Posts by kovarex

Friday Facts #289 - Character GUI

Posted by Albert, Aleš, twinsen, kovarex, Klonan on 2019-04-05

Hello, we are still focusing most of our resources towards fixing as many bugs as possible so we have stable release in reasonable time. In the meantime, the preparation for the continuation of the work on the GUI rewrite is still happening:

Friday Facts #287 - Just bugs again

Posted by Klonan, kovarex, Sanqui on 2019-03-22

Hello, This week has been non-eventful. We are fixing bugs. There is not much to say, and I have updated the graph to reflect the status of the ongoing Dev vs. Bug war: The massive spike is the specific crash we talked about in the last FFF.

Friday Facts #284 - 0.17 experimental

Posted by kovarex, Abregado on 2019-03-01

The release (kovarex) So we finally released the 0.17 experimental this week. (patch notes) Hooray :) Fun fact: The release script failed to post the release announcement on Steam and Reddit and we were wondering why. The reason is that the patch notes were so big, that it exceeded the maximum post size (40k characters). If this isn't the indication that we should split our releases into smaller chunks, than nothing is :). Code wise, it is clearly the biggest release, and the amount of bugs we have to go through correlates with it. In other words, there are tons of bugs of all variety. We want to fix everything eventually, but it will take time, so we had to prioritize this week to aim for the most generally playable version before the first weekend after release. That means mainly unloadable saves, unavoidable crashes, game failing on startup, and the most frequently occurring problems. Our automatic bug reporting system is helping us a lot with the last one. It is uncommon, but sometimes the automatically uploaded crash report doesn't have enough information for us to be able to fix the bug right away, but the number of times we see a crash happening is still extremely useful for prioritizing. When we see a crash on the forum, we can cross reference it to our automatic reports, and if is one of our 'top-hits', we know to investigate it right away. The most prominent crash related to loading specific kind of save happened with pipe ghosts happened more than 200 times. It was fixed (obviously), but lets wait and see what our top hit of 0.17.4 will be after the weekend. Overall this means, that bugs that are not critical, require design discussions or are not that simple to fix are not being dealt with right now. Also, we got quite a surprising cake gift today. It is extremely delicious and we are extremely thankful for it :).

Friday Facts #283 - Prepare to Launch

Posted by kovarex, Albert, V453000, Bilka, Sanqui on 2019-02-22

Playtesting kovarex We have been playtesting a few days this week. There were some things we had to fix on the fly, but we still were able to play quite a lot, so I would say that it went surprisingly well. We have been able to get 3 multiplayer bases into a late game stage.

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 #280 - Visual Feedback is the king

Posted by kovarex, Twinsen on 2019-02-01

Hello, as we learned countless time before: Visual feedback is the king! Especially when the GUI is as complex as the Train GUI.

