Posts by Tomas

Friday Facts #161 - Infinite Research and Blueprint Library

Posted by Tomas & kovarex on 2016-10-21

Hello, pretty much half of the office has been sick in the past week, but that still hasn't stopped us from progressing in the development of your favourite pollution-generating game (though I have been playing some Cities skyline recently and there you can screw the nature around quite creatively as well).

Friday Facts #156 - Massive Multiplayer

Posted by Tomas on 2016-09-16

Hi all, sometimes, writing FFF feels like spitting out blood - there is simply very little to write about. Yet the Factorio blog subscriber crowd is there and waiting ... Sometimes it is the opposite and there is abundance of interesting topics available. Today it is the latter case. Enjoy!

Friday Facts #150 - New Terrain Experiments

Posted by Tomas on 2016-08-05

Hello all,

Friday Facts #139 - Wrapping Up MP UI

Posted by Tomas on 2016-05-20

Hello everybody, the work on the 0.13 is slowly getting to the final phase and hence it feels like a good time to give an overview of actual multiplayer changes that have been implemented over past couple of weeks. This is a recap and extension of a FFF post that mentioned the Multiplayer improvements while there were in progress.

Friday Facts #135 - Getting Organized

Posted by Tomas on 2016-04-22

Hello all, originally I intended to dedicate most of the post to the technical aspect of our new Multiplayer User Authorization mechanism that I have been working on in my programming time. Then I thought, hmm it would be nice to start with some project management changes that we are looking into and experimenting with. Then I pretty much ended up making a full blog post about that =) It might give you an interesting insight into issues that we are dealing with. The Multiplayer User Authorization mechanism will definitely be described in one of the future FFFs.

Friday Facts #132 - Side Project

Posted by Tomas on 2016-04-01

Hello everyone past week has been a typical "not-that-much-interesting-is-happening" kind of a week here in the Wube office. Everyone is working on his continuous little sub projects. New and new bugs keep appearing in "should-have-been-stable-long-ago" 0.12 branch. The bugs are then fixed and the cycle continues. It is not easy to find interesting topics in times like these, however this week Robert has decided to share his pet project he has been busy with lately. Just to put things into perspective, Robert is the leader (and only member at the moment) of a subteam nick-named Factorio-X which is eXperimenting with pushing our engine to its limits.

