Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Regular reports on Factorio development.
McDuff
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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by McDuff »

I figured that would be the case, just throwing out some ideas in case any of them landed.

I still reckon a beefier substation would fit better than an alien spike?

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by Rinin »

This variability is the special kind of perfectionist hell. Not everywhere, but In factorio where you can have borderless fields of perfectly synchronous machines this is just painful.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by IronCartographer »

Deadlock989 wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:16 am
I'm amazed that the devs and artists continue to bother with FFFs when they get this shitstorm of negativity from armchair developers every time.
While it is entirely possible for people to have knee-jerk reactions to new things and simply be resisting change, it is also possible for developers to believe they have solved countless problems without realizing the drawbacks that fresh eyes would see. The FFFs and moddability of the game speak to an openness and detachment that considers player feedback rather than believing they always know best from the start--even if it is hard to judge the balance of effects when negativity is more likely to be voiced than positivity.

I think the main takeaway from all this, which can thankfully be spun in a variety of directions depending on the desired commitment, is that beacon-based production layouts being "ugly" does not improve from said beacons attracting more attention with vibrant colors and contrasting design. Updated beacon graphics may solve significant visibility problems and seem like a refreshing change, but introduce their own issues.

If beacons blended into the background more, having a lower profile, fitting their supporting role (and ability to affect a wide variety of machine styles, from silos to assemblers to furnaces and chemical plants..!), things would probably be more neutral to positive. The simplest, limited solution is to tone down the colors to reduce the contrast, much like how the night vision was streamlined from stylized green to a relatively plain saturation effect.

From Discord user gessu, for consideration as an example:
dirty.jpg
dirty.jpg (1.03 MiB) Viewed 1378 times

A (more involved) suggestion which received some positivity on Discord as well: Consider topologically inverting the tower concept. Have beacons' outer edges as a ring of large cables with emitters, surrounding a central module-containing structure, not actually attempting to broadcast "over" anything. Instead, the effect could go through the nearby structures as needed, over a short distance. Base-game beacons are too short range (and the machines they affect are too large) for effects to be reach significantly past large production buildings in the first place.

I love the art from this FFF in its own way, and it does fit well with the rocket silo, but it will forever seem more like modded content. It steals attention, focusing it even more on how "boring" their spammed layouts are, emphasizing the beacons rather than the various production machine styles they are supposed to be enhancing in function, if not in form.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by lethern »

Hello, the graphics are amazing, but I'm afraid they don't fit the lategame factorio . It looks more like if we bought this technology from aliens.
Maybe you are trying too hard to include the tower idea? I believe it makes sense, but the result somehow doesn't feel right. Thanks and cheers

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by Kenira »

I completely agree with IronCartographer.

Basically all the redesigns look pretty on their own - but they suffer from the same issue that they're just...too much. They look too busy, too detailed. They demand attention.

The lightning effect of beacons is one of the worst offenders for the beacons specifically. They also look very alien and simply don't fit into a factory.

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Deadlock989
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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by Deadlock989 »

IronCartographer wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:31 pm
Deadlock989 wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:16 am
I'm amazed that the devs and artists continue to bother with FFFs when they get this shitstorm of negativity from armchair developers every time.
While it is entirely possible for people to have knee-jerk reactions to new things and simply be resisting change, it is also possible for developers to believe they have solved countless problems without realizing the drawbacks that fresh eyes would see.
Yes, all things are possible. But some people simply lack manners. Every FFF ends with "Tell us what you think". That doesn't mean "Dump your unfiltered shit on us".

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by IronCartographer »

Negativity begets negativity. Let's try to set an example rather than mirroring that which is objectionable, feeding into the effect... :|

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by Deadlock989 »

I don't think setting an example is enough.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by skuester »

I truly love this game, and a big part of that is it's aesthetic - which I adore. I have to be honest - I strongly dislike this redesign. It looks like an angry red alien popped out of the ground, like some kind of zergling from Star Craft. I know people love the familiar, but this just seems lighyears away from anything remotely resembling the factory aesthetic I know and love .... it's a real shame if this makes it into the final game. Its a major step backwards.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by Criperum »

Personally i don't like it. The red color doesn't fit the overall game style and looks more like part of the mod. And it's definitely doesn't look like something to speed things up. I think a huge blinking computer would fit better. Like it uses it's computational powers to optimize production of surrounding machines. Or a huge Tesla coil. It still doesn't look like enhancer but fits the game more IMHO.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by mudcrabempire »

Not a fan of the redesign. Most of what I think has already been said so I'll skip to something which hopefully hasn't been said.

"It needs to be a tower in order to transmit the effect."

