make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

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Tekky
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make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by Tekky » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:18 pm

TL;DR
Instead of allowing the player to hand-craft while moving, the player should have to stand still in order to hand-craft.

What ?
Currently, it is possible for the player to perform hand-crafting while moving. I am suggesting that the player should have to stand still for several seconds in order to unpack his hand-crafting equipment and to remain standing still for the actual hand-crafting. As soon as the player moves, he stops hand-crafting and will only continue hand-crafting after he has been standing still for long enough to unpack his hand-crafting equipment again. So that the player can better understand what is going on, an animation should play when he is unpacking his hand-crafting equipment and a different animation should play when he is actually performing hand-crafting.

Why ?
Currently, if the player urgently needs an item to be hand-crafted, he must cancel his entire crafting queue in order to craft that urgently needed item. For this reason, it has been suggested many times that it should be possible for the player to be able to insert items to the start of the hand-crafting queue. For example, this has been suggested in the following suggestion threads:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=62338 Double ended crafting queue
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=49361 Rearrange hand craft queue - QOL
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41594 Ctrl+click to add to front of craft queue
viewtopic.php?f=71&t=63092 Reorder crafting
viewtopic.php?f=71&t=63175 Please reverse the craft queue

This suggestion has been declined by the Factorio developers. In this post, Factorio developer Twinsen states that the hand-crafting interface is supposed to be annoying, because they don't want to make hand-crafting too powerful. They want people to automate instead.

I agree with the Factorio developers that hand-crafting should not be made too powerful, because the goal of the game is automation. However, discouraging hand-crafting by deliberately having an annoying inflexible interface does not seem the right thing to do. In my opinion, there are better ways to discourage hand-crafting, for example by requiring that the user is stationary in order to hand-craft.

In other words, I fully agree with Twinsen that hand-crafting should be annoying, because the goal of the game is automation. I just disagree with Twinsen about how hand-crafting should be annoying. Instead of making the interface annoying, the game should make hand-crafting annoying in a way that fits better with the game. I believe that this is what my suggestion accomplishes.

If my suggestion were implemented, then hand-crafting will be sufficiently nerfed, so that there would no longer be any reason not to implement the priority hand-crafting suggestion mentioned above.

EDIT: updated the list of suggestion threads
Last edited by Tekky on Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by Jap2.0 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:37 am

So... basically, you're making the early game even more tedious and encouraging afking?

I'd also like to point out that setting down an assembler to craft something, going to do something else, and then coming back to pick up the product and assembler because you couldn't hand-craft your first whatever while playing the game isn't exactly the kind of automation we're going for here.
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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by WeirdConstructor » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:57 am

Thats a great idea. And you can mitigate the tediousness by giving the player one or two assemblers for free at the beginning. That would instantly make it obvious how valuable the automation is.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by Tekky » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:45 am

After hearing your counter-arguments, I am starting to think that it may be best to get rid of hand-crafting altogether.

One thing that I never liked about hand-crafting is that it can be used as an exploit to increase your carrying capacity beyond your inventory limit, by queuing many items and cancelling them later. Getting rid of hand-crafting would solve this problem.

However, I do like being forced to hand-craft in the early game. It gives you a nice feeling of progression to start off with nothing else but a pickaxe and hand-crafting equipment and end up with a big automated factory.

Also, having the option to hand-craft as a fallback is important to prevent deadlock situations. If the player were unable to hand-craft and given an assembler at the start of the game as compensation, then the player would be deadlocked if this assembler somehow got destroyed before he could manufacture more.

Jap2.0 wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:37 am
I'd also like to point out that setting down an assembler to craft something, going to do something else, and then coming back to pick up the product and assembler because you couldn't hand-craft your first whatever while playing the game isn't exactly the kind of automation we're going for here.
Actually, maybe it is.

When using your pickaxe to mine ore in the very early game, you are also forced to stand still. It makes sense that the same should be true for hand-crafting.

In this post, Factorio developer Twinsen stated that hand-crafting should be annoying, so that the player gets the feeling that there must be a better way to do things (which would be automation). If the player discovers that it is easier to place an assembler, give it some work to do and return later, then that would be the first step toward automation.

That way, hand-crafting would only be meaningful in the following situations:
  • To craft a small number of items where it would not be worth it to set up an assembler to do the job.
  • To prevent the deadlock situations described above.
I have the feeling that this solution may fit best with the spirit of Factorio.