Friday Facts #127 - Steam Status III: Thank You

Posted by Tomas on 2016-02-26

Hi all, what a week. Let's see what has happened. The Launch Week The game launch at Steam has obviously been a highlight of the week (well not just the week=)). However quite a few other "launches" have happened as well. As for the game, together with Steam launch we have launched the game at Humble Store. Based on how this goes we might add a few other popular retail sites (i.e. GOG, Green Man Gaming). Prior to the appearance of the Game on Steam, we came up with the 0.12.24 (imho a magical release number) which fixed a couple of last minute bugs. This is the version available at Steam. Outside of the digital world, there have been quite some news as well. Kovarex's son Robin has been born on Monday early in the morning. As Kovarex reported, the whole process went quite smoothly and fast. The family is back at home from hospital already. And finally, a baby girl called Ema has been born to our artist Vaclav. This has happened some time ago already, however there were quite a few complications and only this week Vaclav has returned to the office. All is fine by now as well with his family. We were thinking of posting some pictures of the babies, but as kovarex rightly noted "All babies look the same". So there is not much point=) Gameplay Trailer You have probably noticed the homepage layout has been changed. This is due to the release of our new Gameplay trailer. The Factorio Trailer is focused on giving an impression of the game. Without giving too much explanations of what is going on. Basically it goes for the WOW EFFECT. With the Gameplay Trailer our goal was to introduce the real aspects of the game to new players in a short video (well still keeping a bit of a wow effect=)). Show how the game actually looks, how player progresses in the game, how some common UI work, etc. Albert, Robert and others have poured many, many hours to the video. From the comments on Youtube it seems that it was more than worth it. Thank you Yesterday was pretty intense. Fixing last minute issues at our website, tweaking the Steam page, finishing the Factorio guide (see below), putting everything together, etc. Finally at 8 p.m. we have semi-automatically launched the game. Huge relief has replaced the frantic preparations. Everybody, except for Albert who went for vacation, was in the office. There was a bit of champaign and positive atmosphere. This got even stronger after a while when positive reviews started to pour in, Steam in-game counter kept going up and discussion at Steam page kicked off. Months of preparation culminated during that evening. After the launch we just relaxed and basically watched what was happening. And it was great to see the communnity engage so actively in promoting the game. So it feels more than appropriate to use this section for a big THANK YOU to you guys for all the support. It is difficult to capture everything, but I will try to list the imho most important stuff (I am a methodical type after all=)). So thank you, especially for: Awesome reviews. At this moment there are 630 reviews with rating of 99%. There is literally 2 "not recommended" reviews. That is mind blowing. Makes it a challenge to stay "with our feet on the ground"=) Support at reddit. The new Factorio Gameplay Trailer link has stayed at the top of r/Games for nearly full day. Heck, it seems that we have received as much exposure as highly anticipated Superhot. Spreading the word to your friends, youtubers, etc. Helping out new users at Steam discussions, Reddit, our forums etc. Factorio guide In one of the previous releases of FFF, we have mentioned a new third party documentation project called Factorio Strategy Guide. There has been some more development regarding this one. The result is that we (Wube Software) have bought the guide from the original author (Xterminator). We have turned the original .pdf document into a free online guide. Albert has spent his last "finishing" hours, before going for a well-deserved vacation, polishing this online document. This is linked from the Steam page as well. The guide should be considered to be very much a work in progress. There are many things that we plan to improve - phrasing, screenshots, general consistency. However we feel it could be of a good value for new players in the current state. That is why we pushed to have it ready for Steam release. There is a chance of integrating this one with Wiki in the future for instance. However at the moment this feels like the most comprehensive introductory resource into the game there is (apart from messing with the game yourself). Lua API documentation There has been one more update in the documentation. This time aimed at the modders community. The Lua API documentation at the wiki has always been a bit messy, not properly updated and often confusing. Couple of weeks ago, Oxyd and Rseding have finished a resolute mini project of making the Lua API documentation autogenerate from the source code. So basically the function bindings in the code are annotated with special-formatted comments (imagine something like java Doxygen) and based on this a comprehensive reference is then generated. You can checkout the result at the Lua API doc page. We will link this website from some appropriate place soon. Another great advantage of this approach is that we can keep clear separation of documentation for different versions. The only drawback is that the feedback for the documentation is now more cumbersome. If you find something that could be improved, sending us an email is probably the best option at the moment. We might make a new topic for this in the modding subforum if necessary. Funny Stats Last couple of days and hours before the Steam release there has been an escalation of sales at our webpage. That was to be expected - people were taking advantage of cheaper price before Steam launch. It was also expected for sales to drop after the release. Still it is rather funny to watch the hourly sales stats from yesterday. Life goes on So this is it. A hectic week is over. The game is launched and it seems to be doing really well. Let's see how it goes=) I have a feeling that our support department (Scott=)) has some rought times ahead. Anyway, Monday seems like a good opportunity to "get back down to Earth" and continue in the 0.13 development, which has suffered a bit in the past two weeks. As usual you can post your comment at our forums.

Steam Keys Available

Posted by Tomas on 2016-02-23

Hello, so the functionality to claim Steam Keys has just been deployed to the website. If you have a promotional or paid membership (Transport Belt Repair Man or higher) then you can claim a Steam key on your profile page. There is a section dedicated to Steam Access as can be seen below on the screenshot. function buttonAlert() { alert("This is just a screenshot. Not a real button. Please go to your profile page to get the Steam key."); } Simply clicking the button will generate a Steam key for you. You can then copy paste the generated key and use it via the Steam app to activate the game. The game will be released on Thursday 25th Feb 2016 at 11:00 a.m. PST. Only after this date will it actually be possible to get the game via Steam. We thought it would be possible to write reviews already, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case=( The amount of keys is limited for now to 20000. In case these run out or are close to running out we will request a new batch from Steam. So Enjoy! There is a thread for comments if you need it at our forums.

