Posts by Albert

Friday Facts #243 - New GUI tileset

Posted by kovarex & Albert on 2018-05-18

The new GUI tileset (Albert) The process of the GUI re-design is moving slowly but steadily. By making new mockups, re-thinking old mechanics, and with the proper feedback from a different range of people, the parts are falling into place. I'm starting to feel very confident with the actual general contrast and font sizes. Also the conversion from high resolution to normal resolution is working just fine. These subjects are very important to move forward with. Below you can see a demo of the current state of the new GUI. Not all the widgets are shown yet, but this document is helping us a lot in order to define the future elements. Seeing the big picture makes it much easier to tweak them altogether with a better coherence and consistency, not to mention for testing any kind of font, specifically non-latin characters sets, a subject that I personally have not paid too much attention to yet. This document is being used also to create the general tileset and see how it behaves in the engine. This is a work in progress, and we are tweaking details constantly. Many things will change during the process. Overall here you can see a sneak peek of the Factorio GUI to come. I want to also mention that we are actually taking care of the 8% of the population who has some sort of color vision problems. This subject is still very new for us, but we are without a doubt researching solutions to different conditions.

Friday Facts #219 - Cliffs

Posted by Twinsen, Albert, TOGoS on 2017-12-01

Cliffs - introduction and gameplay (Twinsen) Several months ago TOGoS (Dan) half-jokingly mentioned that what Factorio really needed was mountains and cliffs. This was also suggested many many many times. Albert immediately got very excited and they started having some discussions about how to make it happen. Fast forward a few months, and Ernestas had made some cliff graphics that looked really nice when layered onto pretty much any type of terrain. Fast forward a few more months and add a few months of programming and polishing, and cliffs are almost done, so we will be showing them to you today. Cliffs, together with the other map changes TOGoS did, should make the map look much more diverse and interesting compared to 0.15. Hopefully it will make exploration more fun, since you will be finding more diverse and unique areas in the world. Since cliffs block your path, they can affect gameplay significantly. To not make this annoying, cliffs are never too long and often have gaps. We tried to balance the length so they will be long enough to create interesting combat situations, or with some modifications serve as a natural wall against the biters, but so long that they block your path when you want to get somewhere. Cliffs will also not appear in the starting area, to give you plenty of space for your initial base. Finally, in Factorio nothing should stand in the way of automation, so if you don't like cliffs, you can always blow them up using a new mid-game item called "Cliff explosives". Cliffs - graphics (Albert) Map generation is hard mainly because it is procedurally generated. That means that the computer is mixing all the pieces to create the terrain on the fly. This leads the artists to a very difficult situation,because it is very hard to guess in which conditions the tilesets will be used. Factorio terrain 0.1 We started the generation of terrain in Factorio with very basic rules, mainly mixing clusters of 32px tiles. But obviously that wasn't enough. Factorio terrain 0.3 With better looking tiles, transitions from one terrain to another, and variations of tiles, terrain looks much better. But this technique was a pain for the artist to generate an interesting and detailed tileset. The 32px grid was killing any attempt to have a natural looking terrain. Factorio terrain 0.12 New technique: Instead of having only variations of 32px tiles, we produce a tileset with different sizes (x32, x64, x128, x256) in order to break this squary sense of grid, and even being able to render more detail in bigger sized tiles. So terrain looks much more natural. The visible tile-grid is almost gone, and we start spreading a new concept for us: the doodads. These are little sprites of plants and rocks randomly spread throughout the map in order to provide more variability and an organic feeling. Factorio terrain 0.15 Things are getting better, the doodads were optimised and we're able to place much more of them, creating more interesting patterns and mixtures. It is also worth it to mention that the introduction of the high resolution graphics does a lot to help the look of the terrain. Factorio terrain 0.16 After all those iterations, the next terrain generation integrates a couple of new concepts: the decals which are "just" doodads but ground-related. Decals are meant to generate terrain accidents and details without being oppressed by the rules of "tileability" and size. Basically decals are patches on top of a tileset that are very rich in detail. In combination with the doodads, the absence of the tile-grid and the high-res, we start to have a natural looking terrain. I have to add that the good and fast work of Ernestas, our environment artist, made possible the evolution of this new state of terrain. Now with our new techniques, the creation of a new tileset is very smooth. Even with all the improvements, terrain still looks too flat, so another addition to 0.16 are the cliffs. Finally we can break the flatness of the Factorio surface, without having to change the mechanics of the game. This new feature can add a bit to the fun of designing a factory by taking advantage of the topology of the map. Or can lead combat to more interesting situations. There are more additions to the terrain, and we will dedicate more time to this subject in future posts.

Friday Facts #195 - Poles re-design

Posted by Albert on 2017-06-16

Tomorrow's party Since a couple of weeks ago I was working for the 1M Party. Made some little graphic design jobs which finally became not that little and much more than "some little". I have to admit that I had quite some fun doing them, cause these small things are giving me the chance to experiment and play with the graphical identity of Factorio, like the happy logo variation, the small jumping gear, some layouts, the 1 color version of the Factorio logo and so on. Luckily I finished the jobs with time enough as to come back to the game gfx. But to be honest, Jitka is the person who's really taking care of every single detail for the party, and preparing and organizing everything. She became a master with the stamp and other stuff that I can't reveal just to not spoil surprises.

Friday Facts #146 - The GFX workflow

Posted by Albert on 2016-07-08

Hello again Factorians! The GFX department is back today for covering the process of making graphics for Factorio. I'll get a bit technical, but not too much in order to don't be absolutely boring. Next comes a resumed description of the actual process, so if you are a Factorio modder this might be interesting for you.

Friday Facts #144 - The gfx report

Posted by albert on 2016-06-24

Hello Factorians, Most of the week has been spent by tweaking and fixing stuff that keeps coming up for the Monday release. Even though things seem to work reasonably well for us a lot of the reported issues are to be expected. Especially regarding the Matching Server and the Mod Portal. It is quite tricky to test these things in our limited environment. So please keep calm and report the bugs=) Some time ago we came up with an idea of involving more people from the team in writing Friday Facts than just kovarex or tomas. The motivation was to take off quite some responsibility from our shoulders but also to give other team members the opportunity to present their work - which we believe can be interesting to the readers. So slowly, posts written mostly by other developers (related to what they currently work on) started appearing. We would like to go in this one even further. So today, the post is written by Albert, our art director, who will give some introduction into the project from the point of view of the graphics creation and where he is going to steer the project art-wise in the future.

Friday Facts #69 - Sympathy for the creeper

Posted by albert on 2015-01-17

Imagine yourself living in a perfectly balanced natural environment. With total freedom. A place where your ancestors have been the inhabitants for centuries. Evolving, understanding, and being part of this peaceful world and rich ecosystem. Totally integrated. On this land you can get aliment easily, due the lack of serious predators and pollution, and with the friendly company of your fellows, the only thing you have to take care is food, relax, and reproduction. Imagine that suddenly, something falls down from the sky. Something that starts the extraction of the minerals, and the eradication of your forests. Even further. Imagine that this newcomer, making use of the stolen resources, starts the production of massive machines aimed to automate the robbery and the production of a never ending factory which creates not only pollution in the air and water, desertification on the land, and starvation for your people, but also, creates heavy weapons in order to exterminate you and your entire species. Wouldn't you be angry? Isn't that newcomer a sick bastard?