No it doesn't. Towers are built to tower over their surroundings, therefore being able to do whatever they do unobstructed by the stuff in their vicinity. Beacons have a 9x9 tile area of effect with the center 3x3 for the beacon. All affectable buildings are 3x3 tiles or bigger. Therefore beacons can only ever affect their immediate neighbors. They don't transmit "through", "past", "over", ... buildings, their reach is just too small. So making them a tower doesn't make sense. It could even be called counterproductive because the elevated position just increases the distance to the stuff you want to affect... maybe that's why their reach is so low... ;)

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by Dark_star »

(new beacon) "War of the Worlds" Martian steampunk vs (old beacon) a dated pre-factorio beacon.
Xterminator's idea of a surrounding glow sounds interesting.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by meganothing »

The positive thing about the new design is the Eye Candy, I can live with anything that has flashy discharge arcs. But if Wube decides to redesign them, then the following is the right idea:
Mr. Mechanic wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:41 pm
Improving the speed and efficiency of a machine by transmitting 'signals' to it never made much sense to me.

Why not represent beacons as external cooling and waste-heat recovering units? With several pipes running into the ground, hinting at underground connections to nearby buildings (or perhaps automatically painted 'pipe connections' on the ground towards affected buildings, similar to CnC3 Nod turrets). Visual variety could be achieved by adding large vents if there are speed modules installed, and some kind of heat-exchange columns for efficiency modules.
Simply makes sense, the best explanation to how such beacons could work.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by IronCartographer »

meganothing wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:00 pm
Mr. Mechanic wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:41 pm
Improving the speed and efficiency of a machine by transmitting 'signals' to it never made much sense to me.

Why not represent beacons as external cooling and waste-heat recovering units? With several pipes running into the ground, hinting at underground connections to nearby buildings (or perhaps automatically painted 'pipe connections' on the ground towards affected buildings, similar to CnC3 Nod turrets). Visual variety could be achieved by adding large vents if there are speed modules installed, and some kind of heat-exchange columns for efficiency modules.
Simply makes sense, the best explanation to how such beacons could work.
Kind of. It doesn't really account for the use of so much electronic circuit material to build dedicated modules for efficiency vs. speed, rather than being a mechanical thing or constant, fixed effect. Going the physical thermodynamic route is even more of a re-imagining than the FFF's art suggests, and conflicts with existing game mechanics.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by Diablo »

Thanks for the update.
I have to say I really do not like the redesign.
If it has to be redesigned (and I really don't see why) then I will say I like the first iteration much better. Just lose the red colour and the giant yellow eye thingy. should be nicer then. The reason the current beacon works well, looks wise, is because it blends in with the world it's in. This new red and yellow design stands out like a sore thumb. Especially if you're going to have hundreds of them next to each other.
I like the lightning effects though.
Also having multiple versions of the same building is really going to mess up the look of the factory.
I had the same issue (and still have btw) with the concrete. The "new" concrete just looks messy.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by Durentis »

I like the middle design (next to the collision box) best, then the bottom right-most. The arcing is pretty sweet and overall, regardless of the final design, I think this will be a great visual improvement over the original.

But I very much dislike the red color - it's very Tier 2 tech and the image of an array of them showcases that feeling perfectly. This should, imo, be either dirty or in charcoals.

The round yellow light looks somewhat okay in isolation, but is a bit weird in an array. I don't think it's necessary given the arcing as an indicator of being powered.

The worst feature is the spike sticking up the top. There is no design in which I think this looks good in any way, though the rising arcs are a neat touch. Better, I think, would be to (perhaps slightly extend the shorter antennae and) arc between the shorter antennae (perhaps like the bottom right-most arc that rises in a closed ring.

Could the arcs to be tinted according to the module type(s) inserted? If multiple modules, either combine their color value or alternate/randomize which color shows each time an arc is created.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by JackGruff »

It has a 1950s retro futuristic feeling.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by mergele »

My 2 cents:
a) or rather !A)!, way to red, does stand out to much.
b) I feel like the new design is a bit to much punk/retro-scifi compared to the rest of Factorio style though I am not 100% on this and would need to experience it in action more.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by mrudat »

Perhaps something like a 3x3 area with a random collection of outdoor equipment cabinets (ideally visually distinct based on the installed modules), with cables running between them and to the edges of the sprite, with junction boxes on the edges; the junction boxes would overlap for rows/columns of beacons, and the cables logically travel underground to reach the equipment being beaconed.

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Re: Friday Facts #339 - Beacon HR + Redesign process

Post by WindPower »

I for one like the new design. However, here's one suggestion to help the monotony problem:
In the proposed design, when two beacons are placed side-by-side, they each have their own massive 3x3 hole in the ground, with all the metallic shaft lining that this involves. In reality, this would not be practical. Why make 2 giant 3x3 holes when you could make a single 3x6 hole and put two beacon towers inside? This would be more cost-efficient.
Visually, this would essentially mean that if two beacons are placed side by side, their hole would "merge" and become a single larger hole. Yes, this requires more texture variations in order to account for all possible ways to tile beacons together, but this texture variation is exactly why this would break some of the visual monotony.

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