after a long long bug fixing period we have declared the 0.12.20 as a stable release. Owing to the great effort of all the developers, the open bugs count at the forums is at unbelievable ... wait for it =) ... 3 items. And one of these will be solved by us dropping support for the OSX Snow Leopard. So unless there are quite a few people who have been holding the bugs reports back (out of pure mercy with us of course=)) the game should be rather stable.
In another episode of the Community Spotlight I am happy to share with you news in the field of documentation / tutorials / guides for the game.
I suppose pretty much all of you know (from your own experience) that quite some time and effort are required to get good at Factorio. Especially for the beginners, the amount of concepts can be intimidating. And of course, documentation is scarce=) Couple of first missions are de-facto a tutorial covering the very basics of the game. However it is getting obsolete and also it covers only a few basic topics. Another source of knowledge is our Wiki. Quite a bit of community effort went into it, however to be honest we don't really know if many people are using it. Also it is still lacking in completeness and up-to-date-ness. And of course there are the Youtube videos. I suppose all the "Factorio knowledge" could be found in some form or another in one (or rather many) of these. But then there is just so many of them that the sheer Youtube listing is scary=))
A few months ago Xterminator, one of the Factorio players and Youtubers, decided to approach this challenge himself. He chose to put the information in the form of a pdf e-book. He has been in touch with us during the process of guide creation and we have provided him with a few insights and ideas. I haven't read the guide cover to cover (it has more than 100 pages), but my impression so far is that it is a very good source of knowledge especially for beginning and intermediate players. It covers pretty much all the game concepts and apart from the explanations it is full of descriptive screenshots and links to youtube / forum posts further related to given subject.
The author pledged to keep the guide up-to-date and extend it as the game evolves. If you feel like you are still not quite getting what is going on in the game, then definitely give it a try. The guide can be purchased at the Factorio Strategy Guide website.
One of our big promises for the upcoming 0.13 relase is improving the Multiplayer user experience. This is mainly related to discovering and joining the game. The 0.12 provides a shy (yet functional) connect dialog which will just connect you to the game based on the given IP address / hostname. What we have been working on for 0.13 is closer to what you might be accustomed to from playing other games.
Basically what will be added is following:
The basic functionality for all the features in the above list is there already. Now we are in the process of tweaking, experimenting and (later on) polishing - as you have probably noticed this phase often takes quite some time=)) In the future we are very open to extending this futher (integration with Steam Friends, automatic mods downloads to match the game mods, etc.). Below is the screenshot of the browse games gui filled with randomly generated testing games.
If you have any thoughts regarding the topics above then let us know at our forums.