Posts by TOGos

Friday Facts #317 - New pathfinding algorithm

Posted by Oxyd, TOGoS, Klonan on 2019-10-18

New pathfinding algorithm Oxyd Last week we mentioned the change to make biters not collide with each other, but that wasn’t the only biter-related update we released this past week. Somewhat coincidentally, this week’s updates have included something I’d been working on for a few weeks before – an upgrade to the enemy pathfinding system.

Friday Facts #309 - Controversial opinions

Posted by Twinsen, wheybags, TOGoS, posila, Rseding on 2019-08-23

The boring phase of bug-fixing is still going, slowly but surely. Stable should be released next week, but with some people on vacation (Ben, Jitka, kovarex, Klonan, Sanqui) and with the release of WoW Classic, it might get slowed down a bit. (By the way, some of us will be playing on Pyrewood Village, Alliance, so if you want to have the chance of meeting Twinsen, kovarex or dominik while leveling, you can join that server). So since there's not much happening, this week we decided to explore some unpopular or controversial opinions about the game from within the team. In Wube we don't have a very strict management structure, everyone is free to have ideas and opinions about almost all aspects of the game. This means that with almost every change we argue and discuss a lot before making a final decision. Sometimes we argue about everything, from the smallest GUI change, to how a major feature should work. This is probably not a bad thing since this means changes are usually well thought out and unpopular ideas or changes don't make it to the game very often. Some people feel quite strongly about their opinions or sometimes the team is very divided on what should we do. Today we'll share some of those opinions and controversies. Keep in mind that these are simply opinions and none of them will actually make it into the game, we are simply sharing them to have an interesting discussion.

Friday Facts #282 - 0.17 in sight

Posted by kovarex, TOGos, Ernestas, Albert on 2019-02-15

The release plan (kovarex) This week was the time to close and finish all the things that will go to 0.17.0. Not all of the things that we originally planned to be done were done (surprise), but we just left any non-essential stuff for later so we won't postpone the release any further. The plan is, that next week will be dedicated to the office playtesting and bugfixing. Many would argue, that we could just release instantly and let the players find the bugs for us, but we want to fix the most obvious problems in-house to avoid too many duplicate bug reports and chaos after the release. Also, some potential bugs, like save corruptions, are much more easily worked on in-house. If the playtesting goes well, we will let you know next Friday, and if it is the case, we will aim to release the week starting 25th February.

Friday Facts #258 - New autoplace

Posted by TOGoS, Twinsen on 2018-08-31

Taming the random generatorTwinsen One of the things in the large TODO list for 0.17 is giving a final polish to the map generator. There are quite a few obvious problems now in 0.16, and some less obvious ones. Here are some of the fixes and improvements (some work in progress): All combinations of settings should no longer create strange maps such as circles of cliffs. Much more predictable starting area resources that don't overlap each-other and are not covered by water. The resource generation settings now have a much more dramatic effect (previously they had little to no effect). Increased the number of steps (small, medium, big, etc) for each setting from 5 to 9 for even more customization. The starting area will always contain water, most often a lake close to the spawn position. Since the algorithm for generating ores was pretty much completely rewritten, there are many small improvements. Now for the less obvious problem: unpredictability. I saw quite a few people complain with vague comments like "the map generator sucks". So I often asked them what the problem is in detail. Some were complaining about the above problems, some did not understand what the settings do, and some had problems finding a "good map". I saw quite a few players click "regenerate" like crazy until they got a map with fat patches in the starting area, big oil patch and also uranium, complaining that it's too hard to find a "good map". Due to the randomness we seem to have set the expectation for "good map" a bit too high. Oil and uranium were never intended to be in the starting area, but due to the randomness of the generator they sometimes were there. Also sometimes maps were so wild that you would start off either swimming in resources or desperately looking for another iron patch. It would be simple to just say "that's just RNG, deal with it", but blaming poor game experience on RNG is just bad design. So what we did is: The starting area contains only iron, copper, coal and stone, in very predictable amounts. Uranium and oil are explicitly excluded from the starting area. Starting area resources are usually in one ore patch each (depending on settings). The starting area patches are usually close together. The starting area size setting no longer affects resource placement, it just has a fixed size. Outside the starting area, the regular algorithm "kicks in" so you can still get quite wild results, but they are far enough that it averages out. I believe this is a good balance where you can still have different experiences depending on your luck, but your starting experience is much more predictable and does not leave you with the feeling that you got screwed over by the map generator. We definitely don't want the map generator to be extremely flat and predictable. Opinions on the subject are quite wild too, with people having different expectations of what a good map should look like, so we try to only make changes based on actual problems. This might seem a bit controversial so we can add an option that disables this whole starting area logic, for purists. We plan some small tweaks coming to biters also (a tiny bit more biters close to the starting area), small tweaks to terrain, cliffs, water generation and possibly some new features to make the generated trees and decoratives look better. Most of these problems including the obvious and apparently simple ones were not that easy to solve. It's hard to make random generators do what you want, so TOGoS will explain what it took to actually get it done.

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 #207 - Lua noise specification

Posted by HanziQ & TOGoS on 2017-09-08

Hello, it seems the summer heat has finally subsided, and we have not had to run our AC units the whole week. We mentioned earlier we have had Dominik in for a testing week, and we are happy to say that he is quite qualified for a position here, so will be remaining with us. Tom has also joined us, moving here from the Republic of Ireland, and has been getting settled in working through a lot of the small unassigned tasks. It also seems most of us are back from our vacations, so the pace is picking up again. Most of the work this week has been on the unentertaining spectrum, with a lot of internal reworking and refactoring going on. A lot commits related to fixing our compilation after the move to C++17. Many of the GUI and input action functions were broken (such as rebinding keys, switch map editor tabs, setting combinator filters), so its been a team effort to fix these as they are found. Hopefully not many will slip through the cracks and into release.

Friday Facts #200 - Plans for 0.16

Posted by kovarex & TOGoS on 2017-07-21

Hello, I can't believe that we have been able to produce a post every Friday for 200 weeks without missing a single one. To be honest I'm not sure if this isn't the right time to pause for a while, to avoid being this kind of show that gets worse and worse over time until it is so bad that you want to take your intestines and strangle yourself with them. But people in the office convinced me with arguments like "FFF is the only good thing we have", so we probably have to continue for a little longer.