WeirdConstructor wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:57 am
And you can mitigate the tediousness by giving the player one or two assemblers for free at the beginning.
I am not sure if the player should be given an assembler for free right at the beginning. But I agree that assemblers should at least be craftable right from the beginning and should not have to be researched first.

If the player is given a burner miner and smelter for free at the beginning, then it does make sense that the player is also given an assembler for free. However, one could argue that forcing the player to craft all of these items himself and forcing him to gathering the resources for these items using his pickaxe would give the player more of a feeling of progression.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by SupplyDepoo » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:21 pm

Is this a sarcasm thread?

This is the worst suggestion I've come across. I'd much rather have the ability to move while crafting than the ability to prepend the queue (not that they're mutually exclusive).

The time it takes and the linearity of handcrafting is enough of a penalty.

Being able to carry more items by handcrafting is a clever use of game mechanics that is not at all common, and has its own downsides.

This idea just limits variation in play style for nothing in return.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by Tekky » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:58 pm

SupplyDepoo wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:21 pm
The time it takes and the linearity of handcrafting is enough of a penalty.
Yes, that is a very good argument and I would certainly find it acceptable if the Factorio developers reverted their decision that handcrafting should be annoying and would instead improve the crafting interface to make it more flexible.

However, the current situation is that the Factorio developers have decided that they want to keep the annoying inflexible crafting interface because they don't want to make handcrafting too attractive. Therefore, with my suggestion, I am offering an alternative way to make handcrafting less attractive.

I guess it all comes down to the following question:

Do we want players to be walking assembly machines?

Factorio developer Twinsen explicitly answered that question with a "no" in his post that I mentioned above, arguing that the player should be encouraged to automate instead. However, your argument that the linearity of handcrafting is a sufficient limitation is also a good argument. Therefore, I would say that there are good arguments for answering this question either way.

The main problem I see is that there has never been a clear decision on how to answer this question. Currently, players are allowed to be walking assembly machines, but the Factorio developers are declining all further QOL improvements to the crafting interface out of fear that this would make handcrafting too attractive.

Therefore, I think it would be best if a clear decision was made that either
  1. Players are walking assembly machines and can use a flexible crafting interface to give priority to individual crafting jobs.
  2. Players are not walking assembly machines and therefore should have strong restrictions on handcrafting, for example by being required to remain stationary in order to handcraft.
Whatever decision the Factorio developers and/or community makes, I will support it, but I urge that a clear decision should be made.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by SupplyDepoo » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:12 pm

I think you're making a false a dichotomy. The current system is basic, but does the job quite well (compare with Minecraft for example), with some obvious drawbacks. We don't have to go toward either extreme. Leave it as it is, or even improve it. Just don't punish the player for having to handcraft a few things in the early- and mid-game by having to stop and wait in boredom just to make a point about automation.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by posila » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:35 pm

Tekky wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:58 pm
Players are walking assembly machines and can use a flexible crafting interface to give priority to individual crafting jobs.
How does "being walking assembling machine" imply "flexible crafting interface"? Assembling machines have even less flexible crafting interface than player does.

Also Twinsen said:
Twinsen wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 5:28 pm
Adding queue to front will only aggravate this problem. By making it annoying the way it is now, it forces new players to think "if only there was a way to do this easier...".
"Making it annoying" refers to "queue to front" operation, not entire crafting interface.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by Tekky » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:32 pm

SupplyDepoo wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:12 pm
I think you're making a false a dichotomy. The current system is basic, but does the job quite well (compare with Minecraft for example), with some obvious drawbacks. We don't have to go toward either extreme. Leave it as it is, or even improve it.
That is exactly what I suggested as option #1 in my previous post. The existing handcrafting interface should be kept, in principle, but should get a few QOL (quality of life) improvements, such as the "queue to front" feature.

I agree that my option #2 which suggested stationary handcrafting (which I also suggested in my original post) may be a bit extreme. But I still think that it is better than the current situation, because it would at least allow the "queue to front" feature to be implemented.

Even if the Factorio developers had good reasons for what they did, it still seems just bad game design to deliberately make the interface annoying and inflexible, in order to discourage the user from (excessively) using it. Therefore, I am suggesting alternatives.


posila wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:35 pm
Tekky wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:58 pm
Players are walking assembly machines and can use a flexible crafting interface to give priority to individual crafting jobs.
How does "being walking assembling machine" imply "flexible crafting interface"? Assembling machines have even less flexible crafting interface than player does.