Friday Facts #277 - GUI progress update

Posted by kovarex, Klonan on 2019-01-11

GUI progress update (kovarex) This is a continuation of the last status report from FFF-269. As it might not be a surprise, the biggest bottleneck of the 0.17 release is the GUI. I like to believe, that we have learned a lot from the pitfalls of the collaborative creative process of GUI. This is the typical way we were redesigning the GUI: Two to three people started discussing what could be cool to change in the particular GUI. Some people randomly joined and left the ongoing discussion. Arguments to discard certain ideas have to be repeated over and over. Then the discussion is ended because of something. A week later people start talking again, most of them forgot most of the stuff, or were discussing it with different people, so they assume some details of the changes to be understood by everyone, while they aren't. They come to an agreement how it should be done. They have a random discussion about it a week later and figure out, they had completely different ideas about how it should be done, they just didn't articulate them precisely. Both are kind of angry to have to reopen and re-negotiate the subject again. Someone starts to implement the GUI, but half-way through it is uncovered, that there was another layer of misunderstanding when specifying how should the work be done, and we need to go to step 1 again and repeat. Since many GUIs are thought and worked on in parallel, these situations overlapped and amplified the problems of mixing things up in our heads about what we agreed on in which GUI. Luckily, we eventually figured out, that it can't be done like this, and since there is a lot of work in the GUI, we need to make a process. It goes like this: First, there is some general discussion about the GUI, all team members can share their ideas. kovarex + Twinsen sit alone in the office, and discuss for some time (can be hours), all the pros and cons of how things should be done, and make some agreement. Twinsen writes a detailed UX document about the GUI containing the structure, and more importantly the behaviour, in a detailed manner. Twinsen + kovarex discuss the UX document and propose changes until they agree on the final version. Albert + Aleš take the UX document and create a UI mockup based on it. kovarex + Twinsen + Albert agree on the UI mockup or propose changes. Someone is assigned to implement the GUI based on the UX document and UI mockup kovarex reviews that the implementation is correct and points out some inconsistencies that he can see. Part of this step is making sure, that we share as many GUI styles and code as possible across different GUIs. kovarex + Albert have a final look on the implementation and fix final details until they both agree that the screen is fully finished. Having the UX documents/UI mockups always available proved to be a huge time saver. Not only it helps us to solve the communication problems, we also don't have to remember and re-articulate decisions from some time ago as we can just open the document and see what we agreed on and instantly continue where we left off. A good part of this strict pipeline is that we now have better knowledge of the state of the work progress. These are the GUI screens that we hope to deliver for 0.17: .header_cell { text-align:center; font-weight: bold; } .finished { text-align:center; font-weight: bold; } .not_finished { text-align:center; font-weight: bold; } .finished_gui_table { border-spacing: 10px; } .finished_gui_table td { border: 1px; border-style:solid; padding: 5px; } General UX UX draft UX review UI mockup UI review Implementation draft Implementation review Final review Load map Save map Graphics settings Control settings Sound settings Interface settings Other settings Map generator Technology GUI Technology tooltip Recipe/item/entity tooltip Action bar Shortcut bar Train GUI Manage/Install mods Main screen chat Recipe explorer Character screen Menu structure New game Help overlay Chat icon selector Blueprint library You can see, that there is still a lot of to do, but the work tends to accelerate as more and more of the GUI layouts/tilesets/standards are being finalized and reused. The conclusion is that 0.17 experimental in January is possible, but it might be February as well :).

Friday Facts #274 - New fluid system 2

Posted by Dominik, Klonan, kovarex on 2018-12-21

New Fluid system 2 (Dominik) Hi Factorians, Here is Dominik, with an update on the fluids. This time it is pretty much finished so I can tell you facts instead of just speculations. You will find how the new algorithm will work and some new handy usability features. In FFF-260 I wrote about how it all started, why we are doing it and what the plan is. There was a huge response from you all and I want to thank everyone for their contributions. Let me apologise to redditors, as at the beginning I started responding on the forums and when I realized there is reddit too, there were too many comments for me to handle. The forum users produced many ideas on how the system could work. About third of them was a fluid teleportation, many where known but many were entirely new and interesting. What intrigued me was the large variety of backgrounds they came from - differents kinds of engineers (mechanical, CS, electrical, ...), mathematicians, physicists, and even people with real pipes hands on experience. I won’t go through them here, you can find them on the forums or reddit. There were two proposals on the forum though that were so good that they made it into the game - from quinor and TheYeast. Both of these proposals were very similar and kinda similar to the previous game logic. What it shares is that the mechanic still uses fluid physics simulation and volume in a pipe as a base for the movement calculation. As a result, not much changes on the first glance. What they add though is an emphasis on the fluid network update being independent on the current state (i.e. updating one pipe only depends on state from the last tick) and is therefore independent on evaluation order, which was one of the big pains of the old model that led to sometimes ridiculous junction behavior. Difference between these two was rather small - quinor’s version allowed perfect throughput with 3 passes over the fluidboxes (fluidbox is the thing managing fluids for entities, so I will talk about them), while Yeast’s one was 2 pass with ¼ throughput. What was outstanding though is that TheYeast, a physicist, supported the model with a nice theoretical background and what’s more, he made an amazing JS simulator to test and compare various modification of the model. Because that extra pass in quinor’s version was too high a price for the perfect throughput, I went with TheYeast’s two pass one. Since the old algorithm only used a single pass run by entities for the update, I first needed to overhaul the whole system to allow accommodating the new one. Going from one pass to two passes necessarily means higher complexity, so we made a big effort to optimize everything we could to make sure we will still end up faster than 0.16. Kovarex wrote about it in FFF-271.

Friday Facts #271 - Fluid optimisations & GUI Style inspector

Posted by kovarex on 2018-11-30

Game Developers Session 2018 GDS 2018 will be taking place next week, running from Friday 7th to Saturday 8th. This year, like last year, we are silver sponsors of the event, which means you will see some Factorio branding around the event and in their official booklet. Part of the preparation on our side was to produce a nice graphical asset for their use, which you can see below: The image is an aesthetic composition to showcase the design and theme of the game and its elements (while not necessarily making logical sense), and also contains the first public display of our new official Wube Software logo. About half the office team here will be attending the event, so if you are also going you might bump into us.