to purple science)

I believe changing basic oil proccessing would need this much adjustment, please try to see the entire picture instead of just some parts of it (dividing the problem into 2 parts and other things that I might not catch)

ME4595
Manual Inserter
Manual Inserter
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:46 pm
Contact:

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

Post by ME4595 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:02 pm

Pi-C wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:23 pm
I'm thinking of overlapping ore patches here: It happens quite often that a miner will load two different ores onto a belt. You have to separate these or else they will break things up further down the line. Of course, there are people who avoid this situation by placing their miners in such a way that they only mine one kind of ore -- but why would they do that? Obviously because they know that mixed ores on one belt could break things, so they are either experienced players or noobs with a clue. These players shouldn't find it too hard to figure out that overload on one oil processing product will block production of the others. Those new players who place their miners on a multi ore patch unawares will learn that lesson the hard way early on and should be able to apply it to oil processing as well.
I don't fully agree with that, because a miner outputs all the mining results at the same spot. New players immediately notice the output belt, which is shared by all the different products, is full and that's why the miner has stopped mining at all. The refinery on the other hand uses different output "slots", so the players don't immediately see that another product is blocking the production. Since the output for PG is not blocked, new players might not think of another output at another spot being blocked as the reason for the refinery stopping to work. The problem is to point the players to these output slots as the cause of the problem.

bcronje
Manual Inserter
Manual Inserter
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:48 pm
Contact:

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

Post by bcronje » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:11 pm

Re the oil change, imo it is pretty simple: Anyone who has played the game up until you need oil processing is the kind of person that likes this type of game and will not be put off from a slight difficulty bump. The people that don't like this type of game will quit the game before they even need oil processing. The only thing that needs to be in place is an up to date wiki that gives guidance when you get stuck.

Personally I would just scrap basic oil processing completely and start with advanced oil processing so you can solve the multiple output issue with cracking.

Post Reply

Return to “News”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users