In Twinsen's post mentioned above, he used the term "walking assembling machine" in the sense that the player acts as a mobile assembly machine that can be constantly crafting something in the background. I took over that term from Twinsen and meant to use it in the same way. I was not my intention to compare the handcrafting interface with the assembling machine interface.

You ask how being a "walking assembing machine" implies a "flexible [hand-]crafting interface"? Well, in my post above, I stated that a clear decision should be made whether a player should be a "walking assembling machine", i.e. whether it should be possible for the player to be constantly handcrafting things in the background. If it is decided that players are walking assembling machines (option #1), then there would no longer be any reason not to implement the "queue to front" QOL improvement to the crafting queue and players could have a "flexible crafting interface".

However, even if it is decided that players are not walking assembling machines (option #2), then it would still be possible to implement the "queue to front" QOL improvement. That was the whole point of my "make handcrafting only possible when stationary" suggestion.


posila wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:35 pm
Also Twinsen said:
Twinsen wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 5:28 pm
Adding queue to front will only aggravate this problem. By making it annoying the way it is now, it forces new players to think "if only there was a way to do this easier...".
"Making it annoying" refers to "queue to front" operation, not entire crafting interface.
Currently, I would say that, overall, the current handcrafting interface is annoying and inflexible, at least when the player is used as a walking assembling machine with a constantly long crafting queue. It really is a pain to have to empty your entire crafting queue whenever you discover that you urgently need to craft one small single item. Judging by the number of suggestions in this forum for a "queue to front" feature[1] (see footnote), it would appear that many other players agree with me.

As I have already stated several times, is just seems bad game design to deliberately make the interface annoying and inflexible, in order to discourage the user from (excessively) using it. Therefore, I am suggesting alternatives.

As another forum user puts it:
eradicator wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:43 am
use game mechanics for discouragement, not interface mechanics.
The quote was taken from this post.

I am not saying that Factorio's handcrafting interface is "bad" when compared to other games. Despite still being in early access, Factorio's quality already far surpasses that of most other "finished" games. It is just this one issue about the interface that I don't like.


Footnotes:
[1] For a list of suggestion threads for a "queue to front" feature, see my first post of this thread.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by Darinth » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:12 pm

I think your original post is a great example of 'two steps back, one step forward'. The ability to queue something to the front is a paltry bonus compared to craft on the move. I understand where you're coming from... but it's a trade I'd never take.

With all of that said... I do still feel like the ability to queue things to the front of your crafting queue is a logical request. And I generally agree that refusing it because it might make handcrafting to attractive is a bad decision. It's making a UI intentionally cumbersome to reduce it's use. It'd be like making the process of configuring inserters to interact with trains more cumbersome specifically to prevent train cars from being used as stationary chests. It'd cause the desired effect, but in a way that is just going to be offputting.

Some other possibilities:

Character exhaustion. Every item your character crafts will cause exhaustion to build up, reducing your crafting speed and maybe your walking speed.
Reducing character speed while crafting. The little brother to your original suggestion. Rather than requiring the player to stand still and take time to set out equipment, just simply reducing crafting speed creates a game-play downside to handcrafting that isn't completely overbearing.

In the end, however, I have to acknowledge that I don't see any of this is a big deal. If you do... you may be the type of person that caused Twinsen to look at the handcrafting and say 'I want to make handcrafting annoying to de-emphasize it early on'. I just finished my lazy bastard run, and honestly it didn't make a whole huge amount of difference in how I played. In the end, not a whole lot changes between lazy bastard and normal play through. I occasionally had to drop an assembly machine on the ground to craft one of those rare items that you only ever make a tiny number of (like your armor). I learned early on to automate nearly everything and once you get logistics robots, it becomes incredibly easy to make sure materials get routed around where they need to be.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by Tekky » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:18 pm

Darinth wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:12 pm
Character exhaustion. Every item your character crafts will cause exhaustion to build up, reducing your crafting speed and maybe your walking speed.
Reducing character speed while crafting. The little brother to your original suggestion. Rather than requiring the player to stand still and take time to set out equipment, just simply reducing crafting speed creates a game-play downside to handcrafting that isn't completely overbearing.
I really like that counter-suggestion. It has all the advantages of my suggestion, but significantly less disadvantages.