Friday Facts #126 - Steam Status II and Trains Stuff

Posted by Tomas on 2016-02-19

Hello, so here we go with the last Friday Facts before the big day next Thursday. 0.12.23 The 0.12.23 is getting latest tweaks regarding the integration of Steam functionality for sharing saves for one account across different locations (different computers). In the meantime the majority of the dev team has been playtesting the game for past couple of days (and doing the usual "factory building shouting" across the office). Hopefully it will be out in the beginning of the next week. Steam page So the Steam page is up and running. We have uploaded the 0.12.22 and that (together with the page content) has been approved by the Steam review. The game is now listed in coming soon section. Things to check out: Updated existing trailer. The new gameplay trailer is hidden and will appear together with the game release (just to keep the expectations=)). New Factorio cover image (Albert is really proud of this one=)). A bunch of selected screenshots. As usual, we are open to ideas and recommendations in the comments on the forum=). Other Steam Stuff There is now a Steam FAQ page on the Factorio subreddit which contains a lot of useful information regarding the Steam release. We have had a betting round in the office what will the Factorio review percentage be in 1 week and 1 month after the EA release (so 2 numbers, i.e. [90, 86]). You are welcome to give your bets in the comments. We took down the Furnace Attendant tier from our webpage. The Mining Drill Operator is still available, because it adds stuff (name in the game, gfx wiki access) which will not be available after Steam release. There has been some discomfort on the forums about people overpaying on the Furnace Attendant tier (because Scenario Pack will be given for free alongside the basic game). We don't percieve this as an unfair treatment on our side. Still, we are thinking about ways how to provide some additional value / recognition to people who supported us by buying the higher tiers. In the middle of the finishing gfx craziness, Albert has spontaneously stopped shaving his beard. This has been going for long enough time to catch attention. I found the "idea" somehow compelling and joined him not so long ago. Though not impressive beards they are quite unusual for us. We might make a picture next Thursday=) There is still a possibility of Factorio release day coinciding with Kovarex's baby being born. New trains overview screen One of the new features in the 0.13 will be a new screen for viewing all the trains in the game. This one is invoked from the mini side menu mentioned in one of previous FFF. The screen basically shows every train depicted as a minimap and a train schedule below it. Trains will be ordered lexicographically based on the first station (also lexicographically) in their schedules (this should be the "expected" ordering - see trains sharing the stations close to each other). Schedules give hint about current station and whether the train is on the way / waiting in the station / in manual mode or without path. Also there is a search field which narrows the listing based on the stations in the schedule. Below is an example of the trains overview. Updated train screen We made some more updates to the existing single train screen. Namely adding the "open ttd" inspired preview of the train. There is a switchable "camera view" and "map view". Both are zoomable by scrolling the preview. Check out below how it looks in the game. We are also thinking about using this embedded minimap / camera views in other parts of the game. One straightforward example would be to have a camera entity (it could also be just existing radar entity). Then there would be a screen pretty much like the trains overview screen showing all the cameras and you could quickly check what is happening in different parts of the factory without physically going there. Or maybe another approach would be to allow player (with a special object in his armor?) view real-time any part of the map covered by radars. The non-surprising comments thread at our forums is waiting for your feedback.

