Posts by kovarex

Friday Facts #26 - How to satisfy achievers

Posted by kovarex on 2014-03-21

Hello, the spring officially started today here in the Czech republic and it is really beautiful weather here. This is nice, because the "I need to have a break" kind of strolls are much more enjoyable now. I don't want you to confuse with terms you don't know, so you can read in this lengthy article that players can be roughly divided into 4 basic categories Achiever, Explorer, Killer and Socialiser. I believe that I'm 50% achiever 25% explorer and 25% killer, so one of the (many) things I wanted to have for Factorio to be different than just industrially modded Minecraft was to offer the satisfaction for achievers like me. This is the reason why the player is under the pressure of biters that evolve over time instead of having all the time on the world to play and fiddle with factory setups. The achiever wants to fight through the obstacles to get to the goal, but the goal has to be difficult to be meaningful. When I played Starcraft II mission on brutal and I won on the first try, I was dissatisfied, because it was too easy. When I had to fail 3 times to understand the level mechanics and requirements to be able to beat the level after another 2 tries, that was the thing I loved. I loved that I had to think about timings and different approaches to problems and search for combination of the choices that work the best. But how to do it? How to satisfy us, achievers, in Factorio? How to do it, so non-achievers or beginners will not be discouraged? This is the way I believe should be done in the future: Provide much more balanced starting conditions on freeplay (some way of balancing nearby resources to contain the same amounts at least), and provide way to share starting seed so players can compare results on the exact same world. Add difficulty settings for the freeplay (they are not now) that would really make a difference in more aspects of the game, like enemy evolution/expansion speed, aggressiveness, pollution spread finishing on the hardest difficulty would really be a challenge. Provide something measurable that could be achieved (apart just finishing the game), trying to minimize the time seems like one of the possible solutions, because I really love the kind of strategic thinking, where every decision matters. Provide achievements. It is quite mainstream these days, and I believe that there is a good reason for it. It just satisfies us, achievers, and gives us directions as long as these achievements really mean something like: Finish the game under X hours on some preset settings. Accumulate 1 000 000 electronic circuits under X hours, or the other way around, accumulate the biggest amount of electronic circuits possible in 3 hours. Score some big amount of points in the tight spot missions. Make online leaderboards of the these on our site (Another use of the accounts already have). I'm sure there is much more we can do in this direction. The more I think about this, the more I want it :) The bugfix release of 0.9.4 has been released today and we believe there are just few things to be fixed to have the final stable release so we started to plan for the multiplayer today. We just had a first small meeting and you can see our plan of battle. We will consider it very naive in the upcoming weeks for sure, but better some plan than no plan :) I'm quite curious what do you think about this, so don't hesitate to comment on our forums.

Friday Facts #25 - Mods and Forums

Posted by kovarex on 2014-03-14

Hello, another bugfix themed week passed and the release is here. When I'm asked to do something on friday and I say that we have the release, the typical answer is something like: "Again? Didn't you release it last week?", well we did ... :) Apart the bugfixing and moral preparation for the MP coding beast, the integration of new sounds for the 0.10 is in progress as well. First experiments of the environment sounds are done, which means that as the player goes through the factory, he can hear nearby machines working. This is very delicate matter as we don't want to make the player turn it off 5 minutes in game, but if done right, it can add a lot to the factory mood. We are very happy that people communicate on the forum, and I try to read every single post, but the last time I had marked everything read is more than 2 weeks ago. More than 5 pages of Ideas and Suggestions are waiting. The question is what exactly should we do about it, as the time spent on the forums is getting bigger and bigger every week, and I can easily "wake up" after reading it for 2 hours straight and not doing any real work on the game. We are starting to have these habits of reading in quick mode, which usually means just getting some general idea of what is going on in the thread and we usually don't read at all when we see that some other staff member replied already. So if we didn't respond to your thread, please don't take it personally, and If you feel it is important, you can bum it after some time (week at least). The big part of the work on the modding capabilities of Factorio was done during the days we were unsure about the its future. Working on something that could be used to extend the game that we were not sure anyone would play at all was looking useless. Hopefully we are still here, and new mods are arising. Some of the mods are simple but useful, like the TIme buttons, that is patching the lack of time speed configuration in-game, some are just tempting to be used because of the pictures, like Mocombat, for people that found the production chains not complex enough, there are the content-based mods like Dy tech, F-Mod and more. The growing variety of mods can only exist because modders pushed us to extend the moddability regulary and it proved more than once, that the extended interface was handy to have later even in the core Factorio, not mentioning that mods are also great incubators for new ideas that could grow into the vanilla game. So after all, we rate the time invested on modabbility to be well spent. The tesla tower from the mocombat: We are always eager to learn what you think at our forums.

Friday Facts #20 - The Release Buzz

Posted by Kovarex on 2014-02-07

Hi there!

Friday Facts #10

Posted by Kovarex on 2013-11-29

Hello, the regular dose of news from the developement of Factorio is here, I (Kovarex) wrote it today, and you can clearly see, that I like structured form of information :) Factorio is a continuous jam session. Albert had this observation yesterday and it is very precise description of our development. In the start I had no idea what will the game be like, I had no plans about the visual styles and proportions of the project that was just a hobby, an experiment. The rails were the first graphical assignment for Albert. I told him to just "do the rails" like it was some obvious one way street task. I didn't give him any clues about the style. Should it be cartoonish? Should it be realistic? Should it look modern, cyberpunk or 19th century like? We didn't know, we were searching for the direction on the fly. Any manager would probably say this is a bad thing, that we need a roadmap for the whole process from the start to the final release with all the contents, features and graphics planned ahead including cost estimates. I personally think, that the freedom of the jam (agile) way of development that allows us to react is the best for Factorio. We are inventing and extending the best ideas on the run, ideas that would never be visible in the start. The 0.8 We have less than a week for the preparation of the 0.8, we integrated all the new terrain tilesets to the game, Tomas is now working on the roboports, and construction robots can reconstruct destroyed buildings. We have few days to add some smaller features before we start bugfixing and preparing for the release. The new terrain The main graphical task of the 0.8 is almost finished. You can judge for yourself: The roboport The roboport is the control building for the logistic/construction robots, it will provide the radio signal with limited range for these to operate. This will limit the robots from following the player out of the factory and allow the player to have more distinct logistic systems. Apart from that, the robots will recharge there and stock inside if they have nothing to do. Reconstruction of destroyed buildings When any building owned by player is destroyed while he has the construction robots researched, the half transparent "ghost" building appear on top of the remnants. This ghost building has limited lifetime (5 minutes) and if the needed component is available in the local logistic system, the construction robots take it and automatically reconstruct the building. Nothing new, but still: the thread for comments is available on our forum.