In particular, it would nerf handcrafting sufficiently to allow for the "queue to front" feature to be fully implemented.

Also, it would encourage automation even more than it does now (which is exactly what the developers want). When the exhaustion level of the player reaches a certain level for the first time, a message (or mini-tutorial) could be triggered that informs the player that he will have to automate if he wants to craft faster.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by PacifyerGrey » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:27 am

I think the real problem here is not the mere existance of handcrafting but the speed of it.
A player can actually handcraft faster than tier2 machine can do it which is rediculous.
A player should understand that automating stuff even with 1 assembler will be beneficial to him compared to handcrafting the same stuff.
However the stationary limit seems like a valid solution to me as well.

Minecraft has a crafting table for a reason. You just can't craft all the complex stuff by hand while running across the field shooting biters.
This required multitasking is actually a driving force for automation in real life.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by SupplyDepoo » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:01 am

Handcrafting is faster per item, but since you usually have to craft intermediate items yourself first as well, it doesn't feel so fast.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by Darinth » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:53 pm

In the end, the advantage of the assembling machines is that their crafting speed stacks additively. With 12 ASM1s, you've got a combined crafting speed of 6. By the time your base is litered with ASM3s, you've got crafting speeds in the 100s or 1000s. Just the 3 wire crafters and 2 green circuit crafters in ASM1s mean that the tiny plant is produceing green circuits 2.5 times faster than the player will ever be able to produce them.

But to someone who hasn't ever played with automation in games before, they might not intuitively realize how powerful the automation is. And once they get the idea to hand-craft everything, it'll be harder to break them of the habbit. I agree with the devs wanting to push players into automation early, I just don't think I personally agree with doing by making an interface intentionally cumbersome. I feel like there has to be a better way. Making some of the early products not producible by hand might resolve the issue. As could making other aspects of hand-crafting more annoying (speed reduction, either of crafting speed or walking speed or both).

Once again though... I also have to acknowledge that this probably shouldn't be a big deal either way. If you're relying on your ability to hand-craft enough that this is a major issue, you're probably hand-crafting too much.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by voddan » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:36 pm

I don't get the core argument that handcrafting should be somehow nerfed.

Even if handcrafting UI is excellent, has no restrictions and has cat pics in it, it will still be annoying to handcraft because IT TAKES PLAYER'S TIME. That's the biggest nerf you can get in an automation game!

Please fix the handcrafting issues, make it shiny and nice to use, so players can EXPERIMENT AND EXPLORE new recipes.
Handcrafting is never a competition to automation, but rather a step-stone to it.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by voddan » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:44 pm

Tekky wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:32 pm
SupplyDepoo wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:12 pm
I think you're making a false a dichotomy. The current system is basic, but does the job quite well (compare with Minecraft for example), with some obvious drawbacks. We don't have to go toward either extreme. Leave it as it is, or even improve it.
That is exactly what I suggested as option #1 in my previous post. The existing handcrafting interface should be kept, in principle, but should get a few QOL (quality of life) improvements, such as the "queue to front" feature.
Exactly right!
Tekky wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:32 pm
Even if the Factorio developers had good reasons for what they did...
They didn't.
IMO we better push against that decision than trying to work around it.
As they say, "compromise is when nobody gets satisfied".
Last edited by voddan on Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by Hannu » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:17 am

Is it real problem? I am sure that no-one will progress many steps in tech tree by handcrafing all the science. In any case only extremely negligible part of resources go through handcrafting. In my opinion it is not better to demand player to build temporary assembler to build entities he needs at beginning. And I think that overwhelming majority make some kind of mall or workshop at mid game because it is already too impractical to handcraft entities needed in even small rocket producing base.

Problem is much worse with mods that have tens of different production entities. It is very tedious and impractical to build belted mall for them all and sometimes it is impossible if building needs higher tier assembler than player can build.

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Re: make hand-crafting only possible when stationary

Post by zOldBulldog » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:01 am

Handcrafting is annoying enough already. But there are some things/times when it makes more sense than the alternative. Do the Lazy Bastard achievement and you will really understand it.

So no. This suggestion is not good. We really don't need more players quitting factorio before they launch their first rocket.

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