Friday Facts #124 - Steam Status I

Posted by Tomas on 2016-02-05

Hi there, the Steam date is looming and we haven't been sitting with the hands in our lap just waiting. So here comes a report of what is going on and what will change with the Steam release on 25th of Feb 2016. The Price We have decided that the Steam release is a good opportunity to adjust the price of the game. The referential game price will be set to 20€ / 20$ (well 19.95$ because that is how Steam rolls). Steam has a feature of providing different pricing in different countries and we will probably follow their recommended pricing in this regard. Which means that in countries with generally lower purchasing power the game might be cheaper than that. The game price at the webpage will be set to 20€ as well to match the Steam referential price. There are couple of reasons for increasing the price. But the most important ones are: We feel the game is closing a stable and feature rich state that justifies such a price (judging by other games in the market). Scenario pack will become part of the basegame which adds more content (see details below). Naturally Steam will take their share from every copy sold for distributing the game (however this is expected to be more than offset by the amount of potential new players). We need $$$ for world domination=) And besides houses in the Hawaii have become more expensive lately ... So the bottom line is: if you have a friend who is still hesitant about buying the game now and the price difference would matter to him / her, let him / her know =) The Keys Every user who has bought some version of our membership will have a possibility to get a Steam key for the game. This will most probably be implemented via an interface at our website. What I have in mind is a simple form in the User profile page which will assign a Steam key upon request (clicking the request button=)). This functionality is not yet programmed but it will be done very soon and available together with the Steam launch. Steam doesn't have a web api to generate Steam keys, but we will prefetch a (hopefully) substantial amount of those and then assign them to users automatically from this batch. Our current approach is that the player's account at the website will co-exist with the Steam account (if requested). That means that player can download the game from our webpage or via the Steam. His / her choice. This is provided as a convenience for the existing players and the generated Steam keys are not meant to be distributed / given / sold to other people. We will put a clause about this into Terms & Conditions. In case that a significant portion of Steam keys would be given away / sold to other people then we reserve the right to alter the approach. One option would be that the game would be available via Steam or via our webpage but not both. Hopefully that won't be necessary=). We haven't made a decision yet, whether unpaid memberships will be able to get the steam key as well. This includes memberships given out for free in promotions (i.e. over the Youtube, Twitch) and testing in the early stages of development. If you are unsure what your membership is, you can check it out at your profile page when logged in. The Scenario Pack Starting with the game release on Steam, the Scenario Pack will be distributed together with the basic game itself. This is quite a big change=) Our motivations are following: We believe that Scenario pack contains some really interesting content that gives prominence to different aspects of the game than the Campaign and the Freeplay. Exposing this to wider audience feels right. Having the Scenario Pack in the base package (and not as a paid content) takes away some pressure for updating it. Though we still have ideas for additional scenarios / mini campaigns. Adding the Scenario Pack gives more justification to increased price. The Tiers & The Content There will be no tiers on Steam. There will simply be one package with the game itself, which will also include the content of the scenario pack. The wallpapers will be made public for download. The 0.12 features a new soundtrack. We plan to make this available for purchase as a standalone DLC. This is meant for users who want to support us and our music composer beyond the scope of the game. This is probably all there will be available to begin with. We might add a possibility to get the name in the game as DLC in the future, but that is not decided yet. On our webpage the tiers will be reduced to Transport Belt Repair Man (might lose the fancy name and become just "The Package"). This will be the game itself with the content of the scenario pack (same as on Steam). It is not clear yet if we sell the soundtrack as DLC on our webpage as well. These changes come partly from the incentive to have the same content available on the Steam as on our webpage. Also there has been little attention from our side to update the content in the Furnace Attendant and Mining Drill Operator tiers. For instance the wallpapers or the graphical handbook are ridiculously outdated. We really appreciate players who have supported us by purchasing these tiers, however we feel that most of that additional content has become obsolete and it is time for a goodbye or reintegration to the basic game (as in case of scenario pack). The Marketing Scott has moved to Prague and has been working with us in our office since the beginning of this week. He has been spending most of his time reaching out to youtubers / streamers / bloggers and other potential marketing sources. Basically we are trying to prepare a sort of a "general public hit" alongside the Steam release. Even though we are directly "pushing the game out there" we would still appreciate the help from you guys, the community. We will be sending out a "call to arms" email when the game has launched officially notifying existing players that the game is now available on Steam. When the game has launched, it would be great to see existing players come over to leave a review, help out new players from Steam or invite their friends to join them for a game of Multiplayer. However if there is something you feel you could do to help promote the game even before it launches on Steam (i.e. recommending it to your favorite youtuber) that would be of a great help too. The Trailers As announced earlier, to celebrate the Steam launch we have decided to make another trailer. This new trailer (we call it Trailer 3 or Gameplay Trailer) is a collection of mostly real scenes from the game giving the taste of how the game is actually played. After heroic effort coming mostly from Albert, this has been finished by now. It will be made public on the launch. Something for you guys to look forward=) The current trailer has been visually (and a bit in terms of content as well) improved and will also be made public with the game launch. We call this one Trailer 2 or the Teaser, because it gives a taste of what the game is about. And to add a bit of nostalgy, do many of you still remember the very first trailer (Trailer 1) which we made for the Indiegogo campaign? It was made in less than a week and then re-made within a few hours before the launch of the crowdfunding campaign (which happend at 8 a.m. after a sleepless night). Some of the phrases (voiceovered by a polish narrator) became kind of memes at a time (i.e. "fix fings"). Oh boy, that feels like in another life=) The Bonus Screen So to compensate for the wall of text below is a screenshot of one of the upcoming features in the 0.13. We have added a little side gui that will provide clickable shortcuts for couple of existing windows (i.e. Main Menu, Production Statistics) and couple of new windows. One of them is the Bonus Screen. This shows what Bonuses has the player researched / obtained. This is quite useful information which was not avaiable until now. Next week will be more focused on new features we are working for in 0.13. And it is imho quite interesting stuff, so stay tuned. To keep up with the tradition, if there is anything you would like us to know, join the discussion at the forums.